04:30 PM to 07:10 PM W
Innovation Hall 336
Section Information for Fall 2022
The rock-cut architecture at world-famous sites like Ajanta, Ellora, Elephanta, Bamiyan, Dunhuang, Longmen and many others have captured the imaginations of visitors and devotees for centuries. These structures are not built with bricks or timber, rather they have been carved into the sides of mountains. The sites are notable not just for their antiquity and religious significance, but also for the ingenious and sophisticated techniques used to create them. Somewhere between works of architecture and massive sculptures, these monasteries and temples have survived centuries of use and/or abandonment. Because of their enduring nature, these primarily Buddhist and Hindu sites provide rare opportunities for understanding Asia’s past. Each week this seminar will explore a different site and will begin by exploring the origins of the rock-cut architectural form in the third century BCE India. Subsequent classes will introduce some of the most important examples created in later periods and different regions in South and East Asia. We will examine what we know about these sites’ histories, how they were made, and what was required to maintain them in antiquity—as well as how they are being protected from threats today.