Manasara (English translation)

by Prasanna Kumar Acharya | 1933

This page describes “the pedestals for columns (upapitha)” which is Chapter 13 of the Manasara (English translation): an encyclopedic work dealing with the science of Indian architecture and sculptures. The Manasara was originaly written in Sanskrit (in roughly 10,000 verses) and dates to the 5th century A.D. or earlier.

Chapter 13 - The pedestals for columns (upapīṭha)

1. I will now give briefly an account of the pedestals for columns (upapīṭha) in this science (of architecture).[1]

2. The pedestal (upapīṭha) is attached to the base which (latter) is situated on the upper part.[2]

3-7. The height of this base (i.e., the one attached to the pedestal) is divided into four parts; of these the first part from the plinth to the upper band (or fillet) is divided beginning from one, and increasing by one and ending at eight parts: this should be the height of the pedestal, (which is) stated to be of nine varieties, or it may be of twelve varieties when it (its height) extends gradually to the middle portion (i.e. up to the two parts out of the four into which the height of the base is divided).[3]

8-10. In the case of the small type of buildings the height (of the base) being divided into four equal parks, two parts, three parts, or even (all the) four parts may be the height (of the pedestal), and (thus) it (the height of pedestal) should be of fifteen kinds, comprising five types, namely, Śantika and others (i.e. Pauṣṭika, Jayada, Adbhūta, and Sarvakamika).

11-13. As an alternative, in the case of the intermediate type of buildings, the five varieties of height (of the pedestal), (beginning with) Śāntika and ending with. Sarvakāmika, are stated to be two parts, three parts, four parts, five parts, and up to six parts.

14-16. As an alternative, in the case of the large type of buildings the five varieties of height (of the pedestal), (represented) by five (proportions) beginning with Śāntika, are stated to be three parts, four parts, five parts, sis parts, and up to seven parts.

17-20. The projection of the pedestal belonging to the column of the main building should extend outwards from the plinth of the wall, and be equal to the height of the small type, or greater by one-fourth, one-half, three-fourths, or twice (of it) in particular.

20-26. It (the projection) is stated in proportionate measure (also): it (the height of the pedestal) should be divided into seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, or fifteen (equal parts) in particular; of those parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, or eight parts are stated, as before, to be the projection (of the pedestal); but whichever (gives) beautiful proportion (should be selected).

27-29, As an alternative, this projection (of the pedestal) is (also) stated in cubit measure: the nine varieties of projection begin from one cubit and, increasing by one-fourth cubit, end at three cubits.

30-34. As an alternative, the projection (of the pedestal is stated also) in the daṇḍa (rod of two yards) measure: the projection of the pedestal extending outwards from the column may be one, one-and-one-half, two, two-and-half, three, three-and-half, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine daṇḍa (rods)

35. Thus is specified the projection (of the pedestal); the proportionate measure (of its component mouldings) will be stated here (below).

Four kinds of Vedi-Bhadra:

36-52. Of the twenty-four parts of the height (of the pedestal) five parts are said to be the plinth (upāna); the fillet (kampa) is said to be of one part, and the dado (grīva) of twelve parts; the fillet (kampa) should be one part, the fillet (vājana) four parts, and the fillet (kampa) one part; this is stated to be the (one variety of) Vedi-Bhadra. As an alternative, of the twelve parts, the plinth (janman) should be made of two parts, the cyma (padmā), of one part and the fillet (kampa) of half a part; the dado (kaṇṭha) should be of five parts, the corona (kṣepaṇa) of half a part, and the cyma (padma) of one parb; the height of the fillet (paṭṭikā) should be made of one-and-a-half parts, and the fillet (kampa) of half of a part. Or of the same measurement (i e. twelve parts), one-and-a-half parts should be the height of the plinth (pāduka); above that the cyma (abja) should be of the same height, and the fillet (kampa) should be made of half a part; the dado (grīva) should be of five-and-a-half parts, and the corona (kṣepaṇa) of half a part; above that the cyma (padmā) should be of one part, and the fillet (vājana) of one part; and above that the fillet (kampa) should be made of one-and-a-half parts by the wise (architect). (Again) of the same (twelve) parta, the plinth (upāna) and the cyma (ambuja) should otherwise be together of two parts; the fillet (kampa,) should be half a part, the ear (karṇa) the same, above that and the fillet (paṭṭikā) one part; the dado (kandhara) is stated to be of five parts, and the fillet (kampa) should be made of half a part; the height of the fillet (vājana) should be two parts, and the fillet (kampa) should be made of half a part: the Vedi-Bhadra, of (these) four varieties, is suited to all kinds of buildings.

Four kinds of Prati-Bhadra:

53-89. (In the first variety) the height of the pedestal (upapīṭha) should be divided into twenty-six (equal) parts; of those parts the plinth (janman) should be of three parts, and the fillet (kampa) of one part; above that the cyma (abja) should be of two parts, and the fillet (kampa) should be made of one part; the dado (grīva) should be eleven parts, and above that the fillet (kampa) one part; the cyma (ambuja) should be twice that; and the height of the corona (kapota) three parts; above that the interval (antarita) should be one part, and the cavetto (prativājana) equal to that (i.e. one part). According to some (architects) the height of the pedestal should be divided into thirty-two parts: (of these), the plinth (janman) should be two parts, and the corona (kṣepaṇa) half a part; the cyma (padma) should be of two parts and a half and the small cyma (kṣudrābja) half a part; equal to that should be the fillet (kampa) above it, and the dado (Jiandhara) above two parts; the fillet (kampa) should be half a part, so also the cyma (abja) and the fillet (paṭṭikā) above should be two parts; above that the cyma (padma) should be half a part, the fillet (kampa) half a part, and the dado (kandhara) ten parts; the fillet (kampa) should be half a part, and the cyma (padma) below should be made of one part; above that the fillet (kampa) should be hall a part, and the dado (kandhara) above one part; the fillet (uttara) above should be one part, and the corona (kṣepaṇa) should be half a part, and the cyma (ambuja) half a part; the height of the corona (kapota) should be three parts, and the fillet (āliṅga) hall a, part; the interval (antarita) above should be one part, and the cavetto (prativājana) one part. The height of the pedestal should be otherwise (divided into) one part more (i.e. thirty-three parts); (of these) the height of the plinth (janman) should be two parts and a half, and the fillet (kampa) above that half a part; the height of the cyma (padma) should be made of three parts, and the fillet (kampa) of half a part; the dado (kandhara) is said to be equal to that (i.e., half a part), and the fillet (kampa) half a part and the cyma (ambuja) the same; above that the vajra-kumbha (club-shaped pitcher)[4] should be made of two parts; the petal (dala,) should be one and half parts, and the height of the gala (dado), the fillet (uttara), and the half-fillet (ardha-kampa) should be five, two, and seven parts (respectively) and the cyma (saroruha) above half of that; the height of the corona (kapota) should be three parts, and the fillet (āliṅga) half a part; the interval (antarita) above should be one part, and the cavetto (prativājana) one part. The whole (height of the pedestal) being divided into still one part more (i.e., thirty-four parts), the plinth (janmān) should be two parts and a half; above that the fillet (kampa) should be half a part, and the height of the cyma (padma) three parts; the fillet (kampa) should be half a part, so also the ear (karṇa), the fillet (kampa) should be half a part and the cyma (ambuja) the same, the ratna (jewel) paṭṭa (fillet) should be two parts, the petal (dala) half a part, and the corona (kṣepaṇa) half a part; the ear (karṇa) should be one parṭ, above that the corona (kṣepaṇa) half a part, and the cyma (ambuja) one part; the corona (kṣepaṇa) should be one part and a half, and dado (kaṇṭha) above that eleven parts; the fillet (uttara) should be one part, the half-fillet (ardha-kampa) half a part, and the cyma (ambuja) above two parts; the corona (kapota) should be one part and a half, the fillet (āliṅga) one part and a half, and the interval (antarita) one part; the cavetto (Prati i.e. Prativājana) should be one part, and the fillet (vājana) above should be one part and a half: Pratibhadra, of four varieties, is thus described; this is fit as the pedestal for the edifices of gods, Brahmins, and Kings (Kṣatriyas).

Four kinds of Mañca-Bhadra:

90-124. The height (of the pedestal) being divided into thirty (equal) parts, the height of the plinth (janma) should be three parts; the fillet (kampa) above should be half a part, and the large cyma (mahāmbuja) three parts; the fillet (kampa) should be half a part, the dado (kaṇṭha) two parts, the fillet (kampa) half a part, and so also the cyma (ambuja); the corona (kapota) should be one part and a half, and the cavetto (prativājana) two parts; above that the dado (kaṇṭha) should be eight parts, and fillet (uttara) one part; and above that the corona (kṣepaṇa) should be (one part) the cyma (padma) one-and-a-half parts, and the beam (gopānaka) three parts; with the remaining parts should be made the fillet (āliṅga), the interval (antarita), and the cavetto (prativājana). The same (height) (in the second variety) being divided into one part more, the plinth (upana) is stated to be three parts; the fillet (kampa) above should be half a part, and the cyma (saroruha) three parts and a half; the corona (kṣepaṇa) should be a half part, the fillet (kampa), the ear (karṇa), and the cyma (ambuja) half a part each; the beam (gopāna) should be two parts and a half, and its cavetto (prativājana) three parts; above that the dado (gala) should be eight parts, and the fillet (uttara) one part; the fillet (kampa) should be half a part, so also the cyma (abja), and the height of the corona (kapota) should be three parts; the fillet (āliṅga), the interval (antarita), and the cavetto (prativājana) should be half a part, half a part and one part and a half respectively. The height of the pedestal (in the third variety) being divided into thirty-three parts, the plinth (upāna) is said to be two parts; above that the fillet (kampa) should be half a part, and the larga cyma (mahāmbuja) two parts and half; above that the small cyma. (kṣudrābja) should be one part and a half, the fillet (kampa) half apart, and the interval (antarita) above two parts; the fillet (kampa) should be half a part, so also the cyma (padma), and the height of the fillet (paṭṭikā) one part; the cyma (padma) should be half a part, so also the fillet (kampa), and its dado (gala) should be five parts; the fillet (uttara) above should be one part, the fillet (kampa) half a part, and so also the cyma (ambuja); the corona (kopota [kapota?]) should be one and half parts, and the cavetto (prativājana) should be equal to that; above that the interval (antarita) and the ear (karṇa) should be three parts, (together) and the fillet (uttara) one part; the fillet (kampa) should be half a part, so also the cyma (padma), and the height of the corona (kapota) should be three parts; and the remaining parts should be given to the fillet (āliṅga), interval (antarita) and the dado (gala) (together) with the upper fillet (uttara) as one part. (Once again) the height should be divided into thirty-four parts; (of these) the height of the plinth (jānman) should be three parts, and the fillet (kampa) should be made of half a part; the cyma (abja) (and) above that the small cyma (kṣudrapadma) should (together) be three and half parts; the fillet (kampa) should be half a part, the dado (gala) seven parts, and the interval (antara) one part; the fillet (kampa) should be made of half a part, the cyma (padma) of half a part, and the filament (aṃśuka) of two parts and a half, the corona (kapota) should be made of one part and a half, the fillet (āliṅga) of one part; the two intervals (antara) and the two ears (karṇa) should be (together) six parts, and the fillet (uttara) above that should be one part; the fillet (kampa) and the cyma (abja) should be half a part each, and the height of the beam (gopāna) should be three parts; above that the first fillet (āliṅga) and the (second) fillet (vājana) should be made of two parts only: the Mañcabhadra of these four varieties is thus described separately (lit. by names).

Projection:

12-5-128. The projections of all the mouldings beginning with the plinth, in connection with the (pedestals for the) temples of Śiva and Viṣṇu, and the palace of the universal monarch (cakravartin), as also the temples of all other deities, are stated here in order as has been laid down by the ancients versed in the science (of architecture).

129-131. The projection of the plinth extending from the pillar may be equal to (the height of) the plinth, or greater by one-fourth, one-hall, or three-fourths, or twice that,

132-135. As an alternative, the projection of the plinth, extending from the base of the pillar should be measured in rods (of four cubits each), and is stated to be equal to one rod; or greater by one-fourth, one-half, or three-fourths of a rod; or two rods, or three rods.

136-138. As another alternative, the projection of the plinth extending from the same (base of the pillar) in cubit measure is also stated to begin from one-fourth, cubit, and should increase by the same (one-fourth. cubit) ending at one-and-half cubits.

138-142. The projection of the cyma, (padma) will be considered (here): the projection of the cyma should be equal to its height; or greater by one-fourth, hall, or three-fourths; or twice; as an alternative the above mentioned proportions may be applied in cubit; measure also; (in all cases) the projection of the cyma should be symmetrical to the height of the pedestal.

143. The projections of the small cyma (khudrapadma), and fillets (kampa) should preferably be equal to them.

144. The projections of the fillet (paṭṭikā) and all otter mouldings should be equal to them.

145. All the (various) parts of the pedestal together with those at the top should be made symmetrical to the (main) structure.

146. All the pedestals should be decorated with foliage (lit, leaves).

147. The fillet (between two mouldings) should be furnished with, calyx (nāṭaka) and all the cymas (i.e., including cyma-recta and cyma-reversa) with petals

148-149. The kamya (lower fillets) and vājana (fillets) at the bottom and the top (of the pedestal) should be square in shape, or they should be decorated with bejewelled flowers, leaves and such other figures.

150-151. The cavetto (prativājana) parts should be adorned with other ornaments; for this purpose the cavetto (parts) should be consolidated with kankar (gravels).

152-153. The antara (intervals or the parting fillets) and the other parts should be furnished with rows of images of leographs, like a sword, the whole (also) being almost circular and adorned with flowers.

154. The other details, of all the mouldings, not specified here should be carried out at one’s own discretion.

Thus in the Mānasāra, the science of architecture, the thirteenth chapter, entitled: “The description of the pedestals for columns (upapīṭha).”

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

The Pedestal is the lowest division in a column, also called stylobates and stereobates, consisting of three principal parts, namely, the die, the cornice, and the base (see the writer’s Dictionary, page 86). It is employed for support, heightening the column, and increasing the beauty as stated in the Mayamata, (XIII. 1):—“rakṣarthamunnatārthaṃ ca śobhārthaṃ tat pravakṣyate |”

[2]:

The situation of the pedestal is more clearly stated in the Mayamata (XIII, I): it should be placed underneath the base:—“adhiṣṭhānasya cādhastādupapīṭhaṃ prayojayet |”

[3]:

That is, when the height of the pedestal is one-fourth of the height of the base it is again divided into nine varieties; and when, the former is half of the latter, it is divided into twelve varieties.

[4]:

i.e., elongated pitcher.

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