Volume 34 Number 4, September 1982

The Impulse to Adorn: Studies in Traditional Indian Architecture

Edited by: Jan Pieper, George Michell
Binding: Hardcover
Specifications: 164 pages, 230 illustrations
Dimensions: 324 x 241 mm

In this volume Marg leads the reader down the ages and across the country to explore the Indian impulse to adorn. The text elaborates upon the parallels between body decoration and architectural adornment. In this context the articles examine the structural ornamentations of a varied cross-section of people: the nomadic tribes of Kutch and Saurashtra whose mobile homeland attire reflect the changes that are taking place in their way of life, and the Bohras of Siddhpur whose mansions bear the imprint of their sojourns abroad. Noted scholars discover the significance of the windows of Nepal, the terracottas of Bengal, the charmed world of the frosted glass panes of barber shops in Madurai and the glitter of metal decoration. Also described are the ritualistic magical diagrams on the walls of village huts as well as the profusion of carved woodwork as a functional and ornamental aspect of architecture.

Jan Pieper’s specialization has been History and Theory of Indian Architecture.
George Michell did his doctoral dissertation on ancient Indian architecture. He has several publications to his credit.

The Festive House: Definitions and Purposes of Architectural Adornment
Jan Pieper

The Study of Architectural Adornment:
An Introduction
Jan Pieper and Saryu Doshi

Architectural Decoration and Clothing Convention
Jan pieper

Temple Terracotta Decoration: Interaction between Monumental and Vernacular Traditions
George Michell

Traditional Woodwork in Secular Architecture
V.S. Pramar

Wall Decorations of a Mobile People
Jutta Jain-Neubauer and Jyotindra Jain

Haveli Facades: Concepts of Embellishment
Kulbhushan Jain

Traditional Motifs in House Ornamentation
G.K. Kanhere

Newar Windows as Elements of Architecture
Niels Gutschow

Rural Wall Decorations: A Comparison of Four Villages
Stephen P. Huyler

Electric Elements: Bohra Houses of Siddhpur
Minakshi Jain

Barber Shops of Madurai
Jan Pieper

Metaphors in Metal: Religious Architectural Decoration
Saryu Doshi and K.K.A. Venkatachari

Calligraphy: Islamic Inscriptional Art
Z.A. Desai

Pattern Regeneration: A Focus on Islamic Jalis and Mosaics
Haresh Lalvani

Experiments in a Tradition: The Art of the Warlis
Radhika Sabavala

Glossary

Select Bibliography

The Festive House: Definitions and Purposes of Architectural Adornment
Pieper, Jan
Vol. 34 No. 4, September 1982, pp. vi-viii

Any discussion about architectural decoration inevitably involves both scholarship and a personal and emotional point of view. The emotional involvement is a result of the correspondence between architectural decoration and body adornment. Architectural decoration thus becomes an implicitly personal aspect of architecture.

The Study of Architectural Adornment: An Introduction
Pieper, Jan, Doshi, Saryu
Vol. 34 No. 4, September 1982, pp. 1-4

Introduces the various articles of this Marg issue. Most of the essays investigate forms and concepts of architectural adornment in traditional building practices, and also illustrate the close relationship between body decoration and architectural adornment.

Architectural Decoration and Clothing Convention
Pieper, Jan
Vol. 34 No. 4, September 1982, pp. 5-10

The article discusses the significance of the analogies between architecture and clothing; architectural adornment and facial painting (tattooing); and masking the face and the architectural facade.

Temple Terracotta Decoration: Interaction Between Monumental and Vernacular Traditions in Bengal
Michell, George
Vol. 34 No. 4, September 1982, pp. 11-20

A sharp break in the tradition of monumental architecture in Bengal coincided with the Muslim conquest of the 13th-14th century. By the end of the 16th century, a uniquely Bengali style of temple architecture and sculpture established itself. Cultural contacts of Bengal with Orissa helped preserve earlier forms.

Traditional Woodwork in Secular Architecture in Gujarat
Pramar, V.S.
Vol. 34 No. 4, September 1982, pp. 21-32

Traditional woodwork have survived in Nepal, Kashmir, and the Deccan. Wood was also extensively used in Gujarat, especially in havelis. The article discusses the meaning and social significance of such architectural decoration, and the technique and style employed.

Wall Decorations of a Mobile People in Gujarat
Jain-Neubauer, Jutta and Jain, Jyotindra
Vol. 34 No. 4, September 1982, pp. 33-42

A study of the basic nature of the architectural decoration of migrating Muslim tribes in Kutch, pastoral "Hinduistic" groups of Saurashtra, and settled communities of Gujarat.

Haveli Facades: Concepts of Embellishment in Rajasthan
Jain, Kulbhushan
Vol. 34 No. 4, September 1982, pp. 43-54

The article discusses house decoration in Rajasthan which offset the monotony of the desert. The facades of the houses are decorated by windows, brackets, and other structural devices, and paintings of auspicious symbols. The interiors have special architectural elements, such as an inner courtyard, jharokhas, and decorated galleries.

Traditional Motifs in House Ornamentation in Maharashtra
Kanhere, Gopal Krishna
Vol. 34 No. 4, September 1982, pp. 55-62

Discussed are the woodwork, paintings, decorative schemes, and design of the wada (residential manors of the Maratha elite).

Newar Windows as Elements of Architecture in Nepal
Gutschow, Niels
Vol. 34 No. 4, September 1982, pp. 63-78

The Newar community is an ethnic group of Tibeto-Burmese stock concentrated in the Kathmandu valley. The article discusses, with the aid of architectural drawnings, the construction and symbolic interpretation of the elaborate wooden doorway and window designs in Newar houses made by local woodcarvers.

Rural Wall Decorations: A Comparison of Four Villages
Huyler, Stephen P.
Vol. 34 No. 4, September 1982, pp. 79-90

The traditional wall and floor decorations can be classified into 3 basic types according to their geographical location: geometrical motifs (akriti pradhana) of mountainous regions; floral motifs (vallari pradhana) found in the plains and the lowland areas; and a mixture of the two motifs (akriti-vallari pradhana) represented mostly in the south. The article shows this diversity, as evident in 4 settlement areas in Orissa: the carved doors, and the chita designs honouring Lakshmi, Durga, and Shiva in the Goala Behera, Muduli Kumbhara, and Brahmin houses of Balikhondalo (Puri district) and Dhunlo Khonanta (80 km south of Balikhondalo); the decorated verandahs, doors, and religious and ritualistic centres of the Dhongaria Khonds of Khajuri (Koraput district); and the village gateway, terraced verandahs and seats, and wall decoration of the Doms of Kurli (4 km from Khajuri).

Eclectic Elements: Bohra Houses of Siddhpur
Jain, Minakshi
Vol. 34 No. 4, September 1982, pp. 91-94

The Bohras are a wealthy Muslim community of Siddhpur in Gujarat. The most significant feature of their houses -- built in early 20th century -- are the eclectic facades, which reflect a blend of European architectural styles and are profusely decorated with sculpturesque elements such as columns, pilasters, and entablatures.

Barber Shops of Madurai
Pieper, Jan
Vol. 34 No. 4, September 1982, pp. 95-106

A prominent feature of this temple town, the imaginative and colourful glazed facades of the barber shops of Madurai are a modern vernacular expression of the feature of glazing or metal sheeting which is evident in traditional Indian art and architecture, as in the Shish Mahal, Indore.

Metaphors in Metal: Religious Architectural Decoration
Doshi, Saryu and Venkatachari, K.K.A.
Vol. 34 No. 4, September 1982, pp. 107-114

The concept of a temple is deeply rooted in ancient Indian traditions, and is visualized as a human body in the Shastras. Just as man adorned his body, so did he beautify the temple with paintings, canopies, and metal ornamentation. The metal covering on architectural elements was known as "kavacha" (that which protects). The article discusses the techniques employed for designing a kavacha, and its application over the temple structure and the furniture and images within it. Besides temples, metal decoration is also evident in royal palaces and homes of petty chieftains and affluent merchants.

Calligraphy: Islamic Inscriptional Art
Desai, Z.A.
Vol. 34 No. 4, September 1982, pp. 115-122

Calligraphy, or the art of writing, formed an important part of the Islamic decorative scheme. In its sacred role as bearer of the Divine Word, a calligraphic inscription was not only a means of decoration, but also served the purpose of edification. The article surveys the role and nature of Islamic calligraphy represented on monuments of the Delhi Sultanates (1191-1412), Mughals, and the Provincial Sultanates of Bidar and Bijapur (1422-1678).

Pattern Regeneration: A Focus on Islamic Jalis and Mosaics
Lalvani, Haresh
Vol. 34 No. 4, September 1982, pp. 123-136

"Patterns in space" are spatial arrangements that use elements or transformations in a consistent manner. These spatial patterns can be 0, 1, 2, or 3 dimensional. The Islamic patterns such as jalis and mosaic structures are two-dimensional. The article brings out the distinctive features of these patterns and suggests methods of generating new patterns, some of which are computer-generated.

Experiments in a Tradition: The Art of the Warlis
Sabavala, Radhika
Vol. 34 No. 4, September 1982, pp. 137-152

An account of the pictographic art of the Warli tribe in Ganjad village (140 km from Bombay), as seen on the walls of the artist Jivya Soma's hut. This is followed by an advertisement portfolio of Warli paintings.

Glossary
Vol. 34 No. 4, September 1982, pp. 153-154

A glossary for studies in traditional Indian architecture.

Select Bibliography
Vol. 34 No. 4, September 1982, pp. 155-156

A bibliography for studies in traditional Indian architecture.