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Lecture 2 axumite architecture

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Lecture 2 axumite architecture

  1. 1. Axumite Architecture Prepared by Ephrem N.
  2. 2. Influences in architecture • Historical background • Geographical • Geological • Religion • Trade
  3. 3. Historical background • The powerful kingdom of Axum rise Approximately 100 - 1000 AD • It was the Axumites who detailed the first civilization of historic Ethiopia. • Over time Axum became not only wealthy trading kingdom, but also strong military power specially during the time of king Ezana around 350 AD.
  4. 4. Geographical Influence • Geographical location provided advantages: well suited for agriculture; red sea proximity ideal for trade, access to Indian ocean • Axum was a great commercial civilization with Egypt, Persia, Arabia, Romans Byzantines, Ceylon and India • Axum was protected by the mountains of north Tigray.
  5. 5. Geological influence • Axum was protected by the mountains of north Tigray. • The land of Axum was rich in fertile land for agriculture as well as stone for construction of buildings and monuments • Location of their churches at high places
  6. 6. Trade • The Axumites export Gold, Ivory, Rhinoceros-horn, hippopotamus hide and slaves, and they imported all kinds of textiles, knives, swords, luxury goods, cotton and silk • This trade connections gave Axum diverse cultures • Merchants who came to Axum brought new ideas as well as goods
  7. 7. Religion • King Ezana converted to Christianity and his court followed in early 4th century
  8. 8. AXUM’S ACHIEVEMENTSControl over NE African Trade Written Language Spread Christianity in N. & E. Africa Terrace Farming Built Stelae
  9. 9. Axumite Architecture • Decorations of the largest stele at Axum symbolize building structures. • The door and the first row of small square windows can be read together as the ground floor.
  10. 10. • Monumental Architecture (a high level of artistic ability, advanced engineering and mathematical skills) • Expression of the desire to build a multistory building • Their ambition to build a high rise building is clearly stated in the stele . 8 - 10 stories Axumite Architecture
  11. 11. Construction technique: The ‘Monkey-head’ • Typical structural method of the Axumite period and in the later Tigray vernacular architecture • The walls are made of small stone –and-clay masonry • The walls had to be strengthened at narrow intervals with long squared timbers. • These were then held by short round cross-pieces the ends of which became visible as rows of protruding and smoothly rounded “Monkey heads”.
  12. 12. • Axumite window and door frames were made of timbers cut into each other, with no nails but with shallow recesses and projections. Construction technique: The ‘Monkey-head’
  13. 13. Construction technique: The ‘Monkey-head’
  14. 14. Design principle: The „equal-equal‟ • Principle of „equal-equal‟ generates the square, the cube and the 450 angle and the octagonal shape. • „Equi-dimensional‟ of the Axumite principle is different from the „Central symmetrical‟ of the European/ Byzantine tradition
  15. 15. Proportion • Proportion in axumite architecture was not by “the golden section” or any similar complicated geometrical procedure but by straight forward arithmetical counting of numbers and units. • Like 2:3 or 3:4
  16. 16. • All four parts of equal length. • Similar to the „Greek cross‟ rather than the „latin cross‟. • These crosses were used on Axumite Coins • They are also depicted in drawings/paintings, artifacts or as architectural motifs in windows and reliefs. Early types of Ethiopian Crosses
  17. 17. Axumite dry stone masonry construction • Large and squarely dressed stones at the corners • Small broken stones for the main bulk of walls • Slabs of slates or similar flat stones to cover the many narrow “shelves” which are formed because the walls are stepped inwards at regular intervals • The walls are much wider at the bottom higher up
  18. 18. Basic architectural characteristic feature in axumite palaces • Grand entrance stairs • Courtyards • Strong and well dressed corner walls • Strong stone buttresses • Multi storey
  19. 19. Legacies' of Axumite civilization • Monolithic steles • Mausoleums • Palaces • Monkey head construction technique • Equal - equal proportioning technique • Multi - story building techniques
  20. 20. Examples Palace at Dugur
  21. 21. Takha Mariam Palace •Covers an area of 85*120m •The palace is surrounded by a court •From the court the palace is Accessed by a grand stair •Multi story
  22. 22. Takha Mariam Palace
  23. 23. The Tomb of Kaleb and Gebremaskel
  24. 24. Mausoleums
  25. 25. Tomb of the false door No mortar between joints.
  26. 26. Steles
  27. 27. Measurement units carved on stone
  28. 28. Exercise Details of Axumite architecture features • Construction detailing • Decoration and pattern detailing • Etc… – Use one A-3 paper size as medium of presentation – The presentation technique could be free hand drawing or digital drawings. However it should be strictly architectural having plans, sections, elevation, and axonometric drawings.

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