Evolution of the Stupa in Buddhist Architectural History - Essay Example

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Evolution of the Stupa in Buddhist Architectural History Name Institution Course Date Evolution of the Stupa in Buddhist Architectural History The Stupa is, arguably, the earliest and most significant architectural expression of the Buddhists1. Dating back to the first century BC, a number of Stupas can be seen throughout the world, most of which are found in the Asian continent, particularly in India and Sri Lanka, China, Malaysia and Japan where Buddhism is a prominent religion…
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Evolution of the Stupa in Buddhist Architectural History
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Download file to see previous pages most of which were built by Ashok Maurya2. He is reported to have built about 84,000 stupas using the earthen bounds and other materials. However, some of these stupas were damaged later on during the break of Maurya Empire. The best-known stupas are those built at Sanchi, Gaya, Amaravati, and Barhut. However, stupas constructed at Sanchi by Ashoka (273-236 B.C.) are arguably the most striking and remaining stupas of the three3. Situated at the top of the hill, these magnificent stupas have been preserved to show the various stages that the Buddhist architecture and art have developed since the first stupa was constructed in the third century B.C. Report indicates that some of the stupas built by Ashoka at Sanchi were damaged during Maury Empire’s break-up4. However, the damaged stupas were later put up in the second century during the reign of Sungas. Unlike before where stupas were only preserved for important activities, stupas of the second century underwent improvements and enlargements, in which a stone railing was constructed around it5. In addition, the newly constructed stupas were embellished with several curved gateways. Le reveals that the Great Stupa is fitted with a large hemispherical flat-topped dome6. At the dome’s basement is a circular terrace, which is meant for circumambulation and an encompassing balustrade. The ground level, on the other hand, has a stone-paved procession gateway, as well as a stone balustrade and steps leading to the circular terrace. The stupa measures approximately 36.60 meters wide and about 16.46 meters tall7. Walls of this stupa are made of mud mortar and burnt ricks. However, it is thought that the elaborate curved Torana were constructed with either metal or ivory in the first century B.C. during king Satakarni’s reign8. This structure later went through different stages of improvements particularly in the fourth century A.D. during the reign of Gupta in which four additional Buddhas calmly sited in the dhyana were installed at the four entrances. Another big stupa was constructed at Barhut in the 2nd century B.C. during the reign of Sunga. This stupa, like other stupas of this period, had a hemispherical dome made of bricks9. In addition, this stupa was surmounted by a shaft, which arguably signified the spiritual sovereignty of Buddhism. It is also evident that the railing surrounding the stupas is made of red sandstone.10 Moreover, scenes representing the life of Buddha and the Jataka Tales are curved on the entrance, uprights, crossbars, and pillars of the railings. Report also indicates that several other stupas were constructed during this period. In fact, one of the most striking features from the stupa found in Nagajunakonda and Amaravati show that stupas of the northern region were quite different in structure from those of the south11. In this regard, it is evident that there was a shift from the famous Buddhist style, which was purely based on the two dominant Buddhism- Mahayana and Hinayana. Le notes that different styles and trends were used here which gave rise to new forms of architecture such as a square and rectangular image shrine, quadrangular monastery a small stupa on a square platform and pillared hall12. Le notes ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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