Origins of Tamils?[Where are Tamil people from?] PART: 43


 [Compiled by: Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam]

The use of mud bricks dates back thousands of years, and has been used by most cultures including Sumerians. Depending on the regional resources, mud bricks may be fortified with many different materials, including crushed rock or sea shells, or even hay or straw as in Sumeria.Even though many buildings constructed of natural materials, only earth or mud , have stood up to now and these composite bricks made excellent building materials. The first bricks were sun dried mud bricks. Fired bricks [baked bricks]were found to be more resistant to harsher weather conditions, which made them a much more reliable brick for use in permanent buildings, where mud bricks would not have been sufficient such as -in drains, in paths, and in other places where sun-dried mud-bricks would be eroded by running water.Fired brick were also useful for absorbing any heat generated throughout the day, then releasing it at night.

Mud works best for building where it's dry for most of the year. If there's too
much rain, the walls of  mud house could melt like ice cream on a warm day. But mud bricks, which are baked hard in the sun or in a hot oven, can be as strong and durable as stone.The earliest Sumerian houses were built of bundles of reeds but after cities began to develop, sun baked mud brick was used.  These mud brick houses were more permanent and larger than the reed dwellings. 

Several examples of building plans have been found on clay tablets, showing that Mesopotamian buildings were often carefully designed and that measured plans were often used in their construction. A seated statue of Gudea, ruler of Lagash , is depicted with such a plan together with a scale ruler on his knee.

Once Sumerians first made bricks by scooping wet mud into a wooden frame,they built houses, palaces and temples using mud bricks. However,builders only rarely fired their bricks to make them totally hard. This meant that heavy rains and floods would usually deteriorate Sumerian buildings.Hence They were periodically destroyed, leveled, and rebuilt on the same spot.even using the same muds.Also they built dams & tanks using mud bricks.It is surprised to note that sumerians even built kitchen with chimneys before 6000 years[4000 BC] ago.

When they made bricks from mud,they made them in two ways,The most popular one among sumerians is Abode bricks,which are made of earth with a fairly high clay content and straw. This earth mix is cast in open moulds onto the ground and then left to dry out only on sun light for about one month.Other one is kiln-fired bricks.If too much clay in bricks,It may cause severe cracking.Also cracking may occur if bricks dry too quickly.Also If sand is more in bricks it may cause bricks to break easily into pieces,because,the presence of too much sand will decrease the amount of drying.

The houses in the sumerian cities were very close together and In the poorer
sections, they would share walls  like the townhouses. to cut down on construction costs.On the other hand,  In the richer sections, the houses stood alone.The rich people, primarily the priests and merchants lived in double stories dwellings, whereas the trader people and craftsmen had single story houses.  All of the houses were clustered around the Ziggurat to make it easy to get to the temple and to leave offerings to the gods. They were not well ventilated and most had no windows. The lower section was used when protection from the weather was necessary.  However, because of the hot nights, the top floor, which was open and without a roof was used as sleeping and cooking quarters,ie people would cook and eat on the roof of the house and sleep there.Wealthier Sumerians had homes with several rooms and the house was built in the shape of a "U" with a garden in the center. Most Sumerians spent their day in the garden as the inside was always dark, damp and without proper ventilation.Evidence suggests that the houses were white-washed on the inside and outside thus giving the homes a cleaner look. Mesopotamian builders knew how to build arches and vaults and at times used freestanding or attached columns.For prestige buildings more expensive materials were often used, such as baked brick with bitumen mortar, timber imported from the Lebanon and Amanus mountains, and stones often transported a considerable distance, and the rooms were decorated with expensive fittings,such as wall paintings, geometric mosaics, carved-stone orthostats, or paneling in rare or aromatic wood or in ivory.

In human history,shelter comes after the food in human needs.Ordinary Tamil people from India & srilanka had lived in hut & small mud houses,while wealthier people lived in  large mud houses with more facilities,some are courtyard houses[quadrangular house],some what similar to sumerian  houses mentioned above..As these early houses were built with temporary or decomposable materials, no houses of these types are survived to this date,other than few latter courtyard houses built out of permanent materials.These houses have raised platforms ('thinnai')  between the front wall and the road. A walk way, a few inches above the level of the road, provides access to the main entrance door from the road, divide the front "thinnai" into two parts, one on either side of the entrance door.This walk way is called a "Nadai" in Tamil, which means walk.Around the court yard which is open to the sky, there are wide open spaces. These are multi-purpose areas and accommodate most of the day to day  and occasional activities.  However,These traditional proto type plan, with the central court yard, had been dropped now.

In silapathikaram, puhar kandam  Ilango Adigal described the city of Puhar  in details.Lines 7~9 in chapter 5,"Indra Vizha " says:"The village of Maruvurpakkam was near the beach and had several terraced mansions and warehoused with windows shaped like the eyes of the Deer."

Also in Pattinappalai,in many lines it described a small city in sangam period  as:

"Women with bright brows, fine jewels
and deer-like delicate looks, dry food
in the wide front yards of their huge
houses," (20-22)
[அகல் நகர் – huge house/city, வியன் முற்றம் – wide yard,]

"There are many stables with strong
bulls in the front yards of fine houses
with cold water wells".(51-52)

[தண் கேணி – well with cold water,முற்றத்து – front yards],

"In the settlement where fishermen live, small-roofed huts

surrounded  by long fishing rods resting on them
appear like memorial stones surrounded by spears
stuck in the ground with rows of shields hanging on them."(78-81)
[குறுங்கூரை – small roofs, குடி நாப்பண் – in the middle of a settlement]

bright lights in the mansions with tall pillars.on the big streets near the seashore(111)

[நெடுங்கால் மாடத்து – mansions with tall columns, ஒள் எரி நோக்கி – looking at the bright lights],

beautiful towns with mansions with tall entries and curved columns(261),

[ கொடுங்கால் மாடத்து – mansions with curved columns, நெடுங்கடை – tall entries, துவன்று – get together, ]

With excellent structural and natural characteristics, clay,which built sumerian cities, now is and will remain the most popular and trusted buidling material: Its unique synthesis protects perfectly against moisture and frost and in addition, it is diffusible, fire-resistant, resistant against UV rays and extremely durable.

PART:44 WILL FOLLOW



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