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Borobudur: Golden Tales of the Buddhas (Periplus travel guides) [Paperback]

John N. Miksic
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: £18.44
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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Periplus Editions; New edition edition (31 Dec 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0945971907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0945971900
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 26.7 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 527,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


This complete guide to Borobodur, Indonesia contains travel tips and articles which cover every aspect of Indonesian history, art and culture, with detailed sightseeing tours all around the island to many little-known places.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An essential read before visiting Borobudur 12 Jun 2011
Borobudur is a magical historical site and warrants some prior insight into its history, construction and meaning before a visit. I came across a well-leaved copy of this book at the hotel I was staying at in Borobudur and regretted not having had a chance to read through it before my visit. This book is warmly recommended both for its content and its price. There are other books on Borobudur which I looked through whilst in Java but this seemed to be best.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent book. Anybody visiting Boribudur should read it BEFORE going there. Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best. 11 Feb 2009
By Patricia Welch - Published on
I read this book back in 1991 before my first visit to Borobudur and found it a great introduction to the site for sure, but also to Indonesian history and Buddhism. February 2009 I returned to Borobudur for my third visit and despite being older and much more knowledgeable about Javanese history and culture, not to mention Buddhist texts and iconography, decided to re-read Borobudur. Only now, eighteen years later, can I really appreciate what a remarkably fine volume this is. The micro-focus is Borobudur, but the book additionally has chapters on all the most relevant elements of Javanese history and culture that put the story of Borobudur into focus. For example, because the decorative panels include carvings of the previous lives of the Buddha and other "heroic deeds", the most important Jataka tales and Avadanas are included. There are chapters on Borobudur as a mountain, as a stupa, as a mandala; there are chapters on Buddhism in Java, Buddhist architecture, how Borobudur must have been built, and how it was found and reclaimed. I have quite a few books on Borobudur, but in the hindsight of several visits to the site and years of study, I now realize this is simply the best book ever written on the single largest Buddhist monument in the world. Whether you visit Borobudur in person or are an armchair traveler, this is the guidebook you need.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Golden Tales of the Buddhas 1 May 2000
By A Customer - Published on
An excellent book that summarises Borobudur's past and archaeological symbolism. It is a light and informative read of the ancient Buddhist monument in Central Java. The photography is excellent, with lots of close ups of the reliefs. Very often you get whole pages of pictures which tell a story of their own. It's really worth buying this because you'll definitely read it more than once.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Relaxing read while passing the time 12 Nov 2002
By Po H. Chiu - Published on
I read this book while visiting Bobobudur over 4 days. It perfectly suited the relaxing atmosphere of my vacation.
The first few sections are devoted to the history and the archaeology of the site. Each successive chapters are devoted to the bas reliefs which tell 3 major stories of Buddhist texts.
Personally, I found the latter sections on the stories harder to follow since the books only gives bits and pieces of the story (and sometimes the photo illustrations, which are in great abundance, do not follow the text) and I am not at all versed in these stories. I would have much preferred
a more detailed book on the history and archaeology of the monument. But perhaps that is more difficult to come by because it is not a deeply studied area.
But I think the photographs more than make up for any perceived deficiencies on my part. Each page has at least one big photo which occupies half of the page and that makes it a great coffee table book to browse.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Search For Wisdom 9 Jun 2008
By Michael Gunther - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The author and photographers of "Borobudur: Golden Tales of the Buddhas" have done a great service, by presenting such a clear and accurate account of the history, architecture, and reliefs of the monument, and by including so many full-page, full-color photos. Their take-home message is that the Borobudur monument was an ancient teaching tool and a realization in stone of the search for wisdom, in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. One proof of the book's usefulness is that it has actually managed to stay in print, over the dozen years since it was first published. I believe that reading it will inspire many people to visit the site, and will be very helpful to them in understanding it.

I wish the book had illustrated even more of the reliefs, but the selection it gives us is still generous enough, and well representative of the monument as a whole. Three cheers for a high-quality book, that is both informative and enjoyable to read.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and readable quasi-coffee table book 20 Jan 2011
By Paul Lawrence - Published on
Situated within a short drive of the city of Yogyakarta, on the island of Java in Indonesia, is the worlds largest Buddhist Stupa. Built in the 9th century and much restored with a loving and diligent hand over the years it stands as one of the prime tourist attractions not only of Java but of the whole Indonesian archipelago. It's certainly an imposing achievement of architecture built at a time when Europe was going through it's `Dark Ages'.

This landscape shaped book is full to bursting with colour photographs of the site, from overall shots of the structure itself - including historical photos of the restorations - through to photographs of individual sections of the myriad sculptured panels that tell some of the stories of Buddhism and it's moral lessons. These photos should be enough to whet your appetite for travel to this site but there is more to this book than just lovely photography. There are also a number of line drawings as well as an explanation of the stories the panels describe as well as technical details of the stupas history and construction, as well as can be gleaned. In fact the first section of the book deals with the structures history and importance as well as alluding to the strong central authority which would have been required to create such a work.

I picked up my copy of this from Denpasar airport, Bali, as I wanted something to remember my visit to Borobudur by, something that wasn't just composed of plain textual facts and figures and, if nothing else, something I could show my friends and family back home and to do the stupa justice - far beyond what my own photographs could have done. Suffice to say that this book has succeeded both as momento and a cool curio to show friends back home.

If you are planning a trip to Indonesia and expect it to include Borobudur (and if you can escape the delectable clutches of Bali you should) then this book... actually may not be the thing that sways you. You can probably check out Borobodur easily enough on the net. Personally I really think the value of this book is that it is something satisfying in terms of text and photographs for you to buy AFTER you've seen Borobodur. But hey that's just IMHO.

A good buy that's for sure.
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