While the term globalization carries implications of modernity and 21st century problems, human communities have interacted over long distances for thousands of years. This issue of Orientations
focuses on groundbreaking studies of these cross-cultural networks. Yuka Kadoi introduces the topic of historical cultural interaction as it can be understood through extant artefacts. She goes on to assess what can be gleaned from the development of jade works of art from Islamic Eurasia. Yumiko Kamada examines the continued, festive use of Persian, Indian and Deccani carpets brought to Japan by Dutch traders in the 17th and 18th century. In-Sung Kim Han sheds light on the historical influence of Islamic material culture and practice in Korea. And, concluding this special section, Bing Zhao considers the status assigned to Chinese ceramics in medieval Swahili society. Subsequently, Sarah Kenderdine tells the story of a Qing dynasty scroll – the pride of the recently reopened Hong Kong Maritime Museum – and the cutting-edge processes used to interpret it for modern audiences. Richard Pegg looks at two late 18th century maps of the world, one Chinese and the other British, reflecting on which elements connect them – and which set them apart.
In other features, Nelly Rieuf introduces the restoration of Ladakh’s Matho monastery, which will serve both as a religious focal point and as a museum. Finally, Hong Kong artist Fung Ming Chip discusses whether calligraphy must involve the written word.