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riority of judgment. The thorough-going partisans of opposite schools are merely men of imperfect perceptions, who disbelieve in the existence of merits to which they themselves are blind. Travel has saved Mr. Fergusson from an error which is incompatible with an enlightened history of the art. • Long,' he says, 'after I turned my attention to the subject, I knew and believed in none but the mediaeval styles, and was as much astonished as the most devoted admirer of Gothic architecture when any one suggested that other forms could be compared with it. My faith in the exclusive pre-eminence of mediaeval art was first shaken when I became familiar with the splendid remains of the Mogul and Pathan emperors of Agra and Delhi, and saw how many beauties of the pointed style had been missed in Europe in the middle ages. My confidence was still further weakened when I saw what richness and variety the Hindoo had elaborated, not only without jwinted arches, but without any arches at all. And I was cured when, after a personal inspection of the ruins of Thebes and Athens, I perceived that at least equal beauty could be obtained by processes diametrically opposed to those employed by the mediaeval architects.' With a happy freedom from prejudice, Mr. Fergusson has looked at the monuments of India, Greece, and Egypt with Indian, Grecian, and Egyptian eyes; he has entered into their spirit; he has felt their power, and, by his nice discrimination of their characteristics, he has enabled his readers to comprehend the justice, and share the enthusiasm of his praise.
The first edition of Mr. Fergusson's work was published in 1855, under the title of the 'Handbook of Architecture.'* The arrangement adopted was topographical, which was an unwilling concession of the author to the popular demand for a compendious description of all the styles in the world without much reference to the mode of their formation or progress. The vast survey was at once perceived to be that of a master, and not of a commonplace compiler; but the sparing interpolation of his views on the origin of styles, and the brevity with which he touched upon the evolution of their successive transitions, occasioned many to overlook the most important and novel part of the treatise. He has now re-cast the whole. He has classed the styles in historical instead of topographical order. He has deduced their genealogy step by step, and told us not only what was, but how it came to be. He has expanded the numerous hints which were scattered through the 'Handbook,' and his
* The ' Handbook' was reviewed in the ' Quarterly Review,' vol. cvi. p. 28a.
work -work in its present state is the most comprehensive and original that has ever appeared on the subject. An abstract of the rich variety of its contents is beyond the compass of a review, and we shall, perhaps, convey the best idea of its merits if we endeavour to furnish a specimen in miniature of the historic continuity, which is the life of the study.
The largest buildings which remain are the oldest. The three great pyramids at Ghizeh, in Lower Egypt, are supposed by Mr. Fergusson to have been erected at least 3000 years before the Christian era. The first in size and date covers an area of more than 13 acres, and its height of 480 feet is not exceeded by 'the spire of any cathedral in Europe.' The circumstances which favoured the piling together these stupendous masses are explained by the late Professor Jones in his 'Lectures on Political Economy.' The capitalists were few. The surplus produce of the soil was chiefly paid to the priests and the king, whence the state became the principal and direct employer of the nonagricultural part of the population. The consequences of this disposition of the national wealth have been conspicuous in India. The handicraftsmen congregated round their masters, the princes, and when these moved the artisans moved with them. Bernier, describing the journeys of Aurangzeb from Delhi to Cashmir, says he was accompanied by an 'incredible quantity of people.' 'But then,' he adds, 'you must recollect that it is all Delhi, the capital town, that marches, because the population subsisting wholly on the court and army is obliged to follow, or it must die of hunger.' 'The ministers of luxury' which attended in the train of Aurangzeb when he invaded the Deccan, are said by Elphinstone to have 'amounted to ten times the number of the fighting men;' and the whole assemblage is affirmed by a European eye-witness, who beheld the mighty host in March, 1695, to have 'greatly exceeded a million.' If the capital city was transferred to a new locality, as frequently happened from territorial and dynastic changes, the old capital was at once evacuated; and Professor Jones states that the deserted sites of towns throughout India bear witness to these forced and sudden migrations. A vast multitude of artificers in Egypt were, in like manner, kept in the pay of the monarch, who appropriated and distributed a large proportion of the proceeds from the land. Suphis, the builder of the first pyramid, was not content with his ordinary legions of labourers and mechanics. He oppressed the people, as the priests informed Herodotus, to furnish workmen for his mighty monument, and 100,000 hands were constantly employed upon it. The expenditure of human force was the greater that the Egyptians had little acquaintance with
^^^^ ^^W mechanical mechanical contrivances. Among their paintings is the representation of a colossus drawn on a sledge by 172 men, who are ranged in four rows of forty-three each. In one respect ancient and modern expedients were alike. An individual stands on a leg of the image, and claps his hands for a signal to the team of men to pull together. When the single piece of granite, weighing 1200 tons, which forms the pedestal to the equestrian statue of Peter the Great at St. Petersburgh, was drawn to its site, a drummer was placed on the top of the huge block to perform the same service. The patience of the Egyptians or their monarchs was extraordinary. According to Herodotus, a monolithic chamber, which had been hollowed out from a mass of stone 31 feet C inches long, 22 feet broad, and 12 feet high, was dragged from the quarry at Elephantine to Sais, a journey of twenty days, and it required the tugging of 2000 labourers for three years to accomplish the transit . Tradition asserted that a sigh escaped from the architect on the completion of the task; but even this passing involuntary tribute to the weakness of flesh and blood was thought a bad omen, and the chamber was cast aside. The waste of human energy in pulling monster monoliths was a remnant of the barbaric taste which mingled with the civilisation of Egypt. It would have been difficult to have devised an employment in which there was less proportion between the result and the magnitude of the toil.
A square heap of stones piled up to mark the spot where a body had been buried was the earliest pyramid. In process of time the loose stones would be succeeded by the work of the professional builder. When Suphis was bent on erecting a regal sepulchre, he was content to exceed the dimensions of previous memorials of the kind. The untutored idea of greatness is greatness of size, and he appears to have thought that his tomb would be kingly in the exact degree that it was large. The journeyman stonemason alone is seen in the structure; the hand of the artist is nowhere visible. Notwithstanding his keen appreciation of Egyptian architecture, Mr. Fergusson is compelled to assign a low rank to the pyramids when 'judged by aesthetic rules.'
'The early Egyptians built neither for beauty nor for use, but for eternity, and to this last they sacrificed every other feeling. In itself nothing can bo less artistic than a pyramid. A tower, either round or square, or of any other form, and of the same dimensions, would have been far more imposing, and if of sufficient height—the mass being the same—might almost have attained sublimity; but a pyramid never looks so largo as it is, and not till you almost touch it can you realise its vast dimensions. This is owing principally to all its parts sloping
away from the eye instead of boldly challenging observation; but, on the other hand, no form is so stable, none so capable of resisting tho injuries of time or force, and none, consequently, so well calculated to attain the object for which the pyramids were erected.'
While there is little that indicates a notion of architectural design, the mechanical execution of plain masonry had already attained to perfection. The external coating of the great pyramid, which Herodotus tells us was 'of polished stone, fitted together with the utmost care,' no longer exists,* but the passages and chambers of the interior are lined with slabs of polished granite, and the joints are so fine that they can scarcely be distinguished.
The remains of a temple at Ghizeh, believed to belong to the age of the pyramids, confirms the conclusion that architecture was yet in its infancy. The piers which run down the centre of the principal chambers, as props to the roof are, says Mr. Fergusson, 'simple prisms of Syenite granite, without base or capital, and support architraves as simple in outline as themselves. The walls are generally wainscoted with immense slabs of alabaster, or of Syenite beautifully polished, but with sloping joints and uneven beds.' The contemporaneous tombs which surround the pyramids are lined with coloured representations of scenes from Egyptian life, but the temple has no trace of either painting or sculpture. There is not so much as a moulding to relieve the pervading bareness. Chambers, piers, and architraves are unadorned rectangles, without an attempt at invention. The temple derives no assistance from its size, for its length does not exceed 100 feet. The passion of the royal pyramid builders for vastness seems to have been confined to their tombs.
The progress from the early stone-mason structures of Egypt to its palmiest days of architecture can be only imperfectly traced, and without lingering over what is known of the intermediate stages we pass at once to the great Pharaonic period. The five centuries which elapsed between the accession of the new dynasty, B.C. 1820, to the exode of the Jews, B.C. 1312, are said by Mr. Fergusson to be the culminating era of artistic development with the Egyptians. The seat of empire was transferred from Memphis to Thebes, and the edifices proclaim that another race, distinct in its mental tendencies, had got possession of the throne. The regular forms have given way to a deliberate rejection of geometrical precision. The gateways of the temples,
* Two of the coping-stones were discovered by Colonel Howard Vyse, 'buried in the rubbish at the base of the pvramid,' and their workmanship vindicates the account of Herodotus.
flanked by their pyramidal towers, 'are seldom,' says Mr. Fergusson, 'in the axis of the plan; the courts seldom square; the angles frequently not right angles, and one court succeeding another without the least reference to symmetry.' The columns are sometimes unequally spaced, and the capitals spring from their shafts at different levels. The neat execution of the old builders is exchanged for 'masonry which is frequently of the rudest and clumsiest kind.' 'It would long ago have perished,' says Mr. Fergusson, 'but for its massiveness, and there is in all the works an appearance of haste and want of care that sometimes goes far to mar the value of the grandest conceptions.' In these particulars the edifices of the Pharaonic kings are inferior to the buildings of their predecessors. In general splendour of design they completely eclipse the more primitive structures. For the prosaic pyramid and bare rectangle we have vast poetic conceptions which appeal with overwhelming power to the imagination. Temples are approached by long avenues of sphinxes, and the vista is terminated by the imposing pyramidal towers at the entrance. Within the walls court follows court, and hall follows hall. The columns ranged row behind row, 'gradually fade into obscurity, and convey an idea of infinite space.' The dimensions both of the whole and its separate portions are on a mighty scale. The great hall of the temple at Karnac is 340 feet by 170; the central columns are 12 feet in diameter and 66 feet high; the diameter of the side columns is 9 feet, and their height 42. The architect has gone to the vegetable world for the model of his gigantic pillars, which are copied from the reeds of the papyrus in bud or in bloom. The Egyptian had none of our English admiration for the naked surface of stone. He painted his temples inside and out, and most of the patterns, figures, and hieroglyphics are sculptured as well as coloured. The gay, decided hues were rendered grateful by their harmony, and tempered the ponderous proportions of the fabric without impairing its majesty. The variety and immensity of the plan, the prodigious massiveness of the construction, and the endless accumulation of decorative details appear to be the work of a more than mortal race, and impress the pigmy spectator with a sense of the sublime.
The plan of the great hall at Karnac, and the section of its central portion will show the arrangement of this'part of the temple, and convey a notion of the contrivances by which the Egyptians produced their grand effects.
The hall is what is called hypostyle, or has a clerestory carried up upon the first row of the lesser columns. The