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Title: Early Buddhist architecture of Bengal : morphological study on the vihāra of c. 3rd to 8th centuries
Author: Reza, M. H.
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2012
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This dissertation examines the evolution of early Buddhist architectural forms of Bengal, specifically its vihāra and shrine structures. In general, this research explores Gupta and post-Gupta (c. third to eighth centuries AD) vihāra architecture of Bengal, where the primary focus is on the Buddhist shrine architecture constructed during this period. There is a preconception amongst historians that the period between the Gupta and the Pāla periods was characterized by disorder and chaos, commonly known as the period of Matsyanyayam. This is the reason why discussions on the architectural history of Bengal have generally commenced from the Pāla period (c. 750 AD onwards). Analyzing extant and new evidences this study argues that the Buddhist architecture of Bengal thrived during the intervening period, albeit under the patronage of local kings and rulers. In the field of art and sculpture it is accepted that Buddhist Pāla art was a continuation of previous Gupta art forms, where post-Gupta period acted as the transition or a bridge. Following this general pattern, as this thesis argues, the rectangular Gupta shrine plan takes a mature cruciform shape during the Pāla period through a complex morphological development. The nature of Buddhist shrine architecture in Bengal during the early Gupta, later Gupta, and post-Gupta periods is described in the light of analyzed archaeological findings and architectural trends. As no extant remains of superstructures have been identified for any early Buddhist architecture in Bengal, this study also proposes their likely appearance through virtual reconstruction of selected shrines that also include the conjectural architectural plans for the early stage of its development as a preparation for further analysis. Through these analyses the thesis completes the study of morphological development of the Bengal vihāra of the pre-Pāla period, suggesting that the superstructure generally followed the north Indian Nāgara language.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available