Torana

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Toran.png
Buddhist Torana
Nagda(Rajasthan)Torana.jpg
Hindu Torana

Torana, also referred to as vandanamalikas, [1] is a free-standing ornamental or arched gateway for ceremonial purposes seen in the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain architecture of the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and parts of East Asia. [2] Chinese paifang gateways, Japanese torii gateways, [3] [4] [5] Korean Hongsalmun gateways, and Thai Sao Ching Cha [6] were derived from the Indian torana.

Contents

History

Torana of Sanchi Stupa. The stupa dates to the period of the Mauryan Empire (3rd century BC), but the torana itself dates to the Satavahana period, in the 1st century CE. The site is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Monument at Sanchi Stupa India 24.jpg
Torana of Sanchi Stupa. The stupa dates to the period of the Mauryan Empire (3rd century BC), but the torana itself dates to the Satavahana period, in the 1st century CE. The site is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Indologist art historian and archaeologist Percy Brown has traced the origin of torana from the grama-dvara (village-gateways) of the vedic era (1500 BCE – 500 BCE) village which later developed as a popular adornment for cities, places. sacred shrines. [7] According to the vedic text, the Arthasastra, the gateways of different forms were to adorn the entrance to a city or a palace. [7]

Nanda voussoir.png
Nanda period voussoir with mauryan polish
Nanda voussoir 2.png
mason's marks of archaic Brahmi

A granite stone fragment of an arch discovered by K. P. Jayaswal from Kumhrar, Pataliputra has been analysed as a pre Mauryan Nanda period keystone fragment of a trefoil arch of gateway with mason's marks of three archaic Brahmi letters inscribed on it which probably decorated a torana. [8] [9] [10] The wedge shaped stone with indentation has mauryan polish on two sides and was suspended vertically.

In Mauryan Empire, the archaeological evidence shows the Torana of Sanchi stupa dates back to 3rd century BCE. The Sanchi torana and architecture is imitation of timber and brick construction in stone, which was popular feature in Indian architecture before 3rd century BCE. [11] [12] [13]

In Kalinga architecture we can see the Toran in many temples built from the 7th to 12th centuries. Jagannath Temple, Puri, Rajarani Temple and Mukteswar Temple are the few example of Kalinga architecture having torana.

In Gujarat, several Toranas built during reign of Chaulukya dynasty (10th-12th century). They were mostly associated with temples. [14]

Types of torana

Toran from Gujarat, 20th Century, plain cotton weave with embroidery and mirror work, Honolulu Museum of Art. The hanging pieces are stylized mango leaves. Could be tied over a door as dvara-torana or hanged on a wall as bhitti-torana. Alter Cloth (Toran), Saurashtra, Gujarat, India, 20th Century, cotton, metal and mirror pieces. plain weave with embroidery and mirror work, Honolulu Academy of Arts.jpg
Toran from Gujarat, 20th Century, plain cotton weave with embroidery and mirror work, Honolulu Museum of Art. The hanging pieces are stylized mango leaves. Could be tied over a door as dvara-torana or hanged on a wall as bhitti-torana.

There are many different types of toranas, such as, patra-torana (on the scrolls or gateway adornment made of leaves), puspa-torana (made of flowers), ratna-torana (made of precious stones), stambha-torana (made on pillars), citra-torana (made of paintings), bhitti-torana (adornment made on walls, such as over the wall recess or false portals and windows, could even be a specific type of wall painting) and dvara-toranas (appended adornment over a gateway (e.g. toran) or an adorned gateways itself). [7] [1] These are mentioned in the medieval Indian architectural treatises. [1]

Socio-religious significance of torana

Hindola Torana. 9th century Torana in Madhya Pradesh, India. Hindola Toran N-MP-281 (4).jpg
Hindola Torana. 9th century Torana in Madhya Pradesh, India.

Torana is a sacred or honorific gateway in Buddhist and Hindu architecture. [15] Its typical form is a projecting cross-piece resting on two uprights or posts. It is made of wood or stone, and the cross-piece is generally of three bars placed one on the top of the other; both cross-piece and posts are usually sculpted.

Toranas are associated with Buddhist stupas like the Great Stupa in Sanchi, as well as with Jain and Hindu structures, and also with several secular structures. Symbolic toranas can also be made of flowers and even leaves and hung over the doors and at entrances, particularly in Western and Southern India. They are believed to bring good fortune and signify auspicious and festive occasions. They can also serve didactic and narrative purposes or be erected to mark the victory of a king. [16]

During Vesak festival of Sri Lanka it is a tradition to erect electrically illuminated colorful Vesak toranas in public places. These decorations are temporary installations which remain in public display for couple of weeks starting from the day of Vesak.

Usage outside India

East and Southeast Asia

Many places that were part of the Greater India and Indosphere were Indianised, as great deal of cultural exchange with India took place in ancient times, examples of cultural and religious practices influenced by the Indian practices include Thai, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and other South Asian, East Asian and Southeast Asian cultures. [17] [18] [19] [20] For example, Benzaiten is a Japanese name for the Hindu goddess Saraswati, [21] [22] and the ancient Siddhaṃ script, which disappeared from India by 1200 CE, is still written by monks in Japan. [23] [24] [25]

Ancient Indian torna sacred gateway architecture has influenced gateway architecture across asia specially where Buddhism was transmitted from India; Chinese paifang gateways [26] [3] Japanese torii gateways, [3] [6] Korean Hongsalmun gateway, [27] and Sao Ching Cha in Thailand [6] have been derived from the Indian torana. [27] The functions of all are similar, but they generally differ based on their respective architectural styles. [4] [5]

Torana Gate, Malaysia, a torana gateway) in Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur, [28] [29] is a gift from the Government of India to Malaysia, [30] construction of which in design identical to the Sanchi Stupa was completed in 2015. [31]

Torii in Japan

The famous torii at Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Japan, where the Indian Hindu goddess Saraswati is worshipped as the Buddhist-Shinto goddess Benzaiten. Torii de Miyajima 2.JPG
The famous torii at Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Japan, where the Indian Hindu goddess Saraswati is worshipped as the Buddhist-Shinto goddess Benzaiten.

The torii , a gateway erected on the approach to every Shinto shrine, was derived from the Indian "torana". [32] According to several scholars, the vast evidence shows how the torii, both etymologically and architecturally, were originally derived from the torana, a free-standing sacred ceremonial gateway which marks the entrance of a sacred enclosure, such as Hindu-Buddhist temple or shrine, or city. [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39]

Hongsalmun gateways in Korea

Hongsalmun, in red, at the tomb of legendary Korean Emperor Suro of Geumgwan Gaya and his legendary wife Queen Heo Hwang-ok believed to be an Indian princess and mother of all Koreans of Heo and Kim clans. Queen Suro Tomb3.JPG
Hongsalmun, in red, at the tomb of legendary Korean Emperor Suro of Geumgwan Gaya and his legendary wife Queen Heo Hwang-ok believed to be an Indian princess and mother of all Koreans of Heo and Kim clans.

The Hongsalmun is a gate for entering a sacred place in Korea. [40] [41] It is arranged by 2 round poles set vertically and 2 transverse bars. [40] It has no roof and door-gate and placed on the middle top gate there is a symbol of the trisula and the taegeuk image. [40] Hongsalmun is usually erected to indicate Korean Confucian sites, such as shrines, tombs, and academies such as hyanggyo and seowon . [40]

Paifang in China

The Paifang, also known as a pailou, is a traditional style of Chinese architectural arch or gateway structure. Originally derived from Indian Torana through the introduction of Buddhism to China, it has evolved into many styles and has been introduced to other East Asian countries such as Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. [27]

Toranas in India

Toranas overseas

Derived styles

See also

Related Research Articles

Gate Point of entry to a space enclosed by walls

A gate or gateway is a point of entry to a space which is enclosed by walls. Gates may prevent or control the entry or exit of individuals, or they may be merely decorative. Other terms for gate include yett and port. The word is derived from old Norse "gat", meaning road or path, and originally referred to the gap in the wall or fence, rather than the barrier which closed it. The moving part or parts of a gateway may be considered "doors", as they are fixed at one side whilst opening and closing like one.

<i>Torii</i> Traditional Japanese gate

A torii is a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine, where it symbolically marks the transition from the mundane to the sacred.

Mahabodhi Temple Buddhist temple

The Mahabodhi Temple or the Mahabodhi Mahavihar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an ancient, but much rebuilt and restored, Buddhist temple in Bodh Gaya, marking the location where the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment. Bodh Gaya is about 96 km (60 mi) from Patna, Bihar state, India.

Sanchi Buddhist complex, famous for its Great Stupa, in Madhya Pradesh, India

Sanchi is a Buddhist complex, famous for its Great Stupa, on a hilltop at Sanchi Town in Raisen District of the State of Madhya Pradesh, India. It is located in 46 kilometres (29 mi) north-east of Bhopal, capital of Madhya Pradesh.

Architecture of India Overview of the architecture in India

The architecture of India is rooted in its history, culture and religion. Among a number of architectural styles and traditions, the contrasting Hindu temple architecture and Indo-Islamic architecture are the best known historical styles. Both of these, but especially the former, have a number of regional styles within them. An early example of town planning was the Harappan architecture of the Indus Valley Civilisation. People lived in cities with baked brick houses, streets in a grid layout, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems, granaries, citadels, and clusters of large non-residential buildings. Much other early Indian architecture was in wood, which has not survived.

Stupa Mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics, used as a place of meditation

A stūpa is a mound-like or hemispherical structure containing relics that is used as a place of meditation. A related architectural term is a chaitya, which is a prayer hall or temple containing a stupa.

Buddhist temple Place of worship

A Buddhist temple or Buddhist monastery, is the place of worship for Buddhists, the followers of Buddhism. They include the structures called vihara, chaitya, stupa, wat and pagoda in different regions and languages. Temples in Buddhism represent the pure land or pure environment of a Buddha. Traditional Buddhist temples are designed to inspire inner and outer peace.

Paifang Traditional style of Chinese architectural arched gateway

A paifang, also known as a pailou, is a traditional style of Chinese architectural arch or gateway structure. Evolved from the Indian subcontinent's torana through the introduction of Buddhism to China, it has developed many styles and has been introduced to other East Asian countries, such as Korea, Japan, and Vietnam.

Chaitya

A chaitya, chaitya hall, chaitya-griha, refers to a shrine, sanctuary, temple or prayer hall in Indian religions. The term is most common in Buddhism, where it refers to a space with a stupa and a rounded apse at the end opposite the entrance, and a high roof with a rounded profile. Strictly speaking, the chaitya is the stupa itself, and the Indian buildings are chaitya halls, but this distinction is often not observed. Outside India, the term is used by Buddhists for local styles of small stupa-like monuments in Nepal, Cambodia, Indonesia and elsewhere. In the historical texts of Jainism and Hinduism, including those relating to architecture, chaitya refers to a temple, sanctuary or any sacred monument.

Buddhist architecture

Buddhist religious architecture developed in the Indian subcontinent. Three types of structures are associated with the religious architecture of early Buddhism: monasteries (viharas), places to venerate relics (stupas), and shrines or prayer halls, which later came to be called temples in some places.

Toran (art)

Toran, 'Toranam (Tamil), also known as Bandanwal, refer to a decorative door hanging in Hinduism, usually decorated with marigolds and mango leaves, or a string that is tied on the door with the flower on it as a part of traditional Hindu culture on the occasion of festivals and weddings. A toran may feature colours such as green, yellow and red. They can be made of fabrics or metals which are usually made to resemble mango leaves. They also have other decorative features depending on the region.

Bharhut

Bharhut is a village located in the Satna district of Madhya Pradesh, central India. It is known for its famous relics from a Buddhist stupa. The most famous donor for the Bharhut stupa was King Dhanabhuti.

Sculpture in the Indian subcontinent

Sculpture in the Indian subcontinent, partly because of the climate of the Indian subcontinent makes the long-term survival of organic materials difficult, essentially consists of sculpture of stone, metal or terracotta. It is clear there was a great deal of painting, and sculpture in wood and ivory, during these periods, but there are only a few survivals. The main Indian religions had all, after hesitant starts, developed the use of religious sculpture by around the start of the Common Era, and the use of stone was becoming increasingly widespread.

Iljumun

Iljumun is the first gate at the entrance to many Korean Buddhist temples. Called the "One-Pillar Gate", because when viewed from the side the gate appears to be supported by a single pillar.

Hongsalmun

In architecture, a hongsalmun is a gate for entering a sacred place in Korea. It is arranged by 2 round poles set vertically and 2 transverse bars. It has no roof and door-gate and placed on the middle top gate there is a symbol of the trisula and the taegeuk image. Hongsalmun is usually erected to indicate Korean Confucian sites, such as shrines, tombs, and academies such as hyanggyo and seowon.

Torana Gate, Malaysia

Torana Gate is a torana in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur. The gate is a gift from the Government of India to Malaysia, as a mark of continued friendship between the two countries. It was influenced by Hindu and Buddhist architecture of the Indian subcontinent.

Sanchi Stupa No. 2

The Stupa No. 2 at Sanchi, also called Sanchi II, is one of the oldest existing Buddhist stupas in India, and part of the Buddhist complex of Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh. It is of particular interest since it has the earliest known important displays of decorative reliefs in India, probably anterior to the reliefs at the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, or the reliefs of Bharhut. It displays what has been called "the oldest extensive stupa decoration in existence". Stupa II at Sanchi is therefore considered as the birthplace of Jataka illustrations.

Buddhist caves in India

The Buddhist caves in India form an important part of Indian rock-cut architecture, and are among the most prolific examples of rock-cut architecture around the world. There are more than 1,500 known rock cut structures in India, out of which about 1000 were made by Buddhists, 300 by Hindus, and 200 by Jains. Many of these structures contain works of art of global importance, and many later caves from the Mahayana period are adorned with exquisite stone carvings. These ancient and medieval structures represent significant achievements of structural engineering and craftsmanship.

Ancient Indian architecture

Ancient Indian architecture is the architecture of the Indian subcontinent from the Indian Bronze Age to around 800 CE. By this endpoint Buddhism in India had greatly declined, and Hinduism was predominant, and religious and secular building styles had taken on forms, with great regional variation, which they largely retained until and beyond the great changes brought about by the arrival of first Islam, and then Europeans.

Jain stupa Type of stupa erected by the Jains for devotional purposes

The Jain stupa was a type of stupa erected by the Jains for devotional purposes. A Jain stupa dated to the 1st century BCE-1st century CE was excavated at Mathura in the 19th century, in the Kankali Tila mound.

References

Citations

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Bibliography