Below are the three questions.
Each answer shouldbe around 400 words. Write your name and student number on each page. Youshould submit one copy to the Moodle, “1st exam submission” link,and two hard copies to the Student Office by 25 January, Thursday 3 pm. Question 1: AncientEgypt civilization and ancient Maya civilization all respect light. They designed two monumental buildingsin cooperation with light. What are the names of these buildings and when were they built?Where are they located?What are their functions?How do theyincorporate with light andwhy? There is anotherbuilding designed to work with light has been mentioned in the lectures,where is it? Ancient Egyptians respected light, this can be seenthrough their worship of God of the sun ‘Ra’ who was the ‘king of gods andcreator of all life forms’.
One example of the Egyptian’s respect for light isinside the entranceway of ‘Abu Simbel’, a massive temple built in the 13thcentury BCE to commemorate the battle of Kadesh under reign of Ramesses II. Locatedin Nubia, on the western bank of Lake Nasser, the temple was built in a way inwhich allowed the light to shine into the inner sanctuary, illuminating three statuesexcept for the statue of god ‘Ptah’ who was thought to be ‘connected with theunderworld’. This penetration of light was thought to be intentionallypositioned by Egyptian Architects in such a way which would only align with thesun on October 22nd and February 22nd – thought to be the’king’s birthday and coronation day’, this therefore shows how AncientEgyptians designed in cooperation with light.
Similar to ancient Egypt, light was used inarchitecture by the ancient Mayan civilisation as a connection to their deity.El Castillo, also known as the ‘Temple of Kukulkan’, is a pyramid which wasbuilt by the pre Columbian Mayan civilisation in the ‘post classic period’between the 9th and 12th century. The pyramid (located on the YucatánPeninsula, Mexico, Guatemala) served as a temple to the god ‘Kukulkan’, a deitycharacterised as a ‘feathered serpent’ who is closely linked to ‘Quetzalcoatl’ thegod of light, justice, mercy and wind. The temple has 91 steps on each of thefour sides, including a last step on top totalling 365; the same number of daysin a year. To enrich the design the Mayans used the late evening sunlight tocast shadows of the steps onto a plumed serpent which runs down the structure,therefore creating the illusion of a ‘feathered spirit’ crawling down the sidesof the temple.
Question 2: AncientMesopotamia civilization and India Buddhism have built two types of monumentalbuildings as device to communicate with gods above. What are the general names of these buildings?What are the difference of these two types of building in terms of forms and materials? Whatis the commoncharacteristic of these two types of buildings in terms of space use?Ancient civilisations built monumental buildings to’communicate with the gods above’. One example built in ancient Mesopotamia is theZiggurat, a type of building which was typically a built using stone and servedas a temple or shrine for their god whilst acting as a ‘centre of the city’. Earlyversions of this structure used ‘tampered earth’ and mud bricks built on top ofone another, later using sun baked bricks in the core of the design with thefacing of the structure clad in fired bricks; sometimes glazed in differentcolours or engraved with kings’ names. The form of the structure ranged in ‘twoto seven’ tiers of receding levels producing a ‘terraced step pyramid’ shape.
Theybuilt the temples as high as possible to make them ‘close to the heavens’ and thereforemuch closer to their god where they could come down to the mortal world. Theziggurat resembled a ‘mountain’ and commonly used a staircase or long ramp to accessthe top, where the space inside the temple was used to worship and connect tothe gods above. Similarly, the ‘Stupa’ from ancient Indian civilisation,attempted to connect with the gods above using a dome structure upon a base,symbolising the ‘dome of heaven enclosing earth’. Excluding the intention ofheight to connect with the gods and stairway or ‘Sopanas’ leading up the structure- the form of the stupa was comparatively very different to the Ziggurat.
This canbe seen through the smooth shape of the Dome or ‘Anda’, containing a crown calleda ‘Parasal’ at the highest point of the building. Much like the Mesopotamiancivilization’s motives this Parasal was used as a cosmic axis, connecting themto the ‘centre of the universe’. The shape of the stupa also reflects traditionalBhuddist values, where they seek the ‘balance between human and nature’ andhave ‘no desire on the material world’, this can be seen in the simplicity of shapein the stupa and the minimal design without decoration.
Much, like the central point of Mesopotamiantemples, the stupa later became the central point of many rock-cut Bhuddist templessuch as the Vihara chamber dating back to 3 century BC – 7 century AD; bothacting as a place of worship to the gods above. Much like the construction of theziggurat, Early Stupa structures were made using sundried bricks. Contrastingly, the stupa uses ‘earth and brickbats’ inthe centre of its core, and unlike the mortar-less design of the Ziggurat thebricks of the stupa were laid with a thin mortar and later clad with a thickplaster on the exterior.
In conclusion, both types of monumental building existedfor the same purpose of connecting to a ‘god above’ or the sky where the ‘heavensexisted’. The form and shape of the design has different aesthetic qualitiesdue to their function and purpose; with the stupa resembling the simple and non-materialistvalues of Bhuddism and the Ziggurat using a more functional purpose of livingaround the central point of the temple.