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Ajanta: Cave 1, detail of ceiling, Kubera, Late 6th-early 7th Centuries A.D.

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CollectionsArthur Llewellyn Basham
Title: Ajanta: Cave 1, detail of ceiling, Kubera, Late 6th-early 7th Centuries A.D.
Author(s): Photographer: Arthur Llewellyn Basham
Keywords: Cave I c. 500 A.D. [Ajanta];architecture;murals;mounted transparency set
Series/Report no.: Basham Collection
Description: Among the deities represented in the ceiling of Cave 1 is the jovial little god, Kubera, who presides over wealth and prosperity and is surrounded by his court of attendants, some of whom are dwarfs, Kubera is a dwarfish figure himself, and in addition to providing mankind with the blessings of riches, Kubera rules over all the Yakshas (earth guardians) who bestow on man all the treasures of the earth itself, We are supposed to interpret the ceiling as Kailasa, Kubera's mountainous abode and one of the five mountains saturated with the life-sap of the lotus (cosmic lotus) at the beginning of creation, Around the panel containing Kubera and members of his court are the familiar flower panels (previously seen in slide 27), including one with a sacred white elephant, which looks as weightless as the delicate flowers on which he rests, A Guhyaka or dwarf figure appears in the panel just below the elephant (separated by the blue, brown and white bars of color), this little figure serves a partly supportive function for the central panel of Kubera, for the vehicle attributed to Kubera is 'man,' most often represented as a dwarf, The white elephant is likewise a supportive element, mainly because the animal is called the 'caryatid of the universe' and frequently appears at the base and crowning of capitals on columns as well as in medallion form such as in this case,
Other Identifiers: ANUA 682-745


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