Volume 63 Number 3, March 2012

Orchha and Beyond: Design at the Court of Raja Bir Singh Dev Bundela

By: Edward Leland Rothfarb
Binding: Hardcover
Specifications: 164 pages, 124 illustrations
ISBN: 978-81-921106-1-5
Dimensions: 305 x 241 mm

A prolific builder, Bir Singh Dev patronized architecture throughout his kingdom of Orchha in central India and at important pilgrimage sites beyond its borders. He quickly consolidated the early Bundela style of architecture and wall painting. Sophisticated and ambitious, this style was unprecedented within the Orchha kingdom for its fusion of local building traditions with architectural and decorative styles culled from other sources, including design from the Mughal courts of Akbar and Jahangir. The hybrid style that emerged under Bir Singh Dev and the sheer scale of building that went on in his reign was unique to the period in which he ruled Orchha. Neither in the parent Bundela kingdom of Orchha nor in its offshoot states of Datia and Panna was anything built before Bir Singh Dev’s reign or afterwards that could rival the scale, stylistic refinement, and decorative richness of the buildings associated with his patronage.

Edward Leland Rothfarb holds a PhD in Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design; California State University, Los Angeles; California State University, Long Beach; and University of California, Los Angeles.

Introduction

Garhkundar: The Bundela Narrative between Myth and History

Sources for the Bundela Style: The Orchha Kingdom before Bir Singh Dev’s Reign

The Sacred Architecture of Raja Bir Singh Dev Bundela

Palace Architecture at Orchha and Datia under Bir Singh Dev

Painted Decoration under Bir Singh Dev

Conclusion

Orchha and Beyond: Design at the Court of Raja Bir Singh Dev Bundela
Rothfarb, Edward Leland
Vol. 63 No. 3, March 2012; ISBN: 978-81-921106-1-5, pp. 1-164

This monograph studies the development of architecture and painted decoration under Raja Bir Singh Dev Bundela of Orchha (r. 1605–27). Under Bir Singh Dev, Jahangir’s contemporary and one of his most prominent Rajput allies, the Orchha kingdom’s expanded political ken and great wealth. The Bundela ruler’s taste for architectural patronage, allowed for a vigorous programme of building. Indeed, Bir Singh Dev was arguably the early 17th century’s premier Rajput patron of architecture, who built not only within his kingdom but also in Agra and at prominent sites for Hindu pilgrimage. In the Orchha ruler’s reign an ambitious and unprecedented new style was consolidated drawing on local vernacular traditions blended with elements of cosmopolitan Mughal visual culture. This study looks at the formation of that style against the background of late 16th- and early 17th-century Rajput and Mughal visual culture, the history of the Bundela kingdom and its political relationship with the empire. The chapters in this book are Garhkundar: The Bundela Narrative between Myth and History, Sources for the Bundela Style: The Orchha Kingdom before Bir Singh Dev, Towers of Devotion: The Sacred Architecture of Bir Singh Dev, Lofty Buildings: Palace Architecture under Bir Singh Dev, and Surpassing Invention: Painted Decoration under Bir Singh Dev