Shilpa Shastras

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Shilpa Shastra)
Jump to: navigation, search
Conception for Iraivan Temple, Kauai, Hawaii, by foremost Sthapati(temple architect) V. Ganapati Sthapati

Shilpa Shastras (Sanskrit: शिल्प शास्त्र śilpa śāstra) is an umbrella term for numerous Hindu texts that describe manual arts, the standards for religious Hindu iconography, prescribing among other things, the proportions of a sculptured figure, as well as rules of Hindu architecture.[1]

Sixty-four such arts or crafts, sometimes called bāhya-kalā "external or practical arts", are traditionally enumerated, including carpentry, architecture, jewellery, farriery, acting, dancing, music, medicine, poetry etc., besides sixty-four abhyantara-kalā or "secret arts"' which include mostly "erotic arts" such as kissing, embracing, etc. (Monier-Williams s.v. śilpa).

While the fields are related, Shilpa Shastras explicitly deal with sculpture - forming statues, icons, stone murals, etc. In contrast, Vastu Shastra are concerned primarily with building architecture - building houses, forts, temples, apartments, etc.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ For Śilpa Śāstras as basis for iconographic standards, see: Hopkins, p. 113.


  • Vastu-Silpa Kosha, Encyclopedia of Hindu Temple architecture and Vastu/S.K.Ramachandara Rao, Delhi, Devine Books, (Lala Murari Lal Chharia Oriental series) ISBN.978-93-81218-51-8 (Set)
  • Hopkins, Thomas J. (1971). The Hindu Religious Tradition. Belmont, California: Dickenson Publishing Company. 
  • P. K. Acharya, Indian Architecture according to the Manasara Shilpa Shastra, London (1927).
  • Amita Sinha, Design of Settlements in the Vaastu Shastras, Journal of Cultural Geography, Vol. 17, 1998