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Nikifor Solovyov
Nikifor Solovyov

Explore the Richness and Diversity of Indian Architecture: Buddhist and Hindu Influences in Percy Brown's Book


Indian Architecture: Buddhist and Hindu by Percy Brown




If you are interested in learning about the rich and diverse architectural heritage of India, you might want to read Indian Architecture: Buddhist and Hindu by Percy Brown. This book is a classic work that provides a comprehensive and authoritative account of the two major traditions of Indian architecture: Buddhist and Hindu. In this article, we will review the book and highlight its main themes, insights and contributions.




Indian Architecture Buddhist Hindu Percy Brown Pdf 93



The Historical Background of Indian Architecture




Before we delve into the details of Buddhist and Hindu architecture, it is important to understand the historical background that shaped their development. India is a land of ancient civilizations, diverse cultures and religions, and complex political and social changes. All these factors influenced the evolution of Indian architecture over thousands of years.


Percy Brown begins his book by tracing the origins of Indian architecture to the Indus Valley Civilization (2500-1500 BC), which was one of the earliest urban cultures in the world. He then describes how Indian architecture was influenced by various foreign invasions, such as those of the Aryans (1500-500 BC), the Greeks (326-184 BC), the Kushans (1st-3rd century AD), the Guptas (4th-6th century AD), the Arabs (8th-12th century AD), the Turks (12th-16th century AD), and the Mughals (16th-18th century AD).


He also explains how Indian architecture was shaped by various religious movements, such as Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism. He shows how each religion introduced new concepts, forms, styles, and symbols to Indian architecture, while also assimilating some aspects of the existing traditions.


Finally, he discusses how Indian architecture was affected by various geographical and climatic conditions, such as the mountains, rivers, plains, deserts, forests, monsoons, earthquakes, etc. He shows how each region developed its own distinctive architectural character, while also maintaining some common features with other regions.


The Buddhist Architecture




One of the main focuses of Percy Brown's book is the Buddhist architecture in India. Buddhism is a religion that originated in India in the 6th century BC by Siddhartha Gautama, who later became known as Buddha or the Enlightened One. Buddhism spread across Asia and became one of the major world religions. Buddhism has a profound impact on the art and architecture of India, as well as other countries.


Percy Brown identifies three main types of Buddhist architecture in India: the stupa, the chaitya hall, and the vihara. He describes their features, examples, and evolution in detail.


The Stupa




The stupa is a hemispherical mound that contains the relics of Buddha or other holy persons. It is one of the oldest and most sacred forms of Buddhist architecture. The stupa symbolizes the Buddha's death, enlightenment, and nirvana (liberation from the cycle of rebirth).


The stupa consists of several parts, such as the anda (the dome), the harmika (the square railing on top of the dome), the yasti (the mast that rises from the harmika), the chhatra (the umbrella-like structure that crowns the yasti), the vedika (the stone fence that encloses the stupa), the torana (the gateway that marks the entrance to the stupa), and the pradakshina patha (the circular path around the stupa for circumambulation).


The earliest stupas were simple earthen mounds, such as those at Piprahwa and Kapilavastu, where Buddha was born and attained enlightenment. Later stupas became more elaborate and monumental, such as those at Sanchi, Bharhut, Amaravati, and Nagarjunakonda. The most famous stupa in India is the Great Stupa at Sanchi, which was built by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC and enlarged and embellished by later rulers. The Great Stupa at Sanchi is renowned for its magnificent toranas, which are decorated with intricate carvings of scenes from the life of Buddha and other Buddhist legends.


The Chaitya Hall




The chaitya hall is a rectangular hall that contains a stupa at one end and an entrance at the other. It is used for worship and meditation by Buddhist monks and laypeople. The chaitya hall is one of the earliest forms of rock-cut architecture in India, which involves carving out structures from natural rock formations.


The chaitya hall consists of several parts, such as the nave (the central aisle that leads to the stupa), the apse (the semi-circular end that houses the stupa), the aisles (the side passages that flank the nave), the pillars (the columns that separate the nave from the aisles), the arches (the curved structures that span over the nave and aisles), the windows (the openings that admit light into the hall), and the facade (the front wall that marks the entrance to the hall).


The earliest chaitya halls were simple caves, such as those at Bhaja, Bedsa, and Karla, dating from the 2nd century BC to the 1st century AD. Later chaitya halls became more elaborate and ornate, such as those at Ajanta, Ellora, and Kanheri, dating from the 5th to 8th century AD. The most famous chaitya hall in India is the Karla Chaitya Hall, which was built by a merchant named Bhutapala in the 1st century AD. The Karla Chaitya Hall is remarkable for its grand facade, which resembles a wooden structure with carved beams, rafters, brackets, and panels.


The Vihara




The vihara is a residential complex for Buddhist monks. It consists of a series of cells arranged around a courtyard or a hall. It is used for living, studying, and teaching by Buddhist monks. The vihara is another example of rock-cut architecture in India.


The vihara consists of several parts, such as the cells (the small rooms that accommodate one or two monks each), the antechamber (the larger room that connects the cells to the courtyard or hall), the courtyard or hall (the open or covered space that serves as a common area for monks), and sometimes a shrine (a niche or chamber that contains an image of Buddha or a stupa).


the 5th to 8th century AD. The most famous vihara in India is the Ajanta Vihara, which is part of a complex of 29 caves that contain some of the finest examples of Buddhist painting and sculpture in India.


The Hindu Architecture




Another main focus of Percy Brown's book is the Hindu architecture in India. Hinduism is a religion that originated in India and is based on the Vedas, the ancient scriptures that contain the spiritual and moral teachings of the Hindu sages. Hinduism is a diverse and complex religion that encompasses various sects, schools, and traditions. Hinduism has a profound impact on the art and architecture of India, as well as other countries.


Percy Brown identifies one main type of Hindu architecture in India: the temple. He describes its features, examples, and evolution in detail.


The Temple




The temple is a sacred structure that houses an image or symbol of a deity or a sacred concept. It is one of the most common and important forms of Hindu architecture. The temple symbolizes the cosmos, the divine presence, and the human aspiration for liberation.


The temple consists of several parts, such as the garbhagriha (the inner sanctum that contains the main image or symbol), the shikhara (the tower that rises above the garbhagriha), the mandapa (the hall that precedes the garbhagriha), the antarala (the vestibule that connects the garbhagriha and the mandapa), the pradakshina patha (the circumambulatory path around the garbhagriha), and sometimes the gopura (the gateway that marks the entrance to the temple complex).


The earliest temples were simple shrines, such as those at Sanchi, Udayagiri, and Deogarh, dating from the 3rd century BC to the 6th century AD. Later temples became more elaborate and monumental, such as those at Khajuraho, Konark, Thanjavur, and Madurai, dating from the 9th to 13th century AD. The most famous temple in India is the Kailasanatha Temple at Ellora, which was carved out of a single rock by King Krishna I in the 8th century AD. The Kailasanatha Temple is remarkable for its colossal size, intricate carving, and majestic appearance.


The Shikhara




The shikhara is a pyramidal or conical tower that crowns the garbhagriha of a Hindu temple. It is one of the most distinctive and characteristic features of Hindu architecture. The shikhara represents Mount Meru, the mythical mountain that is considered to be the center of the universe and the abode of the gods.


The shikhara consists of several parts, such as the amalaka (the ribbed disc that caps the shikhara), the kalasa (the finial or pot that surmounts the amalaka), the griva (the neck that connects the amalaka and the body of the shikhara), and sometimes the urushringa (the subsidiary towers that project from the corners of the shikhara).


the 6th to 8th century AD. Later shikharas became more complex and varied, such as those at Khajuraho, Bhubaneswar, and Mount Abu, dating from the 9th to 12th century AD. The most famous shikhara in India is the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple at Khajuraho, which was built by King Vidyadhara in the 11th century AD. The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple has a soaring shikhara that reaches a height of 31 meters and is adorned with hundreds of sculptures of gods, goddesses, and erotic figures.


The Mandapa




The mandapa is a pillared hall that precedes the garbhagriha of a Hindu temple. It is used for various purposes, such as worship, dance, music, and ritual. The mandapa is one of the most functional and versatile features of Hindu architecture. The mandapa represents the earthly realm, where humans interact with the divine.


The mandapa consists of several parts, such as the pillars (the vertical supports that hold up the roof), the beams (the horizontal members that span between the pillars), the brackets (the curved projections that connect the beams and the pillars), the ceiling (the upper surface that covers the hall), and sometimes the torana (the arched doorway that leads to the antarala).


The earliest mandapas were simple structures, such as those at Mahabalipuram, Pattadakal, and Modhera, dating from the 7th to 11th century AD. Later mandapas became more elaborate and ornate, such as those at Khajuraho, Halebidu, and Hampi, dating from the 12th to 16th century AD. The most famous mandapa in India is the Meenakshi Amman Temple at Madurai, which was built by various rulers from the 13th to 17th century AD. The Meenakshi Amman Temple has four massive mandapas that are decorated with thousands of colorful sculptures of gods, goddesses, animals, and mythical creatures.


The Comparative Analysis of Buddhist and Hindu Architecture




One of the main contributions of Percy Brown's book is the comparative analysis of Buddhist and Hindu architecture in India. He shows how Buddhist and Hindu architecture differ and resemble in various aspects, such as conceptual, structural, and aesthetic. He also shows how Buddhist and Hindu architecture share some common elements, influences, and achievements.


The Conceptual Differences




Percy Brown argues that Buddhist and Hindu architecture reflect different worldviews and philosophies. He points out that Buddhism is a rational and ethical religion that emphasizes impermanence, suffering, and liberation. Buddhism views space as empty and infinite, time as cyclical and transient, and divinity as impersonal and attainable. Hence, Buddhist architecture tends to be simple, austere, and symbolic.


joy, and devotion. Hinduism views space as full and finite, time as linear and eternal, and divinity as personal and transcendent. Hence, Hindu architecture tends to be complex, lavish, and expressive.


The Structural Differences




Percy Brown argues that Buddhist and Hindu architecture follow different principles and methods of construction. He points out that Buddhist architecture is based on the principle of subtraction, which involves carving out structures from natural rock formations. Buddhist architecture uses the method of excavation, which involves digging out caves and chambers from the hillsides or mountains.


On the other hand, Hindu architecture is based on the principle of addition, which involves building up structures from artificial materials. Hindu architecture uses the method of erection, which involves assembling bricks, stones, or metal pieces into walls, towers, or domes.


The Aesthetic Differences




Percy Brown argues that Buddhist and Hindu architecture display different modes and standards of beauty. He points out that Buddhist architecture is characterized by harmony, proportion, and balance. Buddhist architecture uses geometric shapes, such as circles, squares, and rectangles, to create a sense of order and symmetry. Buddhist architecture also uses natural colors, such as white, yellow, red, and black, to create a sense of contrast and clarity.


On the other hand, Hindu architecture is characterized by variety, diversity, and dynamism. Hindu architecture uses organic shapes, such as curves, waves, and spirals, to create a sense of movement and energy. Hindu architecture also uses artificial colors, such as blue, green, purple, and gold, to create a sense of richness and splendor.


The Commonalities




Percy Brown argues that Buddhist and Hindu architecture also share some common elements, and Greek. Both Buddhist and Hindu architecture also demonstrate remarkable skills and innovations in engineering, artistry, and symbolism.


The Conclusion




In conclusion, Percy Brown's book Indian Architecture: Buddhist and Hindu is a valuable and informative resource for anyone who wants to learn about the rich and diverse architectural heritage of India. The book provides a comprehensive and authoritative account of the two major traditions of Indian architecture: Buddhist and Hindu. The book also provides a comparative analysis of Buddhist and Hindu architecture in terms of their conceptual, structural, and aesthetic differences and commonalities. The book is well-written, well-illustrated, and well-researched. It is a classic work that deserves to be read and appreciated by anyone who is interested in Indian culture and history.


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions based on the article:



  • Q: Who is the author of Indian Architecture: Buddhist and Hindu? A: Percy Brown was a British architect, historian, and scholar who specialized in Indian art and architecture. He was born in 1872 and died in 1955. He wrote several books on Indian architecture, such as Indian Architecture (Islamic Period), Indian Painting Under the Mughals, and The Arts of India.



  • Q: What are the three main types of Buddhist architecture in India? A: The three main types of Buddhist architecture in India are the stupa, the chaitya hall, and the vihara. The stupa is a hemispherical mound that contains the relics of Buddha or other holy persons. The chaitya hall is a rectangular hall that contains a stupa at one end and an entrance at the other. The vihara is a residential complex for Buddhist monks.



  • Q: What are the main features of Hindu architecture in India? A: The main feature of Hindu architecture in India is the temple. The temple is a sacred structure that houses an image or symbol of a deity or a sacred concept. The temple consists of several parts, such as the garbhagriha (the inner sanctum), the shikhara (the tower), the mandapa (the hall), the antarala (the vestibule), the pradakshina patha (the circumambulatory path), and sometimes the gopura (the gateway).



Q: How do Buddhist and Hindu architecture differ in their conceptual aspects?


  • Q: How do Buddhist and Hindu architecture differ in their structural aspects? A: Buddhist and Hindu architecture follow different principles and methods of construction. Buddhist architecture is based on the principle of subtraction, which involves carving out structures from natural rock formations. Buddhist architecture uses the method of excavation, which involves digging out caves and chambers from the hillsides or mountains. Hindu architecture is based on the principle of addition, which involves building up structures from artificial materials. Hindu architecture uses the method of erection, which involves assembling bricks, stones, or metal pieces into walls, towers, or domes.



  • Q: How do Buddhist and Hindu architecture differ in their aesthetic aspects? A: Buddhist and Hindu architecture display different modes and standards of beauty. Buddhist architecture is characterized by harmony, proportion, and balance. Buddhist architecture uses geometric shapes, such as circles, squares, and rectangles, to create a sense of order and symmetry. Buddhist architecture also uses natural colors, such as white, yellow, red, and black, to create a sense of contrast and clarity. Hindu architecture is characterized by variety, diversity, and dynamism. Hindu architecture uses organic shapes, such as curves, waves, and spirals, to create a sense of movement and energy. Hindu architecture also uses artificial colors, such as blue, green, purple, and gold, to create a sense of richness and splendor.



Q: How do Buddhist and Hindu architecture share some common elements, influences, and achievements? A: Buddhist and Hindu architecture also share some common elements,


Q: What are some of the famous examples of Buddhist and Hindu architecture in India? A: Some of the famous examples of Buddhist and Hindu architecture in India are:


  • The Great Stupa at Sanchi, which is a hemispherical mound that contains the relics of Buddha or other holy persons. It was built by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC and enlarged and embellished by later rulers. It is renowned for its magnificent toranas, which are decorated with intricate carvings of scenes from the life of Buddha and other Buddhist legends.



  • The Karla Chaitya Hall, which is a rectangular hall that contains a stupa at one end and an entrance at the other. It was built by a merchant named Bhutapala in the 1st century AD. It is remarkable for its grand facade, which resembles a wooden structure with carved beams, rafters, brackets, and panels.



  • The Ajanta Vihara, which is a residential complex for Buddhist monks. It is part of a complex of 29 caves that contain some of the finest examples of Buddhist painting and sculpture in India. It was built between the 2nd century BC and the 6th century AD.



  • The Kailasanatha Temple at Ellora, which is a sacred structure that houses an image or symbol of Lord Shiva. It was carved out of a single rock by King Krishna I in the 8th century AD. It is remarkable for its colossal size, intricate carving, and majestic appearance.



  • The Kandariya Mahadeva Temple at Khajuraho, which is a sacred structure that houses an image or symbol of Lord Shiva. It was built by King Vidyadhara in the 11th century AD. It has a soaring shikhara that reaches a height of 31 meters and is adorned with hundreds of sculptures of gods, goddesses, and erotic figures.



  • The Meenakshi Amman Temple at Madurai, which is a sacred structure that houses an image or symbol of Goddess Parvati. It was built by various rulers from the 13th to 17th century AD. It has four massive mandapas that are decorated with thousands of colorful sculptures of gods, goddesses, animals, and mythical creatures.




Q: What are some of the benefits of reading Percy Brown's book Indian Architecture: Buddh


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