© The Trustees of the British Museum

The Mayamata is an ancient Sanskrit textbook on housing, architecture, and technology. It describes the favourable types of building sites and the procedures necessary for a successful project. It names the essential measurements: digit, span, cubit, pole, and rope, and how they may be applied to modules made up of columns and beams. Maya is the mythological author, the son of the craftsman god, Vishwakarma, who, together with Brahma, created the universe. Maya’s treatise is the basis of success for any kind of dwelling, for gods or men. The ideal carpenter practices balance and proportion in both mind and body.