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Frescoes of Ajanta -- An Essay

Title:Frescoes of Ajanta -- An Essay
Author:Fabri, Charles
Enumeration:Vol. 9 Issue no. 1; December 1955, p. 61-76
Abstract:The writer disagrees with some of the conclusions of archaeologist Ghulam Yazdani (author of a multi-volume work on Ajanta) regarding the chronology of the Ajanta paintings, and maintains that Buddhist patronage and occupation at Ajanta lasted until the end of the 8th century CE. The two attempts --; by Stella Kramrisch and Hermann Goetz -- at dating the various paintings are critically examined. Compositionally, the paintings fall into three distinct groups: 2nd-1st century BCE (Caves IX and X); development from the archaic art to the classical style (4th-5th century CE); and 6th century onwards, when the linear or total composition of earlier phases gives place to a maze of little structures, marked by Mannerism and Baroque. Stylistic details such as treatment of pose, facial features, and hair-dress also suggest the dating of the panels to various phases: the occurrence of the crowned Buddha in "Temptation of the Buddha" (Cave I) shows that the painting is at least as late as 720, as no crowned Buddha is known to exist from earlier decades.

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