India: the Art of the Temple
Emanating temple forms

Indian temple architecture expresses a process of emanation, reflecting ideas about hierarchies of gods proceeding one from another, and about the birth and evolution of the universe. The process begins with the geometric construction of circles traced on the ground at sunrise to orientate the temple and to lay out the ground plan.

Patterns of emanation in the architectural forms themselves come about through the way in which temples are designed: successions of increasingly complex forms are created, each extrapolated from earlier, simpler ones. Through this process temple forms become dynamic, appearing to emerge, expand and proliferate. The effect is one of forms growing out from formlessness, and ultimately dissolving back into formlessness.

This animation is based on the forms and principles of Indian temple architecture, and conceived as a series of images unfolding in cycles. Its rhythmic structure is underlined by the specially created musical accompaniment.

Concept and drawings: Professor Adam Hardy, Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University
Animation: Simon Fleming and Craig Macleod, Campbell and Co., Edinburgh
Music: M Balachandar (mridangam), Balu Raguraman (violin) and B Sampathkumar (nadaswaram), Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, London

Funded by the World Collections Programme

Presented by the Shanghai Museum and the British Museum with the collaboration of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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