Details of sculptures from an album of plans and drawings of sculpture and architectural details in the Ajanta caves. c.1850
Artist: Gill, Robert (1824-75)
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
Pen and ink drawing by Robert Gill of details of sculptures from Ajanta, taken from the Album of 26 ground plans of the Ajanta caves and 16 folios of drawings of sculpture and architectural details in the Ajanta caves, dated c. 1850.
The magnificent cave temples of Ajanta are situated in a horse-shoe valley of the Waghora river in West India and consist of prayer halls (chaityas) and monasteries (viharas), built for the Buddhist community who lived there. The first group was excavated between the second - first centuries BC; then, after a period of more than six centuries, the excavations restarted around the fifth century AD, in the Vakataka period. The caves have preserved some of the finest wall paintings of Indian art important both for their technical mastery and wide-ranging subject matter, as well as magnificent sculpture, a unique surviving testimony to the achievements of Buddhist art in India. The scenes depicted in the paintaings are mainly taken from the jatakas, stories about the previous lives of Buddha while the sculptures represent various narrative episodes, votive images and decorative motifs.