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India – Maharashtra – Ajanta Caves – Cave 23 – 4bb

India - Maharashtra - Ajanta Caves - Cave 23 - 4bb

The Ajanta Caves (Ajiṇṭhā leni; Marathi: अजिंठा लेणी) in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India are about 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE. The caves include paintings and sculptures described by the government Archaeological Survey of India as "the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting", which are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales. The caves were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BCE, with the second group of caves built around 400–650 CE according to older accounts, or all in a brief period of 460 to 480 according to the recent proposals of Walter M. Spink. The site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India, and since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The caves are located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, near Jalgaon and just outside the village of Ajinṭhā 20°31′56″N 75°44′44″E), about 59 kilometres from Jalgaon railway station on the Delhi – Mumbai line and Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line of the Central Railway zone, and 104 kilometres from the city of Aurangabad. They are 100 kilometres from the Ellora Caves, which contain Hindu and Jain temples as well as Buddhist caves, the last dating from a period similar to Ajanta. The Ajanta caves are cut into the side of a cliff that is on the south side of a U-shaped gorge on the small river Waghur, and although they are now along and above a modern pathway running across the cliff they were originally reached by individual stairs or ladders from the side of the river 35 to 110 feet below.

The area was previously heavily forested, and after the site ceased to be used the caves were covered by jungle until accidentally rediscovered in 1819 by a British officer on a hunting party. They are Buddhist monastic buildings, apparently representing a number of distinct "monasteries" or colleges. The caves are numbered 1 to 28 according to their place along the path, beginning at the entrance. Several are unfinished and some barely begun and others are small shrines, included in the traditional numbering as e.g. "9A"; "Cave 15A" was still hidden under rubble when the numbering was done. Further round the gorge are a number of waterfalls, which when the river is high are audible from outside the caves.

The caves form the largest corpus of early Indian wall-painting; other survivals from the area of modern India are very few, though they are related to 5th-century paintings at Sigiriya in Sri Lanka. The elaborate architectural carving in many caves is also very rare, and the style of the many figure sculptures is highly local, found only at a few nearby contemporary sites, although the Ajanta tradition can be related to the later Hindu Ellora Caves and other sites.

HISTORY
Like the other ancient Buddhist monasteries, Ajanta had a large emphasis on teaching, and was divided into several different caves for living, education and worship, under a central direction. Monks were probably assigned to specific caves for living. The layout reflects this organizational structure, with most of the caves only connected through the exterior. The 7th-century travelling Chinese scholar Xuanzang informs us that Dignaga, a celebrated Buddhist philosopher and controversialist, author of well-known books on logic, lived at Ajanta in the 5th century. In its prime the settlement would have accommodated several hundred teachers and pupils. Many monks who had finished their first training may have returned to Ajanta during the monsoon season from an itinerant lifestyle.

The caves are generally agreed to have been made in two distinct periods, separated by several centuries.

CAVES OF THE FIRST (SATAVAHANA) PERIOD
The earliest group of caves consists of caves 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15A. According to Walter Spink, they were made during the period 100 BCE to 100 CE, probably under the patronage of the Satavahana dynasty (230 BCE – c. 220 CE) who ruled the region. Other datings prefer the period 300 BCE to 100 BCE, though the grouping of the earlier caves is generally agreed. More early caves may have vanished through later excavations. Of these, caves 9 and 10 are stupa halls of chaitya-griha form, and caves 12, 13, and 15A are vihāras (see the architecture section below for descriptions of these types). The first phase is still often called the Hinayāna phase, as it originated when, using traditional terminology, the Hinayāna or Lesser Vehicle tradition of Buddhism was dominant, when the Buddha was revered symbolically. However the use of the term Hinayana for this period of Buddhism is now deprecated by historians; equally the caves of the second period are now mostly dated too early to be properly called Mahayana, and do not yet show the full expanded cast of supernatural beings characteristic of that phase of Buddhist art. The first Satavahana period caves lacked figurative sculpture, emphasizing the stupa instead, and in the caves of the second period the overwhelming majority of images represent the Buddha alone, or narrative scenes of his lives.

Spink believes that some time after the Satavahana period caves were made the site was abandoned for a considerable period until the mid-5th century, probably because the region had turned mainly Hindu

CAVES OF THE LATER OR VAKATAKA PERIOD
The second phase began in the 5th century. For a long time it was thought that the later caves were made over a long period from the 4th to the 7th centuries CE, but in recent decades a series of studies by the leading expert on the caves, Walter M. Spink, have argued that most of the work took place over the very brief period from 460 to 480 CE, during the reign of Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka dynasty. This view has been criticized by some scholars, but is now broadly accepted by most authors of general books on Indian art, for example Huntington and Harle.

The second phase is still often called the Mahāyāna or Greater Vehicle phase, but scholars now tend to avoid this nomenclature because of the problems that have surfaced regarding our understanding of Mahāyāna.

Some 20 cave temples were simultaneously created, for the most part viharas with a sanctuary at the back. The most elaborate caves were produced in this period, which included some "modernization" of earlier caves. Spink claims that it is possible to establish dating for this period with a very high level of precision; a fuller account of his chronology is given below. Although debate continues, Spink’s ideas are increasingly widely accepted, at least in their broad conclusions. The Archaeological Survey of India website still presents the traditional dating: "The second phase of paintings started around 5th – 6th centuries A.D. and continued for the next two centuries". Caves of the second period are 1–8, 11, 14–29, some possibly extensions of earlier caves. Caves 19, 26, and 29 are chaitya-grihas, the rest viharas.

According to Spink, the Ajanta Caves appear to have been abandoned by wealthy patrons shortly after the fall of Harishena, in about 480 CE. They were then gradually abandoned and forgotten. During the intervening centuries, the jungle grew back and the caves were hidden, unvisited and undisturbed, although the local population were aware of at least some of them.

REDISCOVERY
On 28 April 1819, a British officer for the Madras Presidency, John Smith, of the 28th Cavalry, while hunting tiger, accidentally discovered the entrance to Cave No. 10 deep within the tangled undergrowth. There were local people already using the caves for prayers with a small fire, when he arrived. Exploring that first cave, long since a home to nothing more than birds and bats and a lair for other larger animals, Captain Smith vandalized the wall by scratching his name and the date, April 1819. Since he stood on a five-foot high pile of rubble collected over the years, the inscription is well above the eye-level gaze of an adult today. A paper on the caves by William Erskine was read to the Bombay Literary Society in 1822. Within a few decades, the caves became famous for their exotic setting, impressive architecture, and above all their exceptional, all but unique paintings. A number of large projects to copy the paintings were made in the century after rediscovery, covered below. In 1848 the Royal Asiatic Society established the "Bombay Cave Temple Commission" to clear, tidy and record the most important rock-cut sites in the Bombay Presidency, with John Wilson, as president. In 1861 this became the nucleus of the new Archaeological Survey of India. Until the Nizam of Hyderabad built the modern path between the caves, among other efforts to make the site easy to visit, a trip to Ajanta was a considerable adventure, and contemporary accounts dwell with relish on the dangers from falls off narrow ledges, animals and the Bhil people, who were armed with bows and arrows and had a fearsome reputation.

Today, fairly easily combined with Ellora in a single trip, the caves are the most popular tourist destination in Mahrashtra, and are often crowded at holiday times, increasing the threat to the caves, especially the paintings. In 2012, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation announced plans to add to the ASI visitor centre at the entrance complete replicas of caves 1, 2, 16 & 17 to reduce crowding in the originals, and enable visitors to receive a better visual idea of the paintings, which are dimly-lit and hard to read in the caves. Figures for the year to March 2010 showed a total of 390,000 visitors to the site, divided into 362,000 domestic and 27,000 foreign. The trends over the previous few years show a considerable growth in domestic visitors, but a decline in foreign ones; the year to 2010 was the first in which foreign visitors to Ellora exceeded those to Ajanta.

PAINTINGS
Mural paintings survive from both the earlier and later groups of caves. Several fragments of murals preserved from the earlier caves (Caves 9 and 11) are effectively unique survivals of court-led painting in India from this period, and "show that by Sātavāhana times, if not earlier, the Indian painter had mastered an easy and fluent naturalistic style, dealing with large groups of people in a manner comparable to the reliefs of the Sāñcī toraņa crossbars".

Four of the later caves have large and relatively well-preserved mural paintings which "have come to represent Indian mural painting to the non-specialist", and fall into two stylistic groups, with the most famous in Caves 16 and 17, and apparently later paintings in Caves 1 and 2. The latter group were thought to be a century or more later than the others, but the revised chronology proposed by Spink would place them much closer to the earlier group, perhaps contemporary with it in a more progressive style, or one reflecting a team from a different region. The paintings are in "dry fresco", painted on top of a dry plaster surface rather than into wet plaster.

All the paintings appear to be the work of painters at least as used to decorating palaces as temples, and show a familiarity with and interest in details of the life of a wealthy court. We know from literary sources that painting was widely practised and appreciated in the courts of the Gupta period. Unlike much Indian painting, compositions are not laid out in horizontal compartments like a frieze, but show large scenes spreading in all directions from a single figure or group at the centre. The ceilings are also painted with sophisticated and elaborate decorative motifs, many derived from sculpture. The paintings in cave 1, which according to Spink was commissioned by Harisena himself, concentrate on those Jataka tales which show previous lives of the Buddha as a king, rather than as an animal or human commoner, and so show settings from contemporary palace life.

In general the later caves seem to have been painted on finished areas as excavating work continued elsewhere in the cave, as shown in caves 2 and 16 in particular. According to Spink’s account of the chronology of the caves, the abandonment of work in 478 after a brief busy period accounts for the absence of painting in caves such as 4 and 17, the later being plastered in preparation for paintings that were never done.

COPIES
The paintings have deteriorated significantly since they were rediscovered, and a number of 19th-century copies and drawings are important for a complete understanding of the works. However, the earliest projects to copy the paintings were plagued by bad fortune. In 1846, Major Robert Gill, an Army officer from Madras presidency and a painter, was appointed by the Royal Asiatic Society to replicate the frescoes on the cave walls to exhibit these paintings in England. Gill worked on his painting at the site from 1844 to 1863 (though he continued to be based there until his death in 1875, writing books and photographing) and made 27 copies of large sections of murals, but all but four were destroyed in a fire at the Crystal Palace in London in 1866, where they were on display.

Another attempt was made in 1872 when the Bombay Presidency commissioned John Griffiths, then principal of the Bombay School of Art, to work with his students to make new copies, again for shipping to England. They worked on this for thirteen years and some 300 canvases were produced, many of which were displayed at the Imperial Institute on Exhibition Road in London, one of the forerunners of the Victoria and Albert Museum. But in 1885 another fire destroyed over a hundred paintings that were in storage. The V&A still has 166 paintings surviving from both sets, though none have been on permanent display since 1955. The largest are some 3 × 6 metres. A conservation project was undertaken on about half of them in 2006, also involving the University of Northumbria. Griffith and his students had unfortunately painted many of the paintings with "cheap varnish" in order to make them easier to see, which has added to the deterioration of the originals, as has, according to Spink and others, recent cleaning by the ASI.

A further set of copies were made between 1909 and 1911 by Christiana Herringham (Lady Herringham) and a group of students from the Calcutta School of Art that included the future Indian Modernist painter Nandalal Bose. The copies were published in full colour as the first publication of London’s fledgling India Society. More than the earlier copies, these aimed to fill in holes and damage to recreate the original condition rather than record the state of the paintings as she was seeing them. According to one writer, unlike the paintings created by her predecessors Griffiths and Gill, whose copies were influenced by British Victorian styles of painting, those of the Herringham expedition preferred an ‘Indian Renascence’ aesthetic of the type pioneered by Abanindranath Tagore.

Early photographic surveys were made by Robert Gill, who learnt to use a camera from about 1856, and whose photos, including some using stereoscopy, were used in books by him and Fergusson (many are available online from the British Library), then Victor Goloubew in 1911 and E.L. Vassey, who took the photos in the four volume study of the caves by Ghulam Yazdani (published 1930–1955).

ARCHITECTURE
The monasteries mostly consist of vihara halls for prayer and living, which are typically rectangular with small square dormitory cells cut into the walls, and by the second period a shrine or sanctuary at the rear centred on a large statue of the Buddha, also carved from the living rock. This change reflects the movement from Hinayana to Mahāyāna Buddhism. The other type of main hall is the narrower and higher chaitya hall with a stupa as the focus at the far end, and a narrow aisle around the walls, behind a range of pillars placed close together. Other plainer rooms were for sleeping and other activities. Some of the caves have elaborate carved entrances, some with large windows over the door to admit light. There is often a colonnaded porch or verandah, with another space inside the doors running the width of the cave.

The central square space of the interior of the viharas is defined by square columns forming a more or less square open area. Outside this are long rectangular aisles on each side, forming a kind of cloister. Along the side and rear walls are a number of small cells entered by a narrow doorway; these are roughly square, and have small niches on their back walls. Originally they had wooden doors. The centre of the rear wall has a larger shrine-room behind, containing a large Buddha statue. The viharas of the earlier period are much simpler, and lack shrines. Spink in fact places the change to a design with a shrine to the middle of the second period, with many caves being adapted to add a shrine in mid-excavation, or after the original phase.

The plan of Cave 1 shows one of the largest viharas, but is fairly typical of the later group. Many others, such as Cave 16, lack the vestibule to the shrine, which leads straight off the main hall. Cave 6 is two viharas, one above the other, connected by internal stairs, with sanctuaries on both levels.

The four completed chaitya halls are caves 9 and 10 from the early period, and caves 19 and 26 from the later period of construction. All follow the typical form found elsewhere, with high ceilings and a central "nave" leading to the stupa, which is near the back, but allows walking behind it, as walking around stupas was (and remains) a common element of Buddhist worship (pradakshina). The later two have high ribbed roofs, which reflect timber forms, and the earlier two are thought to have used actual timber ribs, which have now perished. The two later halls have a rather unusual arrangement (also found in Cave 10 at Ellora) where the stupa is fronted by a large relief sculpture of the Buddha, standing in Cave 19 and seated in Cave 26. Cave 29 is a late and very incomplete chaitya hall.

The form of columns in the work of the first period is very plain and un-embellished, with both chaitya halls using simple octagonal columns, which were painted with figures. In the second period columns were far more varied and inventive, often changing profile over their height, and with elaborate carved capitals, often spreading wide. Many columns are carved over all their surface, some fluted and others carved with decoration all over, as in cave 1.

The flood basalt rock of the cliff, part of the Deccan Traps formed by successive volcanic eruptions at the end of the Cretaceous, is layered horizontally, and somewhat variable in quality, so the excavators had to amend their plans in places, and in places there have been collapses in the intervening centuries, as with the lost portico to cave 1. Excavation began by cutting a narrow tunnel at roof level, which was expanded downwards and outwards; the half-built vihara cave 24 shows the method. Spink believes that for the first caves of the second period the excavators had to relearn skills and techniques that had been lost in the centuries since the first period, which were then transmitted to be used at later rock-cut sites in the region, such as Ellora, and the Elephanta, Bagh, Badami and Aurangabad Caves.

The caves from the first period seem to have been paid for by a number of different patrons, with several inscriptions recording the donation of particular portions of a single cave, but according to Spink the later caves were each commissioned as a complete unit by a single patron from the local rulers or their court elites. After the death of Harisena smaller donors got their chance to add small "shrinelets" between the caves or add statues to existing caves, and some two hundred of these "intrusive" additions were made in sculpture, with a further number of intrusive paintings, up to three hundred in cave 10 alone.

A grand gateway to the site, at the apex of the gorge’s horsehoe between caves 15 and 16, was approached from the river, and is decorated with elephants on either side and a nāga, or protective snake deity.

ICONOGRAPHY OF THE CAVES
In the pre-Christian era, the Buddha was represented symbolically, in the form of the stupa. Thus, halls were made with stupas to venerate the Buddha. In later periods the images of the Buddha started to be made in coins, relic caskets, relief or loose sculptural forms, etc. However, it took a while for the human representation of the Buddha to appear in Buddhist art. One of the earliest evidences of the Buddha’s human representations are found at Buddhist archaeological sites, such as Goli, Nagarjunakonda, and Amaravati. The monasteries of those sites were built in less durable media, such as wood, brick, and stone. As far as the genre of rock-cut architecture is concerned it took many centuries for the Buddha image to be depicted. Nobody knows for sure at which rock-cut cave site the first image of the Buddha was depicted. Current research indicates that Buddha images in a portable form, made of wood or stone, were introduced, for the first time, at Kanheri, to be followed soon at Ajanta Cave 8 (Dhavalikar, Jadhav, Spink, Singh). While the Kanheri example dates to 4th or 5th century CE, the Ajanta example has been dated to c. 462–478 CE (Spink). None of the rock-cut monasteries prior to these dates, and other than these examples, show any Buddha image although hundreds of rock-cut caves were made throughout India during the first few centuries CE. And, in those caves, it is the stupa that is the object of veneration, not the image. Images of the Buddha are not found in Buddhist sailagrhas (rock-cut complexes) until the times of the Kanheri (4th–5th century CE) and Ajanta examples (c. 462–478 CE).

The caves of the second period, now all dated to the 5th century, were typically described as "Mahayana", but do not show the features associated with later Mahayana Buddhism. Although the beginnings of Mahāyāna teachings go back to the 1st century there is little art and archaeological evidence to suggest that it became a mainstream cult for several centuries. In Mahayana it is not Gautama Buddha but the Bodhisattva who is important, including "deity" Bodhisattva like Manjushri and Tara, as well as aspects of the Buddha such as Aksobhya, and Amitabha. Except for a few Bodhisattva, these are not depicted at Ajanta, where the Buddha remains the dominant figure. Even the Bodhisattva images of Ajanta are never central objects of worship, but are always shown as attendants of the Buddha in the shrine. If a Bodhisattva is shown in isolation, as in the Astabhaya scenes, these were done in the very last years of activities at Ajanta, and are mostly ‘intrusive’ in nature, meaning that they were not planned by the original patrons, and were added by new donors after the original patrons had suddenly abandoned the region in the wake of Emperor Harisena’s death.

The contrast between iconic and aniconic representations, that is, the stupa on one hand and the image of the Buddha on the other, is now being seen as a construct of the modern scholar rather than a reality of the past. The second phase of Ajanta shows that the stupa and image coincided together. If the entire corpus of the art of Ajanta including sculpture, iconography, architecture, epigraphy, and painting are analysed afresh it will become clear that there was no duality between the symbolic and human forms of the Buddha, as far as the 5th-century phase of Ajanta is concerned. That is why most current scholars tend to avoid the terms ‘Hinayana’ and ‘Mahayana’ in the context of Ajanta. They now prefer to call the second phase by the ruling dynasty, as the Vākāţaka phase.

CAVES
CAVE 1
Cave 1 was built on the eastern end of the horse-shoe shaped scarp, and is now the first cave the visitor encounters. This would when first made have been a less prominent position, right at the end of the row. According to Spink, it is one of the latest caves to have been excavated, when the best sites had been taken, and was never fully inaugurated for worship by the dedication of the Buddha image in the central shrine. This is shown by the absence of sooty deposits from butter lamps on the base of the shrine image, and the lack of damage to the paintings that would have been happened if the garland-hooks around the shrine had been in use for any period of time. Although there is no epigraphic evidence, Spink believes that the Vākāţaka Emperor Harishena was the benefactor of the work, and this is reflected in the emphasis on imagery of royalty in the cave, with those Jakata tales being selected that tell of those previous lives of the Buddha in which he was royal.

The cliff has a more steep slope here than at other caves, so to achieve a tall grand facade it was necessary to cut far back into the slope, giving a large courtyard in front of the facade. There was originally a columned portico in front of the present facade, which can be seen "half-intact in the 1880s" in pictures of the site, but this fell down completely and the remains, despite containing fine carving, were carelessly thrown down the slope into the river, from where they have been lost, presumably carried away in monsoon torrents.

This cave has one of the most elaborate carved façades, with relief sculptures on entablature and ridges, and most surfaces embellished with decorative carving. There are scenes carved from the life of the Buddha as well as a number of decorative motifs. A two pillared portico, visible in the 19th-century photographs, has since perished. The cave has a front-court with cells fronted by pillared vestibules on either side. These have a high plinth level. The cave has a porch with simple cells on both ends. The absence of pillared vestibules on the ends suggest that the porch was not excavated in the latest phase of Ajanta when pillared vestibules had become a necessity and norm. Most areas of the porch were once covered with murals, of which many fragments remain, especially on the ceiling. There are three doorways: a central doorway and two side doorways. Two square windows were carved between the doorways to brighten the interiors.

Each wall of the hall inside is nearly 12 m long and 6.1 m high. Twelve pillars make a square colonnade inside supporting the ceiling, and creating spacious aisles along the walls. There is a shrine carved on the rear wall to house an impressive seated image of the Buddha, his hands being in the dharmachakrapravartana mudra. There are four cells on each of the left, rear, and the right walls, though due to rock fault there are none at the ends of the rear aisle. The walls are covered with paintings in a fair state of preservation, though the full scheme was never completed. The scenes depicted are mostly didactic, devotional, and ornamental, with scenes from the Jataka stories of the Buddha’s former existences as a bodhisattva), the life of the Gautama Buddha, and those of his veneration. The two most famous individual painted images at Ajanta are the two over-life size figures of the protective bodhisattvas Padmapani and Vajrapani on either side of the entrance to the Buddha shrine on the wall of the rear aisle (see illustrations above). According to Spink, the original dating of the paintings to about 625 arose largely or entirely because James Fegusson, a 19th-century architectural historian, had decided that a scene showing an ambassador being received, with figures in Persian dress, represented a recorded embassy to Persia (from a Hindu monarch at that) around that date.

CAVE 2
Cave 2, adjacent to Cave 1, is known for the paintings that have been preserved on its walls, ceilings, and pillars. It looks similar to Cave 1 and is in a better state of preservation.

Cave 2 has a porch quite different from Cave one. Even the façade carvings seem to be different. The cave is supported by robust pillars, ornamented with designs. The front porch consists of cells supported by pillared vestibules on both ends. The cells on the previously "wasted areas" were needed to meet the greater housing requirements in later years. Porch-end cells became a trend in all later Vakataka excavations. The simple single cells on porch-ends were converted into CPVs or were planned to provide more room, symmetry, and beauty.

The paintings on the ceilings and walls of this porch have been widely published. They depict the Jataka tales that are stories of the Buddha’s life in former existences as Bodhisattva. Just as the stories illustrated in cave 1 emphasize kingship, those in cave 2 show many "noble and powerful" women in prominent roles, leading to suggestions that the patron was an unknown woman. The porch’s rear wall has a doorway in the center, which allows entrance to the hall. On either side of the door is a square-shaped window to brighten the interior.

The hall has four colonnades which are supporting the ceiling and surrounding a square in the center of the hall. Each arm or colonnade of the square is parallel to the respective walls of the hall, making an aisle in between. The colonnades have rock-beams above and below them. The capitals are carved and painted with various decorative themes that include ornamental, human, animal, vegetative, and semi-divine forms.

Paintings appear on almost every surface of the cave except for the floor. At various places the art work has become eroded due to decay and human interference. Therefore, many areas of the painted walls, ceilings, and pillars are fragmentary. The painted narratives of the Jataka tales are depicted only on the walls, which demanded the special attention of the devotee. They are didactic in nature, meant to inform the community about the Buddha’s teachings and life through successive rebirths. Their placement on the walls required the devotee to walk through the aisles and ‘read’ the narratives depicted in various episodes. The narrative episodes are depicted one after another although not in a linear order. Their identification has been a core area of research since the site’s rediscovery in 1819. Dieter Schlingloff’s identifications have updated our knowledge on the subject.

CAVE 4
The Archeological Survey of India board outside the caves gives the following detail about cave 4: "This is the largest monastery planned on a grandiose scale but was never finished. An inscription on the pedestal of the buddha’s image mentions that it was a gift from a person named Mathura and paleographically belongs to 6th century A.D. It consists of a verandah, a hypostylar hall, sanctum with an antechamber and a series of unfinished cells. The rear wall of the verandah contains the panel of Litany of Avalokiteśvara".

The sanctuary houses a colossal image of the Buddha in preaching pose flanked by bodhisattvas and celestial nymphs hovering above.

CAVES 9-10
Caves 9 and 10 are the two chaitya halls from the first period of construction, though both were also undergoing an uncompleted reworking at the end of the second period. Cave 10 was perhaps originally of the 1st century BCE, and cave 9 about a hundred years later. The small "shrinelets" called caves 9A to 9D and 10A also date from the second period, and were commissioned by individuals.

The paintings in cave 10 include some surviving from the early period, many from an incomplete programme of modernization in the second period, and a very large number of smaller late intrusive images, nearly all Buddhas and many with donor inscriptions from individuals. These mostly avoided over-painting the "official" programme and after the best positions were used up are tucked away in less prominent positions not yet painted; the total of these (including those now lost) was probably over 300, and the hands of many different artists are visible.

OTHER CAVES
Cave 3 is merely a start of an excavation; according to Spink it was begun right at the end of the final period of work and soon abandoned. Caves 5 and 6 are viharas, the latter on two floors, that were late works of which only the lower floor of cave 6 was ever finished. The upper floor of cave 6 has many private votive sculptures, and a shrine Buddha, but is otherwise unfinished. Cave 7 has a grand facade with two porticos but, perhaps because of faults in the rock, which posed problems in many caves, was never taken very deep into the cliff, and consists only of the two porticos and a shrine room with antechamber, with no central hall. Some cells were fitted in.

Cave 8 was long thought to date to the first period of construction, but Spink sees it as perhaps the earliest cave from the second period, its shrine an "afterthought". The statue may have been loose rather than carved from the living rock, as it has now vanished. The cave was painted, but only traces remain.

SPINK´S DETAILED CHRONOLOGY
Walter M. Spink has over recent decades developed a very precise and circumstantial chronology for the second period of work on the site, which unlike earlier scholars, he places entirely in the 5th century. This is based on evidence such as the inscriptions and artistic style, combined with the many uncompleted elements of the caves. He believes the earlier group of caves, which like other scholars he dates only approximately, to the period "between 100 BCE – 100 CE", were at some later point completely abandoned and remained so "for over three centuries", as the local population had turned mainly Hindu. This changed with the accession of the Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka Dynasty, who reigned from 460 to his death in 477. Harisena extended the Central Indian Vakataka Empire to include a stretch of the east coast of India; the Gupta Empire ruled northern India at the same period, and the Pallava dynasty much of the south.

According to Spink, Harisena encouraged a group of associates, including his prime minister Varahadeva and Upendragupta, the sub-king in whose territory Ajanta was, to dig out new caves, which were individually commissioned, some containing inscriptions recording the donation. This activity began in 462 but was mostly suspended in 468 because of threats from the neighbouring Asmaka kings. Work continued on only caves 1, Harisena’s own commission, and 17–20, commissioned by Upendragupta. In 472 the situation was such that work was suspended completely, in a period that Spink calls "the Hiatus", which lasted until about 475, by which time the Asmakas had replaced Upendragupta as the local rulers.

Work was then resumed, but again disrupted by Harisena’s death in 477, soon after which major excavation ceased, except at cave 26, which the Asmakas were sponsoring themselves. The Asmakas launched a revolt against Harisena’s son, which brought about the end of the Vakataka Dynasty. In the years 478–480 major excavation by important patrons was replaced by a rash of "intrusions" – statues added to existing caves, and small shrines dotted about where there was space between them. These were commissioned by less powerful individuals, some monks, who had not previously been able to make additions to the large excavations of the rulers and courtiers. They were added to the facades, the return sides of the entrances, and to walls inside the caves. According to Spink, "After 480, not a single image was ever made again at the site", and as Hinduism again dominated the region, the site was again abandoned, this time for over a millennium.

Spink does not use "circa" in his dates, but says that "one should allow a margin of error of one year or perhaps even two in all cases".

IMPACT ON MODERN INDIAN PAINTINGS
The Ajanta paintings, or more likely the general style they come from, influenced painting in Tibet and Sri Lanka.

The rediscovery of ancient Indian paintings at Ajanta provided Indian artists examples from ancient India to follow. Nandlal Bose experimented with techniques to follow the ancient style which allowed him to develop his unique style. Abanindranath Tagore also used the Ajanta paintings for inspiration.

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Posted by asienman on 2017-06-26 22:16:19

Tagged: , India , Maharashtra , Ajanta Caves , Cave 23 , asienman-photography , asienman-photoart

1:72 Heinkel He 100 G-2; aircraft “10+ Red” of 2. Gruppe, I./JG 4, mount of Unteroffizier (“Uffz.”) Helmut Behringer; Mizil, Romania; September 1944 (Whif/Special Hobby kit conversion)

+++ DISCLAIMER +++
Nothing you see here is real, even though the conversion or the presented background story might be based historical facts. BEWARE!

Some background:
Following the RLM’s selection of the Bf 109 as its next single-seat fighter (beating Heinkel’s He 112, based on a tactical requirement dating back to 1933), Ernst Heinkel became interested in a new fighter that would leap beyond the performance of the Bf 109 as much as the Bf 109 had over the biplanes it replaced. Other German designers had similar ambitions, including Kurt Tank at Focke-Wulf. There was never an official project on the part of the RLM, but new designs were important enough to fund projects from both companies to provide "super-pursuit" designs for evaluation. This would result in the single-engined He 100 fighter, and the promising twin-engine Fw 187 Falke Zerstörer-style heavy fighter.

The He 100 was a radical, new approach with the aim of ultimate performance in a simple airframe. Walter Günter, one half of the famous Günter brothers, looked at the existing He 112, which had competed against the Bf 109 in 1936 and already been heavily revised into the He 112B version. Looking at the aircraft’s potential he decided it had reached the end of its evolution. So he started over with a completely new design, called "Projekt 1035".

Learning from past mistakes on the 112 project, the design was to be as easy to build as possible, yet 700 km/h (440 mph) was a design goal. To ease production, the new design had considerably fewer parts than the 112 and those that remained contained fewer compound curves. In comparison, the 112 had 2,885 parts and 26,864 rivets, while the P.1035 was made of 969 unique parts with 11.543 rivets. The new straight-edged wing was a source of much of the savings; after building the first wings, Otto Butter reported that the reduction in complexity and rivet count (along with the Butter brothers’ own explosive rivet system) saved an astonishing 1.150 man hours per wing.

The super-pursuit type was not a secret, but Ernst Heinkel preferred to work in private and publicly display his products only after they were developed sufficiently to make a stunning first impression. As an example of this, the mock-up for the extremely modern-looking He 100 was the subject of company Memo No.3657 on 31 January that stated: "The mock-up is to be completed by us… as of the beginning of May… and be ready to present to the RLM… and prior to that no one at the RLM is to know of the existence of the mock-up."

In order to get the promised performance out of the aircraft, the design included a number of drag-reducing features. On the simple end were a well-faired cockpit and the absence of struts and other drag-inducing supports on the tail. The landing gear (including the tail wheel) was retractable and completely enclosed in flight.

The He 100 was based on the DB 601 power plant, the same engine as the Bf 109 (and also used in the Bf 110 heavy fighter). In order to achieve the designed performance increase, drag reduced as well as weight and frontal area: the engine was mounted directly to the forward fuselage, which was strengthened and literally tailored to the DB 601, as opposed to conventional mounting on engine bearers. The cowling was very tight-fitting, and as a result the aircraft had something of a slab-sided appearance.

Walter turned to the somewhat risky and still experimental method of cooling the engine via evaporative cooling. Such systems had been in vogue in several countries at the time. Heinkel and the Günter brothers were avid proponents of the technology, and had previously used it on the He 119, with promising results. Evaporative or "steam" cooling promised a completely drag-free cooling system. The DB 601 was a pressure-cooled engine in that the water/glycol coolant was kept in liquid form by pressure, even though its temperature was allowed to exceed the normal boiling point. Heinkel’s system took advantage of that fact and the cooling energy loss associated with the phase change of the coolant as it boils.

Beyond the technical risk of the cooling system, the engine itself became a problem: the production priority for Messerschmitt aircraft caused a serious shortage of advanced aero engines in Germany during the late 1930s, as there was insufficient capacity to support another aircraft using the same engines. The only available alternate engine was the Junkers Jumo 211, and Heinkel was encouraged to consider its use in the He 100. However, the early Jumo 211 then available did not use a pressurized cooling system, and it was therefore not suitable for the He 100’s innovative evaporative cooling system. Furthermore, a Jumo 211-powered He 100 would not have been able to outperform the contemporary DB 601-powered Bf 109 because the supercharger on the early Jumo 211 was not fully shrouded.

In order to provide as much power as possible from the DB 601, the 100 used exhaust ejectors for a small amount of additional thrust. The supercharger inlet was moved from the normal position on the side of the cowling to a location in the leading edge of the left wing. Although cleaner-looking, the long, curved induction pipe most probably negated any benefit.

One aspect of the original Projekt 1035 was the intent to capture the absolute speed record for Heinkel and Germany. Both Messerschmitt and Heinkel vied for this record before the war. Messerschmitt ultimately won that battle with the first prototype of the Me 209, but the He 100 briefly held the record when Heinkel test pilot Hans Dieterle flew the eighth prototype to 746.606 km/h (463.919 mph) on 30 March 1939.
The third and eighth prototypes were specially modified for speed, with unique outer wing panels of reduced span. The third prototype crashed during testing. The record flight was made using a special version of the DB 601 engine that offered 2,010 kW (2,700 hp) and had a service life of just 30 minutes.

Despite all these successes, the He 100 did not catch up immediately: it took until 1941 that series production was started – or better: allowed. The reason for this delay is subject to debate. Officially, the Luftwaffe rejected the He 100 for years to concentrate single-seat fighter development on the Messerschmitt Bf 109, despite its shortcomings. Following the adoption of the Bf 109 and Bf 110 as the Luftwaffe’s standard fighter types, the RLM also announced a "rationalization" policy that placed fighter development at Messerschmitt and bomber development at Heinkel.

Based on the "D" model, which was a refined version of the prototypes and pre-production aircraft, the "G" model became the final evolution of the He 100 and was in late 1943 finally put into service as a pure interceptor, when massive Allied bomber raids started to threaten Germany.
The He 100 G had the D’s enlarged horizontal stabilizer, but the big change was the eventual abandonment of the surface cooling system, which proved to be too complex and failure-prone. Instead a larger and simpler version of the D’s retractable radiator was installed, and this appeared to completely cure the vaporization system problems with only a little sacrifice in top speed and rate of climb. The radiator was inserted in a "plug" below the cockpit, and as a result the wings were widened slightly.

Armament was also improved: the engine-mounted 20mm MG FF Motorkanone (firing through the propeller hub) was replaced by the new, very powerful and compact MK 108 30mm cannon. The original pair of 7.92mm MG 17 machine guns in the wing roots (synchronized to fire through the propeller disc) was replaced by a pair of more powerful 13mm MG 131 machine guns, necessitating characteristic bulges on the wings’ upper surface – the MG 131s were placed behind the landing gear wells, their barrels running through them.

This initial G-1 type was soon followed by the G-2 variant, which featured a new canopy with a lowered spine, offering a much better all-round view. The first He 100 G-2s were delivered in early 1944, and many of these aircraft had additional weapons installed, e. g. a pair of 20mm MG 151/20 machine cannons in the outer wings – the “leftover” internal space from the defunct vaporization cooler system was effectively recycled . From late 1944 on, these machines were also outfitted with the more powerful DB 601E engine, even though there was no dedicated designation of this version.

While the aircraft didn’t match its original design goal of 700 km/h (430 mph) once it was loaded down with weapons, and despite the larger canopy and the external radiator, it was still capable of sustained speeds in the 644 km/h (400 mph) range. Additionally, the low drag airframe proved to be good for both speed and range: as a result the He 100 had a combat range between 900 and 1.000 km (560 to 620 mi) compared to the Bf 109’s 600 km (370 mi). While not in the same league as the later escort fighters, this was at the time a superb range and might have offset the need for the Bf 110 to some degree.

The He 100 only filled a niche role, though, and the Bf 109 and Fw 190 became the backbone of the Jagdwaffe (Fighter Force). The He 100 did not prove flexible enough to be used in different roles, as its external ordnance load was very limited. In spite of its successes in the interceptor role and the fact that it was well liked by its pilots, the He 100 never was able to rival both Bf 109 and also the later Fw 190. Production numbers remained low, only a total of about 300 aircraft were built (50 G-1 and 250 G-2, 150 of them powered by the DB 601E) until early 1945, when production ceased and was switched to other types, including jet and rocket fighters.

General characteristics:
Crew: One (pilot)
Length: 8.2 m (26 ft 11 in)
Wingspan: 9.4 m (30 ft 10 in)
Height: 3.6 m (11 ft 10 in)
Wing area: 14.6 m2 (157 sq ft)
Empty weight: 1,810 kg (3,990 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 2,500 kg (5,512 lb)

Powerplant:
1× Daimler-Benz DB 601E supercharged V12 piston engine, rated at up to 1,350 PS (993 kW) at sea-level with 2,700 RPM and up to 1,450 PS (1,066 kW) at 2.1 km altitude with 2,700 rpm

Performance:
Maximum speed: 685km/h (425 mph; 378 kn)
Cruising speed: 552 km/h (343 mph; 298 kn)
Range: 1,010 km (628 mi; 545 nmi)
Service ceiling: 11,000 m (36,089 ft)
Time to altitude: 2.2 minutes to 2,000 meters (6,600 ft), 7.9 minutes to 6,000 meters (20,000 ft)

Armament:
1x 30mm MK 108 cannon, firing through the propeller hub
2x 13mm MG 131 machine guns or 20mm MG 151/20 machine cannons in the wing roots
2x hardpoints under the wings, each able to carry up to 250kg (550lb), including bombs, drop tanks or unguided missiles; optional placement of additional guns (e .g. 2x MG 131 or 2x MG 151/20) in this position instead of external stores

The kit and its assembly:
This one is a kind of tribute work, dedicated to fellow user Franclab at flickr.com from Canada who came up with a profile of/for this model as a reaction to my He 100 Reno Racer conversion (The orange "Jägermeister"):

[http://www.flickr.com/photos/franclab/9485705184/]

It’s a fantasy aircraft, as the He 100 did not enter service and production was stopped after about 20 aircraft. But I liked Franclab’s realistic and colorful profile, and only at second glance it reveals a twist: a sliding canopy from a Fw 190 instead of the Bf 109-like original. A nice challenge for a whif kit conversion!

Said and done, I tried to create a 1:72 scale model from/for that profile. The basic kit is the Special Hobby He 100, mostly built OOB. It is a very good model, with fine recessed panel lines and some PE parts, and the recent re-issue with Russian and Japanese markings let the prices drop.

What outwardly looks simple – the implantation of a Fw 190 canopy – became more tricky than expected. The He 100 is small! It’s much smaller and slender than the Fw 190, which itself is not a big bird. I had a complete spare glazing sprue from an Italeri Fw 190 D-9 in store which I tried to install, and after some trials the front window ended up steeper than on a Fw 190.
The sliding canopy is actually shorter and higher than on Franclab’s sketch (doing mash-ups in Photoshop is probably much easier than in real life!), so I had to improvise and re-sculpt the rear fuselage step by step. As a consequence, the new glazing looks rather "bubbletop"-like and tall, reminiscent of a P-51D? It took some serious surgery (including some implanted styrene wedges under clear parts) and putty work to integrate the Fw 190 parts. While I was successfully able to blend these into the He 100 fuselage, the result still looks a bit odd?

Other, less obvious kit mods are a metal axis for the propeller and an added pair of guns in the outer wings, taking up Franclab’s idea of heavier armament (which the original He 100 did not feature). The cannon nozzles are hollow steel needles of different diameter, those in the wing root even run through the landing gear wells. A pilot figure was added, too (from a HUMA kit).

Painting and markings:
Well, the profile was the benchmark, and I tried to stay true to it. It looks like a typical Fw 190 paint scheme from 1943 on. The grey/green upper color would be RLM 75/83, coupled with RLM65 on the lower side. The latter is a bit unlikely, as RLM 76 became the standard at that time. Still, it looks good, esp. with the rather light upper tones, so that’s what I went for.
I used Model Master Authentic tones for the RLM 75/83/65 combo, and later some lighter Humbrol shades for a subtle counter-shading of panels and upper surfaces (e. g. with 140, 120 and 65). The yellow ID markings (typical for the Eastern Front) were painted with Revell 310, Lufthansa Gelb. It’s a RAL tone (RAL 1028), but matches RLM 04 very well.

The cockpit interior was painted in Schwarzgrau (RLM 66) and dry-brushed with lighter shades, the landing gear wells are in RLM 02 – everything very conventional, Fw 190s from late 1944 were the benchmark.

The black-white-black stripe on the real fuselage was created with decal strips, instead of trying to paint this delicate detail by hand. In contrast to that, the propeller spinner with the B/W spiral was done with a brush and “free hand”. The same goes for the unique mottling on the flanks and fin – this was also done with a brush, and partly with thinned paint in order to create a “washed” effect and blurred contours. The result looks O.K..

A dubious element in the profile is the "ace of spades" emblem under the canopy. The tactical stripe codes on the rear fuselage were introduced in 1943, and the BWB-marking correctly belongs to JG 4, which was preliminarily formed as I./JG 4 on August 7, 1942 in Mizil, Romania, from the Ölschutzstaffel/JG 77. It became a full home defense Geschwader much later, on June 15, 1944 in Ansbach – but the spade symbol actually belongs to JG 53. There have been cases that pilots decorated their aircraft with symbols from former units, though, so this small detail is not impossible – but unlikely and a bit controversial. In order to fit into the time frame, this He 100 would be one of the final I./JG 4 aircraft used to defend the Romanian refineries and oil fields – a suitable task for the aircraft.
Additionally, the red number and the absence of any other code symbol identifies the machine as part of the 2nd Gruppe of I./JG 4, everything is very plausible! Anyway, in September 1944 the Jagdgeschwader 4 was finally commanded back to German home territory, after heavy losses against B-24 interceptions, and re-grouped in the Reichsverteidigung.

In order to avoid logical conflicts I decided to replace the squadron emblem with a more generic “Ace of Spades” game card icon. I found it on a Fantasy Forge decal sheet for 28mm miniatures in the scrap box.
AFAIK, some JG 4 aircraft displayed the Geschwaderzeichen on the engine cowling, a blue escutcheon with a grey or silver knight’s helmet with a red (red-white) plume. This insignia was first used by II. Gruppe, but later also appeared on other JG 4 Gruppen aircraft.

National markings and the red "10" come from TL Modellbau sheets – a lucky and handy purchase, as I had these in store for the recent Wellesley conversion: I wanted to use the red letters for the tactical code, but had to drop this idea because the German letters have a black rim. Now they come in just with perfect timing, and the letters/digits are even in the right typo for Franclab’s profile!
The warning stencils were taken from the original Special Hobby sheet.

After that, I did some additional detail painting with thinned Humbrol 224 (Dark Slate Gray) and light exhaust and soot stains were added with dry-brushed black. Finally, the kit received a thin coat with Revells’ Acrylic Matt Varnish.

All in all, a nice and quick project, even though I invested more work (and putty!) than expected or what is finally visible. It’s (relatively) colorful, and the light livery beyond the typical RLM 70/71/65 paint scheme of the early He 100 Ds suits the elegant aircraft very well. The Heinkel He 100 has some serious whif potential!

Merci bien à Franclab pour l’inspiration!

Posted by dizzyfugu on 2013-10-13 08:57:06

Tagged: , Heinkel , He , 100 , Luftwaffe , 1994 , Romania , Fantasy , aircraft , whif , what-if , Luft , 46 , Bf , 109 , JG , 4 , Jagdgeschwader , B-24 , interceptor , RLM , Franclab , dizzyfugu , modellbau

India – Maharashtra – Ajanta Caves – Cave 26 – 111bb

India - Maharashtra - Ajanta Caves - Cave 26 - 111bb

The Ajanta Caves (Ajiṇṭhā leni; Marathi: अजिंठा लेणी) in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India are about 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE. The caves include paintings and sculptures described by the government Archaeological Survey of India as "the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting", which are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales. The caves were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BCE, with the second group of caves built around 400–650 CE according to older accounts, or all in a brief period of 460 to 480 according to the recent proposals of Walter M. Spink. The site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India, and since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The caves are located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, near Jalgaon and just outside the village of Ajinṭhā 20°31′56″N 75°44′44″E), about 59 kilometres from Jalgaon railway station on the Delhi – Mumbai line and Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line of the Central Railway zone, and 104 kilometres from the city of Aurangabad. They are 100 kilometres from the Ellora Caves, which contain Hindu and Jain temples as well as Buddhist caves, the last dating from a period similar to Ajanta. The Ajanta caves are cut into the side of a cliff that is on the south side of a U-shaped gorge on the small river Waghur, and although they are now along and above a modern pathway running across the cliff they were originally reached by individual stairs or ladders from the side of the river 35 to 110 feet below.

The area was previously heavily forested, and after the site ceased to be used the caves were covered by jungle until accidentally rediscovered in 1819 by a British officer on a hunting party. They are Buddhist monastic buildings, apparently representing a number of distinct "monasteries" or colleges. The caves are numbered 1 to 28 according to their place along the path, beginning at the entrance. Several are unfinished and some barely begun and others are small shrines, included in the traditional numbering as e.g. "9A"; "Cave 15A" was still hidden under rubble when the numbering was done. Further round the gorge are a number of waterfalls, which when the river is high are audible from outside the caves.

The caves form the largest corpus of early Indian wall-painting; other survivals from the area of modern India are very few, though they are related to 5th-century paintings at Sigiriya in Sri Lanka. The elaborate architectural carving in many caves is also very rare, and the style of the many figure sculptures is highly local, found only at a few nearby contemporary sites, although the Ajanta tradition can be related to the later Hindu Ellora Caves and other sites.

HISTORY
Like the other ancient Buddhist monasteries, Ajanta had a large emphasis on teaching, and was divided into several different caves for living, education and worship, under a central direction. Monks were probably assigned to specific caves for living. The layout reflects this organizational structure, with most of the caves only connected through the exterior. The 7th-century travelling Chinese scholar Xuanzang informs us that Dignaga, a celebrated Buddhist philosopher and controversialist, author of well-known books on logic, lived at Ajanta in the 5th century. In its prime the settlement would have accommodated several hundred teachers and pupils. Many monks who had finished their first training may have returned to Ajanta during the monsoon season from an itinerant lifestyle.

The caves are generally agreed to have been made in two distinct periods, separated by several centuries.

CAVES OF THE FIRST (SATAVAHANA) PERIOD
The earliest group of caves consists of caves 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15A. According to Walter Spink, they were made during the period 100 BCE to 100 CE, probably under the patronage of the Satavahana dynasty (230 BCE – c. 220 CE) who ruled the region. Other datings prefer the period 300 BCE to 100 BCE, though the grouping of the earlier caves is generally agreed. More early caves may have vanished through later excavations. Of these, caves 9 and 10 are stupa halls of chaitya-griha form, and caves 12, 13, and 15A are vihāras (see the architecture section below for descriptions of these types). The first phase is still often called the Hinayāna phase, as it originated when, using traditional terminology, the Hinayāna or Lesser Vehicle tradition of Buddhism was dominant, when the Buddha was revered symbolically. However the use of the term Hinayana for this period of Buddhism is now deprecated by historians; equally the caves of the second period are now mostly dated too early to be properly called Mahayana, and do not yet show the full expanded cast of supernatural beings characteristic of that phase of Buddhist art. The first Satavahana period caves lacked figurative sculpture, emphasizing the stupa instead, and in the caves of the second period the overwhelming majority of images represent the Buddha alone, or narrative scenes of his lives.

Spink believes that some time after the Satavahana period caves were made the site was abandoned for a considerable period until the mid-5th century, probably because the region had turned mainly Hindu

CAVES OF THE LATER OR VAKATAKA PERIOD
The second phase began in the 5th century. For a long time it was thought that the later caves were made over a long period from the 4th to the 7th centuries CE, but in recent decades a series of studies by the leading expert on the caves, Walter M. Spink, have argued that most of the work took place over the very brief period from 460 to 480 CE, during the reign of Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka dynasty. This view has been criticized by some scholars, but is now broadly accepted by most authors of general books on Indian art, for example Huntington and Harle.

The second phase is still often called the Mahāyāna or Greater Vehicle phase, but scholars now tend to avoid this nomenclature because of the problems that have surfaced regarding our understanding of Mahāyāna.

Some 20 cave temples were simultaneously created, for the most part viharas with a sanctuary at the back. The most elaborate caves were produced in this period, which included some "modernization" of earlier caves. Spink claims that it is possible to establish dating for this period with a very high level of precision; a fuller account of his chronology is given below. Although debate continues, Spink’s ideas are increasingly widely accepted, at least in their broad conclusions. The Archaeological Survey of India website still presents the traditional dating: "The second phase of paintings started around 5th – 6th centuries A.D. and continued for the next two centuries". Caves of the second period are 1–8, 11, 14–29, some possibly extensions of earlier caves. Caves 19, 26, and 29 are chaitya-grihas, the rest viharas.

According to Spink, the Ajanta Caves appear to have been abandoned by wealthy patrons shortly after the fall of Harishena, in about 480 CE. They were then gradually abandoned and forgotten. During the intervening centuries, the jungle grew back and the caves were hidden, unvisited and undisturbed, although the local population were aware of at least some of them.

REDISCOVERY
On 28 April 1819, a British officer for the Madras Presidency, John Smith, of the 28th Cavalry, while hunting tiger, accidentally discovered the entrance to Cave No. 10 deep within the tangled undergrowth. There were local people already using the caves for prayers with a small fire, when he arrived. Exploring that first cave, long since a home to nothing more than birds and bats and a lair for other larger animals, Captain Smith vandalized the wall by scratching his name and the date, April 1819. Since he stood on a five-foot high pile of rubble collected over the years, the inscription is well above the eye-level gaze of an adult today. A paper on the caves by William Erskine was read to the Bombay Literary Society in 1822. Within a few decades, the caves became famous for their exotic setting, impressive architecture, and above all their exceptional, all but unique paintings. A number of large projects to copy the paintings were made in the century after rediscovery, covered below. In 1848 the Royal Asiatic Society established the "Bombay Cave Temple Commission" to clear, tidy and record the most important rock-cut sites in the Bombay Presidency, with John Wilson, as president. In 1861 this became the nucleus of the new Archaeological Survey of India. Until the Nizam of Hyderabad built the modern path between the caves, among other efforts to make the site easy to visit, a trip to Ajanta was a considerable adventure, and contemporary accounts dwell with relish on the dangers from falls off narrow ledges, animals and the Bhil people, who were armed with bows and arrows and had a fearsome reputation.

Today, fairly easily combined with Ellora in a single trip, the caves are the most popular tourist destination in Mahrashtra, and are often crowded at holiday times, increasing the threat to the caves, especially the paintings. In 2012, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation announced plans to add to the ASI visitor centre at the entrance complete replicas of caves 1, 2, 16 & 17 to reduce crowding in the originals, and enable visitors to receive a better visual idea of the paintings, which are dimly-lit and hard to read in the caves. Figures for the year to March 2010 showed a total of 390,000 visitors to the site, divided into 362,000 domestic and 27,000 foreign. The trends over the previous few years show a considerable growth in domestic visitors, but a decline in foreign ones; the year to 2010 was the first in which foreign visitors to Ellora exceeded those to Ajanta.

PAINTINGS
Mural paintings survive from both the earlier and later groups of caves. Several fragments of murals preserved from the earlier caves (Caves 9 and 11) are effectively unique survivals of court-led painting in India from this period, and "show that by Sātavāhana times, if not earlier, the Indian painter had mastered an easy and fluent naturalistic style, dealing with large groups of people in a manner comparable to the reliefs of the Sāñcī toraņa crossbars".

Four of the later caves have large and relatively well-preserved mural paintings which "have come to represent Indian mural painting to the non-specialist", and fall into two stylistic groups, with the most famous in Caves 16 and 17, and apparently later paintings in Caves 1 and 2. The latter group were thought to be a century or more later than the others, but the revised chronology proposed by Spink would place them much closer to the earlier group, perhaps contemporary with it in a more progressive style, or one reflecting a team from a different region. The paintings are in "dry fresco", painted on top of a dry plaster surface rather than into wet plaster.

All the paintings appear to be the work of painters at least as used to decorating palaces as temples, and show a familiarity with and interest in details of the life of a wealthy court. We know from literary sources that painting was widely practised and appreciated in the courts of the Gupta period. Unlike much Indian painting, compositions are not laid out in horizontal compartments like a frieze, but show large scenes spreading in all directions from a single figure or group at the centre. The ceilings are also painted with sophisticated and elaborate decorative motifs, many derived from sculpture. The paintings in cave 1, which according to Spink was commissioned by Harisena himself, concentrate on those Jataka tales which show previous lives of the Buddha as a king, rather than as an animal or human commoner, and so show settings from contemporary palace life.

In general the later caves seem to have been painted on finished areas as excavating work continued elsewhere in the cave, as shown in caves 2 and 16 in particular. According to Spink’s account of the chronology of the caves, the abandonment of work in 478 after a brief busy period accounts for the absence of painting in caves such as 4 and 17, the later being plastered in preparation for paintings that were never done.

COPIES
The paintings have deteriorated significantly since they were rediscovered, and a number of 19th-century copies and drawings are important for a complete understanding of the works. However, the earliest projects to copy the paintings were plagued by bad fortune. In 1846, Major Robert Gill, an Army officer from Madras presidency and a painter, was appointed by the Royal Asiatic Society to replicate the frescoes on the cave walls to exhibit these paintings in England. Gill worked on his painting at the site from 1844 to 1863 (though he continued to be based there until his death in 1875, writing books and photographing) and made 27 copies of large sections of murals, but all but four were destroyed in a fire at the Crystal Palace in London in 1866, where they were on display.

Another attempt was made in 1872 when the Bombay Presidency commissioned John Griffiths, then principal of the Bombay School of Art, to work with his students to make new copies, again for shipping to England. They worked on this for thirteen years and some 300 canvases were produced, many of which were displayed at the Imperial Institute on Exhibition Road in London, one of the forerunners of the Victoria and Albert Museum. But in 1885 another fire destroyed over a hundred paintings that were in storage. The V&A still has 166 paintings surviving from both sets, though none have been on permanent display since 1955. The largest are some 3 × 6 metres. A conservation project was undertaken on about half of them in 2006, also involving the University of Northumbria. Griffith and his students had unfortunately painted many of the paintings with "cheap varnish" in order to make them easier to see, which has added to the deterioration of the originals, as has, according to Spink and others, recent cleaning by the ASI.

A further set of copies were made between 1909 and 1911 by Christiana Herringham (Lady Herringham) and a group of students from the Calcutta School of Art that included the future Indian Modernist painter Nandalal Bose. The copies were published in full colour as the first publication of London’s fledgling India Society. More than the earlier copies, these aimed to fill in holes and damage to recreate the original condition rather than record the state of the paintings as she was seeing them. According to one writer, unlike the paintings created by her predecessors Griffiths and Gill, whose copies were influenced by British Victorian styles of painting, those of the Herringham expedition preferred an ‘Indian Renascence’ aesthetic of the type pioneered by Abanindranath Tagore.

Early photographic surveys were made by Robert Gill, who learnt to use a camera from about 1856, and whose photos, including some using stereoscopy, were used in books by him and Fergusson (many are available online from the British Library), then Victor Goloubew in 1911 and E.L. Vassey, who took the photos in the four volume study of the caves by Ghulam Yazdani (published 1930–1955).

ARCHITECTURE
The monasteries mostly consist of vihara halls for prayer and living, which are typically rectangular with small square dormitory cells cut into the walls, and by the second period a shrine or sanctuary at the rear centred on a large statue of the Buddha, also carved from the living rock. This change reflects the movement from Hinayana to Mahāyāna Buddhism. The other type of main hall is the narrower and higher chaitya hall with a stupa as the focus at the far end, and a narrow aisle around the walls, behind a range of pillars placed close together. Other plainer rooms were for sleeping and other activities. Some of the caves have elaborate carved entrances, some with large windows over the door to admit light. There is often a colonnaded porch or verandah, with another space inside the doors running the width of the cave.

The central square space of the interior of the viharas is defined by square columns forming a more or less square open area. Outside this are long rectangular aisles on each side, forming a kind of cloister. Along the side and rear walls are a number of small cells entered by a narrow doorway; these are roughly square, and have small niches on their back walls. Originally they had wooden doors. The centre of the rear wall has a larger shrine-room behind, containing a large Buddha statue. The viharas of the earlier period are much simpler, and lack shrines. Spink in fact places the change to a design with a shrine to the middle of the second period, with many caves being adapted to add a shrine in mid-excavation, or after the original phase.

The plan of Cave 1 shows one of the largest viharas, but is fairly typical of the later group. Many others, such as Cave 16, lack the vestibule to the shrine, which leads straight off the main hall. Cave 6 is two viharas, one above the other, connected by internal stairs, with sanctuaries on both levels.

The four completed chaitya halls are caves 9 and 10 from the early period, and caves 19 and 26 from the later period of construction. All follow the typical form found elsewhere, with high ceilings and a central "nave" leading to the stupa, which is near the back, but allows walking behind it, as walking around stupas was (and remains) a common element of Buddhist worship (pradakshina). The later two have high ribbed roofs, which reflect timber forms, and the earlier two are thought to have used actual timber ribs, which have now perished. The two later halls have a rather unusual arrangement (also found in Cave 10 at Ellora) where the stupa is fronted by a large relief sculpture of the Buddha, standing in Cave 19 and seated in Cave 26. Cave 29 is a late and very incomplete chaitya hall.

The form of columns in the work of the first period is very plain and un-embellished, with both chaitya halls using simple octagonal columns, which were painted with figures. In the second period columns were far more varied and inventive, often changing profile over their height, and with elaborate carved capitals, often spreading wide. Many columns are carved over all their surface, some fluted and others carved with decoration all over, as in cave 1.

The flood basalt rock of the cliff, part of the Deccan Traps formed by successive volcanic eruptions at the end of the Cretaceous, is layered horizontally, and somewhat variable in quality, so the excavators had to amend their plans in places, and in places there have been collapses in the intervening centuries, as with the lost portico to cave 1. Excavation began by cutting a narrow tunnel at roof level, which was expanded downwards and outwards; the half-built vihara cave 24 shows the method. Spink believes that for the first caves of the second period the excavators had to relearn skills and techniques that had been lost in the centuries since the first period, which were then transmitted to be used at later rock-cut sites in the region, such as Ellora, and the Elephanta, Bagh, Badami and Aurangabad Caves.

The caves from the first period seem to have been paid for by a number of different patrons, with several inscriptions recording the donation of particular portions of a single cave, but according to Spink the later caves were each commissioned as a complete unit by a single patron from the local rulers or their court elites. After the death of Harisena smaller donors got their chance to add small "shrinelets" between the caves or add statues to existing caves, and some two hundred of these "intrusive" additions were made in sculpture, with a further number of intrusive paintings, up to three hundred in cave 10 alone.

A grand gateway to the site, at the apex of the gorge’s horsehoe between caves 15 and 16, was approached from the river, and is decorated with elephants on either side and a nāga, or protective snake deity.

ICONOGRAPHY OF THE CAVES
In the pre-Christian era, the Buddha was represented symbolically, in the form of the stupa. Thus, halls were made with stupas to venerate the Buddha. In later periods the images of the Buddha started to be made in coins, relic caskets, relief or loose sculptural forms, etc. However, it took a while for the human representation of the Buddha to appear in Buddhist art. One of the earliest evidences of the Buddha’s human representations are found at Buddhist archaeological sites, such as Goli, Nagarjunakonda, and Amaravati. The monasteries of those sites were built in less durable media, such as wood, brick, and stone. As far as the genre of rock-cut architecture is concerned it took many centuries for the Buddha image to be depicted. Nobody knows for sure at which rock-cut cave site the first image of the Buddha was depicted. Current research indicates that Buddha images in a portable form, made of wood or stone, were introduced, for the first time, at Kanheri, to be followed soon at Ajanta Cave 8 (Dhavalikar, Jadhav, Spink, Singh). While the Kanheri example dates to 4th or 5th century CE, the Ajanta example has been dated to c. 462–478 CE (Spink). None of the rock-cut monasteries prior to these dates, and other than these examples, show any Buddha image although hundreds of rock-cut caves were made throughout India during the first few centuries CE. And, in those caves, it is the stupa that is the object of veneration, not the image. Images of the Buddha are not found in Buddhist sailagrhas (rock-cut complexes) until the times of the Kanheri (4th–5th century CE) and Ajanta examples (c. 462–478 CE).

The caves of the second period, now all dated to the 5th century, were typically described as "Mahayana", but do not show the features associated with later Mahayana Buddhism. Although the beginnings of Mahāyāna teachings go back to the 1st century there is little art and archaeological evidence to suggest that it became a mainstream cult for several centuries. In Mahayana it is not Gautama Buddha but the Bodhisattva who is important, including "deity" Bodhisattva like Manjushri and Tara, as well as aspects of the Buddha such as Aksobhya, and Amitabha. Except for a few Bodhisattva, these are not depicted at Ajanta, where the Buddha remains the dominant figure. Even the Bodhisattva images of Ajanta are never central objects of worship, but are always shown as attendants of the Buddha in the shrine. If a Bodhisattva is shown in isolation, as in the Astabhaya scenes, these were done in the very last years of activities at Ajanta, and are mostly ‘intrusive’ in nature, meaning that they were not planned by the original patrons, and were added by new donors after the original patrons had suddenly abandoned the region in the wake of Emperor Harisena’s death.

The contrast between iconic and aniconic representations, that is, the stupa on one hand and the image of the Buddha on the other, is now being seen as a construct of the modern scholar rather than a reality of the past. The second phase of Ajanta shows that the stupa and image coincided together. If the entire corpus of the art of Ajanta including sculpture, iconography, architecture, epigraphy, and painting are analysed afresh it will become clear that there was no duality between the symbolic and human forms of the Buddha, as far as the 5th-century phase of Ajanta is concerned. That is why most current scholars tend to avoid the terms ‘Hinayana’ and ‘Mahayana’ in the context of Ajanta. They now prefer to call the second phase by the ruling dynasty, as the Vākāţaka phase.

CAVES
CAVE 1
Cave 1 was built on the eastern end of the horse-shoe shaped scarp, and is now the first cave the visitor encounters. This would when first made have been a less prominent position, right at the end of the row. According to Spink, it is one of the latest caves to have been excavated, when the best sites had been taken, and was never fully inaugurated for worship by the dedication of the Buddha image in the central shrine. This is shown by the absence of sooty deposits from butter lamps on the base of the shrine image, and the lack of damage to the paintings that would have been happened if the garland-hooks around the shrine had been in use for any period of time. Although there is no epigraphic evidence, Spink believes that the Vākāţaka Emperor Harishena was the benefactor of the work, and this is reflected in the emphasis on imagery of royalty in the cave, with those Jakata tales being selected that tell of those previous lives of the Buddha in which he was royal.

The cliff has a more steep slope here than at other caves, so to achieve a tall grand facade it was necessary to cut far back into the slope, giving a large courtyard in front of the facade. There was originally a columned portico in front of the present facade, which can be seen "half-intact in the 1880s" in pictures of the site, but this fell down completely and the remains, despite containing fine carving, were carelessly thrown down the slope into the river, from where they have been lost, presumably carried away in monsoon torrents.

This cave has one of the most elaborate carved façades, with relief sculptures on entablature and ridges, and most surfaces embellished with decorative carving. There are scenes carved from the life of the Buddha as well as a number of decorative motifs. A two pillared portico, visible in the 19th-century photographs, has since perished. The cave has a front-court with cells fronted by pillared vestibules on either side. These have a high plinth level. The cave has a porch with simple cells on both ends. The absence of pillared vestibules on the ends suggest that the porch was not excavated in the latest phase of Ajanta when pillared vestibules had become a necessity and norm. Most areas of the porch were once covered with murals, of which many fragments remain, especially on the ceiling. There are three doorways: a central doorway and two side doorways. Two square windows were carved between the doorways to brighten the interiors.

Each wall of the hall inside is nearly 12 m long and 6.1 m high. Twelve pillars make a square colonnade inside supporting the ceiling, and creating spacious aisles along the walls. There is a shrine carved on the rear wall to house an impressive seated image of the Buddha, his hands being in the dharmachakrapravartana mudra. There are four cells on each of the left, rear, and the right walls, though due to rock fault there are none at the ends of the rear aisle. The walls are covered with paintings in a fair state of preservation, though the full scheme was never completed. The scenes depicted are mostly didactic, devotional, and ornamental, with scenes from the Jataka stories of the Buddha’s former existences as a bodhisattva), the life of the Gautama Buddha, and those of his veneration. The two most famous individual painted images at Ajanta are the two over-life size figures of the protective bodhisattvas Padmapani and Vajrapani on either side of the entrance to the Buddha shrine on the wall of the rear aisle (see illustrations above). According to Spink, the original dating of the paintings to about 625 arose largely or entirely because James Fegusson, a 19th-century architectural historian, had decided that a scene showing an ambassador being received, with figures in Persian dress, represented a recorded embassy to Persia (from a Hindu monarch at that) around that date.

CAVE 2
Cave 2, adjacent to Cave 1, is known for the paintings that have been preserved on its walls, ceilings, and pillars. It looks similar to Cave 1 and is in a better state of preservation.

Cave 2 has a porch quite different from Cave one. Even the façade carvings seem to be different. The cave is supported by robust pillars, ornamented with designs. The front porch consists of cells supported by pillared vestibules on both ends. The cells on the previously "wasted areas" were needed to meet the greater housing requirements in later years. Porch-end cells became a trend in all later Vakataka excavations. The simple single cells on porch-ends were converted into CPVs or were planned to provide more room, symmetry, and beauty.

The paintings on the ceilings and walls of this porch have been widely published. They depict the Jataka tales that are stories of the Buddha’s life in former existences as Bodhisattva. Just as the stories illustrated in cave 1 emphasize kingship, those in cave 2 show many "noble and powerful" women in prominent roles, leading to suggestions that the patron was an unknown woman. The porch’s rear wall has a doorway in the center, which allows entrance to the hall. On either side of the door is a square-shaped window to brighten the interior.

The hall has four colonnades which are supporting the ceiling and surrounding a square in the center of the hall. Each arm or colonnade of the square is parallel to the respective walls of the hall, making an aisle in between. The colonnades have rock-beams above and below them. The capitals are carved and painted with various decorative themes that include ornamental, human, animal, vegetative, and semi-divine forms.

Paintings appear on almost every surface of the cave except for the floor. At various places the art work has become eroded due to decay and human interference. Therefore, many areas of the painted walls, ceilings, and pillars are fragmentary. The painted narratives of the Jataka tales are depicted only on the walls, which demanded the special attention of the devotee. They are didactic in nature, meant to inform the community about the Buddha’s teachings and life through successive rebirths. Their placement on the walls required the devotee to walk through the aisles and ‘read’ the narratives depicted in various episodes. The narrative episodes are depicted one after another although not in a linear order. Their identification has been a core area of research since the site’s rediscovery in 1819. Dieter Schlingloff’s identifications have updated our knowledge on the subject.

CAVE 4
The Archeological Survey of India board outside the caves gives the following detail about cave 4: "This is the largest monastery planned on a grandiose scale but was never finished. An inscription on the pedestal of the buddha’s image mentions that it was a gift from a person named Mathura and paleographically belongs to 6th century A.D. It consists of a verandah, a hypostylar hall, sanctum with an antechamber and a series of unfinished cells. The rear wall of the verandah contains the panel of Litany of Avalokiteśvara".

The sanctuary houses a colossal image of the Buddha in preaching pose flanked by bodhisattvas and celestial nymphs hovering above.

CAVES 9-10
Caves 9 and 10 are the two chaitya halls from the first period of construction, though both were also undergoing an uncompleted reworking at the end of the second period. Cave 10 was perhaps originally of the 1st century BCE, and cave 9 about a hundred years later. The small "shrinelets" called caves 9A to 9D and 10A also date from the second period, and were commissioned by individuals.

The paintings in cave 10 include some surviving from the early period, many from an incomplete programme of modernization in the second period, and a very large number of smaller late intrusive images, nearly all Buddhas and many with donor inscriptions from individuals. These mostly avoided over-painting the "official" programme and after the best positions were used up are tucked away in less prominent positions not yet painted; the total of these (including those now lost) was probably over 300, and the hands of many different artists are visible.

OTHER CAVES
Cave 3 is merely a start of an excavation; according to Spink it was begun right at the end of the final period of work and soon abandoned. Caves 5 and 6 are viharas, the latter on two floors, that were late works of which only the lower floor of cave 6 was ever finished. The upper floor of cave 6 has many private votive sculptures, and a shrine Buddha, but is otherwise unfinished. Cave 7 has a grand facade with two porticos but, perhaps because of faults in the rock, which posed problems in many caves, was never taken very deep into the cliff, and consists only of the two porticos and a shrine room with antechamber, with no central hall. Some cells were fitted in.

Cave 8 was long thought to date to the first period of construction, but Spink sees it as perhaps the earliest cave from the second period, its shrine an "afterthought". The statue may have been loose rather than carved from the living rock, as it has now vanished. The cave was painted, but only traces remain.

SPINK´S DETAILED CHRONOLOGY
Walter M. Spink has over recent decades developed a very precise and circumstantial chronology for the second period of work on the site, which unlike earlier scholars, he places entirely in the 5th century. This is based on evidence such as the inscriptions and artistic style, combined with the many uncompleted elements of the caves. He believes the earlier group of caves, which like other scholars he dates only approximately, to the period "between 100 BCE – 100 CE", were at some later point completely abandoned and remained so "for over three centuries", as the local population had turned mainly Hindu. This changed with the accession of the Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka Dynasty, who reigned from 460 to his death in 477. Harisena extended the Central Indian Vakataka Empire to include a stretch of the east coast of India; the Gupta Empire ruled northern India at the same period, and the Pallava dynasty much of the south.

According to Spink, Harisena encouraged a group of associates, including his prime minister Varahadeva and Upendragupta, the sub-king in whose territory Ajanta was, to dig out new caves, which were individually commissioned, some containing inscriptions recording the donation. This activity began in 462 but was mostly suspended in 468 because of threats from the neighbouring Asmaka kings. Work continued on only caves 1, Harisena’s own commission, and 17–20, commissioned by Upendragupta. In 472 the situation was such that work was suspended completely, in a period that Spink calls "the Hiatus", which lasted until about 475, by which time the Asmakas had replaced Upendragupta as the local rulers.

Work was then resumed, but again disrupted by Harisena’s death in 477, soon after which major excavation ceased, except at cave 26, which the Asmakas were sponsoring themselves. The Asmakas launched a revolt against Harisena’s son, which brought about the end of the Vakataka Dynasty. In the years 478–480 major excavation by important patrons was replaced by a rash of "intrusions" – statues added to existing caves, and small shrines dotted about where there was space between them. These were commissioned by less powerful individuals, some monks, who had not previously been able to make additions to the large excavations of the rulers and courtiers. They were added to the facades, the return sides of the entrances, and to walls inside the caves. According to Spink, "After 480, not a single image was ever made again at the site", and as Hinduism again dominated the region, the site was again abandoned, this time for over a millennium.

Spink does not use "circa" in his dates, but says that "one should allow a margin of error of one year or perhaps even two in all cases".

IMPACT ON MODERN INDIAN PAINTINGS
The Ajanta paintings, or more likely the general style they come from, influenced painting in Tibet and Sri Lanka.

The rediscovery of ancient Indian paintings at Ajanta provided Indian artists examples from ancient India to follow. Nandlal Bose experimented with techniques to follow the ancient style which allowed him to develop his unique style. Abanindranath Tagore also used the Ajanta paintings for inspiration.

WIKIPEDIA

Posted by asienman on 2017-06-26 20:57:41

Tagged: , India , Maharashtra , Ajanta Caves , Cave 26 , asienman-photography , asienman-photoart

India – Maharashtra – Ajanta Caves – Cave 26 – 110bb

India - Maharashtra - Ajanta Caves - Cave 26 - 110bb

The Ajanta Caves (Ajiṇṭhā leni; Marathi: अजिंठा लेणी) in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India are about 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE. The caves include paintings and sculptures described by the government Archaeological Survey of India as "the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting", which are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales. The caves were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BCE, with the second group of caves built around 400–650 CE according to older accounts, or all in a brief period of 460 to 480 according to the recent proposals of Walter M. Spink. The site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India, and since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The caves are located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, near Jalgaon and just outside the village of Ajinṭhā 20°31′56″N 75°44′44″E), about 59 kilometres from Jalgaon railway station on the Delhi – Mumbai line and Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line of the Central Railway zone, and 104 kilometres from the city of Aurangabad. They are 100 kilometres from the Ellora Caves, which contain Hindu and Jain temples as well as Buddhist caves, the last dating from a period similar to Ajanta. The Ajanta caves are cut into the side of a cliff that is on the south side of a U-shaped gorge on the small river Waghur, and although they are now along and above a modern pathway running across the cliff they were originally reached by individual stairs or ladders from the side of the river 35 to 110 feet below.

The area was previously heavily forested, and after the site ceased to be used the caves were covered by jungle until accidentally rediscovered in 1819 by a British officer on a hunting party. They are Buddhist monastic buildings, apparently representing a number of distinct "monasteries" or colleges. The caves are numbered 1 to 28 according to their place along the path, beginning at the entrance. Several are unfinished and some barely begun and others are small shrines, included in the traditional numbering as e.g. "9A"; "Cave 15A" was still hidden under rubble when the numbering was done. Further round the gorge are a number of waterfalls, which when the river is high are audible from outside the caves.

The caves form the largest corpus of early Indian wall-painting; other survivals from the area of modern India are very few, though they are related to 5th-century paintings at Sigiriya in Sri Lanka. The elaborate architectural carving in many caves is also very rare, and the style of the many figure sculptures is highly local, found only at a few nearby contemporary sites, although the Ajanta tradition can be related to the later Hindu Ellora Caves and other sites.

HISTORY
Like the other ancient Buddhist monasteries, Ajanta had a large emphasis on teaching, and was divided into several different caves for living, education and worship, under a central direction. Monks were probably assigned to specific caves for living. The layout reflects this organizational structure, with most of the caves only connected through the exterior. The 7th-century travelling Chinese scholar Xuanzang informs us that Dignaga, a celebrated Buddhist philosopher and controversialist, author of well-known books on logic, lived at Ajanta in the 5th century. In its prime the settlement would have accommodated several hundred teachers and pupils. Many monks who had finished their first training may have returned to Ajanta during the monsoon season from an itinerant lifestyle.

The caves are generally agreed to have been made in two distinct periods, separated by several centuries.

CAVES OF THE FIRST (SATAVAHANA) PERIOD
The earliest group of caves consists of caves 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15A. According to Walter Spink, they were made during the period 100 BCE to 100 CE, probably under the patronage of the Satavahana dynasty (230 BCE – c. 220 CE) who ruled the region. Other datings prefer the period 300 BCE to 100 BCE, though the grouping of the earlier caves is generally agreed. More early caves may have vanished through later excavations. Of these, caves 9 and 10 are stupa halls of chaitya-griha form, and caves 12, 13, and 15A are vihāras (see the architecture section below for descriptions of these types). The first phase is still often called the Hinayāna phase, as it originated when, using traditional terminology, the Hinayāna or Lesser Vehicle tradition of Buddhism was dominant, when the Buddha was revered symbolically. However the use of the term Hinayana for this period of Buddhism is now deprecated by historians; equally the caves of the second period are now mostly dated too early to be properly called Mahayana, and do not yet show the full expanded cast of supernatural beings characteristic of that phase of Buddhist art. The first Satavahana period caves lacked figurative sculpture, emphasizing the stupa instead, and in the caves of the second period the overwhelming majority of images represent the Buddha alone, or narrative scenes of his lives.

Spink believes that some time after the Satavahana period caves were made the site was abandoned for a considerable period until the mid-5th century, probably because the region had turned mainly Hindu

CAVES OF THE LATER OR VAKATAKA PERIOD
The second phase began in the 5th century. For a long time it was thought that the later caves were made over a long period from the 4th to the 7th centuries CE, but in recent decades a series of studies by the leading expert on the caves, Walter M. Spink, have argued that most of the work took place over the very brief period from 460 to 480 CE, during the reign of Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka dynasty. This view has been criticized by some scholars, but is now broadly accepted by most authors of general books on Indian art, for example Huntington and Harle.

The second phase is still often called the Mahāyāna or Greater Vehicle phase, but scholars now tend to avoid this nomenclature because of the problems that have surfaced regarding our understanding of Mahāyāna.

Some 20 cave temples were simultaneously created, for the most part viharas with a sanctuary at the back. The most elaborate caves were produced in this period, which included some "modernization" of earlier caves. Spink claims that it is possible to establish dating for this period with a very high level of precision; a fuller account of his chronology is given below. Although debate continues, Spink’s ideas are increasingly widely accepted, at least in their broad conclusions. The Archaeological Survey of India website still presents the traditional dating: "The second phase of paintings started around 5th – 6th centuries A.D. and continued for the next two centuries". Caves of the second period are 1–8, 11, 14–29, some possibly extensions of earlier caves. Caves 19, 26, and 29 are chaitya-grihas, the rest viharas.

According to Spink, the Ajanta Caves appear to have been abandoned by wealthy patrons shortly after the fall of Harishena, in about 480 CE. They were then gradually abandoned and forgotten. During the intervening centuries, the jungle grew back and the caves were hidden, unvisited and undisturbed, although the local population were aware of at least some of them.

REDISCOVERY
On 28 April 1819, a British officer for the Madras Presidency, John Smith, of the 28th Cavalry, while hunting tiger, accidentally discovered the entrance to Cave No. 10 deep within the tangled undergrowth. There were local people already using the caves for prayers with a small fire, when he arrived. Exploring that first cave, long since a home to nothing more than birds and bats and a lair for other larger animals, Captain Smith vandalized the wall by scratching his name and the date, April 1819. Since he stood on a five-foot high pile of rubble collected over the years, the inscription is well above the eye-level gaze of an adult today. A paper on the caves by William Erskine was read to the Bombay Literary Society in 1822. Within a few decades, the caves became famous for their exotic setting, impressive architecture, and above all their exceptional, all but unique paintings. A number of large projects to copy the paintings were made in the century after rediscovery, covered below. In 1848 the Royal Asiatic Society established the "Bombay Cave Temple Commission" to clear, tidy and record the most important rock-cut sites in the Bombay Presidency, with John Wilson, as president. In 1861 this became the nucleus of the new Archaeological Survey of India. Until the Nizam of Hyderabad built the modern path between the caves, among other efforts to make the site easy to visit, a trip to Ajanta was a considerable adventure, and contemporary accounts dwell with relish on the dangers from falls off narrow ledges, animals and the Bhil people, who were armed with bows and arrows and had a fearsome reputation.

Today, fairly easily combined with Ellora in a single trip, the caves are the most popular tourist destination in Mahrashtra, and are often crowded at holiday times, increasing the threat to the caves, especially the paintings. In 2012, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation announced plans to add to the ASI visitor centre at the entrance complete replicas of caves 1, 2, 16 & 17 to reduce crowding in the originals, and enable visitors to receive a better visual idea of the paintings, which are dimly-lit and hard to read in the caves. Figures for the year to March 2010 showed a total of 390,000 visitors to the site, divided into 362,000 domestic and 27,000 foreign. The trends over the previous few years show a considerable growth in domestic visitors, but a decline in foreign ones; the year to 2010 was the first in which foreign visitors to Ellora exceeded those to Ajanta.

PAINTINGS
Mural paintings survive from both the earlier and later groups of caves. Several fragments of murals preserved from the earlier caves (Caves 9 and 11) are effectively unique survivals of court-led painting in India from this period, and "show that by Sātavāhana times, if not earlier, the Indian painter had mastered an easy and fluent naturalistic style, dealing with large groups of people in a manner comparable to the reliefs of the Sāñcī toraņa crossbars".

Four of the later caves have large and relatively well-preserved mural paintings which "have come to represent Indian mural painting to the non-specialist", and fall into two stylistic groups, with the most famous in Caves 16 and 17, and apparently later paintings in Caves 1 and 2. The latter group were thought to be a century or more later than the others, but the revised chronology proposed by Spink would place them much closer to the earlier group, perhaps contemporary with it in a more progressive style, or one reflecting a team from a different region. The paintings are in "dry fresco", painted on top of a dry plaster surface rather than into wet plaster.

All the paintings appear to be the work of painters at least as used to decorating palaces as temples, and show a familiarity with and interest in details of the life of a wealthy court. We know from literary sources that painting was widely practised and appreciated in the courts of the Gupta period. Unlike much Indian painting, compositions are not laid out in horizontal compartments like a frieze, but show large scenes spreading in all directions from a single figure or group at the centre. The ceilings are also painted with sophisticated and elaborate decorative motifs, many derived from sculpture. The paintings in cave 1, which according to Spink was commissioned by Harisena himself, concentrate on those Jataka tales which show previous lives of the Buddha as a king, rather than as an animal or human commoner, and so show settings from contemporary palace life.

In general the later caves seem to have been painted on finished areas as excavating work continued elsewhere in the cave, as shown in caves 2 and 16 in particular. According to Spink’s account of the chronology of the caves, the abandonment of work in 478 after a brief busy period accounts for the absence of painting in caves such as 4 and 17, the later being plastered in preparation for paintings that were never done.

COPIES
The paintings have deteriorated significantly since they were rediscovered, and a number of 19th-century copies and drawings are important for a complete understanding of the works. However, the earliest projects to copy the paintings were plagued by bad fortune. In 1846, Major Robert Gill, an Army officer from Madras presidency and a painter, was appointed by the Royal Asiatic Society to replicate the frescoes on the cave walls to exhibit these paintings in England. Gill worked on his painting at the site from 1844 to 1863 (though he continued to be based there until his death in 1875, writing books and photographing) and made 27 copies of large sections of murals, but all but four were destroyed in a fire at the Crystal Palace in London in 1866, where they were on display.

Another attempt was made in 1872 when the Bombay Presidency commissioned John Griffiths, then principal of the Bombay School of Art, to work with his students to make new copies, again for shipping to England. They worked on this for thirteen years and some 300 canvases were produced, many of which were displayed at the Imperial Institute on Exhibition Road in London, one of the forerunners of the Victoria and Albert Museum. But in 1885 another fire destroyed over a hundred paintings that were in storage. The V&A still has 166 paintings surviving from both sets, though none have been on permanent display since 1955. The largest are some 3 × 6 metres. A conservation project was undertaken on about half of them in 2006, also involving the University of Northumbria. Griffith and his students had unfortunately painted many of the paintings with "cheap varnish" in order to make them easier to see, which has added to the deterioration of the originals, as has, according to Spink and others, recent cleaning by the ASI.

A further set of copies were made between 1909 and 1911 by Christiana Herringham (Lady Herringham) and a group of students from the Calcutta School of Art that included the future Indian Modernist painter Nandalal Bose. The copies were published in full colour as the first publication of London’s fledgling India Society. More than the earlier copies, these aimed to fill in holes and damage to recreate the original condition rather than record the state of the paintings as she was seeing them. According to one writer, unlike the paintings created by her predecessors Griffiths and Gill, whose copies were influenced by British Victorian styles of painting, those of the Herringham expedition preferred an ‘Indian Renascence’ aesthetic of the type pioneered by Abanindranath Tagore.

Early photographic surveys were made by Robert Gill, who learnt to use a camera from about 1856, and whose photos, including some using stereoscopy, were used in books by him and Fergusson (many are available online from the British Library), then Victor Goloubew in 1911 and E.L. Vassey, who took the photos in the four volume study of the caves by Ghulam Yazdani (published 1930–1955).

ARCHITECTURE
The monasteries mostly consist of vihara halls for prayer and living, which are typically rectangular with small square dormitory cells cut into the walls, and by the second period a shrine or sanctuary at the rear centred on a large statue of the Buddha, also carved from the living rock. This change reflects the movement from Hinayana to Mahāyāna Buddhism. The other type of main hall is the narrower and higher chaitya hall with a stupa as the focus at the far end, and a narrow aisle around the walls, behind a range of pillars placed close together. Other plainer rooms were for sleeping and other activities. Some of the caves have elaborate carved entrances, some with large windows over the door to admit light. There is often a colonnaded porch or verandah, with another space inside the doors running the width of the cave.

The central square space of the interior of the viharas is defined by square columns forming a more or less square open area. Outside this are long rectangular aisles on each side, forming a kind of cloister. Along the side and rear walls are a number of small cells entered by a narrow doorway; these are roughly square, and have small niches on their back walls. Originally they had wooden doors. The centre of the rear wall has a larger shrine-room behind, containing a large Buddha statue. The viharas of the earlier period are much simpler, and lack shrines. Spink in fact places the change to a design with a shrine to the middle of the second period, with many caves being adapted to add a shrine in mid-excavation, or after the original phase.

The plan of Cave 1 shows one of the largest viharas, but is fairly typical of the later group. Many others, such as Cave 16, lack the vestibule to the shrine, which leads straight off the main hall. Cave 6 is two viharas, one above the other, connected by internal stairs, with sanctuaries on both levels.

The four completed chaitya halls are caves 9 and 10 from the early period, and caves 19 and 26 from the later period of construction. All follow the typical form found elsewhere, with high ceilings and a central "nave" leading to the stupa, which is near the back, but allows walking behind it, as walking around stupas was (and remains) a common element of Buddhist worship (pradakshina). The later two have high ribbed roofs, which reflect timber forms, and the earlier two are thought to have used actual timber ribs, which have now perished. The two later halls have a rather unusual arrangement (also found in Cave 10 at Ellora) where the stupa is fronted by a large relief sculpture of the Buddha, standing in Cave 19 and seated in Cave 26. Cave 29 is a late and very incomplete chaitya hall.

The form of columns in the work of the first period is very plain and un-embellished, with both chaitya halls using simple octagonal columns, which were painted with figures. In the second period columns were far more varied and inventive, often changing profile over their height, and with elaborate carved capitals, often spreading wide. Many columns are carved over all their surface, some fluted and others carved with decoration all over, as in cave 1.

The flood basalt rock of the cliff, part of the Deccan Traps formed by successive volcanic eruptions at the end of the Cretaceous, is layered horizontally, and somewhat variable in quality, so the excavators had to amend their plans in places, and in places there have been collapses in the intervening centuries, as with the lost portico to cave 1. Excavation began by cutting a narrow tunnel at roof level, which was expanded downwards and outwards; the half-built vihara cave 24 shows the method. Spink believes that for the first caves of the second period the excavators had to relearn skills and techniques that had been lost in the centuries since the first period, which were then transmitted to be used at later rock-cut sites in the region, such as Ellora, and the Elephanta, Bagh, Badami and Aurangabad Caves.

The caves from the first period seem to have been paid for by a number of different patrons, with several inscriptions recording the donation of particular portions of a single cave, but according to Spink the later caves were each commissioned as a complete unit by a single patron from the local rulers or their court elites. After the death of Harisena smaller donors got their chance to add small "shrinelets" between the caves or add statues to existing caves, and some two hundred of these "intrusive" additions were made in sculpture, with a further number of intrusive paintings, up to three hundred in cave 10 alone.

A grand gateway to the site, at the apex of the gorge’s horsehoe between caves 15 and 16, was approached from the river, and is decorated with elephants on either side and a nāga, or protective snake deity.

ICONOGRAPHY OF THE CAVES
In the pre-Christian era, the Buddha was represented symbolically, in the form of the stupa. Thus, halls were made with stupas to venerate the Buddha. In later periods the images of the Buddha started to be made in coins, relic caskets, relief or loose sculptural forms, etc. However, it took a while for the human representation of the Buddha to appear in Buddhist art. One of the earliest evidences of the Buddha’s human representations are found at Buddhist archaeological sites, such as Goli, Nagarjunakonda, and Amaravati. The monasteries of those sites were built in less durable media, such as wood, brick, and stone. As far as the genre of rock-cut architecture is concerned it took many centuries for the Buddha image to be depicted. Nobody knows for sure at which rock-cut cave site the first image of the Buddha was depicted. Current research indicates that Buddha images in a portable form, made of wood or stone, were introduced, for the first time, at Kanheri, to be followed soon at Ajanta Cave 8 (Dhavalikar, Jadhav, Spink, Singh). While the Kanheri example dates to 4th or 5th century CE, the Ajanta example has been dated to c. 462–478 CE (Spink). None of the rock-cut monasteries prior to these dates, and other than these examples, show any Buddha image although hundreds of rock-cut caves were made throughout India during the first few centuries CE. And, in those caves, it is the stupa that is the object of veneration, not the image. Images of the Buddha are not found in Buddhist sailagrhas (rock-cut complexes) until the times of the Kanheri (4th–5th century CE) and Ajanta examples (c. 462–478 CE).

The caves of the second period, now all dated to the 5th century, were typically described as "Mahayana", but do not show the features associated with later Mahayana Buddhism. Although the beginnings of Mahāyāna teachings go back to the 1st century there is little art and archaeological evidence to suggest that it became a mainstream cult for several centuries. In Mahayana it is not Gautama Buddha but the Bodhisattva who is important, including "deity" Bodhisattva like Manjushri and Tara, as well as aspects of the Buddha such as Aksobhya, and Amitabha. Except for a few Bodhisattva, these are not depicted at Ajanta, where the Buddha remains the dominant figure. Even the Bodhisattva images of Ajanta are never central objects of worship, but are always shown as attendants of the Buddha in the shrine. If a Bodhisattva is shown in isolation, as in the Astabhaya scenes, these were done in the very last years of activities at Ajanta, and are mostly ‘intrusive’ in nature, meaning that they were not planned by the original patrons, and were added by new donors after the original patrons had suddenly abandoned the region in the wake of Emperor Harisena’s death.

The contrast between iconic and aniconic representations, that is, the stupa on one hand and the image of the Buddha on the other, is now being seen as a construct of the modern scholar rather than a reality of the past. The second phase of Ajanta shows that the stupa and image coincided together. If the entire corpus of the art of Ajanta including sculpture, iconography, architecture, epigraphy, and painting are analysed afresh it will become clear that there was no duality between the symbolic and human forms of the Buddha, as far as the 5th-century phase of Ajanta is concerned. That is why most current scholars tend to avoid the terms ‘Hinayana’ and ‘Mahayana’ in the context of Ajanta. They now prefer to call the second phase by the ruling dynasty, as the Vākāţaka phase.

CAVES
CAVE 1
Cave 1 was built on the eastern end of the horse-shoe shaped scarp, and is now the first cave the visitor encounters. This would when first made have been a less prominent position, right at the end of the row. According to Spink, it is one of the latest caves to have been excavated, when the best sites had been taken, and was never fully inaugurated for worship by the dedication of the Buddha image in the central shrine. This is shown by the absence of sooty deposits from butter lamps on the base of the shrine image, and the lack of damage to the paintings that would have been happened if the garland-hooks around the shrine had been in use for any period of time. Although there is no epigraphic evidence, Spink believes that the Vākāţaka Emperor Harishena was the benefactor of the work, and this is reflected in the emphasis on imagery of royalty in the cave, with those Jakata tales being selected that tell of those previous lives of the Buddha in which he was royal.

The cliff has a more steep slope here than at other caves, so to achieve a tall grand facade it was necessary to cut far back into the slope, giving a large courtyard in front of the facade. There was originally a columned portico in front of the present facade, which can be seen "half-intact in the 1880s" in pictures of the site, but this fell down completely and the remains, despite containing fine carving, were carelessly thrown down the slope into the river, from where they have been lost, presumably carried away in monsoon torrents.

This cave has one of the most elaborate carved façades, with relief sculptures on entablature and ridges, and most surfaces embellished with decorative carving. There are scenes carved from the life of the Buddha as well as a number of decorative motifs. A two pillared portico, visible in the 19th-century photographs, has since perished. The cave has a front-court with cells fronted by pillared vestibules on either side. These have a high plinth level. The cave has a porch with simple cells on both ends. The absence of pillared vestibules on the ends suggest that the porch was not excavated in the latest phase of Ajanta when pillared vestibules had become a necessity and norm. Most areas of the porch were once covered with murals, of which many fragments remain, especially on the ceiling. There are three doorways: a central doorway and two side doorways. Two square windows were carved between the doorways to brighten the interiors.

Each wall of the hall inside is nearly 12 m long and 6.1 m high. Twelve pillars make a square colonnade inside supporting the ceiling, and creating spacious aisles along the walls. There is a shrine carved on the rear wall to house an impressive seated image of the Buddha, his hands being in the dharmachakrapravartana mudra. There are four cells on each of the left, rear, and the right walls, though due to rock fault there are none at the ends of the rear aisle. The walls are covered with paintings in a fair state of preservation, though the full scheme was never completed. The scenes depicted are mostly didactic, devotional, and ornamental, with scenes from the Jataka stories of the Buddha’s former existences as a bodhisattva), the life of the Gautama Buddha, and those of his veneration. The two most famous individual painted images at Ajanta are the two over-life size figures of the protective bodhisattvas Padmapani and Vajrapani on either side of the entrance to the Buddha shrine on the wall of the rear aisle (see illustrations above). According to Spink, the original dating of the paintings to about 625 arose largely or entirely because James Fegusson, a 19th-century architectural historian, had decided that a scene showing an ambassador being received, with figures in Persian dress, represented a recorded embassy to Persia (from a Hindu monarch at that) around that date.

CAVE 2
Cave 2, adjacent to Cave 1, is known for the paintings that have been preserved on its walls, ceilings, and pillars. It looks similar to Cave 1 and is in a better state of preservation.

Cave 2 has a porch quite different from Cave one. Even the façade carvings seem to be different. The cave is supported by robust pillars, ornamented with designs. The front porch consists of cells supported by pillared vestibules on both ends. The cells on the previously "wasted areas" were needed to meet the greater housing requirements in later years. Porch-end cells became a trend in all later Vakataka excavations. The simple single cells on porch-ends were converted into CPVs or were planned to provide more room, symmetry, and beauty.

The paintings on the ceilings and walls of this porch have been widely published. They depict the Jataka tales that are stories of the Buddha’s life in former existences as Bodhisattva. Just as the stories illustrated in cave 1 emphasize kingship, those in cave 2 show many "noble and powerful" women in prominent roles, leading to suggestions that the patron was an unknown woman. The porch’s rear wall has a doorway in the center, which allows entrance to the hall. On either side of the door is a square-shaped window to brighten the interior.

The hall has four colonnades which are supporting the ceiling and surrounding a square in the center of the hall. Each arm or colonnade of the square is parallel to the respective walls of the hall, making an aisle in between. The colonnades have rock-beams above and below them. The capitals are carved and painted with various decorative themes that include ornamental, human, animal, vegetative, and semi-divine forms.

Paintings appear on almost every surface of the cave except for the floor. At various places the art work has become eroded due to decay and human interference. Therefore, many areas of the painted walls, ceilings, and pillars are fragmentary. The painted narratives of the Jataka tales are depicted only on the walls, which demanded the special attention of the devotee. They are didactic in nature, meant to inform the community about the Buddha’s teachings and life through successive rebirths. Their placement on the walls required the devotee to walk through the aisles and ‘read’ the narratives depicted in various episodes. The narrative episodes are depicted one after another although not in a linear order. Their identification has been a core area of research since the site’s rediscovery in 1819. Dieter Schlingloff’s identifications have updated our knowledge on the subject.

CAVE 4
The Archeological Survey of India board outside the caves gives the following detail about cave 4: "This is the largest monastery planned on a grandiose scale but was never finished. An inscription on the pedestal of the buddha’s image mentions that it was a gift from a person named Mathura and paleographically belongs to 6th century A.D. It consists of a verandah, a hypostylar hall, sanctum with an antechamber and a series of unfinished cells. The rear wall of the verandah contains the panel of Litany of Avalokiteśvara".

The sanctuary houses a colossal image of the Buddha in preaching pose flanked by bodhisattvas and celestial nymphs hovering above.

CAVES 9-10
Caves 9 and 10 are the two chaitya halls from the first period of construction, though both were also undergoing an uncompleted reworking at the end of the second period. Cave 10 was perhaps originally of the 1st century BCE, and cave 9 about a hundred years later. The small "shrinelets" called caves 9A to 9D and 10A also date from the second period, and were commissioned by individuals.

The paintings in cave 10 include some surviving from the early period, many from an incomplete programme of modernization in the second period, and a very large number of smaller late intrusive images, nearly all Buddhas and many with donor inscriptions from individuals. These mostly avoided over-painting the "official" programme and after the best positions were used up are tucked away in less prominent positions not yet painted; the total of these (including those now lost) was probably over 300, and the hands of many different artists are visible.

OTHER CAVES
Cave 3 is merely a start of an excavation; according to Spink it was begun right at the end of the final period of work and soon abandoned. Caves 5 and 6 are viharas, the latter on two floors, that were late works of which only the lower floor of cave 6 was ever finished. The upper floor of cave 6 has many private votive sculptures, and a shrine Buddha, but is otherwise unfinished. Cave 7 has a grand facade with two porticos but, perhaps because of faults in the rock, which posed problems in many caves, was never taken very deep into the cliff, and consists only of the two porticos and a shrine room with antechamber, with no central hall. Some cells were fitted in.

Cave 8 was long thought to date to the first period of construction, but Spink sees it as perhaps the earliest cave from the second period, its shrine an "afterthought". The statue may have been loose rather than carved from the living rock, as it has now vanished. The cave was painted, but only traces remain.

SPINK´S DETAILED CHRONOLOGY
Walter M. Spink has over recent decades developed a very precise and circumstantial chronology for the second period of work on the site, which unlike earlier scholars, he places entirely in the 5th century. This is based on evidence such as the inscriptions and artistic style, combined with the many uncompleted elements of the caves. He believes the earlier group of caves, which like other scholars he dates only approximately, to the period "between 100 BCE – 100 CE", were at some later point completely abandoned and remained so "for over three centuries", as the local population had turned mainly Hindu. This changed with the accession of the Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka Dynasty, who reigned from 460 to his death in 477. Harisena extended the Central Indian Vakataka Empire to include a stretch of the east coast of India; the Gupta Empire ruled northern India at the same period, and the Pallava dynasty much of the south.

According to Spink, Harisena encouraged a group of associates, including his prime minister Varahadeva and Upendragupta, the sub-king in whose territory Ajanta was, to dig out new caves, which were individually commissioned, some containing inscriptions recording the donation. This activity began in 462 but was mostly suspended in 468 because of threats from the neighbouring Asmaka kings. Work continued on only caves 1, Harisena’s own commission, and 17–20, commissioned by Upendragupta. In 472 the situation was such that work was suspended completely, in a period that Spink calls "the Hiatus", which lasted until about 475, by which time the Asmakas had replaced Upendragupta as the local rulers.

Work was then resumed, but again disrupted by Harisena’s death in 477, soon after which major excavation ceased, except at cave 26, which the Asmakas were sponsoring themselves. The Asmakas launched a revolt against Harisena’s son, which brought about the end of the Vakataka Dynasty. In the years 478–480 major excavation by important patrons was replaced by a rash of "intrusions" – statues added to existing caves, and small shrines dotted about where there was space between them. These were commissioned by less powerful individuals, some monks, who had not previously been able to make additions to the large excavations of the rulers and courtiers. They were added to the facades, the return sides of the entrances, and to walls inside the caves. According to Spink, "After 480, not a single image was ever made again at the site", and as Hinduism again dominated the region, the site was again abandoned, this time for over a millennium.

Spink does not use "circa" in his dates, but says that "one should allow a margin of error of one year or perhaps even two in all cases".

IMPACT ON MODERN INDIAN PAINTINGS
The Ajanta paintings, or more likely the general style they come from, influenced painting in Tibet and Sri Lanka.

The rediscovery of ancient Indian paintings at Ajanta provided Indian artists examples from ancient India to follow. Nandlal Bose experimented with techniques to follow the ancient style which allowed him to develop his unique style. Abanindranath Tagore also used the Ajanta paintings for inspiration.

WIKIPEDIA

Posted by asienman on 2017-06-26 20:14:33

Tagged: , India , Maharashtra , Ajanta Caves , Cave 26 , asienman-photography , asienman-photoart

Mysterious Journey

Mysterious Journey

Turn of a Friendly Card
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Based on a true adventures of a rogue active in the waning years of the 1930’s as discovered in the criminal archives of Chatwick University.

Act 1
I begin my tale in the present…

That afternoon a soiree was given as part of the purchase price of the tickets for the annual Autumn Charity Ball to be presented later that evening at the manor’s great house. Since I was alone, I just went mainly for the free food and to rub my elbows with the wealthy guests who would be in happy attendance there, and at the Ball. I was alone, but certainly not bored. There was a game I enjoyed playing to pass the time at these affairs that entailed scoping out by their dress and day jewels worn, those ladies whom would be most likely to be wearing the better costumes and sparklers that evening. It often proved to be a most beneficial insight into the actions and mannerisms of the very rich. I walked amongst the cheerful guests, eying one here ( a lady in satin and pearls) and another there( a high spirited girl with a diamond pin at the throat of her frilly silken blouse). It was as I was passing the latter that the friend she had been talking too (dressed like a vamp), bumped up against me. I caught her, steadying her as they both giggled. I didn’t mind, for the lassie’s too tight satin sheath tea dress had been an enticement to hold, and the gold bracelet that had been dangling from her gloved wrist had been a pleasure to observe. I kissed her gloved hand, rings glittering, as I apologized gallantly for my clumsiness. Her eyes were bright, almost as bright as the twin necklaces of gold that hung swaying down pleasantly from between her ample bosom. I left them, moving on to greener pastures, and it was very green, all of it….

It was then that I detected another pretty lassie. It was her long fiery red hair with falling wispy curls that first captured my attention. She was wearing a fetchingly smart white chiffon party dress that commanded me to acquire a closer examination. She appeared to be a blithe spirit, seemingly content with just being by herself and roaming about with casual elegance, the extensive grounds of the manor proper. I began to discreetly follow her at a distance. Although she did not wear any jewelry, her manner and the eloquent way she moved is what attracted me the most. It would be very interesting to seek her out later that evening and she what she would have chosen to decorate herself with. I followed her as she sojourned into the depths of a traditional English garden with a maze of lushly green trimmed 8 foot high hedges

As I strolled through the hedgerows in her wake I allowed my mind to wander its own course. Suddenly I straightened up, my reverie broken by an epiphany of sorts. I allowed myself to grin and the lady whose enchantment I was swollen up in, at that moment turned, and seeing my beaming smile assumed it was for her and gave me a rather cute nod of her head. I answered in same, as I headed en route to a nearby stone garden bench to allow my thoughts to think through themselves.

But before I go on, allow me the pleasure to sojourn and reminisce about an incident that occurred several years prior:
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I was still working unaided in those days, travelling on to a new next quest that would take me just outside of Surrey.
I had just purchased my train ticket and had seen my luggage safe on board when I decided to rest in the lounge, it being some 45 minutes before allowed to enter personally aboard. Being so early the lounge was almost deserted, only one other occupant. I assumed she was waiting for someone on an incoming train due to the fact she carried no luggage. She was obviously well off, well dressed in satins and lace, and her jewels shone magnificently in the dim lights. Especially one of her rings, noticeably lying loosely around a finger, it sparkled with an expensive brilliance. I had seen one like it in a tiffanies store, worth almost 250 pounds. But she did not appreciate the show her jewelry was putting on under the lounge lights, for she was fast asleep.

I circled around her, aiming for a seat next to her, eyeing her and her possessions carefully. I noticed her purse had fallen off her lap and lay on the floor. An idea popped into my head, and I picked the purse up, and looked around carefully, before placing my plan into action. But I was thwarted as an older, matronly lady was spotted heading our way. I slipped the purse into my jacket and moved off before I was noticed. Of course she came in and took the empty seat across form the sleeping princess, and soon busied herself with knitting. As the older lady had sat down, not quietly, the wealthy lady stirred waking up at the noise. I went into a corner and sat, waiting. The two ladies soon fell into conversation; the minute’s ticked by excruciatingly slow. Soon I noticed we even had more company.
He was a lad of only fourteen, but with a devilish look about him that marked him a kindred spirit to meself, and his quick eyes were darting about taking it all in as he stood outside the paned glass window.

It was as the first announcement of boarding the train that I saw a chance for opportunity to strike.
The older lady folded up her knitting and clinching her bag, bid adieu to her new friend,( befuddled a little by the old ladies constant stream of gossip), and headed to the train. I was twenty steps ahead of her and was standing behind the youth as she left the lounge. I tapped him on the shoulder; he looked around at me suspiciously, and then caught sight of the shilling I was holding in front of his nose. I quickly whispered a few words into his ear on how he could earn it, and his grin spread as he bought into my story. I still held onto the shilling as he darted around and inside the lounge. I watched as he ran up behind the lady, circling her, then running in front of her he tripped over her leg, as she helped him up, her hand with the ring reaching down, he turned and spat onto the wrist and sleeve of that hand, than standing he ran away. Running alongside me, I handed him the shilling in passing as he ran off, disappearing in to the street.

I went inside and approached the astonished lady, as she was looking for her purse to get a handkerchief, confused as to its absence, while she held up her soiled hand( ring glittering furiously) in utter disbelief. I approached, catching her attention by the soothing words I uttered to her. I took her hand, unbelieving with her at just had happened, and I as I apologized for the youth of today I produced my own silk handkerchief and starting with her silky sleeve, began to wipe it off, continuing my tirade of displeasure and contempt at what had just occurred to the dear lady as I did so. As I finishing wiping her down, ending with her warm slender fingers, I kissed them, just as the last boarding announcement came over (perfect timing!) I let her go, explaining that I must catch my train. I turned and without looking back made the train just as it was letting off steam before chugging off.

I gained my private carriage just as the train began to lurch away. It wasn’t until after the train began its journey that I casually removed my silk handkerchief from my pocket and unwrapped it carefully, admiring up close the shimmering, valuable tiffany ring that was lying inside. I pocketed it, and then remembered the purse. I took it out and examined its contents: coin and notes equaling a handsome amount, a gold (gilded) case, embroidered lacy handkerchief, small silver flask of perfume, and ( of all things)a large shimmering prism , like one that would have dangled from a fancy crystal chandelier. A prism?, I questioned with interest as I examined it. It was pretty thing, about the circumference of a cricket ball, but shaped like a pendulum, it shimmered and glittered like the most precious of jewels. Why she had it in her purse? I couldn’t guess, and I saw no value in it, so I pocketed it and allowed it to leave my mind.

As I settled into my seat I began to think of the lad I had just met, I had been right on the money as far as his eagerness for mischief. Actually he reminded me of myself at that age, and I wondered if that lad with the shifty eyes would also turn out to follow the same course I had explored.

Which Begs the question, what had I turned out to become. And since I’m still reminiscing
I’ll give little background material about me, hopefully I don’t come across as being too conceited about my self-taught skills..

I had never been one to take the hard road, and even at a young age I was always looking for angles, or short cuts to make some money.
Once, while watching for some time a street magician and his acts. I observed a pick pocket working the crowd. He approached a pair of well-dressed ladies in shiny clothes, and standing behind them bided his time and then lifted a small pouch from one velvet purse, and a fat wallet from a silken one, then he moved on. Now both ladies were wearing shiny bracelets, one with jewels. I thought that he could have realized a greater profit if he had nicked one or both of the bracelets first, than try for the contents of their purses. The bracelets’ alone would have realized a far greater profit than what he lifted from their purses. It further occurred to me that by mimicking some of the sleight of hand tricks and misdirection that the magician was using on his audience, it could be accomplished. A hand placed on the right shoulder and as the lady turned right, whisk off the bracelet from her left wrist, and excuse oneself, that sort of thing.

So, I practiced (on my sisters, who proved to be willing accomplices to “my game”) and learned to pick their purses and pockets. I than moved onto their jewelry, starting by lifting bracelets and slipping away rings, before advancing to the brooches, necklaces and earrings they were wearing. After I was satisfied at my skill level, I went out and worked the streets. Sometimes using my one sister who was also hooked on what I was doing as a willing partner.
But I found myself still not being satisfied, in the back of my mind I thought there had to be a more lucrative way to turn a profit.

I’d found my answer when an attractive lady in a rustling satin gown zeroed in on me while I was “visiting” a ballroom. She was jeweled like a princess right up to the diamond band she wore holding up her piles of soft locks like a glimmering crown. The more she drank, the closer she got and I decided that her necklace would definitely help pay my expenses more than the contents of her purse (although I had already lifted the fat wallet from her small purse), and I did have very expensive tastes to pay for. So I took her onto the dance floor.

I was amazed at how easily I had been able to open the necklace’s clasp , slipping it over her satiny shoulder, lifting it off and placing it safely in my pocket with almost no effort. Then she decided to be playful once the song ended and brushed up against me. She felt the necklace in my pocket and before I could act she had her hand in and pulled it out.

The silly naive twit thought I was teasing her and told me that for my penance I had to go up to her suite in order to put it back on for her. I kept up the charade as best as I could.

And that’s where we ended up. A little bit of light fondling began as I placed the necklace back around her throat. I began to tease her, plied her with more and more alcohol as I tried to keep my distance, and virginity. Finally she passed out in a drunken stupor, but not before I had learned where she hid her valuables by suggesting she should lock her jewels up for the night..

With her safely unconscious, I began to strip her clean off all her jewels, reclaiming the necklace first. Then I visited all her jewelry casket and began looting it. I even took her small rhinestone clutch with the diamond clasp; of course I already had liberated its small wallet.

When I’d left her lying happily asleep in bed, still in her satin gown( the only item left to her that shined), I knew I had found a much more profitable line of “work”

So I began making circuits around to the haunts of the very rich, I still kept may hand in pickpocketing, so to speak, but centered only on those “pockets” containing mainly jewelry. I also began to carefully explore new ways of acquiring jewels” in masse”, so to speak.

Soon I had accumulated many tricks and tools, having them at my disposal to put into action once required, and for the remaining years up till the present had managed to live quite comfortably off of the ill-gotten gains using them allowed me to acquire.

Which brings me back to the train ride, my prism, and the rest of my background story before I retun to the present tale. Please be patient.
*****
So, anyway, I reached Surry without any further incident and disembarking, made my way out to the large country house where I would be staying to take a short rest, vacation if you will. But, pardon the play on words, for there is never any rest for the wicked, is there?

I had become acquainted with a servant of the old mansion ( almost a small castle, really) , that was about a mile off. I managed to learn a great deal, and soon found myself, on the pretense of visiting her, exploring the grounds. There was to be a grand ball taking place a couple of weekends away , and the maid had filled my ears with the riches that would be displayed by the multitude of regal ladies making an appearance. I began to think about trying to make a little bit of profit from my vacation. I am not sure how the idea developed, but the prism that I still had in my possession, came up centrally into my plans.

Late on the evening of the regal affair, I snuck over, covered head to toe in black, with my small satchel off tools by my side. I set up a candle behind an old stone ivy covered wall in a far corner of the rather large and intricate English garden that surrounded the inner circle around the mansion. I than strung the jewel-like prism in front of it. Standing behind the wall, I would strike the prism with a long stick I was holding whenever I observed sparkles emanating from silkily gowned ladies walking in the distance, solitary or in pairs. The prism would flash fire, sort of like a showy lure being used when fishing in a crooked trout stream. Only I was fishing for far sweeter game than trout. My objective was to trick certain types of jeweled ladies (scatterbrains some may call them) by luring them down onto the path beyond the wall, using their natural curiosity to my advantage.

I had at least two strikes rise up to my lure in the second hour.
On was a pretty lady in flowing green satin number, decorated with plenty of emeralds, which, hidden in the shadows, I observed were probably paste. I let her wonder about; as she looked and played with the shiny toy, remaining hidden until she grew bored and wandered off.
The second was a slender maiden wearing a long sleek black gown with long ivory silk gloves. I had never before seen a lady so decked out in jewels, literally head to toe. With the exception of the rhinestones adorning her heels, the rest of the lot was real, so valuably real that I could feel my mouth salivating at the thoughts of acquiring her riches. Now in Edwardian times only older, married ladies would be allowed the privilege of wearing a diamond Tiara. But in these modern times, it had become culturally acceptable for any well-to do lady, single or otherwise, to wear one out in society. Even so, they were still rarely worn, and seldom seen outside the safety of large gatherings. But there it was, a small, delicately slender piece of intricate art that glistened from the top of her head like some elegant beacon. That piece alone was probably worth more than I had made all the last four months combined!
I began to skirt around in the shadows, placing myself in position to cut off her retreat. Her diamonds blazed as she approached, eyeing the swinging prism with total concentration. Which was unfortunate, because as I was about to leave the shadows, she walked into the thorns of a rose bush, screeching out, and attracting the notice of a pair of gentlemen who had just crossed the path quite a ways off, called out when they heard the commotion. She started to become chatty with them, obviously coming on to her rescuers, my prism all but forgotten. Than before I knew it, in a swishing of her long gown, she was gone, “swimming” off before I was able to set me ”hook”.

Which I was able to do on the third strike, almost an hour later, just as I was beginning to ponder wither I should call it off and head back home..

They were a pair of young damsels in their young twenties. They may have been sisters, or cousins at the least. I still remember how my heart leapt into my throat as they observed my colourful prism and turned down the old flagstone path. I had not seen anyone out and about for some time, so I knew they would be no would be rescuers around to come to their aid
And, best of all, they were both dressed for the kill!
One, the blonde, was clad in a black velvet number that one could cannily describe as quite form fitting. As were the small ropes of pearls that hung from all points of interest, pretty with a matching pricelessness.
But her cousin, as I will refer to her, out shone black velvet quite literally.
This one, a stunning raven haired beauty, wore a long streaming gown of liquid ivory satin. A diamond brooch sparkled as it held up a fold of the gown to her waist. The fold allowed her to show a rather daring amount of a slender bare calf. The brooch was not paste, but a real jewel that had been added for the nights festivities ( To be successful, one learns to read these signs accurately) Her ears and neckline were home to a matching set of pure white diamonds. A wide diamond bracelet graced a bare right wrist ,so she must be left handed I instinctively thought, an observation that would have aided me if I were planning on having a go for slipping the bracelet from her wrist, but tonight I was planning a much more daring attempt to empty the entire jewel casket, so to speak.

They went to the prism, playing with it a bit, I had begun to circle around, when I noticed black velvet pointing out with multiple ringed fingers, to something further down the path past the wall.

With a clicking of heels I let the pair pass, they apparently wanted to see what was on the other side of the wall. I followed; it was not hard, because the necklace the raven haired one wore, diamonds fully encircling her throat, rippled and sparkled from their perch, caught in the full harvest moon’s cast, giving me more than enough light to shadow them quietly .

After a while they caught on that something/someone was following them, but as they turned they could see nothing. I was in black, and hooded, invisible to them in the shadows of the trees. They whispered amongst themselves, now worried, realizing that there were dangers lurking beyond the pale, in their case, the safety of the gardens , especially for ones decked out as they were. They then turned and headed right back from where they had come, right into my waiting arms.

It is interesting what good breeding does for young, poised ladies. For, as I stepped out of the shadows, a finger of my right hand to my lips, my Fairborn in my left hand, its black blade glinting wickedly in the moonlight , they did not scream out or shout for help. Instead the pair merely let out small gasps, and then they both, in a quite charming synchronized display of disbelief, place each one hand over their open mouths, and the other upon their perspective necklaces.

And as I flourished my wicked looking Fairbairn–Sykes blade in their direction, they unquestioningly reached around and undid those pretty necklaces, tremblingly handing them out to me, like actresses following a well-read script. I took the little pretties and after stuffing them into my satchel, held out again my free hand, my fingers beckoning. Not a word was spoken between us, as the frightened pair of young ladies began removing their shimmering jewels and added them in a neat little growing pile along my open palm. The raven haired girl even undid her brooch without me having to command her to do so. Once I had stashed it all away, I motioned for them to turn back around, than with a little helpful prodding on my part, they began moving forward back down the hill, away from the garden. The one in white hobbling a little now as she kept tripping over the hem of her dress, now no longer held up by the stolen brooch.

After we had traveled about 200 meters I had them stop, and take off their high heels. Then picking the pretty things up, I motioned them to turn back around and made them walk back the way we had come in their bare feet, watching the pair awkwardly hobble barefooted down the wooded path. They would be quite a while on their journey back, allowing me more than ample time to make me escape. I threw their shoes off to the side and went briskly the other way, reaching the place was staying at , gaining my room without notice. But not before I had hidden the jewels inside an old stump to retrieve them at a later date. I never really heard so much as a whisper of the incident, other than from the pretty lips of my friendly maiden. The wee hours of the morning before my early departure for the train station found me revisiting the stump and retrieving my satchel and its precious cargo. After hiding it all in a false bottom of my case I laid my head on the pillow and drifted off to sleep as I wondered what had happened to the little prism, marveling at how useful it had ended up proving to be.

So, how does this story (journey rather) relate to the one I had already started? Please read on, and enrich your curiosity… my dear readers.
****************************************************************************
Act 2

So, with apologies for my lengthy elucidation, but I now return you back to the garden party I was now attending on that warm fall day. But, as you will see, my prism story needed to be told in order to add a bit of flavor to what was about to unfold.

As I sat on the garden bench I formulated my plans. I should be able to acquire the main piece tonight at the Ball, I would have time this afternoon to retrieve my ever handy satchel and its array of tools and have it hidden at the spot I had already selected. It was perfect, located at the end of the path I had found, or rather the charming lady in the smart chiffon dress had found for me. A gas lamp would provide adequate light for my “lure”, and it led to a back wood where I could lead any victims away and liberate them of their valuables before making my escape. I rose, just enough time to walk my escape route, before setting up and then be dressed for the evening’s festivities. I looked around, I was alone now, my lady in white had disappeared, following her own course, whatever it may have been.

The Autumn Ball that evening was in full swing by the time I arrived. Being a cool fall day, most of the women were wearing long gowns and dresses, and that, for whatever the reason, usually meant they were decked out with more layers of jewelry than say , if it had been the middle of summer. In order to put my plan in action I need and intrinsic piece of the trap, a prism. The one I had once had was long ago lost, a minor pawn in a game to take a pair of princesses.

I knew exactly the type of prism required for my plan, and so began mingling amongst the guests with that in mind.

I started out by walking through to the chamber like ballroom where a full orchestra was starting to play. The first person I saw from the garden party was the little tramp who had been wearing the too tight satin tea dress. That dress had been replaced with a long silky gown, her gold jewelry replaced with emeralds; including a thin bracelet that had taken the place of the gold one that she had so obligingly dangled in my larcenous path. I decided to avoid her In principle, and in doing so spied someone quite interesting.

That someone was a pretty lady in a long velvet gown standing off to one side, idly watching the many dancers out on the floor. The dancing couples were forming an imagery of a rainbow coloured sea of slinky swirling gowns and with erupting fireworks of sparkling jewels, ignited by pair of immensely large chandeliers that hung over the dance floor, setting them off. I made my way, skirting the dance floor to reach her, my eyes on her jewels, which were making pretty fireworks of their own. I happened to walk up just as a waiter with a tray of drinks was passing by. Plucking off a drink I offered it to the lady with one hand, my other hand placed on her back as If to steady myself. She laughed prettily, and taking the drink I met her eyes, as she was focused on reaching and holding the glass in her slippery gloved hand, mine was on the ruby and diamond necklace. My hand behind her had flicked open the simple hook and eye clasp of the antique piece and was in the process of lifting it up and whisking it away from her throat. As I said a few words to her, I pocketed it, while also taking in the rest of her lovely figure and its shiny decorations, before biding adieu. She smiled, her pale bare neckline now quite glaringly extinguished of its fire.

It was about an hour later, after spotting, but unable to make inroads with several likely candidates, that I finally struck gold (figuratively). It came in the form of a young couple arguing between themselves in a far corner of the chamber. She was lecturing a rather handsome man in a tux, her jeweled fingers flying in his face. If she hadn’t been moving about in such an animated fashion as she lectured, I may not have even noticed her. But as it happened I did, especially noticeable was the sanctimonious lady’s wide jeweled bracelet that was bursting out in a rainbow of colorful flickers as her hand was emphatically waving, as her long gown of silk swished around with every movement she made. Perfect. I watched for a bit, and sure enough they moved off, the man heading for the patio leading outside, the wealthy girl following him, still giving him lashes with her tongue. I moved and managed to have her bump into me simply by stepping on the hemline of her long gown. For a few seconds I was the one on the receiving end of her wrath, but I took it like a man, I could see in the eyes of her tongue lashed husband, that he was grateful for the respite. I was also grateful; grateful for the quite wide, very shimmering, bracelet that I had removed from her wrist and now was residing in my pocket.

I began to leave the patio, but was stopped by a matronly lady in ruffles, laces and pearls, her breath heavy with alcohol. She started to question me on what the couple had been on about. Then without waiting for an answer she launched herself into a tirade of her own, her gem encrusted, silken gloved fingers, waving in my face for emphasis. It was almost ten minutes before I was able to make my escape. Which I did, but not before slipping off one of the lecturing ladies vulgarly large cocktail rings.

I headed onto the patio; the time was getting ripe for my plan, which I was now ready to put into motion, now having acquired its most essential piece. I went to the end of the large patio, weaving in and out of the by now well liquored guests whom had assembled there. Across the way I saw a lady tripping over her own gown. By the time I reached her she had fallen down, giggling merrily. Two of us rushed to her aid, she was busy gushed her thanks to the rescuer she knew, while ignoring the one she didn’t! Which was unfortunate on her part, for by ignoring me, she also was ignorant of the fact that I was busy lifting the small stands of black pearls from her wrist. I left unnoticed, much like a shadow fading out of the light, or at least that’s how it seemed. Finally I reached the patios outer edge without further incident, or gain. I went on the grass and turned a corner with the intention of going, post haste around the house to reach the gardens by the long way, hoping not to be seen by anyone. But I no sooner turned the corner, when I realized that it was not to be the case.

It was my blithe spirit in white chiffon from the garden party, pardon me, soiree. She was unescorted, looking up at the moon above a stone turret with one lit window, so intently that my presence had not been noticed. I had been absolutely correct in my observation of her as far as what she would be wearing for the evening. For what she had lacked in ornaments at the soiree, she had more than made up for in the evening festivities. She was absolutely gorgeous, resplendent in as beautiful a silvery satin gown that I had ever witness. It was just pouring down, shimmering along her delightful figure. Her long blazing red hair was still curling down and free, but now a pair of long chandelier earrings cascading down from her earlobes, were peeking out every now and then as they swayed with her every movement. Her blazingly rippling necklace was all diamonds, dripping down the front of her tightly satin covered bosom, twinkling iridescently like an intensively glimmering waterfall. Her slender gloved wrists were home to a pair of dangling diamond bracelets that were almost outshone by her many glistening rings. All in all she was quite a lure all too herself

I came up to her, starling her from her reverie. Taking up her hand, I looked into her startled, suddenly blushing face. I complimented her on the fine gown she wore. She thanked me, and I could see I that she suddenly remembered she me as the chap who she thought smiled to her in the garden. She seemed to accept my compliment quite readily. I chanced it( although Lord knows I was short on time) and asked her to a dance. I did not think she would agree, so it was with a little bit of surprise, hoping she would politely decline and walk off, leaving me free to go about my business unobserved. But she accepted, and I will admit that my heart leapt as she agreed (although in the back of my mind I knew I should be off if my plan was to work). The music had stopped so we made small talk as we slowly walked back to the ballroom. Her name was Katrina. It seems she was waiting for someone, which suited my plans, but he was late and so she had time. Which may have sounded dismissive, but from the apologetic way she said it, it was anything but the sort.

The orchestra started to tune back up as we entered, and taking her offered hand up, was soon lost in the elegance of my appealing partner. It was a long dance, and a formal one, but I could tell she was subtly anxious to be off on her meeting, as I was to be off to my own adventure. But Katrina did not really allow it to show, which was very uncharacteristic of her someone with her obvious breeding. So I was ready when the by the end of the music she begged her condolences and took flight. I watched her as she fluidly moved away, her jewels sparkling, all of them. On her mission to meet Mr. X I thought, for whom I was already harboring a quite jealous dislike. I should be off I thought to meself.

But I stood, still as stone; totally mesmerized by the way Katrina’s swirling silvery satin gown was playing out along her petite, jewel sparkling figure. It wasn’t till the last of her gown swished around a corner out of sight that I moved, but not without having to shake my head to clear the thoughts of her out of it. Well old son, focus. For by now the guests were starting to wander a bit afield in the waning hours of the Autumn Ball, and my small window of opportunity was closing fast. If my little plan was going to have any chance of success it would have to be now.

I walked out and made my way to one of the outside exist of the garden wall. Reaching into my pocket as I did so, fingering the bracelet, now cold, that had belonged to the quarrelsome lady,and soon would be playing another role, far from one its former mistress would ever have dreamed off. I also felt my new acquisition, still warm from my dance partner’s body. I will admit that I had felt a twinge of regret for taking it from a lady I had found to be most charmingly captivating. But slipping off the diamonds up and away from her throat had been as temptingly easy as it had been automatic. I had advantageously made use of the sleekness of her scintillatingly silky gown, and with the distractions created by the movements of the dance, successfully managed to keep Katrina’s attention safely diverted from the reality of why my fingers were ever so gently, caressingly sliding along her slippery gowns neckline. The truth was I had originally placed my hand there because it had felt so right, and I was a little startled when my fingers had subconsciously started playing with her necklaces clasp. Before I knew it, they had flicked open the gemstone clasp of her obviously expensive diamond necklace, and had lifted up. As I watched out of the corner of my eye, almost like I was a spectator, as opposed to being the perpetrator, I saw the chain move up and over her shoulder; its diamonds sparkling with is as the necklace disappeared from view behind her back.
It was a favored technique that I had perfected to the point that by this stage of my career I nearly always acquired my objective. But, as odd as it sounds, I was not happy with myself on this occasion.

But I did not long dwell on my mixed feelings on taking the charming lass’s diamonds, for by now I had reached my place of ambush. It was in one of the farthest reaches of the garden, at a bend on the end of a long path that, with a gas lamp at its beginning just off the patio, would allow me to see from some distance off. Behind me was a break in the hedge wide enough for a person to walk through comfortably. It was here, off a tree limb, underneath a second ornate cast iron gas lamp, which was now lit, that I hung the shimmering bracelet that I had sought out and acquired for just that reason

I walked around and saw that it could be seen flickered off in the distance from the woods, Perfect! Earlier I had hidden my satchel with a hood and knife and bit of rope in the hollow of an old tree. I now retrieved them, and after getting ready, found my position and waited. At 10 minutes past the first hour of my wait, with nary a single glimpse of anyone, I started to fidget. My corner may be just a bit too desolated I was beginning to admit to myself. It seemed that most of the guests were staying by the patio. I was starting to think that I should pack it in, possibly rejoining the guests for one last parting( of someone from her Jewelry). I was just reaching down to pick up my satchel when I suddenly saw something flash under the gas lamp at the beginning of the path, and my senses immediately perked up. I watched as the wisps of rich shimmery satin moved closer, I stiffened, drooling with anticipation, the game was afoot.

I could see clearly the flickering jewels she wore, and by their blazing sparkles of rippling fire, I knew that my long vigil would not have been in vain. As the lady drew I recognized her gown of silvery satin! I knew who was making those tantalizing flashes of appealing treasures. Katrina!

I watched as she approached, in all her glittering elegance. My heart and conscious was in turmoil, but I knew I probably would not get a second chance. I could not let her get away unscathed. Beside, from the shock of being confronted with a masked scoundrel wielding a wicked blade, she would be in no shape to recognize her assailant. She stopped, apprehensively looking back towards the bright lights of the Manor, Then turning back I saw she had a self-satisfied smile creeping upon her face. She reached up, and undoing her hair, shook it down, curls of softness cascading down, hanging loosely down. It was as she performed this provocative act, that I saw her eyes open wide in curiosity; she had spied my pretty little “prism”. The charming fish was hooked.

I waited, watching her approaching ever closer to fate, and from my concealment, I basked in her glow. My heart beating fast, my adrenaline pumping, for the remaining jewels (I thought of her necklace in my custody) that she possessed I already had witnessed were quite valuable. She passed my hiding spot and went to the hanging, shimmering object. As she reached up, looking around, she failed to see me approaching in the shadows. I came up from behind, jabbing a finger in her back as I reached her, I gruffly in no uncertain terms, snarled for her to freeze and make no sound. She stiffened under my touch, but made no move or outcry. I went around; pointing my knife in her direction, looking into her sad doe wide eyes as she realized what was going to happen next. She was trembling; from fear I guessed, and knew I had her right where I wanted. As I made my demands upon her, gimme them jewels sister, she, not surprisingly, was very compliant in giving them up to me. She reached for her necklace last, and looked entirely shocked to find her throat bare, as she searched the neckline of her gown I saw her look into my hand, now dripping with her precious jewelry, almost as if to see if she had not already removed it. She looked apologetically into my eyes, startled; almost pleading that she didn’t know what had happened to it. I just played dump. She than spoke for the first time, sir, may I ask to keep my purse? Her words would have instantly melted even the coldest chunk of ice, I looked down at the little silvery clutch hanging from her arm on its rhinestone chain, I nodded, indicating that she could, and saw relief wash over her face. I told her she now needed to turn around and walk off into the woods ahead of me. She hesitated, and I told her no harm would befall her, I had no intentions along those lines.

About 5 meters in I stopped her, and had her remove her shoes, as she bent over to undo the high heels rhinestone clasps I watched her gown tightly outlining her figure. She tripped on the hem of her gown, and as she attempted to keep her balance, accidently let her purse slip off her shoulder. Without thinking I reached down to pick it up for her as she tried reached for it simultaneously

The small purse was far heavier than it should have been. Curious I opened it, finding that it contained a rather extensive array of mismatched jewelry, glittering in unbelievably expensive fire . I looked into Katrina’s horror struck eyes dumb founded, as she looked guiltily into mine. The gig was up. The jewels belonged to the lady of the manor, my muse in silver was a thief, a female version of me very self.

Aye, what’s this than luv? I questioned her as she looked into my eyes, hers large with a mixture of fright and disbelief. She melted before me, fainting, I caught her in my arms, and it was no ruse. I held her as she came to, holding her warm, silky figure lovingly to mine. I did not know what to think. Nor could I ever explain what possessed me to do what I did next. As she came to, her eyes opened, and I removed my mask, looking back into them deeply.

Oh, she gasped, I’m glad it was you, startled that she had said the words out loud. She than started to coyly blushes, quite demurely. Something sparked in me, and unless she was an incredibly good actress, it did also for Katrina. Our eyes both looked into the others, melting away in the lust of the moment. We embraced, deeply, and I held her squirming warm slick figure tight in my enveloping arms. I looked over her shoulder, eyeing the glistening bracelet hanging from its branch. To catch a thief, the thought suddenly opened in my mind, what a great title for a novel I thought to myself, as I buried my nose into Katrina’s luxuriously soft hair.

We talked for a bit, walking off into the woods, then she looked into my eyes again, a coy, look that melted me on the spot, and that was the end of it, we embraced again, and wholly gave ourselves to one another. What about your man I asked suddenly remembering, my man she questioned , than oh, you mean the Lord, I was waiting for him to come down from smoking in his tower study, that’s where the lady’s jewels are kept. She broke into an Irish brogue as she said the last bit, and that I guessed was her natural tongue. she laid a hand on the side of my face, thanks for being jealous though, me lad.
I should collect my lure I said, which made her smile; it was such an enticing smile at that. We started to head back and watched as it dangled in front of us flickering. With a far off look in her green eyes, Katrina spoke as if in deep though.

The daughter of the house, she has a bracelet on like the one you have dangling, a bracelet of diamonds that I had taken a fancy to, wishing it had been in the safe along with the rest of the ladies of manors jewelry. I knew who she was talking about. The one in green taffeta I asked? Aye lad, that’s the one. Actually her necklace would be just as easy, and worth more I said. Just then her bright green eyes gleamed, Give me about a half an hour, she told me, we will put your little lure to use again. She noticed my hesitation, don’t worry luv she said soothingly placing a gloved hand to my cheek, no longer was it sparkly with its stolen bracelet and rings. I’ll leave my purse with you, can’t very well be carrying it around now can I? I nodded my consent, my mind burning with the thoughts she had alluringly placed there.

She turned, and then hesitated; turning back she said I probably should not go back in naked luv. I smiled, reaching in I pulled out her necklace and placed it around her throat. With a little gasp she blurted, so it was you, I was wondering who and when it had happened. It’s not the first time I’ve had me jewels lifted, but it’s a bloody annoyance to have to let them get away with it, crawls under my skin to have pretend not to notice so that I don’t draw any attention to me self before making my move to steal the posh ones jewels.

But you, mister, I never felt as much as a prickling. I was ready to assume my pretties had been a victim of a broken clasp this time. I gave a little nod in acceptance. That wasn’t exactly a compliment lad, she said in what I hopped was a subtle jest. Just last summer some clumsy bugger slipped of me earrings, my favorite pearls, as we were danc… she stopped, seeing the guilt in my eyes. Men! As thieves you are all of the same skin she spat out angrily, or attempted to sound angry, for the look in her eyes to me she wasn’t. I best be off, before I change me mind about out little endeavor.

With that she swirled around on her heels, and started off, but not before turning and giving me an extremely coy look of interest. As she swirled back around I heard her say loud enough for my ears, I’ll learn me self to be a picker of pockets, see how males like to be taken advantage of in their vulnerabilities! She nodded to herself as she said it. Then suddenly she stopped, than twirled on her heels, her gown swirling enticingly along her figure. Looking me dead in the eye she said, “Vie ne est pas d’attendre que la tempête , mais d’apprendre à danser sous la pluie” !

What does that mean? I questioned in a low voice, perplexed.

Maybe, Mon Cheri, someday I will tell you… And with that she turned on her heel, her gown once again swirling about, and went, determinedly, swishing her way back up the path. I just watched. I had never heard anyone speak French with an Irish Brogue and I had found it to be rather provocative!

I watched as she swished and swayed her way back through the hedge and regained the path leading back to the manor. Her plan was simple; she would lead the daughter of the house to my corner and as she had done, go out with her to look at the swinging charm. I would then make my appearance, rob both ladies of their finery, and telling the daughter to wait until I released her friend, walk off with Katrina as a hostage, and we would both take off and make good our escape. A simple plan, so simple it should actually work.

So, there I was. Holding a purse with a small fortune in jewels, my pocket full of more jewels worth an additional pretty farthing, and her charms were wearing off by her leaving. And my thieving nature coming back, reawakened from the spell they had been under!

The devil of my conscious crept out on my shoulder, the angel markedly absent from the other.

Look mate, she may not be all she seems, and possibly has some other game in mind. Maybe she does have a male confidante helping her out… and was actually on her way to fetch him. He said in my inner ear. And, after all, you took her diamonds twice, didn’t ye now? Do you really think shell forgive you of that me lad?

And there is no honor amongst thieves, as the saying goes, he added as a closing argument…

I rolled it over in my mind…I could leave, absconding with it all, book a cruise to the states or down under where there lay untried fertile grounds to ply my trade. Not to mention working over my fellow passengers aboard the cruise ship while they attended the fancy affairs that were always going on, or so the brochures always seemed to show……

Then In the distance I caught a wisp of Katrina’s long silvery gown. She was coming, and not only with the daughter of the manor, but also with a spare. For I could see a purple coloured gown swishing alongside with the prey in rustling green taffeta.. I watched as all three ladies, resplendent with the rippling fiery gems they all possessed, came up the path, gowns sweeping out , shimmery from the now misty distance.

The thought of making my escape with all the loot continued to haunt me, there was still time now to take off without notice, or I could rob all three, and leave with purple silk as my hostage, Katrina would not be able to say anything on chance of giving up her part of the game, or I could just be a good lad and sty with the script that Katrina had written. Take a chance, roll the dice and believe that she was all she had me believing she could ever be.

As they came closer I knew my time was running out. The thoughts of just looking out for myself kept coming up playing the devil with my conscience as the precious seconds ticked away…

No honor amongst thieves…
What will it be, old boy I challenged myself,
What will you have it be?……..
To see what his decision ultimately was, and the eventual path it led to, see the album question answered)
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Life is not about waiting out the storm, but about learning to dance in the rain.
Vie ne est pas d’attendre que la tempête , mais d’apprendre à danser sous la pluie .
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Courtesy of Chatwick University Archives
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Posted by Chatwick Harpax on 2015-05-24 10:39:07

Tagged: , spy , avengers , john steed , Mrs. , Peel , hms secret service , I spy , man from uncle , secret service , mis , private eye , inspector , policeman , detective , private detective , british , united kingdom , james bond , damsel in distress , dark alley , peril , lady in peril , tv show , comic , tv series , SUSPENSE , Simon Templar , Leslie Charteris , robin hood , dashing , mission impossible , peter graves , mr phelps , thief , crime , lady in distress , goose bumps , espionage , action , thriller , mystery story , action story , american tv , british tv , undercover , police , cops and robbers , car chase , detective novel , british television series , world war 2 , nazi , spy movie , spy series , sowntown abbey , action movie , rodger moorfe , sean connery , alfred hitchcock , alfred hitchocks magazine , alfred hitchcock movie , alfred hitchcock story , action tv series , smersh

St Augustine, Brookland, Kent

St Augustine, Brookland, Kent

It would be easy to look at St Augustine and not see past the belltower. What belltower I hear you ask. Well, that triple candlesnuffer thing beside the stable like entrance of the porch.

You see, I had forgotten how fantastic St Augustine was. I was early into the church odyssey thing back in 2009, and I was new to the whole church thing.

Yes, it has the belltower. Yes it has that porch with those stable doors. Yes it has that wonderful cast iron font. The church is huge, and difficult for me to judge how it evolved over the centuries.

Let me leave it to others to describe the church:

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The Church of St Augustine was constructed circa 1250 on a mound to protect it from flooding, probably on the site of a Norman church. The church is entered by the fourteenth century North door with wooden gates, the upper two were stored within the church and the lower doors were topped with spikes to prevent horses jumping the gates during Divine service. There was once a mounting block outside the church however it was removed less than 50 years ago.

Once through the porch you enter the North Aisle, in the western end is a closed off Chapel, near to this is the mechanism for the clock which is dedicated to the men of Brookfield who lost their lives whilst serving in World War Two, and the east end, which once housed a chapel to Blessed Virgin, is now home to an organ, installed in 1969.

An arcade separates the North Aisle from the Nave, at the end of this at the eastern end is a corbel carved into a face. The font can be found at the western end of the nave and is one of only thirty lead fonts in the country, it is decorated with the zodiac sings and occupations of the months. The Nave and North Aisle hold box pews, and at the eastern end of the Nave is the two tier pulpit with was once three tier, this stands besides the choir pews. Within the Chancel is the alter which stands in front of the remains of an aumbry, to the south is an early piscine and a two-seated sedilia. The arcades separating the North and South Aisles have suffered severe subsidence, the result being they both lean quite obviously. It has been said by an architect that the arcades separating the Nave and South Aisle lean so much that it is beyond the theoretical point of collapse!

The south aisle has had its box pews removed due to a very bad case of woodworm which now leaves room for the altar from the east end of the North Aisle and now used as the War Memorial Altar. At the western end is the Tithe Pen, this housed the weights and measures from the times when the vicar was entitled to a tithe, the complete set are now shown in a glass case and are the only remaining items of this kind in Kent. The eastern end of the South Aisle has a piscine and above this is a remarkable painting, dated from the late 1200?s and repainted in the 14th century. It depicts Thomas Becket’s martyrdom. Where an altar once stood near this wall painting is now a large table tomb in memory to John Plomer who was three times Mayor of Romney.

Beside the church is a free standing belfry, there are many theories giving the reason for the belfry to stand upon the ground, one being that it was blown down from atop the church twice during strong winds and it was decided as it was so keen to stay on the ground then that is where it will stay. The tower holds six bells, only one being original and dated from 1450, three dated 1685 and the old tenor bell also dated 1685 was cast into two smaller bells.

www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=4992.5;wap2

BROOKLAND,

SO called from the several brooks and waterings within the bounds of it, lies the next parish southeastward, mostly within the level of Walland Marsh, and within the jurisdiction of the justices of the county; but there are some lands, which are reputed to be within this parish, containing altogether about 124 acres, which lie in detached pieces at some distance south-eastward from the rest of it, mostly near Ivychurch, some other parishes intervening, which lands are within the level of Romney Marsh, and within the liberty and jurisdiction of the justices of it.

The PARISH of Brookland lies on higher ground than either Snargate or Fairfield last described, and consequently much drier. It is more sheltered with trees, and inclosed with hedges, than any of the neighbouring parishes. The village is neat and rather pleasant, considering the situation, and the houses, as well as inhabitants, of a better sort than are usually seen in the Marsh. The church stands in the middle of it. The lands towards the south are by far the most fertile, for towards Snargate they are very poor and wet, and much covered with rushes and thistles. It consists in general of marsh-land, there not being above thirty acres of land ploughed throughout the parish, which altogether contains about 1730 acres of land.

A fair is held here yearly on the feast of St. Peter ad Vincula, or Lammas-day, being August I, for toys and pedlary.

The MANORS of Fairfield, Apledore, Bilsington, and Court at Wick, extend over this parish, subordinate to which is THE MANOR OF BROOKLAND, which has long since lost even the reputation of having been a manor. It was in early times the patrimony of the family of Passele, or Pashley, as they were afterwards called, whose seat was at Evegate, in Smeeth, (fn. 1) of whom Edward de Passeley is the first that is discovered in public records to have been possessed of this manor, and this appears by the inquisition taken after his death, anno 19 Edward II. Soon after which it was alienated to Reginald de Cobham, a younger branch of the Cobhams, of Cobham, whose descendants were seated at Sterborough castle, in Surry, whence they were called Cobhams, of Sterborough, and they had afterwards summons to parliament among the barons of this realm. At length Sir Thomas Cobham died possessed of it in the 11th year of king Edward IV. leaving an only daughter and sole heir, who carried it in marriage to Sir Edward Borough, of Gainsborough, in Lincolnshire, whose son and heir Thomas was summoned to parliament as lord Burgh, or as it is usually pronounced, Borough, anno 21 king Henry VIII. and left a son and heir Thomas, lord Burgh, whose lands were disgavelled by the act anno 31 Henry VIII. His son William, lord Burgh, about the 12th year of queen Elizabeth’s reign, passed it away to Eversfield, of Suffex, from whom it was alienated soon afterwards to Godfrey, of Lid, at which time this estate seems to have lost its name of having been a manor. He, before the end of that reign, sold it to Wood, by whom it was again alienated in the beginning of king James I.’s reign to Mr. John Fagge, of Rye, whose descendant John Fagge, esq. of Wiston, in Suffex, was created a baronet in 1660. He had a numerous issue, of which only three sons and two daughters survived. Of the former, Sir Robert, the eldest, was his successor in title; Charles was ancestor of the present baronet, the Rev. Sir John Fagge, of Chartham; and the third son Thomas Fagge, esq. succeeded by his father’s will to this estate at Brookland. His son John Meres Fagge, esq. of Glynely, in Sussex, left surviving an only daughter Elizabeth, who on his death in 1769, entitled her husband Sir John Peachy, bart-of West Dean, in Sussex, to the possession of it. He died s. p. and she surviving him, again became entitled to it in her own right, and is at this time the present owner of it.

There are noparochial charities.

BROOKLAND is within the ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION of the diocese of Canterbury, and deanry of Limne.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Augustine, is a very large handsome building, consisting of three isles and three chancels. The steeple stands on the north side, and at some small distance from it, in which are five bells. The church is kept exceedingly neat and clean. It is cieled throughout, and handsomely pewed. In the high chancel there is a confessionary, and a nich for holy water within the altar-rails. There are several memorials in it, but none of any account worth mentioning. At the west end is a gallery, lately erected at the charge of the parish. The font is very curious, made of cast lead, having on it two ranges of emblematical figures, twenty in each range. The steeple is framed of remarkable large timber. It is built entirely of wood, of an octagon form, perpendicular about five feet from the bottom, and from thence leffening to a spire at top, in which it has three different copartments or stories, the two uppermost larger at the bottom, and projecting over those underneath them. Although there are but five bells in it, yet it has frames for several more. The whole is much out of the perpendicular leaning towards the church. In the church-yard are several tombs and gravestones for the Reads.

The church of Brookland was part of the antient possessions of the monastery of St. Augustine, to which it was appropriated by pope Clement V. at the request of Ralph Bourne, the abbot of it, in king Edward II.’s reign, but the abbot declined putting the bull for this purpose in force, till a more favourable opportunity. At length John, abbot of St. Augustine, in 1347, obtained another bull from pope Clement VI for the appropriation of it, and having three years afterwards obtained the king’s licence for this purpose, (fn. 2) the same was confirmed by archbishop Islip in 1359, who next year endowed the vicarage of this church by his decree, by which he assigned, with the consent of the abbot and convent, and of the vicar, of the rents and profits of the church, to John de Hoghton, priest, then admitted perpetual vicar to the vicarage of it, and canonically instituted, and to his successors in future in it, a fit portion from which they might be fitly maintained and support the undermentioned burthens. In the first place he decreed and ordained, that the religious should build on the soil of the endowment of the church, at their own costs and expences, a competent mansion, with a sufficient close and garden, for the vicar and his successors, free from all rent and secular service, to be repaired and maintained from that time by the vicar for the time being; who on the presentation of the religious to be admitted and instituted by him or his successors, into the vicarage, should likewise have the great tithes of the lands lying on the other side of le Re, towards Dover, viz. beyond the bridge called Brynsete, and towards the parish churches of Brynsete, Snaves, and Ivercherche, belonging to the church of Brokelande, and likewise the tithes arising from the sheaves of gardens or orchards dug with the foot, and also all oblations made in the church or parish, and all tithes of hay, calves, chicken, lambs, pigs, geese, hens, eggs, ducks, pidgeons, bees, honey, wax, swans, wool, milkmeats, pasture, flax, hemp, garden-herbs, apples, vetches, merchandizes, fishings, fowlings, and all manner of small tithes arising from all things whatsoever. And he taxed and estimated the said portion at the annual value of eight marcs sterling, at which sum he decreed the vicar ought to contribute in future, to the payment of the tenth and all other impositions happening, of whatsoever sort. Not intending that the vicar of this church should be entitled to, or take of the issues and rents of it, any thing further than is expressed before, but that he should undergo the burthen of officiating in the same, either by himself or some other sit priest, in divine offices, and in the finding of lights in the chancel, and of bread and wine for the celebration of masses, the washing of vestments, and the reparation of the books of the church, and should nevertheless pay the procuration due to the archbishop, on his visitation. But the rest of the burthens incumbent on the church, and no ways here expressed, should belong to the abbot and convent, &c. (fn. 3) After this, the church and advowson of the vicarage of Brookland remained part of the possessions of the above monastery till the final dissolution of it, anno 30 Henry VIII. when it was, with all its revenues, surrendered into the king’s hands, where this rectory and advowson staid but a short time, for the king, by his dotation charter, settled them on his newerected dean and chapter of Canterbury, part of whose possessions they continue at this time.

On the abolition of deans and chapters, after the death of king Charles I. this parsonage was surveyed in 1650, when it appeared that it consisted of a close of land of one acre, on which stood the parsonage barne, and other outhouses, with the tithe of corn and other profits belonging to it, estimated coibs annis at twenty four pounds, all which were by indenture, in 1635, demised for twenty-one years, at the yearly rent of eight pounds, but were worth, over and above the said rent, sixteen pounds per annum, and that the lessee was to repair the premises, and the chancel of the parish church.

In 1384 this church or rectory appropriate was valued at 13l. 6s. 8d. but anno 31 Henry VIII. it was demised to ferme at only 8l. 3s. 4d. It is now demised on a beneficial lease by the dean and chapter, at the yearly rent of eight pounds to Mrs. Woodman, the present lessee of it. The vicarage of this church is valued in the king’s books at 17l. 12s. 8½d. and the yearly tenths at 1l. 15s. 3¼d. In 1587 it was valued at sixty pounds, communicants one hundred and sixtysix, and in 1640 the same, and it is now of about the same value.

There is a modus of one shilling per acre on all the grass-lands in this parish. The vicar is entitled to all the small tithes, subject to this modus, throughout the parish, and to the tithes of corn of those lands, being one hundred and twenty-four acres, which lie in detached pieces beyond Brenset bridge, in Romney Marsh, as mentioned before, in the endowment of this vicarage.

www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=63502

A long low church with the most famous spire in Kent. This three-stage ‘candle-snuffer’ erection which stand son the ground instead of on a tower is the result of several enlargements of a thirteenth-century bell cage and its subsequent weatherproofing with cedar shingles. It contains a peal of six bells, the oldest of which is mid-fifteenth century in date. The spire is surmounted by a winged dragon weathervane, dating from 1797. The monster has a prominent forked tongue. The reason for the bells being hung in a cage rather than a tower is shown inside the church where the pillars of the nave have sunk into the soft ground and splayed out to north and south. The tie-beams of the roof came away from the walls and have had to be lengthened by the addition of new timber supports. The outstanding Norman font in cast lead has been fully described in Part 1. To the south of the church is a headstone incorporating the only ‘Harmer Plaque’ in Kent – a terracotta panel made in East Sussex where they are a common feature.

www.kentchurches.info/church.asp?p=Brookland

Posted by Jelltex on 2014-11-24 17:57:05

Tagged: , St Augustine , Brookland , Kent , church , jelltex , jelltecks

Woolly joint Prickly pear Cactus plant Macro::

Woolly joint Prickly pear Cactus plant Macro::

Woolly joint Prickly pear Cactus plant or also known as Velvet tree pear, Velvet opuntia.

Opuntias are an easy group of cacti to grow, and are the gift that keeps on giving. They grow in sections, any of which can be removed and rooted to start a new plant. They sport some of the most beautiful flowers in the cactus world. Woollyjoint Pricklypear is a tree type of prickly pear to over 10 feet tall. It has red-orange flowers and no long spines, but some small glochids. The plant has a velvety texture, hence the common name Velvet tree pear, and the tomentose in the botanical name. Native to southern Mexico and Guatemala.

Posted by ~suchitra~ on 2012-10-26 16:29:21

Tagged: , Cactus , Cacti , Sacculents , plants , thorny , spikes , sharp , nature , needle , pricky , Woollyjoint , Pricklypear , Velvet , opuntia , pear , Astrophytums , garden , green , beauty , ornamantel , house , home , decorate , bread , plane , seed , shrup , tree , botanical.flower , bud , floar , Flores , Chennai , Tamilnadu , India

The Other Way (1969) …item 3.. Get the skinny on Tallahassee Naturally (Jun. 26, 2013 7:56 PM) …

The Other Way (1969) ...item 3.. Get the skinny on Tallahassee Naturally (Jun. 26, 2013 7:56 PM) ...

The Full Moon Skinny Dip is a flyer easily recognizable flyer around campus. Many think, very few participate. Naturally Tallahassee invites college students every full moon, of every month to indulge in some nude recreation. As a fashion enthusiast, I consume myself with the latest trends, textiles, and designers. Obviously, I love clothes.
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……..*****All images are copyrighted by their respective authors …….
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… message header for item 2… Common sense, planning make a safer campus

Incoming students should be aware of the emergency blue light system, which functions as a means of contacting FSUPD for immediate assistance. There are over 400 of these blue light telephones throughout campus, so noting their locations is a way to be ready in case of an emergency.
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… message header for item 1. Leftover rice makes a last-minute meal

I love fried rice not only for its taste and versatility, but also because it’s so easy to make at the last minute. I almost always have most of the core ingredients stocked in my pantry, refrigerator and freezer. If a carton of leftover take-out restaurant rice suddenly appears on a shelf next to the milk, I’m good to go.
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…..item 1)…. Leftover rice makes a last-minute meal …

…. The Miami Herald … www.miamiherald.com/

The Miami Herald > Living > Food … FRIED RICE …

BY SARA MOULTON
ASSOCIATED PRESS

www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/25/3360267/leftover-rice-make…

Starchy, crunchy and flavorful, fried rice is a deeply satisfying dish no matter what you add to it. And you can add just about any vegetable or protein you care to name, fresh or left over.

I love fried rice not only for its taste and versatility, but also because it’s so easy to make at the last minute. I almost always have most of the core ingredients stocked in my pantry, refrigerator and freezer. If a carton of leftover take-out restaurant rice suddenly appears on a shelf next to the milk, I’m good to go.
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img code photo … Shrimp fried rice

media.miamiherald.com/smedia/2013/04/23/16/00/OnksA.Em.56…

Shrimp fried rice with pickled radishes MATTHEW MEAD / AP

Main dish

— Shrimp Fried Rice with Pickled Radishes

… 2 eggs
… Kosher salt and ground pepper
… 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil, divided
… 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
… 1/2 pound peeled and deveined raw shrimp
… 2 garlic cloves, minced
… 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
… 3 cups cooked brown rice
… 2 cups coarsely shredded radishes (about 10 large radishes)
… 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
… 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
… 2 tablespoons sake or dry sherry
… 2 teaspoons sesame oil
… 1 cup blanched fresh or thawed frozen peas
… 1 cup blanched sugar snap peas, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Coat the pan with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add a pinch of salt and some pepper to the eggs, then add them to the pan. Tilt the pan to spread the egg all around to make a flat pancake. Cook for 30 to 45 seconds, or until almost set. Turn over the egg (you can cut it in a few pieces to make it easier, using the side of a nonstick pan-safe spatula) and cook for another 10 seconds. Transfer the egg to a cutting board.

Add 1/2 tablespoon of the oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the onion. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly golden, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until almost cooked through, about another 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and return the skillet to the heat.

Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet, then add the rice, pressing it flat with the back of the spatula. Cook until the rice is slightly crispy, turning it over with the spatula, about 8 to 10 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, in a small bowl combine the radishes, vinegar and salt to taste. In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, sake and sesame oil. Chop the egg and add it along with the peas and sugar snap peas to the bowl with the shrimp.

When the rice is nicely crisped, add the contents of the shrimp bowl and the soy sauce mixture to the skillet and cook, stirring, until the mixture is heated through. Transfer the fried rice to 4 bowls and top each portion with some of the radishes. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 440 calories; 120 calories from fat (27 percent of total calories); 14 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 175 mg cholesterol; 50 g carbohydrate; 7 g fiber; 9 g sugar; 22 g protein; 670 mg sodium.

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I’ve never been all that great at cooking rice. I just can’t seem to get the ratio and timing right, and I always forget when you’re supposed to leave it alone and when you’re supposed to stir it. I finesse this handicap by leaning on a little trick I learned during my restaurant days: boiling the rice in a big pot of salted water as if it was pasta. That way there’s no rice-to-water ratio to worry about. For brown rice, 45 minutes does the trick.

And if you’re in a particular rush, you can swap in instant brown rice, which is almost as nutritious as regular brown rice and cooks up quicker, as advertised.

This being spring, I made sure that the stars of the recipe were seasonal ingredients, starting with peas. Fresh peas are heavenly, of course, but they start turning to starch as soon as they’re harvested, so be sure to cook them right away. I also incorporated two other spring vegetables— sugar snap peas and radishes, though I left the radishes raw. Saute a radish and this spicy, crispy root vegetable becomes sweet and tender.

But I like the kick of a raw radish, so I simply shredded them, then tossed them with a little seasoned rice vinegar. Sprinkled on top of the finished dish, these raw radishes are similar to a pickle.

Protein-wise, this recipe calls for shrimp, but you can use any protein you choose, or toss in mushrooms instead and call it a vegetarian’s delight.

As is typical in Chinese cuisine, this dish requires little cooking time. But you must have all the ingredients measured and chopped before you toss them in the pan. If you want to streamline the process even further, you can leave out the sauce, simply serving the finished dish with soy sauce and hot sauce on the side. For that matter, you could lose the radish garnish, though even suggesting such a thing makes me sad.

In the end, I can pretty much guarantee that if you try this recipe even once, you’ll be inspired to make it again and again, changing it slightly every time to make room for whichever delicious seasonal ingredients happen to be at hand or whichever leftovers are crying out to be used up.

READ MORE FOOD STORIES FROM THE MIAMI HERALD

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…..item 2)…. Common sense, planning make a safer campus …

… FSU News … www.fsunews.com/

Be in the know with FSU Guardian, the Night Nole and more protection from FSUPD
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img code photo … The Blue Light Trail

cmsimg.tallahassee.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=CD&D…

The Blue Light Trail is one of the numerous precautions Florida State has implemented to increase campus safety. / Zachary Goldstein / FSView

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May 22, 2013

Written by
Brittany Lyons
Staff Writer @Bhl11Lyons

FILED UNDER
FSU News
FSU News Life

www.fsunews.com/article/20130523/FSVIEW0101/130522030/Com…

With so much else to focus on when students move in and get settled for the school year, safety may be the last thing that Seminoles are thinking about. The good news is that FSU already has several measures in place that maintain safety on campus.

Incoming students should be aware of the emergency blue light system, which functions as a means of contacting FSUPD for immediate assistance. There are over 400 of these blue light telephones throughout campus, so noting their locations is a way to be ready in case of an emergency. In addition, students that provide their cell phone numbers will be able to receive emergency notifications through FSU Alert, and university police offer a free new service called FSU Guardian—if you sign up, an emergency call from your cell phone would allow FSUPD to have quick access to your information as well as GPS coordinates of your location in order to help them respond more quickly.

FSUPD also allows students to register their personal and valuable property online in case of theft or loss. Lieutenant Hank Jacob of FSUPD’s Support Services Division advises students to record the serial numbers of their valuables. According to Jacob, this information is especially valuable if property ends up at a pawn shop or advertised on Craigslist. Of course, taking caution with your belongings is important as well.

“A lot of it is common sense,” Jacob said. “One of the biggest things we get is people leaving their stuff around. You can’t expect it to be there when you get back. You can’t leave your residence hall unlocked or your car unlocked. You have to do the most you can to secure and safeguard your property.”

Common sense also applies to keeping safe at night. Students have several night-time transportation options. The S.A.F.E. Connection—a project by the Student Government Association in affiliation with FSUPD—offers free transportation to any location on-campus and several off-campus locations as well. It is available from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. nearly every night during the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

During the fall and spring, the Night Nole also provides transportation to even more off-campus locations but does not operate on Sunday or Monday nights. It is designed to transport students from the Tennessee Strip to over 32 apartment complexes.

For those students living in residence halls on campus, University Housing provides Night Staff for safety concerns that may arise between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. In addition, female students can take a Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) program that is free if not taken for credit.

There are many ways to prevent crime and maintain safety while at FSU, but students who are conscious of their habits and their surroundings will be able to decrease their risk even further. Common sense knowledge like letting a friend know your whereabouts and not walking alone at night is essential to abide by at college because of the unique and riskier environment. It is essential for incoming students to exercise caution as they adjust to college life.

Finally, Jacob offered advice on how to stay safe and be responsible at FSU.
“Don’t break the law,” Jacob said. “Don’t drink. Don’t do pot. Don’t be so trusting or naïve.”

Important Phone Numbers:

FSUPD Emergency Situation: 911
FSUPD Urgent Situation: 311
S.A.F.E. Connection: 644-7233

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…..item 3)…. Get the skinny on Tallahassee Naturally

… FSU News … www.fsunews.com/

Jun. 26, 2013 7:56 PM |
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img code photo … Taking minimalism to the extreme

cmsimg.tallahassee.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=CD&D…

Taking minimalism to the extreme, Custom Content Editor Tammy Noel throws fashion, and her clothes, to the wind in favor of nude naturism. / Tammy Noel and Katie Dolciato / FSView

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Written by
Tammy L. Noel
Custom Content Editor

FILED UNDER
FSU News
FSU News Campus

www.fsunews.com/article/20130627/FSVIEW1/130626026/Get-sk…

So we’re supposed to just take our clothes off now? Cool.

My comrades and I jumped out of my Jetta and walked on the dirt beaten path toward the lake. Our first sight: Chuck from Pensacola, standing in bare flesh with a brewski waving hey.

The Full Moon Skinny Dip is a flyer easily recognizable flyer around campus. Many think, very few participate. Naturally Tallahassee invites college students every full moon, of every month to indulge in some nude recreation. As a fashion enthusiast, I consume myself with the latest trends, textiles, and designers. Obviously, I love clothes.

What I appreciate most about clothing is the actual textile. My favorite is leather. Whether its pebbled, saffiano, or patent leather, authentic animal hide maintains a caliber that is unmatched to the over popularized poly-cotton blends, most college students are accustomed to it. It’s tough. It’s durable. Yet, it’s restrictive. And no matter how much I enjoy my leather trousers, what’s even better than putting it on, is taking it off.

Clothing dictates opinions. They do. That blonde who sits in the front row with her Tory Brunch flats and Michael Kors tote, what do you really know of her? Or that hipster that wears tight skinnies with a graphic tee, what do you really know of him? Nothing. You actually think you know more than you do. Clothing protects us, but always restricts our frame of judgment. Shedding free of that restrictive material may allow us to witness a clarity that we wouldn’t normally see. Well, I needed some clarity.

But wait—the closest thing to being “natural” is the Nature Valley bars I snag from the vending machine. I hate the outdoors so much my dream home resides in the heart of metropolitan city with the rooftop garden.

I was predictably nervous. Was I going to be hit on? I mean how could they possibly resist themselves. Or at least I’d like to believe that to be the case. But, quite possibly, this wasn’t about me, maybe it was something deeper than the stereotypical notions we all cling to. “Now you start asking people why and everybody will give you a different reason, high on most peoples’ list is the freedom of it,” LeValley said. “To me, it’s a way of getting in touch with ancestral roots. This is the way people were for thousands and thousands of years—connected with all of history.”

A frequent guest lecturer at FSU and FAMU, over a warm fire and s’mores, LeValley, amongst others, dissected the reason why. However, in order to understand why, I needed to understand how. “Back in the early 80s a whole lot of students got to skinny dipping at [Sam Allen Lake] off Springhill Road. There might have been 100 students there,” LeValley shared. “Then one day the police did a very stupid thing. They raided the place and arrested seven people. One of them demanded a jury trial, went to court and won.”

Seriousness overcame everyone standing around the fire. Like a Kanye interview, LeValley had our attention. All that could be heard was the crunch of graham crackers and the crackle of the fire. “The jury said, ‘well everyone knows that’s a skinny dipping place. Why are you surprised?’ It became totally unenforceable.”
After being displaced, the unclad crusaders decided to find another lake. Yet again, the police raided that pond and left the nudists…well, naked.

“Then finally three of us got to together and developed a strategy of finding so many lakes and sinkholes, and rivers that we could meet in the parking lot Sunday morning and decided then and there which one we were going to. We didn’t have to worry about the police stalking the place out,” said LeValley. “So we did that for 4 years. Rob had just joined us and he started looking for some places in this area and he went to a lake. There was an old man fishing and Rob decided to be honest and tell him what he was looking for.”

Luck struck. That old man fishing had a brother with a lake and for a small rental fee the unclad crusaders had a haven to call their own—equipped with trees, a lake, a hiking trail and campfire. Perseverance created the retreat that I was sitting in the heart of smacking on s’mores and sharing stories.

To my left, stood Monty. A decorated retired pilot, who chose to not reveal his last name, but his reason for becoming a nudist was simple—he wanted freedom from judgment.

“That’s one of the things that I’ve always thought was really beautiful about nudism. It destroys the textile classes that our society sets up because I’m not wearing K-Mart and you’re not wearing Gucci,” Monty said. “We’re wearing nothing.”

As the night aged, in the midst of the rainy weather, I bonded with complete strangers. We swam together in the lake and talk about everything: Blackboard, tattoos, and careers—normal topics. The water was perfect, as if the temperature was set to stimulate conversation. Though it was pitch black, the full moon illuminated their faces. When the mosquitoes decided it was feeding time, I witness the grimaces—a normal expression. I observed as the vets coyly smiled at the rookies’ pain—a normal expression. Around the campfire, in between light rain showers, we discussed politics, music and sports. Well, I didn’t really participate in the latter.

During the NBA finals, I caught up on Project Runway. Anyhow, I had normal conversation, about normal topics, with normal people.

It made me wonder why, though, isn’t this considered normal? “I find it interesting that everyone laughs and pokes fun at nudists’ resorts, which is not a sexually thing, yet sex with a lot of different people is so accepted in our society,” Monty said.

“You’re just sitting around with friends nude and just enjoying the elements. I didn’t feel like it was a brilliant brainchild that I came up with. I just felt like it’s a question that begs to be asked, since I’ve become a nudist.”

Nudity may be subculture, though it’s a factor that connects humans. Clothing is a necessity. Hell, I would be without a passion without them but at times clothing is somewhat of a necessary evil.

“When a girl is in clothes, whether she’s dressed provocatively or just in business clothes, there are people that are always looking at your attire to see how you present yourself,” Naturally FSU chapter president Nina Vallad said. “Here you are completely nude, so you don’t have to worry about ‘is this popping out or makes me look fat.’ You’re just here and you’re experiencing what it feels like to be completely beautiful. Everyone is basically accepted at face value.”

Now, did I look? Yes, at times maybe too long. Bodies are different shapes, shades and sizes. Many of those shapes I’ve never seen prior to that night. Yet the hippie weirdo scene I thought I was getting myself into wasn’t so weird after all.

Am I now a self-proclaimed nudist? No and I have the bug bites to prove why.

However, at the end of the night, it suddenly dawned on me that I was just like them—bare; stripped of clothes and judgment, yet undoubtedly myself.

My new friend Monty agrees: “You find that when you’re down to absolutely nothing but just your body than you get to know people for who they really are.”

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Posted by marsmet525 on 2013-04-02 16:49:21

Tagged: , The Other Way (1969) , Midwood 35-196 , 95 cents , The Other Way – Robert Hadley , Strange Fascination – Greg Hamilton , Two new novels about women , in the shadow world of love , The Miami Herald , The Miami Herald > Living > Food , Leftover rice makes a last-minute meal , Posted on Thursday, 04.25.13 , BY SARA MOULTON ASSOCIATED PRESS , Shrimp fried rice with pickled radishes , MATTHEW MEAD / AP , I love fried rice not only for its taste and versatility, , but also because it’s so easy to make at the last minute. , I almost always have most of the core ingredients stocked in my pantry, refrigerator and freezer. , If a carton of leftover take-out restaurant rice suddenly appears , on a shelf next to the milk, I’m good to go. , Protein-wise, this recipe calls for shrimp, , but you can use any protein you choose, , or toss in mushrooms instead and call it a vegetarian’s delight. , As is typical in Chinese cuisine, this dish requires little cooking time. , But you must have all the ingredients measured and chopped before you toss them in the pan. , In the end, I can pretty much guarantee that if you try this recipe even once, , you’ll be inspired to make it again and again, , changing it slightly every time to make room , for whichever delicious seasonal ingredients happen to be at hand , or whichever leftovers are crying out to be used up. , FSU News , Common sense, planning make a safer campus , Be in the know with FSU Guardian, , the Night Nole and more protection from FSUPD , Written by Brittany Lyons Staff Writer @Bhl11Lyons , The Blue Light Trail is one of the numerous precautions Florida State , has implemented to increase campus safety. , / Zachary Goldstein / FSView , Incoming students should be aware of the emergency blue light system, , which functions as a means of contacting FSUPD for immediate assistance. , There are over 400 of these blue light telephones throughout campus, , so noting their locations is a way to be ready in case of an emergency. , In addition, students that provide their cell phone numbers , will be able to receive emergency notifications through FSU Alert, , and university police offer a free new service called FSU Guardian , — if you sign up, an emergency call from your cell phone , would allow FSUPD to have quick access to your information , as well as GPS coordinates of your location , in order to help them respond more quickly. , Lieutenant Hank Jacob of FSUPD’s Support Services Division , advises students to record the serial numbers of their valuables. , According to Jacob, this information is especially valuable , if property ends up at a pawn shop or advertised on Craigslist , ‘A lot of it is common sense,’ Jacob said. , ‘One of the biggest things we get is people leaving their stuff around. , You can’t expect it to be there when you get back. , You can’t leave your residence hall unlocked or your car unlocked. , You have to do the most you can to secure and safeguard your property.’ , Finally, Jacob offered advice on how to stay safe and be responsible at FSU. , ‘Don’t break the law,’ Jacob said. , ‘Don’t drink. Don’t do pot. Don’t be so trusting or naïve.’ , Important Phone Numbers: , FSUPD Emergency Situation: 911 , FSUPD Urgent Situation: 311 , S.A.F.E. Connection: 644-7233 , Get the skinny on Tallahassee Naturally , Jun. 26, 2013 7:56 PM , Written by Tammy L. Noel Custom Content Editor , Taking minimalism to the extreme, Custom Content Editor Tammy Noel throws fashion, , and her clothes, to the wind in favor of nude naturism. , / Tammy Noel and Katie Dolciato / FSView , The Full Moon Skinny Dip is a flyer easily recognizable flyer around campus. , Shedding free of that restrictive material may allow us to witness a clarity that we wouldn’t normally see. , Well, I needed some clarity. , ‘To me, it’s a way of getting in touch with ancestral roots. , This is the way people were for thousands and thousands of years—connected with all of history.’

tagged!

tagged!

The Rules: If you’re tagged, upload a photo Saying you were tagged, put 10 random facts about yourself Into the description, and tag other people by adding them to the photo.

1. I am Scottish! Growing up was a bit complicated though – when I was 12 I had to move to England, and ended up in an awful high school 🙁 Having a different accent was difficult and I spent many years hating speaking. Now I think I like being Scottish 🙂 (I’ve moved back now so now my accent is getting stronger, oh dear!)

2. I’ve always loved Star Trek, especially TNG and Voyager. Oh to be a child on the Enterprise! That was my dream! (I like Wesley Crusher too hehe) Lost is my other number one tv show 🙂 Currently rewatching it from the start since it’s finished now. ;-;

3. My biggest regret is messing up university. I still passed got my degree, but I know I could have done a million times better if things had been a different time. What I mean is, the age I was at uni (18-20) was when I was suffering from really bad anxiety issues…I couldn’t even leave my room or go outside it was so terrible! I’m better now, though I still have my problems and it’s still difficult, but I’m in a better place so I wish I could go back and make friends and do amazing illustrations!

4. Italian food is my favourite – I could live off pasta, tomatoes and wine. Though I’m not strictly vegetarian I do prefer non-meat dishes, and rarely eat red meat.

5. Cocteau Twins are the BEST!! I only discovered this band about a year, year and a half ago and I haven’t stopped listening to them since. I cannot write just how amazing the music is… but it’s not like one song can define them so I wouldn’t be able to say ‘here listen to this it’s awesome!’ My favourite album changes all the time, but right now I’d say Blue Bell Knoll is the best – if I’m feeling sad I can put this on full volume and it’s like the most effective anti-depressant I’ve ever come across 🙂

6. If my childhood dream was Star Trek, then my ‘grown up’ dream is to live in a beautiful house which I decorated myself! Cath Kidston style is my current fave, I love pretty flower prints and light, bright colours.

7. I suppose this links in with no.6 – not only is my dream to have my own home, but to also find true love 🙂 I don’t care if it’s cheesy, I was in one really bad relationship for a long time where he treated me like shit so I think I deserve a good guy, if good guys actually exist.

8. I have an older brother and sister – that makes me the youngest of three! They both live in Edinburgh, whereas I live in a small village about an hour away. Maybe next year I’ll move to there too, I like being near shops and younger people! (The village I’m in at the moment is only a few houses occupied by retired doctors lol)

9. Hmm struggling now… well I think this is pretty well known already, but I love to paint dolls! I really really want to get better though, so I want to get as much practise as I can 🙂 A couple of my favourite artists are Poppy, Flower in Mud, Shall we Doll etc I love that sort of vintage look with heavy blush and soft mohair~

10. When I was growing up I would watch my brother play the snes and since then I’ve loved video games! I don’t play as much as I used to, but the ds certainly makes it easier to squeeze in time for games 🙂 My favourites are the usual pokemon, zelda, etc (though I could never ever get the hang of mario!! The first jump, I would always fall down the gap -___- and then if I did ever actually manage to jump right, I would get hit by the goomba -_________-)

I’m sure everyone’s done this by now so I tag anyone who wants to do it ^^

Posted by c a r o l i n e* on 2010-06-02 18:30:03

Tagged:

India – Ajanta Caves – Reclining Buddha – 80

India - Ajanta Caves - Reclining Buddha - 80

The Ajanta Caves (Ajiṇṭhā leni; Marathi: अजिंठा लेणी) in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India are about 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE. The caves include paintings and sculptures described by the government Archaeological Survey of India as "the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting", which are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales. The caves were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BCE, with the second group of caves built around 400–650 CE according to older accounts, or all in a brief period of 460 to 480 according to the recent proposals of Walter M. Spink. The site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India, and since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The caves are located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, near Jalgaon and just outside the village of Ajinṭhā 20°31′56″N 75°44′44″E), about 59 kilometres from Jalgaon railway station on the Delhi – Mumbai line and Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line of the Central Railway zone, and 104 kilometres from the city of Aurangabad. They are 100 kilometres from the Ellora Caves, which contain Hindu and Jain temples as well as Buddhist caves, the last dating from a period similar to Ajanta. The Ajanta caves are cut into the side of a cliff that is on the south side of a U-shaped gorge on the small river Waghur, and although they are now along and above a modern pathway running across the cliff they were originally reached by individual stairs or ladders from the side of the river 35 to 110 feet below.

The area was previously heavily forested, and after the site ceased to be used the caves were covered by jungle until accidentally rediscovered in 1819 by a British officer on a hunting party. They are Buddhist monastic buildings, apparently representing a number of distinct "monasteries" or colleges. The caves are numbered 1 to 28 according to their place along the path, beginning at the entrance. Several are unfinished and some barely begun and others are small shrines, included in the traditional numbering as e.g. "9A"; "Cave 15A" was still hidden under rubble when the numbering was done. Further round the gorge are a number of waterfalls, which when the river is high are audible from outside the caves.

The caves form the largest corpus of early Indian wall-painting; other survivals from the area of modern India are very few, though they are related to 5th-century paintings at Sigiriya in Sri Lanka. The elaborate architectural carving in many caves is also very rare, and the style of the many figure sculptures is highly local, found only at a few nearby contemporary sites, although the Ajanta tradition can be related to the later Hindu Ellora Caves and other sites.

HISTORY
Like the other ancient Buddhist monasteries, Ajanta had a large emphasis on teaching, and was divided into several different caves for living, education and worship, under a central direction. Monks were probably assigned to specific caves for living. The layout reflects this organizational structure, with most of the caves only connected through the exterior. The 7th-century travelling Chinese scholar Xuanzang informs us that Dignaga, a celebrated Buddhist philosopher and controversialist, author of well-known books on logic, lived at Ajanta in the 5th century. In its prime the settlement would have accommodated several hundred teachers and pupils. Many monks who had finished their first training may have returned to Ajanta during the monsoon season from an itinerant lifestyle.

The caves are generally agreed to have been made in two distinct periods, separated by several centuries.

CAVES OF THE FIRST (SATAVAHANA) PERIOD
The earliest group of caves consists of caves 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15A. According to Walter Spink, they were made during the period 100 BCE to 100 CE, probably under the patronage of the Satavahana dynasty (230 BCE – c. 220 CE) who ruled the region. Other datings prefer the period 300 BCE to 100 BCE, though the grouping of the earlier caves is generally agreed. More early caves may have vanished through later excavations. Of these, caves 9 and 10 are stupa halls of chaitya-griha form, and caves 12, 13, and 15A are vihāras (see the architecture section below for descriptions of these types). The first phase is still often called the Hinayāna phase, as it originated when, using traditional terminology, the Hinayāna or Lesser Vehicle tradition of Buddhism was dominant, when the Buddha was revered symbolically. However the use of the term Hinayana for this period of Buddhism is now deprecated by historians; equally the caves of the second period are now mostly dated too early to be properly called Mahayana, and do not yet show the full expanded cast of supernatural beings characteristic of that phase of Buddhist art. The first Satavahana period caves lacked figurative sculpture, emphasizing the stupa instead, and in the caves of the second period the overwhelming majority of images represent the Buddha alone, or narrative scenes of his lives.

Spink believes that some time after the Satavahana period caves were made the site was abandoned for a considerable period until the mid-5th century, probably because the region had turned mainly Hindu

CAVES OF THE LATER OR VAKATAKA PERIOD
The second phase began in the 5th century. For a long time it was thought that the later caves were made over a long period from the 4th to the 7th centuries CE, but in recent decades a series of studies by the leading expert on the caves, Walter M. Spink, have argued that most of the work took place over the very brief period from 460 to 480 CE, during the reign of Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka dynasty. This view has been criticized by some scholars, but is now broadly accepted by most authors of general books on Indian art, for example Huntington and Harle.

The second phase is still often called the Mahāyāna or Greater Vehicle phase, but scholars now tend to avoid this nomenclature because of the problems that have surfaced regarding our understanding of Mahāyāna.

Some 20 cave temples were simultaneously created, for the most part viharas with a sanctuary at the back. The most elaborate caves were produced in this period, which included some "modernization" of earlier caves. Spink claims that it is possible to establish dating for this period with a very high level of precision; a fuller account of his chronology is given below. Although debate continues, Spink’s ideas are increasingly widely accepted, at least in their broad conclusions. The Archaeological Survey of India website still presents the traditional dating: "The second phase of paintings started around 5th – 6th centuries A.D. and continued for the next two centuries". Caves of the second period are 1–8, 11, 14–29, some possibly extensions of earlier caves. Caves 19, 26, and 29 are chaitya-grihas, the rest viharas.

According to Spink, the Ajanta Caves appear to have been abandoned by wealthy patrons shortly after the fall of Harishena, in about 480 CE. They were then gradually abandoned and forgotten. During the intervening centuries, the jungle grew back and the caves were hidden, unvisited and undisturbed, although the local population were aware of at least some of them.

REDISCOVERY
On 28 April 1819, a British officer for the Madras Presidency, John Smith, of the 28th Cavalry, while hunting tiger, accidentally discovered the entrance to Cave No. 10 deep within the tangled undergrowth. There were local people already using the caves for prayers with a small fire, when he arrived. Exploring that first cave, long since a home to nothing more than birds and bats and a lair for other larger animals, Captain Smith vandalized the wall by scratching his name and the date, April 1819. Since he stood on a five-foot high pile of rubble collected over the years, the inscription is well above the eye-level gaze of an adult today. A paper on the caves by William Erskine was read to the Bombay Literary Society in 1822. Within a few decades, the caves became famous for their exotic setting, impressive architecture, and above all their exceptional, all but unique paintings. A number of large projects to copy the paintings were made in the century after rediscovery, covered below. In 1848 the Royal Asiatic Society established the "Bombay Cave Temple Commission" to clear, tidy and record the most important rock-cut sites in the Bombay Presidency, with John Wilson, as president. In 1861 this became the nucleus of the new Archaeological Survey of India. Until the Nizam of Hyderabad built the modern path between the caves, among other efforts to make the site easy to visit, a trip to Ajanta was a considerable adventure, and contemporary accounts dwell with relish on the dangers from falls off narrow ledges, animals and the Bhil people, who were armed with bows and arrows and had a fearsome reputation.

Today, fairly easily combined with Ellora in a single trip, the caves are the most popular tourist destination in Mahrashtra, and are often crowded at holiday times, increasing the threat to the caves, especially the paintings. In 2012, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation announced plans to add to the ASI visitor centre at the entrance complete replicas of caves 1, 2, 16 & 17 to reduce crowding in the originals, and enable visitors to receive a better visual idea of the paintings, which are dimly-lit and hard to read in the caves. Figures for the year to March 2010 showed a total of 390,000 visitors to the site, divided into 362,000 domestic and 27,000 foreign. The trends over the previous few years show a considerable growth in domestic visitors, but a decline in foreign ones; the year to 2010 was the first in which foreign visitors to Ellora exceeded those to Ajanta.

PAINTINGS
Mural paintings survive from both the earlier and later groups of caves. Several fragments of murals preserved from the earlier caves (Caves 9 and 11) are effectively unique survivals of court-led painting in India from this period, and "show that by Sātavāhana times, if not earlier, the Indian painter had mastered an easy and fluent naturalistic style, dealing with large groups of people in a manner comparable to the reliefs of the Sāñcī toraņa crossbars".

Four of the later caves have large and relatively well-preserved mural paintings which "have come to represent Indian mural painting to the non-specialist", and fall into two stylistic groups, with the most famous in Caves 16 and 17, and apparently later paintings in Caves 1 and 2. The latter group were thought to be a century or more later than the others, but the revised chronology proposed by Spink would place them much closer to the earlier group, perhaps contemporary with it in a more progressive style, or one reflecting a team from a different region. The paintings are in "dry fresco", painted on top of a dry plaster surface rather than into wet plaster.

All the paintings appear to be the work of painters at least as used to decorating palaces as temples, and show a familiarity with and interest in details of the life of a wealthy court. We know from literary sources that painting was widely practised and appreciated in the courts of the Gupta period. Unlike much Indian painting, compositions are not laid out in horizontal compartments like a frieze, but show large scenes spreading in all directions from a single figure or group at the centre. The ceilings are also painted with sophisticated and elaborate decorative motifs, many derived from sculpture. The paintings in cave 1, which according to Spink was commissioned by Harisena himself, concentrate on those Jataka tales which show previous lives of the Buddha as a king, rather than as an animal or human commoner, and so show settings from contemporary palace life.

In general the later caves seem to have been painted on finished areas as excavating work continued elsewhere in the cave, as shown in caves 2 and 16 in particular. According to Spink’s account of the chronology of the caves, the abandonment of work in 478 after a brief busy period accounts for the absence of painting in caves such as 4 and 17, the later being plastered in preparation for paintings that were never done.

COPIES
The paintings have deteriorated significantly since they were rediscovered, and a number of 19th-century copies and drawings are important for a complete understanding of the works. However, the earliest projects to copy the paintings were plagued by bad fortune. In 1846, Major Robert Gill, an Army officer from Madras presidency and a painter, was appointed by the Royal Asiatic Society to replicate the frescoes on the cave walls to exhibit these paintings in England. Gill worked on his painting at the site from 1844 to 1863 (though he continued to be based there until his death in 1875, writing books and photographing) and made 27 copies of large sections of murals, but all but four were destroyed in a fire at the Crystal Palace in London in 1866, where they were on display.

Another attempt was made in 1872 when the Bombay Presidency commissioned John Griffiths, then principal of the Bombay School of Art, to work with his students to make new copies, again for shipping to England. They worked on this for thirteen years and some 300 canvases were produced, many of which were displayed at the Imperial Institute on Exhibition Road in London, one of the forerunners of the Victoria and Albert Museum. But in 1885 another fire destroyed over a hundred paintings that were in storage. The V&A still has 166 paintings surviving from both sets, though none have been on permanent display since 1955. The largest are some 3 × 6 metres. A conservation project was undertaken on about half of them in 2006, also involving the University of Northumbria. Griffith and his students had unfortunately painted many of the paintings with "cheap varnish" in order to make them easier to see, which has added to the deterioration of the originals, as has, according to Spink and others, recent cleaning by the ASI.

A further set of copies were made between 1909 and 1911 by Christiana Herringham (Lady Herringham) and a group of students from the Calcutta School of Art that included the future Indian Modernist painter Nandalal Bose. The copies were published in full colour as the first publication of London’s fledgling India Society. More than the earlier copies, these aimed to fill in holes and damage to recreate the original condition rather than record the state of the paintings as she was seeing them. According to one writer, unlike the paintings created by her predecessors Griffiths and Gill, whose copies were influenced by British Victorian styles of painting, those of the Herringham expedition preferred an ‘Indian Renascence’ aesthetic of the type pioneered by Abanindranath Tagore.

Early photographic surveys were made by Robert Gill, who learnt to use a camera from about 1856, and whose photos, including some using stereoscopy, were used in books by him and Fergusson (many are available online from the British Library), then Victor Goloubew in 1911 and E.L. Vassey, who took the photos in the four volume study of the caves by Ghulam Yazdani (published 1930–1955).

ARCHITECTURE
The monasteries mostly consist of vihara halls for prayer and living, which are typically rectangular with small square dormitory cells cut into the walls, and by the second period a shrine or sanctuary at the rear centred on a large statue of the Buddha, also carved from the living rock. This change reflects the movement from Hinayana to Mahāyāna Buddhism. The other type of main hall is the narrower and higher chaitya hall with a stupa as the focus at the far end, and a narrow aisle around the walls, behind a range of pillars placed close together. Other plainer rooms were for sleeping and other activities. Some of the caves have elaborate carved entrances, some with large windows over the door to admit light. There is often a colonnaded porch or verandah, with another space inside the doors running the width of the cave.

The central square space of the interior of the viharas is defined by square columns forming a more or less square open area. Outside this are long rectangular aisles on each side, forming a kind of cloister. Along the side and rear walls are a number of small cells entered by a narrow doorway; these are roughly square, and have small niches on their back walls. Originally they had wooden doors. The centre of the rear wall has a larger shrine-room behind, containing a large Buddha statue. The viharas of the earlier period are much simpler, and lack shrines. Spink in fact places the change to a design with a shrine to the middle of the second period, with many caves being adapted to add a shrine in mid-excavation, or after the original phase.

The plan of Cave 1 shows one of the largest viharas, but is fairly typical of the later group. Many others, such as Cave 16, lack the vestibule to the shrine, which leads straight off the main hall. Cave 6 is two viharas, one above the other, connected by internal stairs, with sanctuaries on both levels.

The four completed chaitya halls are caves 9 and 10 from the early period, and caves 19 and 26 from the later period of construction. All follow the typical form found elsewhere, with high ceilings and a central "nave" leading to the stupa, which is near the back, but allows walking behind it, as walking around stupas was (and remains) a common element of Buddhist worship (pradakshina). The later two have high ribbed roofs, which reflect timber forms, and the earlier two are thought to have used actual timber ribs, which have now perished. The two later halls have a rather unusual arrangement (also found in Cave 10 at Ellora) where the stupa is fronted by a large relief sculpture of the Buddha, standing in Cave 19 and seated in Cave 26. Cave 29 is a late and very incomplete chaitya hall.

The form of columns in the work of the first period is very plain and un-embellished, with both chaitya halls using simple octagonal columns, which were painted with figures. In the second period columns were far more varied and inventive, often changing profile over their height, and with elaborate carved capitals, often spreading wide. Many columns are carved over all their surface, some fluted and others carved with decoration all over, as in cave 1.

The flood basalt rock of the cliff, part of the Deccan Traps formed by successive volcanic eruptions at the end of the Cretaceous, is layered horizontally, and somewhat variable in quality, so the excavators had to amend their plans in places, and in places there have been collapses in the intervening centuries, as with the lost portico to cave 1. Excavation began by cutting a narrow tunnel at roof level, which was expanded downwards and outwards; the half-built vihara cave 24 shows the method. Spink believes that for the first caves of the second period the excavators had to relearn skills and techniques that had been lost in the centuries since the first period, which were then transmitted to be used at later rock-cut sites in the region, such as Ellora, and the Elephanta, Bagh, Badami and Aurangabad Caves.

The caves from the first period seem to have been paid for by a number of different patrons, with several inscriptions recording the donation of particular portions of a single cave, but according to Spink the later caves were each commissioned as a complete unit by a single patron from the local rulers or their court elites. After the death of Harisena smaller donors got their chance to add small "shrinelets" between the caves or add statues to existing caves, and some two hundred of these "intrusive" additions were made in sculpture, with a further number of intrusive paintings, up to three hundred in cave 10 alone.

A grand gateway to the site, at the apex of the gorge’s horsehoe between caves 15 and 16, was approached from the river, and is decorated with elephants on either side and a nāga, or protective snake deity.

ICONOGRAPHY OF THE CAVES
In the pre-Christian era, the Buddha was represented symbolically, in the form of the stupa. Thus, halls were made with stupas to venerate the Buddha. In later periods the images of the Buddha started to be made in coins, relic caskets, relief or loose sculptural forms, etc. However, it took a while for the human representation of the Buddha to appear in Buddhist art. One of the earliest evidences of the Buddha’s human representations are found at Buddhist archaeological sites, such as Goli, Nagarjunakonda, and Amaravati. The monasteries of those sites were built in less durable media, such as wood, brick, and stone. As far as the genre of rock-cut architecture is concerned it took many centuries for the Buddha image to be depicted. Nobody knows for sure at which rock-cut cave site the first image of the Buddha was depicted. Current research indicates that Buddha images in a portable form, made of wood or stone, were introduced, for the first time, at Kanheri, to be followed soon at Ajanta Cave 8 (Dhavalikar, Jadhav, Spink, Singh). While the Kanheri example dates to 4th or 5th century CE, the Ajanta example has been dated to c. 462–478 CE (Spink). None of the rock-cut monasteries prior to these dates, and other than these examples, show any Buddha image although hundreds of rock-cut caves were made throughout India during the first few centuries CE. And, in those caves, it is the stupa that is the object of veneration, not the image. Images of the Buddha are not found in Buddhist sailagrhas (rock-cut complexes) until the times of the Kanheri (4th–5th century CE) and Ajanta examples (c. 462–478 CE).

The caves of the second period, now all dated to the 5th century, were typically described as "Mahayana", but do not show the features associated with later Mahayana Buddhism. Although the beginnings of Mahāyāna teachings go back to the 1st century there is little art and archaeological evidence to suggest that it became a mainstream cult for several centuries. In Mahayana it is not Gautama Buddha but the Bodhisattva who is important, including "deity" Bodhisattva like Manjushri and Tara, as well as aspects of the Buddha such as Aksobhya, and Amitabha. Except for a few Bodhisattva, these are not depicted at Ajanta, where the Buddha remains the dominant figure. Even the Bodhisattva images of Ajanta are never central objects of worship, but are always shown as attendants of the Buddha in the shrine. If a Bodhisattva is shown in isolation, as in the Astabhaya scenes, these were done in the very last years of activities at Ajanta, and are mostly ‘intrusive’ in nature, meaning that they were not planned by the original patrons, and were added by new donors after the original patrons had suddenly abandoned the region in the wake of Emperor Harisena’s death.

The contrast between iconic and aniconic representations, that is, the stupa on one hand and the image of the Buddha on the other, is now being seen as a construct of the modern scholar rather than a reality of the past. The second phase of Ajanta shows that the stupa and image coincided together. If the entire corpus of the art of Ajanta including sculpture, iconography, architecture, epigraphy, and painting are analysed afresh it will become clear that there was no duality between the symbolic and human forms of the Buddha, as far as the 5th-century phase of Ajanta is concerned. That is why most current scholars tend to avoid the terms ‘Hinayana’ and ‘Mahayana’ in the context of Ajanta. They now prefer to call the second phase by the ruling dynasty, as the Vākāţaka phase.

CAVES
CAVE 1
Cave 1 was built on the eastern end of the horse-shoe shaped scarp, and is now the first cave the visitor encounters. This would when first made have been a less prominent position, right at the end of the row. According to Spink, it is one of the latest caves to have been excavated, when the best sites had been taken, and was never fully inaugurated for worship by the dedication of the Buddha image in the central shrine. This is shown by the absence of sooty deposits from butter lamps on the base of the shrine image, and the lack of damage to the paintings that would have been happened if the garland-hooks around the shrine had been in use for any period of time. Although there is no epigraphic evidence, Spink believes that the Vākāţaka Emperor Harishena was the benefactor of the work, and this is reflected in the emphasis on imagery of royalty in the cave, with those Jakata tales being selected that tell of those previous lives of the Buddha in which he was royal.

The cliff has a more steep slope here than at other caves, so to achieve a tall grand facade it was necessary to cut far back into the slope, giving a large courtyard in front of the facade. There was originally a columned portico in front of the present facade, which can be seen "half-intact in the 1880s" in pictures of the site, but this fell down completely and the remains, despite containing fine carving, were carelessly thrown down the slope into the river, from where they have been lost, presumably carried away in monsoon torrents.

This cave has one of the most elaborate carved façades, with relief sculptures on entablature and ridges, and most surfaces embellished with decorative carving. There are scenes carved from the life of the Buddha as well as a number of decorative motifs. A two pillared portico, visible in the 19th-century photographs, has since perished. The cave has a front-court with cells fronted by pillared vestibules on either side. These have a high plinth level. The cave has a porch with simple cells on both ends. The absence of pillared vestibules on the ends suggest that the porch was not excavated in the latest phase of Ajanta when pillared vestibules had become a necessity and norm. Most areas of the porch were once covered with murals, of which many fragments remain, especially on the ceiling. There are three doorways: a central doorway and two side doorways. Two square windows were carved between the doorways to brighten the interiors.

Each wall of the hall inside is nearly 12 m long and 6.1 m high. Twelve pillars make a square colonnade inside supporting the ceiling, and creating spacious aisles along the walls. There is a shrine carved on the rear wall to house an impressive seated image of the Buddha, his hands being in the dharmachakrapravartana mudra. There are four cells on each of the left, rear, and the right walls, though due to rock fault there are none at the ends of the rear aisle. The walls are covered with paintings in a fair state of preservation, though the full scheme was never completed. The scenes depicted are mostly didactic, devotional, and ornamental, with scenes from the Jataka stories of the Buddha’s former existences as a bodhisattva), the life of the Gautama Buddha, and those of his veneration. The two most famous individual painted images at Ajanta are the two over-life size figures of the protective bodhisattvas Padmapani and Vajrapani on either side of the entrance to the Buddha shrine on the wall of the rear aisle (see illustrations above). According to Spink, the original dating of the paintings to about 625 arose largely or entirely because James Fegusson, a 19th-century architectural historian, had decided that a scene showing an ambassador being received, with figures in Persian dress, represented a recorded embassy to Persia (from a Hindu monarch at that) around that date.

CAVE 2
Cave 2, adjacent to Cave 1, is known for the paintings that have been preserved on its walls, ceilings, and pillars. It looks similar to Cave 1 and is in a better state of preservation.

Cave 2 has a porch quite different from Cave one. Even the façade carvings seem to be different. The cave is supported by robust pillars, ornamented with designs. The front porch consists of cells supported by pillared vestibules on both ends. The cells on the previously "wasted areas" were needed to meet the greater housing requirements in later years. Porch-end cells became a trend in all later Vakataka excavations. The simple single cells on porch-ends were converted into CPVs or were planned to provide more room, symmetry, and beauty.

The paintings on the ceilings and walls of this porch have been widely published. They depict the Jataka tales that are stories of the Buddha’s life in former existences as Bodhisattva. Just as the stories illustrated in cave 1 emphasize kingship, those in cave 2 show many "noble and powerful" women in prominent roles, leading to suggestions that the patron was an unknown woman. The porch’s rear wall has a doorway in the center, which allows entrance to the hall. On either side of the door is a square-shaped window to brighten the interior.

The hall has four colonnades which are supporting the ceiling and surrounding a square in the center of the hall. Each arm or colonnade of the square is parallel to the respective walls of the hall, making an aisle in between. The colonnades have rock-beams above and below them. The capitals are carved and painted with various decorative themes that include ornamental, human, animal, vegetative, and semi-divine forms.

Paintings appear on almost every surface of the cave except for the floor. At various places the art work has become eroded due to decay and human interference. Therefore, many areas of the painted walls, ceilings, and pillars are fragmentary. The painted narratives of the Jataka tales are depicted only on the walls, which demanded the special attention of the devotee. They are didactic in nature, meant to inform the community about the Buddha’s teachings and life through successive rebirths. Their placement on the walls required the devotee to walk through the aisles and ‘read’ the narratives depicted in various episodes. The narrative episodes are depicted one after another although not in a linear order. Their identification has been a core area of research since the site’s rediscovery in 1819. Dieter Schlingloff’s identifications have updated our knowledge on the subject.

CAVE 4
The Archeological Survey of India board outside the caves gives the following detail about cave 4: "This is the largest monastery planned on a grandiose scale but was never finished. An inscription on the pedestal of the buddha’s image mentions that it was a gift from a person named Mathura and paleographically belongs to 6th century A.D. It consists of a verandah, a hypostylar hall, sanctum with an antechamber and a series of unfinished cells. The rear wall of the verandah contains the panel of Litany of Avalokiteśvara".

The sanctuary houses a colossal image of the Buddha in preaching pose flanked by bodhisattvas and celestial nymphs hovering above.

CAVES 9-10
Caves 9 and 10 are the two chaitya halls from the first period of construction, though both were also undergoing an uncompleted reworking at the end of the second period. Cave 10 was perhaps originally of the 1st century BCE, and cave 9 about a hundred years later. The small "shrinelets" called caves 9A to 9D and 10A also date from the second period, and were commissioned by individuals.

The paintings in cave 10 include some surviving from the early period, many from an incomplete programme of modernization in the second period, and a very large number of smaller late intrusive images, nearly all Buddhas and many with donor inscriptions from individuals. These mostly avoided over-painting the "official" programme and after the best positions were used up are tucked away in less prominent positions not yet painted; the total of these (including those now lost) was probably over 300, and the hands of many different artists are visible.

OTHER CAVES
Cave 3 is merely a start of an excavation; according to Spink it was begun right at the end of the final period of work and soon abandoned. Caves 5 and 6 are viharas, the latter on two floors, that were late works of which only the lower floor of cave 6 was ever finished. The upper floor of cave 6 has many private votive sculptures, and a shrine Buddha, but is otherwise unfinished. Cave 7 has a grand facade with two porticos but, perhaps because of faults in the rock, which posed problems in many caves, was never taken very deep into the cliff, and consists only of the two porticos and a shrine room with antechamber, with no central hall. Some cells were fitted in.

Cave 8 was long thought to date to the first period of construction, but Spink sees it as perhaps the earliest cave from the second period, its shrine an "afterthought". The statue may have been loose rather than carved from the living rock, as it has now vanished. The cave was painted, but only traces remain.

SPINK´S DETAILED CHRONOLOGY
Walter M. Spink has over recent decades developed a very precise and circumstantial chronology for the second period of work on the site, which unlike earlier scholars, he places entirely in the 5th century. This is based on evidence such as the inscriptions and artistic style, combined with the many uncompleted elements of the caves. He believes the earlier group of caves, which like other scholars he dates only approximately, to the period "between 100 BCE – 100 CE", were at some later point completely abandoned and remained so "for over three centuries", as the local population had turned mainly Hindu. This changed with the accession of the Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka Dynasty, who reigned from 460 to his death in 477. Harisena extended the Central Indian Vakataka Empire to include a stretch of the east coast of India; the Gupta Empire ruled northern India at the same period, and the Pallava dynasty much of the south.

According to Spink, Harisena encouraged a group of associates, including his prime minister Varahadeva and Upendragupta, the sub-king in whose territory Ajanta was, to dig out new caves, which were individually commissioned, some containing inscriptions recording the donation. This activity began in 462 but was mostly suspended in 468 because of threats from the neighbouring Asmaka kings. Work continued on only caves 1, Harisena’s own commission, and 17–20, commissioned by Upendragupta. In 472 the situation was such that work was suspended completely, in a period that Spink calls "the Hiatus", which lasted until about 475, by which time the Asmakas had replaced Upendragupta as the local rulers.

Work was then resumed, but again disrupted by Harisena’s death in 477, soon after which major excavation ceased, except at cave 26, which the Asmakas were sponsoring themselves. The Asmakas launched a revolt against Harisena’s son, which brought about the end of the Vakataka Dynasty. In the years 478–480 major excavation by important patrons was replaced by a rash of "intrusions" – statues added to existing caves, and small shrines dotted about where there was space between them. These were commissioned by less powerful individuals, some monks, who had not previously been able to make additions to the large excavations of the rulers and courtiers. They were added to the facades, the return sides of the entrances, and to walls inside the caves. According to Spink, "After 480, not a single image was ever made again at the site", and as Hinduism again dominated the region, the site was again abandoned, this time for over a millennium.

Spink does not use "circa" in his dates, but says that "one should allow a margin of error of one year or perhaps even two in all cases".

IMPACT ON MODERN INDIAN PAINTINGS
The Ajanta paintings, or more likely the general style they come from, influenced painting in Tibet and Sri Lanka.

The rediscovery of ancient Indian paintings at Ajanta provided Indian artists examples from ancient India to follow. Nandlal Bose experimented with techniques to follow the ancient style which allowed him to develop his unique style. Abanindranath Tagore also used the Ajanta paintings for inspiration.

WIKIPEDIA

Posted by asienman on 2013-11-27 21:28:13

Tagged: , India , Ajanta Caves , asienman-photography , Buddha , UNESCO World Heritage Site