Ajunta. Exterior of Chaitya Cave No 19
Lithographer: Dibdin, Thomas Colman (1810-1893)
Medium: Lithograph, coloured
This is plate 8 from James Fergusson's 'Illustrations of the Rock Cut Temples of India'.
The Ajanta caves have been hewn out of the rock cliffs rising above the Waghora river in Maharashtra. Full of paintings and sculpture, they comprise some of the most splendid achievements of Buddhist art in India. The development of the caves spanned the period between second century BC when the style was aniconic, to the image-filled Mahayana Buddhist styles of the fourth and fifth centuries AD.
Cave 19, a beautifully executed chaitya (hall of prayer) is dated to the late fifth century and noted for its sculpture. Its exterior has a portico with fluted columns, some of them covered with floral motifs and jeweled bands. The facade is dominated by a large horseshoe-arched window with seated Buddhas in serried ranks above it, and large Yaksha figures flanking it.