When I first became involved in the study of Buddhist and Hindu Iconography, and later with Indian Muslim iconographic architecture, particularly Mughal, I was chagrined at the paucity of what might be considered as comprehensive material dealing with the arts of India or with Buddhism and Hinduism outside the subcontinent. I first became aware of the problem after purchasing several fine thangkas in Nepal. Upon returning home, I wished to discover the iconography of these paintings. It was a baptism of fire! Found a smidgen of information here and there but nothing comprehensive. I purchased or was given five books, which opened doors for me e. g., the publications of Antoinette Gordon, R.S. Gupte, B.O. Olschak, T.A. Gopinatha Rao and Rene de Nebesky- Wojkowitz. These were a beginning on a long arduous road.
Then my path led to the consideration of architecture, particularly architectural plans. I had always had an abiding interest in architecture, architectural history and architectural plans. I was further dismayed. Numerous books displayed plans of various structures, but most were so small as to defy definitive perception. They appeared nothing more than an afterthought. Emphasis was placed on architectural sculpture, engineering achievements and/ or materials.
George Coedes study caught my imagination, but it too lacked suitable plans. Again, I searched. Luckily I was able to obtain a number of books that more or less fulfilled my needs- e. g. , Paul Strachan Clarence Aasen Jacques Dumarcay and Michael Smithies Krishna Deva and H. Sarkar. These then were the seeds for my further studies and research. Numerous sources added many layers of nacre over the years. The results of which have appeared in print.
Then, I realized that even though my noted publications gave prime import to the plans theses plans were in contiguous but separate publications. Therefore this publication is an attempt to bring together those plans under a single cover. In some instances, plans have been added that do not appear in my previous publications.
Plans are central to this consideration. However, elevations are not to be discounted. In the presentation of the elevations, they are " proportional"- i.e. they are the depiction of major architectural forms and masses- and are not purported to be precise in the presentation of their minor, architectural details. The computer was utilized in the construction of these elevations. The plans, on the other hand, are relatively precise.
From the Jacket
This volume presents the plans of temples, tombs, palaces and pavilions found in the Indian subcontinents and the Indianized states of Java, the Khmer, Pagan, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. They contain detailed diagrams of plans of over 380 structures along with a brief note on each plan that covers the various segments/ sections of each monument. The plans are precise and are presented along with their elevations, which are proportional, i.e. depict major architectural forms and masses. The period third century BC to CE 1854, pertain to different regions of India and different periods and dynasties in Indian history. They include famous structures like the cave monasteries at Ajanta, Sanchi temples, Rajasthani temples, the Lal Qila and the Taj Mahal as well as other lesser- known buildings. Monuments of the Mughals, the Sultanate kings, the Lodis, Tughaqs and Vijaynagar kings are among the Indian structures included.
The book will be useful for scholars of Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic architecture with particular reference to South Asian and South -East Asian regions.
Fredrick W. Bunce, Ph. D. a Cultural historian of international eminence is an authority on ancient iconography and Buddhist Arts. He has been honoured with prestigious awards / commendations and is listed in Who's Who in American Art and the International Biographical Dictionary1980. He is Currently Professor Emeritus of Art, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana. He has authored the following books, all published D. K. Printworld.
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