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Ajanta. History and Development. Vol. VI by Walter Spink

By Walter Spink

Quantity 6 of Walter Spink's huge and carrying on with examine of the Ajanta caves, with over 350 illustrations, explains the slow evolution of the site's architectural and sculptural gains in the course of Ajanta's remarkably short improvement (462-480 CE).

Walter M. Spink, Professor Emeritus of Indian artwork on the collage of Michigan acquired his PhD from Harvard collage in 1954. His leader curiosity has entered upon the Ajanta caves in India, the place he had spent a long time, with aid from Bollingen, Guggenheim, Fulbright Foundations, NEH, and AIIS for his Ajanta: background and Development.

Naomichi Yaguchi, affiliate Professor, Kanazawa collage, Japan, has taken all the images for, and has been actively all for discussions in regards to the quantity.

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This was in part because, up until the idea of adding shrines to the site’s viharas came into being in about 466 (even though the first shrine Buddhas were not actually underway until late 468 or even early 469), it seems quite certain that the patrons had no intention of adding expensive decoration to what were conceived as nothing more than simple dormitories. 32 The priority given to decorating Caves 19 and 26 was of course due to their 30 Ajanta Cave 26 inscription, verse 8. 31 The peremptory way in which the porch doorway of Cave 1 was painted, with generalized areas of color, after being so carefully sculpted would further suggest the differing attitude of the artists, planners, and patrons toward painting, as opposed to sculpture.

This was because their flat sides now formed ideal locations for dramatic sculptural figurations (as on the rear center pillars of Caves 1 and 4) or, most important, for painted representations of the various sub-divinities and the like that were of course welcomed within the context of the caves. Although most of these painted images, throughout the site, have been destroyed by the debris that gathered little by little around them over the centuries, happily a few examples of such paintings still remain on a number of the pillar bases in Cave 2, as well as on the rear center pillars and antechamber pillars of Cave 17.

31 However, loss of clarity or not, sculpture, increasingly, as the site developed, was associated with power and prestige, even though, in the early years of Ajanta’s development, complex sculptural additions were the exception rather than the rule. This was in part because, up until the idea of adding shrines to the site’s viharas came into being in about 466 (even though the first shrine Buddhas were not actually underway until late 468 or even early 469), it seems quite certain that the patrons had no intention of adding expensive decoration to what were conceived as nothing more than simple dormitories.

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