[History] Indian Architecture – From notes of Nitin Singhania

Ancient India
  • Harappan Architecture
  • Mauryan Architecture
  • Post Mauryan Architecture
  • Gupta Age
  • Development of Architecture in South India
Medieval India
  • Delhi Sultunate (1206-1526)
    • Imperial Style (Developed By Empire – a state initiative)
      • Slave Dynasty 1206-1290
      • Khilji 1290- 1320
      • Tughlaq 1320 -
      • Lodhi
    • Provincial Style (Other than Empire)
      • Jaunpur
      • Malwa
      • Bijapur
  • Mughals (1526-18th century)
    • Babur
    • Humayun
    • Akbar
    • Sahjahan
    • Aurangjeb
Modern India
  • Indo- Gothic Style
  • Neo Roman Style

Sculpture vs Architecture

Architecture refers to designing and construction of building whereas Sculpture is 3-D work of Art.

In Architecture, various types of materials are used ie stones, wood, glass, metal etc. Whereas sculpture is made of single piece of material.
Architecture involves study of engineering and engineering mathematics and depends on measurement whereas sculpture involves creativity and imagination, may not depend on measurement.


Harappan Civilization

Seals
  • Seals are square, rectangular, circular or triangular piece of material – mainly stones. with an average size of 2’X2′ . Dominantly square seals were found on them, we find picto-graphic scripts along with animal impressions which are yet to be deciphered.
  • Seals are made up of steatite(a river soft stone). Evidences of copper, gold and ivory seal has also been found in some instances.
  • 5 signs or symbols on an average are present on seals.
  • Direction of writing is from right to left.
  • eg . Pashupati seal, Unicorn Seal
  • Seals are decorated with animals motifs such as unicorn, bull, rhinoceros, tiger, elephants, bison, goat, buffalo except cow etc.
  • Inscriptions or human figures are present on both sides of seals. Even in some cases, these are present on all three sides.
Significance and Purpose of seals
  • Mainly used as a unit of trade and commerce
  • Also used as an educational tools
  • Used as amuletes(for protective and spiritual purpose). Found with dead bodies and had a hole for wearing.
Terracotta Figures(Sculpture)
  • Fired/ Baked clay
  • These figures are hand made using pinching method
  • Mother goddess, toy carts with wheels, bird and animal figures
Bronze sculptures
  • Bronze casting was practised on wide scale under harappan art.
  • The technique used for casting is known as lost-wax technique
  • Under this technique, at first wax figures are covered with a coating of clay and allowed to dry. Then it is heated and molten wax is allowed to drain out through a tiny hole at the bottom of clay cover. The hallow mould is then filled with bronze or any other metal. Once the metal is cooled, the clay is removed.
  • Excavations where it was prevalent- Kalibangan, Daimabad, Harappa.
  • eg. Bronze dancing girl => It is naked girl wearing only ornaments which include bangles, armlets, necklace, amulets. The left hand is on the hip. It is made using lost wax technique.
Other stone sculpture
  • Bearded Priest
  • Male torso (Red sandstone>
Pottery
Red and black pottery ( Painted pottery)

  • It consists of mainly, wheel-made. Very few are handmade.
  • The more common is plain pottery
  • Under red and black pottery, red color was used to paint the backgraound and black color to draw design of trees, birds, animals, human figures and other geomatrical patterns.
Use of pottery
  • For household purposes – storage of water, foodgrains etc.
  • For decoration – miniature vessels were used for decoration(Less than half inch)
  • Used as perforated pottery (Large hole at the bottom and small holes all over the wall and was probably used for straining liquor)
Ornaments
  • They are made of large variety of materials ranging from preceious metals, gemstones, bones and even baked clay
  • Necklaces, armlets and finger rings were common and worn by both males and females, While women wore ear-rings and anklets.
  • evidences of dead bodies buried along with ornaments have also been found
  • Harappans were also conscious of fashions as different hair styles, wearing of beard etc has been found
  • Cinnabar was used as cosmetic lipstick, face paint and even eye liner were all known to them
  • Spinning of cotton and wool were most common among harappans.
Extensive Town Planning
  • Houses were built of baked bricks, of fixed sizes
  • Use of stones and wood in building have also been found
  • the concept of 2 storied house was also present
  • Public bath was common feature. eg – Great bath at Mohan jodaro. It has galleries and rooms on all sides.
  • Granaries was another important creation which used to be located in citadels.
  • Drainage System of harappa was note worthy. There was temporary cover of drains, underground.
  • Roads used to cut at right angle

Mauryan Art

Mauryan Art is divided into 2 =>

  • Court Art – with state initiative eg. Pillars, stupas etc.
  • Popular art – With individual Initiatives eg. Caves, Sculptures and pottery
Pillars
Mauryan Pillars
Mauryan Pillars
  • Mauryans Pillars have outside influence (Perisan or Iranian or Achaemenian influence) – Bell shaped capitals have been taken from Persian.
  • Mauryan Pillars were made up of Chunar sandstones
  • Uniformity can be seens in the pillars
  • Edicts are inscribed on pillars
  • Animals were bulls, galloping horses, lions , elephants etc.
Achaemanian Pillars versus Mauryan Pillars
  • Shaft monoliths in mauryan whereas in achaemanian pillars were made up of various pieces of sandstones.
  • Achaemanians pillara not independently erected, found in buildings
  • High polishing can be seen in both
Purpose of Pillars
  • as a symbol of the state
  • To commemorate victory – eg- Lauria Nandangarh – Champaran in Bihar, Sarnath Pillars near Varanasi.
Stupas
Mauryan Stupa Structure
Mauryan Stupa2
  • It is conventional representation of funeral cunrulus, in which ashes of the dead are buried
  • It is a Buddhist monument which is hemi-spherical dome with Buddha’s relics and ashes inside
  • However the concept of stupas started in the vedic period
  • In Buddhist tradition, originally 9 stupas were built after the death of Buddha, 8 of them over his relics and ashes and 9th over the vessel in which the relics were originally deposited.
  • Core of stupas were made of unburnt bricks and outer surface with burnt brick covered with a thick layer of a plaster.
  • CHHATRAS represents TRIRATNAS(Buddha-enlightened, Dham – Doctrine, Sangha – Order) of Buddhism – They are umbrella shaped.
  • Sculpture can be seen on Torana and Medhi
  • Maximum number of stupas were constructed by King Ashoka – 84000
  • Examples of Stupas are – Sanchi Stupas built by Ashoka, Barhud Stupa By Shunga Dynasty, Oldest Stupa – Paprahawa in UP
Popular Art
  • Caves
  • Sculpture
  • Pottery
Caves
  • The beginning of rock cut architecture. Two features were added by Mauryans-
      Polishing inside the cave
      Development of artistic Gateway
  • Examples = Barabar Cave(4) and Nagrajuni cave(near gaya)(3) – called 7 sisters

Uses of Caves

Caves were used as viharas in Mauryan Age. The viharas were given to Jain Monks – Ajeevikas.

Sculptures
  • Yaksh and Yakshini – Objects of worship in folk religion
  • Yaksh has been found at Parbham in UP and also Pawaya in Gwaliar
  • Yakshini found at Didarganj in Bihar
  • These figures are associated with all 3 religions – Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism.
  • In Buddhism, figures found on stupas
  • In Jainism – all 24 Jain Thirthankaras are associated with a Yakshini.
  • In Hinduism – A Tamil text ‘Shilpodiganam’ also mentions about Yakshini.
Pottery
Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW)
  • Black color was used
  • Highly lusturous Polish
  • It is a luxury ware showing maturity
  • Highest level of pottery making

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