81-100 of 153 results  for:

  • South/Southeast Asian Art x
Clear all

Article

Asok Kumar Das

[Kotah; Kotā]

City on the Chambal River in Rajasthan, India, that flourished from the 13th century. The earliest remains in the vicinity are those of a Shiva temple dated ad 738–9; little of it survives apart from the foundations. In the 13th century the Rajput king of Bundi defeated a Bhil chief who was ruling the area and founded the city and fort of Kota. Subsequently, Rao Ratan Singh (reg 1607–31) of Bundi divided his kingdom and in 1624 gave the southern part, including Kota, to his second son, Rao Madho Singh (reg 1625–48). Within a century Kota had surpassed its parent state, and numerous palaces, temples and mansions (hāvelīs), some containing extensive wall paintings of exquisite quality and variety, were constructed by successive rulers. From the 17th century Kota became known as a centre of manuscript painting (see Indian subcontinent §VI 4., (iii), (c)).

F. Keilhorn...

Article

Alessandra Lopez y Royo Iyer

[Kumbhakonam; Tamil Kumpakoṇam]

Town in Tamil Nadu, India, that flourished from the 9th century ad. Fifteen temples to Shiva and Vishnu are found at Kumbakonam and neighbouring Darasuram. The Nageshvarasvami of the early Chola dynasty, attributed to Aditya I (reg c. 871–907), is renowned for the beauty of its sculptures, present in great numbers on both the main temple and on the adjoining hall. They range from Shiva and Durga images to elegantly carved nymphs (Skt apsarasas) and flying couples (vidyādharas). An exquisite Ardhanarishvara (Shiva as half male, half female) is set in the central niche of the western wall.

The Sarangapani, the largest Vaishnava temple, was established in the 13th century and was subject to renovations and additions until the 17th century. The towered gateways (gopuras) and pillared halls of the complex date to the Nayaka period, while the principal shrine in the innermost court belongs to the late Chola period. The eastern gateway of the Sarangapani has earlier slabs incorporated in the structure, showing some dancing figures. It is reasonable to assume that the slabs were taken from a Shaiva temple in the vicinity of Kumbakonam, probably from the Airavatishvara temple in Darasuram. The Rama and Kumbheshvara temples, both located close to the Sarangapani, were built in the 16th–17th century....

Article

Lahore  

James L. Wescoat jr

City in Pakistan sited at the crossing of the Ravi River and the Grand Trunk Road from Afghanistan to Bengal. Although Lahore is said to have ancient origins, its art-historical significance begins c. ad 1000. Lahore has had several periods of extraordinary architectural development under Mughal family, Sikh, British and Pakistani rule. For all but a few decades of the Mughal and Sikh periods, when it was the primary capital city, Lahore has been the provincial capital of the Punjab. Like other Mughal capitals (such as Agra and Delhi), the citadel stood on a high riverbank, surrounded by a walled city of commercial and residential neighbourhoods, and extensive suburbs containing industrial areas, shrines, cemeteries and gardens: it was during the Mughal period that Lahore acquired its special identity as the ‘city of gardens’, which persists to the present day.

Few structures survive from the pre-Mughal era in Lahore. Significant buildings include the early 16th-century shrine of Musa Ahangar—a small, square brick tomb with the simple dome and glazed tilework common to Sultanate architecture of the Punjab—which lies outside the city walls; the Niwin or ‘Low’ Mosque just inside the walled city (so-named because the mosque courtyard lies almost 10 m below street level); and the reconstructed shrine of Uthman ibn ‛Ali Hujwiri, a medieval Sufi saint better known to Muslim pilgrims around the world as Data Ganj Bakhsh....

Article

Leh  

Kirit Mankodi

Capital of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, India. Located near the River Indus on an ancient trade route between India, Tibet and China, Leh is notable for a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, known as the Tsemo Gompa, and the Lechen Pelkar palace and fort, all erected under the Namgyel rulers of the 16th–17th centuries. Among the buildings of the Tsemo Gompa is the Temple of the Guardian Deities, built by Tashi Namgyel in the 16th century, which contains images of the fierce protector Mahakala, Vaishravana (one of the four heavenly kings), the Great Goddess and another fierce guardian (yet to be identified). Also in the Tsemo Gompa, the Maitreya Temple contains a celebrated three-storey-high figure of the Future Buddha flanked by the bodhisattvas Avalokiteshvara and Manjushri; the shrine may date to the 16th century, but it has been extensively renovated in recent times. The palace is a ruined nine-storey structure set on a hill north-east of the town; founded by ...

Article

George Michell

[Lepākshi]

Town and temple site in Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India. The Virabhadra temple at Lepakshi was constructed by two brothers who served as governors under Achyutadeva Raya (reg 1530–42) of the Vijayanagara dynasty. The temple is built on an uneven outcrop of granite and is surrounded by two enclosures. The outer enclosure, lined by colonnades and carrying numerous inscriptions, is roughly rectangular in plan and has three entrances. The inner enclosure, laid out approximately in a square, is entered on the north and south through two gopuras, one with an incomplete superstructure of brick. Within is a medley of monuments. The open hall adjoining the north gopura has elaborately carved pillars with those on the central bays carrying large Shaiva images. The ceiling paintings are the principal examples surviving from the Vijayanagara period. The vividly coloured murals depict popular epic and Puranic legends, such as the boar hunt of Shiva. In addition there are donor portraits and processions of maidens attending upon Shiva and Parvati. The walls on the south contain narrative reliefs depicting Shaiva legends and the story of Arjuna’s penance to obtain the bow of Shiva. The painted hall connects directly to the main temple, which consists of a closed hall and three shrines. The shrine of Virabhadra, containing a fierce life-size image of that god, is set axially with the entrance. To the west is a shrine of Vishnu and to the east a partially rock-cut shrine of Uma and Maheshvara. The hall ceiling has murals of Virabhadra, other aspects of Shiva and the temple donors. Externally, the building is plain except for the basement mouldings and pyramidal brick superstructures over the Virabhadra and Vishnu shrines. To the south of the main shrine (just inside the south ...

Article

Madeleine Giteau

City in northern Laos. According to the Lao dynastic chronicles, Luang Prabang was founded by two hermits at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers near a mai thong tree covered in red flowers. Initially called Muong Chawa, then Xieng Dong Xieng Thong, it may have been composed of two villages. When the court moved to Vientiane in the 1560s, it took its present name from Phra Bang, the 13th-century image of the Buddha, palladium of the kingdom, that had been brought there in 1353, when, after conquering the kingdom of Lan Xang (see Laos, §I, 2), King Fa Ngum established a Khmer Buddhist monastic community to the south of the hill of Phu Si (see fig. (a)) at the centre of the city. Various Khmer remains confirm the presence of this community. One text, the Charter of Yot Kaeo (1601), lists the religious monuments: the Buddha of Vat Manorom (...

Article

Lucknow  

Rosie Llewellyn-Jones

[Lakhnau; possibly anc. Lakṣmaṇāvatī]

Capital city of Uttar Pradesh State, on the Gumti River in the flat Gangetic plain of northern India. It occupies a site topographically undistinguished except for two small hills on the river’s southern bank. Fortified structures were built on these hills from an undetermined date; the earliest, according to local tradition, was established by Lakshman, brother of the epic hero Rama. Of the area’s early culture nothing remains save a few unprovenanced stone sculptures (Lucknow, State Mus.). The history of Lucknow becomes clearer in the 15th century, when the area was under the Sharqi sultans of Jaunpur (reg 1394–1476) and locally controlled by a clan known as the Shaikhzadas. Shaikhzada ‛Abd al-Rahim was appointed governor (subadar) of the area by the Mughal emperor Akbar (reg 1556–1605). ‛Abd al-Rahim’s tomb, known as the Nadan Mahal (c. 1600), is notable for its traces of fine stucco, the earliest instance of a medium that typifies the later architectural decoration of Lucknow. Another early tomb is that of Shah Mina, a celebrated Muslim mystic who settled in the city during the mid-15th century. His tomb consists of a low dome surrounded by a pillared portico (...

Article

Madras  

Philip Davies and Sharan Apparao

City and manufacturing centre, capital of Tamil Nadu State, India. It has a fine, varied heritage of colonial architecture.

Philip Davies

There are ancient associations with early Christianity in the areas of Mylapore, Little Mount and St Thomas’s Mount, where St Thomas the Apostle is said to have been martyred in ad 68. The Portuguese arrived in 1522, building the church of St Thomas (1547) and the cathedral of S Thomé south of the subsequent English settlement, and were expelled in 1672. The city was founded in 1639 by Francis Day, the agent from the nearby English factory or trading station, at Armagaum on territory ceded by the Raja of Chandragiri and was the first significant settlement of the British East India Company on the Indian subcontinent. In 1644 a small fort was built from which the city grew steadily, remaining the centre of English influence in the East until the emergence of Calcutta in the late 18th century....

Article

Madurai  

J. Marr

City in Tamil Nadu, India, and site of the Minakshi Sundareshvara temple, an important place of pilgrimage. It has been estimated that 15,000 people visit daily; 25,000 on Fridays, the day sacred to the goddess Minakshi (see Fuller).

From an early period Madurai was associated with the Pandya rulers as their capital. Greek geographers mention it as ‘Modoura’. The earliest remains in the neighbourhood are rock-cut caves with short inscriptions (c. 2nd century bc). Accounts of the city are found in early Tamil literature, notably the poem Maturaikkāñci. The town was evidently laid out in a square following canonical prescription; the vestige of this scheme can be seen in the configuration of the central part of the city. Literary references make clear that a Shiva temple was a leading feature of Madurai. The god is praised in a number of 7th-century Tevaram ‘Garland of God’ hymns, in which the term ...

Article

Malacca  

John Villiers

[Melaka]

Malaysian city and port. Strategically situated on the east coast of the Straits of Malacca, 147 km south-east of Kuala Lumpur and 245 km north of Singapore, Malacca was founded c. 1400 by a prince called Parameswara (reg c. 1400–24), who may have been a fugitive from Sumatra. The evidence of Chinese and Malay sources suggests that he was later converted to Islam and took the name of Iskandar Shah. During the 15th century Malacca became under its Muslim rulers the richest and most cosmopolitan entrepôt in South-east Asia and a major centre for the dissemination of Islam.

In 1511 Malacca was conquered by a small Portuguese force commanded by Afonso de Albuquerque. Making use of stones from the sultan’s palace and the mosques that they had destroyed, the Portuguese constructed a fortress known as A Famosa, with walls 2.4 m thick, encircling the hill that later became St Paul’s Hill. They held the city until ...

Article

Pierre Pichard

[Ratanapunja]

City in Upper Burma on the Irrawaddy River. The last capital of the Burmese kings, it was founded in 1857 by King Mindon (reg 1853–78). Its square citadel (2 km on each side) was defended by a rampart with 12 fortified gates, each surmounted by a tiered wooden pavilion (Burm. pyatthat), and five bridges spanning a moat over 68 m wide. At its centre stood the wooden royal palace (see Burma 1., (iii), (d)), which was destroyed by fire during World War II. Straight roads, the most important one on the eastern side, divided the space between the rampart and the palace enclosure into large squares where the senior officials had their residences.

The streets outside this fortified citadel also followed a regular grid plan. They were punctuated by several landmarks, the first being Mandalay Hill, where there were numerous great religious foundations, among them the Ku-tho-daw where 729 stone slabs were engraved in ...

Article

Mandu  

Mehrdad Shokoohy

[Mandoo]

Fortified town c. 98 km south of Indore in Madhya Pradesh, central India. The town flourished under the Paramara dynasty at the end of the 10th century but fell into Muslim hands in 1303 at the time of ‛Ala’ al-Din Khalji (reg 1296–1316) and was later chosen as the capital of the sultanate of Malwa by Hushang Shah Ghuri (reg 1405–35), who renamed it Shadiabad (City of Joy). Little remains from the pre-Islamic period apart from the foundations of the fort, founded in the 6th century, which were incorporated into the walls of the new town. Begun by Dilavar Khan Ghuri (reg c. 1401–5) and completed by Mahmud Shah Khalji I (reg 1436–69), this lies south of the citadel and is surrounded by fortified walls c. 41 km long running around the upper contours of the hills. A large part of the land within the walls was never occupied by buildings and was left as gardens, farmland and forest dotted with pavilions and tombs. The architecture of Mandu is rooted in the style of the ...

Article

Manila  

R. Javellana

Capital of the Philippines, on the shores of Manila Bay, west central Luzon, at the mouth of the Pasig River. The city of Manila (population 1.6 million) is the centre of Metro Manila (population over 8 million), which includes Quezon City, Pasay Makati and other suburbs. After Spanish occupation of the Philippines, the walled town of Intramuros was founded (1571) on the site of a Muslim settlement. Long before Spanish colonization, merchants of the locality traded with southern China. Excavations at grave sites in Santa Ana, further upstream on the Pasig, have yielded Chinese trade pottery, proof of extensive trade relations, and locally manufactured ornaments that indicate a degree of technological sophistication.

From 1571 to 1815 Manila was the entrepôt of the Spanish galleon trade. Trade goods and raw material from the Philippines and elsewhere in East Asia were amassed in Manila and sent annually to Acapulco in Mexico (...

Article

Mantai  

John Carswell

Port, occupied from the 2nd millennium bc to c. ad 1000, near modern Mannar in north-west Sri Lanka. Mantai was the port for the inland capital at Anuradhapura and an important link in the maritime network between the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and East Asia; during its final phase, it was one of Asia’s most important trading emporia. Its growth must have been dependent on the surplus capital generated by the agricultural development of the northern dry zone, with its sophisticated irrigation system of canals and tanks (reservoirs). The primary reason for Mantai’s development as an emporium was its location at the end of a narrow channel transversing the chain of reefs, known as Adam’s Bridge, that prevent the passage of large-scale shipping. Ships from the Near East and East Asia were able to meet at Mantai and exchange goods via the channel. Evidence of the Sasanian and Islamic presence was found in excavations in ...

Article

Mardan  

E. Errington

[Hoti-Mardan]

Town on the Kalpani River, in the centre of the Peshawar Valley, c. 50 km north-east of Peshawar, Pakistan. The town originally developed from two separate villages: Hoti, the headquarters of an important local khan; and Mardan, the site of a British cantonment (1852–1947) that was the military base of Queen Victoria’s Own Corps of Guides and the administrative centre of the district. The town retains its military associations as the headquarters of the Punjab Regiment.

In the early 20th century a mound (61×30×9 m) of uncertain date still survived beside the High School, albeit covered with graves and deeply cut for soil on all sides. Although it was never excavated, potsherds suggest that it had been a settlement site. There is no record of any Buddhist remains within the vicinity. Numerous Gandharan sculptures are said to be ‘from Mardan’, but this is a secondary attribution resulting from the fact that, in the 19th century, excavated finds from Gandharan sites in the region were all initially stored at Mardan awaiting orders for their ultimate destination, during which time records of site provenance were often lost. In ...

Article

Mathura  

Doris Meth Srinivasan

[Mathurā; Madhupura, Madhupurī, Madhurā, Mahurā, Mathulā Muttra, Uttar Mathurā]

City on the Yamuna River, 150 km south of Delhi in Uttar Pradesh, India, established c. 6th century bc. During the 1st–3rd centuries ad Mathura achieved renown as the first centre of a school of art serving the three major Indian religions—Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism—as well as several folk cults. The influence of Mathura dominated Indian art for several centuries, thereby establishing the first artistic conventions that can be described as ‘pan-Indian’. The Mathura model consisted of a codified visual language expressing divine power as well as a distinctive sculptural style using the characteristic local plain or spotted red sandstone. Although it was once a major centre with many important monuments, only fragments of the buildings of Mathura survive. However, a large number of sculptures have been retrieved. Many were found in wells and the Yamuna, where they appear to have been thrown for safekeeping during upheavals and invasions. Others were recovered in the course of urban construction, notably the extraordinary finds of Buddhist art unearthed at ...

Article

Multan  

Natalie H. Shokoohy

Town in Pakistan. It was an ancient stronghold of the Gandhara kingdom that was annexed to the Achaemenid empire by Darius (reg 522–486 bc) and, after Alexander the Great (reg 336–323 bc), was controlled successively by Bactrian, Indo-Parthian and Kushana dynasties. Traces of these cultures are buried beneath the core of the old citadel. The Buddhist remains in the region include the ruins of the town of Tulamba and a monastery and tower at the site of Sui Vihara. Ancient Multan probably had a concentric plan, with the citadel containing a stupa or temple in the centre, similar in layout to Tulamba. With a revival of Hinduism in the 6th century ad, Multan fell under the sway of that faith, notably the worship of the sun god; in 641 the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang recorded that the worship of Buddha had almost disappeared. In the Arab invasion of Sind in 711 Multan was taken by Muhammad ibn Qasim, but in the 10th century the geographer al-Istakhri described the town as still predominantly Hindu, with the great temple known as Bayt al-dhahab (House of Gold) in the centre of the town, while the Arab ruler lived 3 km away. Multan, however, was reconstructed and its plan adapted to that of an Islamic town, with the site of the old citadel incorporated in the ramparts of the Islamic fort at one side of the town. Together with Sind, Multan became a stronghold of the Shi‛ites, who were later suppressed under the Ghaznavids (...

Article

Mumbai  

Philip Davies, Rashmi Poddar and Asit Chandmal

[Bombay]

Indian city, port, manufacturing centre, and, since 1960, administrative capital of the state of Maharashtra. It is located on a peninsula, originally a group of seven islands, projecting into the Arabian Sea from the western coast of India. Known as the Gateway of India because its port was the main entrance to the subcontinent for Western contacts, the city was ceded to England in 1661 when it became known as Bombay; its name was officially changed to Mumbai in 1995. Its prosperity has been built on shipbuilding, industry, and international trade, and the entrepreneurial genius of its booming cosmopolitan population. The city retains a fine colonial legacy of Indo-Saracenic styles, set within a context of indigenous buildings.

Occupied since prehistoric times, Mumbai formed part of the kingdom of Gujarat from 1348 to 1534, when the Sultan Bahadur Shah (reg 1526–37) ceded the districts of Bassein, Salsette, and Bombay to the Portuguese in exchange for their assistance against the Mughals. The Portuguese did little to develop its potential, devoting their efforts to religious conversion. Settlement was concentrated in the castle or fort on the harbour front, now engulfed by the government dockyard; a few fragments of early Portuguese fortifications survive embedded in later construction....

Article

Mysore  

Gary Michael Tartakov

[Maisūr; Mahiṣūrul]

City and temple site in Karnataka, India. It rose to prominence under the Wodeyar princes, who ruled locally from the 15th century and regionally off and on from the fall of the Vijayanagara empire in the late 16th century until the establishment of the Republic of India. Its name is derived from Mahiṣūru, meaning the ‘place [Kannada ūru] of the Buffalo demon Mahisha’, and its oldest temple, located on a hill outside the city, is dedicated to the goddess Chamundi, the slayer of the demon Mahisha. The temple, built in a southern (Skt drāvi ḍa) style, was supposed locally to have been founded in the 12th century. The current gateway was finished in 1827. Near the top of the hill is a colossal sculpture of the bull Nandi (h. 5 m, the largest of its type in India), cut from a single boulder on the order of Dodda Devaraja Wodeyar (...

Article

Nasik  

A. P. Jamkhedkar

[Nāsika; Nāsikka; Gulshanābād]

Pilgrimage centre and cave-temple site in Maharashtra, India. It was inhabited since Chalcolithic times (c. 1500 bc). The earliest monumental remains at Nasik are a series of rock-cut monasteries (Skt vihāra) and a prayer-hall (caitya gṛha) clustered on a hill. The prayer-hall (1st century bc) is a modest apsidal excavation enshrining a stupa. The octagonal pillars of the hall (some bearing inscriptions) rise out of pots on stepped bases. The roof is undecorated, but mortices suggest that wooden ribs were originally installed there. The façade has a large arched window and a richly carved entrance door flanked by single standing figures (see Indian subcontinent §V 4., (iii)). Cave 19, a small monastery with six cells, has an inscription of the Satavahana king Kanha (reg c. 1st century bc). Two larger monasteries (nos 3 and 10) belong to the 1st century ...