Art 515: Proseminar in Indian Architecture Fall 1998

Hist. of Art Dept., Jaffe Building 201, Friday 10-12
Professor Michael W. Meister, Jaffe 308

Archive:  The University of Pennsylvania houses a photographic archive of Indian art and architecture (now over 70,000 photographs) as part of the W. Norman Brown South Asia Reference Room on the fifth floor west end of Van Pelt library.  To gain access, contact the South Asia bibliographer, David Nelson, or his staff.  This Archive should be an integral part of your work this semester.

Intention:  This seminar will both introduce you in the remarkable variety of India's architectural accomplishments and encourage you to discuss the broader issue of how architecture can be designed to express meaning.  In the past I have asked students to divide into groups to work together on one area of India's architecture.  Categories have been:   Early Indian architecture;
South Indian architecture;  North Indian architecture;   early Islamic architecture in India.

This year, I propose to organise readings around a variety of approaches and methodologies: issues of construction, translation of architectural forms into new materials, architectural symbolism, typology and chronology, and praxis (the use and survival of buildings over time).

I will ask you to work collectively, but on different aspects or examples of the general area, reporting in class on the literature, issues, ideas, and substance appropriate to each.

Books:  Three books have been ordered at the Penn Book Center:

       Cort, John, ed.  Open Boundaries, Jain Communities and Cultures in Indian History, ed. John Cort, Albany: State University of New York.

        James C. Harle,  The Art and Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent (Pelican History of Art).  New York, 1986.
        George Michell, The Hindu Temple:  An Introduction to Its Meaning and Forms, New York, 1977  (Chicago University Press paperback).

A fourth book is now out of print, but can be used from the library:

        Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Essays in Early Indian Architecture, ed. Michael W. Meister, Oxford University Press, 1993.

Course assignments:  In addition to participation in class discussion, students will be asked to prepare short reports for presentation in class and to choose an area for research leading to a final presentation and paper.

Brief Bibliography for General Reference:

        Batley, Claude.  The Design Development of Indian Architecture, 3rd rev. enl. ed., London, 1973.
        Brown, Percy.  Indian Architecture, vol. 1. Buddhist and Hindu periods, vol. 2. Islamic period, 5th ed., Bombay, 1965-68.
        Coomaraswamy, Ananda K.  The Arts and Crafts of India and Ceylon. London, 1913.
        Coomaraswamy, Ananda K.  History of Indian and Indonesian Art.  New York, 1927.
        Fergusson, James.  History of Indian and Eastern Architecture, London, 1876;  revised and edited by James Burgess, 2 vol., London, 1910.
        Herdeg, Klaus.  Formal Structure in Indian Architecture, preface by Balkrishna Doshi, New York: Rizzoli, 1990 (1978).
        Mayamata.  An Indian Treatise on Housing, Architecture, and Iconography, trans. by Bruno Dagens, Delhi, 1985.
        Pereira, José.  Elements of Indian Architecture, Delhi, 1987.
       Tadgell, Christopher.  The History of Architecture in India: From the Dawn of Civilization to the End of the Raj, London: Architecture Design and Technology Press, 1990.
        Volwahsen, Andreas. Living Architecture:  Indian and Living Architecture:  Islamic Indian, New York, 1969-70.

Further reading will be assigned.

First general reading assignment:  (Read for issues, not to get bogged down in the substance of these readings)

        Riegl, Alois. "The Modern Cult of Monuments:  Its Character and Its Origin," trans. by Kurt W. Foster and Diane Ghirardo, in Oppositions 25 (1982): 21-51.

        Meister, Michael and Joseph Rykwert.  "Adam's House and Hermits' Huts," in Coomaraswamy, Early Indian Architecture (above), pp. 125-131.

        Renou, Louis.  "The Vedic Hut."  A translation of this is available attached to my Homepage on the WWW ( under "essays available on-line".

Art 515:  Reference reading list for general discussion
This list, available on-line, is for your reference and will be revised throughout the semester.

1.  Introduction

        Meister, Michael W.  "An Essay in Indian Architecture," Roopa Lekha 41 (1973):  35-47.
        -------, "De- and Re-constructing the Indian Temple," Art Journal
49 (1990):  395-400.
        Riegl, Alois,  "The Modern Cult of Monuments: Its Character and Its Origin," trans. Kurt Forster and Diane Ghirardo, Oppositions 25 (1982): 21-51.
        Rykwert, Joseph and Michael W. Meister.  "On Adam's House and Hermits' Huts," in Coomaraswamy, Essays in Early Indian Architecture.

2.  Architectural vocabulary of early India
        Coomaraswamy, Ananda K. Essays in Early Indian Architecture.  Introduction, plates, and the categories and analysis (not terms) in the text.
        Meister, Michael W., "Sub-Urban Planning and Rock-Cut Architecture in India," in Madhu, Recent Researches in Indian Archaeology and Art History, ed. M. S. Nagaraja Rao, pp. 157-64.  Delhi:  Agam Kala Prakashan, 1981
        Renou, Louis.  "The Vedic Hut." (On-line).
[For further reference see:  Dehejia, Vidya.  Early Buddhist Rock Temples, Ithaca, N.Y., 1972.]

3.  Symbolism
        John Irwin, "'Asokan Pillars: A Reassessment of the Evidence, Part IV:  Symbolism," Burlington Magazine 118 (November 1976):  734-753.
        Meister, Michael W.  "Altars and Shelters in India," aarp (Art and Archaeology Research Papers) 16 (1979): 39.
        --------, "Construction and Conception:  Mandapika Shrines of Central India," East and West, new series 26 (1978):  409-18
        -------, "Symbol and Surface: Masonic and Pillared Wall-Structures in North India," Artibus Asiae 46 (1985): 129-48.
        -------, "Symbology and Architectural Practice in India." In Sacred Architecture in the Traditions of India, China, Judaism and Islam, ed. Emily Lyle, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1992, pp. 5-24.

4.  Form
        Meister, Michael W.  "Prasada as Palace: Kutina Origins of the Nagara Temple," Artibus Asiae 49 (1989): 254-80.
        -------, "Measurement and Proportion in Hindu Temple Architecture," Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 10 (1985): 248-58.

5.  Transformation/translation
        Mason, Darielle.  "A Sense of Time and Place, Style and architectural Disposition of Images on the North Indian Temple," in Gods, Guardians, and Lovers, pp. 116-37.
        Meister, Michael W., "Asceticism and Monasticism as Reflected in
Indian Art."  In Monastic Life in the Christian and Hindu Traditions, ed. A. Creel and V. Narayanan.  Lewiston, N.Y.:  Edwin Mellen Press, 1990, pp. 219-44.
        --------, "Juncture and Conjunction:  Punning and Temple Architecture."  Artibus Asiae 41 (1979): 226-34.
        -------, "Fragments From a Divine Cosmology: Unfolding Forms on India's Temple Walls."  In Vishakha N. Desai and Darielle Mason (eds.), Gods, Guardians, and Lovers: Temple Sculptures from North India A.D. 700-1200, pp. 94-115.  New York: The Asia Society Galleries, 1993.

6.  Reformation
        Meister, Michael W.  "Indian Islam's Lotus Throne:  Kaman and Khatu Kalan."  In Islam and Indian Regions, ed. Anna Libera Dallapiccola and Stephanie Lallemant.  Stuttgart:  Franz Steiner Verlag, pp. 445-52.
        --------, "The Two-and-a-Half Day Mosque."  Oriental Art, new series, 18 (1972): 57-63.

7.  Praxis

       Cort, John, ed.  Open Boundaries, Jain Communities and Cultures in Indian History, ed. John Cort, Albany: State University of New York. (Select references)
     Meister, Michael W.  "Sweetmeats or Corpses? Art History and Ethnohistory." Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics 27 (1995).