A column or a pillar is a compression element in architecture. It generaly consists of a shaft, a pedestal, and a capital made out of wood, stone, or metal. Other than its supportive function, a column can also be a decorative element. Since the Iron Age, numerous civilisations have used columns, and they decorated these columns according to their own traditions.
Here are some of the most amazing columns from around the world.
Modhera Sun Temple, India
There are 52 columns in Modhera Sun Temple which represent the 52 week in a year. As for the carvings on the pillars, it is possible to analyze them from base to the capital. Firstly, there are standing figures, mostly dancers, on all faces of the octagonal base. A ring separates the scenes of men and beasts. The next one also features sixteen standing figures separated by another ring below. A band of leaves follows this row. Then the shaft gets circular and has a row of male warriors, lozanges, circles and kirtimukha (a swallowing and fierce face with big fangs in Hindu iconography) at last. Finally, there is the capital crowned with makara (a water monster) brackets.
Sas-Bahu Temple in Gwalior, India
Juma Mosque in Khiva, Uzbekistan
The Juma (aka Djuma) Mosque was built on top of an older mosque. So, the pillars actually date to different centuries from the 10th to 18th centuries. The pillars with deep and raised carvings are the oldest ones. The 11th- 12th- century pillars has flatter ornaments and smaller paintings with beautiful Kufi inscriptions. The mixture of geometric and plant ornaments as well as Arabic scripts are peculiar to the 15th century. The rest which comprises of the majority is of the 18th century.
Red Fort in Delhi, India
The pillars of the Red Fort reflect the art traditions of the Mughal Empire in the 17th century. The fort features fine examples of the Mughal baluster columns.
Ranakpur Temple in Rajasthan, India
Temple of Zeus in Athens, Greece
The columns of the Temple of Zeus are in Corinthian order which is distinguished by its two rows of achantus leaves on its capital.