By Walter M. Spink
Ajanta:Year via 12 months is deliberate as a biography of this extraordinary website, beginning with the earliest caves, courting from a few thousand years, to its startling renaissance within the short interval among nearly 462 and 480. focusing on the excavations of the later interval, through the reign of the Vakataka emperor Harisena, it makes an attempt to teach how, after a shocking hole of a few 300 years, Ajanta’s proud and pious courtly buyers and its more and more devoted workmen created not just the best however the most up-to-date monument of India’s Golden Age. approximately 300 illustrations, in colour and black and white, display the exuberant flowering of Ajanta and similar Vakataka monuments, in addition to the way in their unexpected death
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Extra resources for Ajanta : history and development. Vol. IV, Painting, sculpture, architecture year by year
They clearly drew upon the old Hinayana Cave 9 as their basic model, although would elaborate upon it greatly. It seems clear that before such major caves were started, delegations of architects (now to be excavators) and members of the Buddhist sangha must have surveyed the site, deciding upon the best and/or most appropriate locations for the various anticipated caves. In the case of the vast Cave 26 complex, patronized by the Asmakas, they were careful to choose a location into which the projected monument would “fit”, for its height demanded a particularly deep stretch of scarp.
463/464/465 EARLY DEVELOPMENTS AND DECISIONS Work now is going on apace in the more “privileged” caves already begun, and we can assume that a number of other caves (such as Caves 5 and 4 and 15 and 20) were now underway as well, although the competition for workmen must have been increasingly intense. At the same time, it is certain that Ajanta’s fame was spreading, along with rumors of lucrative and long-lasting employment opportunities; so workers, skilled and unskilled, must have been coming to the site now in great numbers.
It is evident that the transformation could have been effected quite rapidly in many of the lesser viharas, where by 467 or even 466 the rear areas had already been reached, or nearly reached, in the course of excavation. However, in none of these caves had the shrines been started; nor would they be, until 468 or even early 469—the very point at which work on them was interrupted by the Recession. 1 On the other hand, in the more monumental caves, such as Cave 1, 4, 16, 17, and the Ghatotkacha vihara work went on apace, as the interiors were opened up and the new shrine area was gradually approached.