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Hindu Art and Architecture. Sarah Modi, Sarah Mupo, Katie Murphy, Mary Petersen IB World Religions: Blue 4. Art. “The man who knows nothing of music, literature, or art is no better than a beast.”. Warning of ancient Hindu wisdom Hindus think highly of art

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hindu art and architecture

Hindu Art and Architecture

Sarah Modi, Sarah Mupo, Katie Murphy, Mary Petersen

IB World Religions: Blue 4

“The man who knows nothing of music, literature, or art is no better than a beast.”
  • Warning of ancient Hindu wisdom
  • Hindus think highly of art
  • Art = the key to salvation of the ultimate release sought by all good Hindus
  • Art is a unity of many forms and artistic experiences very holistic
  • Indian art in its purest form
  • A disciplined style of self-restraint and worship
  • India’s oldest indigenous “science”
  • spiritual exercise leading to the beatific vision
  • -also a psychological process of drawing oneself into the dynamics which control the universe
  • -and to ready oneself for all kinds of mental and physical activity
yoga and artists
Yoga and Artists
  • give the craftsman his creative skill
  • inspire the artist, poet, and musician who sought spiritual enlightenment
the art
The Art
  • Hindu/ Indian artists have celebrated/ immortalized the beauty of human bodies in bronze and stone for more than 5,000 yrs
  • Art is most often associated with Hindu religion and philosophy -difficult to appreciate fully unless one has knowledge of Hindu ideals -religious urge, a looking beyond -attempt to bring down the beauty of the things above
art con t
Art Con’t
  • Art is essentially idealistic, mystic, symbolic, and transcendental - Mere bodily strength and mundane perfections of form are never glorified in Indian art.
  • Artist is both priest and poet
  • Only by meditating on the Ultimate Perfection could the artist perceive the beauty of the Godhead
The Himalayas
  • Hindu poetry, art, and mythology, depict the sublime nature of the Himalayas

-regarded as special revelation of divine beauty

-seen as fitting shrine for all the gods

Philosophy of Art
  • Hindu philosophy recognizes the impossibility of human art capturing the form of God
  • Creates in Indian painting and sculpture a symbolical representation of milder, humanized (but still superhuman), divine appearances which mortal eyes can bear
purpose of art
Purpose of Art
  • To suggest divine attributes to Indian people is the purpose of Hindu art
  • True Indian art is stripped of the superfluities and vulgarities which delight the uneducated eye - believe that Hindu art requires a higher degree of artistic understanding
  • the moving spirit of all great religious art
  • keeps Indian art alive
  • Indians believe lack of it Bhakti is what makes modern Western art so lifeless
Prominent Figures

in Hindu Art

  • the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles
  • worshipped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth
  • one of the five prime Hindu deities
  • The “Great God” of yogic practice
  • Visually represented as “King of Dance”
  • most remarkable single symbol of divine powers
the lotus
The Lotus
  • Even in earliest art, lotus is fashioned as a seat or as a pedestal on which divine or sacred beings rest in a sitting or standing posture
  • Symbol of divinity of major Hindu gods
  • Brahma on the lotus flower which sprang from Vishnu’s naval
  • important images in Hindu art
  • Sacred to Hindus
  • seen as protectors and often featured in Hindu art as wrapped around a god
  • Not meant for congregational worship
  • Concentrate on religious and spiritual
  • Made from rock
  • Conservative
overview cont d
Overview Cont’d
  • Vimana
  • Shikhara
  • Garba-griba
  • Sanctum sanctorum
  • Mandapa
  • Ardh-mandapa
  • Mandala
temple architecture
Temple Architecture
  • Religious
    • Astronomy
    • Sacred geometry
  • Representation of macrocosm and microcosm
  • Has an inner sanctum: garba girha
  • Sanctum crowned by a shikara
    • Distinguishes the Nagra and Dravida styles
north indian styles1
North Indian Styles
  • Nagara style
  • From Himalayas to the Deccan
  • Shikhara – beehive shaped
    • Capotas and gavakas
    • amalaka
  • Shrine is square at center
  • Bell-shaped structure on main shrine
Jagannath Temple

Lingaraja Temple

Rajarani Temple

south indian style
South Indian Style
  • Dravida Style
  • Shikhara – pyramid shaped
  • Have different: ground plan; position of stone deities; decorative elements
  • Walls around whole building
  • Different types: Pallava, Chola, Pandya, Vijayanagar, Nayak
Chola - Brihdiswara Temple

Pallava – Shore Temple

Nayak – Rameswaram Temple

Pandya - Chidambaram

historical development
Historical Development
  • The earliest worship centers
    • Abu Simpbel
    • Elephanta
    • Ellora
  • Horse shoe shaped window
  • Originally inspired by the Buddhist Stupa
  • The Great Stupa
historical development cont d
Historical Development cont’d
  • The Stupa
    • Addition to the temple from Buddism
  • Shilpa Shastra
    • Point of reference

for architects

  • Hindu temples
    • Large temples vs.


historical development cont d1
Historical Development cont’d
  • Shwe Dagon temple
  • Temples Today
    • Fundamentally the same as the 6th century
    • Richly decorated
works cited
Works Cited

"Art and Architecture" http://hinduism.iskcon.com/index.htm. The Heart of Hinduism Project. 2004. 1 section. 3 Nov 2006. ISKCON Educational Services

"Architectural Mosaic" http://www.hinduonline.com/. The Hindu. 12 May 2002. 5 sections. 2002 1 Nov 2006

Batchelor, Anthony. “Indian Temple Architecture.” TempleNet. 13 Nov. 2006.

“Ganesha: The Elephant God.” About. 13 November 2006. .

Havell, Ernest Binfield. The Art heritage of India. Dutton, 1911.

Hindu Architecture. Indiasite.com. 10 November 2006. .

works cited con t
Works Cited Con’t

"Hindu Architecture" 10 Aug 2004, 7 paragraphs. Project India. 11 Nov 2006 .

Hindu Art. 15 August 2006. Hindu Wisdom. 13 November 2006. .

Hindu Temple Architecture. Answers Corporation. 15 November 2006. .

Kumar, Nitin. “The Hindu Temple: Where Man Becomes God.” May 2006. Exotic India. 12 Nov. 2006. .

Nangia, Ashish. “Poetry in Stone: Crystallization of the Hindu Temple.” 15 Nov. 2001. Boloji.com. 13 Nov. 2006. .

Temples. Indian Heritage. 10 Nov. 2006. .