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Malaysia, Culture

Malaysia reflects different cultural traditions, including those of China, India, the Middle East, Europe, and the entire Malay Archipelago. Early Malay empires absorbed Indian influences, such as Hindu epics and the Sanskrit language. The kingdom of Malacca, centered in the present-day state of Melaka, developed as an Islamic state, or sultanate, in the 1400s. Later, new cultural influences from Europe and China mixed with Hindu and Islamic traditions. A collective but distinctively Malay cultural pattern has emerged out of all these influences, with artistic expressions in literature, music, dance, and art forms.

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