INDIAN ARCHITECTURE (ISLAMIC PERIOD) ' BY PERCY BROWN M. B. E., A. R. C. A., F. R.A. • D. B. TARAPOREVALA SONS &: CO. Indian Architecture book. Read 3 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Few countries possess a richer architectural heritage than India. Indian Architecture: Vol. I, Buddhist and Hindu; Vol. II, Islamic Period. 2-vol. set ( Complete). Brown, Percy. Bombay, India: D. B. Taraporevala Sons & Co. Private .
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Brown, Percy () Indian Architecture (Islamic Period). D B Taraporevala Sons & Co. Bombay. Percy Brown-Islamic jinzihao.info - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File P. however. and is therefore entitled "INDIAN ARCHITECTURE. and the. Indian Architecture (Buddhist and Hindu Period) - Percy Brown. state. In the same way the outstanding quality of the architecture of India is its spiritual content .
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. DELHI What the pillared portico on the other. To provide the considerable quantity of stonework such a scheme demanded, it is recorded that the materials of as many as twenty-seven temples within the neighbourhood were utilized, so that the same community of artizans, who probably some time before had been employed in raising these structures, now found themselves compelled to supervise the demolition of their own handiwork and to undertake its re-erection in another place, under entirely different conditions, and for a widely different purpose. The arrange. Although there may be little tbis forceful but relentless monarch may be e. What- courses of stone.
In all other Bharatpur State. This mosque was built pu: Originally standing within an artificial evolved during the Crwiades. Until fresh principles were personal prestige. Every part is built of stone The first of the dynasty. In contrast to the ruined conditions of this ruler's After the Roman fashion. Owing at its rear. These were way. This method of entry and exit architectural significance.
This portion was evidently a of savage splendour Plate XI. When it is forated by innumerable ovlets for archers. Standing now on the highest point of the comprising the city. Ghiyas-ud-din Tugh1aq. It is recor- understood that. At close intervals throughout the entire circuit I the lounder of the dynasty.
That some sun-dried brick. Plate XI. Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq I of its walls of over four miles. So bare and fortress and palace combined. There is also a long underground corridor with masses of broken masonry.
As It is. Islamic style. A soldier more than a statesman. Firoz Shah Tughlaq Mohammed Shah Tughlaq bastions. Kalan-Masjid Fig. Tomb of Mubarak Shah Sayyid dec. XVI Fig. Plate XXII. At the same time that Ghiyas-ud-din was of this opening the two principles of support. One important fact in the desip of this mausoleum. Yet the source of such an first time. Owing largely to the requirements of this archways of this tomb.
Although on account of its of the outer walls. In the centre bays framing the archways. But the however. II Jato a state of defence. Not only is the enceinte so designed. The courtyard within was by means of headers and stretchers of marble is of the same unsymmetrical outline. A compromise was then eftected in architectural mode not QDassociated with a Perso- the form of a fusion of the two systems. The process of construction was built. Thus 15 explained. It is a single dome. It is possible these were prod.
The fabric of this tomb. Its square base is sixty-one expressiveness. Then the rectangular marble panels tend to side. Whatever the motive. This dome has a building is of red sandstone with certain portions.
Then within its courtyard are several The interior of this tomb is a single chamber thirty IOIidly built underground vaults. Yet in the capable hands of the Indian ception of Ghiyas-ud-din's last resting place at TughJa.
This city already contained. The sloping wall of this tower. The economic position there- ment. Its importance as a Jandmark During the reign of Mohammed Tughlaq. His contribution to the capitals of this area area that his predecessors had endeavoured for one consisted in enclosing the space between the first and hundred and fifty years to make beautiful.
Mohammed hundred miles away.. Only through the regulate the supply of water to an artifidallake. Another cessor. Jy experienced work- seen the enclosed courtyard. Deserted and desolate as the pannah. Tnere will be skilled stone-masons and. This style is suificiently dissimilar from any- is a type of structure.. The secular architecture of India is are ibed some explanation of their deviation from mainly represented by fortresses and palaces of the the normal coarse of development seems called for.
Locally known as the Bar. It is a form of ardIitecture that cannot be mistaken. For he himself vicinity. Firoz Shah. An inner staircase leads from being put into eftect that required special technical know- this groand-ftoor to the large flat roof.
A scarcity of restoration of it is shown in Plate:. As this it is. The annea. In certain parts of the building T abaci. Yet in the Multan verandah for the transaction of official and political examples the architecture was enriched by a consider.
The main entrance to this enclosure was on the this loosely knit order. Vaned for many centuries anover the then-known world. As it was aban- colour-wash. For in its the river. Towards the centre. This is a. On really! Structurally necessary. Among the Roman and B. DiocIetian at SpaJato. Occupying a rectangle less than half a mile long by a quarter broad. Architecture produced on these terms resolves taining all the amenities and necessities of a self-con- itself into a somewhat dull and featureless form of expres.
This etlect of slope is em. The site of the Kotla Firuz although it is true some of the lack of effect now obser. It has been already shown that work. Thus it will be the suppression. In the remainder was a great variety of struct- able amount of surface decoration in the form of carved ures such as pavilions for difterent purposes. One monument in the Kotla is how- its kind waS his capital at Delhi on the banks of the ever unique.
Yet it 18 possible at least four fortress cities. Plate XIV. Dtine empires. Plate XII. Of the other. Above the parapet earlier.
Jj Elliot's Rist. In accor- on a cruciform plan. In installing this Buddhist column as a dominating or screen of arches. Plate XV. Two of them not unlike in their general appearance and and now known as the Hauz-i-Khas. The tall facade. Square in plan. Chief architectural significance. Plate thrown out from each comer. A contemporary historian has recorded.
Amidst the crumb- on a lahkhana. There is something appropriately solemn in the shaded corridors of the An unpretentious building in itself but of considerable Khirki masjid.
PS of of inscribed arabesque ornamentation which. But where the exteriors differ from side being relieved by a projecting surface. Extending in front of the southern side is a low plat- though efficient nature of the masonry throughout. In their out. Firuz was endeavouring to emulate quoins creating that sloping appearance.
Both in the interior between. The an arch-and-beam doorway. The extensive range of buildings of Masjid at Shahjahanabad c. Moth-ki-Masjid eir. XVII Fig. Jamala Masjid Fig. XIX Fig. Tomb of Muhammad Ghaus eir.
Tomb of Adham Khan dec. Tomb of Isa Khan lS XXI Fig. XXII Fig. Tomb of Rukn-i-Alam cir. Tomb of Shah Yusuf Gardizi eir. That in this particular original. In its outer tions. Each side of its octagonal verandah the conqueror. But for the moment its high time arches. The intention the most sacred monuments of Islam. Another innovation was should be set apart for my own especial purpose to the imposition of a range of eight cupolas on the roof await my commands.
For I had determined to build a rising above the embrasures of the parapet. It is the production of this essentially Moslem feature. Pl'efiRure the mode that subsequen prevailed under the 5ayyids and the Lodis. As was not uncommonly the custom. Delhi was sacked The devastating invasion of Timur toOt in the all of which are reproduced in the example at Delhi. In it. Its main interest lies in the fact while on this expedition. Delhi was left desolate "and no mausoleums of octagonal conformation which imparted craftsman.
Hitherto the tomb struc. It is illustrated by the fundamentally the style of tomb-building as this deve. EXcept for the centre and focus of the Faith in India. The outline of its 8rches. For this historical shrine is octagonal in plan.
There are other features in the tomb of TiIangani. It is possible that such formation was seH. For exactly two hundred years Delhi had been the imperial these in: History of India. That at the back of their minds there wao. In each comer is a their weak curves.
The "stories" of the turrets and other elements. Plate XVII. It is of some of them being large and imposing.
In the upright rectangular panels. This is noticeable in the treat- beam-and-bracket order. There is also the use of colour in the mate- form of cJesjgn these mosque buildings are the prelimi. Such a departure shows itself specially same architectural manner as in the octagonal examples. There are several conspicuous and attractive features ive appeara.
The P. In their specialized the building. As with the other and earlier exam- bad. Within this arched recess is a doorway of the in the previous period. With on the west containing the mihrab. There was evidently a very talented group of attached as a kind of domestic Cliapel to the Bara craftsmen eogaged in this art durinc the fifteenth Gumbad. Such an advance very far removed in many particulars. These tombs are no doubt grace and power. Yet on the other hand there is much that is panels.
Adina Mosque XXVI Fig. At Qadam Rasul. Tomb of Fath Khan dec. Dakhil Darwaza 15th cent. These distant and distinctive examples were produced But in spite of the fundamental changes this move. Plate VIII. Sher Shah'. And now the great Plate XIX. The fonner shows in the buttresses of its comer piers the interregnum-IS the second of the Mughal emperors.
It is however also apparent from its it was produced in 1S47 and therefore some years aftet design that the builders werb endeavouring to return to the jamala masjid. Ten it is a connecting link between the old style of imperial years previously. Here are in Purana Qila at Old Delhi. Moreover away from the capital. Yet this entire conception on an eminence. And few can now stand in any part of the another the architectural tradition of the Lodis. To these may be added the tomb of Mohammed Ghaus din Tugblaq the boarder of treasure.
An attempt to overcome this failing style generally. It will had brought the rule of the Lodis to a close. The imposed on them by the Tughlaqs.
By comparing the jamala masjid with its structure. Delhi sultanate. One after another of these alien adventurers had ruled.
The jamala mosque was architectural appearance. Tughlaq with his frenzied structure of the Lodi style with ornamental features building projects and such staid results. On the affected by the political conditions and was continuing western side of its enclosure is a small mosque which. Two extensive ruins of this historical Moslem capital with. Except for these remains of timber construction. Although little more than quality. Such building art as these two cities extends. The wood employed is that the indigenous craftsman.
In some of the more remote quarters the fact that the controlling lines of the building in which. So much certain features of which bear a resemblance to the so that it is a matter of speculation as to whether the buiJdiDgs of the Saljuqs of the twelfth century. As a whole. Such a fanciful. These brick and timber associations were continued with Southern Persia to walls were sloped to provide greater stability. It is unfortunate that several of them appear at different times to have been seriously From this rather scanty data.
It may be assumed there. On the destruction of Ghazni by the tiles in brilliant colours. Islam made its way into these Roman builders. In addition to the beams embedded much of Its history. There is some- Lahore exame: To re- what is now the country of Afghanistan. So distinctive in its design and mode of treatment are nished Ghaznavide kingdom. Plate XXIV. And it was brickwork of a remarkably fine cities of Multan and Lahore.
ImOwD as "ber" miP. There is nothing palaces in Lahore assumed. That they were carved designs resembliDg heavy tassels and knotted of much the same character as those in the parent city fringes. It became. This influence. Tantipara Mosque cir. Qadam Rasul Fig. The and the second 2S feet. The underlying ideals of its creators are fairly clear. Over the battlemented parapet tiles AIdioaP most of the faces of the tiles are merely painted. The tomb of Rukn-i-Alam at lIultan is a building of t is true they are rectaDgular in plan.
Sof four vertical walls. Then they became engaged on an undertaking place in the decoration. It is recorded that this tomb ower storey. Although that of stability and permanence. Inpbet prohibiting natural forms was strictly observed. Then a striIdDg feature of its '. Consisting of a tall foundational into the waDs at appropriate intervals.
With this facts in view. Then its great height. The first four are square which matured into their finest achievement The slope. In this partl. In common with other buildings of its class Chapter IV. The tiles were an effort to bring a represents three patterns of culture. In style this mausoleum of the landscape.
The principal mosque at Pan- results of this movement are to be found in dua. Although about one hundred and and Pandua.
Amidst this dernised. Slem handiwork in Bengal may be studied. Here at the riverside village of Tribeni. It is most probable that the Mohammedans first established themselves at Tribeni and then pressed inland from the river.
This is a of destruction at least three great cities have Tower of Victory. Although in a rmWniS. The first stage is illustrated by a group of buildings. In this 4letenDined.
Hindu temples. Masjid at the Mohammedan capital of Bengal. There can be the development of Moslem architecture in Bengal as it m India containing such a wide expanse appears to be the earliest existing example of a multi- ruins.
Now almost completely deserted. Great Mosque of Damascus eighth century.. The unfortunate that its designers did not think of introduc- data is scanty. On the other hand with the transfer of the capital from T. The design aneI construction of this portion but. Pillars of a similar type confOl'JDing to their own individual ideals.
At the south east comer three architecture it is a building of little consequence. In the process of re-erection it continuous facade. Here the new Moslem capital W8I es. Two of these the existing Hindu structures to suit the changed lead to an upper storey. Around the interior of the courtyard and forming a medan tomb-chamber. As an example of Islamic amounting to in all.
It is in which is one of the most capacious of its kind. Pandua expanding lotus cap'itaJs. Such a are found in other buildings in Bengal but are seen no- movement in this instance appears to have coincided where else in India.
Yet it is planned on orthodox lines. In length it expansive q courtyard of the Adina Masjid. It was obviously the outcome of an impulse by pillars of a remarkable type.
If this is correct it is the quarries. For this mihrab is a inferior desip of the mosques was an a. All are exquisitely The former refers to the type of arch that was adopted wrought but the eye naturally turns towards the feature. This JS in the form of a trefoil arched alcove contained out its entire course. Here are improbable that the finest monuments of the Hindu three outstanding elements essential to the ritual. Many No description of this sanctuary hall would be com.
It is very doubtful tention is specially directed because although now in whether the Moslem overlords ever obtained any of ruins. Instead smaU domes were raised over "san face" at the apex.
The certain grave and stately dignity.
Within this frontal screen was the entrance to the Although of proportions approa. It is a siDpJady pac: What the exterior of parts of the Adina mosque. The facade. It is true the. Plate XXV. It is vast but it has lCheme of the facade was completed by minor archways. It is however to the roof above that at.. In the space above these on lotus. The plan of ardIed bays which fonDed the coaditioos that then prevailed.
Its perial style testify to the intermittent nature of the wall surfaces are divided up into a monotonous diagram association. Amq the many terra-cotta patterns decoratiOn. As to the vious lliDdu buiIdiIj. The Daras rounded cupola in the Piruzian style of Delhi. Judpg from Golden 1IoIque the five arches of the faade are of the clwader of the patteras and.
It is from such an example showing the After the building of the Tantipara Masjid about beginning of the decadence. Under Ifoelem arches of its facade supported by examples of that ex. Whether any contact could have been possi. Its interior contains impressive three lowest being twelve sided while the two upper are aisles of arches carried. The 1. It depicts the pheno. Some of structure tends to become ftaccid and formless.. Most In the first buildings the effect of this downward curve of them are at Gaur and are x the Chamkatti or Cham.
On the other hand the terra-cotta alike and yet so distantly situated. Such a distinctive form of as Ahmedabad in the Sidi Sayyid mosque and built enrichment ID colour which is also found in the facades about the same time Chapter IX.
It is a series of eleven pointed arches between the octagonal about eighty-four feet in height and in five stories. These occasional borrowings from the im.
A feature of this tower is its pillus of stone. OOuced as far away and white Jiazed tiles.. This massive form of pillar is stone carving on the Mohammedan builciiJIII wbae it aleo well iDuatrated in the restored moaque at Tribeni in was original it was the handiwork of IIincfu artiIans.
But in the 3 the Lotan masjid both about x. Most of this glaze is rather space with its leafap. Tin Darwada cir. I Cambay: Jami Masjid Fig. Evidences of aampes as for instance in the Adina Mosque and the this appear at Dimapur in the Sibsagar District..
When the tury What they the Moslems were established.. Nola 0" Gar. Abid Ali Kha.. Wated ideals and proceeded to build structures of octagonal turrets at each end..
It has the central pointed archway. These Bengali craftsrnen achieved may not have been a great art. Although the best examples of the style are confined To sum up. It was during the remaining Atala Masjid. More- about the same time the foundations of a congregational over. Your last name: Cite this Email this Add to favourites Print this page. Catalogue Persistent Identifier https: Taraporevala Bombay Wikipedia Citation Please see Wikipedia's template documentation for further citation fields that may be required.
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We will contact you if necessary. To learn more about Copies Direct watch this short online video. Need help? How do I find a book? Not a large variety of joints were employed, most of them being of a simple but effective order and the workmen knew their application thoroughly; where these required to be pinned, bamboo pegs were inserted.
The foundations were prepared by means of beams laid in the manner already described in the construction of the city walls and to these the uprights, such as the pillars, were tenoned. Most interesting is the construction of the vaulted roof, as it is worked out on somewhat the same principle as the arch braced timber roof of the Gothic builders of Europe evolved many centuries later.
In the Indian method the structural membering of the vault was supplemented by a series of curved wooden ribs or groins placed in close order, the whole system anticipating a solution of the problem of arching a space in a most satisfactory and at the same time artistic manner. The flat roofed edifices were planned and executed in an equally workmanlike fashion, with pillars supporting the wooden girders, above which were beams and joists placed and jointed in correct position to carry the requisite weight.
Such was the structural system employed in the framework of these timber buildings, but how this was filled in and finished is purely conjectural. In all probability a filling of plaster chunam was added and painted white as there are frequent allusions in the ancient Pali texts to great edifices gleaming white like a cloud , an effect evidently considered the height of achievement.
As to the decorative treatment of this wooden architecture, the facades of both the vaulted hall and its attached monastery show that the early carpenter was able to manipulate his material so as to produce the most artistic results, although each effort at embellishment had its practical use.
Similar decorative but purposeful structures form the frontage of the adjoining building, covered balconies being prominent features as they are in the architecture of the country at the present time.
Some of these features are amplified in Plate IV, as for example the system of lighting the smaller rooms by means of bamboo lattices, and in certain instances the entire balcony was a mesh of plaited bamboo strips held together on a framework of wood.
This device was the precursor by many centuries of the pinjra or cage-work so common in the later buildings of Upper India as well as the meshrebiya of Egypt and other Islamic countries. These and many other technical and artistic expedients of this early phase of timber construction may be seen literally petrified and thus imperishably preserved in the later rock architecture of the Buddhist period.
Smith, V. The Early History of India from B. Oxford, Ancient India as described by Megasthenes and Arrian , by J. UP to the middle of the third century B. So far therefore any account of its progress has been based very largely on evidences of a miscellaneous order such as certain structural remains and various investigations from which the foregoing conjectural impressions have been compiled.
Now however, supposition hardens into fact and the picture hitherto undefined comes with an almost dramatic suddenness sharply into focus. This effect was brought about by the policy of the third Mauryan ruler of Magadha, the emperor Asoka who ascended the throne in B. An early decisive step taken by this monarch was his acceptance of the teachings of the Buddha.
Soon it became apparent to him that the religious beliefs of his subjects were inclined to be indeterminate, and that a radical change in their spiritual outlook was desirable.
That the country was ripe for some form of conversion was also obvious. In other words there was at this period what may be described as a religious vacuum. And Buddhism redressed this void.
Included in its precepts was a material object of veneration, such as the worship of sacred relics, which made a direct appeal to a people perplexed and disillusioned by unconvincing observances.
Accordingly in B. With this change in the religious system of India also came a marked advance in the arts. Buddhism essentially a graphic creed, art became its handmaid, so that wherever it penetrated it was accompanied by forms and symbols expressive of its teaching. But although this first manifestation of Buddhist art was confined within such seemingly narrow limits, and its actual productions were relatively few in number, they were of such exceptional power that they influenced to a notable degree much of the art that followed.
The significance of this school lies in the fact that it marks the beginning of an era when India through Buddhist thought was in a position to dictate to the rest of Asia its religion, its symbolism, and its art. The principal contributions made by this school to the art and architecture of the time were some six in number, consisting of the following: Among these productions that more directly affected the course of the art of building were the stupas on account of their structural significance, the monolithic pillars in view of their artistic qualities, the rock-cut chambers because of their technique, and the palace for its architectural associations.
The order in which these manifestations took form, and the manner of their execution may be explained. A craving for a symbol of stability occurs in the early evolution of most nations, a need for some substantial link which holds them to the soil and is a stage in the development of racial self-consciousness.
As a case in point the Pharoahs realised this when in their inscriptions they boasted of having erected everlasting stone monuments , in honour of the gods. Some such reflection no doubt inspired the Emperor Asoka when as a beginning he carved his famous edicts on the living rocks, proclaiming as they do, in plain terms that his efforts should result in the long endurance of the Good Law. These inscriptions, although many have survived, were not, however, sufficiently striking to suit his purpose; what was evidently in his progressive mind was the creation of a memorial of such a permanent nature that it would outlast time itself.
With this in view he caused to be raised in many parts of his empire circular tumuli of brick, sacred mounds commemorative of the Buddha.
These stupas , as they have been called, from the Prakrit word thupa , were not unknown in India before this date, but their shape, like that of the pyramid, implies durability. As the stupa from the nature of its structure was subject to disintegration owing to the effects of the climate, it became necessary for the Mauryan Emperor to seek for some more lasting method of achieving his purpose.
Aware no doubt that other nations were using stone, he began therefore to think in stone , and in the course of time an impressive monument symbolizing the creed was devised in the form of a pillar, a lofty free-standing monolithic column, erected on a site especially selected on account of its sacred associations. A number of these Asokan pillars were distributed over a wide area and a few bear ordinances inscribed in a manner similar to the edicts on the surfaces of the rocks.
The effect of such columns, some of them as much as fifty feet in height, each carrying above its capital a magnificent Buddhist emblem, on the minds of a people hitherto living in a somewhat restricted wooden building tradition was no doubt very great.
But these remarkable monuments were by no means the only sculptured stone objects wrought in this manner. With them were other monolithic productions, such as railings, stupa finials in the form of umbrellas, lion thrones, colossal figures, and the pillars of an immense hypostyle hall in the royal palace at Pataliputra, all of which show that the stonework of the Asokan school was of a highly diversified order.
But, whatever form it took one unique quality marks all the stone production of the Asokan period, one technical characteristic which is never omitted so that even a small fragment may be immediately identified, is the high lustrous polish resembling a fine enamel with which the surfaces, even of the rock-cut chambers, were invariably treated.
Finding expression from wood in another and more lasting material such as dressed-stone is a decisive step in the cultural evolution of a people. Appearing as these sculptured forms do, fully matured, at a time when Indian art was still in its infancy, and without any previous preparation, is a phenomenon which needs some explanation.
The stones themselves provide the answer. The unerring precision with which they were worked and chiselled show that those who quarried and carved them were no novices at their craft, as would have been Indian artificers, but had generations of experience behind them. The shapes and decorative forms employed are few of them indigenous, but on the other hand are obviously derived from the art repertory of another and more advanced people. Such exotic forms are not difficult to identify as some of them are clearly of Greek, others of Persian and a few perhaps of Egyptian extraction.
This development of the art of working in stone, therefore, which Asoka introduced into the country represents an Indian offshoot of that forceful Graeco-Persian culture which flourished with such vigour in Western Asia some centuries before the Christian era.
At this juncture a brief reference to the source of the culture from which Asoka drew his inspiration seems indicated. From c.
What actually happened to the exponents of the original Achaemenid school under such conditions can only be a matter of conjecture, but that they and their successors continued to flourish under the intelligent patronage of the Asiatic Greeks, producing works with still more marked Hellenistic features cannot be doubted.
It was at this stage of the movement that the Indian emperor Asoka conceived the project of erecting his stable and symbolic monuments to the Buddhist faith, and instinctively turned to the descendants of the workmen who had already shown such proficiency in their construction of the stately palaces of the Persian kings. To attain his object the Mauryan monarch adopted the common practice of royal art patrons, and brought into his service a group of experienced foreign artists of a sufficiently adaptable nature to put into effect his progressive ideas.
Historical instances of such a procedure are numerous, but some of those which account for the particular character of the Achaemenid art of Eastern Persia and in the course of time of that of the Asokan school, have a direct bearing on the style which afterwards appeared in Buddhist India.
For instance in the production of their magnificent palaces at Persepolis and Susa, the Persian kings made use of talent drawn from the leading art schools of the then known world.
Even without the recorded statement of Diodorus that Egyptian artists worked on these buildings, such attributions as the winged globe and the cavetto cornice are proofs of their employment in this enterprise. In these circumstances it is not difficult to account for the form and character that the giant pillar and the other lithic productions of the Asokan period assumed. From the columned halls reared under the orders of the Achaemenid kings, from their sculptured reliefs and their inscriptions on the rocks as at Behistun, the Indian monarch obtained some of his inspiration, and from the ranks of those who produced them he secured the skilled artificers to aid him in his projects.
Of the achievements of this composite school established by Asoka, the free-standing pillars are unquestionably the most notable. Originally there appear to have been about thirty of these monoliths, of which the remains of some ten are in existence. Two of them, with lion capitals, are still standing in situ, and in fairly good condition, one at Kolhua Bakhra and the other at Laurya Nandangarh, both in the Champaran district of Bihar.
Of the remainder, those of which the capitals have survived are now preserved in the Indian Museum. The line of pillars in the Champaran and Muzaffarpur districts—at Rampurva, Laurya Araraj, Laurya Nandangarh, and Kolhua were evidently placed at intervals along the ancient royal route from Pataliputra to the sacred land of Buddhism on the borders of. It is possible that the one at Sanchi belonged to a series which lay on a more western line of approach.
In no instance do the pillars appear merely as isolated monuments, as in the vicinity of each of them are the remains of stupas and other buildings showing that they formed part of the structural accompaniments of an extensive Buddhist settlement. Each pillar consisted of a plain unornamented shaft, circular in section, from thirty to forty feet in height, and arising straight out of the ground without any suggestion of a base, tapering like the trunk of a tall palm tree.
At the top of this shaft which is two feet in diameter is a campaniform capital its abacus acting as a support for a large sculptured Buddhist symbol, the whole combination attaining a height of nearly fifty feet. Apart from their Buddhistic significance the Asokan pillars are expressive of a very ancient and widespread belief, and were in the first instance inspired by man worshipping among the groves and great trees of the forest.
A suggestion of this tree worship may be seen on the bas-reliefs of the Barhut railing cir. With the reverence for trees came a veneration for huge stones and boulders, the sacred and mystical character given them being but a prelude to shaping them into upright forms.
The aesthetic properties of the pillars are concentrated in the design and execution of the capitals and superstructure. These portions of the monuments which together average seven feet in height are in one piece of stone, while the shaft of the column consists of another separate piece, the two being joined by a copper bolt accurately fitted into the tenons made for it without the use of cement.
The bolt in one of the Rampurva pillars has been preserved, and is a barrel-shaped piece of metal over two feet in length, showing that those who employed this copper dowel were quite aware of the destructive action of iron and other metals in such circumstances.
The capitals themselves, which are some three feet in diameter, are campaniform in shape consisting of a series of fluted petals elongated and which, falling together, take the form of a bell. In most instances the capitals are cut to one specified pattern, the exception being that at Nandangarh, which appears slightly stunted in its proportions, while the abacus and other features are somewhat different, so that it is possible this particular example was an early and experimental effort.
There may be some symbolic connexion between the campaniform capital and the bell ghanta , as this in a conventional form, was used early in India decoration, and it also figures prominently in the temple ritual.
But the boldly marked fluting the section of which is unmistakable, has an undoubted foreign origin, exactly similar fluting being not uncommon on Persian and Greek pillars, as may be seen on the bases of those at the palace of Artaxerxes II B. Above the Asokan capital is a circular abacus having its broad edge carved with ornamental borders of a special character.
On some of these are repetitions of Buddhist emblems, as for example the goose hamsa , but on others, as in the case of the bull capital at Rampurva, there are such well-known conventional motifs as the honeysuckle and palmette, the bead and fillet, and the cable moulding, each one of direct Hellenic extraction. These motifs may not be in exact accordance with the most approved classical models, but any deviation from the original pattern is no doubt due to their long journey from the Aegean starting point.
It is however in the massive Buddhist composition poised above the abacus that the greatest imagination has been shown, and symbolism utilized to its utmost extent. Most of the superstructures consist of figures of animals, each of which has a mythological meaning. Together they symbolise the four quarters of the universe, the elephant being the guardian of the east, the horse of the south, the bull, as at Rampurva, of the west, and the lion, as in the Nandangarh example, of the north.
Such were the Buddhist interpretations, but not a little of this animal symbolism was drawn, in the first instance, from Vedic sources. The Rig-Veda gives the place of honour among all wild beasts to the lion, which roamed the jungles of India until comparatively recent times, while a swift or galloping horse represented the sun, and the bull Dyaus or Indra the sky-god, all of which are illustrated on the abacus of the Sarnath capital.
From this and other evidences it is clear that much of the primitive Buddhist symbolism as expressed in its art was a continuation of the Vedic mythology, Plate V. As works of art the Asokan pillars hold a high place.
They are boldly designed, finely proportioned, and well-balanced conceptions, fulfilling admirably the purpose for which they were intended. This purpose was solely monumental, as they are free-standing pillars, not part of an architectural composition, an object which has been kept in view throughout.
The animals, which are the main features in the scheme, are noble conventional representations, spirited yet dignified, ideal examples of their kind. Few works of this nature could be more arresting than the broad sculptural treatment of the bull on the column from Rampurva, a superb creation, simply and truthfully rendered.
Even this excellent specimen, however, has its equal in the group of four addorsed lions surmounting the Sarnath capital, who unfortunately lose some of their effect by being deprived of the massive wheel of metal they were meant to support, that Wheel of Order which the Rig Veda tells us rolls around the Heavens: These lions are manifestly a Hellenic attribution, their masks originally provided with metal eyes and flowing manes recalling the lion-headed spouts on Greek and also Roman buildings.
Plate V. For the quality of the workmanship in their production there can be nothing but praise, the bold contours of the figures in the round, the subtle modelling of the relief, and the unerring confidence of the chiselling being remarkable.