Part - 1
By A.D. 700, architects in Northern India had already created a unique architectural form for the temple, condensing a range of past cosmogonic and cosmological symbolisms into the rich decorative morphology of the temple itself.' This "Latina-Nagara" type of temple (see frontispiece, p. ix) combined the axis of a world-pillar, the cube of a sacrificial altar, and the body of a palace to house an image of divinity that was presented in visible form within its sanctum. Its distinctive high curved superstructure quickly dominated the North Indian skyline, from west to east and from the Himalayan foothills to the upper Deccan. Preliminary stages in the evolution of this form, as well as a variety of the alternative types and traditions of temple structures that survived in Northern India throughout its history, have been presented in the first set of volumes in this series (Vol. Il, pt. 1, "Foundations of North Indian Style").
The range of eighth- and ninth-century temples covered by this present set represents what we have designated the "Period of Early Maturity," in part following a phrase used by Stella Kramrisch for classical Indian sculpture. The Latina temple does reach maturity in this phase, its form understood and expressed in a variety of regional idioms by architects patronised by political powers intent on incorporating and marking both territory and populations within their growing hegemony. Building these temples gave merit to their individual patrons, provided a powerful tool for communities of priests, and helped both validate and perpetuate a growing "State" order, in part by helping to incorporate lineage clans within a broader social order.
Ripe and self-fulfilling in its symbolic structure, the temple in this period still required architects to work out a number of practical issues concerning how it could be used. Interior spaces along a longitudinal "axis of access" evolved from a simple sheltered portico in front of the sanctum door to a variety of sheltering halls and covered entries; circumambulatory spaces were provided first by open platforms or as paths incorporated within the fabric of the temple itself. Balconies allowed light into these ambulatory paths and halls; and screened windows sometimes were used to filter light and provide ventilation. A proliferation of niches, on the interior as well as on exterior walls, also allowed priests to elaborate increasingly complex and particularized iconographic programs for use in rituals. While something is known, however, of the histories of the hegemonic powers -Pratiharas, Cahamanas, etc. - within whose reigns these temples were built, we know very little about the priests or communities that they were built to serve.
While sharing always a symbolic potency and form, temples in the period separate into major stylistic groupings in different regions as well as showing significant and continual idiomatic variation. Central and western of North India seem to have extended to large degree the decorative and aesthetic traditions developed in territories ruled previously by Gupta dynasts; temples in Malwa, Gujarat, and southern Rajasthan instead a number of decorative conventions found previously in Satavahana, Vakataka, and Kalacuri territories in the Deccan. While little could be said in earlier Chapters about such differences in architectural terms, temples form these regions in this period of early maturity share significantly separate canons, as reflected in the following Style Outline used to Outline used to organise this volume:
Vol. II, part 1: Foundations of North Indian
I. Beginnings of North Indian Style, c. A.D. 350-660
II. Varieties of North Indian Style, c. A.D. 500-1100
Vol. II, part 2: North India, Period of Early Maturity
III. Nagara Style of Common Lineage, c. early eight-late ninth century A.D.
A. Central India
1. Gopagiri style, c. eight century A.D. Mauryas of Gopagiri and Kanyakubja
2. Dasarnadesa style,. C. late eighth-ninth century A.D. Gurjara-Pratiharas of Kanyakubja
3. Dahala style, phase 1, c. late eighth-late ninth century A.D. Kalacuris of Tripuri
4. Madhyadesa style, phase 2, c. eithth-ninth centuries A.D. Gurjara-Pratiharas of Kanyakubja
5. Jejakabhukti style, phase 1, c. late ninth-early tenth century A.D. Candellas of Kalanjara and Kharjuravahaka
Himacala style, phase 1, c. eighth-ninth centuries A.D. Hill Dynasties
C. Western India
Maha-Maru Style, phases 1 & 2, c. A.D. 700-925
1. Marudesa: Pratiharas of Mandavyapura
2. Marudesa: Pratiharas of Jabalipura and Kanyakubja, phase 1
3. Surasena janapada: Surasenas of Sripatha
4. Sapadalaksa: cahamanas of Sakambhari
5. Pratiharas of Kanyakubja and their feudatories, phase 2
Malava style, Uparamala, phases 1 & 2, c. A.D. 650-900
1. Mauryas of Medapata and Uparamala
2. Gurjara-Pratiharas and their Maurya feudatories in Malava
IV. Nagara Style of Separate Lineage, c. early eithth-late ninth century A.D.
A. Western India
1. Surastra style, c. early eighth-late ninth century A.D. Saindhavas of Bhutambilika
2. Maha-Gurjara style, phase 2, c. A.D. 700-900
a. Minor dynasties of northern Gujarat
b. Pratiharas of Jabalipura and Bhilamala
c. Capotkatas of Anahillapataka
d. Caps of Vardhamanapura
e. Samas of Kaccha
B. Eastern India
1. Vanga style, phase 1, c. A.D. 700-900: Palas
2. Kalinga style, phase 2, c. A.D. 700-900: Bhauma-Karas
Use of this outline for subsequent volume in this series can tentatively be projected as follows:
Vol. II, part 3
V. Beginnings of Medieval Idiom c. A.D. 900-1000
Vol. II, part 4
VI. High medieval period, c. A.D. 1000-1300
VII. Sultanate period, c. 14th -16th centuries A.D.
VIII. Mughal period, c. 16th-17th centuries A.D.
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