About the Project This digital collection references the canonical works or “major moments” that have come to be regarded as important in the study of South Asian architectural traditions. Images of rites, festivals and customary practices enrich and clarify the material record and situate canonical architecture in broader understandings of landscape experience and artistic production. A sub collection of images from 89 Aiyanar temples in Tamil Nadu, South India is one special aspect of this database. It draws on Robert MacDougall’s unfinished study of a folk tradition. Another unique aspect of the database is a collection of images of domestic architecture and community life in Sri Lanka.
From the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries, the royal and aristocratic courts behind Europe’s most illustrious festivals printed elaborate, illustrated volumes to record the celebrations that they organized to mark births, deaths, betrothals, weddings, coronations, and visits. Often circulated for the benefit of rival noble families and in the interests of self promotion, festival books are fascinating witnesses to aristocratic culture and art during the Early Modern period.