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Ajanta: Cave No. 19, Façade, Gupta Period

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CollectionsArthur Llewellyn Basham
Title: Ajanta: Cave No. 19, Façade, Gupta Period
Author(s): Photographer: Basham, Arthur Llewellyn
Keywords: Cave 19 c. 6th cent. A.D. [Ajanta]
mounted transparency set
Series/Report no.: Basham Collection
Description: We mentioned earlier that the rock-cut sanctuaries of Ajanta were a type-site for Gupta art, This is because Ajanta contains the only considerable remains of the great Gupta paintings, which show a vast range of mastery and pronounced artistic superiority, We must not overlook the quality of the sculptural decorations, however, in studying the Ajanta caves, for these, too, are varied and of a markedly high decorative sensitivity, As we recall, the chaitya structures in rock-cut architecture are translations into stone of the very early free-standing halls which were, and are, the first Buddhist temples, A relatively late stage in the development of the chaitya, conceived as a temple within a cave yet resembling in every other sense the free standing prototypes, is cave 19 at Ajanta built in approximately the 6th century A.D. The hall possesses all the structural elements of free-standing models with the exception of the elaborate facade which is peculiar to the rock-cut sanctuary and not included in the wooden or even the rare stone halls built to stand out-of-doors, By the time cave 19 was excavated, the artisans working the project had become adept at handling the rock and forming the most free sculptural inventions from it, This is evidenced in the very delicate and jewel-like carving on the facade of cave 19 which, because it is not as deeply cut as that at Karla (see slide 8) is not fussy in its details even though its entire surface is covered with sculpture,
Other Identifiers: ANUA 682-794


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