Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bamiyan Statues of Afganistan

Bamiyan Statues of Afghanistan.
Bamiyan Statue before and after Bamiyan ,

Complex painting inside the Bamiyan statue
        According to The Huffington Post, the Hindu Bamiyan Statues in Afghanistan, on the popularly known Silk Road, have been destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. The leader of the Taliban at the time Mullah Mohammed Omar had ordered the Bamiyan statues to be destroyed with dynamite. This horrific action alarmed the International Community and started a campaign to rebuild these Hindu statues. The Bamiyan Statues in central Afghanistan where a historic monument in the Hindu religion. These Bamiyan Statues date approximately between 544 to 644 B.C.E. The larger statue is 180 feet or 55 meters tall and the smaller statue is 124 feet or 38 meters tall. Both of these beautiful statues had been in this area over 1,500 years.
Bamiyan statue in winter. Bamiyan Afghanistan.

        Within and around the Bamiyan Statues were some of the oldest known to date oil paintings. These paintings were very distinct with the use of metallics, Goethite, hydrocerussites, resins and varnish within the oil or layers within these historic paintings. Paintings from the Bamiyan land mark offer some of the most complex paintings from ancient times, and now they have been damaged or destroyed completely. Researchers now want to attempt to rebuild this site that was viciously destroyed. German researchers are deciding which building strategy to go with, sending some 1,400 original pieces to Germany to rebuild the tallest Bamiyan Statue, or build a facility on site for reconstruction?
        Some Hindus and Afghans are against the restoration of the Bamiyan site, calling the destruction of the statues an historical event as well. This Hindu site offers many historical values and differences between Hindu, Muslims and of course Taliban and Al-Qaeda, thus this site has become a very delicate debate. What are your feelings about this Historical site? And do you think the Bamiyan Statue should be rebuilt?
Imformation courtesy:
Huffington Post.
AOL News.
ESRF News.
Photography courtesy of:

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Great Stupa

The Great Stupa in Sanchi is a breath taking Buddhist structure. The structure was constructed in 3rd century BCE and designed by Ashoka Maurya. Ashoka was a newly transitioned Buddhist from India. This explains the outer walls of the dome. The geometric shape and perfect consistency of the wall is a good example of India architecture. One of the amazing parts of the structure is the gate. The gate is filled with carvings of Buddhist symbolism.
The Great Stupa is 120 feet across and 54 feet at its highest point. Originally a Stupa was a mound of dirt thats purpose was to cover the relics of Buddha and his followers. The Stupa then became a representation of the Buddha. The Stupa also symbolizes the World Axis. The wall around the Stupa is actually called a Vedika and is made to resemble a railed wooden fence. In all the Great Stupa is an amazing place filled with Buddhist symbolism and history.

Ananda Temple of Pagan, Burma

The temple pictured above is the Ananda Temple, dedicated in 1090. The Ananda Temple is located in Pagan, Burma and is “the most famous and venerated shrine among the roughly 2000 Buddhist monuments in this area.” (ABTW pg. 74) The intricate designs and ornaments on the temple are from the Brahmanic architecture of Bengal, India. The temple is located in what looks like a vast prairieland surrounded with trees. The temple was damaged by an earthquake in 1975, but was restored and has been well-maintained.

 The temple is made up of solid stone. The central point of the temple stands 165 feet tall. Surrounding the central point there are different levels with smaller towers on them which lead the eye to the peak of the temple. On the bottom layer of the stone walls there are vertical lines that seem to have been made over time by weather or wear. The central peak is supported by four statues of the Buddha that stand about 34 feet tall. There are so many forms of line in this temple. Straight vertical lines make up the shape of the main body of the temple and the smaller decorations and statues on the different platforms are formed by curvilinear lines.

Information courtesy of:
Art Beyond The West
Michael Kampen O'Riley
and the following link

Photograph courtesy of:
Roger Price

The Shah Mosque of Isfahan, Iran

During one of our Non-Western Art history classes our professor showed the class a video called "Isfahan" by Crístobal Vila. Since watching the video I started to wonder which mosque Crístobal looked at while making this video. I was extremely intrigued by the architecture especially the Entrance Arcade. I was also intrigued by the brightness of the tile work and the dome. After talking to the professor I finally found out that it was based off of The Shah Mosque. 

After further researching The Shah Mosque, I found that this mosque goes by many different names such as Shah Mosque, Masjid-e Shah, Masjid-e Imam, Royal Mosque, Mehedi Mosque, Masjid-i Shah, Mosque of Shah Abbas and Imam Mosque. The Shah Mosque of Isfahan is one of the everlasting masterpieces of architecture in Iran. Its construction began in 1611 and was completed in 1629. Much is known about the people who were involved in the mosque's construction from the inscriptions installed on the building, identify Badi' al-Zaman Tuni as responsible for the building plans and site arrangement, 'Ali Akbar Isfahani as the engineer, and Muhibb 'Ali Beg as the general contractor.  Its splendor is mainly due to the beauty of its seven-color mosaic tiles and calligraphic inscriptions that is throughout the whole Mosque. I also discovered that the designs in entrance of the mosque is called Muqarnas, this was a very decorative device in traditional Islamic and Persian architecture.

Post Research

My reaction after completing my research of The Shah Mosque is still pure amazement of the beauty and intensity of such a religious foundation. After researching I am now more informed of The Shah Mosque, and learning of the architecture and intense color. I am still extremely intrigued by the Entrance Arcade and the mosque as a whole and not a few sections. It is truly one of the many masterpieces of Islamic architecture.

Information courtesy of the following link:

Arch Net - Masjid-i Shah
Information on the Muqarnas
Photograph courtesy of:
Landscape view of The Shah Mosque
Muqarnas In The Entrance