Monday, February 14, 2011

Williams Heather IAR 221 Reading Response 5

Fire Temple in modern-day Iran (Ching 234)
Architecture of structures has changed throughout time based on religion. They began with having an arch shape, to a square structure, and then to a square structure containing a circle. An example of a first attempt of this building in the text by Ching are the Zoroastrian Fire Temples built around faith. "The role of fire in the religious services was mainly symbolic and served the purpose of consecration, much as the cross does in a Christian context"(Ching 234). This quote from the text represents the importance of religion in ancient structures. In these particular temples cult statues were removed and rituals were  performed which lead to the chain of these Fire Temples. Another example of the way religion shapes architecture is represented in Agenta Caves on page 235 of Ching's text.
These rock-cut structures are representative of the journey that a Buddhist takes in reaching nirvana. For example, the structure is in 3 sections: first, you enter at the porch, and then circumambulate around the space. This direction is provided by the paths made by the columns, and leads you to the inner sanctum where the cult figure is found. While physically taking this journey, buddhists are also representing the journey to nirvana. Many columns on the way are carved with symbolic representations where the buddha reached enlightenment as well as the stupa. I found this interesting because compared to these ritualistic structures, our structures today have little meaning and are constructed poorly for their purpose.

Interior of Cave No. 19 at Ajanta (Ching 237)
I wanted to relate this buddhist structure to the My Son temple in Da Nang, Vietnam because this temple is also cut from rock and is constructed to serve a ritualistic and spiritual purpose. This is found on page 283 of Ching's text. This temple is a Hindu temple that also represents a trip to higher spiritual knowledge. To support this, the temple is made of three stories representing kailasa, the abode of Shiva, and they walk around the temple clockwise and then go up the stairs to the next level on their way to meditate to Shiva.

In the text by Roth, it explains how the fall of the Roman Empire lead to Christianity through Constantine. "At first, there was no need for specialized architecture, for the small Christian groups adapted their worship to the available spaces in private homes"(Roth 279). This quote shows how christianity, the ritual or belief, came first and shaped the architecture after around specific purposes. Buildings were constructed to allow large numbers of people to use the building and space was enclosed to allow people to hear words being spoken and for the sound of the psalms they sang. This relates to the same way the Tire temples, the Ajenta caves, and the My Son temple in Vietnam were constructed because they were all based around spiritual purposes and ritualistic practices.

1 comment:

  1. be precise and analytical in your writing and the images you include. make use of titles and annotations to further underscore your points.