The East, the second in a series of seven books that describe and illustrate the seminal architectural traditions of the world, is a survey of unparalleled range and depth. The journey starts on the Indian subcontinent with the Vedic and native traditions of the 2nd millennium BCE, modified by the changing demands of worship to produce the characteristic forms of Buddhist and Hindu temples in all their spatial and sculptural variety – which also helped to shape palaces and even towns in a complex line of development.
The tradition in its exported forms – in Java, Cambodia, Burma and Thailand among other territories – developed in stupendous buildings, producing monuments as fabulous as Angkor Wat and the Shwe-dagon pagoda in Rangoon.
In the second part of the book, the long but conservative traditions of China, Korea and Japan and their spheres of influence are examined, a story of absorption and transformation centred on the walled enclosures of China and the Japanese predilection for informality and artful simplicity.
Not simply a profusely illustrated catalogue of buildings, the book also provides their political, technological, social and cultural contexts. It functions equally well as a detailed and comprehensive narrative, as a collection of the great buildings of the world, and as an archive of themes across time and place.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Buddhist and Brahmanical 1.1. The Indian Subcontinent 1.2. South-East Asia Part 2: Heaven’s Empires 2.1. China and its Orbit 2.2. Japan Glossary Further Reading Index
Christopher Tadgell taught architectural history for almost thirty years before devoting himself full-time to writing and research, travelling the world to see and photograph buildings from every tradition and period.
Born in Sydney, he studied art history at the Courtauld Institute in London. In 1974 he was awarded his PhD for a thesis on the Neoclassical architectural theorist, Ange-Jacques Gabriel. He subsequently taught in London and at the Kent Institute of Art and Design in Canterbury, with interludes as F.L. Morgan Professor of Architectural Design at the University of Louisville and as a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He has lectured at academic institutions around the world, including the universities of Princeton, Harvard, Columbia and Cornell, the Graham Foundation in Chicago, and Cambridge University and the Courtauld Institute in the UK. He is a Trustee of the World Monuments Fund, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a member of both the British and American Societies of Architectural Historians.
His The History of Architecture in India (1990, several reprints, Phaidon) is the definitive one-volume account of the architecture of the subcontinent, while many publications on French architecture include the standard account in Baroque and Rococo Architecture and Decoration (ed. Blunt, 1978, Elek). He has contributed many articles on Indian and French architecture to The Grove Dictionary of Art and other major reference books.