FWF - Dolpo II - Buddhist Architecture in the Western Himalayas

Project: Research project

Project Details


In the last two decades, an extensive collection of research material on Buddhist architecture of the Western Himalayas has been built up at Graz University of Technology within the framework of various research projects. This research deals with various buildings – temples, temple complexes and votive buildings – that are associated with the second wave of the spread of Buddhism in Tibet from the 10th century onwards. The current project allows to include the preserved Buddhist monuments of Dolpo – a region in western Nepal that directly borders Tibet – in our research. The starting point as well as the most important and reliable source for architectural research are the preserved buildings themselves. Therefore, successful field research – i.e. surveying and documenting the building stock on site – is the most important prerequisite for all subsequent work steps. Completing the research material in the course of two expeditions to Dolpo should help us to answer the following questions: From which period do the preserved structures originate? What different aspects such as construction technique and materials used, form and function, size, orientation and artistic decoration can help us to understand the main particularities of the buildings? Which buildings can we define as prototypes? How do the original buildings change through alterations? And how are the buildings integrated into their natural and social environment – i.e. into the landscape and the settlement structure? The proposed project will be grounded on interdisciplinary approach using research methods from the geodetic building survey and building technology on one hand, and theory and history of architecture on the other. The cooperation with the Institute of Engineering Geodesy and Measurement Systems of the Graz University of Technology enables us to implement innovative aspects of architectural surveying and documentation in the project. Our aim is to enhance the accurate documentation of significant buildings in this difficult-to-reach area to provide meaningful comparative material for the study of contexts within Buddhist architecture in Western Tibet, Northern India, and Western Nepal. As a result, we can provide the fundamental data that would become the point of reference for future building research and restorations. Besides the extension and elaboration of new research material, the second focus of the project is the detailed compilation of the collected research material on the Alchi Group of Monuments, a group of temple complexes in northern India dating back to the 12th century. The results will be published as the fourth volume of our book series Buddhist Architecture in the Western Himalaya.
Effective start/end date16/05/2215/05/25


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