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Ellora. Kylas

Ellora.  Kylas

Lithographer: Dibdin, Thomas Colman (1810-1893)

Medium: Lithograph, coloured

Date: 1839

Shelfmark: X590

Item number: 18

Length: 28.8

Width: 40.9

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Print

This is plate 18 from James Fergusson's 'Illustrations of the Rock Cut Temples of India'. The caves of Ellora near Aurangabad are a landmark of Indian art, bringing together Buddhist, Hindu and Jain temples on one site. Fergusson's picture shows a masterpiece of Hindu architecture, Kailasanath. The most famous of all the splendours of Ellora, this is a free-standing temple rather than a cave and is sculpted entirely out of a great mass of basalt. Patronised by successive rulers of the Rashtrakuta dynasty from the middle of the eighth century onwards, it symbolises Mount Kailasa, the abode of Shiva. A tall screen marks the entrance, and sculpted river goddesses on an elephant-borne plinth mark the route to the three sections of the temple: a Nandi shrine, a mandapa, and the main sanctuary. The principal shrine is topped by a pyramidal tower (shikara). Superb sculptural friezes in the temple depict tales from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, as well as the deeds of Shiva.

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