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The term Eastern world refers very broadly to the various cultures, social structures and philosophical systems of "the East", namely Asia and Eastern Europe (including Russia, the Indian subcontinent, the Far East, the Middle East, and Central Asia).

Concept of "the East"

An image of the "Eastern world" defined as Asia.
An image of the "Eastern world" defined as the "Far East", consisting of three overlapping cultural blocks: East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia.
The distribution of the two major families of world religion, Dharmic religion and Abrahamic religion, highlights the cultural difference between the Far East and the rest of the world.

The division between "East" and "West" is a product of European cultural history, and of the distinction between European Christendom and the alien cultures beyond it to the East. Before the discovery of the Americas and the exploration of Sub-Saharan Africa by the Europeans, only North Africa and other Islamic countries to the East were known in detail, though India and China were vaguely known of. With the European colonization of the Americas the East/West distinction became global. The concept of an Eastern, "Indian" (Indies) or "Oriental" sphere was emphasized by ideas of racial as well as religious and cultural differences. Such distinctions were articulated by Westerners in the scholarly tradition known as Orientalism and Indology. People from the East are known by certain regions in the West as "Oriental". During the Cold War, the term "Eastern world" was sometimes used as an extension of Eastern bloc, connoting the Soviet Union, China and their communist allies, while the term "Western world" often connoted the United States and its NATO allies such as the United Kingdom and France. The concept is often another term for the Far East—a region that bears considerable cultural and religious commonality. Eastern philosophy, art, literature, and other traditions, are often found throughout the region in places of high importance, such as popular culture, architecture and traditional literature. The spread of Buddhism and Hindu Yoga is partly responsible for this.

Eastern culture

Eastern culture has developed many themes and traditions. Some important ones are:

References

  • Ankerl, Guy (2000) [2000]. Global communication without universal civilization. INU societal research. Vol.1: Coexisting contemporary civilizations : Arabo-Muslim, Bharati, Chinese, and Western. Geneva: INU Press. ISBN 2-88155-004-5. 
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