Monday, July 13, 2009


India, along with most Eastern cultures, was considered remote and mysterious by most Westerns. Until the development of the Silk Road in the second century B.C. This was the network of roads traveled by traders between China and Eastern Europe; the wonders of the East were unknown in Europe! Not until Marco Polo (1254-1324) explored these wonders they became popularly known. Since then, Eastern and Western cultures have demonstrated a deep curiosity for one another.

**NOTE: 2500 B.C. to the 19th Century. Available timber is teak as well as ebony, bamboo, and palm. Religions are: Hindu, Islam, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. Very organized in design patterns. Many different periods in Indian history and architecture!

The Stupa: Adopted by both Jain and Buddhist religions, the stupa was a hemispherical mound, containing religious relics. The mound was often topped with a multitiered ornamental umbrella called a chattra, and often surrounded with a path, a circular railing, or a fence with gates at the four points of the compass. The chatter-topped stupa is likely the predecessor of the pagoda in China.

**This Stupa is located at Sanchi in central India, 1st century A.D. It is of brickwork, 106 ft in diametre. Also houses the Cave Temple, The Northern Temple, and Southern Temple.

Temples at Khajuraho: dating back from the ninth to the twelfth century, only 25 now remain from 85. Many of the stone carvings are of erotic nature.

Kesava Temple: located in Somnathpur, Mysore, India, 13 century. It is a southern Hindu temple complex. Once again with stone and elaborate carvings.

Stone ceiling carving in Khajuraho.

Taj Mahal: meaning "Crown of the Palace" was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal ("Exalted One of the Palace"), who died giving childbirth in 1631. The building was complete by 1648 with spacious gardens, walkways, fountains and marble paths!

**Lots of decorative deatil with white marble stones in patterns of floral sprays, arabesques, and Islamic calligraphy.
**Close around the corners of the main structure are the four chattri. At each corner of the building's marble platform stands a 133 foot minaret, a slender tower usually associated with a mosque.
***Horseshoe arch from Islamic architecture!!!!! Last Entry!!!!!

Pietra Dura: Italian term for "hard stone" . The term is applied to decorative use of hard gemstones, usually richly coloured ones like malachite (bright green), jasper (dark green), carnelian (red), lapis lazuli (azure blue), or bloodstone (green with red flecks). More specifically, the term refers to a type of inlay in which coloured stones are set into recesses chiseled into the surface of a plainer stone. In India, they were set into white marble. Just like below:

Paisley: by far the most famous design motif in Indian Textiles. It is now immensely popular and was introduced less than 300 years ago. It's origins are most likely Persian.

For current Indian decor and furniture check out: located in "Little India" on Gerrard Street East, Toronto.


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