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One great paved and elevated terrace, nearly 400 feet* square, forms the platform. Then rise five successive terraces, each surrounded by a high parapet, so as to form between them four corridors running
right round the building. Above these come three concentric rings _
of small dagobas, and in the centre a large dagoba of about 30 feet in diameter, forming tne apex and crown of all. The height to the base of this dagoba is about 90 feetrl’
In Raflies’s time, much of the basement was covered up, and I believe all the galleries had been at one time filled by the volcanic ashes from Mir Api. Raffles must have partially cleared the basement, as he has given elaborate plans of the whole structure, but the complete clearance of the lower platform was carried out by the same Resident Hartman who discovered Mundot.
In the outer face of each terrace are numerous niches crowned by small model dagobas. Each of these niches has been occupied by a cross-legged Buddha,I and both sides of the corridors are carved in a vast series of bas-reliefs. These doubtless represent the history of Gautama Buddha, and are analogous to the extensive series of wall paintings often seen in Burma. From Col. Cunningham’s descriptions of Sanchi, they appear to have some resemblance to the sculptures there. They exhibit every variety of life, war, worship, processions, and domestic scenes, with an entire absence of any indecency so far as I saw. Courts, chariots, ships, umbrellas, arms, architectural subjects, &c. &c., afford many interesting glimpses of the race which erected these galleries. The faces are all undoubtedly Hindu, and closely resemble those of the best Hindu sculptures. Indeed the faces are not only the best executed, but the best preserved part of the work, and even where the figures are worn and defaced, as one often sees on an old coin, the faces still retain wonderful sharpness and distinctness of character. The Netherlands Government employed artists for several years to make drawings of all these sculptures, and they are now being engraved in Holland at great expense. To photograph them, would be difficult on account of the narrowness of the galleries. The quality of the sculpture, and of
" I take this from Raflles’s plan. Crawfurcl says 526 feet and is probably more correct.
‘I’ The whole height. according to Crawfurd is 116 feet.
the work generally, appeared to me to fall off towards the top, as if the builders had wearied of their work. Among the architrave ornaments both here, at Mundot, and at
. Brambanan, I observed frequent repetitions of the monstrous grinning
head, suspending festoons of beads and bells, which is so common in ancient Indian buildings from Assam and Benares to Ceylon, and which is also so common in the ancient Burmese temples at Pagan, probably nearly coeval with Boro Bodor. Mr. Crawfurd on the authority of an ambassador of the king of Bali, concludes this to represent Siva. But I believe this is utterly unfounded. It is, whatever the symbol may have meant, (if it meant anything more than alion’s head on a Greek entablature,) one of the most ancient forms of ornament in Indian buildings, probably older than the worship of Siva.
The construction of the small dagobas encircling the apex is very peculiar. They are hollow cages or lattices of stone, each containing a patient Buddh immured, who is visible through the diamondshaped openings in the dome. Each of these openings is formed by the apposition of two hour-glass-shaped stones. Each of the stones has been cut with tenon and mortice attaching it to its neighbours ; and an elaborate system of morticing and dove-tailing appears to run through the whole construction, but which has been lamentably insuflicient to keep the joints together in that volcanic region, (Figs. 4, 5). The larger dagoba forming the apex is thoroughly shattered, and will not last much longer. It is said to have been first opened by the English in 1812.
Mr. Crawfurd describes the Boro Bodor as being merely a shell of masonry round a natural nucleus of hill. I had regarded this merely as a conjecture. But we found an excavation that had been made
(lately as it seemed) in the interior of the chief dagoba. And this appeared to show that there was no solid nucleus of masonry. The sides of the pit appeared to be a rubble of earth and stone only.
Mr. Fergusson, who gives a good account of the Boro Bodor in his Handbook of Architecture, considers it to be a kind of representation of the great Buddhist monasteries, which are described in the Ceylonese writings as having been many stories high, and as containing hundreds ofcclls for monks. In Tennent’s Ceylon (Vol. II. p. 588) there is a wood-cut of a singular pyramidal building at Pollanarua,