Indonesia's diversity is formidable: some thirteen and a half thousand islands, two hundred and fifty million people, around three hundred and sixty ethnic groups, and more than seven hundred languages. In this bewildering mosaic, it is hard to find any shared moral outlooks, political dispositions, customs, or artistic traditions that do not reveal further internal complexity and division. Java alone—the most populous of the islands, with nearly sixty per cent of the country’s population—offers a vast spectacle of overlapping cultural identities, and contains the sediments of many world civilizations (Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, European). The Chinese who settled in the port towns of the archipelago in the fifteenth century are a reminder of the great maritime network that, long before the advent of European colonialists, bound Southeast Asia to places as far away as the Mediterranean. Islam is practiced variously, tinged by the pre-Islamic faiths of Hinduism, Buddhism, and even animism. The ethnic or quasi-ethnic groups that populate the islands (Javanese, Batak, Bugis, Acehnese, Balinese, Papuan, Bimanese, Dayak, and Ambonese) can make Indonesia seem like the world’s largest open-air museum of natural history.