Tuesday, March 6, 2012


It would be churlish, on visiting many of the 19th Century masterpieces of architecture that are many of the 120 and more palaces that grace the land of Bangladesh, to fail to notice that some of the most enduring features of the buildings, so many of which are decaying beyond repair or have already fallen into ruin, is the intricate cement work of the neo classical columns, and especially the capitols

Acanthus leaves worked intricately in concrete can be seen in so many of these impressive establishments and, like the ceramic mosaic work that embellishes many of these places, is clearly a masterpiece of craftsmanship.

At first glance, it is hard to believe that countless fascias are not of marble, or at least granite or Portland stone, finely worked by expert masons and architectural sculptors, but such is the advancing decay of the columns that it is not hard to tell that all are of brick, faced with concrete.

Hard stones, such as basalt, marble, and granite are unknown in the deltaic lands and little used in building since the 1st millennium when extensively imported and used in the many Vihara of the developing Buddhism.

We are told that, in Europe in the middle of 19th Century, on the palaces of which period this feature is first noticeable, craftsmen had no skills for such intricate work. And the endurance of the work bears greater testimony to the craftsmanship of the period!

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