This paper is an attempt to reconsider our current understanding of the role accorded to the mandala within traditional Indian architecture. It is generally held that the mandala-in particular the Vāstupuruṣamaṇḍala, the mandala associated with vāstu (inhabited or built site)-has played a determining role in the genesis of architectural form in India. Within more popular, and less circumspect, writings, this influence is held to be directly formal; the Vāstupuruṣamaṇḍala is traditionally drawn within a square grid, and any sign of an orthogonal planning or a grid-like layout is taken to be a sign that the form in question was based upon the mandala. In investigating the foundations of such a belief, this paper reviews two bodies of literature. The first is modern art-historical scholarship, an examination of which shows that the idea of a morphogenetic mandala emerged only recently, and that it was not so much culled from the traditional writing as constructed afresh by art historians such as Kramrisch. The other body of literature examined is that of the traditional writings on architecture, many of which are cited as key sources of evidence for this idea. Here it is argued that there is almost no direct evidence for the use of mandalas in laying out complexes or designing buildings, and that such ideas of the use of mandalas rest on several assumptions that must themselves be questioned.

Notes

Notes
1
Carmen Kargal, ed., Vistara: The Architecture ofIndia (New Delhi, 1986)
Kargal
Vistara: The Architecture ofIndia
1986
Satish Davar, "A filigree city spun out of nothingness," Marg 30, no. 4 (1977): 35-58
Davar
4
35
30
Marg
1977
G.H.R. Tillotson, The Rajput Palaces (New Haven, 1987)
Tillotson
The Rajput Palaces
1987
Christopher Tadgell, History ofArchitecture in India (London, 1991)
Tadgell
History ofArchitecture in India
1991
A. Roy, "The Dream and the Plan," Marg 30, no. 4 (1977): 25-26
Roy
4
25
30
Marg
1977
2
Tillotson, Rajput Palaces, 80-84
Tillotson
80
Rajput Palaces
Andreas Vol- wahsen, LivingArchitecture-Indian (New York, 1969), 50-57
Volwahsen
50
LivingArchitecture-Indian
1969
4
Stella Kramrisch, The Hindu Temple (Calcutta, 1946), 437-442
Kramrisch
437
The Hindu Temple
1946
Alice Boner, Sadashiva Rath Sharma, and Bettina Baumer, Vdstusu-tra Upaniiad (Delhi, 1986)
Boner
Sadashiva Rath Sharma, and Bettina Baumer, Vdstusu-tra Upaniiad
1986
Bruno Dagens, trans., Mayamatam (Delhi, 1994)
Dagens
Mayamatam
1994
Nath Shukla, Vastushastra: Hindu Science of Architecture (New Delhi, 1995; rep. of 1960 ed.), 67-85
Shukla
67
Vastushastra: Hindu Science of Architecture
1960
Tarapada Bhattacharya's important review, A Study on Vastuvidya or Canons of Indian Architecture (Patna, 1947)
Bhattacharya
A Study on Vastuvidya or Canons of Indian Architecture
1947
5
KdmikSgama
KdmikSgama
6
Dagens, trans., Mayamatam, xli.
xli
7
Vdstusfitra Upanisad
Bhattacharya, "The position of the Vastusutropanishad," in Boner et al., Vdstusftra Upaniiad, 30-36
Bhattacharya
The position of the Vastusutropanishad
30
Vdstusftra Upaniiad
8
Chaps. 2 58-270 on pratimd lakianam and vastu were added to Matsyapu- rdna around A.D. 550-650 and chaps. 252-257 around A.D. 650-1000
Chaps. 21-106, 263-272, and 317-326 of the Agnipurdna were all added after the ninth century
R. C. Hazra, Studies in the Puranic Records on the Hindu Rites and Customs (New Delhi, 1987), 176
Hazra
176
Studies in the Puranic Records on the Hindu Rites and Customs
1987
9
B. Keith, History of Sanskrit Literature [Oxford, 1928], 452-462
Keith
452
History of Sanskrit Literature
1928
Trautmann, Kautilya and the Arthaidstra: A statistical investigation of the authorship and the evolution of the text (Leiden, 1971)
Trautmann
Kautilya and the Arthaidstra: A statistical investigation of the authorship and the evolution of the text
1971
10
Kramrisch, Hindu Temple, 5
Kramrisch
5
Hindu Temple
Brhatsam.bhitd
Visnudharmottara
Visnudharmottara
11
Shukla, Vastushastra, 25-26.
Shukla
25
Vastushastra
12
Dagens, trans., Mayamatam, xli.
xli
13
T. Goudriaan and S. Gupta, Hindu Tantric and Sukta Literature (Wiesbaden, 1981)
Goudriaan
Hindu Tantric and Sukta Literature
1981
14
Ernest Binfield Havell, The Ancient and Medieval Architecture oflndia: A Study of the Indo-Aryan Civilization (New Delhi, 1972
Havell
The Ancient and Medieval Architecture oflndia: A Study of the Indo-Aryan Civilization
1972
1915 original ed.), 9-17
15
The Architecture of the Manasdra was pub- lished in 1934 by the Oxford University Press
The Architecture of the Manasdra
1934
16
P. K. Acharya, The Architecture of the Manassra (New Delhi, 1980
Acharya
The Architecture of the Manassra
1980
1934 original ed.
18
Acharya, Mdnasdra (1980), 764
764
19
Ram Raz's Essay on the Architecture of the Hindoos (London, 1834)
Raz
Essay on the Architecture of the Hindoos
1834
Manasdra
Acharya, Mayamatam
Acharya
Mayamatam
Mdnasdra
Dagens (Mayamatam, xliv-xlv)
xliv
Mdnasdra
Mayamtam
20
Dagens, trans., Mayamatam, 387 (23.2-3).
387
21
Ibid., 65 (9.32).
65
22
Mayamatam (10.1-12)
Mayamatam (9.41-56)
41
23
"Pecakabhigadyisanabhigantam canditam proktam. Sutradinyath visamasthinini ca varjayenamatiman." Mayamatam 10.16b-17a (Dagens's translation).
16b
24
Mayamatam (7.49): "Sadvansamekahrdayam caturmar- mam catur'iram medinayam vastupurusam nikubjam prakliram viduh."
49
25
"Nivasata sarvadevinam visturiti abhidiyate." Matsyapurana, chap. 226.
Nivasata sarvadevinam visturiti abhidiyate
Matsyapurana
26
"Yatra ca yane grhitam vibhutenadhisthitih si tatraiva." Brhatsam.zhita 53. 3.
Yatra ca yane grhitam vibhutenadhisthitih si tatraiva
3
53
Brhatsam.zhita
27
Mayamatam, 7.55-56
55
28
B. B. Dutt, Town Planning in Ancient India (New Delhi, 1977
Dutt
Town Planning in Ancient India
1977
1925 original ed.
29
Ibid., 148-150.
30
Acharya, Mdnasdra, 44, 46
44
31
Kramrisch, Hindu Temple, 65-98.
Kramrisch
65
Hindu Temple
32
Ibid., 67.
67
33
Ibid., 40-43
40
34
n. 38
35
Alain Danielou, Hindu Polythe- ism (New York, 1964), 79-138
Danielou
79
Hindu Polytheism
1964
Brhaddryanaka Upanishad 3.9.1-9
36
Danielou, Hindu Polytheism, 233f.
Danielou
Hindu Polytheism
37
Vibhuti Chakrabarti, Indian Architectural Theory [Richmond, Surrey, 1998], 63-86
Chakrabarti
63
Indian Architectural Theory
1998
38
Rg Veda, 2.27.1
Danielou, Hindu Polytheism, 112-127
Danielou
112
Hindu Polytheism
ViSudharmottara Purdna, 29.18-30
18
29
ViSudharmottara Purdna
Kramrisch, Hindu Temple, 32-34
Kramrisch
32
Hindu Temple
39
K. P. Sankara Somayaji, Vastu- vidhana Kalpa (Bangalore, 1989)
Somayaji
Vastuvidhana Kalpa
1989
40
Kramrisch, Hindu Temple, 22.
Kramrisch
22
Hindu Temple
41
Goudriaan and Gupta, Hindu Tantric and Sukta Literature, 1-3
Goudriaan
1
Hindu Tantric and Sukta Literature
42
Giuseppe Tucci, The The- ory and Practice of the Mandala, trans. Alan Brodrick (London, 1969)
Tucci
The Theory and Practice of the Mandala
1969
43
Ibid., 135.
135
44
Ibid., 29.
29
45
Heinrich Zimmer, Artistic Form and Yoga in the Sacred Images oflndia (Princeton, 1984), 158-180
Zimmer
158
Artistic Form and Yoga in the Sacred Images oflndia
1984
Bhaskararaya on the Nityasodasikarnava
Bhaskararaya
Nityasodasikarnava
46
Alice Boner, Sadashiva Rath Sharma, and Rajendra Prasad Das, New Light on the Sun Temple ofKonark: Four unpublished manuscripts relating to the construction history and ritual of the temple (Varanasi, 1972)
47
Paul Frankl, "The secret of the medieval masons," Art Bulletin 27 (1945): 46-60.10.2307/3046979
46
48
Mathes Roriczer, Biichlein von der Fialen Gerechtigkeit (Regensburg, 1486)
Roriczer
Biichlein von der Fialen Gerechtigkeit
1486
Lon Shelby, Gothic Design Tech- niques: Fifteenth-century design notebooks ofMathes Roriczer and Hanns Schmut- termayer (Carbondale, 1977)
Shelby
Gothic Design Techniques: Fifteenth-century design notebooks ofMathes Roriczer and Hanns Schmuttermayer
1977
Shelby (46-61)
46
49
Frankl, "The secret of the medieval masons," 46.
Frankl
46
The secret of the medieval masons
50
Vistupurusamandala
Vistupurusamandala
Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, "The Philosophy of Medieval and Oriental Art," Zalmoxis 1 (1938)
Coomaraswamy
1
Zalmoxis
1938
A. K. Coomaraswamy, Coomaraswamy: Traditional Art and Symbolism, ed. R. Lipsey (Princeton, 1977), 43-70
Coomaraswamy
43
Coomaraswamy: Traditional Art and Symbolism
1977
51
letters from Ram Raz to his sponsor P Clarke (dated 13 Octo- ber 1727 and 13 January 1728) in Ram Raz, Essay, xi-xii
52
Kramrisch, Hindu Temple, 228.
Kramrisch
228
Hindu Temple
53
Ibid., 227-230.
227
54
Michael W. Meister, "On the Development of a Morphology for a Symbolic Architecture," Res 12 (Autumn 1986): 33-50
Meister
Autumn
33
12
Res
1986
Joseph Rykwert, The Idea ofa Town (Princeton, 1976)
Rykwert
The Idea ofa Town
1976
55
Michael W. Meister, "Mandala and Practice in Nagara Architec- ture in North India," Journal of the American Oriental Society 99 (1979): 204-21910.2307/602657
204
idem, "Measurement and Proportion in Hindu Temple Architecture," Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 10 (1985): 248-258
Meister
248
10
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
1985
56
Anna L. Dallapiccola, ed., Sastric Tra- ditions in Indian Arts (Stuttgart, 1989)
Dallapiccola
Sastric Traditions in Indian Arts
1989
57
Niranjan Mahapatra, Silparatnakosa, trans. B. Baumer and R. P. Das (New Delhi, 1994).
Mahapatra
Silparatnakosa
1994
58
Dutt, Town Planning, 144.
Dutt
144
Town Planning
59
Bhat, Brhatsamzhitd, 450-499, 536-546.
Bhat
450
Brhatsamzhitd
60
Meister, "Development of a Morphology," 37
Meister
37
Development of a Morphology
61
Bhat, Brhatsamhita, 477.
Bhat
477
Brhatsamhita
62
Alice Boner, "Extracts from Silpasarini," in Pramod Chandra, ed., Stud- ies in Indian Temple Architecture (Varanasi, 1975), 57-79.
Boner
Extracts from Silpasarini
57
Studies in Indian Temple Architecture
1975
63
Ibid., 66.
66
64
Michael W. Meister. "De- and Re-constructing the Indian Temple," Art Journal 49 (Winter 1990): 395.10.2307/777141
395
65
Michael W. Meister, "Analysis of temple forms: Indor," Artibus Asiae 43 (1982): 302-32010.2307/3249846
302
idem, "Siva's Forts in Central India: Temples in Dakcin Kosala and Their 'Daemonic' Plans," in Michael W. Meister, ed., Discourses on Siva (Philadelphia, 1984), 119-142
Meister
Siva's Forts in Central India: Temples in Dakcin Kosala and Their 'Daemonic' Plans
119
Discourses on Siva
1984
Meister, "De and Re-constructing the Hindu Temple."
Meister
De and Re-constructing the Hindu Temple
66
Meister, "Analysis of temple forms." The stellate plans were first dis- cussed in D. Stadtner, "Ancient Kosala and the Stellate Plan," inJ. Williams, ed., Kalddariana: American Studies in Indian Art (New Delhi, 1981), 137-146.
Meister
Analysis of temple forms
137
Ancient Kosala and the Stellate Plan
1981
67
Meister, "Analysis of Temple Forms," 311-312.
Meister
311
Analysis of Temple Forms
68
Michael W. Meister, "Mundesvari: Ambiguity and certainty in the analy- sis of a temple plan," in Williams, ed., Kalddariana, 77-89.
Meister
Mundesvari: Ambiguity and certainty in the analysis of a temple plan
77
Kalddariana
70
Vastupurusamandala
Vastupurusamandala
Kramrisch, Hindu Temple, 53-55
Kramrisch
53
Hindu Temple
Vds- tupurusa
Vdstupurusa
Vdstumandala
Vdstumandala
71
Ibid., 232.
232
72
Ibid., 228.
228
73
Meister, "Measurement and Proportion."
Meister
Measurement and Proportion
74
Ibid., 248
248
75
Ibid., 252.
252
76
Ibid., 249.
249
77
C. G. Hempel, Mind and Cosmos (Pittsburgh, 1966), 132.
Hempel
132
Mind and Cosmos
1966
78
Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, "Rape of a Nagi," Bulletin of the Museum ofFine Arts 35 (1937)
Coomaraswamy
35
Bulletin of the Museum ofFine Arts
1937
Lipsey, ed., Coomaraswamy, 331-340
Lipsey
331
Coomaraswamy
79
n. 29
80
Kramrisch, Hindu Temple, 50-57
Kramrisch
50
Hindu Temple
81
n. 53
82
John Mosteller, "Texts and Craftsmen at Work," in Michael W. Meister, ed., Making Things in South Asia: The Role ofArtists and Craftsmen (Philadelphia, 1988), 24-31
Mosteller
Texts and Craftsmen at Work
24
Making Things in South Asia: The Role ofArtists and Craftsmen
1988
83
Boner, Sharma, and Baumer, Vdstusfitra Upaniiad.
84
Ibid., 81.
81
85
Ibid., 61.
61
86
American Heritage Electronic Dictionary, 1992 (2nd edition).2
American Heritage Electronic Dictionary
1992
87
Boner, Sharma, and Baumer, Vdstusftra Upaniiad.
88
Hazra, Studies in the Puranic Records, 260-264.
Hazra
260
Studies in the Puranic Records
89
Brhatsambhitd
Brhatsambhitd
Acharya, Mdn- asdra, 44-45
Acharya
44
Mdnasdra
Town Planning in Ancient India, 149
149
90
John Huntington, "Cave Six at Aurangabad: A Tantrayana Monument," in Williams, ed., Kalddariana, 47-56.
Huntington
Cave Six at Aurangabad: A Tantrayana Monument
47
Kalddariana
91
Devangana Desai, "Placement and Significance of Erotic Sculptures in Khajuraho," in Michael W. Meister, ed., Discourses on Siva (Philadelphia, 1984), 143-156.
Desai
Placement and Significance of Erotic Sculptures in Khajuraho
143
Discourses on Siva
1984
92
Baumer and Das, Silparatnakosa, 10-12.
Baumer
10
Silparatnakosa
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