Buddhist Architecture 2

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    BUDDHISTARCHITECTURE

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    Buddhist Columns

    The columns are of two types one isbased on Persepolitan type and other

    Greco-Roman type. The former isoctagonal with bell shaped capitalsupporting animal sculptures such as lion,horse, bull, sedent, elephants carrying

    male and female ride on a chakra orwheel

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    The shaft is highly polished and has a vase-shaped base probably derived from theupright timber post placed in an earthen potto protect it from attacks of insects andwater. Some authorities on architectureconsider this column to be entirely of Indianorigin and wrongly termed as Persepolitantype. The Greco-Roman type is rectangularwith shallow flutes. They are tall and slender;the height nearly six to eight times its lowerdiameter. At top is a capital usually with afluted vase motif.

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    Ashoka Pillars

    As the stupa from the nature of its structure was subject todisintegration owing to the rigours of the climate, itbecame necessary for the Mauryan Emperor to seek forsome still more lasting method of achieving his purpose.Aware no doubt that other nations were using stone, hebegan therefore to "think in stone," and in the course oftime an impressive monument symbolizing the creed wasdevised, in the form of a pillar, a lofty free-standingmonolithic column, erected on a site especially selectedon account of its sacred associations. A number of theseAsokan pillars were distributed over a wide area and a few

    bear ordinances inscribed in a manner similar to the edictson the surfaces of the rocks.

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    As works of art the Asoka pillars hold a highplace. They are boldly designed, finelyproportioned, and well balancedconceptions, fulfilling admirably the purposefor which they were intended. This purposewas solely monumental, as they are freestanding pillars, not part of an architecturalcomposition, an object which has been keptin view throughout. The animals, which arethe main features in the scheme, are nobleconventional representations, spirited yetdignified, ideal examples of their kind.

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    Ajanta Caves (2nd century

    B.C.)

    These caves are about 60 km fromJalgaon. The situation of Ajanta is

    picturesque and romantic. The caves aresituated in a horse-shoe shaped valleyand spread over a length of more than500 m from the east to the west. There are

    some 30 caves out of which 9, 10, 19, 26and 29 are chaitya halls and others aremonasteries or viharas.

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    The cave walls are filled with deities of theBuddhist pantheon.

    The chaitya cave No.26, excavated outof solid rock is the most representative ofthe group. It has a small rectangulardoorway with a horse-shoe-shaped

    window opening above, with tracery workthrough which light is admitted into thevaulted hall.

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    The vaulted hall has an apsidal end and is

    divided longitudinally by two rows of columnsforming a broad nave and two aisles. At end,a stupa is carved out of natural rock with thestatue of Buddha seated in front with his feet

    down and surrounded by his attendants andheavenly flying figures. Closely spaced ribs cutfrom rock, representing prototype timbermembers, supplement the vaulted roof.

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    The Ajanta caves arefamous for their pulsatingFrescoes all over the world.The Ajanta Frescoes

    contain beautiful paintingsand illustrations of Buddha'slife. These are rankedamong the world's finestand most exquisite muralpaintings. plaster used for

    the walls is about 1 cmthick and comprises of hay,cow-dung and rice husk.The surface was first madeevenly smooth. The evenlyplastered surface was thencoated with lime, outlines

    were drawn and finallycolour was applied toproduce beautifulpaintings.

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    Caves at Ellora

    Ellapur-a village named after the king Elawho ruled over it. These are situated at

    about 34 km from Aurangabad at thefoot of an off-shoot of the Sahyadri range.Nagarjuna, founder of the MahayanaSchool of Buddhism is said to have hadthem excavated in 1st century. They are

    all adorned with images of Buddhaseated on a throne and flanked by twoattendants, Padmapani and Vajrapani.

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    There are in total twelve Buddhist caves here.There is only one chaitya and the remainingsare viharas. In construction these are similar tothat at Ajanta. The caves have a vaulted hallwith apsidal end divided by two rows ofcolumnades forming a broad nave in centre.A stupa carved in natural rock has acylindrical base supporting a huge dome withthe statue of the Buddha seated in front, withhis feet down, surrounded by several flyingfigures. Columns are rectangular with shallowflutes and wide capitals at the top.

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    Design an exterior

    wall of a temple

    taking inspirationfrom Buddhist

    architecture.

    PS. Assume the dimensions onyour own