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INDIAN ARCHITECTURE

It provides for a mayor elected every four years, a single legislative chamber, a common council, and various administrative departments—of public safety, public health, &c. The guiding principle of the charter, which is generally accepted as a model of its kind, is that of the complete separation of powers and the absolute placing of responsibility.

On the admission of Indiana as a state, Congress gave to it four sections of public land as a site on which to establish a state capital. This was located in 1820 in almost the exact geographical centre of the state, where a small settlement had recently been made, and the town of Indianapolis was laid out in the following year. It was then in the midst of dense forests and was wholly unconnected by roads with other parts of the state. Upon its final acceptance as the capital, there was some activity in land speculation, but Indianapolis had only 600 inhabitants and a single street when the seat of government was removed thither in 1824. The legislature met here for the first time in 1825. Some impetus was given to the city’s growth by the completion of the National Road, and later by the opening of railways, but until after the Civil War its advancement was slow. It was incorporated as a town in 1832, its population then being 1000. The first state capitol was completed in 1836. Indianapolis suffered severely from the business panic of 1837, and ten years later, when it received its first city charter, it had only about 6000 inhabitants; in the same year a free public school system was inaugurated.

Authorities.—B. R. Sulgrove, History of Indianapolis and Marion County (Philadelphia, 1884); M. R. Hyman, Handbook of Indianapolis (Indianapolis, 1907); Nathaniel Bolton, “Early History of Indianapolis and Central Indiana” (Indiana Historical Society’s Publications, No. 5, 1897); W. R. Holloway, Indianapolis, a Historical and Statistical Sketch (Indianapolis, 1870); the Indianapolis Board of Trade’s Report on the Industries of Indianapolis (1889); Civic Studies of Indianapolis (Indianapolis, 1907 seq.), edited by Arthur W. Dunne; and P. S. Heath’s sketch of Indianapolis in L. P. Powell’s Historic Towns of the Western States (New York, 1901).

INDIAN ARCHITECTURE. The development of architectural art in India is of the highest interest for the history of the subject; and whatever may be our estimate of its aesthetic qualities, we can hardly fail to realize that Indian builders attained with marked success the aims they had before them, though they employed arrangements and adopted forms and details very different from those of western builders in ancient and medieval times. These forms and adaptations, of course, require study properly to understand them, and to recognize the adjustment of the designs to their purposes. But besides the scientific advantages of such a study, it has been well remarked by Fergusson, to whose genius the history of Indian architecture is so specially due as its creator, that “it will undoubtedly be conceded by those who are familiar with the subject that, for certain qualities, the Indian buildings are unrivalled. They display an exuberance of fancy, a lavishness of labour, and an elaboration of detail to be found nowhere else.” Besides, if anywhere the history of a country is imprinted in its architecture, it is in India that it throws the most continuous, distinct and varied light on that history.

In the early architecture of India, as in that of Burma, China and Japan till the present day, wood was solely or almost solely employed; and it was only about the 3rd century B.C. that stone became largely used as the material for important structures; if brick or stone were in use previously, it was only for foundations and engineering purposes. Even at the end of the 4th century B.C. Megasthenes states that Pataliputra, the capital of Chandragupta—the Sandrokottos of Greek writers—was “surrounded by a wooden wall pierced with loop-holes for the discharge of arrows.” And if the capital were defended by such palisading, we may fairly infer that the architecture of the time was wholly wooden. On the Sānchi gateways, brick walls are indeed represented, but apparently only as fences or limits with serrated copings, but not in architectural structures. And at whatever date stone came to be introduced, the Hindus continued and repeated the forms they had employed in the earlier material, and preserved their own style, so that it bore witness to the general antecedent use of wood. Hence we are able to trace its conversion into lithic forms until finally its origin disappears in its absorption in later styles.

India possesses no historical work to afford us a landmark previous to the invasion of Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C., nor do we know of an architectural monument of earlier date. For later periods there are fortunately a few examples dated by inscriptions, and for others by applying the scientific principles developed by Thomas Rickman for the discrimination of other styles and the relative ages of architectural works, we are enabled to arrange the monuments of India approximately in chronological sequence or order of succession.

The invasion of Alexander and the westward spread of Buddhism brought India into contact with Persia, where the Achaemenian kings had hewn out mausolea in the rocks, and built palaces with stone basements, doorways and pillars, filling in the walls with bricks. These works would attract the attention of Indian visitors—ambassadors, missionaries and merchants; and the report of such magnificent works would lead to their imitation.

About the middle of the 3rd century B.C. we find the great Asoka, the grandson of Chandragupta, in communication with the contemporary kings of Syria, Egypt, Macedonia, Epirus and Cyrene; and to his reign belong the great stone pillars, with capitals of Persian type, that are engraved with his religious edicts. A convert to Buddhism, Asoka is credited with the construction all over the country of vast numbers of stūpas—monumental structures enshrining relics of Sakyamuni Buddha or other Buddhist saints; and with them were erected monasteries and chapels for the monks.

On the monumental pillars, known as lāts, set up by this emperor, besides the Persepolitan form of capital, we find the honeysuckle with the bead and reel and the cable ornaments that were employed in earlier Persian carvings; and though not continued later in India proper, these prevailed in use in Afghanistan for some centuries after the Christian era. This seems to indicate that these forms first came from Persia along with the ideas that led to the change of wooden architecture for that of stone.

The stūpas were structures that may be regarded as conventional architectural substitutes for funeral tumuli, and were constructed to enshrine relics of Buddha or of his more notable disciples, or even to mark the scene of notable events in the tradition of his life. How relic-worship originated and came to hold so large a place in the Buddhist cult we can hardly conjecture: the sentiment could not have arisen for the first time on the death of Gotama Buddha, when, we are told, eight stūpas were built over his corporeal relics, a ninth over the vessel with which they were divided, and a tenth over the charcoal of the funeral pile.

These stūpas, known as dāgabas in Ceylon, and chaityas in Nepal, are called topes in the ordinary patois of upper India. They consisted of a low circular drum supporting a hemispherical dome of less diameter and leaving a ramp or berme round it of a few feet in width. Round the drum was an open passage for circumambulation, and the whole was enclosed by a massive stone railing with lofty gates on four sides. These railings and gateways are their principal architectural features; the rails are constructed as closely as possible after wooden patterns, and examples are still found at Sānchi and Buddh-Gayā[1]; what remained of the Bharahat stūpa was transferred to the Calcutta Museum, and portions of the Amrāvatī rail are now in the British and Madras museums. The uprights and cross bars of the rails were in many cases covered with elaborate carvings of scenes of the most varied kinds, and are illustrative of manners and customs as well as of the art of sculpture.

The great stūpa at Sānchi in Bhopal is now the most entire of the class, as it still retains the gateways—styled torans—which must have been a feature of all stūpas, though perhaps mostly

  1. The restoration of the shrine at Buddh-Gaya was begun in 1908 under the auspices of the Buddhist Shrine Restoration Society, of which the Tashi Lama was first president and the eldest son of the maharaja of Sikkim vice-president.