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The Caves at Ajanta

Title:The Caves at Ajanta
Author:Spink, Walter M.
Publication:Archaeology
Enumeration:vol. 45 (November/December 1992) p. 52-60
Abstract:In 1819, British lieutenant John Smith chanced upon the ancient caves of Ajanta, which are located in a gorge in western India's Deccan plateau. The caves, which had lain forgotten for more than 1,300 years, housed an ancient Buddhist monastery that provides a unique record of Indian culture at the height of its Golden Age in the fifth century A.D.. The Ajanta caves were created by artisans who used little more than hammers, chisels, palettes, and brushes. Encouraged by the noble aspirations, wealth, and faith of their patrons, the artisans recorded the daily life of the times in paintings and sculptures that have been preserved in 30 rock-hewn chapels. The creations glorify Buddha and represent a celebration of the peaceful and prosperous times under the rule of Harisena. Sidebars discuss the fourth-century artistic renaissance at Ajanta, the similarities between the Ajanta halls and Athenian temples, and efforts to preserve the caves and their contents.

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