Fiona Buckee has been awarded an AHRC scholarship and began work on her PhD research in September 2005. Fiona gained a First Class Honours degree in Philosophy, and a Masters with Distinction in Comparative Religion from Manchester University. During her Masters, her interests lay in the Vedantin commentaries of Sankaracarya, and the development of Buddhism in India and Tibet. Following this she gained a distinction in the British Museum Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art, and went on to tutor The Classical and Decorative Arts of India and the Himalayas module of the course. During her studies her interest in Indian temple architecture developed, and she looks forward to drawing on her interdisciplinary background to inform her research.
The Buddhist monuments of the World Heritage Site of Sanchi date from 3rd century BC to 12th century AD, a time span that closely parallels the rise and fall of Buddhism in India. Temple 45 is a ruined, 10th century shrine set in the remnants of a monastic courtyard, close to the famous Great Stupa. Whilst Sanchi has been the subject of scholarship for over a century (studies of the site as a whole include Cunningham 1876, Marshall 1918, Gill 1999), Temple 45 has been virtually ignored. Current interdisciplinary research projects on this region by the Vidisha Research Group (under Society for South Asian Studies) provide a framework for the proposal. The extensive work on the architectural languages and compositional principles of Indian temples by Adam Hardy (Hardy 1995, 2001, 2002) will be the immediate starting point for this research.
The remnants of Temple 45 show that it was of the Latina type. The first aim of the study is to reconstruct the original design. This will fill a gap in the understanding of stylistic development in the region, where relatively few temples of this date and type survive. More importantly, analysis of the complex ornamental patterning of the tower will throw light on the way in which such temples were designed and built. The study will allow the actual rebuilding of the tower to take place in due course. A further aim is to reconstruct the iconographic programme of the temple, and investigate developments in Buddhism in that region at that time. Interestingly, Buddhism in central India at this late date is largely unacknowledged.