Ajanta Caves – UPSC GS1

Describe the nature and form of wall paintings of Ajanta caves. (200 Words)

The wall paintings of Ajanta caves belong to period from 2nd century BCE to 7th century CE.
NATURE: they are mainly religious in their content depicting Buddhist scriptures (especially jatakas) except few places where Hindu religious gods are represented.
FORM: As they are drawn over many centuries and by artisans belonging to various guilds they show great stylistic variation along with maintaining certain common features.
The common features are…
  • Centrality
  • perspective drawing
  • common physical features such as half closed eyes
  • black outline with various body colours
Early paintings are naturalistic without over stylisation whereas later ones are more sophisticated and fluid. Their evolution was parallel and similar to the evolution of Buddhist sculpture…ex: sanchi and vengi sculpture
The greatness of these paintings lies in their success in bringing out the philosophy of Buddhism in paintings ex: Padmapani painting showing bitterness of renunciation of life and hope for future happiness.
They were the inspiration for paintings in southern region. They also attained the status of World heritage site status and continue to inspire present generations.



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