Page images

bench, and the latter from athi, upon, and stha, to stand. Both are for the most part composed of the same mouldings; but the most remarkable feature in which they differ is the square dye, which is peculiar to the former. The pedestal is not only placed under the base of a column or pilaster, but frequently employed, both singly and together with the latter, as a pavement for temples and porticoes, over cornices of edifices consisting of several stories in height, and also as a platform for thrones, and as seats for statues. In the latter situations especially, their decorations will be found to have employed much of the skill of the Hindú artists, and the most finished specimens of them may be justly said to surpass any thing of the kind in the Grecian or Roman orders, both in the beauty of their proportions and richness of their ornaments.

The several mouldings which enter into the composition of pedestals and bases are, 1. upána ; 2. campa; 3. gaľa, cant' ha, griva, or candhara ; 4. uttara ; 5. vájina; 6. prativájina ; 7. pat’tica ; 8. álinga; and 9. antarita ; all which are of a quadraugular form: and 10. cumuda; 11. padma; 12. capóta, &c., which are circular. And as these mouldings frequently occur in the description of the several sorts of pedestals and bases which will be presently exhibited, a brief notice of their respective forms and uses, as well as of their correspondence with the mouldings of similar members in western architecture, may not be a useless preliminary, especially, as it may tend to the disclosure of any mistakes into which I may have fallen, in identifying the mouldings described in books, with those found in the existing models of the art, the technical terms above-mentioned being no longer in use. (See Plate I.)

To begin, then, with the circular mouldings: the section of that which is called cumuda (10), literally nymphæa esculenta, is a semicircle projecting from a vertical diameter, and corresponds with the astragal, bead, or torus of the Grecian orders. It is chiefly employed in bases and cornices.

The moulding called padma, (11) literally lotus, is supposed to resemble a petal of that flower. It is

It is a sort of compound figure, partly convex and

partly concave; and its section is composed of two opposite curves, meeting at the bisecting point of a line drawn between the points of recess and projection, and very much resembling the cima recta and reversa of the western architects. This moulding is distinguished into greater and less, and forms the principal ornaments of Indian architecture. It is generally employed in detached pairs, in bases and cornices, one facing the other in opposite directions, and is formed upright or the reverse according to its situation, either as a crowning member of the former or the supporting ornament of the latter. The concave part of it, when placed with its bottom reversed, is often so designed as to project forward or rise up, after having touched, as it were, the fillet below, with a small perpendicular curvature, resembling in shape the petal of the lotus, with its pointed head somewhat inclined towards the top. In some specimens, this moulding is placed at the base of columns, and looks very much like an apophyge or ogre of the Ionick and Corinthian orders, being formed either with a curved line having more or less convexity at the top, or with an upright tangent to the concave part below. It is sometimes made exactly in the form of an ovolo of the western architects.

A capótam (12) is a section of moulding made in the form of a pigeon's head, from which it takes its name. It is a crowning member of cornices, pedestals, and entablatures. When employed in the latter, it often connects utility with beauty, in as much as the beak of the bird is so placed as to serve

the purpose of a spout to throw off the water falling on the cornice. In this office it resembles, in some measure, the corona of the Grecian order.

The square members above-mentioned are nothing more than rectangular figures or parallelograms, differing from one another only in their degrees of altitude and projection. Of all the rectangular mouldings, a campa (2) has the least height, and its projection, though generally equal to its altitude, frequently varies according to the position of the principal members which it is employed to connect or to separate; and it answers in every respect, to the fillet or listel of the western architects.

An upána(1) corresponds exactly with the plinth, both in the import of the term and the purpose to which it is applied.

A cantha, gala or griva, &c. (3) literally means the neck; and when employed in pedestals, it is made very high, and resembles the dado, but every where else it serves as a sort of neutral member, from which the projections of the rest of the mouldings are measured.

A vájina (5) is distinguished from the campa, by the former having a greater projection than the latter.

A prativájina (6) is the same thing made in pedestals to answer to the vájina ; its form, though generally rectangular, is sometimes, when placed in cornices, found to be externally a little more inclined to one side than to the other; and in this situation it very much resembles the cavetto.

A pat'tá or pat’tica (7) signifies a band. It is often confounded with the moulding called vájina, especially in pedestals and bases, as it appears to be of the same form, to be used in the same situation, and to have the same height and projection with the latter ; but when employed in architraves and friezes, its height and projection increase considerably.

An uttara (4) is used sometimes to signify the whole architrave, and sometimes to denote a particular member of the pedestal and entablature, called by the western architects corona.

An álinga (8) generally has the same altitude with the fillet, but a greater projection than it; and,

An antarita (9) has the same height with the álinga, but as much recession as the latter has projection. Both these members are placed alternately together, and when used, are always thus inseparably connected.


Hindú architects have invariably taken the dimensions of their pedestals from those of the bases to which they are attached; but as to the number of parts to be given to the height of pedestals, with reference to the number of parts contained in the base, there exists a multiplicity

of contradictory rules. On this subject Mánasára, our principal guide, expresses himself in so obscure a manner, that I must acknowledge my inability to understand him thoroughly. He, however, appears to prescribe a greater variety of heights and projections to pedestals than any other author. He divides the pedestals into three sorts, according to the magnitude of the edifices in which they are to be employed, and makes their height, if I understand him rightly, to consist of from one-quarter to six times the height of the base, and their projections as far as one-third of their own respective heights. But such a loose manner of prescribing rules for the dimensions of architectural members must be considered objectionable, and but little compatible with science and taste.

In a Tamil fragment of a manuscript, purporting to be a translation of Máyámata, it is said—“ The height of the shaft or pillar is to be divided into four parts, and one to be given to the base, which may or may not be accompanied by a pedestal ; and in the case where a pedestal is joined to the base, the height of the pedestal may be either equal to that of the base, or twice or three times as much.” Here, the greatest height given to a pedestal, namely, “ three times” that of the base, is equal to a little more than a third part of the highest column, which is not perhaps a bad proportion.

According to Mánasára, there are three kinds of pedestals; of which the first is called védibhadra, the second pratibhadra, and the third manchabhadra. Each of these are again divided into four sorts, making in all twelve, and each differing from the other in formation and in its ornaments, whatever may be its height in regard to the base with which it is connected. The remainder of this chapter is taken up with a detailed enumeration of the parts composing the different sorts of pedestals, but as I have marked the proportions in the designs themselves (Plate I.), it would be superfluous to specify them in this place. To enable the reader, however, to form a judgment on the original rules from which the drawings are made, the following extracts respecting the three principal kinds of pedestals are submitted.

“ The height of the upapítha (pedestal) being divided into twenty-four parts, let five be given to the upána,* one to the campa, t twelve to the cantha, one to the campa again, four to the pat'tica,ş and one to the сатра above." This refers to the first sort of pedestal of the kind called védhibhadra. Fig. 1.

“ Divide the height of the upapítha into twenty-six parts, and let three be given to the upána, one to the campa, two to the padmall one to the campa, eleven to the cantha, one to the campa, two to the padma, I three to the capota, one to the álinga, and one to the antarita.This refers to the first sort of the pedestal called pratibhadra. Fig. 5.

“ Let the height of the upapítha be divided into thirty equal parts, give three to the upána, a half to the campa, three to the mahambuja, a half to the campa, two to the candhara, a half to the campa, a half to the cshudrapadma, two and a half to the capóta, two to the prativájina, eight to the gala, one to the uttira, a half to the campa, a half to the padma, three to the upper capóta, and two and a half to the álinga,&c. This refers to the first sort of the pedestal called manchabhadra. Fig. 9.

This chapter closes with rules respecting the projection of the highest and of the most prominent parts of the pedestal, &c. &c. in these words : projection of the base or upána is equal to its height, or two, three, or four times as much more than its height; that of the padma is also equal to or twice as much as its height; and that of the cumuda or the capóta is always equal to, or something less than its own height. The padma should be ornamented with the petals of the lotus, the square fillets with forms of gems, blossoms, foliages, &c., and the cantha with figures of vyálas, ** sinhas, tf or of leaves, flowers, and the like.”

6. The

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »