For a building to become architecture, it must be thematically essentialized through a process of ornamentation. The product of this process is beautify, or embellish, or that naturally does this. Leon Battista Alberti (AD 1404-1472), an architect considered ornament as something additional or applied: "... ornament may be defined as a form of auxiliary light and complement to beauty. From this it follows, I believe, that beauty is some inherent property, to be suffessed all through the body of that which may be called beautiful; whereas ornament, rather than being inherent, has the character of something attached or additional.
Ornamentation is that component of the art product which is added, or worked into it, for purpose of embellishment. In general, however, "ornamentation" refers to motifs and themes used in art objects, buildings, or any surface without being essential to structure and serviceability. In this sense, "ornamentation" and "decoration" are used, for the most part, interchangeably, although "decoration" has, in addition, its own special applications in the field of interior decoration and theatrical decoration, or "decor". Ornamentation, in architecture, applied embellishment in various styles that is a distinguishing characteristic of buildings. It often occurs on entablatures, columns, and the tops of buildings and around entryways and windows. Upto the middle of the 3rd century BC the course of building art in India is only indistinctly visible. With Asoka, the third Mauryan ruler of Magadha, who ascended the throne in 274 BC, the manifestation of Buddhist art contributed to the art and architecture of the time. It included number of stupas, monolithic pillars, group of rock-cut chambers and shrines. These productions directly effected the course of the art of building. Finding expression from wood in another and more lasting material such as dressed stone proved a decisive step in the cultural evolution of people. Asoka inaugurated Buddhism as the state religion of the country and with this change India marked advance in the arts. The shapes and decorative forms employed by the Indian artificers were obviously derived from the art repertory of other people, and only a few of them were indigenous. Such exotic forms are clearly Greek, Persian and a few perhaps Egyptian extraction. Brown has to say that this development of the art of working in stone, therefore, which Asoka introduced into the country represents an Indian offshoot of that forceful Greeco-Persian culture which flourished with vigour in Western Asia.
A classical art school composed of Pharoic — Hellenic — Iranian elements of distinctly effective character has a direct bearing on the style which appeared in Buddhist India. The well-known conventional motifs as the honeysuckle and palmette, the bead and fillet, the festoons and the cable moulding of Hellenic extraction actuated the Indian decorative elements. The building art followed the same course under the Sungas and Andhras (185 BC-AD 150 ). It added the gateways (toranas), displaying far more impressive design and excel in any style of architecture of ornamental purpose and imagery. The Sanchi toranas are the result of entirely Indian tradition and genius (Fig. 1). During this period, as to the stone carving, both in design and technique, there appear appreciable progress, as the plastic treatment of the Bharhut railing and the Sanchi toranas bear testimony of it (Fig. 2). Additionally, imaginative symbols of Vedic times were employed in Buddhist art, e.g., the wheel, the tree, the lotus, the trisula, the mounted gryphon, and many other motifs reproduced in a variety of forms in the subsequent art of India (Fig. 3). The Buddhist architectural surface ornaments of great elegance and appropriateness, and, when combined with the architecture, make up a whole its ethnographic as well as for its architectural beauty.
Decoration at Dhamek Stupa at Sarnath (c. AD 600) makes this ruined monument of special interest due to the unusual scheme for the decorative treatment of the stone facing, which includes ornamental elements some having significant implications. Over some of the surface surrounding a diaper pattern carved in floral scrolls appear to have been projected. Here the most original and striking designs are those forming a wide border carried around its lower circuit, one of which is floral and the other geometrical, each expressive of its own historical tradition (Fig. 4). The floral one a spiral motif, typically in Gupta style is a combination of flowing wave-like curves simulating flower stems supporting at intervals a many petalled flower medallion, an artistic conception of notable beauty and grace. Notably it stands forth as the arch type of that distinctive border of spiral curves and foliated medallions which adorns the "screen arches" forming the facade of Qutb mosque at Delhi erected many centuries later Chalukyan architecture (c. AD 450-650) exhibits excellent quality of sculpture and decoration akin to the Gupta temple style. A detailed analysis of temple architecture of both the Jains and the Hindus will show that much of its architectonic character was obtained by the surface being treated and built up of repetitions of the same architectural motif, converted into an element of decoration. The Indian builder knew architecture as a fine or liberal art, but not as a mechanical art. The temple of Kailasa at Ellora, the most stupendous single work of art and an unrivalled example of rock—architecture is finally adorned with sculpture. This plastic decoration is crowning glory something more than a record of artistic form.
The mandapas and rathas of the Pallavas (c. AD 600-900) have to offer nothing afresh in course of decoration. The mandapas at Mamallapuram are of the simplest kind as regards to the architectural treatment but are remarkable for the disposal of sculpture combined with the architectural forms. The rathas, widely known as the "Seven Pagodas” exhibit much the same architectural style as the mandapas. But the quality of the figure sculpture is remarkable.
Cholas (AD 900-1150) renewed the brilliance of architecture, as their architectural undertakings at Badami and Pattadakal manifest. The Chola sculptures exhibited voluptuous treatment of the human figure and there emerged a different animalized motif. It took the form of a string-course, the use of which as a decorative element in the temple scheme was in vogue throughout in the South India temple art. The magnificent temples of Tanjore exhibited remarkably ingenious motifs and devices showing great fertility of invention, as for example a conventional foliage, or "tree of knowledge". These testify supremely imaginative quality of embellishment. The gopurams under the Pandayas (c. AD 1100-1350), the earliest of their kind are however of the simpler and more conventional variety, and their decoration is mainly of the architectural type. The Vijyanagar dynasty (AD 1350-1565) had wonderfully rich and beautiful architecture with sumptuous plastic embellishment.
At this stage of development, the Indian architecture remarkable for the profuseness of its applied decoration reached "the extreme limit of florid magnificence".2 The principal temples of the Vijyanagar, the Vitthala and the Hazara Rama have every stone being chiselled over with the most elaborate patterns, some finely engravedand others modeled in high relief. These often depict animal motifs, half natural half mythical but wholly rhythmic. The hazara Rama temle, small but highly ornamented temple, excels in mural relief decoration. The temple in the fort at Vellore marked the zenith of Vjayanagar style. It excelled in the luxuriant character of its carving considered the richest and most beautiful structure of its kind.
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