· Temple Architecture – Chisels and carving
· Temple Architecture – Idols
Temples and stupas from Sanchi in Bihar to Tanjore in Tamilnadu vouch for the heights ancient India had scaled in architecture. Several references to architecture are found in Sanskrit literature – Vastu-shastra texts like Maya-mata, Manasara, Samarangana-sutradhara, Puranas like Matsya-purana, Agni-purana and secular literature like Brihat-samhita and Arthashastra.
In this segment, a few examples are given on:
· Selecting of stone for the construction of temples and monuments
· Materials and specification of idols and
· The tools used in architecture
Temple Architecture – Selection of stone
Sila taddese Iokajfiane saddha prathita,
hiranyarekhika, samavarna, tamra, dhatuputita,
vajralabdha saikataliketi I
In this land, six types of stones are in common knowledge
Hiranya -rekhika = Of golden lines
Sarna-varna = Of uniform color
Tamra = Copper colored
Dhatu-putita = Mineral layered
Vajra-Iabdha = Diamond like
Saikatalika = Sand stone.
Yada hiranyarekha kutila sosvalaksanah I
Sa pratimarthahina viruparn pradadati I
Taddarsanena vikalpabhavah prabhavati I
Darsanadeta arthahina ucyante, vadanti,
Etadartharn pratimavailaksanyarn bhavati I
When the golden lines are crooked, it (the stone) is ugly. It is unfit for idols. It gives disfigurement. Its sight causes distorted imagination. By visual inspection, these (stones) are purposeless. Therefore, the idol acquires disfigurement.
Samavarna yada purnasailarnekavarnarn krsnarn
krsnapingalarn haridrarn va mukhyapratimartharn
dhyeyarn sa samavarna I
When a Samavarna stone is entirely of a single color, be it black, dark brown or turmeric yellow, that stone should be used for the principal idol.
Kathinatamagadha-pingalasila na dhyeya I
Yada sailarn bhittyakrteraprthak
pratimasalartharn tad dhyeyam I Sailarn
prthaktvena hinarn bhavati I
Yatra kevalarn lllavigraha nivasanti bhittyange, iti I
Very hard stone of copper-red color should not be considered. When the stone is not severed from the rock, it can be used for sculpture halls. When the stone is separated, it becomes deficient. When only mythological scenes exist in the walls, these stones can be used.
sus dhatuputita dhumravarna vranopeta
rupartham ghoreti I
Dhatuputita stone, smoke colored or with pores is awful for idol making.
Sailantare starabhyantare kornalarasabaddha
rekhah santi yah pitaprabhah sadadharna
bhavanti sresthaih silpakaraih I
According to good sculptors, stones which are bright yellow and have in them or between their layers soft mineral lines, become inferior.
vrsastambhakundartharn visista, sa rupartharn
sarnupatisthanti janaloke sarnpanna mahlyante I
Sandstone is especially good for sacrificial posts, altars, double-pillars and furnaces. It is also to be taken for making images. The sculptors who possess this knowledge are greatly honored as accomplished.
Vastusutra -upanisad, Saila -bhedanam,
Sutrarn 9 (Post-vedic period)
Rasabaddha-rekhika = Lines bound by minerals = Mineral lines.
Temple Architecture – Idols
SauvarnI rajati vapi tarnrr ratnamayI tatha I
SailI darumayi capi lohasadhamayi tatha II
Ritika dhatuyukta va tamrakarnsyarnayt tatha I
Subhadarumayi vapi devatarca prasasyate II
The worship of idols made of gold, silver, copper, gems, stone, wood, metal, or alloys, alloys with iron, copper, brass, and bronze is praised.
Pratimarnukharnanena navabhagan prakalpayet I
Caturangula bhavedgriva bhagena hrdayarn punah II
Nabhistasmadadhah karya bhagenaikena sobhana I
Nimnatve vistaratve ca angularn parikirtitarn II
Make idols in nine parts starting with the face. The neck should be 4 fingers width; then the chest a part. Below that the beautiful navel famous for its depth and expansiveness of a finger width should be made with one part.
abhiradhastathamedham bhagenaikena kalpayet I
Dvibhagenayatavuru januni caturangule II
Janghe dvibhage vikhyati padau ca caturangulaih
Caturdasangulastadvanmaulirasya prakirtitah II
Build the genitals below the navel in one part. The thigh and the knee come in two parts in four fingers width. The legs are known in two parts, the feet in 4 fingers width. Similarly, the crown of 14 fingers is well known.
Matsya -puranam, Pratima -nirmana -varnanam,
Slokah 26-29 (5’h century BeE)
Temple Architecture – Chisels and carving
Khanitrapancakarn srestharn II
Bhedastu lafiji, Iangali, grdhradantI,
suclmukha, vajra iti, sarve ayasa dvividha
bhavanti ksinah prasastasca, musaladharubhe
musaladandena khanitrarh ghatayanti
prayojayanti silabhedane tat I Sarvastrani
tiksnani, gavarnbuputitani I Tatah
ingidalepitani carrnasanitani ca I
Five types of chisels are good. The different varieties are lanji (biting), langali (plough like), grdhradanti (like vulture teeth), sucimukha (needle tipped) and vajra (diamond like). All are made up of steel and each one of two types is narrow and broad. Men beat the chisel on the long mallet, with the short mallet people use for breaking stone. All instruments are sharpened, dipped in cow’s urine and then smeared with ingida (asafetida) oil and whetted in leather.
Silpakarah pralepayanti dravakarasam II
ukatsavalkalacurnena sahitarh siladravanartha-
mevam rasacatustayarn anena mantrena
dasaharnardanante vaitane khanitrarh
prayojayanti khananarnacaranti bhadrena
Sculptors apply a softening mixture. Shell-solvent, Kustharasa, sea salt and the powder of the bark of the ukatsa tree are thus the four fluids for the softening of stones. With this plan, after immersing the chisel for 10 days, sculptors use the chisel in sacrificial rites and also dig with ease.
Vastusutra-upanisad, Sutram 6, 8, Saila-bhedanam (Post-vedic period).
Kusta-rasa = Costus specious or arabicus.
In the forests of the Mahendra mountain, a tree is found whose bark is called stone-breaking i.e. Prasrara-bhedi.