Ajanta: Cave 2, detail of column,



Photographer: Arthur Llewellyn Basham

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Decorating the columns of the nave in Cave 2 are more figures of the gods inhabiting the Buddha's paradise, They form a row of sacred courtiers in the nave of the hall and sit in Buddha fashion with attendants as if collected in mass to meditate with the master, They do, instead, talk or gesture with their attendants from their seated postures so that the spectator seems to be a part of the divine conversation without actually being invited to speak, The god shown in our detail is Naga, king of the serpent deities, who live beneath the earth's crust and keep the precious minerals there, Behind his head is the atrribute of the numbus of hooded snakes, which also characterize Vishnu and occasionally the Tirthankaras (saviors) of the Jainan religion, We may notice in this illustration that the style of painting resembles Gupta sculpture in that the background is left plain to frame the figures appearing within the picture place,


Cave II 5th cent. A.D. [Ajanta], architecture, murals, mounted transparency set





Archives Series

Basham Collection

Date created

circa 1970s

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This image is provided for research purposes only and must not be reproduced without the prior permission of the Archives Program, Australian National University.


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