Cave 1, Details of Pillars f.31
Draughtsman: Gill, Robert (c.1824-1875)
Medium: Pencil on paper
Pencil drawing of pillars and pilasters 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 of Ajanta. One of the most striking element of this, and most of the other caves, are the imposing pillars that support the wide ceilings. This drawing depicts some of the types of pillars and brackets 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 and jewelled motifs. The capitals which support a square abacus consist of compressed amalaka fruits. The brackets are carved with flying couples, elephants and lions with riders, flanking a compartment with figurative friezes or makaras, aquatic monsters with foliated tails and deers.