- Hardcover: 244 pages
- Publisher: Rupa (10 January 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9788129108524
- ISBN-13: 978-8129108524
- ASIN: 8129108526
- Package Dimensions: 29.7 x 24.1 x 2.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,17,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Deccan Traverses Hardcover – 10 Jan 2006
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About the Author
Anuradha Mathur is an architect and landscape architect. She is Associate Professor, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania. Dilip da Cunha is an architect and city planner. He is on the faculty at Parsons School of Design, New York. He has a Ph.D from the University of California at Berkeley, Masters degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, and School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, and Bachelors of Architecture from Bangalore University.
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The authors take their readers on a traverse into India's Deccan Plateau beginning with an army's 1791 ascent, up through a mountain pass to the plateau above (led by Lord Cornwallis). The traverse continues into the center of the plateau, where, after breaching two formidable living hedge barriers, the well-settled and prosperous town of Bangalore is reached (then summer home to Tipu Sultan). Modern Bangalore still has this historic Bangalore woven into its physical and cultural identity; a garden city then, and now.
The drawings in Deccan Traverses are strong and enjoyable as art as they have both energy and great balance. The drawings can also be read for their architectural detail and imagery, as documents, and to aid in this reading, individual layers have been separated out of the multi-layered drawings. The drawings originally were exhibited in the Glass House in Lalbagh as 8 foot tall drawings, and although scaled down, still are expansive.
The colors chosen for the drawings are integral to their success and unity, and are inspired by the colors of the Deccan landscape and its earth pigments. Colored earth and minerals can be washed and sorted into different particle sizes and weights (and colors) for use in art, with a few bowls of water, and a bit of binder. Incredibly, the authors describe how in the Deccan, this process is naturally part of a landscape scale system, where overflow water, and spring water alike, are gathered for utility and pleasure by a constellation of "a thousand tanks" , like lakes and ponds, where the water can be contained or released by bunds and sluices. When the ephemeral waters evaporate, pigmented earth, clay, and minerals (even gold) that have settled out of the water are exposed. Water, color, natural processes, technology, ritual, and time thus come together in the landscape, and in the drawings.
Geology and history are depicted on the book's jacket, visually woven together; evenly spaced parallel lines are prominent, and might be seen as transects, lines of latitude and longitude, or warp readied for weaving. The sound of the Jacquard looms is mentioned early in the text; a Jacquard loom is a loom that allows flexibility and individuality for the shed of warp yarns made for each weft yarn to traverse through (each warp yarn can be pulled up for the weft to travel under, or left down, as needed for a design). The author's warn against uniquely relying on pre-determined designs for planning; this idea of design flexibility therefore is an important part of the message the author's convey.
There were a few times when I would have appreciated a cross-reference, such as where to find a particular map (such as the repeatedly useful map on p. 46). A magnifying glass, or extremely good vision is necessary for reading some of the maps, however, this is only so because the author's were generous and included many reproductions of complete historical maps rather than partial maps.
Deccan Traverses gathers together much beauty; the beauty of intersecting and overlapping histories, maps, materials, art, and design. I found myself marking many special passages. It is a book that allows readers to be adventurers and participants in traverses through the Deccan of India, and is a delight.
Finally, the number of color images exceeds one's expectations - a joy.