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Central doorway and sculpture of Avalokiteshvara, Buddhist Vihara, Cave IV, Ajanta

Central doorway and sculpture of Avalokiteshvara, Buddhist Vihara, Cave IV, Ajanta

Photographer: Gill, Robert

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1869

Shelfmark: Photo 1000/4(471)

Item number: 10004471

Length: 17.5

Width: 20.7

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the verandah of Cave V at Ajanta, taken by Robert Gill around 1868-70. The Buddhist cave temples of Ajanta were excavated into a horse-shoe shaped cliff overlooking the Waghora River in the 2nd – 1st Century BC and later in the 5th Century AD. The caves are numbered 1-28 according to their location, not chronologically. They consist of monasteries (viharas) and prayer-halls (chaitya) used by the community of Buddhist monks who resided there.

Cave IV is the largest monastery at Ajanta but it was left unfinished in the late 5th Century. The verandah has eight octagonal columns and a cell at either end. The central doorway leading to the hall is decorated with figures of guardians and maidens and couples as well as Buddhas and ganas with garlands. To the right of the doorway there is a panel depicting Avalokiteshvara surrounded by worshippers suffering torments.

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