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Cave 1, Details of Pillars f.30

Cave 1, Details of Pillars f.30

Draughtsman: Gill, Robert (c.1824-1875)

Medium: Pencil on paper

Date: 1850

Shelfmark: WD1092

Item number: f.30

Length: 48.2

Width: 67.2

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Topographical Drawing

Pencil drawing of pillars from Cave 1 at Ajanta, from an Album of 26 ground plans of the Ajanta caves and 16 folios of drawings of sculpture and architectural details in the Ajanta caves, by Capt. R. Gill, 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. Cave 1, excavated in the late fifth century, is one of the finest monastery. This drawing depicts some of the types of pillars found in the cave. They have a square base; the shafts are octagonal at the beginning and then become fluted and have carved floral bands. The capitals consist of compressed amalaka fruits. These support a square abacus. The pillar in the centre of the drawing has brackets carved with flying couples flanking a compartment with figurative friezes.

The cave is renowned for the magnificent painting it has preserved on its walls depicting scenes from the previous lives of Buddha as narrated in the Jatakas.

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