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Ornamentation in Indian Architecture - Oriental Motifs and Designs

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Item Code: NAP371
Publisher: Aryan Books International
Author: S.P. Verma
Language: English
Edition: 2014
ISBN: 9788173055188
Pages: 270 (Throughout B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 13.0 inch x 9.5 inch
Weight 1.20 kg
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Book Description

For a building to become architecture, it must be thematically essentialized through a process of ornamentation. The product of this process is beautify, or embellish, or that naturally does this. Leon Battista Alberti (AD 1404-1472), an architect considered ornament as something additional or applied: "... ornament may be defined as a form of auxiliary light and complement to beauty. From this it follows, I believe, that beauty is some inherent property, to be suffessed all through the body of that which may be called beautiful; whereas ornament, rather than being inherent, has the character of something attached or additional.

Ornamentation is that component of the art product which is added, or worked into it, for purpose of embellishment. In general, however, "ornamentation" refers to motifs and themes used in art objects, buildings, or any surface without being essential to structure and serviceability. In this sense, "ornamentation" and "decoration" are used, for the most part, interchangeably, although "decoration" has, in addition, its own special applications in the field of interior decoration and theatrical decoration, or "decor". Ornamentation, in architecture, applied embellishment in various styles that is a distinguishing characteristic of buildings. It often occurs on entablatures, columns, and the tops of buildings and around entryways and windows. Upto the middle of the 3rd century BC the course of building art in India is only indistinctly visible. With Asoka, the third Mauryan ruler of Magadha, who ascended the throne in 274 BC, the manifestation of Buddhist art contributed to the art and architecture of the time. It included number of stupas, monolithic pillars, group of rock-cut chambers and shrines. These productions directly effected the course of the art of building. Finding expression from wood in another and more lasting material such as dressed stone proved a decisive step in the cultural evolution of people. Asoka inaugurated Buddhism as the state religion of the country and with this change India marked advance in the arts. The shapes and decorative forms employed by the Indian artificers were obviously derived from the art repertory of other people, and only a few of them were indigenous. Such exotic forms are clearly Greek, Persian and a few perhaps Egyptian extraction. Brown has to say that this development of the art of working in stone, therefore, which Asoka introduced into the country represents an Indian offshoot of that forceful Greeco-Persian culture which flourished with vigour in Western Asia.

A classical art school composed of Pharoic — Hellenic — Iranian elements of distinctly effective character has a direct bearing on the style which appeared in Buddhist India. The well-known conventional motifs as the honeysuckle and palmette, the bead and fillet, the festoons and the cable moulding of Hellenic extraction actuated the Indian decorative elements. The building art followed the same course under the Sungas and Andhras (185 BC-AD 150 ). It added the gateways (toranas), displaying far more impressive design and excel in any style of architecture of ornamental purpose and imagery. The Sanchi toranas are the result of entirely Indian tradition and genius (Fig. 1). During this period, as to the stone carving, both in design and technique, there appear appreciable progress, as the plastic treatment of the Bharhut railing and the Sanchi toranas bear testimony of it (Fig. 2). Additionally, imaginative symbols of Vedic times were employed in Buddhist art, e.g., the wheel, the tree, the lotus, the trisula, the mounted gryphon, and many other motifs reproduced in a variety of forms in the subsequent art of India (Fig. 3). The Buddhist architectural surface ornaments of great elegance and appropriateness, and, when combined with the architecture, make up a whole its ethnographic as well as for its architectural beauty.

Decoration at Dhamek Stupa at Sarnath (c. AD 600) makes this ruined monument of special interest due to the unusual scheme for the decorative treatment of the stone facing, which includes ornamental elements some having significant implications. Over some of the surface surrounding a diaper pattern carved in floral scrolls appear to have been projected. Here the most original and striking designs are those forming a wide border carried around its lower circuit, one of which is floral and the other geometrical, each expressive of its own historical tradition (Fig. 4). The floral one a spiral motif, typically in Gupta style is a combination of flowing wave-like curves simulating flower stems supporting at intervals a many petalled flower medallion, an artistic conception of notable beauty and grace. Notably it stands forth as the arch type of that distinctive border of spiral curves and foliated medallions which adorns the "screen arches" forming the facade of Qutb mosque at Delhi erected many centuries later Chalukyan architecture (c. AD 450-650) exhibits excellent quality of sculpture and decoration akin to the Gupta temple style. A detailed analysis of temple architecture of both the Jains and the Hindus will show that much of its architectonic character was obtained by the surface being treated and built up of repetitions of the same architectural motif, converted into an element of decoration. The Indian builder knew architecture as a fine or liberal art, but not as a mechanical art. The temple of Kailasa at Ellora, the most stupendous single work of art and an unrivalled example of rock—architecture is finally adorned with sculpture. This plastic decoration is crowning glory something more than a record of artistic form.

The mandapas and rathas of the Pallavas (c. AD 600-900) have to offer nothing afresh in course of decoration. The mandapas at Mamallapuram are of the simplest kind as regards to the architectural treatment but are remarkable for the disposal of sculpture combined with the architectural forms. The rathas, widely known as the "Seven Pagodas” exhibit much the same architectural style as the mandapas. But the quality of the figure sculpture is remarkable.

Cholas (AD 900-1150) renewed the brilliance of architecture, as their architectural undertakings at Badami and Pattadakal manifest. The Chola sculptures exhibited voluptuous treatment of the human figure and there emerged a different animalized motif. It took the form of a string-course, the use of which as a decorative element in the temple scheme was in vogue throughout in the South India temple art. The magnificent temples of Tanjore exhibited remarkably ingenious motifs and devices showing great fertility of invention, as for example a conventional foliage, or "tree of knowledge". These testify supremely imaginative quality of embellishment. The gopurams under the Pandayas (c. AD 1100-1350), the earliest of their kind are however of the simpler and more conventional variety, and their decoration is mainly of the architectural type. The Vijyanagar dynasty (AD 1350-1565) had wonderfully rich and beautiful architecture with sumptuous plastic embellishment.

At this stage of development, the Indian architecture remarkable for the profuseness of its applied decoration reached "the extreme limit of florid magnificence".2 The principal temples of the Vijyanagar, the Vitthala and the Hazara Rama have every stone being chiselled over with the most elaborate patterns, some finely engravedand others modeled in high relief. These often depict animal motifs, half natural half mythical but wholly rhythmic. The hazara Rama temle, small but highly ornamented temple, excels in mural relief decoration. The temple in the fort at Vellore marked the zenith of Vjayanagar style. It excelled in the luxuriant character of its carving considered the richest and most beautiful structure of its kind.


Contributors ix
Introduction by S.P. Verma xi
I and II Decorative Ornaments from an Ancient Jaina Stupa at Mathura 2
III. Sculptures from an Ancient Jaina Temple at Mathura 6
IV. Perforated Stone Screen-work from Chalukyan Temples 8
V. Chalukyan Ceiling from the Temple of Kattesvara, Bellary District 10
VI. Doorway, East Entrance, Temple of Chaturbhuj, Orchha, Bundelkhund 12
VII. TO X. Ornaments from the Temples of Virabhadra, Anantapur District, Madras Presidency 14
XI. Panel and Ornaments on Piers, Ramasvami Temple, Kumbakonam, Tanjore District 20
XII. and XIII. Carved Panels on the Shrine Pilasters, Nagesvara Temple,Kumbakonam (LXVII), and on the Panchanadesvara Temple (LXVIII), Tiruvadi, Tanjore District 22
XIV. Pier in the Subrahmanya Shrine, Brahadesvara Temple, Tanjore 26
XV Teakwood Piers from the Temples of Mailaralingappa, Bellary District, and Margasahayar Temple at Virinjipuram, North Aroot District 28
XVI. Pier in the Thousand Pillared Mandapa, Minakshi Amman Temple, Madura 30
XVII. Stone Idol-Couch from a Temple at Banavasi, N. Kanara 32
XVIII. Ceiling Panel from a Hindu Temple at Vadnagar in Northern Gujarat 34
XIX. A Ceiling Panel from Anhilwada Patan, North Gujarat 36
XX. Central Area in the Roof of the Mandapa, or Hall of the Temple at Ittagi 38
XXI. Tympanum over the Recesses on Each Side of the Principal Mihrab in the Atala Masjid at Jaunpur 40
XXII. Panel from One of the Smaller Propylons of the Atala Masjid at Jaunpur 42
XXIII. Bay of a Ceiling from Hilal Khan Qazi's Masjid at Dholka 44
XXIV. Door to the Court of Hila! Khan Qazi's Masjid at Dholka 46
XXV. Central Mihrab in Bilal Khan Qazi's Masjid at Dholka, in Gujarat 48
XXVI. Central Mihrab of the Jami Masjid at Dholka 50
XXVII. and XXVIII. Panels on the Front Wall of the [ami Masjid at Ahmadabad 52
XXIX. One of the Marble Tombs of the Queens of Ahmad Shah at Ahmadabad 56
XXX. Hindu Entrance to the Courtyard of the Tanka Masjid at Dholka 58
XXXI. Iron Mountings from Shah Karim's Tomb and Mihtar-i Mahall 60
XXXII. Half Inner Doorway and Outer Door, Mihtar-i Mahall 62
XXXIII. Stone Ceiling Panels from the Ibrahim Rauza, Bijapur 64
XXXIV. Door from the Ibrahim Rauza at Bijapur 66
XXXV. Ceiling in Stucco from the Chhota 'Asar Mosque at Bijapur 6.8
XXXVI. Facade Arch in the Chhota 'Asar Mosque, Bijapur 70
XXXVII. Woodwork Window in the 'Asar Mahal, Bijapur 72
XXXVIII. Wall Surface Decoration in the Tomb of Shah Karim, Bijapur 74
XXXIX. to XLIII. Perforated and Stucco Parapets from Bijapur 76
XLIV. and XLV. Mihrabs from the Jami Masjid at Jaunpur 82
XLVI. XLVII. and XLVIII. Roof Panels from the [ami Masjid at Jaunpur 86
XLIX. and L Ceilings in Raised Stucco from a Ruined Palace at Bijapur 90
LI. Cornice and Bracket from Malikajahan Begum's Mosque at Bijapur 94
LII. and LIII. Tomb of 'Umar Ibn Ahmad Al-Kazaruni at Kambhay 96
LIV. Details of Ornament from Various Buildings at Bijapur 100
LV. Brackets from the Nava-Cumbaz and Kumbhar Masjid at Bijapur 102
LVI. Ornament from the Chaurasi Gumbaz, Kalpi 104
LVII. Ornament from the Chaurasi Gumbaz, Kalpi 106
LVIII. and LIX. Principal Mihrab of the Jami Masjid, Fatehpur Sikri 108
LX, LXI, LXII, and LXIII. Mihrabs in the Jami' Masjid, Fatehpur Sikri 112
LXIV. Detail of Patera, Jodh Bai's Palace, Fatehpur Sikri 118
LXV. Detail, of Ornamented Jali-Balustrades and Panel, Jodh Bai's Palace, Fatehpur Sikri 120
LXVI. Details of Jali-Balustrade and Screen Work in Hawa Mahal, Jodh Bai's Palace, Fatehpur Sikri 122
LXVII. Detail of Window, Jodh Bai's Palace, Fatehpur Sikri 124
LXVIII. Detail of Shaft in Reception Room, Jodh Bai's Palace, Fatehpur Sikri 126
LXIX. Detail of Balconette, Jodh Bai's Palace, Fatehpur Sikri 128
LXX. Fatehpur Sikri: "Jodh Bai's" Palace: Ceiling Over theN orth-West Angle Room on the Ground Floor 130
LXXI. Fatehpur Sikri: Jodh Bai's Palace: Ceiling over theN orth-East Angle Room on the Ground Floor 132
LXXII. Fatehpur Sikri: Jodh Bai's Palace: Perforated Red 134
Sandstone Panel  
LXXIII. Fatehpur Sikri: Jodh Bai's Palace: Details of String Mouldings 136
LXXIV. Fatehpur Sikri: Jodh Bai's Palace (Details of Stone Sills Beneath Wall Recesses) 138
LXXV. Bracket from Sultana's House, Fathepur Sikri 140
LXXVI. to LXXVIII. Dado Panel from the Sultana's House, Fatehpur Sikri 142
LXXVII. Soffit of Drip Stone, Sultana's House, Fatehpur Sikri 144
LXXVIII. Internal Frieze and Cornice, and External Cornice, South Facade, Sultana's House, Fatehpur Sikri 146
LXXIX. Ornament from the Turkish Sultana's House, Fatehpur Sikri 148
LXXX. Fatehpur Sikri: Turkish Sultana's House Carved Dado Panel 150
LXXXI. Fatehpur Sikri: Turkish Sultana's House (Carved Dado Panel in Red Sandstone) 152
LXXXII. Verandah Ceiling from the Sultana's House, and Jali Windows from the" Ankh Machaoli", Fatehpur Sikri 154
LXXXIII. Fatehpur Sikri: Birbal's House  
LXXXIII Fatehpur Sikri: Birbal's House (Details of Dado Panels) 156
LXXXIV. AND LXXXV. Fathepur Sikri: Birbal's House (Detail of Friezes Around the Interior of the Domes Over the Upper Floor Rooms and of the Bases Beneath the Pilasters) 158
LXXXVI. Fatehpur Sikri: Birbal's House (The North Porch-Details of Archway over the Entrance) 162
LXXXVII. Fatehpur Sikri: Birbal's House (Detail of Wainscotted Walls in the Upper Rooms) 164
LXXXVIII. to XCIII. Fatehpur Sikri: Rajah Birbal's House (Wall Recesses, Carved Panels, and Borders) 166
XCIV.to XCVI. Fatehpur Sikri: Diwan-i-Khas Detail of Pedestal, Base, and Shaft of the Column in the Centre of the Chamber 174
XCVII. Fatehpur Sikri: Salim Chishti's Tomb (Entrance from the Ambulatory to the Cenotaph Chamber) 178
XCVIII. and XCIX. Fatehpur Sikri: Salim Chisti's Tomb (Detail of the Porch Columns, and Brackets Supporting Eaves Round the Outer Sides of the Tomb) 180
C. to CIV. Fatehpur Sikri: Salim Chishti's Tomb (Marble Screens Enclosing the Ambulatory) 184
CV. and CVI. Fatehpur Sikri: Islam Khan's Tomb (Details of Verandah Screens) 190
CVII. Fatehpur Sikri: The Zanana Rauza (Details of Screen-Work) 194
CVIII. Fatehpur Sikri: Astrologer's Seat (Detail of Base of Shaft) 196
CIX. to CXI. Gingee Fort, South Arcot 198
CXII. and CXIII. Windows from the' Asar Mahal, Bijapur 202
CXIV. Chaurasi Gumbaz, Kalpi, North-Western Provinces (Detail of One of the Upper Panels on the North Facade) 206
CXV. Door from the Fort at Hyderabad, Sind 208
CXVI Perforated Terracotta Window from a Tomb at Sehwan, Sind 210
CXVII. and CXVIII. Mihrab from Ruined Mosque at Erandol, Khandesh 212
CXIX. Part of Facade in Wood Carving from a House at Srigunda, Ahmadnagar District, Bombay 216
CXX, CXXI, and CXXII. Tomb of the Late Navab at Pathari, Central India 218
CXXIII. Shrine Door of Temple of Samkara at Bheraghat Near Jabalpur 222
CXXIV. Decorated Ceiling Panels from the Temple of Ambarnath 224
CXXV. Mihrab in the Jami Masjid at Bharoch 226
CXXVI. Detail of Stucco Work in Western Wall Makka-ka-Naqal, Bunnur 228
CXXVII. and CXXVIII. Roof of Pathariya Masjid, Thanesar 230
CXXIX. Trellised Windows, Tomb of Shaikh Chilli, Thanesar 232
CXXX. Gateway Near Qazi's Masjid, Sadhaura 234
CXXXI. Wood-Carving from Bijapur 236
CXXXII. and CXXXIII. Old Wood Carving 238
CXXXIV. Details of Doorjamb of Medieeval [aina Temple, Formerly at Agrah 244
CXXXV. Pilaster of Medieval Ruined Jaina Temple at Atru-Ganeshganj in the Koth State, Eastern Rajputana 246


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