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General view of cave temples in the Barabar Caves, Gaya (Bihar)

General view of cave temples in the Barabar Caves, Gaya (Bihar)

Artist: MacKenzie, Colin (1754-1821)

Medium: Pencil and ink on paper

Date: 1814

Shelfmark: WD759

Item number: 759

Length: 143

Width: 289

Scale: Millimetres

Genre: Drawing

Pen-and-ink and wash drawing by Colin MacKenzie dated 1814, depicting the Barabar Caves at Gaya in Bihar. Inscribed on front in ink: 'View of the Rock of the Caves at Buddha Gya.'

The Barabar Hills are home to a group of cave temples which date to the Maurya period or the third century BC. They represent some of the earliest examples of rock-cut architecture in India and were used by Jain monks as a retreat. This drawing depicts the Lomas Rishi cave which has a very elaborate doorway imitating the elevation of a hut with sloping timber supports, curved eaves and a pot finial. The curved architrave is sculpted with a frieze of elephants proceeding towards stupas. The interior of the cave consists of an oval chamber with a dome roof entered through a rectangular vaulted hall.

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