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Ceiling panels and Mithunas on pillar brackets, Cave III, Badami

Ceiling panels and Mithunas on pillar brackets, Cave III, Badami

Artist: Indian draftsman

Medium: Pen and ink on paper

Date: 1853

Shelfmark: WD1596

Item number: 24

Length: 71

Width: 57

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Drawing

Pen-and-ink and wash drawing of ceiling panels and amorous couples (mithunas) on the pillar brackets from Cave III, Badami, by an Indian draftsman, dated 1853.

Badami, formerly known as Vatapi, was the capital of the Early Chalukya rulers in the sixth - eighth centuries. The town is situated between two rocky hills of red sandstone that surround an artificial lake. There are two later forts that overlook the town. Around the south fort there are four rock-cut shrines. Cave III was excavated during the reign of the Early Chalukya ruler Pulakeshin I in 578. It is the finest of the caves at Badami and shows a very elaborate ornamentation. The columns shafts are ornated with sculpted medallions containing amorous couples, jewel and garland motifs. This drawing depicts the brackets of the columns of the outer row which are fashioned as embracing couples (mithunas) or maidens beneath trees. The ceiling of the mandapa or hall is carved with medallions which contain the Dikpalas or Guardian of the Directions with Brahma in the middle.

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