Indian Architecture: Buddhist and Hindu Periods by Percy Brown
This is a book review of Indian Architecture: Buddhist and Hindu Periods by Percy Brown, a classic work on the history and evolution of Indian architecture from ancient times to the 13th century CE. The book was first published in 1942 and has been reprinted several times since then. It is widely regarded as a authoritative and comprehensive source of information on the subject.
The book covers the development of Indian architecture in two main phases: the Buddhist period (3rd century BCE to 7th century CE) and the Hindu period (7th century CE to 13th century CE). The author traces the origins, influences, styles, features, and achievements of various architectural forms and monuments in different regions and periods of India. He also provides detailed descriptions and illustrations of some of the most famous and representative examples of Indian architecture, such as the stupas, chaityas, viharas, temples, caves, palaces, forts, and tombs.
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The book is divided into two parts, each consisting of several chapters. The first part deals with the Buddhist period and covers topics such as the early beginnings of Indian architecture, the Mauryan period, the Sunga and Andhra periods, the Kushana period, the Gupta period, the post-Gupta period, and the Pala-Sena period. The second part deals with the Hindu period and covers topics such as the Chalukyan period, the Pallava period, the Rashtrakuta period, the Hoysala period, the Chola period, the Pandyas and Cheras periods, the Rajput period, and the Chandella period.
The book is written in a clear and engaging style that makes it accessible to both scholars and general readers. The author draws upon his extensive knowledge and research on Indian art and culture to provide a rich and insightful analysis of Indian architecture. He also uses numerous photographs, drawings, maps, and plans to illustrate his points and enhance the reader's understanding. The book is a valuable resource for anyone interested in learning more about the history and diversity of Indian architecture.One of the main strengths of the book is its comparative approach that highlights the similarities and differences between Buddhist and Hindu architecture. The author shows how both traditions share a common origin in the ancient Indus Valley civilization and how they diverged and developed over time in response to changing religious, political, and cultural contexts. He also shows how both traditions influenced and were influenced by other architectural styles and movements in Asia and beyond.
Another strength of the book is its attention to detail and accuracy that reflects the author's extensive fieldwork and research. The author visited and studied hundreds of architectural sites and monuments across India and neighboring countries. He also consulted various primary and secondary sources, such as inscriptions, scriptures, literary works, historical accounts, and previous studies. He provides ample evidence and references to support his arguments and claims. He also corrects some of the errors and misconceptions that have been propagated by earlier writers on Indian architecture.
A possible limitation of the book is its datedness and incompleteness that result from its publication date. The book was written more than 80 years ago and does not cover the developments and discoveries that have taken place since then in the field of Indian architecture. For instance, the book does not include the later periods of Islamic, colonial, and modern architecture in India. It also does not address some of the recent debates and controversies that have emerged around certain aspects of Indian architecture, such as its origins, influences, interpretations, and preservation.
Despite these limitations, the book remains a classic and influential work on Indian architecture that has inspired and informed generations of scholars, students, and enthusiasts. It is a testament to the author's passion and expertise on the subject. It is also a tribute to the rich and diverse architectural heritage of India that reflects its long and complex history and culture. 29c81ba772