Historical Sculpture and the Cultural Influence

Historical Sculpture and the Cultural Influence.

Historical Sculpture and the Cultural Influence

  1. Question Two

In ancient times, people often associated mountains as a sacred place and this notion affected people life. This is well demonstrated by architectural work of temples and other structures. The temples were designed to resemble mountains. For instance, the inside of the temple was to resemble mountain cave. Moreover, the space within the temples was synonymous with the mountain caves. As one moved deeper into the cave one was defined as more sacred. This is because the space of a cave was defined as sacred as one’s go deep inside. Also, the top of the mountain was also a sacred place and held in high esteem. This is why the front of the temples are regarded as holy ground for religious leaders just as the deepest corner of the caves. Furthermore, most temples are built rising from the ground and have people worship in the high ground compared to other building. This is done solely to symbolize the temple as a sacred place just like the mountains. Therefore, the likeliness of the temples to the mountains and the cave is to respect ancient sacred places.

A perfect example of a temple that resembles mountains and mountain cave is the Borobudur temples, which is one of the most adored and adorned in the Buddhist world. The architecture of the Borobudur is majorly based on the philosophies, religion, and cosmology of the Buddhists and the temple is a symbol that represents Mount Meru, which is often present in the Indian Cosmology. The temple space is designed in a hierarchical order that defines the art and the architecture of this monument mountain. The position of authorities is defined by their level of importance (Brown 251). This is to mean that the most important figures would be placed at the top or remotely inside the church.

Another example is the Sudhana who is shown seated outside while holding his hands whereas Ratnacuda is seated inside his beautiful home that represents a temple. Things like trees that were used as part of decorations too were part of the major architectural plan to symbolize things like honor, wealth, and status. Inside and around Borobudur is ninety-two Dhyani Buddha statues, and in each scene, there are tales that explain Buddha’s life. This was designed in a manner that it help understanding the idea behind Buddhism spiritual path. Hence, it can be said that religion and cosmology played a major role in designing Borobudur. Visual imagery were used to emphasize ancient religion beliefs that were characterized with rich textual visualization.

Borobudur is a replica of the Universe, and a space that can be said is much more like a bible, and its space is used in designing mountain symbol and micro-cosmos. These are divided into three parts; the man’s world of desire; the world where a man can control his impulses; and finally a world where worldly desires no longer bind man. Borobudur represents the philosophy, religious beliefs, and cosmology of Buddhism. Art and architecture highly influenced the symbols and references made on the mountain to achieve this, In conclusion, it can be said that art was a dominant way of explaining the importance of sacred places. Therefore, Borobudur is one of the greatest monuments, and its architectural design and space communicate of beliefs to generation after generation.

  1. Question Three

The temple architecture represented the culture and beliefs of the community. For instance, the stair-step design was used in Borobudur temples and was only to be used by anointed people. This was because no ordinary person was around to go on top of the mountain to play, but was for a few. Only special priests and members of the clergy were allowed to step on top of the staircase. Also, the temples housed the images of gods at the altar. Most temples across the world were built on marble and other forms of stones that were carved with sloppy roofs. These were supported using columns designed in various styles as well as placements. Most of them adopted a simple paper plan where the floors were decorated using different types of tiles. In the world today, most temple architecture and design are influenced by the advancements in the levels of technology.

Buddhism and Hinduism constructed shrines around mountains. This was so because people has had high regard with mountains. Also, within and outside temples were sculptors of deities that were placed on top of the building. Thus, most of the shrines and were characterized by sculptural objects. The statues used in these shrines were representations of gods both in the temples and in the stupas. One common about Buddhism and Hinduism religions is the fact that the shrines were often designed and built on mountains. In addition to this, the temples were rich in architectural ornaments considered as religious narratives. The oldest of all is the Indonesian architecture, Dieng that is in the Central Java. One of the thing that makes it unique is the squat shape and the horizontal moldings that are manifested on the broad outlines (Soekmono 1).

While building the temples, emphases were put on the elevation by increasing the number of bands. For instance, Borobudur structural and architectural narratives take the shape of a pyramid, and the one thing that makes it stand out is its decoration, sculpture, and the reliefs. The two architectural design are mainly a display of order and narrate the cultures behind their existence. The multiplicity of the structural elements alongside the decorations used in the stupa and temple was not only to narrate the hierarchal nature of the cultures but also a path which must be followed from one level to another; it was a representation of supreme. Moreover, there were sculptures of deities that would usher one from one point of elevation to another. The only difference that comes in between the two different cultures was the fact that the Hindu architects were mainly concerned with the external symmetry rather than the deeper meaning of the monuments displayed in Buddhism temple (Fontein 4).

With the temples of East and Central Java, there was uniqueness in the way candis were decorated. The Central Javanese architecture decorations were used to provide visual support and subtle accents. Another difference in the two forms of architecture is that Buddhists dedicated only a small amount of their shrines to their deity, and thus their art was a form of a journey that moved to a higher place. In Hinduism, especially in the Eastern and Central Java the shrines of worship were built and designed in a way to recognize the coexistence of the religions (Soekmono 7). To Buddhism, the architectural space was shaped as a mountain was used to represent the core teachings of the religion. In Hinduism, the narratives are mainly arranged to display a hierarchy of worship and the changes of the religion through time; and the architectural space of the monuments barely have anything to do with the teachings of the religion but rather the elements of the religion. The Hinduism would often build statues of kings and queens along these architectural structures as commemorative shrines. The deities were presumed to have been united with upon their death and therefore the information was mainly for the kings and queens and their different deities.




Works Cited

Brown, Robert L. “A Place in the Sacred Biography at Borobudur.” Pilgrims, Patrons, and Place: Localizing Sanctity in Asian Religions. UBC, 2011. Print.

Fontein, Jan. The Sculpture of Indonesia. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1990. Print.

Soekmono, R. “Indonesian Architecture of the Classical Period: A Brief Survey.” The Sculpture of Indonesia. New York: Harry N Abrams, 1990. Print.

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Historical Sculpture and the Cultural Influence