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The height of a base is equal to either a half, three-quarters, or a whole diameter of the shaft. When placed under pillars of an inferior sort, in porticoes and the like, and without a pedestal, its height is stated to be one-fourth, or one-third of that of the whole pillar. To bases, or rather basements, raised under pilasters in vimānas, &c., Mánasara gives twelve different heights, to be used in so many different stories one above another; the first height consisting of thirty angulas, and the last of four hastas, each of the intermediate ones being increased in the proportion of six angulas. The same author also prescribes the heights of pedestals to be constructed in the houses of the several classes, as follows: Brahmans should have them of four hastas; C'shetriyas, of three; Vaisyas, of two; and Südras, of one hasta. The remaining parts of this chapter enumerate, at much length, the proportions of the component parts of no less than sixty-four different sorts of bases, under various denominations, as prati bandha, ecabandha, praticram a pushpapushacala, sribandha, manchabandha, srénibandha, &c. &c.; but as it would be extremely tedious to repeat in detail the measures of the different members of each sort, I pass them over here, referring the reader to Plates II. and III., which contain designs of twenty-eight sorts of bases,
with the heights and projections of all their parts therein notified.
The fifteenth chapter of the Mánasára treats of the several sorts of pillars, their various dimensions, forms, and ornaments, as does likewise the ninth section of the Cásyapa : the two together seem to afford all the requisite information on this head. “The height of a pillar,” says Mánasóra, “when placed on a base only, or both on a base and pedestal, is measured from the plinth (of the former) up to the lowest part of the entablature,” that is, from the base to the capital inclusive. A passage in the
Cásyapa states, that the measurement may also be taken from the cimbia
ON THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE HINDUS. 29
of the shaft, exclusive of the base. “Let the height of the pillar,” continues the first-mentioned author, “be divided into twelve, eleven, ten, nine, or eight parts, and one be taken for the breadth of the foot of the shaft; and the same being divided again by the number of parts of which the height of the pillar may consist, let the upper extremity of it be diminished by one of those parts respectively.” “The height of the pillar,” says Cásyapa, “may be three times that of the base, or six or eight times that of the pedestal; the breadth of the pillar may be a sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, or tenth part of its height; if it be made of wood or stone, one-third, or onefourth, or one-sixth of the height if it be a pilaster joined to a wall, (cudyastambha).”
Various names are given to pillars, by way of distinction, with regard to their forms: “A square pillar is called brahmacánta; an octangular one, vishnucánta ; that which is circular or has sixteen sides, rudracánta; that which has five sides, sivacánta ; and that which has six sides, s/chandacánta.” The whole shaft may be of the same form, or in pillars of other forms, than square ; the bottom, middle, and top may be quadrangular, and the intermediate spaces of other forms. “If the whole shaft from bottom to top be uniformly cylindrical and devoid of ornament, it is called chandracánta.
A minute technical description is here given by the two authors abovementioned, of the various ornaments with which the several sorts of pillars are adorned, but as an accurate idea can be formed of them only by ocular observation of these decorations, it has been deemed unnecessary to follow our text too closely on this subject. It may, however, be useful to take a general view of the different kinds of pillars and their ornaments as described by Mánasara, illustrating them by designs, partly taken from his descriptions, and partly from the models found in temples and porticoes of a pure Hindú style.
Pillars of Indian architecture may, with respect to the dimensions, be The first sort* is a column six diameters high; it is rarely made but upon a high base and pedestal. The entablature is more than half the altitude of the column; and the intercolumniation generally four diameters. The pedestal is of the second sort of the pratibandha kind, see Plate I. ; and its height is equal to that of the base, which is one-third of that of the column itself, or two diameters. The base is called manchabandha, and is divisible into thirty parts. The capital is equal in height to the upper diameter of the shaft, and its projection is equal to its height. The form of the capital is called pushpabandha. “The height of the capital,” says Mánasára, “may be either equal to the breadth of the shaft, or one-half or three-quarters of it, according as it may appear proportionate to the size of the column.” Let the breadth of it be either one, one and a-quarter, half, or three-quarters of the diameter.” I cannot find in any of the authors a description of this capital, and it is only mentioned by name by Mánasóra and others, I have given the design of it from the specimens found in buildings in the vicinity of Madras; and the artists call it in Tamil pittaleibódicai, literally “flowerheaded capital.”
divided into seven sorts.
The entablature placed on this column does not differ from that placed on other pillars, except, perhaps, in the height, which I have already stated to be very great. On this subject Mānasara observes generally, “The whole height of the entablature may be either three-quarters, one, one and a-quarter, one and a-half, one and three-quarters, or twice that of the base.” “The height of the entablature may be a half, one-fourth, or three-quarters of that of the shaft.” “Or the height of the pillar being divided into eight parts, six, five, three, or two may be given to that of the entablature.” “The height of the entablature is measured from the architrave up to the
corona.” Its form will be described in another place.
* In the following description of pillars every member belonging to an order is considered, and particularly the entablature, which is made the subject of a distinct chapter in the
oN THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE HINDUS. 31
The second sort of column is seven diameters in height; it is placed in most examples upon a base and pedestal; the base is two diameters high; it belongs to the species called cumbhandha. (See Plate II.)
The pedestal is equal in height to three-fourths of the base, and is of the kind called védibadhra (Plate I.) The column is also placed, as may be seen in another design (Plate IV.), only on a pedestal which is equal to half the height of the pillar, and which is one of the sorts called munchabhadra. The capital given to the first design of this pillar is taken from a model found at Tiruvattur, near Madras; it is the same which Mánasara and others call tarangabódhica, and is one diameter high and projects equal to its height. Speaking of this sort of capital, Mánasára says, “it should be decorated with tarangas” and other appropriate ornaments; the height of the capital being divided into twelve parts, let the form of tarangas occupy three of them, let the bódhica (capital), which should resemble the cobra de capello, occupy six, and adorned with flowers and the like, and let one part above this be given to ****, + one to the cima, and one to the listel. The projecting part of the bódhica should be fashioned like the stalk of a plantain flower. At the upper extremity are the tarangas, of equal height or something more. The lower part of the head of the bódhica is one-third of the upper in breadth, and a third of the former being divided into five parts, one of them is given to the cavetto, one to the fillet, two to the cima, and one to the listel; and the whole should be decorated with foliages, rows of gems, and the like.” In another place the same author says, “Let the capital (bódhica) be made to consist of one, two, three, four, five, or six faces, according to the situation in which it is placed.”
The other form of capital given to the column in the second design, is taken from a mantápa at Maylaptor. It is to be met with in many other
* Literally waves, a term applied to denote the projecting moulding employed in capitals, terminating by a number of undulating lines. See Plate IV. fig. 2. t Here a word in the original manuscript is not legible.
ancient buildings, and is what the artists call in Tamil surul-bódhica, roll capital. I cannot find any particular description of it, except a passage in the Mánasára, which says, “ the projecting ornaments on the sides of the capital are made either in the form of an inverted apex or of a chacra, wheel, or circle.” It is one diameter in height, and projects but threequarters of the diameter. There is not any particular rule respecting the intercolumniation of these or any other sorts of pillars; but in porticoes, where these pillars are found, the space between one column and another exceeds three diameters. The general rule laid down in the Mánasára is this: “The intercolumniation may be either two, three, four, or five diameters; it is measured in three ways, 1st. from the inner extremity of the base of one pillar to that of another; 2dly. from the centre of the two pillars; and, 3dly. from the outer extremities of the pillars including the two bases.” The latter method of measuring the intercolumniations is, I am inclined to believe, applicable to the pilasters in gateways or temples only, not to simple colonnades. The third sort of column, with its base and capital, is eight diameters high, with a diminution of the shaft at the top of the eighth part of the thickness at its bottom. The base occupies half a diameter, and this height is to be divided into ten parts; two to be given to the plinth, one to the fillet; three to the cimacia and its fillet, one and a half to the cavetto, the same to the torus, and one to the cimbia. The whole projection of the base is half of its height. The following passage from the Mānasara refers to this kind of base: “Let a base ornamented with the lotus be made under the foot of the pillar, one or two diameters in height, and let it be adorned with figures of demons, lions, and the like.” The height of the capital, which is made after the manner of the
p'haláca” is three-quarters of the lower diameter of the column, and is
* The forms of this ornament may be seen in Plate VI.