Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Friday, 23 January 2015

Angkor Wat : "a site of curiosity till today... "

Standing amidst  a moat measuring 1300 to 1500 m , covering roughly 5.5km, occupying 80 hectares of land area and 250 hectare compound , is the Great Angkor Wat temple , standing strong with glory since 1113 A.D , the year it was created , under the reign of Survarman II , a Khymer emperor who ruled from 1112-1152. Till today , this human worked out piece of architecture , art and engineering stands out to be a facinating resource for archaelogists and historians . 

Angkor Wat meaning , a city of monastery , which came from sanskrit word Nagara , was built in the city of Angkor , located in modern day Cambodia , once a capital of the Khmer Empire . The city may have inhabited 1 million people and hundreds of temples , which itself places it t be one of the largest cities of the world until the "Industrial Revolution".

"It orignally served as a Hindu temple" , hich dedicated to honour of Vishnu (The Protector) but was later transformed to a buddhist temple in the 16th to 19th century with a few statues added to it . 


"Analysis of the Directions of the Temple " 

"A Religous Temple built facing the west "
Normally all religous temples arre built facing the east , while Angkor Wat was bulit facing the west . The reason for the same being that this monument served as a funeral temple .However , we can notice that , most f the monumental temples built in stone at the Angkor period that remained today , those always served as funeral temples either facing east or facing west.

(W-N) its bas-reliefs depicting a popular Hindu myth under the subject of Ramayana in which Rama , was Vishnu's seventh incarnation , preserving hindu teachings from demon king Ravana .

(W-S) its relief depicting another Hindu epic under the subject of Mahabaratta.Krishna , being LOord Vishnu's eight incarnation .

(S-W) gallery of Angkor Wat has its bas-reliefs depicting the real history of king Suryavarman II, his wives, his Brahmins, his astrologists, his courts, his army, his attendants and his concubines so on.

(S-E) has its relief depicting the life in the 36 heavens and the life of 32 hells.

(E-S) The gallery bas-relief of Angkor Wat is depicting the very famous Hindu’s mythology"the Churning of the sea milk " including appearing of Vishnu's second incarnation , "Kurma or turtle "

(E-N) This gallery which depicting the war scene of the Hindu epic."Victory of Vishnu over demons "

In Khmer art, Lord Vishnu is  mentioned as a young and good-looking man. He was very strong, and he liked to teach his enemy with tough lessons , but he was gentle with the innocence people because he promoted virtue into the universe.

          "A Magnificient Structure stabilized till today !!!"

It is surrounded by a 650 foot wide (200m) moat that encompasses a perimeter of more than 3 miles (5km). This moat is 13 feet deep (4m) and wold have helped stabilize the temple's foundation , preventing groundwater from rising too high or falling too low .

             "Architectural and Mythological  Analysis " 


Gateway , Entrances , Doorways and Towers:


Its main entrance was to the west , as being associated with Vishnu , believed to be God of the west , across a stone causeway 250m long , built to cross the moat and reach the entrance , with guardian lions marking the way, as according to the Hindu myths, Brahma God of Creator took lion as his palace's doorway guardian


The lion statue of Angkor Wat made with a single piece of sandstone, its tail believed to have as metal material. It had been already destroyed by Siamese in the 14th to 15th century, but took to restore by the French in 1920 to1970.  

Behind the lion statues, they put the naga statues to serve as the balustrade always along the causeway on the both sides. The naga is a mythical snake and according to the Hindu myth, the naga was a god of the underworld.

 The seven headed naga is symbolic of the seven days of week, and seven colors of rainbow.

To the east of the temple is a second modest entrance . 

Surrounding the wall of Angkor Wat,  are these four entrances, but the three located on the north (Ta Leuk), on the east (Ta Ku) and on the south (Ta Pich) designed smaller and simpler with only one door way. 
While the western entrance (Ta Reach) built so elaborate with 200m long and designed with five doorways.  
Social Importance of the doorways : These five  doorways at the main entrance of Angkor Wat, were as , one  in the middle for the king, royalty and his Brahmins using, while two other were people and king entourages usinng it and the two more entrances located at the end of the gateway structure were used for transportation due to these gates have no stair, and they are just flat.
The causeway is symbolic of Rainbow Bridge,for making a connection from one world to another. While the moat surrounding the temple is symbolic of the ocean, and enclosing laterite wall is symbolic of mountains range at the edge of the universe, which represented to protect Mt. Meru. It was a mythical mountain to serve as a home for the Hindu Gods, and locatedin the center of the universe. Thus, Angkor Wat and all the Khmer temples in the Angkor period symbolized of Mt Meru abode of Hindu Gods , beyond the Himalayas.

The heart of the temple was the central tower , entered by way of a steep staircase , a statue of Vishnu at the top . This tower was once the symbolic center of the nation and the actual center where secular and sacred power joined forces , writes researcher Eleanor Mannika in the book " Angkor : Celestial temples of the Khmer empire "

"From parallel space , Vishnu and the King ruled the Khmer people"

 Hidden paintings ,recently discovered , reveal of the central power . 

those towers were destroyed as a part to attempt of reduce the Khmer power by enemy  during they occupied Cambodia between 1352 to 1432.

Among of those intricate carving in this section, the Apsaras are the most highlight and interesting motifs, they carved it all over temple complex there are approximately 1800, The artisan carved in to many different designed like headdresses belts and others

The causeway is leading to the main temple sanctuary is known as the second causeway for Angkor Wat temple, it is measuring of 350m long from the entrance to the main temple building

you can view only three towers appearing from the main temple sanctuary, while they designed in total with five towers. The reason for that, since two more towers are at the back row hidden behind with the two at the front row. The three towers that we are viewing the one in the middle is not appearing inrow, it’s actually stands at the back further about at least 30m from the two on the side.

Khmer temple has so fancy decorated detail carving every where from the bottom to the top of its structure. Because for the gods, they must live so fancy and sophisticated decoration
Two buildings located along the causeway between entrance and main structure, were libraries. It must appear in pair. Because when the people came to worship, they had to pray and learn the theory of the temple before they inter to the shrines. The function of two libraries is one the right for using during the full moon time, while another one on the left for using during the new moon time.

 The Three levels :
Angkor Wat temple designed with three levels with its 65m height.
 The first level of Angkor Wat known as the gallery of teaching or the gallery of the bas-reliefs. This level has its structure measure of 180m by 250m. Also represented to the underworld of the universe

The second level known as the gallery of meditation. In addition, represent to the world. 
While the third level is represent to paradises and to serve as a place for the king and royalty and high priests came to worship to god Vishnu. Public was not allowed to this level .  The public had their own spot for their religious activities at the second level.

"History Of Angkor Wat :


History of the king who  completed the E-N gallery , King Ang Chan cosidered himself  as great king of Cambodian in the middle era for Cambodia history

He saw Angkor Wat temple by an accident when he came to hunt wild elephants for training them into the domestic one. He was a king who so skillful with elephant hunter. Since he saw the temples in Angkor, he decided to stay at Angkor for a while in order to help for restoration the temple structures.

During his stay in Angkor, the king took some restoration works at Angkor Wat temple, he cleared the forest away from the temple structures,e installed many Buddha statues at the ancient Hindu temples, especially he installed hundreds of Buddha statues in Angkor Wat where has known today as "Thousands Buddha Hall"

The gallery of ( N-E ) has its relief which still depicting the Hindu myth. Despite, this relief carved under the reign of King Ang Chan in the 16th century.The relief of this panel is the same styleas the relief in the panel of E-N as well. Because done by King Ang Chan while King Suryavarman II did not complete the relief in gallery

The subject of this myth is "Victory of Lord Vishnu over Demon King Bana". The story starts from the east corner of the panel,he beginning (eastern corner side) you see a garuda is putting off the fire, because he had got this order from his boss Lord Vishnu.

Then you see Agni God of Fire riding on a rhino that is manifesting to create fire in order to stop Lord Vishnu and his army from being chased Bana king of demon and his men. Agni was doing this action because Lord Shiva ordered him to do. Since Lord Shiva promised to protect Bana and his men from Lord Vishnu.

Finally, Garuda was able to convince Agni. That is why we see Lord Vishnu riding on Garuda who appearing with many arms in an action of chasing Bana and his men.

At the middle part of the panel, we see Bana king of demon is confronting with Lord Vishnu. Bana who is appearing on a chariot which pulling by tigers

The end (to the west corner ) of the scene, we see Lord Shiva who has a long beard and who is sitting in his palace in Kalasa with his two sons Kanesa and Skanda and also Agni who carrying an axe in his hand. The war end and Lord Vishnu moved to relax "Cosmic Sleep"  on a Naga in the ocean of milk with his consort Laksmei doing massage at his legs for him

here are colored on the relief of this panel as well. This color was painting mostly by the Buddhist monks who living in Angkor Wat as their monastery.  Since the capital city of Angkor abandoned to Phnom Penh after the Thais sacked

So called "One Thousand Buddha Hall" is a building located between the first level gallery to the second level gallery building. The One Thousand Buddha

Hall is also located in the middle point of whole Angkor Wat compound . Buddha statues are in this hall, had installed in the 15th to the 19th century.An addition, the word "Wat" was coming behind the word "Angkor" since the time that Angkor Wat became the Buddhist temple, because "Wat" is meaning the Buddhist monastery.  In Khmer Rouge Regime, about 60% of the Buddha statues had been removed away, and the rest about 40% in 1985 government moved to preserve in the national Museum in Phnom Penh. Otherwise, there were full of five rows of Buddha statues in these halls. That is why the reason people called this place of Angkor Wat as "One Thousand Buddha Hall".

It  also has four pools. One of these pools located in each side between the cruciform gallery buildings. When you are standing in the middle point of the cruciform galleries, you will be so surprised to see its perfect lines running up to four direction of the temple. In addition, this point considered as the center point of the universe as well.

The third level structure of Angkor Wat was represented of Heavens, and where at that time was served as a place for only king, royalty and high Brahmins use for their ritual ceremony. Not for the common people,

The twelve stairways at the third level of Angkor Wat are represented the twelve year of the animal zodiac.To reach up there, you will have the four pools as the same as the Hall of the Thousand Buddha as well. These pools are located surrounding the central tower, and had used as the sane purpose as the pools at the down stair too. At the central tower used to install a golden statue of Vishnu in an action of riding on Garuda's shoulders. 

Also at the doors of the central tower had closed by Buddhist monks at between the15th to 16th centuries
Construction techniques

Building Angkor Wat was an enormous undertaking that involved quarrying, careful artistic work and lots of digging.

 To create the moat around the temple, 1.5 million cubic meters (53 million cubic feet) of sand and silt were moved, a task that would have required thousands of people working at one time. The buildings at Angkor Wat posed their own challenges. To support them a tough material called laterite was used, which in turn was encased with softer sandstone that was used for carving the reliefs. 

These sandstone blocks were quarried at the Kulen Hills, about 18 miles (30 km) to the north. Recent research proves that they were transported to the site by a series of canals. Beneath the central tower was a shaft that leads to a chamber where, in 1934, archaeologists found “two pieces of crystal and two gold leaves far beneath where the Vishnu statue must have been,” Coe writes, adding that deposits like these “spiritually ‘energized’ a temple, much as a battery will provide power to a portable electronic device.”



Although Angkor Wat is dedicated to Vishnu, the full purpose of the temple is still debated. One question is whether the ashes of Suryavarman II were interred in the monument, perhaps in the same chamber where the deposits were found. If that were the case it would give the temple a funerary meaning.


" The study  this piece of architectural brilliance left me awstruck seeing its blend with history , mythology , beauty , art and science as well....Exploring this man carved piece of art in real is a delight for any architectural enthusiast like me .... Hope you learned something new about our past too "



 (Sources : My teacher , Archana Verma ma'am and her lessons , Google images , Wikipedia and UNESCO site

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Da Vinci : painting techniques unveiled ...

Da Vinci or baptized as "Leonardo Da Vinci" was born on April 15, 1452.He is easily recognized as one of the greatest painters the world has ever known.He was also known for being a "chronic procrastinator"
"It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things."
-- Leonardo Da Vinci

Da vinci acquired great fame in his entire life for his varied works as a sculptor , draftsman , engineer , painter in the renaissance period .

His numerous skills have earned him the  title of "Renaissance master"

He was greatly infuenced with science ,his this fascination towards science and his in-depth study of human anatomy aided him in mastering the realist art form.
While Leonardo's contemporaries(other painters) were known to create static figures in their works.
Leonardo always tried to incorporate movement,,break the trend and highlight expression into his own paintings. All the personages,portraits, in his works are painted with great accuracy and outstanding details that it is sometimes said that Da Vinci painted from the bones outward(out of the blue)

He lived till the age of 67 only but had a lopng lasting impression impression on everyone even today, by his works
There are only 20 notebooks and few paintings by DaVinci as records preserved now over the hundreds of years since Leonardo's time not more than this could be gathered as  His life experiences all influenced his works and often, his paintings never left the sketchpad, or were only partially completed, as Leonardo often abandoned his commissions in order to flee from social situations.
His most  well reknoned works ,famous paintings, and the most popular Da Vinci posters around, are those of
                                                   "The Last Supper"

A mathematical and Astrological Puzzle Plus a secret Musical Score 

Like mona lisa . the last supper has also been the target of much speculation , usually centered around supposed hidden messages  found within the painting .

Slavisa Pesci , an information technologist , created an interesting visual effect by overlaying a semitransparent , mirrored version of the painting on top of the original .The result is that two figures that look like Templar Knights appear at both ends of the table , while someone who is possibly holding an infant to Jesus' left 

GIovanni Maria Pala , an Italian musician, has also indicated thatthe positions f hands and loaves of bread can be interpreted as a note on a musical staff , and if read from right to left , as was characteristic of Da vinci's writing they form a musical composition.

Sabrina Sforza Galitzia , a Vatican researcher , claimed to have deciphered the "mathematical and astrological " pzzle in Leonardo's "The Last Supper". She said that he foresaw the end of the world in  a "universal flood" which would begin on march 21, 4006 and end on November 1 that same year . She believed that this would mark "a new start for humanity"

                                                    "The Mona Lisa"

                                                              " Vitruvian Man" 
The Proportions of the Human Figure.-Da Vinci modeled his perfect human form after the proportions laid out by Vitruvius, an ancient Roman architect. The angry-looking man drawn by Da Vinci has reason to smile - he's now considered one of the most recognizable figures on earth.
Throughout his entire lifetime , Da vinci developed several painting techniques 
  • From painting on a dry stone wall to using wetplaster on the work surface he was requested to paint(paid basis).
  • He typically painted from oil paints prepared by himself from ground pigments , in later part of his career he even worked with Tempera , made from Egg White
  •  The surface which he chose to work at included a canvas , board , or stone , while painting a mural.
  •  As he began to paint , he would start by covering the canvas with a pale gray or brown colour , using the neutral colour for underpainting , after which he painted withy a fine layer of transparent glazes within a small range of  tones (shades). Typically , the colours he widely used included natural hues 
  • Da vinci never liked using intense or bold colours or bold colours or tints in contrasting colours .  
  •  By using such a small range of colours , he was able to give his finished works a more attractive appearance
Wall Painting
  • The Leonardo Da Vinci painting technique used natural hues that were muted in intensity . 
  • Most often , his works used blues , browns and greens in accordance to the earth itself 
  • He also incorporated neutral grays , typically for underpainting .
  • Leonardo incorporated glazes using the Da Vinci painting technique of "Sfumato"
  • Meaning , "like smoke" smufato basically includes applying dark glazes in place of blunt colours to add a depth and a shade that could not achieved if it was not used . 
  • Da Vinci also explained for how he created compound colour(mixed shadings) by painting a transparent colour lies over another colour different from it . This technique what he described as a compound colour , that is composed of the colours he used only , but which differs from and is identical each of the simple colours that he widely used .
  • One of his most well-known paintings , The Mona Lisa , displays some of the techniques used by Da Vinci in its grandeur in his passionable work 
  • For instance , the use of sfumato(smoke illusion technique) gave the painting an illusion of somberness and mystery , while his choice of colour palette reflects why her lips and eyes are so pale (sadness and smile alterness ) 
"Thence , on going through a variety of stuff , what i can conclude is that Da Vinci was a great genius in the field of painting .Me, myself being a painter , a lover of art , look up to his work with great respect and amazement , for he brought into a new insight of science to his paintings in the era when science was not that advanced or well-known even . His intellect untoubtedly places him on the hall of fame of human race . I personally , work on human anatomy , and figurs and postures in huamn body language in my pieces of work as a painter , so to me the father to my art is "Da Vinci " who not just introduced but also vividly explained a whole dimension in the field of creative instincts of human brain.... "