The present reprint of Fergusson's History of Indian and Eastern Architecture is being brought out to meet the growing demand from scholars for whom this book is still the basic work of reference on Indian Architecture. In the preface to the second edition (1910) of this work James Burges wrote, "Though descriptions of Indian monuments may be written in various ways, on one could pretend to take up the systematic study of Indian Architecture without the aid of this work, and no history of Architecture can be scientifically written without appropriating the principles Mr. Fergusson showed how to apply."
This work, in a way, fulfils the desire of Fergusson. In the Preface to the first edition of the book (1876) the author expressed his desire to open an hitherto unknown field of Indian Architecture and to "give an impulse to its study, and assist in establishing Indian Architecture on a stable basis, so that it may take its true position among the other great styles which have ennobled the arts of mankind."
It is needless to go into the merits of the present work. Fergusson covered in his study of Indian Architecture the vast range of time and space. Tracing the Indian Architecture from its remote antiquity, Fergusson covered the entire panorama of India with its diverse monuments including even the contemporary modes. In order to provide the reader with at all-encompassing view, he included in the present work, the Architecture of the neighbouring countries which were vastly influenced by the parent-tradition of India. The book thus became, and still is, an authentic compendium on Architecture. The excellent woodcuts and photographs are still utilized for primary reference work.
About the Author:
James Fergusson (1808-1886) was born at Ayr in Scotland and started his career as an indigo planter. His contribution to Indian studies is equated to the pioneering work of his contemporary Alexander Cunningham. He introduced in the study of Indian architecture typological classification of structures and fixing up of their chronology on the bais of the dated examples. The following are some of his important works: Rockcut Temples of India (1845), The Palaces of Nineveh and Persepolis Restored-An Essay on Ancient Assyrian and Persian Architecture (1851), The Illustrated Handbook of Architecture, in two vols. (1855), Notes on the Site of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem (1861), Tree and Serpent Worship (1868), Rude Stone Monuments of Many Lands(1872), History of Indian and Eastern Architecture, in tow vols. (1876).
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