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Over a period of several years, noted Chinese cultural historian Ronald G. Knapp traveled throughout Southeast Asia, searching out homes built by the first generations of successful Chinese settlers during the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century. In Chinese Houses of Southeast Asia, Knapp presents an eye-opening account of how Chinese migration into Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam spawned a unique hybrid architectural style that combined Chinese, European, and local influences.
Many of these overseas Chinese heritage homes are disappearing, but Knapp—along with renowned photographer A. Chester Ong—visited a number of the shophouses, bungalows, villas, and mansions that remain.
More than three dozen of these elegant residences form the core of this book, and through essays, historic photographs, paintings, and line drawings, Knapp draws an illuminating portrait of each residence along with background information about the families who built and lived in them. These profiles reveal the entrepreneurial spirit of the Chinese as well as their social and economic circumstances. A stunning marriage of scholarship and photography, Chinese Houses of Southeast Asia explores a little known branch of Chinese architecture and provides a new perspective on Chinese migration, settlement, and identity in Southeast Asia.
Ronald G. Knapp has been carrying out research in China's countryside on cultural and historical geography since 1965. Currently SUNY Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the State University of New York, New Paltz, he is the author or contributing editor of more than a dozen books, including the award-winning Chinese Houses: The Architectural Heritage of a Nation and Chinese Bridges: Living Architecture from China's Past.
A. Chester Ong, born in the Philippines and currently based in Hong Kong, has photographed widely throughout Asia. His photography appears in magazines, exhibitions, as well as books, including China Modern, Chinese Houses: The Architectural Heritage of a Nation, China Living and Chinese Bridges: Living Architecture from China's Past.
Wang Gungwu is currently University Professor and Chairman (former Director) of the East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore after a distinguished career as administrator and professor at the University of Hong Kong, the Australian National University, and the University of Malaya. An eminent historian, he is especially noted for his scholarly work on Chinese migration, settlement, and identity in Southeast Asia. The recipient of accolades from around the world, including an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Cambridge in June 2009, he is the author or editor of scores of books that continue to guide scholars and students in their understanding of the complexity of China's history.