Written in Stone: Traces of Medieval Architects

26 March 2021

Medieval architects, sculptors, and other creators have left their names on the temples and landscapes they shaped. This talk argues that these writings in stone are eloquent records of how premodern makers represented themselves to one another and their various publics. The talk’s centerpiece is the architect of Pattadakal’s royal Virupaksha Temple (mid-8th century), whom the speaker presents alongside an array of other creators from the Malaprabha river valley in northern Karnataka.

Watch the video below.



Subhashini Kaligotla

Subhashini Kaligotla is Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History at Yale University. Her research focuses on sacred architecture — Buddhist, Hindu and Jain — with emphasis on the ancient and medieval periods. Her book, Shiva’s Waterfront Temples: Architects and their Audiences in Medieval India (Yale University Press, 2022), examines the creative resources of Deccan architects in dialogue with the response of their contemporary audiences. The book is an account of the shared cultural and aesthetic values that shaped built space in the medieval Deccan. A second book project, provisionally titled Seeing Ghosts, is interested in the iconographies of death and the afterlife in early Indian Ocean worlds.

Kaligotla is also a practicing poet and author of the poetry collection, Bird of the Indian Subcontinent (2018).