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New Light on Hampi : Recent Research at Vijayanagara

George Michell (Editor) John M. Fritz (Author)
Synopsis For more than twenty years now, an international team of researchers has been investigating the layout, architecture, and art of Hampi, identified with the 14th to 16th-century imperial city of Vijayanagara. John M. Fritz and George Michell, who are co-directors of this project and also guest editors of this volume, offer an introduction which gives an overview of the exploration and documentation of this largest and grandest of all South Indian urban sites, taking into account the most recent discoveries and interpretations. In order to illustrate these advances, they have assembled a group of scholars with whom they have worked at Hampi, whose articles are included here. The considerable range of topics covered by these scholars fully illustrates the inter-disciplinary nature of the project. The early Vijayanagara period shrines in and around the village of Hampi are the topic of Philip B. Wagoner’s contribution, which examines the crucial links between temple building and royal patronage. Alexandra Mack considers the layout and monuments of the later Vitthalapura district, which functioned as an active pilgrimage centre in another part of the Sacred Centre. Anila Verghese reveals a further aspect of religious life at the capital in her account of the sculpted sati stones and hero stones dotted around the site. Other authors focus on the courtly buildings of the Royal Centre of Vijayanagara. Channabasappa S. Patil describes the palaces excavated in this part of the city over the last twenty-five years, which now constitute the earliest and most complete evidence for courtly residential architecture in South India. Anna L. Dallapiccola turns her attention to the Great Platform, traditionally associated with the Mahanavami festival, of interest for its vigorous relief carvings portraying the activities and pastimes of the Vijayanagara kings and those in their service. The Royal Centre is also of interest for its sultanate-styled pleasure pavilions and service structures, including the celebrated Elephant Stables. Many of these buildings are adorned with rich plasterwork, the designs of which are studied by Helen Philon, who compares them to contemporary dated mosques and tombs at the nearby Bahmani sites. Dominic J. Davison-Jenkins examines the water supply system with which Vijayanagara was provided and upon which its population depended. Vijayanagara also incorporated a vast hinterland with extensive fortifications, hydraulic works, and residential and craft production centres, traces of which can still be seen, and which are the subject of the article by Carla M. Sinopoli and Kathleen D. Morrison. John McKim Malville considers the spatial and cosmic relationships between the magnificent landscape in which the ruins of Vijayanagara are disposed, and the principal religious monuments of the city. Hampi is now on the UNESCO World Heritage List, but its unique natural and archaeological heritage faces innumerable threats. They are reviewed by Nalini Thakur, who also sets out the essential principles on which any future management plan of the site must be based.
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About the authors

George Michell

George Michell obtained his PhD in the field of early western Chalukya temple architecture from the School of Oriental African Studies, University of London, in 1974. From 1974 to 1977, he directed courses on Asian architecture at the Architectural Association, London, and was the co-editor of Art and Archaeology Research Papers from 1972 to 1982. Since the 1980s, he has co-directed an international team of scholars and students at Vijayanagara, the medieval Hindu site in Karnataka. George Michell has also lectured at universities and museums throughout the USA, Europe, India and Australia. Among his many Publications are The Royal Palaces of India, Islamic Heritage of the Deccan, Architecture of the Islamic World: Its History and Social Meaning and Hindu Art and Architecture.

John M. Fritz

Dr. John M. Fritz is Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, USA. Together with George Michell, he has been co-director of the Vijayanagara research project since 1981. He has carried out a detailed archaeological survey of the Vijayanagara site.

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Bibliographic information

Title New Light on Hampi : Recent Research at Vijayanagara
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2004
Edition Reprint
Publisher Marg Publications
Language: English
isbn 818502653X
length xvi+140p., Maps; Plate; Figures; Bibliography; Index; 34cm.