Adam Hardy, The Temple Architecture of India
(Chichester: Wiley, 2007)
The Temple Architecture of India is a book by Adam Hardy published by Wiley in November 2007 (ISBN: 0 470028270). The study is the result of nearly 25 years of research in this field.
The temples of India (Buddhist, Hindu and Jain) are unparalleled in their combination of direct sensuous appeal and complex formal structure. Starting from basics and setting the architecture in its historical, cultural and religious context, this book explains the principles and processes underlying the designs of these monuments. It traces the origins and formation of the two classical ‘languages’ of Indian temple architecture, the northern Nagara and southern Dravida, and their extraordinarily varied development during the great age of temple building between the 6th and 13th centuries. The book surveys the continuing vitality of these systems up to the present, and explores the lessons that can be learned from them by architects and artists today.
By giving a coherent explanation of how to look at this architecture, as a whole and in detail, the book is able to convey a lucid and comprehensive understanding of the design conception of the temples and of their development. The starting point of the analysis is the realisation that the principal elements of temple designs are themselves images of temples. Once this is recognised, the complex architectural compositions become clear. It can then be seen that a widespread concern of this architecture is the expression of movement. Recurrent perceptions of the cosmos and the divine in Indian religion and philosophy are shown to have close parallels in patterns of emanation and centrifugal growth embodied in architectural form.
This is a generously illustrated work, and the numerous photographs and analytical drawings are an integral part of its arguments.
Excerpts from reviews:
‘His new book offers the most thought provoking thesis on temple architecture since Stella Kramrisch’s enduringly famous study The Hindu Temple (1946)’
‘Adam Hardy, one of Europe’s prominent researchers of South Asian architecture, stands apart from his contemporaries on account of his willingness to convey historical and stylistic analyses in innovative and engaging formats’
‘[Hardy] presents a unified view of the nature of architectural developments based on an underlying design principle in tune with a basic Indian mythopoeic world view’
‘Son ourvrage fait vraiement date dans l’histoire des travaux sur le temple indien’
‘His sweeping approach and hundreds of beautiful images will provide a dazzling introduction for non-specialists. The crisply produced drawings, illustrating a wide range of architectural forms and processes, will be highly useful to any serious student of Indian temple architecture. And Hardy’s conclusions, developed over decades of study and through intimate engagement with monuments in the field, will interest scholars for many years to come’
‘The synthetic overview… is both ambitious and engaging, and it is written by an acknowledged authority in the field. Given the book’s accessible prose and excellent illustrations, the book will serve admirably as an introduction to temple architecture, whether for the general reader or for the student in an undergraduate course on Indian art and architecture. At the same time, however, the volume is conceived as much more than just a compendium of established knowledge in its field…’
‘Architectural History should be taught in this manner… Hardy’s book is a model to emulate. It should motivate academics and scholars in Indian institutions to undertake similar creative engagement with their past.’