The Traditional Kerala Manor: Architecture Of A South Indian Catuhsala House

9788184701890: The Traditional Kerala Manor: Architecture Of A South Indian Catuhsala House

Pages: 487 (Throughout B/W Illustrations)
About the Book

This work describes the feudal late mediaeval high-caste Kerala house. It lays particular emphasis upon the so-called 'four-house' mansion, called catubiala in Sanskrit and nalukettu in Malayalam, the vernacular of Kerala. This palatial kind of mansion is regarded as ritually 'complete' and, as such, appropriate - according to local Sanskrit treatises on architecture -, to the feudal clergy, royalty and aristocracy. The work describes the architecture of thirty historic houses of this type, highlighting their relation to Sanskritic architectural theory and to brahminical codes of daily life and ritual. It concludes with an attempt to present an overview of the notion of the architectural and ritual space of these houses as a microcosm.


About the Author

Dr. Henri Schildt has been an Associate Professor in the University of Helsinki, at the Department of World Cultures since 2008. Since 2010, he has also been a visiting scholar at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he has been pursuing his study of historical Kerala temple architecture.



The origin of this project - The Traditional Kerala Manor: Architecture of a South Indian Catuhsala House - was suggested by Professor Asko Parpola in the autumn of 1995. He had studied the religion and myths of Vedic Kerala Brahmins - Namputiri Brahmins - from the 1970s, and, during his frequent visits with Marjatta Parpola (his wife and an anthropologist), he had seen manors of the priestly and aristocratic castes as well as royal palaces. Noticing the need for documentation and research before the virtual disappearance of this architectural heritage, he suggested that I engage myself in a doct

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