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Major Gill's house, Adjunta

Major Gill's house, Adjunta

Photographer: Gill, Robert

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1865

Shelfmark: Photo 303/1(136)

Item number: 136

Length: 16.4

Width: 21.4

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of Major Gill's house at Ajanta, in Maharashtra, taken by Robert Gill in the 1860s. The remarkable cave temples of Ajanta are situated in a horse-shoe valley of the Waghora River in West India and consist of prayer halls (chaityas), or monasteries (viharas), built for the Buddhist community who lived there. The caves were in use for about eight centuries, and can be divided into two groups according to the early Hinayana and later Mahayana phases of Buddhist art. The first group was excavated between the 2nd-1st centuries BC. After a period of more than six centuries, the excavations restarted around the 5th century AD, in the Vakataka period. The caves contain some of the finest wall paintings of Indian art, important both for their technical mastery and wide-ranging subject matter, as well as magnificent sculpture, a unique surviving testimony to the achievements of Buddhist art in India. Robert Gill entered the Madras Army in 1824. In 1844 he was sent to copy the paintings of the Ajanta Caves, where he spent over 12 years. This view shows the house where he lived in those years. In the 1850s and 1860s he took up photography and took numerous photographs of the caves.

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