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Ajanta: Cave 1, detail of mural: the Great Bodhisattva, Late 6th-early 7th Centuries A.D.

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CollectionsArthur Llewellyn Basham
Title: Ajanta: Cave 1, detail of mural: the Great Bodhisattva, 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: The principal decoration of Cave 1 consists of two huge murals on the back wall of the chaitya temple: one representing the manifestations of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva, or archangel, as some scholars have called him, the second, showing the Great Bodhisattva, as a personification of Padmapani (the male counterpart to the goddess of compassion and the lotus, Shri-Lakshmi) which together with the first Bodhisattva forms the trinity with a sculpture of Buddha in the center of the two panels, The composition is no longer restricted to a mere band or frieze but now covers the entire surface of the wall, Truly the most famous figure in the mural is of the Great Bodhisattva, also called the 'Beautiful Bodhisattva,' who is holding in his hand a blue lotus and is therefore a personification of Padmapani, Unfortunately, the figure is destroyed from the waist down, yet the noble torso and compassionate face are still clearly visible, and actually the most important parts of the image center around the face, As Indian art scholar B, Rowland has observed with respect to the figure of the Bodhisattva, it is truly the ultimate realization of the Indian ideal of the cult image and is a handsome counterpart to the Gupta sculptures of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas conveying this same ideal nature, Compared to the images in Cave 2, we see that a different style has again evolved in the painting, The figures no longer stand apart from one another within clearly shallow space, They now overlap more convincingly and show more subtle graduations of shadows, The large full areas of colors barely modeled at the edges are missing,
Other Identifiers: ANUA 682-756


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