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Article

Ye. V. Zeymal’

[Aï Khanoum; Ay-Khanum]

Site of a Hellenistic town of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom, located at the confluence of the Kokcha and Pyandzh rivers (tributaries of the Amu River), northern Afghanistan. The site was excavated by the Délégation Archéologique Française en Afghanistan under Paul Bernard, from 1965 until the outbreak of the Afghan civil war in 1978. The town was founded on the eastern border of the oikoumene (inhabited territory) in the late 4th century bc or early 3rd, after the conquest of this region by Alexander the Great and, Bernard suggested, was first called Alexandria Oxiana. The name was changed to Eukratidea (after the GrecoBactrian king Eukratides), c. 170–c. 150 bc, when an extensive programme of construction was carried out. After the town was attacked and destroyed c. 140 bc, it was abandoned by its inhabitants. Later, during the Yueh-chih and Kushana periods (c. 1st century bc–3rd century ad), the ruined buildings were occupied by ‘post-Greek’ peoples who did not undertake any significant repair work. Little has yet been published concerning this later period at the site. Finds from the site were placed in Kabul Museum, although they appear to have been looted after the museum was bombed in ...

Article

Robert Knox

[Amarāvatī]

Site near the ancient city of Dharanikota on the right bank of the Krishna River in Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh, India, that flourished from the 3rd century bc to the 14th century ad. It is also the location of a modern town, but the site is celebrated for its stupa, which may have been the earliest Buddhist foundation in the region and which certainly came to be its largest and most elaborate (see fig.). It was rediscovered in 1799 as a ruined but largely intact mound by Colonel Colin Mackenzie, first Surveyor General of India. His work in that year and in 1816 led to the excavations conducted in 1845 by Walter Elliot of the Madras Civil Service. Most of the sculptures now in the British Museum, London, were excavated at that time, although part of the Elliot collection remains in the Government Museum, Madras. Unfortunately, between the rediscovery of the stupa and these early excavations, much damage was done to it, with limestone slabs being quarried for building materials by the local residents. The stupa was further excavated in ...

Article

A. P. Jamkhedkar

[anc. Aṁvaranātha, Ambaranātha]

Site of a Shiva temple in Maharashtra, India, some 7 km south-east of Kalyan, a suburb of Bombay. An inscription inside the hall records that it was repaired in 1061 (Shaka year 982) by one Mamvaniraja (Mummuniraja) of the Shilahara dynasty, dating the temple to the early 11th century or before.

Enclosed within a wall (Skt prakāra) and facing west, the temple consists of a closed hall (gūḍha-maṇḍapa) with three porches, a vestibule and sanctuary (garbha-gṛha), the latter placed at a lower level and approached by steps. The exterior walls of the sanctuary and hall are subject to a series of projections and carry niches with divine figures. These include regents of the directions on the corners and themes of Vaishnava and Shaiva mythology: for example Vishnu in his incarnations as Varaha and Narasimha; Durga Slaying the Buffalo Demon (Mahiṣāsuramārdinī); and the marriage of Shiva and Parvati (Kalyanasundara). The main cardinal niches contain Mahakali (north); Gajasurasamhara, Shiva celebrating his victory over the elephant demon, shown dancing and wearing an elephant hide (south); and Hariharapitamaharka, a syncretistic god representing Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma and the Sun (east)....

Article

Angkor  

John Villiers, Guy Nafilyan and Madeleine Giteau

Site in northern Cambodia, in a fertile plain to the north-east of the northern tip of the Tonle Sap (Great Lake) and near the modern town of Siem Reap. Angkor was the site of almost all the capital cities founded by successive rulers of the Khmer realm from the end of the 9th century ad until the mid-15th, when it was abandoned in the face of attacks from the neighbouring Thai kingdom of Ayutthaya. Each ruler built in the centre of his capital a state temple, usually in the form of a stepped pyramid representing Mt Meru, centre of the universe and abode of the gods, in accordance with the precepts of Hindu and Buddhist cosmology (see also Cambodia, §II, 1, (ii)). This state temple was generally surrounded by a series of concentric enclosures bounded by walls, ditches, moats and embankments, laid out in accordance with the same cosmological precepts. Within the enclosures were the chief buildings of the city, including the royal palace and other temples founded by the king, members of the royal family or leading state dignitaries. All but the religious monuments were built of wood. Important adjuncts to many of these royal cities were the reservoirs (Khmer ...

Article

Frederick M. Asher

[anc. Vikramashila, Vikramaśīla]

Site of Buddhist monastery on the River Ganga in Bhagalpur District, Bihar, India. Until recently, the location of the monastery of Vikramashila was known only approximately from Tibetan sources, but excavations at Antichak have almost surely revealed its remains. The monastery was founded by the Pala dynasty monarch Dharmapala (reg c. ad 781–812; see Pala and Sena family). At the middle of the site is a tall brick stupa with a cruciform plan, closely related in form and dimensions to the stupa at Paharpur, also part of a monastic complex built by Dharmapala. Both stupas are set on an elevated terrace for circumambulation and in both cases the lowest portion of the stupa wall (where it survives) is decorated with terracotta plaques. At Antichak these depict mostly animals, human figures and ritual devices (pots, conch shells etc). Although sometimes described as ‘folk art’, they are carefully rendered and appear to be arranged according to a systematic programme. A row of cells forms the site’s outer perimeter, enclosing the large courtyard in which the stupa stands. These may have been intended as dwellings for monks or to accommodate images and likely functioned as the outer rim of the three-dimensional ...

Article

Badoh  

Michael D. Willis

[Badoh-Pathārī; anc. Vaṭodaka]

Site in Vidisha District, Madhya Pradesh, India. The monumental temple ruins at the twin villages of Badoh and Pathari are scattered over a wide area, indicating that they mark the site of a once important city. The oldest remains are in a wide-mouthed cave to the west of Badoh, where a small spring is flanked by an early 5th-century ad rock-relief of seated goddesses and the god Virabhadra; an inscription mentions one Maharaja Jayatsena. The cave also contains ruined shrines from about the 9th century ad. To its south-east is the large 9th-century Gadarmal Temple (see Trivedi). It collapsed some time before the 19th century and was reconstructed in a haphazard fashion; the main image is in the Archaeological Museum, Gwalior. Near by, at the side of a large tank, is a rare example of a pre-Islamic pleasure pavilion, the Sola Khambi (c. 10th century). A short distance to the west is a group of Jaina temples that have been subject to reconstruction. Early fragments include doorframes of the ...

Article

Bagh  

Frederick M. Asher

[Bāgh]

Site of Buddhist rock-cut sanctuaries in Dhar District, Madhya Pradesh, India. During the second half of the 5th century ad a series of ten sanctuaries, one of them incomplete, was carved at Bagh from rock a great deal softer and thus less durable than that of sites in the Deccan plateau, such as Ajanta: consequently the work is not well preserved. The most elaborately carved caves are nos 2, 3, 4 and 6. All the caves at Bagh are viharas (monastic dwellings). The characteristic plan places monks’ cells around the outer walls enclosing a large pillared central hall. The pillars have thicker shafts than those of contemporary shrines at Ajanta (probably to compensate for the quality of stone), yet their design is imaginatively varied. Some of the shafts have diagonal or spiral flutes, while others are composite varieties combining a lower section of four sides, with upper sections moving from an octagonal to a 16-sided section; yet others become 12- or 24-sided. The pillar brackets of Cave 4 depict animals, some with riders. At the rear of most of the sanctuaries is an image shrine housing a stupa, not a Buddha figure as in the Ajanta shrines. Buddha images are, however, carved elsewhere in the Bagh sanctuaries, for example in the antechamber of several of the caves. The most famous are those of Cave 2, where larger-than-life-size standing Buddha figures flanked by bodhisattvas are depicted on two of the side walls. These figures bear a close resemblance to contemporary figural sculpture of Ajanta....

Article

Bamiyan  

Mary S. Lawton

Site in north-central Afghanistan. Located at the western end of the silk route, Bamiyan flourished as a trading and religious centre until the 13th century. It is the site of a rock-cut Buddhist monastery, the most distinctive feature of which were two monumental rock-cut standing Buddhas that bracket the religious complex. Confined in mandorla-shaped niches, they represented the first appearance of the colossal cult image in Buddhist art. Their size not only encouraged approaching pilgrims but exemplified the esoteric Mahayana doctrine of the Universal Buddha (see also Buddhism, §I). Faces and folds in the robes were modelled in mud mixed with chopped straw. This was supported by dowels and ropes pegged into the rock; a final coating of lime plaster was applied before gilding. The smaller Buddha (h. c. 38.5 m) probably dated to the 2nd–3rd century ad and its somewhat fluid drapery folds suggested Gandharan traditions. The frescoes and accompanying minor sculptures of donor figures were provincial Sasanian in technique and imagery. The larger Buddha (h. 55 m) was related to the style of Mathura during the ...

Article

Joyce C. White

Site in north-east Thailand, c. 50 km east of Udon Thani. Excavations in 1974 and 1975 by Chester Gorman (1938–81) and Pisit Charoenwongsa (b 1938) uncovered a distinctive ceramic tradition, revealed chiefly through artefacts recovered from graves. Ceramics from even the earliest levels exhibit an elegance, sophistication and attention to decorative detail that far exceeds mere utilitarian needs. The funerary wares clearly served as an art medium for this village-based society. Although the ceramics are highly diverse, they share certain decorative treatments that characterize the tradition as a whole, in particular the free-hand application of abstract designs. Representational forms are rare. Many wares of the Early Period (3600–1000 bc) are decorated with intricate, curvilinear motifs, which are generally incised. The curvilinear or geometric painted and incised motifs of the Middle Period (1000–300 bc) are relatively simple, but vessel forms are unusually graceful and statuesque, with concave surfaces that are difficult to shape. The thin vessel walls (sometimes 1–2 mm thick) and delicate hue of the white carinated (ridged or heeled) vessels make this one of the most elegant and distinctive of all prehistoric ceramic styles, but it is the red-on-buff ware of the Late Period (...

Article

Daniel Ehnbom

Site of an important port on the bank of Gharo Creek, c. 64 km east of Karachi, Pakistan. It was occupied from around the 1st century bc to the 13th century ad and abandoned after a change in the course of the Indus River and a violent attack. The establishment of a large mosque, the Jami‛, dates to the early 8th century. Kufic inscriptions in the mosque are dated ah 107 (ad 725–6) and ah 294 (ad 906). It is likely that the Battle of Daybul (Debal) in ad 712 that led to the establishment of the first Islamic state in South Asia by Muhammad bin-Qasim took place in the vicinity of Banbhore. Daybul is the only city mentioned in the accounts of the Arab conquest of Sind that has not been identified with certainty.

See also Indian subcontinent, §III, 5, (ii), (a).

F. A. Khan...

Article

Begram  

Kurt Behrendt

[Begrām; anc. Kāpiśī, Kapisa]

Site of an ancient city located at the junction of the Panjshir and Ghorbend rivers near the modern village of Begram, 40 km north of Kabul, Afghanistan. Based on coins and structural finds of Indo-Greek origin, it is believed that Kāpiśī was an important city in the region, possibly a capital under the Kushana rulers. In the course of excavations in 1937–9, Joseph Hackin and Ria Hackin discovered in two contiguous chambers a wealth of important objects. These included Chinese lacquer ware, Greco-Roman style bronze and metal sculptures, glass vessels of Roman or Alexandrian origin, a group of Roman plaster casts of older Greek metalwork, and, finally, a large group of Indian ivories (Kabul Mus.; Paris, Mus. Guimet). All of the objects appear to be luxury items of a secular nature, though several non-Indian deities appear. The dating of these objects is unclear. Various ivories, for example, may date from as early as the ...

Article

Michael D. Rabe

[Telugu: ‘Mountain of the fearsome god’]

Site of a Hindu cave temple complex 140 km north-west of Nellore in Andhra Pradesh, India. Isolated between the precipitous red cliffs of a box canyon, the site comprises eight small and remarkably similar caves excavated from a single rock face above a stream. Datable by style and epigraphy to the 7th century ad, all eight caves house Shiva liṅgas within sanctuaries measuring c. 2×2×2 m. Life-size door guardians carved into the façade of each shrine lean upon heavy clubs; their abundant hair is set with single blades or triple forks, respectively identifying them as personifications of Shiva’s axe and trident. All but one of the cave façades are also adorned with smaller-scale icons of Brahma and Vishnu, which, together with the Shiva liṅgas, complete the Hindu trinity. Each cave is preceded by an open court containing a reclining image of Shiva’s vehicle, the bull Nandi, set facing the sanctum; relief panels on either side are carved with seated images of the elephant-headed deity Ganesha and the child-devotee Chandikesha. The external façades of caves 5–8 include porches with richly detailed parapets supported by twin pillars ...

Article

Bhaja  

A. P. Jamkhedkar

[Bhājā]

Site of Buddhist rock-cut temples and other buildings in Pune District, Maharashtra, India. Bhaja is one of a series of cave-temple sites that developed in western India during the last two centuries bc in proximity to important trade routes. The caves were probably created by followers of Hinayana Buddhism, though paintings of Buddhas and bodhisattvas indicate that Bhaja came under the sway of Mahayana doctrine. The number of known excavations at Bhaja has been increased by archaeological discoveries to some 26. These consist of monasteries for Buddhist monks (Skt vihāra), prayer-halls (caitya gṛha), water-cisterns and an assemblage of memorial stupas. The largest monument is the main prayer-hall, an apsidal excavation 17.08 m long and 8.13 m broad. The roof is barrel-shaped and the hall has 27 octagonal pillars (3.45 m high), which are slightly tapered and have an inward rake. On either side of the pillars are aisles that meet behind a stone stupa, thus forming a circumambulatory. The roof-ribs are wooden. An inscription (...

Article

Bharhut  

Kurt Behrendt

[Bhārhut]

Site of a Buddhist stupa of the 2nd century bc in Satna District, Madhya Pradesh, India. The fragmentary remains of the Bharhut Stupa (see Stupa, §1) were discovered near the village of Bhaironpur by Alexander Cunningham in 1873. The stupa itself was largely destroyed, having been pillaged by local villagers for building material. Only the eastern gateway (Skt toraṇa) and a portion of the railing (vedikā) with crossbars (sūci) and coping stones (uṣṇiṣa) were recovered. These are now in the Indian Museum, Calcutta. Individual uprights and coping fragments are in the Allahabad Museum, while smaller pieces have found their way to museums around the world.

The stupa (diam. 20 m) was made of large flat bricks (305 × 305 × 59 mm) and was originally surrounded by a railing (diam. 25 m) with four gates. Reliefs on the surviving gate suggest the stupa had a cylindrical base with a hemispherical dome ornamented with floral designs. The summit was crowned by parasols. There is further evidence that a smaller railing either encircled the main railing or edged a raised circumambulatory platform, as at ...

Article

Michael D. Willis

[Bhītaragaon]

Site of a 5th-century ad brick temple in Uttar Pradesh, India. The temple at Bhitargaon is the best-preserved example of 5th-century brick architecture in northern India and is especially noted for its in situ terracotta plaques and pyramidal superstructure. The building (Skt śikhara; 21×14.6×10.9 m), orientated towards the east, has a square cella entered through a ruined rectangular vestibule. Externally the cella has prominent projections (bhadra) on each side. A podium (vedībandha), dominated by a tall moulding with a curved top (kumbha), runs around the base of the structure. Above the podium, the wall is divided into sections by attached pilasters with pot-like bases, capitals and elaborate abaci. Some of the niches between the pilasters retain their original terracotta plaques with images of Shiva and Vishnu in various forms. The entablature (varaṇḍikā) consists of two heavy cornices with an intervening recess containing terracottas of animals and mythic creatures. The rectilinear superstructure is damaged, but the surviving portions show that it was ornamented with tiers of arched niches in varying sizes; some of the niches contain terracotta busts and full figures of deities. There were other brick temples in the vicinity, but these are now completely ruined....

Article

Bhojpur  

Kirit Mankodi

[Bhojapura]

Site in Madhya Pradesh, India, some 30 km south-east of Bhopal. The town flourished in the 11th century under the Paramara dynasty. A natural depression, skirted by low hills, served as the basin for the reservoir created by King Bhoja (reg 1000–55), the founder of Bhojpur. The gaps between the hills were diked, various streams and rivers diverted, and the River Betwa dammed at Bhojpur. The ruins of three massive dams show that each was 20–30 m high, about 100 m thick at the base, filled with earth and faced on the inner and outer sides with stone slabs. The reservoir was destroyed by Sultan Hoshang Shah in the 15th century. On the banks of the reservoir, Bhoja began a large Shiva temple (the linga in the sanctum is nearly 8 m high), but the building was left unfinished. A long, sloping ramp, sculptors’ abandoned workshops, draughtsmen’s drawings on stone and some ...

Article

Bhumara  

Michael D. Willis

[Bhūmarā]

Site of a 5th-century temple in Satna District, Madhya Pradesh, India, near the contemporary sites of Nachna and Khoh. One of the relatively few surviving Gupta-period temples, it was excavated in 1921 by R. D. Banerji. After the initial excavation, many of the sculptures from Bhumara were removed to the Allahabad Museum. Fragments are also in the Indian Museum, Calcutta, and one candraśālā (dormer) is in a private collection in the USA; a second dormer, probably from Bhumara but not documented to be so, is in the British Museum (London, BM, 1880.1065).

Partly ruined, the temple consists of a square, windowless sanctum (garbhagṛha), approximately 4.5 m on each side, once fronted by a forehall (maṇḍapa), which has completely disappeared. Built on a rectangular platform (jagatī), the temple is approached from the eastern side by a stairway flanked by the remains of two small shrines. The platform has a moulded base and a low parapet around the outer edge, similar to the platform at ...

Article

Deogarh  

Michael D. Willis

[Deogaṛh, Devagaḍh; anc. Luacchagira, Kīrtidurga.]

Site of Vaishnava and Jaina temples ranging from the 5th to 11th centuries in Lalitpur District, Uttar Pradesh, India. It appears that the ancient name Luacchagira, known from inscriptions, was changed to Kirtidurga after the Chandella conquest of the 11th century under Kirtivarman.

The earliest extant building at Deogarh (c. ad 475), sometimes called the Dashavatara temple, is sacred to Vishnu, and its images of this god are the finest in situ examples of Gupta-period sculpture in India. The temple, square in plan (about 5 m on each side), stands on a square plinth (Skt jagatī) with remains of shrines at each corner, following a five-shrine (pañcāyatana) scheme. An elaborately carved doorway faces west. The temple has a simple moulding around its base. The plinth also carries mouldings and was once topped with reliefs depicting scenes from the life of Krishna and Rama (e.g. New Delhi, N. Mus.). The temple’s iconographic scheme focuses on various manifestations of Vishnu. The wall sections (...

Article

Michael D. Willis

[Deorī Kālān; Marhia; Maṛhiā Kālān.]

Site of ruined 5th-century temple in Madhya Pradesh, India. The temple appears to be the oldest extant example in India dedicated to Vishnu in the form of Vamana, the dwarf incarnation. A broken image of Vamana, still set in its spouted plinth, lies outside. The temple faces west and sits on a low platform (Skt jagatī). The building itself is constructed of large blocks of ashlar and is approximately 3.8 m on each side. The base is dominated by a single half-torus moulding (kumbha). The walls (ja ṅghā) are completely plain, but the entrance door on the west side has a wide jamb (śākhā) with undulating lotus scrolls. The scrollwork is almost identical to the richly carved jambs from Bhumara, now in the Allahabad Museum. Doorguardians (dvārapāla) in high relief flank the entrance. A row of dentils, carved with lion heads, tops the entrance. The interior is devoid of decoration....

Article

Erberto F. Lo Bue

[Dhum-Vārāhī, a corruption of Skt Dhumra Varāha.]

Site 4 km north-east of Kathmandu, not far from the Bagmati River, important for an early statue of Varaha, Vishnu’s boar incarnation. The magnificent image (h. 1.14 m), carved in a light-coloured stone, appears to have been consecrated by the Lichchhavi ruler Bhaumagupta (reg c. ad 567–90), though it is alternatively dated to the 7th century. As the saviour of the Earth Goddess (Bhūdevī or Pṛthvī), Varaha is shown surging from the watery abyss, symbolized by the cosmic serpent. The goddess is perched in an attitude of adoration on his upraised elbow, in an image type that has been emulated in Newar art up to the present. In the course of time, under the influence of Tantric (or Sahajiya) Vaishnavism, the image came to be understood as an emanation of the Sow Goddess (Dhumvārāhī).

See also Nepal, §IV, 1.

P. Pal: Vaiṣ ṇava Iconology in Nepal, a Study of Art and Religion...