Saturday University with Michael Meister
Architecture, Stepwells, and Cosmic Water in Western India
A cosmology rooted in water lies behind most monumental architecture in India. From a very early period, tanks and wells were built as both symbolic and practical structures. Some of the most remarkable feats of architecture are stepwells in dry Western India, which stored water throughout the year. Excavated several stories underground, these stepwells sometimes included columns and walls lined with sculpture—almost like upside-down temples reaching below ground.
About the Presenter:
Michael W. Meister is an art historian, archaeologist, and architectural historian at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the W. Norman Brown Professor in the Department of History of Art and South Asia Studies. In addition, he is Consulting Curator, Asian Section, at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. His research and writing focuses on temple architecture and other aspects of the art of the Indian sub-continent. Current projects include "Mountain Temples and Temple-Mountains" for the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians.
Saturday University is held in partnership with the University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies, Seattle University, and Elliott Bay Book Company.