Stone - Work, Art, Architecture, Style and Dating
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DESCRIPTIONAncient Indians have had their Standard books, Manuals and Working Instructions since Vedic period (c.12,500-3,500 BCE) for Art and Architecture. They have produced crores of monuments throughout the ancient India or Bharat (outside and beyond the 1947-India). At one period, definitely, throughout the world, Indian domination was there or the ancient Indians were living. Donald A. Mackanzie , Waddell and others have provided enormous amount of evidences to this effect. When the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Arabic and European (all categories) truth-seekers, travellers and others heard about India and came to witness the splendour of India in all aspects, the dating of Indian monuments after them appears to be artificial. That the Europeans wanted to find a sea-route to India is a different story, as it has so many mathematical, astronomical and scientific implications . When the travellers visited, they were mainly astonished, bewildered and dumb-folded to see the architectural and monumental magnificence of India. In between, there had been the Iconoclast invasions and rule of Mohammedans, in which lakhs of Indian monuments suffered heavily. They destroyed lakhs of monuments, demolished equally the places of worship, mutilated Idols and sculptures, used parts of the temples for construction of mosques and of course, they converted temples themselves into mosques, by retaining the structure but demolishing Idols and sculptures. They did not study or analyze the features of monuments, but considered as the representations of Satan and hence faithfully demolished. the the period with the ruling dynasties of the period after the battle of Kurukshetra.A critical examination of the decline of the Indus valley civilization with the drying of river Saraswati, shows how the influence of the rulers declined and came to an end with the conquest from the east (Magadh rulers).
STONE WORK, ART, ARCHITECTURE, STYLE AND DATING IN INDIAN CONTEXT
K. V. Ramakrishna Rao,B.Sc., M.A., A. M. I. E., C.Eng (I)., B. L.,
Independent Researcher General Secreatary, Bharatiya Sankalana Samiti (Tamilnadu) Itihasa
25 (Old.9), Venkatachala Iyer Street, West Mambalam, Chennai 600 033. Phone: 98402 92065 (Mobile). e-mail: email@example.com
1. Introduction: Ancient Indians have had their Standard books, Manuals and Working Instructions since Vedic period (c.12,500-3,500 BCE)1 for Art and Architecture. They have produced crores of monuments throughout the ancient India or Bharat (outside and beyond the 1947-India). At one period, definitely, throughout the world, Indian domination was there or the ancient Indians were living. Donald A. Mackanzie2, Waddell3 and others have provided enormous amount of evidences to this effect. When the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Arabic and European (all categories) truth-seekers, travellers and others heard about India and came to witness the splendour of India in all aspects, the dating of Indian monuments after them appears to be artificial. That
Different authorities place Vedas to various dates ranging from 12,500 BCE to 3.500 BCE. In any case, as Vedas pre-date, IVC, the interpretation would be made accordingly. The western scholars have been biased in dating the Vedas, as they have shifted their stands many times, only with an aim to reduce the chronology rather than coming to such revised dates after a critical or professional study. Boghas Koi inscription dated to 14th cent. BCE records about a treaty signed between the Mittanis and the Hittites, in which the Vedic Gods Mitrasil (Mitra), Arunasil (Aruna), Indar (Indra) and Nasattya (the twin) are mentioned along with Teshup and Hepa, their gods. The names of the Mittani Kings are strikingly Indian - Sutarna I (good sun), Paratarna I (Great Sun), Parashukshatra (Ruler with axe), Saukshatra (Son of Sukshatra, the Good Ruler), Paratarna II, Artatama or Ritadhama (Abiding in Cosmic law), Sutrana II, Dashratha, Mtivaja or Matiwazza (whose wealth is prayer). This evidence is given to prove the prevalence of Vedic people beyond 1947-India and also to show how illogical and unhistorical any attempt to date Vedas after 1500 BCE!
Donald A. Mackanzie, Pre-Christian Buddhism in UK and Ireland, Blackie & Son Ltd, UK, 1928. , Pre-Columbian America,3
Waddel, History of the World
the Europeans wanted to find a sea-route to India is a different story, as it has so many mathematical, astronomical and scientific implications4. When the travellers visited, they were mainly astonished, bewildered and dumb-folded to see the architectural and monumental magnificence of India.
In between, there had been the Iconoclast invasions and rule of Mohammedans, in which lakhs of Indian monuments suffered heavily. They destroyed lakhs of monuments, demolished equally the places of worship, mutilated Idols and sculptures, used parts of the temples for construction of mosques and of course, they converted temples themselves into mosques, by retaining the structure but demolishing Idols and sculptures. They did not study or analyze the features of monuments, but considered as the representations of Satan and hence faithfully demolished.
However, the European recordings differ because of their level of understanding, bias and prejudice5. Here, their psyche worked with religious and racial superiority complex. The Europeans Portuguese, Danish, French and British tried their best to enter India. With manipulations, they succeeded to establish their factories first and then power-centres. When they started studying Indian material and non-material culture, tradition, heritage etc., they too behaved like their predecessors.
The British were so astonished about the Stone Art of India that the British Architects took so much interest. In 1883 William Simpson6 read a paper Architecture in the Himalayas before the members of the Royal Institute of British Architects, in which he brought to notice that most of the houses in the hill country between the Sutlaj and the Ganges valley were built of wood and stone; timber being used in alternate layers to bind the courses of stone together.
2. Stone: The different ancient Indian books on Architecture, their authors and approximately assignable dates (provisional) are tabulated as follows:
The Longitude problem exposes the claim of European sailors going to different places by ships and reaching their destinations. And of course, the transmission of Indian sciences to the European scientists. Partha Mitter, The Much Maligned Monsters, Transactions of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Session 1882-1883. William Simpson, Origin and Mutation in Indian and Eastern Architecture, Indian Architecture, Transactions of the Royal Institute of British Architects, 1891.
Name of the work / book Vedas Stapatyaveda Vastu Satram
Author Compilation Staring with Brahma, Viswakarma and others. Upaveda of Atharvana Veda Vasistha Nagnatjit (his work is referred to by Varahamihira)
Date assigned provisional c.12,500-3,500 BCE c.3,500-1,500 BCE c.1000 BCE c.500 BCE Before 6th cent.CE
Brihat Samhita Manasara
5th cent.CE Gupta period 4th-5th centuries
Vishnu Dhamothatharam Heyasirsha Pancharatram Vaikanasa Agamam Mayamata Silparatna Citra-lakshana Naganajitcitralakshana nagnavrata Samarangana Sutradhara Aparajita Priccha Pratimalakshnam Sadhanamala Dastalanyagrodhaparimand ala Buddhapratimalakshnanam a Sambuddhabhasita pratimalakshnavivaranana Raja Bhoja of Dhar Nagnajit Mayan.
7th to 9th centuries
10th 11th centuries CE
An authority of Indian arts.
11th century CE
All translated from the original Sanskrit works into Tibetan, but, the originals were reportedly lost.
ma Citralaskanam Pratimamanalakshanama Kriyasamuccaya
All other works written or circulated in different names Manasaram, Mayamatham, Kasyap[a Siilpam, Pyago Manjari, Thantira Samuccaya, Vasturaja Vallabha, Silpa Ratnam, Vastu Sastram are dated after 15th-16th centuries. And there have been lakhs of manuscripts (of the abovementioned works) in the museums, achieves and libraries of USA, European Union countries, the erstwhile USSR countries. One would be surprised to know as to how the Vatican library has so much of Indian manuscripts and books on Indian art and architecture. Compared to them, perhaps, India has fewer manuscripts.
A detailed study of the qualities of specific stones, their arks, etc., is made in Silparatna (Chapter. XIV, verses.2-14). In Sanskrit the words used to denote stone, sculptor, and sculpture are follows:
Stone = Shila, Pashan, Ashman, Prastar, Upal, Graven Sculpture = pratima, murty Sculptor = tvastta, takshaka, tastta, takshan Architect = Stapati
Sila-karma Siladhivasana Sila-patta-vamsa
Masonry, the art of building in stone, the stone work Preparation of stones for building, the worship of stones for building A particular people engaged in stone working, now known as Silawat caste, who are masons and found in the neighbourhood of Damoh (Epigraphica Indica, Vol.XII, p.44, note.1). Laying the corner-stone or foundation.
Sila-pravesa, silpa-sthapana Sila-marddaka, sile-muddas
A guild of stone masons, the stone-cutters
Silavedi Sila-vesma Sila-sthambha Silpa-sastra Silpi-lakshana Silpi-sala Silanyas
The stone terrace on which sacred trees usually stand Stone-houses, cave-houses The stone column, a kind of column, the monolith The science of architecture and otyher cognate arts. The description of the artists; their qualifications, rank, caste etc. A school or workshop of architecture Stone-laying ceremony
The four types of Silpis are:
Stapathi Sutra Grahi Varthagi Dhakshaka
Chief architect Expert in measurement with thread Expert in painting Expert in Wood work
All these words and expressions7 are found in the Vedas exactly connoting the same meaning supported by the epigraphical evidences. Therefore, the architecture has been prevalent since Vedic period (c.12,500-6,500-4,500 BCE). The literature and as well as the temples built show that temples were built continuously, but they were deserted, abandoned due to various reasons.
According to South Indian tradition, there have been 32 branches of Silpa Sastra and they are: 1. Vrutham 2. Viswabotham 3. Viswakaspiyam 4. Visalam 9. Vidhyapathi 10. Manasaram. 11. Manuman 12. Manabotham 17. Mighuthavattam 18. Kalayupam. 19. Kapeelam. 20. Karparyam. 25. Srushtam. 26. Chaithykam. 27. Namasamhithai. 28. Sathvikam.
P. K. Acharya, An Encyclopedia of Hindu Architecture, LPP, New Delhi, Vol.VII, 2001, pp.494-495.
5. Viswadharmam 13. Mayindramal 6. Viswesam 7. Viswacharam 8. Vajjiram 14. Mayamanabotham 15. Mayanmatam. 16. Mayaneethi
21. Kalamdhiram. 22. Nalam. 23. Banu. 24. Parchariyam.
29. Adhicharam. 30. Aridagam. 31. Sowmyam. 32. Chitram.
The prevalent of such abundant books, manuals and handbooks o art and architecture in regional languages clearly prove the popularity of the subject among the village and city guilds. Many times, the modern / western writers mention them as craftsmen, tradesmen, artisans, and so on. But, their role in Indian society since the Vedic period has been unique: The important part which craftsmen, more especially Oriental craftsmen, have played in the worlds history as missionaries of civilization, culture, and religion, is not generally realized by bookmen. Even the present day, the Indian craftsmen, deeply versed in his Silpasastras, learned in folk-lore and national epic-literature, is, though excluded from Indian Universities-or, rather, on that account-far more highly cultured, intellectually and spiritually, than the average Indian graduate. In medieval times, the craftsmens intellectual influence, being creative and not merely assimilative, was at least as great as that of the priest and bookman8
different formation, forms, geological chronology, usage etc.
It is evident that stone and rock are used characteristically to differentiate from each other. Rock is naturally available, whereas, stone is a rock subjected to working or manipulation by man.
3. Usage of Stone implements: Interestingly, Indians like stones so much that they occupy part of their life in many aspects.
in Indian Even today, they use stone implements stone mill / roller-stone / grinding stone (for grinding grains converting into flour), stone mortar (Kallural),
E. B. Havell, Indian Sculpture and Painting, p.183.
Hew and Pick Grinding stone (Kallupoliya), Stone jar (Kal-jadi), etc., for different purposes, mainly forming part and parcel of (traditional) kitchen.
In many games, stones are used characteristically (stone-dice, stone-bar, stonemarker, etc.) a kind of backgammon board / dice-play (Thayam / Thaya-katta), a tablet with 14 holes to play (Pallanguzhi), mock-fighting with Tiger (Adu-puli), a game of six-stone spheres (Aru-kallu) etc.
Even in many ceremonies, particularly, in the last rites, stones are symbolically used. Moreover, in vocabulary of Indian languages, hundreds of words are available specifically connected with stone. Of course, the importance and usage of precious stones has been unique culture and tradition.
Washing cloths by striking, sharpening domestic knives,
4. Classification of Stone Usage: The presence of man in India and his handling of stones date back to millions of years back. In fact, scholars have not been definite about fixing Stone Age to India. F. E. Zeuner9 considers that, though no classification applicable to the whole of India is possible, a rough guide is:
Neolithic: Passing upwards into the Asoka period (274 BCE) and downwards into Indus valley culture (about 2300 BCE) and beyond). Microlithic: from the late Pleistocene to pre-historical. Paleolithic: from about 5,00,000 years ago to the end of the Pleistocene.
5. Man and Stone: Mans understanding of stone, stones properties, ability to crack or break or work with, implements required, invented and standardized.
It would have been easy for man to start with working stone that was available in his vicinity.
D. N. Wadia, Geology of India, TMH edition, 1981, New Delhi, p.388.
The lithic (paleo-meso-neo) culture noted proves the fact of selection, manipulation and continuous usage of stone. Naturally, when he conceived, perceived and wanted to write or draw anything, he would have tried it first on the sand / earths surface and then moved to stone for endurance and permanency. Thus, the mother-earth would have been a motivational factor inducing him to draw or write. It is relevant to note that the initiation or practice of writing or in fact education start with writing on sand or on the surface of the earth in India. Known as Aksharabyasa (Akshara = that one cannot be erased or destroyed and abyasa = the practice)has unique meaning, that is the practice of writing that cannot be erased or destroyed. So when a child was accustomed to draw or write on the earths surface, his fingers and hand would have been trained enough to work with stones. The selection of other media like leaves, barks, cloth, paper etc., would have been only for other factors of convenience. Even today, it may be noted that only inscriptions are used to record any event and fixed at the place or building for longevity with cherished memory.
Why stone was selected for the purposes mentioned or identified as listed above by Indians? The reasons may be given as follows:
Easy availability. Known that it could last for a long time. Part of nature and Panchabhutas (as per the Indian tradition). The worship of nature, mountain / hill, volcano / earthquake and other seismic activities would have been reduced to stone symbolically. Easy working with stone / knowledge of Stone working / art.
6. Stone Art: Standardization, Manual, training of stone workers, cutters, bringing stones to the required site, how the stones of various sizes brought to the construction site, machines and equipments used, construction methods adopted and adapted,
The marvelous, astonishing and mysterious stone-working has been noted by the writers, but perplexed to explain the technology behind it. For example note the observation of James Fergusson10:
Frequently the capitals and shafts have been actually turned in a sort of lathe in which the shaft was held vertically. (p.425).
About the Chalukyan sculptures, Meadows Taylor11 surprised as follows:
.the carvings on some of the pillars and of the lintels and architraves of the doors are beyond description. No chased work in silver or gold could possibly be finer..By what tools this very hard, tough stone could have been wrought and polished as it is, is not at all intelligible at the present day; nor indeed from whence the large block...