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Vastusutra Upanishad in Hinduism – A Text On Architecture And Sculpture

Vastusutra Upanishad is a text on architecture and sculpture in Hinduism. Though named an Upanishad, the text relates to traditional Hindu architecture and iconography.
Vastusutra Upanishad is composed in such a way as to bring out the philosophy of sculpture and architecture especially Murti Shastra (iconography).

The text is written in Sanskrit and follows the Upanishad style of writing found in the Vedas.

The text is dedicated to the its deity named Vishwakarma. It must be noted here that Vishwakarma is associated with all kinds of works in Hindu religion and is the divine architect of the universe.

Vastusutra Upanishad contains six prapathakas (chapters) titled
  1. Sat-Shilpavicharah,
  2. Khilapanjarrajnana
  3. Sailabhedanam,
  4. Angaprayogah
  5. Rupa Bhavana Bodhah
  6. Sambandhaprabodhanam
The first chapter mentions six categories of the art of Vastu as well as six types of stone from which the color the image is known.

The second chapter gives details of the procedural steps such as setting, polishing of the stone, and the line diagram to be carved over it, and elucidates further details as to how to draw the limbs of an image for which circles and diagonals are necessary.

The third chapter deals with the art of carving and the tools.

The fourth chapter concentrates on the disposition of the limbs of a murti and the technique of iconography and iconometry.

The fifth chapter is dedicated with the interior of the form.

The sixth chapter deals with the integration of the composition and discusses the philosophy of shilpa.

The text also discusses several elements such as composition, ornamentation, gestures, weapons, postures of vehicles, secondary divinities, and devotees.

The last sutra of the Vastusutra Upanishad sums up by saying that this exposition of Vastu is for the purpose of conferring knowledge.

SourceIndian Architectural Theory: Contemporary Uses of Vastu Vidya by Vibhuti Chakrabarti (1998)
Vastu Shastra – Hindu science of Architecture (1993) by D. N. Shukla
Vastu: Astrology and Architecture (2001) by Gayatri Devi Vasudev
The Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume XI - (IHRF) (page 224)




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