Desire, Form and Nothingness – World Architecture (800-1200)

… Indian religion and architecture spread throughout Southeast Asia, and societies in Asia considered the political order as a reflection of a greater hierarchy in the cosmos so that they designed monumental architecture, accordingly. Those societies used Mandala, a layered series of concentric geometric figures that served both Buddhists and Hindus, as diagrams that inspired composition of monumental buildings which reflects their royal power as religious necessity. The Sailendra dynasty in Java(Indonesia) built temples, locally known as candi. The candi of Java provided the only architectural evidence of the urban civilization that crafted them. Masons carved the temple of Borobudur from a pile of stones, and conservative stepped corbel technique is used for rounded arches. In the Temple, the itinerary followed a narrative based on three states of being; the realm of desire, the realm of form, the realm of nothingness. I’m absolutely satisfied with the idea beyond the temple and how the idea formed the design and developed architecture. When I look at the churches and mosques, they are based on a concept that already exist before; Roman and Sassanid architecture. However, in Indian Architecture, idea formed the whole structure from nothing but a pile of stones.


Splendid redundancy of the stupas of Borobudur and  the candis of Prambanan presented stunning visions of a hieratic society. Meanwhile in Angkor, Cambodia, the largest monumental setting in the world was built. Khmer dynasty took beliefs from Hindu and Buddhist, imitated Chinese system of divinely sanctioned monarchy. Geographic peculiarities contributed significantly to the culture’s unique formal development such as using raining in architectural sense, like Egyptians used floods of Nile. At first, Khmer rulers in Cambodia followed three basic architectural programs; supply a grand waterwork, built an ancestor temple, create a pyramidal state temple as a mausoleum. They built two types of temples; the terrace temple and pyramid temple.

At the same period, in Southern India, towering temples were built as a vision of cosmic order, and a demonstration of resistance to outsiders. They used enclosed walls known as parkara. As Khmer, Chola dynasty boosted their political authority through the distribution of land grants to  hundreds monastic communities which resembles European feodalism.

In Islamic region, remains of Umayyad dynasty settled in Al-Andulus(Spain) and Maghreb(Morocco). They had a urge of building largest fortresses and mosques which leads to different approach to building. In the Great Mosque of Cordoba, they used double arches in order to heighten interior and lighten the structure. We see muqarna or stalactite( honey-comb vaulting) first time in shrine of Imam Dur. They originally developed out of squinches that eased the transition between the square and circle of dome, something like pendentive but they used complex geometric patterns.


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