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Title: Contemporary uses of Vastu Vidya, the traditional Indian knowledge of architecture.
Author: Chakrabarti, Vibhuti.
ISNI:       0000 0000 5303 7983
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1996
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This study is the first to explore the secular uses of Vastu Vidya or the traditional Indian science of architecture, at the levels of both theory and contemporary practice. It is also the first to treat Vastu Vidya as constituting a coherent and complete architectural programme within the Indian tradition. In providing a comprehensive overview of the corpus of Vastu Vidya, the study makes ample reference to the representative texts on the subject of architecture, and also to those on allied subjects that fall within the same tradition, such as astrology, medicine, philosophy, the visual and performing arts, and codes of conduct. Structured like the layout of a typical Vastu Vidya text, the work covers all of the primary prescriptions for dwelling design. Today, the use of Vastu Vidya as a complete architectural design methodology has diminished value, but this study identifies various fragmented uses of the corpus of Vastu Vidya which continue directly and indirectly to influence architectural practice; and it analyses the new roles which such fragments take on. The architectural tradition of Vastu Vidya stands apart from the recognised architectural profession and is being modified and rewritten, adopting meanings and uses unprecedented in its history. Aspects of Vastu Vidya are being redefined to facilitate their uses in the mainstream contemporary architectural practice. The study examines how modern architects view and use Vastu Vidya; how Vastu consultants, in their redefined role, negotiate some aspects of Vastu Vidya for the contemporary architectural practice, assisted by their indifference towards architectural design; how craftsmen, whose skills and knowledge fall outside the ambit of mainstream architectural practice, struggle to survive and confront modernity; and how priests and astrologers continue to perform rituals and offer advice on the suitability of elements of construction, without interfering with the architectural envelope. Some of the new roles of Vastu Vidya are so remote from its traditional role that it may be unrecognisable as a part of Vastu Vidya; but each of these uses, albeit fragmentary, are generally projected as authentic uses of Vastu Vidya. This is the only study to examine mutation in the application of fragments of Vastu Vidya, while viewing it in the perspective of the whole and original body of knowledge.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Architecture