Category Archives: Home library design

First Wichita High School – Expanded; Wichita, KS

First Wichita High School - Expanded; Wichita, KS

A photo c. 1900 photo of the first High School (albeit an expanded and altered building from the original) in Wichita, KS. The original High School building was built by W.H. Sternberg (1832 – 1906) who was the most prolific designer and builder in the Wichita area during one of the greatest economic booms in U.S. history.

This was still the first high school in Wichita as there were no other high school buildings yet, but it was much expanded from the original building. The original building is the portion on the right which has the square limestone-linteled windows on the second floor. Undoubtedly the expansion / alteration project was let out for bid and it’s not yet known who built the addition. The entire structure is no longer standing. It was located between Second Street and Third Street on the east side of Emporia.

W.H. Sternberg built more of the civic buildings than any other contractor in the late 1800s… "probably twice as many as have been put by any other contractor in the city", Portrait And Biographical Album of Sedgwick County, Kan., Chapman Brothers 1888, pgs. 190 – 191. In addition to putting up more of the commercial and government buildings than anyone else he also designed and erected most of the large, upscale homes of the day. Sternberg was well known within elite circles as being the best contractor because he not only had the best workers and did the best quality work, but he offered unique, trend-setting designs in residential style. Many (but not most) of Sternberg’s surviving works are listed on a State or National Historic Register. Among some of Sternberg’s works that are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places are:
1)Sternberg Mansion
2)Friends University Administration Building
3)Sedgwick County Courthouse
4)Eaton Hotel (formerly the Carey Hotel)
5)Occidental Hotel Building
6)Methodist Episcopal Church in Norwich New York (brick)

Sternberg’s unique residential designs include ideas suggestive of Stanford White and Issac G. Perry (both prominent architects from New York State). Sternberg built structures architected by both of these prominent architects. In addition to creating stunning homes on the outside, Sternberg was also known for creating comfortable, usable homes on the inside such as using spaces and angles that seemed to enlarge the interior spaces of the home – giving the home a "grand" effect but at the same time following a floor plan that provided the occupant with easy comfort and use. Many of Sternberg’s floor plans are similar and many of the exterior features on his homes reappear from one home to another. The height of style was Sternberg’s own home at 1065 N. Waco Avenue in Wichita, KS which was built (in part) to showcase all of the trend-setting designs that could reasonably be fabricated. A model home of sorts, this strategy worked well for Sternberg and home buyers flocked to Sternberg to have him design and build their new home. Following is a quote from the Portrait And Biographical Album of Sedgwick County, Kan; Chapman Brothers 1888, pages 190 – 191, "The residence of Mr. Sternberg, a handsome and costly structure, is beautifully located on a rise of ground commanding a fine view of its surroundings. Within and without it bears the evidence of refined tastes and ample means, and is universally admired by all who have occasion to pass it." The Monday, September 6th, 1886 Beacon contained an article about the construction of Sternberg mansion, "Mr. Sternberg is building for his own use a fine residence on the corner of 10th and Waco streets. Judging it by the foundation it will be one of the largest and finest in the city."

Regarding the expanded high school above, it’s not yet known if this school was named after someone. It was common during the day to name schools after notable literary or academically influential persons. Following is a brief history of schools in Wichita, KS, taken from "A History of Wichita Schools" written in 1893…

"In 1868, the first cabin was built where the city of Wichita now stands. In 1870, the town was founded. In 1871, the first church and first schoolhouse were built. In 1872, the first railroad was constructed, the first bank opened, and the first newspaper started. The population increased from the occupants of one cabin, in 1868, to 50, as indicated by the census of 1870; 4,911, by the census of 1880; 23,835, by the census of 1890, and 28,000, the estimate in 1892.

Following the first cabins came the first schoolhouse, with William Finn, now a resident of Sedgwick, as schoolmaster. Mr. Finn’s school commenced November 1, 1869, and continued three months. His average attendance was 17. His salary was to be $45 per month, and was to be raised by subscription. Mr. Finn sent to Topeka for the books for his school, paying for them out of his own pocket. Not half of the money subscribed was raised, and Mr. Finn, at the end of the term, was $50 in debt, although he had a little money of his own when he started. Through the kindly assistance of Hon. J. R. Mead, who was one of his patrons and friends, Mr. Finn purchased a surveying outfit, and left the profession of teaching.

Mr. Finn was an excellent young man, and his school a success. He has furnished us with a cut of the dugout which was his schoolhouse. It stood at the north of the present site of the city. It was about 13 feet square, had a dormer window, and was covered with a dirt roof."

Dugouts and sod buildings were common ways of building in the early days on the prairie. These weren’t as dismal and dirty as might be thought. Many had cloth (sheets or flour sacks sewn together) or paper attached to the ceiling rafters (like ceiling tiles today) – which kept the dirt (and snakes) from falling down and the interior walls were frequently plastered with a mixure of mud and dried prairie grass (finished off pretty smoothly) and sometimes painted with a white wash of burnt gypsum. Most early schools however did have dirt floors, but with a manufactured window or two and a few kerosene lanterns they were reasonably light and fairly warm in the winter and fairly cool in the summer.

Your thoughts, comments, ideas, stories and additional information about this photo or this place are welcome and appreciated.

This photos is courtesy of the Wichita Public Library.

Posted by kendahlarama on 2010-05-29 23:02:58

Tagged: , First High School , Wichita, KS , Wichita, Kansas , WH Sternberg , National Register , Friends , University , Sedgwick Co Courthouse , Eaton Hotel , Occidental Hotel , Methodist Episcopal Church , Norwich, NY , Norwich , New , York , Sedgwick , County , Sedgwick County , Kansas , Stanford White , Issac G. Perry , William , Henry , Sternberg , William Henry Sternberg , Historic Sternberg Mansion , history , Schools , Waco Avenue , Finn , Dugouts , sod , building , buildings , Chapman , 1888 , Emporia , Wichita Schools , Historic Wichita , Cool Things in Wichita , Topeka , J.R. Mead , Economic Boom , Victorian Design , Cool Victorian Homes

India – Maharashtra – Ajanta Caves – Cave 21 – 1bb

India - Maharashtra - Ajanta Caves - Cave 21 - 1bb

The Ajanta Caves (Ajiṇṭhā leni; Marathi: अजिंठा लेणी) in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India are about 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE. The caves include paintings and sculptures described by the government Archaeological Survey of India as "the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting", which are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales. The caves were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BCE, with the second group of caves built around 400–650 CE according to older accounts, or all in a brief period of 460 to 480 according to the recent proposals of Walter M. Spink. The site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India, and since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The caves are located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, near Jalgaon and just outside the village of Ajinṭhā 20°31′56″N 75°44′44″E), about 59 kilometres from Jalgaon railway station on the Delhi – Mumbai line and Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line of the Central Railway zone, and 104 kilometres from the city of Aurangabad. They are 100 kilometres from the Ellora Caves, which contain Hindu and Jain temples as well as Buddhist caves, the last dating from a period similar to Ajanta. The Ajanta caves are cut into the side of a cliff that is on the south side of a U-shaped gorge on the small river Waghur, and although they are now along and above a modern pathway running across the cliff they were originally reached by individual stairs or ladders from the side of the river 35 to 110 feet below.

The area was previously heavily forested, and after the site ceased to be used the caves were covered by jungle until accidentally rediscovered in 1819 by a British officer on a hunting party. They are Buddhist monastic buildings, apparently representing a number of distinct "monasteries" or colleges. The caves are numbered 1 to 28 according to their place along the path, beginning at the entrance. Several are unfinished and some barely begun and others are small shrines, included in the traditional numbering as e.g. "9A"; "Cave 15A" was still hidden under rubble when the numbering was done. Further round the gorge are a number of waterfalls, which when the river is high are audible from outside the caves.

The caves form the largest corpus of early Indian wall-painting; other survivals from the area of modern India are very few, though they are related to 5th-century paintings at Sigiriya in Sri Lanka. The elaborate architectural carving in many caves is also very rare, and the style of the many figure sculptures is highly local, found only at a few nearby contemporary sites, although the Ajanta tradition can be related to the later Hindu Ellora Caves and other sites.

HISTORY
Like the other ancient Buddhist monasteries, Ajanta had a large emphasis on teaching, and was divided into several different caves for living, education and worship, under a central direction. Monks were probably assigned to specific caves for living. The layout reflects this organizational structure, with most of the caves only connected through the exterior. The 7th-century travelling Chinese scholar Xuanzang informs us that Dignaga, a celebrated Buddhist philosopher and controversialist, author of well-known books on logic, lived at Ajanta in the 5th century. In its prime the settlement would have accommodated several hundred teachers and pupils. Many monks who had finished their first training may have returned to Ajanta during the monsoon season from an itinerant lifestyle.

The caves are generally agreed to have been made in two distinct periods, separated by several centuries.

CAVES OF THE FIRST (SATAVAHANA) PERIOD
The earliest group of caves consists of caves 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15A. According to Walter Spink, they were made during the period 100 BCE to 100 CE, probably under the patronage of the Satavahana dynasty (230 BCE – c. 220 CE) who ruled the region. Other datings prefer the period 300 BCE to 100 BCE, though the grouping of the earlier caves is generally agreed. More early caves may have vanished through later excavations. Of these, caves 9 and 10 are stupa halls of chaitya-griha form, and caves 12, 13, and 15A are vihāras (see the architecture section below for descriptions of these types). The first phase is still often called the Hinayāna phase, as it originated when, using traditional terminology, the Hinayāna or Lesser Vehicle tradition of Buddhism was dominant, when the Buddha was revered symbolically. However the use of the term Hinayana for this period of Buddhism is now deprecated by historians; equally the caves of the second period are now mostly dated too early to be properly called Mahayana, and do not yet show the full expanded cast of supernatural beings characteristic of that phase of Buddhist art. The first Satavahana period caves lacked figurative sculpture, emphasizing the stupa instead, and in the caves of the second period the overwhelming majority of images represent the Buddha alone, or narrative scenes of his lives.

Spink believes that some time after the Satavahana period caves were made the site was abandoned for a considerable period until the mid-5th century, probably because the region had turned mainly Hindu

CAVES OF THE LATER OR VAKATAKA PERIOD
The second phase began in the 5th century. For a long time it was thought that the later caves were made over a long period from the 4th to the 7th centuries CE, but in recent decades a series of studies by the leading expert on the caves, Walter M. Spink, have argued that most of the work took place over the very brief period from 460 to 480 CE, during the reign of Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka dynasty. This view has been criticized by some scholars, but is now broadly accepted by most authors of general books on Indian art, for example Huntington and Harle.

The second phase is still often called the Mahāyāna or Greater Vehicle phase, but scholars now tend to avoid this nomenclature because of the problems that have surfaced regarding our understanding of Mahāyāna.

Some 20 cave temples were simultaneously created, for the most part viharas with a sanctuary at the back. The most elaborate caves were produced in this period, which included some "modernization" of earlier caves. Spink claims that it is possible to establish dating for this period with a very high level of precision; a fuller account of his chronology is given below. Although debate continues, Spink’s ideas are increasingly widely accepted, at least in their broad conclusions. The Archaeological Survey of India website still presents the traditional dating: "The second phase of paintings started around 5th – 6th centuries A.D. and continued for the next two centuries". Caves of the second period are 1–8, 11, 14–29, some possibly extensions of earlier caves. Caves 19, 26, and 29 are chaitya-grihas, the rest viharas.

According to Spink, the Ajanta Caves appear to have been abandoned by wealthy patrons shortly after the fall of Harishena, in about 480 CE. They were then gradually abandoned and forgotten. During the intervening centuries, the jungle grew back and the caves were hidden, unvisited and undisturbed, although the local population were aware of at least some of them.

REDISCOVERY
On 28 April 1819, a British officer for the Madras Presidency, John Smith, of the 28th Cavalry, while hunting tiger, accidentally discovered the entrance to Cave No. 10 deep within the tangled undergrowth. There were local people already using the caves for prayers with a small fire, when he arrived. Exploring that first cave, long since a home to nothing more than birds and bats and a lair for other larger animals, Captain Smith vandalized the wall by scratching his name and the date, April 1819. Since he stood on a five-foot high pile of rubble collected over the years, the inscription is well above the eye-level gaze of an adult today. A paper on the caves by William Erskine was read to the Bombay Literary Society in 1822. Within a few decades, the caves became famous for their exotic setting, impressive architecture, and above all their exceptional, all but unique paintings. A number of large projects to copy the paintings were made in the century after rediscovery, covered below. In 1848 the Royal Asiatic Society established the "Bombay Cave Temple Commission" to clear, tidy and record the most important rock-cut sites in the Bombay Presidency, with John Wilson, as president. In 1861 this became the nucleus of the new Archaeological Survey of India. Until the Nizam of Hyderabad built the modern path between the caves, among other efforts to make the site easy to visit, a trip to Ajanta was a considerable adventure, and contemporary accounts dwell with relish on the dangers from falls off narrow ledges, animals and the Bhil people, who were armed with bows and arrows and had a fearsome reputation.

Today, fairly easily combined with Ellora in a single trip, the caves are the most popular tourist destination in Mahrashtra, and are often crowded at holiday times, increasing the threat to the caves, especially the paintings. In 2012, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation announced plans to add to the ASI visitor centre at the entrance complete replicas of caves 1, 2, 16 & 17 to reduce crowding in the originals, and enable visitors to receive a better visual idea of the paintings, which are dimly-lit and hard to read in the caves. Figures for the year to March 2010 showed a total of 390,000 visitors to the site, divided into 362,000 domestic and 27,000 foreign. The trends over the previous few years show a considerable growth in domestic visitors, but a decline in foreign ones; the year to 2010 was the first in which foreign visitors to Ellora exceeded those to Ajanta.

PAINTINGS
Mural paintings survive from both the earlier and later groups of caves. Several fragments of murals preserved from the earlier caves (Caves 9 and 11) are effectively unique survivals of court-led painting in India from this period, and "show that by Sātavāhana times, if not earlier, the Indian painter had mastered an easy and fluent naturalistic style, dealing with large groups of people in a manner comparable to the reliefs of the Sāñcī toraņa crossbars".

Four of the later caves have large and relatively well-preserved mural paintings which "have come to represent Indian mural painting to the non-specialist", and fall into two stylistic groups, with the most famous in Caves 16 and 17, and apparently later paintings in Caves 1 and 2. The latter group were thought to be a century or more later than the others, but the revised chronology proposed by Spink would place them much closer to the earlier group, perhaps contemporary with it in a more progressive style, or one reflecting a team from a different region. The paintings are in "dry fresco", painted on top of a dry plaster surface rather than into wet plaster.

All the paintings appear to be the work of painters at least as used to decorating palaces as temples, and show a familiarity with and interest in details of the life of a wealthy court. We know from literary sources that painting was widely practised and appreciated in the courts of the Gupta period. Unlike much Indian painting, compositions are not laid out in horizontal compartments like a frieze, but show large scenes spreading in all directions from a single figure or group at the centre. The ceilings are also painted with sophisticated and elaborate decorative motifs, many derived from sculpture. The paintings in cave 1, which according to Spink was commissioned by Harisena himself, concentrate on those Jataka tales which show previous lives of the Buddha as a king, rather than as an animal or human commoner, and so show settings from contemporary palace life.

In general the later caves seem to have been painted on finished areas as excavating work continued elsewhere in the cave, as shown in caves 2 and 16 in particular. According to Spink’s account of the chronology of the caves, the abandonment of work in 478 after a brief busy period accounts for the absence of painting in caves such as 4 and 17, the later being plastered in preparation for paintings that were never done.

COPIES
The paintings have deteriorated significantly since they were rediscovered, and a number of 19th-century copies and drawings are important for a complete understanding of the works. However, the earliest projects to copy the paintings were plagued by bad fortune. In 1846, Major Robert Gill, an Army officer from Madras presidency and a painter, was appointed by the Royal Asiatic Society to replicate the frescoes on the cave walls to exhibit these paintings in England. Gill worked on his painting at the site from 1844 to 1863 (though he continued to be based there until his death in 1875, writing books and photographing) and made 27 copies of large sections of murals, but all but four were destroyed in a fire at the Crystal Palace in London in 1866, where they were on display.

Another attempt was made in 1872 when the Bombay Presidency commissioned John Griffiths, then principal of the Bombay School of Art, to work with his students to make new copies, again for shipping to England. They worked on this for thirteen years and some 300 canvases were produced, many of which were displayed at the Imperial Institute on Exhibition Road in London, one of the forerunners of the Victoria and Albert Museum. But in 1885 another fire destroyed over a hundred paintings that were in storage. The V&A still has 166 paintings surviving from both sets, though none have been on permanent display since 1955. The largest are some 3 × 6 metres. A conservation project was undertaken on about half of them in 2006, also involving the University of Northumbria. Griffith and his students had unfortunately painted many of the paintings with "cheap varnish" in order to make them easier to see, which has added to the deterioration of the originals, as has, according to Spink and others, recent cleaning by the ASI.

A further set of copies were made between 1909 and 1911 by Christiana Herringham (Lady Herringham) and a group of students from the Calcutta School of Art that included the future Indian Modernist painter Nandalal Bose. The copies were published in full colour as the first publication of London’s fledgling India Society. More than the earlier copies, these aimed to fill in holes and damage to recreate the original condition rather than record the state of the paintings as she was seeing them. According to one writer, unlike the paintings created by her predecessors Griffiths and Gill, whose copies were influenced by British Victorian styles of painting, those of the Herringham expedition preferred an ‘Indian Renascence’ aesthetic of the type pioneered by Abanindranath Tagore.

Early photographic surveys were made by Robert Gill, who learnt to use a camera from about 1856, and whose photos, including some using stereoscopy, were used in books by him and Fergusson (many are available online from the British Library), then Victor Goloubew in 1911 and E.L. Vassey, who took the photos in the four volume study of the caves by Ghulam Yazdani (published 1930–1955).

ARCHITECTURE
The monasteries mostly consist of vihara halls for prayer and living, which are typically rectangular with small square dormitory cells cut into the walls, and by the second period a shrine or sanctuary at the rear centred on a large statue of the Buddha, also carved from the living rock. This change reflects the movement from Hinayana to Mahāyāna Buddhism. The other type of main hall is the narrower and higher chaitya hall with a stupa as the focus at the far end, and a narrow aisle around the walls, behind a range of pillars placed close together. Other plainer rooms were for sleeping and other activities. Some of the caves have elaborate carved entrances, some with large windows over the door to admit light. There is often a colonnaded porch or verandah, with another space inside the doors running the width of the cave.

The central square space of the interior of the viharas is defined by square columns forming a more or less square open area. Outside this are long rectangular aisles on each side, forming a kind of cloister. Along the side and rear walls are a number of small cells entered by a narrow doorway; these are roughly square, and have small niches on their back walls. Originally they had wooden doors. The centre of the rear wall has a larger shrine-room behind, containing a large Buddha statue. The viharas of the earlier period are much simpler, and lack shrines. Spink in fact places the change to a design with a shrine to the middle of the second period, with many caves being adapted to add a shrine in mid-excavation, or after the original phase.

The plan of Cave 1 shows one of the largest viharas, but is fairly typical of the later group. Many others, such as Cave 16, lack the vestibule to the shrine, which leads straight off the main hall. Cave 6 is two viharas, one above the other, connected by internal stairs, with sanctuaries on both levels.

The four completed chaitya halls are caves 9 and 10 from the early period, and caves 19 and 26 from the later period of construction. All follow the typical form found elsewhere, with high ceilings and a central "nave" leading to the stupa, which is near the back, but allows walking behind it, as walking around stupas was (and remains) a common element of Buddhist worship (pradakshina). The later two have high ribbed roofs, which reflect timber forms, and the earlier two are thought to have used actual timber ribs, which have now perished. The two later halls have a rather unusual arrangement (also found in Cave 10 at Ellora) where the stupa is fronted by a large relief sculpture of the Buddha, standing in Cave 19 and seated in Cave 26. Cave 29 is a late and very incomplete chaitya hall.

The form of columns in the work of the first period is very plain and un-embellished, with both chaitya halls using simple octagonal columns, which were painted with figures. In the second period columns were far more varied and inventive, often changing profile over their height, and with elaborate carved capitals, often spreading wide. Many columns are carved over all their surface, some fluted and others carved with decoration all over, as in cave 1.

The flood basalt rock of the cliff, part of the Deccan Traps formed by successive volcanic eruptions at the end of the Cretaceous, is layered horizontally, and somewhat variable in quality, so the excavators had to amend their plans in places, and in places there have been collapses in the intervening centuries, as with the lost portico to cave 1. Excavation began by cutting a narrow tunnel at roof level, which was expanded downwards and outwards; the half-built vihara cave 24 shows the method. Spink believes that for the first caves of the second period the excavators had to relearn skills and techniques that had been lost in the centuries since the first period, which were then transmitted to be used at later rock-cut sites in the region, such as Ellora, and the Elephanta, Bagh, Badami and Aurangabad Caves.

The caves from the first period seem to have been paid for by a number of different patrons, with several inscriptions recording the donation of particular portions of a single cave, but according to Spink the later caves were each commissioned as a complete unit by a single patron from the local rulers or their court elites. After the death of Harisena smaller donors got their chance to add small "shrinelets" between the caves or add statues to existing caves, and some two hundred of these "intrusive" additions were made in sculpture, with a further number of intrusive paintings, up to three hundred in cave 10 alone.

A grand gateway to the site, at the apex of the gorge’s horsehoe between caves 15 and 16, was approached from the river, and is decorated with elephants on either side and a nāga, or protective snake deity.

ICONOGRAPHY OF THE CAVES
In the pre-Christian era, the Buddha was represented symbolically, in the form of the stupa. Thus, halls were made with stupas to venerate the Buddha. In later periods the images of the Buddha started to be made in coins, relic caskets, relief or loose sculptural forms, etc. However, it took a while for the human representation of the Buddha to appear in Buddhist art. One of the earliest evidences of the Buddha’s human representations are found at Buddhist archaeological sites, such as Goli, Nagarjunakonda, and Amaravati. The monasteries of those sites were built in less durable media, such as wood, brick, and stone. As far as the genre of rock-cut architecture is concerned it took many centuries for the Buddha image to be depicted. Nobody knows for sure at which rock-cut cave site the first image of the Buddha was depicted. Current research indicates that Buddha images in a portable form, made of wood or stone, were introduced, for the first time, at Kanheri, to be followed soon at Ajanta Cave 8 (Dhavalikar, Jadhav, Spink, Singh). While the Kanheri example dates to 4th or 5th century CE, the Ajanta example has been dated to c. 462–478 CE (Spink). None of the rock-cut monasteries prior to these dates, and other than these examples, show any Buddha image although hundreds of rock-cut caves were made throughout India during the first few centuries CE. And, in those caves, it is the stupa that is the object of veneration, not the image. Images of the Buddha are not found in Buddhist sailagrhas (rock-cut complexes) until the times of the Kanheri (4th–5th century CE) and Ajanta examples (c. 462–478 CE).

The caves of the second period, now all dated to the 5th century, were typically described as "Mahayana", but do not show the features associated with later Mahayana Buddhism. Although the beginnings of Mahāyāna teachings go back to the 1st century there is little art and archaeological evidence to suggest that it became a mainstream cult for several centuries. In Mahayana it is not Gautama Buddha but the Bodhisattva who is important, including "deity" Bodhisattva like Manjushri and Tara, as well as aspects of the Buddha such as Aksobhya, and Amitabha. Except for a few Bodhisattva, these are not depicted at Ajanta, where the Buddha remains the dominant figure. Even the Bodhisattva images of Ajanta are never central objects of worship, but are always shown as attendants of the Buddha in the shrine. If a Bodhisattva is shown in isolation, as in the Astabhaya scenes, these were done in the very last years of activities at Ajanta, and are mostly ‘intrusive’ in nature, meaning that they were not planned by the original patrons, and were added by new donors after the original patrons had suddenly abandoned the region in the wake of Emperor Harisena’s death.

The contrast between iconic and aniconic representations, that is, the stupa on one hand and the image of the Buddha on the other, is now being seen as a construct of the modern scholar rather than a reality of the past. The second phase of Ajanta shows that the stupa and image coincided together. If the entire corpus of the art of Ajanta including sculpture, iconography, architecture, epigraphy, and painting are analysed afresh it will become clear that there was no duality between the symbolic and human forms of the Buddha, as far as the 5th-century phase of Ajanta is concerned. That is why most current scholars tend to avoid the terms ‘Hinayana’ and ‘Mahayana’ in the context of Ajanta. They now prefer to call the second phase by the ruling dynasty, as the Vākāţaka phase.

CAVES
CAVE 1
Cave 1 was built on the eastern end of the horse-shoe shaped scarp, and is now the first cave the visitor encounters. This would when first made have been a less prominent position, right at the end of the row. According to Spink, it is one of the latest caves to have been excavated, when the best sites had been taken, and was never fully inaugurated for worship by the dedication of the Buddha image in the central shrine. This is shown by the absence of sooty deposits from butter lamps on the base of the shrine image, and the lack of damage to the paintings that would have been happened if the garland-hooks around the shrine had been in use for any period of time. Although there is no epigraphic evidence, Spink believes that the Vākāţaka Emperor Harishena was the benefactor of the work, and this is reflected in the emphasis on imagery of royalty in the cave, with those Jakata tales being selected that tell of those previous lives of the Buddha in which he was royal.

The cliff has a more steep slope here than at other caves, so to achieve a tall grand facade it was necessary to cut far back into the slope, giving a large courtyard in front of the facade. There was originally a columned portico in front of the present facade, which can be seen "half-intact in the 1880s" in pictures of the site, but this fell down completely and the remains, despite containing fine carving, were carelessly thrown down the slope into the river, from where they have been lost, presumably carried away in monsoon torrents.

This cave has one of the most elaborate carved façades, with relief sculptures on entablature and ridges, and most surfaces embellished with decorative carving. There are scenes carved from the life of the Buddha as well as a number of decorative motifs. A two pillared portico, visible in the 19th-century photographs, has since perished. The cave has a front-court with cells fronted by pillared vestibules on either side. These have a high plinth level. The cave has a porch with simple cells on both ends. The absence of pillared vestibules on the ends suggest that the porch was not excavated in the latest phase of Ajanta when pillared vestibules had become a necessity and norm. Most areas of the porch were once covered with murals, of which many fragments remain, especially on the ceiling. There are three doorways: a central doorway and two side doorways. Two square windows were carved between the doorways to brighten the interiors.

Each wall of the hall inside is nearly 12 m long and 6.1 m high. Twelve pillars make a square colonnade inside supporting the ceiling, and creating spacious aisles along the walls. There is a shrine carved on the rear wall to house an impressive seated image of the Buddha, his hands being in the dharmachakrapravartana mudra. There are four cells on each of the left, rear, and the right walls, though due to rock fault there are none at the ends of the rear aisle. The walls are covered with paintings in a fair state of preservation, though the full scheme was never completed. The scenes depicted are mostly didactic, devotional, and ornamental, with scenes from the Jataka stories of the Buddha’s former existences as a bodhisattva), the life of the Gautama Buddha, and those of his veneration. The two most famous individual painted images at Ajanta are the two over-life size figures of the protective bodhisattvas Padmapani and Vajrapani on either side of the entrance to the Buddha shrine on the wall of the rear aisle (see illustrations above). According to Spink, the original dating of the paintings to about 625 arose largely or entirely because James Fegusson, a 19th-century architectural historian, had decided that a scene showing an ambassador being received, with figures in Persian dress, represented a recorded embassy to Persia (from a Hindu monarch at that) around that date.

CAVE 2
Cave 2, adjacent to Cave 1, is known for the paintings that have been preserved on its walls, ceilings, and pillars. It looks similar to Cave 1 and is in a better state of preservation.

Cave 2 has a porch quite different from Cave one. Even the façade carvings seem to be different. The cave is supported by robust pillars, ornamented with designs. The front porch consists of cells supported by pillared vestibules on both ends. The cells on the previously "wasted areas" were needed to meet the greater housing requirements in later years. Porch-end cells became a trend in all later Vakataka excavations. The simple single cells on porch-ends were converted into CPVs or were planned to provide more room, symmetry, and beauty.

The paintings on the ceilings and walls of this porch have been widely published. They depict the Jataka tales that are stories of the Buddha’s life in former existences as Bodhisattva. Just as the stories illustrated in cave 1 emphasize kingship, those in cave 2 show many "noble and powerful" women in prominent roles, leading to suggestions that the patron was an unknown woman. The porch’s rear wall has a doorway in the center, which allows entrance to the hall. On either side of the door is a square-shaped window to brighten the interior.

The hall has four colonnades which are supporting the ceiling and surrounding a square in the center of the hall. Each arm or colonnade of the square is parallel to the respective walls of the hall, making an aisle in between. The colonnades have rock-beams above and below them. The capitals are carved and painted with various decorative themes that include ornamental, human, animal, vegetative, and semi-divine forms.

Paintings appear on almost every surface of the cave except for the floor. At various places the art work has become eroded due to decay and human interference. Therefore, many areas of the painted walls, ceilings, and pillars are fragmentary. The painted narratives of the Jataka tales are depicted only on the walls, which demanded the special attention of the devotee. They are didactic in nature, meant to inform the community about the Buddha’s teachings and life through successive rebirths. Their placement on the walls required the devotee to walk through the aisles and ‘read’ the narratives depicted in various episodes. The narrative episodes are depicted one after another although not in a linear order. Their identification has been a core area of research since the site’s rediscovery in 1819. Dieter Schlingloff’s identifications have updated our knowledge on the subject.

CAVE 4
The Archeological Survey of India board outside the caves gives the following detail about cave 4: "This is the largest monastery planned on a grandiose scale but was never finished. An inscription on the pedestal of the buddha’s image mentions that it was a gift from a person named Mathura and paleographically belongs to 6th century A.D. It consists of a verandah, a hypostylar hall, sanctum with an antechamber and a series of unfinished cells. The rear wall of the verandah contains the panel of Litany of Avalokiteśvara".

The sanctuary houses a colossal image of the Buddha in preaching pose flanked by bodhisattvas and celestial nymphs hovering above.

CAVES 9-10
Caves 9 and 10 are the two chaitya halls from the first period of construction, though both were also undergoing an uncompleted reworking at the end of the second period. Cave 10 was perhaps originally of the 1st century BCE, and cave 9 about a hundred years later. The small "shrinelets" called caves 9A to 9D and 10A also date from the second period, and were commissioned by individuals.

The paintings in cave 10 include some surviving from the early period, many from an incomplete programme of modernization in the second period, and a very large number of smaller late intrusive images, nearly all Buddhas and many with donor inscriptions from individuals. These mostly avoided over-painting the "official" programme and after the best positions were used up are tucked away in less prominent positions not yet painted; the total of these (including those now lost) was probably over 300, and the hands of many different artists are visible.

OTHER CAVES
Cave 3 is merely a start of an excavation; according to Spink it was begun right at the end of the final period of work and soon abandoned. Caves 5 and 6 are viharas, the latter on two floors, that were late works of which only the lower floor of cave 6 was ever finished. The upper floor of cave 6 has many private votive sculptures, and a shrine Buddha, but is otherwise unfinished. Cave 7 has a grand facade with two porticos but, perhaps because of faults in the rock, which posed problems in many caves, was never taken very deep into the cliff, and consists only of the two porticos and a shrine room with antechamber, with no central hall. Some cells were fitted in.

Cave 8 was long thought to date to the first period of construction, but Spink sees it as perhaps the earliest cave from the second period, its shrine an "afterthought". The statue may have been loose rather than carved from the living rock, as it has now vanished. The cave was painted, but only traces remain.

SPINK´S DETAILED CHRONOLOGY
Walter M. Spink has over recent decades developed a very precise and circumstantial chronology for the second period of work on the site, which unlike earlier scholars, he places entirely in the 5th century. This is based on evidence such as the inscriptions and artistic style, combined with the many uncompleted elements of the caves. He believes the earlier group of caves, which like other scholars he dates only approximately, to the period "between 100 BCE – 100 CE", were at some later point completely abandoned and remained so "for over three centuries", as the local population had turned mainly Hindu. This changed with the accession of the Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka Dynasty, who reigned from 460 to his death in 477. Harisena extended the Central Indian Vakataka Empire to include a stretch of the east coast of India; the Gupta Empire ruled northern India at the same period, and the Pallava dynasty much of the south.

According to Spink, Harisena encouraged a group of associates, including his prime minister Varahadeva and Upendragupta, the sub-king in whose territory Ajanta was, to dig out new caves, which were individually commissioned, some containing inscriptions recording the donation. This activity began in 462 but was mostly suspended in 468 because of threats from the neighbouring Asmaka kings. Work continued on only caves 1, Harisena’s own commission, and 17–20, commissioned by Upendragupta. In 472 the situation was such that work was suspended completely, in a period that Spink calls "the Hiatus", which lasted until about 475, by which time the Asmakas had replaced Upendragupta as the local rulers.

Work was then resumed, but again disrupted by Harisena’s death in 477, soon after which major excavation ceased, except at cave 26, which the Asmakas were sponsoring themselves. The Asmakas launched a revolt against Harisena’s son, which brought about the end of the Vakataka Dynasty. In the years 478–480 major excavation by important patrons was replaced by a rash of "intrusions" – statues added to existing caves, and small shrines dotted about where there was space between them. These were commissioned by less powerful individuals, some monks, who had not previously been able to make additions to the large excavations of the rulers and courtiers. They were added to the facades, the return sides of the entrances, and to walls inside the caves. According to Spink, "After 480, not a single image was ever made again at the site", and as Hinduism again dominated the region, the site was again abandoned, this time for over a millennium.

Spink does not use "circa" in his dates, but says that "one should allow a margin of error of one year or perhaps even two in all cases".

IMPACT ON MODERN INDIAN PAINTINGS
The Ajanta paintings, or more likely the general style they come from, influenced painting in Tibet and Sri Lanka.

The rediscovery of ancient Indian paintings at Ajanta provided Indian artists examples from ancient India to follow. Nandlal Bose experimented with techniques to follow the ancient style which allowed him to develop his unique style. Abanindranath Tagore also used the Ajanta paintings for inspiration.

WIKIPEDIA

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Identifier: americanhomesga101913newy
Title: American homes and gardens
Year: 1905 (1900s)
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Subjects: Architecture, Domestic Landscape gardening
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ass of work. Following is a list of the chapterswhich will give a general idea of the broad character of the work. VIII. Selection of Aggregates. IX. Wooden Molds—Ornamental FlowerPots Modeled by Hand and Inlaid withColored Tile.Concrete Pedestals.Concrete Benches.Concrete Fences. Miscellaneous, including Tools,Water proofing and Reinforcing. X.XI. XIIXIII. I. Making Wire Forms or Frames.II. Covering the Wire Frames and Mod-eling the Cement Mortar into Form. III. Plaster Molds for Simple Forms. IV. Plaster Molds for Objects havingCurved Outlines. V. Combination of Casting and Model-ing—An Egyptian Vase.VI. Glue Molds.VII. Colored Cements and Methods Usedfor Producing Designs with same.16 mo. 514×7% inches, 196 pages, 140 illustrations, price $1.50 postpaid This book is well gotten up, is printed on coated paper and a-bounds in handsome illustrations which clearly show the unlimitedpossibilities of ornamentation in concrete. MUNN & CO., Inc., Publishers361 BROADWAY NEW YORK J

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ALEXANDER KOCHS DARMSTADT ART-PERIODICALS German Art and Decoration/ Interior Decoration,Embroidery Journal and Lace Review are circulated throughout the whole world. KOCHS COMPENDIUM OF MODERN HOME CULTURE I. Gentlemens Apartments. II. Bed-Rooms. III. Dining Rooms, etc.—sendfor illustrated prospectus which will be sent post-free. We will forward post-freeto any address, on receipt of 65 cents a richly illustrated specimen number,typographically perfect, of the German Art and Decoration, or InteriorDecoration, and for 25 cents the Embroidery Journal and Lace Review. Alexander Koch, Publisher, Darmstadt (Germany) BOUND VOLUMES of AMERICAN HOMESand GARDENS 1912 J7T 456 pages, over 1,000 illustrations, Pi*ir+*> $£ ff U many of which are full-page plates. «■ ICtJj np^J* JJ An exquisite volume full of interest to the home planner, the home builder and thehome maker. The volumes are beautifully bound in green library cloth, stamped incolors, gilt top. AMERICAN HOMES AND GARDEN

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India – Ajanta Caves – 24

India - Ajanta Caves - 24

The Ajanta Caves (Ajiṇṭhā leni; Marathi: अजिंठा लेणी) in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India are about 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE. The caves include paintings and sculptures described by the government Archaeological Survey of India as "the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting", which are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales. The caves were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BCE, with the second group of caves built around 400–650 CE according to older accounts, or all in a brief period of 460 to 480 according to the recent proposals of Walter M. Spink. The site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India, and since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The caves are located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, near Jalgaon and just outside the village of Ajinṭhā 20°31′56″N 75°44′44″E), about 59 kilometres from Jalgaon railway station on the Delhi – Mumbai line and Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line of the Central Railway zone, and 104 kilometres from the city of Aurangabad. They are 100 kilometres from the Ellora Caves, which contain Hindu and Jain temples as well as Buddhist caves, the last dating from a period similar to Ajanta. The Ajanta caves are cut into the side of a cliff that is on the south side of a U-shaped gorge on the small river Waghur, and although they are now along and above a modern pathway running across the cliff they were originally reached by individual stairs or ladders from the side of the river 35 to 110 feet below.

The area was previously heavily forested, and after the site ceased to be used the caves were covered by jungle until accidentally rediscovered in 1819 by a British officer on a hunting party. They are Buddhist monastic buildings, apparently representing a number of distinct "monasteries" or colleges. The caves are numbered 1 to 28 according to their place along the path, beginning at the entrance. Several are unfinished and some barely begun and others are small shrines, included in the traditional numbering as e.g. "9A"; "Cave 15A" was still hidden under rubble when the numbering was done. Further round the gorge are a number of waterfalls, which when the river is high are audible from outside the caves.

The caves form the largest corpus of early Indian wall-painting; other survivals from the area of modern India are very few, though they are related to 5th-century paintings at Sigiriya in Sri Lanka. The elaborate architectural carving in many caves is also very rare, and the style of the many figure sculptures is highly local, found only at a few nearby contemporary sites, although the Ajanta tradition can be related to the later Hindu Ellora Caves and other sites.

HISTORY
Like the other ancient Buddhist monasteries, Ajanta had a large emphasis on teaching, and was divided into several different caves for living, education and worship, under a central direction. Monks were probably assigned to specific caves for living. The layout reflects this organizational structure, with most of the caves only connected through the exterior. The 7th-century travelling Chinese scholar Xuanzang informs us that Dignaga, a celebrated Buddhist philosopher and controversialist, author of well-known books on logic, lived at Ajanta in the 5th century. In its prime the settlement would have accommodated several hundred teachers and pupils. Many monks who had finished their first training may have returned to Ajanta during the monsoon season from an itinerant lifestyle.

The caves are generally agreed to have been made in two distinct periods, separated by several centuries.

CAVES OF THE FIRST (SATAVAHANA) PERIOD
The earliest group of caves consists of caves 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15A. According to Walter Spink, they were made during the period 100 BCE to 100 CE, probably under the patronage of the Satavahana dynasty (230 BCE – c. 220 CE) who ruled the region. Other datings prefer the period 300 BCE to 100 BCE, though the grouping of the earlier caves is generally agreed. More early caves may have vanished through later excavations. Of these, caves 9 and 10 are stupa halls of chaitya-griha form, and caves 12, 13, and 15A are vihāras (see the architecture section below for descriptions of these types). The first phase is still often called the Hinayāna phase, as it originated when, using traditional terminology, the Hinayāna or Lesser Vehicle tradition of Buddhism was dominant, when the Buddha was revered symbolically. However the use of the term Hinayana for this period of Buddhism is now deprecated by historians; equally the caves of the second period are now mostly dated too early to be properly called Mahayana, and do not yet show the full expanded cast of supernatural beings characteristic of that phase of Buddhist art. The first Satavahana period caves lacked figurative sculpture, emphasizing the stupa instead, and in the caves of the second period the overwhelming majority of images represent the Buddha alone, or narrative scenes of his lives.

Spink believes that some time after the Satavahana period caves were made the site was abandoned for a considerable period until the mid-5th century, probably because the region had turned mainly Hindu

CAVES OF THE LATER OR VAKATAKA PERIOD
The second phase began in the 5th century. For a long time it was thought that the later caves were made over a long period from the 4th to the 7th centuries CE, but in recent decades a series of studies by the leading expert on the caves, Walter M. Spink, have argued that most of the work took place over the very brief period from 460 to 480 CE, during the reign of Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka dynasty. This view has been criticized by some scholars, but is now broadly accepted by most authors of general books on Indian art, for example Huntington and Harle.

The second phase is still often called the Mahāyāna or Greater Vehicle phase, but scholars now tend to avoid this nomenclature because of the problems that have surfaced regarding our understanding of Mahāyāna.

Some 20 cave temples were simultaneously created, for the most part viharas with a sanctuary at the back. The most elaborate caves were produced in this period, which included some "modernization" of earlier caves. Spink claims that it is possible to establish dating for this period with a very high level of precision; a fuller account of his chronology is given below. Although debate continues, Spink’s ideas are increasingly widely accepted, at least in their broad conclusions. The Archaeological Survey of India website still presents the traditional dating: "The second phase of paintings started around 5th – 6th centuries A.D. and continued for the next two centuries". Caves of the second period are 1–8, 11, 14–29, some possibly extensions of earlier caves. Caves 19, 26, and 29 are chaitya-grihas, the rest viharas.

According to Spink, the Ajanta Caves appear to have been abandoned by wealthy patrons shortly after the fall of Harishena, in about 480 CE. They were then gradually abandoned and forgotten. During the intervening centuries, the jungle grew back and the caves were hidden, unvisited and undisturbed, although the local population were aware of at least some of them.

REDISCOVERY
On 28 April 1819, a British officer for the Madras Presidency, John Smith, of the 28th Cavalry, while hunting tiger, accidentally discovered the entrance to Cave No. 10 deep within the tangled undergrowth. There were local people already using the caves for prayers with a small fire, when he arrived. Exploring that first cave, long since a home to nothing more than birds and bats and a lair for other larger animals, Captain Smith vandalized the wall by scratching his name and the date, April 1819. Since he stood on a five-foot high pile of rubble collected over the years, the inscription is well above the eye-level gaze of an adult today. A paper on the caves by William Erskine was read to the Bombay Literary Society in 1822. Within a few decades, the caves became famous for their exotic setting, impressive architecture, and above all their exceptional, all but unique paintings. A number of large projects to copy the paintings were made in the century after rediscovery, covered below. In 1848 the Royal Asiatic Society established the "Bombay Cave Temple Commission" to clear, tidy and record the most important rock-cut sites in the Bombay Presidency, with John Wilson, as president. In 1861 this became the nucleus of the new Archaeological Survey of India. Until the Nizam of Hyderabad built the modern path between the caves, among other efforts to make the site easy to visit, a trip to Ajanta was a considerable adventure, and contemporary accounts dwell with relish on the dangers from falls off narrow ledges, animals and the Bhil people, who were armed with bows and arrows and had a fearsome reputation.

Today, fairly easily combined with Ellora in a single trip, the caves are the most popular tourist destination in Mahrashtra, and are often crowded at holiday times, increasing the threat to the caves, especially the paintings. In 2012, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation announced plans to add to the ASI visitor centre at the entrance complete replicas of caves 1, 2, 16 & 17 to reduce crowding in the originals, and enable visitors to receive a better visual idea of the paintings, which are dimly-lit and hard to read in the caves. Figures for the year to March 2010 showed a total of 390,000 visitors to the site, divided into 362,000 domestic and 27,000 foreign. The trends over the previous few years show a considerable growth in domestic visitors, but a decline in foreign ones; the year to 2010 was the first in which foreign visitors to Ellora exceeded those to Ajanta.

PAINTINGS
Mural paintings survive from both the earlier and later groups of caves. Several fragments of murals preserved from the earlier caves (Caves 9 and 11) are effectively unique survivals of court-led painting in India from this period, and "show that by Sātavāhana times, if not earlier, the Indian painter had mastered an easy and fluent naturalistic style, dealing with large groups of people in a manner comparable to the reliefs of the Sāñcī toraņa crossbars".

Four of the later caves have large and relatively well-preserved mural paintings which "have come to represent Indian mural painting to the non-specialist", and fall into two stylistic groups, with the most famous in Caves 16 and 17, and apparently later paintings in Caves 1 and 2. The latter group were thought to be a century or more later than the others, but the revised chronology proposed by Spink would place them much closer to the earlier group, perhaps contemporary with it in a more progressive style, or one reflecting a team from a different region. The paintings are in "dry fresco", painted on top of a dry plaster surface rather than into wet plaster.

All the paintings appear to be the work of painters at least as used to decorating palaces as temples, and show a familiarity with and interest in details of the life of a wealthy court. We know from literary sources that painting was widely practised and appreciated in the courts of the Gupta period. Unlike much Indian painting, compositions are not laid out in horizontal compartments like a frieze, but show large scenes spreading in all directions from a single figure or group at the centre. The ceilings are also painted with sophisticated and elaborate decorative motifs, many derived from sculpture. The paintings in cave 1, which according to Spink was commissioned by Harisena himself, concentrate on those Jataka tales which show previous lives of the Buddha as a king, rather than as an animal or human commoner, and so show settings from contemporary palace life.

In general the later caves seem to have been painted on finished areas as excavating work continued elsewhere in the cave, as shown in caves 2 and 16 in particular. According to Spink’s account of the chronology of the caves, the abandonment of work in 478 after a brief busy period accounts for the absence of painting in caves such as 4 and 17, the later being plastered in preparation for paintings that were never done.

COPIES
The paintings have deteriorated significantly since they were rediscovered, and a number of 19th-century copies and drawings are important for a complete understanding of the works. However, the earliest projects to copy the paintings were plagued by bad fortune. In 1846, Major Robert Gill, an Army officer from Madras presidency and a painter, was appointed by the Royal Asiatic Society to replicate the frescoes on the cave walls to exhibit these paintings in England. Gill worked on his painting at the site from 1844 to 1863 (though he continued to be based there until his death in 1875, writing books and photographing) and made 27 copies of large sections of murals, but all but four were destroyed in a fire at the Crystal Palace in London in 1866, where they were on display.

Another attempt was made in 1872 when the Bombay Presidency commissioned John Griffiths, then principal of the Bombay School of Art, to work with his students to make new copies, again for shipping to England. They worked on this for thirteen years and some 300 canvases were produced, many of which were displayed at the Imperial Institute on Exhibition Road in London, one of the forerunners of the Victoria and Albert Museum. But in 1885 another fire destroyed over a hundred paintings that were in storage. The V&A still has 166 paintings surviving from both sets, though none have been on permanent display since 1955. The largest are some 3 × 6 metres. A conservation project was undertaken on about half of them in 2006, also involving the University of Northumbria. Griffith and his students had unfortunately painted many of the paintings with "cheap varnish" in order to make them easier to see, which has added to the deterioration of the originals, as has, according to Spink and others, recent cleaning by the ASI.

A further set of copies were made between 1909 and 1911 by Christiana Herringham (Lady Herringham) and a group of students from the Calcutta School of Art that included the future Indian Modernist painter Nandalal Bose. The copies were published in full colour as the first publication of London’s fledgling India Society. More than the earlier copies, these aimed to fill in holes and damage to recreate the original condition rather than record the state of the paintings as she was seeing them. According to one writer, unlike the paintings created by her predecessors Griffiths and Gill, whose copies were influenced by British Victorian styles of painting, those of the Herringham expedition preferred an ‘Indian Renascence’ aesthetic of the type pioneered by Abanindranath Tagore.

Early photographic surveys were made by Robert Gill, who learnt to use a camera from about 1856, and whose photos, including some using stereoscopy, were used in books by him and Fergusson (many are available online from the British Library), then Victor Goloubew in 1911 and E.L. Vassey, who took the photos in the four volume study of the caves by Ghulam Yazdani (published 1930–1955).

ARCHITECTURE
The monasteries mostly consist of vihara halls for prayer and living, which are typically rectangular with small square dormitory cells cut into the walls, and by the second period a shrine or sanctuary at the rear centred on a large statue of the Buddha, also carved from the living rock. This change reflects the movement from Hinayana to Mahāyāna Buddhism. The other type of main hall is the narrower and higher chaitya hall with a stupa as the focus at the far end, and a narrow aisle around the walls, behind a range of pillars placed close together. Other plainer rooms were for sleeping and other activities. Some of the caves have elaborate carved entrances, some with large windows over the door to admit light. There is often a colonnaded porch or verandah, with another space inside the doors running the width of the cave.

The central square space of the interior of the viharas is defined by square columns forming a more or less square open area. Outside this are long rectangular aisles on each side, forming a kind of cloister. Along the side and rear walls are a number of small cells entered by a narrow doorway; these are roughly square, and have small niches on their back walls. Originally they had wooden doors. The centre of the rear wall has a larger shrine-room behind, containing a large Buddha statue. The viharas of the earlier period are much simpler, and lack shrines. Spink in fact places the change to a design with a shrine to the middle of the second period, with many caves being adapted to add a shrine in mid-excavation, or after the original phase.

The plan of Cave 1 shows one of the largest viharas, but is fairly typical of the later group. Many others, such as Cave 16, lack the vestibule to the shrine, which leads straight off the main hall. Cave 6 is two viharas, one above the other, connected by internal stairs, with sanctuaries on both levels.

The four completed chaitya halls are caves 9 and 10 from the early period, and caves 19 and 26 from the later period of construction. All follow the typical form found elsewhere, with high ceilings and a central "nave" leading to the stupa, which is near the back, but allows walking behind it, as walking around stupas was (and remains) a common element of Buddhist worship (pradakshina). The later two have high ribbed roofs, which reflect timber forms, and the earlier two are thought to have used actual timber ribs, which have now perished. The two later halls have a rather unusual arrangement (also found in Cave 10 at Ellora) where the stupa is fronted by a large relief sculpture of the Buddha, standing in Cave 19 and seated in Cave 26. Cave 29 is a late and very incomplete chaitya hall.

The form of columns in the work of the first period is very plain and un-embellished, with both chaitya halls using simple octagonal columns, which were painted with figures. In the second period columns were far more varied and inventive, often changing profile over their height, and with elaborate carved capitals, often spreading wide. Many columns are carved over all their surface, some fluted and others carved with decoration all over, as in cave 1.

The flood basalt rock of the cliff, part of the Deccan Traps formed by successive volcanic eruptions at the end of the Cretaceous, is layered horizontally, and somewhat variable in quality, so the excavators had to amend their plans in places, and in places there have been collapses in the intervening centuries, as with the lost portico to cave 1. Excavation began by cutting a narrow tunnel at roof level, which was expanded downwards and outwards; the half-built vihara cave 24 shows the method. Spink believes that for the first caves of the second period the excavators had to relearn skills and techniques that had been lost in the centuries since the first period, which were then transmitted to be used at later rock-cut sites in the region, such as Ellora, and the Elephanta, Bagh, Badami and Aurangabad Caves.

The caves from the first period seem to have been paid for by a number of different patrons, with several inscriptions recording the donation of particular portions of a single cave, but according to Spink the later caves were each commissioned as a complete unit by a single patron from the local rulers or their court elites. After the death of Harisena smaller donors got their chance to add small "shrinelets" between the caves or add statues to existing caves, and some two hundred of these "intrusive" additions were made in sculpture, with a further number of intrusive paintings, up to three hundred in cave 10 alone.

A grand gateway to the site, at the apex of the gorge’s horsehoe between caves 15 and 16, was approached from the river, and is decorated with elephants on either side and a nāga, or protective snake deity.

ICONOGRAPHY OF THE CAVES
In the pre-Christian era, the Buddha was represented symbolically, in the form of the stupa. Thus, halls were made with stupas to venerate the Buddha. In later periods the images of the Buddha started to be made in coins, relic caskets, relief or loose sculptural forms, etc. However, it took a while for the human representation of the Buddha to appear in Buddhist art. One of the earliest evidences of the Buddha’s human representations are found at Buddhist archaeological sites, such as Goli, Nagarjunakonda, and Amaravati. The monasteries of those sites were built in less durable media, such as wood, brick, and stone. As far as the genre of rock-cut architecture is concerned it took many centuries for the Buddha image to be depicted. Nobody knows for sure at which rock-cut cave site the first image of the Buddha was depicted. Current research indicates that Buddha images in a portable form, made of wood or stone, were introduced, for the first time, at Kanheri, to be followed soon at Ajanta Cave 8 (Dhavalikar, Jadhav, Spink, Singh). While the Kanheri example dates to 4th or 5th century CE, the Ajanta example has been dated to c. 462–478 CE (Spink). None of the rock-cut monasteries prior to these dates, and other than these examples, show any Buddha image although hundreds of rock-cut caves were made throughout India during the first few centuries CE. And, in those caves, it is the stupa that is the object of veneration, not the image. Images of the Buddha are not found in Buddhist sailagrhas (rock-cut complexes) until the times of the Kanheri (4th–5th century CE) and Ajanta examples (c. 462–478 CE).

The caves of the second period, now all dated to the 5th century, were typically described as "Mahayana", but do not show the features associated with later Mahayana Buddhism. Although the beginnings of Mahāyāna teachings go back to the 1st century there is little art and archaeological evidence to suggest that it became a mainstream cult for several centuries. In Mahayana it is not Gautama Buddha but the Bodhisattva who is important, including "deity" Bodhisattva like Manjushri and Tara, as well as aspects of the Buddha such as Aksobhya, and Amitabha. Except for a few Bodhisattva, these are not depicted at Ajanta, where the Buddha remains the dominant figure. Even the Bodhisattva images of Ajanta are never central objects of worship, but are always shown as attendants of the Buddha in the shrine. If a Bodhisattva is shown in isolation, as in the Astabhaya scenes, these were done in the very last years of activities at Ajanta, and are mostly ‘intrusive’ in nature, meaning that they were not planned by the original patrons, and were added by new donors after the original patrons had suddenly abandoned the region in the wake of Emperor Harisena’s death.

The contrast between iconic and aniconic representations, that is, the stupa on one hand and the image of the Buddha on the other, is now being seen as a construct of the modern scholar rather than a reality of the past. The second phase of Ajanta shows that the stupa and image coincided together. If the entire corpus of the art of Ajanta including sculpture, iconography, architecture, epigraphy, and painting are analysed afresh it will become clear that there was no duality between the symbolic and human forms of the Buddha, as far as the 5th-century phase of Ajanta is concerned. That is why most current scholars tend to avoid the terms ‘Hinayana’ and ‘Mahayana’ in the context of Ajanta. They now prefer to call the second phase by the ruling dynasty, as the Vākāţaka phase.

CAVES
CAVE 1
Cave 1 was built on the eastern end of the horse-shoe shaped scarp, and is now the first cave the visitor encounters. This would when first made have been a less prominent position, right at the end of the row. According to Spink, it is one of the latest caves to have been excavated, when the best sites had been taken, and was never fully inaugurated for worship by the dedication of the Buddha image in the central shrine. This is shown by the absence of sooty deposits from butter lamps on the base of the shrine image, and the lack of damage to the paintings that would have been happened if the garland-hooks around the shrine had been in use for any period of time. Although there is no epigraphic evidence, Spink believes that the Vākāţaka Emperor Harishena was the benefactor of the work, and this is reflected in the emphasis on imagery of royalty in the cave, with those Jakata tales being selected that tell of those previous lives of the Buddha in which he was royal.

The cliff has a more steep slope here than at other caves, so to achieve a tall grand facade it was necessary to cut far back into the slope, giving a large courtyard in front of the facade. There was originally a columned portico in front of the present facade, which can be seen "half-intact in the 1880s" in pictures of the site, but this fell down completely and the remains, despite containing fine carving, were carelessly thrown down the slope into the river, from where they have been lost, presumably carried away in monsoon torrents.

This cave has one of the most elaborate carved façades, with relief sculptures on entablature and ridges, and most surfaces embellished with decorative carving. There are scenes carved from the life of the Buddha as well as a number of decorative motifs. A two pillared portico, visible in the 19th-century photographs, has since perished. The cave has a front-court with cells fronted by pillared vestibules on either side. These have a high plinth level. The cave has a porch with simple cells on both ends. The absence of pillared vestibules on the ends suggest that the porch was not excavated in the latest phase of Ajanta when pillared vestibules had become a necessity and norm. Most areas of the porch were once covered with murals, of which many fragments remain, especially on the ceiling. There are three doorways: a central doorway and two side doorways. Two square windows were carved between the doorways to brighten the interiors.

Each wall of the hall inside is nearly 12 m long and 6.1 m high. Twelve pillars make a square colonnade inside supporting the ceiling, and creating spacious aisles along the walls. There is a shrine carved on the rear wall to house an impressive seated image of the Buddha, his hands being in the dharmachakrapravartana mudra. There are four cells on each of the left, rear, and the right walls, though due to rock fault there are none at the ends of the rear aisle. The walls are covered with paintings in a fair state of preservation, though the full scheme was never completed. The scenes depicted are mostly didactic, devotional, and ornamental, with scenes from the Jataka stories of the Buddha’s former existences as a bodhisattva), the life of the Gautama Buddha, and those of his veneration. The two most famous individual painted images at Ajanta are the two over-life size figures of the protective bodhisattvas Padmapani and Vajrapani on either side of the entrance to the Buddha shrine on the wall of the rear aisle (see illustrations above). According to Spink, the original dating of the paintings to about 625 arose largely or entirely because James Fegusson, a 19th-century architectural historian, had decided that a scene showing an ambassador being received, with figures in Persian dress, represented a recorded embassy to Persia (from a Hindu monarch at that) around that date.

CAVE 2
Cave 2, adjacent to Cave 1, is known for the paintings that have been preserved on its walls, ceilings, and pillars. It looks similar to Cave 1 and is in a better state of preservation.

Cave 2 has a porch quite different from Cave one. Even the façade carvings seem to be different. The cave is supported by robust pillars, ornamented with designs. The front porch consists of cells supported by pillared vestibules on both ends. The cells on the previously "wasted areas" were needed to meet the greater housing requirements in later years. Porch-end cells became a trend in all later Vakataka excavations. The simple single cells on porch-ends were converted into CPVs or were planned to provide more room, symmetry, and beauty.

The paintings on the ceilings and walls of this porch have been widely published. They depict the Jataka tales that are stories of the Buddha’s life in former existences as Bodhisattva. Just as the stories illustrated in cave 1 emphasize kingship, those in cave 2 show many "noble and powerful" women in prominent roles, leading to suggestions that the patron was an unknown woman. The porch’s rear wall has a doorway in the center, which allows entrance to the hall. On either side of the door is a square-shaped window to brighten the interior.

The hall has four colonnades which are supporting the ceiling and surrounding a square in the center of the hall. Each arm or colonnade of the square is parallel to the respective walls of the hall, making an aisle in between. The colonnades have rock-beams above and below them. The capitals are carved and painted with various decorative themes that include ornamental, human, animal, vegetative, and semi-divine forms.

Paintings appear on almost every surface of the cave except for the floor. At various places the art work has become eroded due to decay and human interference. Therefore, many areas of the painted walls, ceilings, and pillars are fragmentary. The painted narratives of the Jataka tales are depicted only on the walls, which demanded the special attention of the devotee. They are didactic in nature, meant to inform the community about the Buddha’s teachings and life through successive rebirths. Their placement on the walls required the devotee to walk through the aisles and ‘read’ the narratives depicted in various episodes. The narrative episodes are depicted one after another although not in a linear order. Their identification has been a core area of research since the site’s rediscovery in 1819. Dieter Schlingloff’s identifications have updated our knowledge on the subject.

CAVE 4
The Archeological Survey of India board outside the caves gives the following detail about cave 4: "This is the largest monastery planned on a grandiose scale but was never finished. An inscription on the pedestal of the buddha’s image mentions that it was a gift from a person named Mathura and paleographically belongs to 6th century A.D. It consists of a verandah, a hypostylar hall, sanctum with an antechamber and a series of unfinished cells. The rear wall of the verandah contains the panel of Litany of Avalokiteśvara".

The sanctuary houses a colossal image of the Buddha in preaching pose flanked by bodhisattvas and celestial nymphs hovering above.

CAVES 9-10
Caves 9 and 10 are the two chaitya halls from the first period of construction, though both were also undergoing an uncompleted reworking at the end of the second period. Cave 10 was perhaps originally of the 1st century BCE, and cave 9 about a hundred years later. The small "shrinelets" called caves 9A to 9D and 10A also date from the second period, and were commissioned by individuals.

The paintings in cave 10 include some surviving from the early period, many from an incomplete programme of modernization in the second period, and a very large number of smaller late intrusive images, nearly all Buddhas and many with donor inscriptions from individuals. These mostly avoided over-painting the "official" programme and after the best positions were used up are tucked away in less prominent positions not yet painted; the total of these (including those now lost) was probably over 300, and the hands of many different artists are visible.

OTHER CAVES
Cave 3 is merely a start of an excavation; according to Spink it was begun right at the end of the final period of work and soon abandoned. Caves 5 and 6 are viharas, the latter on two floors, that were late works of which only the lower floor of cave 6 was ever finished. The upper floor of cave 6 has many private votive sculptures, and a shrine Buddha, but is otherwise unfinished. Cave 7 has a grand facade with two porticos but, perhaps because of faults in the rock, which posed problems in many caves, was never taken very deep into the cliff, and consists only of the two porticos and a shrine room with antechamber, with no central hall. Some cells were fitted in.

Cave 8 was long thought to date to the first period of construction, but Spink sees it as perhaps the earliest cave from the second period, its shrine an "afterthought". The statue may have been loose rather than carved from the living rock, as it has now vanished. The cave was painted, but only traces remain.

SPINK´S DETAILED CHRONOLOGY
Walter M. Spink has over recent decades developed a very precise and circumstantial chronology for the second period of work on the site, which unlike earlier scholars, he places entirely in the 5th century. This is based on evidence such as the inscriptions and artistic style, combined with the many uncompleted elements of the caves. He believes the earlier group of caves, which like other scholars he dates only approximately, to the period "between 100 BCE – 100 CE", were at some later point completely abandoned and remained so "for over three centuries", as the local population had turned mainly Hindu. This changed with the accession of the Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka Dynasty, who reigned from 460 to his death in 477. Harisena extended the Central Indian Vakataka Empire to include a stretch of the east coast of India; the Gupta Empire ruled northern India at the same period, and the Pallava dynasty much of the south.

According to Spink, Harisena encouraged a group of associates, including his prime minister Varahadeva and Upendragupta, the sub-king in whose territory Ajanta was, to dig out new caves, which were individually commissioned, some containing inscriptions recording the donation. This activity began in 462 but was mostly suspended in 468 because of threats from the neighbouring Asmaka kings. Work continued on only caves 1, Harisena’s own commission, and 17–20, commissioned by Upendragupta. In 472 the situation was such that work was suspended completely, in a period that Spink calls "the Hiatus", which lasted until about 475, by which time the Asmakas had replaced Upendragupta as the local rulers.

Work was then resumed, but again disrupted by Harisena’s death in 477, soon after which major excavation ceased, except at cave 26, which the Asmakas were sponsoring themselves. The Asmakas launched a revolt against Harisena’s son, which brought about the end of the Vakataka Dynasty. In the years 478–480 major excavation by important patrons was replaced by a rash of "intrusions" – statues added to existing caves, and small shrines dotted about where there was space between them. These were commissioned by less powerful individuals, some monks, who had not previously been able to make additions to the large excavations of the rulers and courtiers. They were added to the facades, the return sides of the entrances, and to walls inside the caves. According to Spink, "After 480, not a single image was ever made again at the site", and as Hinduism again dominated the region, the site was again abandoned, this time for over a millennium.

Spink does not use "circa" in his dates, but says that "one should allow a margin of error of one year or perhaps even two in all cases".

IMPACT ON MODERN INDIAN PAINTINGS
The Ajanta paintings, or more likely the general style they come from, influenced painting in Tibet and Sri Lanka.

The rediscovery of ancient Indian paintings at Ajanta provided Indian artists examples from ancient India to follow. Nandlal Bose experimented with techniques to follow the ancient style which allowed him to develop his unique style. Abanindranath Tagore also used the Ajanta paintings for inspiration.

WIKIPEDIA

Posted by asienman on 2013-11-27 21:27:39

Tagged: , India , Ajanta Caves , asienman-photography , Buddha , UNESCO World Heritage Site

India – Maharashtra – Ajanta Caves – Cave 23 – 4bb

India - Maharashtra - Ajanta Caves - Cave 23 - 4bb

The Ajanta Caves (Ajiṇṭhā leni; Marathi: अजिंठा लेणी) in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India are about 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE. The caves include paintings and sculptures described by the government Archaeological Survey of India as "the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting", which are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales. The caves were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BCE, with the second group of caves built around 400–650 CE according to older accounts, or all in a brief period of 460 to 480 according to the recent proposals of Walter M. Spink. The site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India, and since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The caves are located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, near Jalgaon and just outside the village of Ajinṭhā 20°31′56″N 75°44′44″E), about 59 kilometres from Jalgaon railway station on the Delhi – Mumbai line and Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line of the Central Railway zone, and 104 kilometres from the city of Aurangabad. They are 100 kilometres from the Ellora Caves, which contain Hindu and Jain temples as well as Buddhist caves, the last dating from a period similar to Ajanta. The Ajanta caves are cut into the side of a cliff that is on the south side of a U-shaped gorge on the small river Waghur, and although they are now along and above a modern pathway running across the cliff they were originally reached by individual stairs or ladders from the side of the river 35 to 110 feet below.

The area was previously heavily forested, and after the site ceased to be used the caves were covered by jungle until accidentally rediscovered in 1819 by a British officer on a hunting party. They are Buddhist monastic buildings, apparently representing a number of distinct "monasteries" or colleges. The caves are numbered 1 to 28 according to their place along the path, beginning at the entrance. Several are unfinished and some barely begun and others are small shrines, included in the traditional numbering as e.g. "9A"; "Cave 15A" was still hidden under rubble when the numbering was done. Further round the gorge are a number of waterfalls, which when the river is high are audible from outside the caves.

The caves form the largest corpus of early Indian wall-painting; other survivals from the area of modern India are very few, though they are related to 5th-century paintings at Sigiriya in Sri Lanka. The elaborate architectural carving in many caves is also very rare, and the style of the many figure sculptures is highly local, found only at a few nearby contemporary sites, although the Ajanta tradition can be related to the later Hindu Ellora Caves and other sites.

HISTORY
Like the other ancient Buddhist monasteries, Ajanta had a large emphasis on teaching, and was divided into several different caves for living, education and worship, under a central direction. Monks were probably assigned to specific caves for living. The layout reflects this organizational structure, with most of the caves only connected through the exterior. The 7th-century travelling Chinese scholar Xuanzang informs us that Dignaga, a celebrated Buddhist philosopher and controversialist, author of well-known books on logic, lived at Ajanta in the 5th century. In its prime the settlement would have accommodated several hundred teachers and pupils. Many monks who had finished their first training may have returned to Ajanta during the monsoon season from an itinerant lifestyle.

The caves are generally agreed to have been made in two distinct periods, separated by several centuries.

CAVES OF THE FIRST (SATAVAHANA) PERIOD
The earliest group of caves consists of caves 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15A. According to Walter Spink, they were made during the period 100 BCE to 100 CE, probably under the patronage of the Satavahana dynasty (230 BCE – c. 220 CE) who ruled the region. Other datings prefer the period 300 BCE to 100 BCE, though the grouping of the earlier caves is generally agreed. More early caves may have vanished through later excavations. Of these, caves 9 and 10 are stupa halls of chaitya-griha form, and caves 12, 13, and 15A are vihāras (see the architecture section below for descriptions of these types). The first phase is still often called the Hinayāna phase, as it originated when, using traditional terminology, the Hinayāna or Lesser Vehicle tradition of Buddhism was dominant, when the Buddha was revered symbolically. However the use of the term Hinayana for this period of Buddhism is now deprecated by historians; equally the caves of the second period are now mostly dated too early to be properly called Mahayana, and do not yet show the full expanded cast of supernatural beings characteristic of that phase of Buddhist art. The first Satavahana period caves lacked figurative sculpture, emphasizing the stupa instead, and in the caves of the second period the overwhelming majority of images represent the Buddha alone, or narrative scenes of his lives.

Spink believes that some time after the Satavahana period caves were made the site was abandoned for a considerable period until the mid-5th century, probably because the region had turned mainly Hindu

CAVES OF THE LATER OR VAKATAKA PERIOD
The second phase began in the 5th century. For a long time it was thought that the later caves were made over a long period from the 4th to the 7th centuries CE, but in recent decades a series of studies by the leading expert on the caves, Walter M. Spink, have argued that most of the work took place over the very brief period from 460 to 480 CE, during the reign of Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka dynasty. This view has been criticized by some scholars, but is now broadly accepted by most authors of general books on Indian art, for example Huntington and Harle.

The second phase is still often called the Mahāyāna or Greater Vehicle phase, but scholars now tend to avoid this nomenclature because of the problems that have surfaced regarding our understanding of Mahāyāna.

Some 20 cave temples were simultaneously created, for the most part viharas with a sanctuary at the back. The most elaborate caves were produced in this period, which included some "modernization" of earlier caves. Spink claims that it is possible to establish dating for this period with a very high level of precision; a fuller account of his chronology is given below. Although debate continues, Spink’s ideas are increasingly widely accepted, at least in their broad conclusions. The Archaeological Survey of India website still presents the traditional dating: "The second phase of paintings started around 5th – 6th centuries A.D. and continued for the next two centuries". Caves of the second period are 1–8, 11, 14–29, some possibly extensions of earlier caves. Caves 19, 26, and 29 are chaitya-grihas, the rest viharas.

According to Spink, the Ajanta Caves appear to have been abandoned by wealthy patrons shortly after the fall of Harishena, in about 480 CE. They were then gradually abandoned and forgotten. During the intervening centuries, the jungle grew back and the caves were hidden, unvisited and undisturbed, although the local population were aware of at least some of them.

REDISCOVERY
On 28 April 1819, a British officer for the Madras Presidency, John Smith, of the 28th Cavalry, while hunting tiger, accidentally discovered the entrance to Cave No. 10 deep within the tangled undergrowth. There were local people already using the caves for prayers with a small fire, when he arrived. Exploring that first cave, long since a home to nothing more than birds and bats and a lair for other larger animals, Captain Smith vandalized the wall by scratching his name and the date, April 1819. Since he stood on a five-foot high pile of rubble collected over the years, the inscription is well above the eye-level gaze of an adult today. A paper on the caves by William Erskine was read to the Bombay Literary Society in 1822. Within a few decades, the caves became famous for their exotic setting, impressive architecture, and above all their exceptional, all but unique paintings. A number of large projects to copy the paintings were made in the century after rediscovery, covered below. In 1848 the Royal Asiatic Society established the "Bombay Cave Temple Commission" to clear, tidy and record the most important rock-cut sites in the Bombay Presidency, with John Wilson, as president. In 1861 this became the nucleus of the new Archaeological Survey of India. Until the Nizam of Hyderabad built the modern path between the caves, among other efforts to make the site easy to visit, a trip to Ajanta was a considerable adventure, and contemporary accounts dwell with relish on the dangers from falls off narrow ledges, animals and the Bhil people, who were armed with bows and arrows and had a fearsome reputation.

Today, fairly easily combined with Ellora in a single trip, the caves are the most popular tourist destination in Mahrashtra, and are often crowded at holiday times, increasing the threat to the caves, especially the paintings. In 2012, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation announced plans to add to the ASI visitor centre at the entrance complete replicas of caves 1, 2, 16 & 17 to reduce crowding in the originals, and enable visitors to receive a better visual idea of the paintings, which are dimly-lit and hard to read in the caves. Figures for the year to March 2010 showed a total of 390,000 visitors to the site, divided into 362,000 domestic and 27,000 foreign. The trends over the previous few years show a considerable growth in domestic visitors, but a decline in foreign ones; the year to 2010 was the first in which foreign visitors to Ellora exceeded those to Ajanta.

PAINTINGS
Mural paintings survive from both the earlier and later groups of caves. Several fragments of murals preserved from the earlier caves (Caves 9 and 11) are effectively unique survivals of court-led painting in India from this period, and "show that by Sātavāhana times, if not earlier, the Indian painter had mastered an easy and fluent naturalistic style, dealing with large groups of people in a manner comparable to the reliefs of the Sāñcī toraņa crossbars".

Four of the later caves have large and relatively well-preserved mural paintings which "have come to represent Indian mural painting to the non-specialist", and fall into two stylistic groups, with the most famous in Caves 16 and 17, and apparently later paintings in Caves 1 and 2. The latter group were thought to be a century or more later than the others, but the revised chronology proposed by Spink would place them much closer to the earlier group, perhaps contemporary with it in a more progressive style, or one reflecting a team from a different region. The paintings are in "dry fresco", painted on top of a dry plaster surface rather than into wet plaster.

All the paintings appear to be the work of painters at least as used to decorating palaces as temples, and show a familiarity with and interest in details of the life of a wealthy court. We know from literary sources that painting was widely practised and appreciated in the courts of the Gupta period. Unlike much Indian painting, compositions are not laid out in horizontal compartments like a frieze, but show large scenes spreading in all directions from a single figure or group at the centre. The ceilings are also painted with sophisticated and elaborate decorative motifs, many derived from sculpture. The paintings in cave 1, which according to Spink was commissioned by Harisena himself, concentrate on those Jataka tales which show previous lives of the Buddha as a king, rather than as an animal or human commoner, and so show settings from contemporary palace life.

In general the later caves seem to have been painted on finished areas as excavating work continued elsewhere in the cave, as shown in caves 2 and 16 in particular. According to Spink’s account of the chronology of the caves, the abandonment of work in 478 after a brief busy period accounts for the absence of painting in caves such as 4 and 17, the later being plastered in preparation for paintings that were never done.

COPIES
The paintings have deteriorated significantly since they were rediscovered, and a number of 19th-century copies and drawings are important for a complete understanding of the works. However, the earliest projects to copy the paintings were plagued by bad fortune. In 1846, Major Robert Gill, an Army officer from Madras presidency and a painter, was appointed by the Royal Asiatic Society to replicate the frescoes on the cave walls to exhibit these paintings in England. Gill worked on his painting at the site from 1844 to 1863 (though he continued to be based there until his death in 1875, writing books and photographing) and made 27 copies of large sections of murals, but all but four were destroyed in a fire at the Crystal Palace in London in 1866, where they were on display.

Another attempt was made in 1872 when the Bombay Presidency commissioned John Griffiths, then principal of the Bombay School of Art, to work with his students to make new copies, again for shipping to England. They worked on this for thirteen years and some 300 canvases were produced, many of which were displayed at the Imperial Institute on Exhibition Road in London, one of the forerunners of the Victoria and Albert Museum. But in 1885 another fire destroyed over a hundred paintings that were in storage. The V&A still has 166 paintings surviving from both sets, though none have been on permanent display since 1955. The largest are some 3 × 6 metres. A conservation project was undertaken on about half of them in 2006, also involving the University of Northumbria. Griffith and his students had unfortunately painted many of the paintings with "cheap varnish" in order to make them easier to see, which has added to the deterioration of the originals, as has, according to Spink and others, recent cleaning by the ASI.

A further set of copies were made between 1909 and 1911 by Christiana Herringham (Lady Herringham) and a group of students from the Calcutta School of Art that included the future Indian Modernist painter Nandalal Bose. The copies were published in full colour as the first publication of London’s fledgling India Society. More than the earlier copies, these aimed to fill in holes and damage to recreate the original condition rather than record the state of the paintings as she was seeing them. According to one writer, unlike the paintings created by her predecessors Griffiths and Gill, whose copies were influenced by British Victorian styles of painting, those of the Herringham expedition preferred an ‘Indian Renascence’ aesthetic of the type pioneered by Abanindranath Tagore.

Early photographic surveys were made by Robert Gill, who learnt to use a camera from about 1856, and whose photos, including some using stereoscopy, were used in books by him and Fergusson (many are available online from the British Library), then Victor Goloubew in 1911 and E.L. Vassey, who took the photos in the four volume study of the caves by Ghulam Yazdani (published 1930–1955).

ARCHITECTURE
The monasteries mostly consist of vihara halls for prayer and living, which are typically rectangular with small square dormitory cells cut into the walls, and by the second period a shrine or sanctuary at the rear centred on a large statue of the Buddha, also carved from the living rock. This change reflects the movement from Hinayana to Mahāyāna Buddhism. The other type of main hall is the narrower and higher chaitya hall with a stupa as the focus at the far end, and a narrow aisle around the walls, behind a range of pillars placed close together. Other plainer rooms were for sleeping and other activities. Some of the caves have elaborate carved entrances, some with large windows over the door to admit light. There is often a colonnaded porch or verandah, with another space inside the doors running the width of the cave.

The central square space of the interior of the viharas is defined by square columns forming a more or less square open area. Outside this are long rectangular aisles on each side, forming a kind of cloister. Along the side and rear walls are a number of small cells entered by a narrow doorway; these are roughly square, and have small niches on their back walls. Originally they had wooden doors. The centre of the rear wall has a larger shrine-room behind, containing a large Buddha statue. The viharas of the earlier period are much simpler, and lack shrines. Spink in fact places the change to a design with a shrine to the middle of the second period, with many caves being adapted to add a shrine in mid-excavation, or after the original phase.

The plan of Cave 1 shows one of the largest viharas, but is fairly typical of the later group. Many others, such as Cave 16, lack the vestibule to the shrine, which leads straight off the main hall. Cave 6 is two viharas, one above the other, connected by internal stairs, with sanctuaries on both levels.

The four completed chaitya halls are caves 9 and 10 from the early period, and caves 19 and 26 from the later period of construction. All follow the typical form found elsewhere, with high ceilings and a central "nave" leading to the stupa, which is near the back, but allows walking behind it, as walking around stupas was (and remains) a common element of Buddhist worship (pradakshina). The later two have high ribbed roofs, which reflect timber forms, and the earlier two are thought to have used actual timber ribs, which have now perished. The two later halls have a rather unusual arrangement (also found in Cave 10 at Ellora) where the stupa is fronted by a large relief sculpture of the Buddha, standing in Cave 19 and seated in Cave 26. Cave 29 is a late and very incomplete chaitya hall.

The form of columns in the work of the first period is very plain and un-embellished, with both chaitya halls using simple octagonal columns, which were painted with figures. In the second period columns were far more varied and inventive, often changing profile over their height, and with elaborate carved capitals, often spreading wide. Many columns are carved over all their surface, some fluted and others carved with decoration all over, as in cave 1.

The flood basalt rock of the cliff, part of the Deccan Traps formed by successive volcanic eruptions at the end of the Cretaceous, is layered horizontally, and somewhat variable in quality, so the excavators had to amend their plans in places, and in places there have been collapses in the intervening centuries, as with the lost portico to cave 1. Excavation began by cutting a narrow tunnel at roof level, which was expanded downwards and outwards; the half-built vihara cave 24 shows the method. Spink believes that for the first caves of the second period the excavators had to relearn skills and techniques that had been lost in the centuries since the first period, which were then transmitted to be used at later rock-cut sites in the region, such as Ellora, and the Elephanta, Bagh, Badami and Aurangabad Caves.

The caves from the first period seem to have been paid for by a number of different patrons, with several inscriptions recording the donation of particular portions of a single cave, but according to Spink the later caves were each commissioned as a complete unit by a single patron from the local rulers or their court elites. After the death of Harisena smaller donors got their chance to add small "shrinelets" between the caves or add statues to existing caves, and some two hundred of these "intrusive" additions were made in sculpture, with a further number of intrusive paintings, up to three hundred in cave 10 alone.

A grand gateway to the site, at the apex of the gorge’s horsehoe between caves 15 and 16, was approached from the river, and is decorated with elephants on either side and a nāga, or protective snake deity.

ICONOGRAPHY OF THE CAVES
In the pre-Christian era, the Buddha was represented symbolically, in the form of the stupa. Thus, halls were made with stupas to venerate the Buddha. In later periods the images of the Buddha started to be made in coins, relic caskets, relief or loose sculptural forms, etc. However, it took a while for the human representation of the Buddha to appear in Buddhist art. One of the earliest evidences of the Buddha’s human representations are found at Buddhist archaeological sites, such as Goli, Nagarjunakonda, and Amaravati. The monasteries of those sites were built in less durable media, such as wood, brick, and stone. As far as the genre of rock-cut architecture is concerned it took many centuries for the Buddha image to be depicted. Nobody knows for sure at which rock-cut cave site the first image of the Buddha was depicted. Current research indicates that Buddha images in a portable form, made of wood or stone, were introduced, for the first time, at Kanheri, to be followed soon at Ajanta Cave 8 (Dhavalikar, Jadhav, Spink, Singh). While the Kanheri example dates to 4th or 5th century CE, the Ajanta example has been dated to c. 462–478 CE (Spink). None of the rock-cut monasteries prior to these dates, and other than these examples, show any Buddha image although hundreds of rock-cut caves were made throughout India during the first few centuries CE. And, in those caves, it is the stupa that is the object of veneration, not the image. Images of the Buddha are not found in Buddhist sailagrhas (rock-cut complexes) until the times of the Kanheri (4th–5th century CE) and Ajanta examples (c. 462–478 CE).

The caves of the second period, now all dated to the 5th century, were typically described as "Mahayana", but do not show the features associated with later Mahayana Buddhism. Although the beginnings of Mahāyāna teachings go back to the 1st century there is little art and archaeological evidence to suggest that it became a mainstream cult for several centuries. In Mahayana it is not Gautama Buddha but the Bodhisattva who is important, including "deity" Bodhisattva like Manjushri and Tara, as well as aspects of the Buddha such as Aksobhya, and Amitabha. Except for a few Bodhisattva, these are not depicted at Ajanta, where the Buddha remains the dominant figure. Even the Bodhisattva images of Ajanta are never central objects of worship, but are always shown as attendants of the Buddha in the shrine. If a Bodhisattva is shown in isolation, as in the Astabhaya scenes, these were done in the very last years of activities at Ajanta, and are mostly ‘intrusive’ in nature, meaning that they were not planned by the original patrons, and were added by new donors after the original patrons had suddenly abandoned the region in the wake of Emperor Harisena’s death.

The contrast between iconic and aniconic representations, that is, the stupa on one hand and the image of the Buddha on the other, is now being seen as a construct of the modern scholar rather than a reality of the past. The second phase of Ajanta shows that the stupa and image coincided together. If the entire corpus of the art of Ajanta including sculpture, iconography, architecture, epigraphy, and painting are analysed afresh it will become clear that there was no duality between the symbolic and human forms of the Buddha, as far as the 5th-century phase of Ajanta is concerned. That is why most current scholars tend to avoid the terms ‘Hinayana’ and ‘Mahayana’ in the context of Ajanta. They now prefer to call the second phase by the ruling dynasty, as the Vākāţaka phase.

CAVES
CAVE 1
Cave 1 was built on the eastern end of the horse-shoe shaped scarp, and is now the first cave the visitor encounters. This would when first made have been a less prominent position, right at the end of the row. According to Spink, it is one of the latest caves to have been excavated, when the best sites had been taken, and was never fully inaugurated for worship by the dedication of the Buddha image in the central shrine. This is shown by the absence of sooty deposits from butter lamps on the base of the shrine image, and the lack of damage to the paintings that would have been happened if the garland-hooks around the shrine had been in use for any period of time. Although there is no epigraphic evidence, Spink believes that the Vākāţaka Emperor Harishena was the benefactor of the work, and this is reflected in the emphasis on imagery of royalty in the cave, with those Jakata tales being selected that tell of those previous lives of the Buddha in which he was royal.

The cliff has a more steep slope here than at other caves, so to achieve a tall grand facade it was necessary to cut far back into the slope, giving a large courtyard in front of the facade. There was originally a columned portico in front of the present facade, which can be seen "half-intact in the 1880s" in pictures of the site, but this fell down completely and the remains, despite containing fine carving, were carelessly thrown down the slope into the river, from where they have been lost, presumably carried away in monsoon torrents.

This cave has one of the most elaborate carved façades, with relief sculptures on entablature and ridges, and most surfaces embellished with decorative carving. There are scenes carved from the life of the Buddha as well as a number of decorative motifs. A two pillared portico, visible in the 19th-century photographs, has since perished. The cave has a front-court with cells fronted by pillared vestibules on either side. These have a high plinth level. The cave has a porch with simple cells on both ends. The absence of pillared vestibules on the ends suggest that the porch was not excavated in the latest phase of Ajanta when pillared vestibules had become a necessity and norm. Most areas of the porch were once covered with murals, of which many fragments remain, especially on the ceiling. There are three doorways: a central doorway and two side doorways. Two square windows were carved between the doorways to brighten the interiors.

Each wall of the hall inside is nearly 12 m long and 6.1 m high. Twelve pillars make a square colonnade inside supporting the ceiling, and creating spacious aisles along the walls. There is a shrine carved on the rear wall to house an impressive seated image of the Buddha, his hands being in the dharmachakrapravartana mudra. There are four cells on each of the left, rear, and the right walls, though due to rock fault there are none at the ends of the rear aisle. The walls are covered with paintings in a fair state of preservation, though the full scheme was never completed. The scenes depicted are mostly didactic, devotional, and ornamental, with scenes from the Jataka stories of the Buddha’s former existences as a bodhisattva), the life of the Gautama Buddha, and those of his veneration. The two most famous individual painted images at Ajanta are the two over-life size figures of the protective bodhisattvas Padmapani and Vajrapani on either side of the entrance to the Buddha shrine on the wall of the rear aisle (see illustrations above). According to Spink, the original dating of the paintings to about 625 arose largely or entirely because James Fegusson, a 19th-century architectural historian, had decided that a scene showing an ambassador being received, with figures in Persian dress, represented a recorded embassy to Persia (from a Hindu monarch at that) around that date.

CAVE 2
Cave 2, adjacent to Cave 1, is known for the paintings that have been preserved on its walls, ceilings, and pillars. It looks similar to Cave 1 and is in a better state of preservation.

Cave 2 has a porch quite different from Cave one. Even the façade carvings seem to be different. The cave is supported by robust pillars, ornamented with designs. The front porch consists of cells supported by pillared vestibules on both ends. The cells on the previously "wasted areas" were needed to meet the greater housing requirements in later years. Porch-end cells became a trend in all later Vakataka excavations. The simple single cells on porch-ends were converted into CPVs or were planned to provide more room, symmetry, and beauty.

The paintings on the ceilings and walls of this porch have been widely published. They depict the Jataka tales that are stories of the Buddha’s life in former existences as Bodhisattva. Just as the stories illustrated in cave 1 emphasize kingship, those in cave 2 show many "noble and powerful" women in prominent roles, leading to suggestions that the patron was an unknown woman. The porch’s rear wall has a doorway in the center, which allows entrance to the hall. On either side of the door is a square-shaped window to brighten the interior.

The hall has four colonnades which are supporting the ceiling and surrounding a square in the center of the hall. Each arm or colonnade of the square is parallel to the respective walls of the hall, making an aisle in between. The colonnades have rock-beams above and below them. The capitals are carved and painted with various decorative themes that include ornamental, human, animal, vegetative, and semi-divine forms.

Paintings appear on almost every surface of the cave except for the floor. At various places the art work has become eroded due to decay and human interference. Therefore, many areas of the painted walls, ceilings, and pillars are fragmentary. The painted narratives of the Jataka tales are depicted only on the walls, which demanded the special attention of the devotee. They are didactic in nature, meant to inform the community about the Buddha’s teachings and life through successive rebirths. Their placement on the walls required the devotee to walk through the aisles and ‘read’ the narratives depicted in various episodes. The narrative episodes are depicted one after another although not in a linear order. Their identification has been a core area of research since the site’s rediscovery in 1819. Dieter Schlingloff’s identifications have updated our knowledge on the subject.

CAVE 4
The Archeological Survey of India board outside the caves gives the following detail about cave 4: "This is the largest monastery planned on a grandiose scale but was never finished. An inscription on the pedestal of the buddha’s image mentions that it was a gift from a person named Mathura and paleographically belongs to 6th century A.D. It consists of a verandah, a hypostylar hall, sanctum with an antechamber and a series of unfinished cells. The rear wall of the verandah contains the panel of Litany of Avalokiteśvara".

The sanctuary houses a colossal image of the Buddha in preaching pose flanked by bodhisattvas and celestial nymphs hovering above.

CAVES 9-10
Caves 9 and 10 are the two chaitya halls from the first period of construction, though both were also undergoing an uncompleted reworking at the end of the second period. Cave 10 was perhaps originally of the 1st century BCE, and cave 9 about a hundred years later. The small "shrinelets" called caves 9A to 9D and 10A also date from the second period, and were commissioned by individuals.

The paintings in cave 10 include some surviving from the early period, many from an incomplete programme of modernization in the second period, and a very large number of smaller late intrusive images, nearly all Buddhas and many with donor inscriptions from individuals. These mostly avoided over-painting the "official" programme and after the best positions were used up are tucked away in less prominent positions not yet painted; the total of these (including those now lost) was probably over 300, and the hands of many different artists are visible.

OTHER CAVES
Cave 3 is merely a start of an excavation; according to Spink it was begun right at the end of the final period of work and soon abandoned. Caves 5 and 6 are viharas, the latter on two floors, that were late works of which only the lower floor of cave 6 was ever finished. The upper floor of cave 6 has many private votive sculptures, and a shrine Buddha, but is otherwise unfinished. Cave 7 has a grand facade with two porticos but, perhaps because of faults in the rock, which posed problems in many caves, was never taken very deep into the cliff, and consists only of the two porticos and a shrine room with antechamber, with no central hall. Some cells were fitted in.

Cave 8 was long thought to date to the first period of construction, but Spink sees it as perhaps the earliest cave from the second period, its shrine an "afterthought". The statue may have been loose rather than carved from the living rock, as it has now vanished. The cave was painted, but only traces remain.

SPINK´S DETAILED CHRONOLOGY
Walter M. Spink has over recent decades developed a very precise and circumstantial chronology for the second period of work on the site, which unlike earlier scholars, he places entirely in the 5th century. This is based on evidence such as the inscriptions and artistic style, combined with the many uncompleted elements of the caves. He believes the earlier group of caves, which like other scholars he dates only approximately, to the period "between 100 BCE – 100 CE", were at some later point completely abandoned and remained so "for over three centuries", as the local population had turned mainly Hindu. This changed with the accession of the Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka Dynasty, who reigned from 460 to his death in 477. Harisena extended the Central Indian Vakataka Empire to include a stretch of the east coast of India; the Gupta Empire ruled northern India at the same period, and the Pallava dynasty much of the south.

According to Spink, Harisena encouraged a group of associates, including his prime minister Varahadeva and Upendragupta, the sub-king in whose territory Ajanta was, to dig out new caves, which were individually commissioned, some containing inscriptions recording the donation. This activity began in 462 but was mostly suspended in 468 because of threats from the neighbouring Asmaka kings. Work continued on only caves 1, Harisena’s own commission, and 17–20, commissioned by Upendragupta. In 472 the situation was such that work was suspended completely, in a period that Spink calls "the Hiatus", which lasted until about 475, by which time the Asmakas had replaced Upendragupta as the local rulers.

Work was then resumed, but again disrupted by Harisena’s death in 477, soon after which major excavation ceased, except at cave 26, which the Asmakas were sponsoring themselves. The Asmakas launched a revolt against Harisena’s son, which brought about the end of the Vakataka Dynasty. In the years 478–480 major excavation by important patrons was replaced by a rash of "intrusions" – statues added to existing caves, and small shrines dotted about where there was space between them. These were commissioned by less powerful individuals, some monks, who had not previously been able to make additions to the large excavations of the rulers and courtiers. They were added to the facades, the return sides of the entrances, and to walls inside the caves. According to Spink, "After 480, not a single image was ever made again at the site", and as Hinduism again dominated the region, the site was again abandoned, this time for over a millennium.

Spink does not use "circa" in his dates, but says that "one should allow a margin of error of one year or perhaps even two in all cases".

IMPACT ON MODERN INDIAN PAINTINGS
The Ajanta paintings, or more likely the general style they come from, influenced painting in Tibet and Sri Lanka.

The rediscovery of ancient Indian paintings at Ajanta provided Indian artists examples from ancient India to follow. Nandlal Bose experimented with techniques to follow the ancient style which allowed him to develop his unique style. Abanindranath Tagore also used the Ajanta paintings for inspiration.

WIKIPEDIA

Posted by asienman on 2017-06-26 22:16:19

Tagged: , India , Maharashtra , Ajanta Caves , Cave 23 , asienman-photography , asienman-photoart

St. Pölten, Lower Austria (the art of historic buildings of Sankt Pölten), Sinagoga, Synagogue, Synagoga, Synagoge (Doktor-Karl-Renner-Promenade)

St. Pölten, Lower Austria (the art of historic buildings of Sankt Pölten), Sinagoga, Synagogue, Synagoga, Synagoge (Doktor-Karl-Renner-Promenade)

(further information and pictures are available by clicking on the link at the end of section and of page!)
Synagogue St. Pölten
Exterior of the former St. Pölten Synagogue
The St. Pölten Synagogue was up to the November pogroms in 1938 the main synagogue of the Jewish Community of St. Pölten. The In the years 1912 to 1913 by the architects Theodor Schreier and Viktor Postelberg built Art Nouveau synagogue is located in the Dr. Karl Renner Promenade in St. Pölten and is now the headquarters of the Institute for Jewish History in Austria.
History
The old synagogue, which was demolished in favor of the new one
The first prayer rooms of in 1863 founded Jewish Community of St. Pölten were located in the premises of the former Kattunmanufaktur (cotton manufactory), the later Gasser factory at school ring. A building of this factory was adapted between 1885 and 1890 as a synagogue. This adaptation was associated with considerable effort, which is why the members of the Jewish community already since 1888 endeavoured to get a new building, until 1903 but this was rejected by the township. At this time, a redesign of the promenade was planned, which was only possible by demolition of the in the street course standing synagogue. After lengthy preparations, a preparatory committee was elected in April 1907, which in addition to building site and plans the necessary financing should provide.
1911, a building committee was chosen and agreed with the community a real estate exchange. At the architectural competition, which was tendered in the same year, participated among others Jacob Modern, Jacob Gartner, Ignaz Reiser and Theodor Schreier. The latter was together with his partner Viktor Postelberg by the Committee commissioned another project for a temple with room for 220 men and 150 women to submitt, which was then realized. The conditions for the planning work developed Rudolf Frass. The necessary funds were raised through collections and appeals for donations throughout the country, so that could be started with the construction in June 1912. The gilding works were carried out by Ferdinand Andri. After little more than a year of construction and 141 390 crowns total investment, the synagoge on 17 August 1913 was solemnly consecrated.
Destruction
On the night of 9th to the 10th November 1938 invaded several SS and SA members the rooms of the synagogue, smashed windows and set fire. The that night caused damage was limited, as the fire could be extinguished relatively quickly. On the following morning 300 to 400 people gathered, some in civilian clothes, in front of the building. They moved with the singing of political songs in the sacred spaces and destroyed them completely. The windows were broken, Torah scrolls, Torah shrine, benches and images burned. Even water pipes and door posts were torn from the walls. The books of the extensive library were largely thrown on the road and burned. Some people climbed the dome and tore the Star of David of the roof .
Almost all of the movable property of the Jewish community was destroyed or stolen . A limited set of books were placed in the city archives, the City Museum there’s still a donation box and a painting of Emperor Franz Josef, which hung in the entrance area. A single prayer book is since 1998 owned again by the Jewish Community.
In the following years the side rooms of the building of the SA were used as an office, the interior was used among other things as furniture warehouse. 1942, the synagogue became the property of the city of St. Pölten, which used it as a detention center for Russian forced laborers. In last fightings and bombings in 1945 the building was further damaged.
1945
The Red Army used the former synagogue as a grain storage until it was in 1947 returned to the city. The application of restitution was recognized in 1952 by the city council, which then returned the synagogue to the Jewish Community Vienna. In the following years, the former house of God continued to decay as after the Holocaust no Jewish community in St. Pölten could establish. The domed roof showed severe damage, individual components were threatening to collapse completely and through the boarded windows came rain and snow into the by dovecotes populated house.
In 1975, the Jewish Community Vienna (IKG – Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien) offered the city of St. Pölten to purchase the synagogue, which did not accept the offer due to lack of uses. Then the Jewish Community Vienna wanted to initiate the demolition, but this was prevented by the fact that the Federal Monuments Office the building put under monument protection. Then it was renovated from 1980 to 1984. Here, for example, many wall paintings were recovered, on the other hand, some structural changes were made (especially removal of water basins for the ritual washing of the hands), since it was clear from the beginning that the building would not be used as a synagogue, but as an event center.
Since 1988 in the premises of the former synagogue the Institute for Jewish History of Austria is located, further regular events are realized. The original function the synagoge never could fulfill again, as too few Jews returned after the Holocaust to St. Pölten.
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the synagogue the City Museum in St. Pölten 2013/14 the building dedicates its own special exhibition. In doing so there is also shown a recently found photo of the interior before the destruction. It is also pointed out that the synagogue due to lack of funding already again is abandoned to a certain decay.
The St. Pölten rabbi
Interior of the synagogue with part of the dome ceiling, in the center of the former shrine
Name Period of office
Moritz Tintner 1863-1869
Adolf Kurrein 1873-1876
Samuel Marcus 1876-1878
Adolf Hahn 1878-1882
Jacob Reiss 1882-1889
Bernhard Zimmels 1889-1891
Leopold Weinsberg 1891-1897
Adolf Schächter 1897-1934
Arnold Frankfurt 1934-1936
Manfred Papo 1936-1938
Building description
Outside
The dominant element of the synagogue is the octagonal, completed by a large dome main building, to which the eastern and western side wings are attached. Connected to the synagogue is the former school building in Lederergasse 12.
Main tract
The main tract houses the former sanctuary. The facade is divided into a low ground floor, high upper floor and the dome. At the facade facing the street can be found in the two storeys each three windows, that are executed on the ground floor as low segmental arch windows with above running continuously cordon cornice. The windows on the upper floor, however, are high, rectangular windows, the space between them is divided by pilasters. The original stained glass windows were destroyed from 1938, today, clear glass can be found in the windows. Directly under the dome there is a large segment gable with representations of the Tablets of the Law, set in floral vines. Beneath it is written in Hebrew the text of Psalm 118, verse 19.
" פתחו לי שערי צדק אבא בם אודה יה "
"Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will enter and give thanks to God".
– Inscription under the law boards.
On the short, lateral oblique walls of the main building on the ground floor there are side entrances, in the transition to the dome there are embedded large oval windows.
Side wings
To the eastern side wing, which in comparison to the western tract is designed very narrowly, connects the former school building and was once home to the shrine. At the by segment gable and barrel roof completed tract can be found on the northern front in the upper floor a tall, rectangular window of the same type as that of the main wing. At the eastern side a round window is embedded, in the ground floor begins a connecting room to the school building.
The western side wing is identical to the east in the basic form, but it is significantly wider. In addition, in front of it there are entrance buildings. Both at the road side and on the opposite side between the main wing and the western annex are wide projecting semi-circular staircases, next to it can be found till half the height of the first upper floor each a buttress with two low windows. Road side, this buttress is preceded by a walk-in porch, which on three sides is open round-arched. The with triangular gable completed building ends in a concave enclosure, where a commemorative plaque is attached today. The west facade repeats the design of the main building, it can be found on the ground floor low segmental arch windows with above running continuously, jagged cordon cornice. On the first floor the windows are, however, significantly lower than in the main wing.
Former school building
The former school building has its main facade towards Lederergasse and there has the number 12. The road-side main facade of the two-storey building is divided into four axes. The window on the ground floor are round-arched disigned, the ones on the upper floor rectangularly. Between side wing of the synagogue and the main wing of the school building there is a tower-like, curved stairwell risalit up to the attic.
Gallery
Wall lamp
Wall ornament
Wall ornament
Wall ornament
de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synagoge_St._P%C3%B6lten
(further information is available by clicking on the link at the end of page!)

History of the City St. Pölten
In order to present concise history of the Lower Austrian capital is in the shop of the city museum a richly illustrated full version on CD-ROM.
Tip
On the occasion of the commemoration of the pogroms of November 1938, the Institute for Jewish History of Austria its virtual Memorbuch (Memory book) for the destroyed St. Pölten Jewish community since 10th November 2012 is putting online.
Prehistory
The time from which there is no written record is named after the main materials used for tools and weapons: Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age. Using the latest technologies, archaeologists from archaeological finds and aerial photographs can trace a fairly detailed picture of life at that time. Especially for the time from the settling down of the People (New Stone Age), now practicing agriculture and animal husbandry, in the territory of St. Pölten lively settlement activity can be proved. In particular, cemeteries are important for the research, because the dead were laid in the grave everyday objects and jewelry, the forms of burial changing over time – which in turn gives the archeology valuable clues for the temporal determination. At the same time, prehistory of Sankt Pölten would not be half as good documented without the construction of the expressway S33 and other large buildings, where millions of cubic meters of earth were moved – under the watchful eyes of the Federal Monuments Office!
A final primeval chapter characterized the Celts, who settled about 450 BC our area and in addition to a new culture and religion also brought with them the potter’s wheel. The kingdom of Noricum influenced till the penetration of the Romans the development in our area.
Roman period, migrations
The Romans conquered in 15 BC the Celtic Empire and established hereinafter the Roman province of Noricum. Borders were protected by military camp (forts), in the hinterland emerged civilian cities, almost all systematically laid out according to the same plan. The civil and commercial city Aelium Cetium, as St. Pölten was called (city law 121/122), consisted in the 4th Century already of heated stone houses, trade and craft originated thriving urban life, before the Romans in the first third of the 5th Century retreated to Italy.
The subsequent period went down as the Migration Period in official historiography, for which the settlement of the Sankt Pöltner downtown can not be proved. Cemeteries witness the residence of the Lombards in our area, later it was the Avars, extending their empire to the Enns.
The recent archaeological excavations on the Cathedral Square 2010/2011, in fact, the previous knowledge of St.Pölten colonization not have turned upside down but enriched by many details, whose full analysis and publication are expected in the near future.
Middle Ages
With the submission of the Avars by Charlemagne around 800 AD Christianity was gaining a foothold, the Bavarian Benedictine monastery of Tegernsee establishing a daughter house here – as founder are mentioned the brothers Adalbert and Ottokar – equipped with the relics of St. Hippolytus. The name St. Ypolit over the centuries should turn into Sankt Pölten. After the Hungarian wars and the resettlement of the monastery as Canons Regular of St. Augustine under the influence of Passau St. Pölten received mid-11th Century market rights.
In the second half of the 20th century historians stated that records in which the rights of citizens were held were to be qualified as Town Charters. Vienna is indeed already in 1137 as a city ("civitas") mentioned in a document, but the oldest Viennese city charter dates only from the year 1221, while the Bishop of Passau, Konrad, already in 1159 the St. Pöltnern secured:
A St. Pöltner citizen who has to answer to the court, has the right to make use of an "advocate".
He must not be forced to rid himself of the accusation by a judgment of God.
A St. Pöltner citizen may be convicted only by statements of fellow citizens, not by strangers.
From the 13th Century exercised a city judge appointed by the lord of the city the high and low jurisdiction as chairman of the council meetings and the Municipal Court, Inner and Outer Council supported him during the finding of justice. Venue for the public verdict was the in the 13th Century created new marketplace, the "Broad Market", now the town hall square. Originally square-shaped, it was only later to a rectangle reduced. Around it arose the market district, which together with the monastery district, the wood district and the Ledererviertel (quarter of the leather goods manufacturer) was protected by a double city wall.
The dependence of St. Pölten of the bishop of Passau is shown in the municipal coat of arms and the city seal. Based on the emblem of the heraldic animal of the Lord of the city, so the Bishop of Passau, it shows an upright standing wolf holding a crosier in its paw.
Modern Times
In the course of the armed conflict between the Emperor Frederick III . and King Matthias of Hungary pledged the Bishop of Passau the town on the Hungarian king. From 1485 stood Lower Austria as a whole under Hungarian rule. The most important document of this period is the awarding of the city coat of arms by King Matthias Corvinus in the year 1487. After the death of the opponents 1490 and 1493 could Frederick’s son Maximilian reconquer Lower Austria. He considered St. Pölten as spoils of war and had no intention of returning it to the diocese of Passau. The city government has often been leased subsequently, for instance, to the family Wellenstein, and later to the families Trautson and Auersperg.
That St. Pölten now was a princely city, found its expression in the coat of arms letter of the King Ferdinand I. from 1538: From now on, the wolf had no crosier anymore, and the from the viewer’s point of view left half showed the reverse Austrian shield, so silver-red-silver.
To the 16th Century also goes back the construction of St. Pöltner City Hall. The 1503 by judge and council acquired house was subsequently expanded, rebuilt, extended and provided with a tower.
A for the urban history research important picture, painted in 1623, has captured scenes of the peasant uprising of 1597, but also allows a view to the city and lets the viewer read some of the details of the then state of construction. The economic inconveniences of that time were only exacerbated by the Thirty Years War, at the end of which a fifth of the houses were uninhabited and the citizenry was impoverished.
Baroque
After the successful defense against the Turks in 1683, the economy started to recover and a significant building boom began. Lower Austria turned into the land of the baroque abbeys and monasteries, as it is familiar to us today.
In St. Pölten, the change of the cityscape is closely connected to the Baroque architect Jakob Prandtauer. In addition to the Baroquisation of the interior of the cathedral, a number of buildings in St. Pölten go to his account, so the reconstruction of the castle Ochsenburg, the erection of the Schwaighof and of the core building of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Englische Fräuleins – English Maidens) – from 1706 the seat of the first school order of St.Pölten – as well as of several bourgeois houses.
Joseph Munggenast, nephew and co-worker of Prandtauer, completed the Baroquisation of the cathedral, he baroquised the facade of the town hall (1727) and numerous bourgeois houses and designed a bridge over the Traisen which existed until 1907. In the decoration of the church buildings were throughout Tyroleans collaborating, which Jakob Prandtauer had brought along from his homeland (Tyrol) to St. Pölten, for example, Paul Troger and Peter Widerin.
Maria Theresa and her son Joseph II: Their reforms in the city of the 18th Century also left a significant mark. School foundings as a result of compulsory education, the dissolution of the monasteries and hereinafter – from 1785 – the new role of St. Pölten as a bishop’s seat are consequences of their policies.
1785 was also the year of a fundamental alteration of the old Council Constitution: The city judge was replaced by one magistrate consisting of five persons, at the head was a mayor. For the first mayor the painter Josef Hackl was chosen.
The 19th century
Despite the Napoleonic Wars – St. Pölten in 1805 and 1809 was occupied by the French – and despite the state bankruptcy of 1811, increased the number of businesses constantly, although the economic importance of the city for the time being did not go beyond the near vicinity.
Against the background of monitoring by the state secret police, which prevented any political commitment between the Congress of Vienna and the 1848 revolution, the citizens withdrew into private life. Sense of family, fostering of domestic music, prominent salon societies in which even a Franz Schubert socialized, or the construction of the city theater were visible signs of this attitude.
The economic upswing of the city did not begin until after the revolution of the year 1848. A prerequisite for this was the construction of the Empress Elisabeth Western Railway, moving Vienna, Linz, soon Salzburg, too, in a reachable distance. The city walls were pulled down, St. Pölten could unfold. The convenient traffic situation favored factory start-ups, and so arose a lace factory, a revolver factory, a soap factory or, for example, as a precursor of a future large-scale enterprise, the braid, ribbon and Strickgarnerzeugung (knitting yarn production) of Matthias Salcher in Harland.
In other areas, too, the Gründerzeit (years of rapid industrial expansion in Germany – and Austria) in Sankt Pölten was honouring its name: The city got schools, a hospital, gas lanterns, canalization, hot springs and summer bath.
The 20th century
At the beginning of the 20th Century the city experienced another burst of development, initiated by the construction of the power station in 1903, because electricity was the prerequisite for the settlement of large companies. In particular, the companies Voith and Glanzstoff and the main workshop of the Federal Railways attracted many workers. New Traisen bridge, tram, Mariazell Railway and other infrastructure buildings were erected; St. Pölten obtained a synagogue. The Art Nouveau made it repeatedly into the urban architecture – just think of the Olbrich House – and inspired also the painting, as exponents worth to be mentioned are Ernst Stöhr or Ferdinand Andri.
What the outbreak of the First World War in broad outlines meant for the monarchy, on a smaller scale also St. Pölten has felt. The city was heavily impacted by the deployment of army units, a POW camp, a military hospital and a sick bay. Industrial enterprises were partly converted into war production, partly closed. Unemployment, housing emergency and food shortages long after the war still were felt painfully.
The 1919 to mayor elected Social Democrat Hubert Schnofl after the war tried to raise the standard of living of the people by improving the social welfare and health care. The founding of a housing cooperative (Wohnungsgenossenschaft), the construction of the water line and the establishment of new factories were further attempts to stimulate the stiffening economy whose descent could not be stopped until 1932.
After the National Socialist regime had stirred false hopes and plunged the world into war, St. Pölten was no longer the city as it has been before. Not only the ten devastating bombings of the last year of the war had left its marks, also the restrictive persecution of Jews and political dissidents had torn holes in the structure of the population. Ten years of Russian occupation subsequently did the rest to traumatize the population, but at this time arose from the ruins a more modern St. Pölten, with the new Traisen bridge, district heating, schools.
This trend continued, an era of recovery and modernization made the economic miracle palpable. Already in 1972 was – even if largely as a result of incorporations – exceeded the 50.000-inhabitant-limit.
Elevation to capital status (capital of Lower Austria), 10 July 1986: No other event in this dimension could have become the booster detonation of an up to now ongoing development thrust. Since then in a big way new residential and commercial areas were opened up, built infrastructure constructions, schools and universities brought into being to enrich the educational landscape. East of the Old Town arose the governmental and cultural district, and the list of architects wears sonorous names such as Ernst Hoffmann (NÖ (Lower Austria) Landhaus; Klangturm), Klaus Kada (Festspielhaus), Hans Hollein (Shedhalle and Lower Austrian Provincial Museum), Karin Bily, Paul Katzberger and Michael Loudon ( NÖ State Library and NÖ State Archive).
European Diploma, European flag, badge of honor, Europe Price: Between 1996 and 2001, received St. Pölten numerous appreciations of its EU commitment – as a sort of recognition of the Council of Europe for the dissemination of the EU-idea through international town twinnings, a major Europe exhibition or, for example, the establishment and chair of the "Network of European medium-sized cities".
On the way into the 21st century
Just now happened and already history: What the St. Pöltnern as just experienced sticks in their minds, travelers and newcomers within a short time should be told. The theater and the hospital handing over to the province of Lower Austria, a new mayor always on the go, who was able to earn since 2004 already numerous laurels (Tags: polytechnic, downtown enhancement, building lease scheme, bus concept) – all the recent changes are just now condensed into spoken and written language in order to make, from now on, the history of the young provincial capital in the 3rd millennium nachlesbar (checkable).
www.st-poelten.gv.at/Content.Node/freizeit-kultur/kultur/…

Posted by Josef Lex (El buen soldado Švejk) on 2014-02-13 16:12:44

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India – Maharashtra – Ajanta Caves – Cave 26 – 111bb

India - Maharashtra - Ajanta Caves - Cave 26 - 111bb

The Ajanta Caves (Ajiṇṭhā leni; Marathi: अजिंठा लेणी) in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India are about 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE. The caves include paintings and sculptures described by the government Archaeological Survey of India as "the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting", which are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales. The caves were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BCE, with the second group of caves built around 400–650 CE according to older accounts, or all in a brief period of 460 to 480 according to the recent proposals of Walter M. Spink. The site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India, and since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The caves are located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, near Jalgaon and just outside the village of Ajinṭhā 20°31′56″N 75°44′44″E), about 59 kilometres from Jalgaon railway station on the Delhi – Mumbai line and Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line of the Central Railway zone, and 104 kilometres from the city of Aurangabad. They are 100 kilometres from the Ellora Caves, which contain Hindu and Jain temples as well as Buddhist caves, the last dating from a period similar to Ajanta. The Ajanta caves are cut into the side of a cliff that is on the south side of a U-shaped gorge on the small river Waghur, and although they are now along and above a modern pathway running across the cliff they were originally reached by individual stairs or ladders from the side of the river 35 to 110 feet below.

The area was previously heavily forested, and after the site ceased to be used the caves were covered by jungle until accidentally rediscovered in 1819 by a British officer on a hunting party. They are Buddhist monastic buildings, apparently representing a number of distinct "monasteries" or colleges. The caves are numbered 1 to 28 according to their place along the path, beginning at the entrance. Several are unfinished and some barely begun and others are small shrines, included in the traditional numbering as e.g. "9A"; "Cave 15A" was still hidden under rubble when the numbering was done. Further round the gorge are a number of waterfalls, which when the river is high are audible from outside the caves.

The caves form the largest corpus of early Indian wall-painting; other survivals from the area of modern India are very few, though they are related to 5th-century paintings at Sigiriya in Sri Lanka. The elaborate architectural carving in many caves is also very rare, and the style of the many figure sculptures is highly local, found only at a few nearby contemporary sites, although the Ajanta tradition can be related to the later Hindu Ellora Caves and other sites.

HISTORY
Like the other ancient Buddhist monasteries, Ajanta had a large emphasis on teaching, and was divided into several different caves for living, education and worship, under a central direction. Monks were probably assigned to specific caves for living. The layout reflects this organizational structure, with most of the caves only connected through the exterior. The 7th-century travelling Chinese scholar Xuanzang informs us that Dignaga, a celebrated Buddhist philosopher and controversialist, author of well-known books on logic, lived at Ajanta in the 5th century. In its prime the settlement would have accommodated several hundred teachers and pupils. Many monks who had finished their first training may have returned to Ajanta during the monsoon season from an itinerant lifestyle.

The caves are generally agreed to have been made in two distinct periods, separated by several centuries.

CAVES OF THE FIRST (SATAVAHANA) PERIOD
The earliest group of caves consists of caves 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15A. According to Walter Spink, they were made during the period 100 BCE to 100 CE, probably under the patronage of the Satavahana dynasty (230 BCE – c. 220 CE) who ruled the region. Other datings prefer the period 300 BCE to 100 BCE, though the grouping of the earlier caves is generally agreed. More early caves may have vanished through later excavations. Of these, caves 9 and 10 are stupa halls of chaitya-griha form, and caves 12, 13, and 15A are vihāras (see the architecture section below for descriptions of these types). The first phase is still often called the Hinayāna phase, as it originated when, using traditional terminology, the Hinayāna or Lesser Vehicle tradition of Buddhism was dominant, when the Buddha was revered symbolically. However the use of the term Hinayana for this period of Buddhism is now deprecated by historians; equally the caves of the second period are now mostly dated too early to be properly called Mahayana, and do not yet show the full expanded cast of supernatural beings characteristic of that phase of Buddhist art. The first Satavahana period caves lacked figurative sculpture, emphasizing the stupa instead, and in the caves of the second period the overwhelming majority of images represent the Buddha alone, or narrative scenes of his lives.

Spink believes that some time after the Satavahana period caves were made the site was abandoned for a considerable period until the mid-5th century, probably because the region had turned mainly Hindu

CAVES OF THE LATER OR VAKATAKA PERIOD
The second phase began in the 5th century. For a long time it was thought that the later caves were made over a long period from the 4th to the 7th centuries CE, but in recent decades a series of studies by the leading expert on the caves, Walter M. Spink, have argued that most of the work took place over the very brief period from 460 to 480 CE, during the reign of Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka dynasty. This view has been criticized by some scholars, but is now broadly accepted by most authors of general books on Indian art, for example Huntington and Harle.

The second phase is still often called the Mahāyāna or Greater Vehicle phase, but scholars now tend to avoid this nomenclature because of the problems that have surfaced regarding our understanding of Mahāyāna.

Some 20 cave temples were simultaneously created, for the most part viharas with a sanctuary at the back. The most elaborate caves were produced in this period, which included some "modernization" of earlier caves. Spink claims that it is possible to establish dating for this period with a very high level of precision; a fuller account of his chronology is given below. Although debate continues, Spink’s ideas are increasingly widely accepted, at least in their broad conclusions. The Archaeological Survey of India website still presents the traditional dating: "The second phase of paintings started around 5th – 6th centuries A.D. and continued for the next two centuries". Caves of the second period are 1–8, 11, 14–29, some possibly extensions of earlier caves. Caves 19, 26, and 29 are chaitya-grihas, the rest viharas.

According to Spink, the Ajanta Caves appear to have been abandoned by wealthy patrons shortly after the fall of Harishena, in about 480 CE. They were then gradually abandoned and forgotten. During the intervening centuries, the jungle grew back and the caves were hidden, unvisited and undisturbed, although the local population were aware of at least some of them.

REDISCOVERY
On 28 April 1819, a British officer for the Madras Presidency, John Smith, of the 28th Cavalry, while hunting tiger, accidentally discovered the entrance to Cave No. 10 deep within the tangled undergrowth. There were local people already using the caves for prayers with a small fire, when he arrived. Exploring that first cave, long since a home to nothing more than birds and bats and a lair for other larger animals, Captain Smith vandalized the wall by scratching his name and the date, April 1819. Since he stood on a five-foot high pile of rubble collected over the years, the inscription is well above the eye-level gaze of an adult today. A paper on the caves by William Erskine was read to the Bombay Literary Society in 1822. Within a few decades, the caves became famous for their exotic setting, impressive architecture, and above all their exceptional, all but unique paintings. A number of large projects to copy the paintings were made in the century after rediscovery, covered below. In 1848 the Royal Asiatic Society established the "Bombay Cave Temple Commission" to clear, tidy and record the most important rock-cut sites in the Bombay Presidency, with John Wilson, as president. In 1861 this became the nucleus of the new Archaeological Survey of India. Until the Nizam of Hyderabad built the modern path between the caves, among other efforts to make the site easy to visit, a trip to Ajanta was a considerable adventure, and contemporary accounts dwell with relish on the dangers from falls off narrow ledges, animals and the Bhil people, who were armed with bows and arrows and had a fearsome reputation.

Today, fairly easily combined with Ellora in a single trip, the caves are the most popular tourist destination in Mahrashtra, and are often crowded at holiday times, increasing the threat to the caves, especially the paintings. In 2012, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation announced plans to add to the ASI visitor centre at the entrance complete replicas of caves 1, 2, 16 & 17 to reduce crowding in the originals, and enable visitors to receive a better visual idea of the paintings, which are dimly-lit and hard to read in the caves. Figures for the year to March 2010 showed a total of 390,000 visitors to the site, divided into 362,000 domestic and 27,000 foreign. The trends over the previous few years show a considerable growth in domestic visitors, but a decline in foreign ones; the year to 2010 was the first in which foreign visitors to Ellora exceeded those to Ajanta.

PAINTINGS
Mural paintings survive from both the earlier and later groups of caves. Several fragments of murals preserved from the earlier caves (Caves 9 and 11) are effectively unique survivals of court-led painting in India from this period, and "show that by Sātavāhana times, if not earlier, the Indian painter had mastered an easy and fluent naturalistic style, dealing with large groups of people in a manner comparable to the reliefs of the Sāñcī toraņa crossbars".

Four of the later caves have large and relatively well-preserved mural paintings which "have come to represent Indian mural painting to the non-specialist", and fall into two stylistic groups, with the most famous in Caves 16 and 17, and apparently later paintings in Caves 1 and 2. The latter group were thought to be a century or more later than the others, but the revised chronology proposed by Spink would place them much closer to the earlier group, perhaps contemporary with it in a more progressive style, or one reflecting a team from a different region. The paintings are in "dry fresco", painted on top of a dry plaster surface rather than into wet plaster.

All the paintings appear to be the work of painters at least as used to decorating palaces as temples, and show a familiarity with and interest in details of the life of a wealthy court. We know from literary sources that painting was widely practised and appreciated in the courts of the Gupta period. Unlike much Indian painting, compositions are not laid out in horizontal compartments like a frieze, but show large scenes spreading in all directions from a single figure or group at the centre. The ceilings are also painted with sophisticated and elaborate decorative motifs, many derived from sculpture. The paintings in cave 1, which according to Spink was commissioned by Harisena himself, concentrate on those Jataka tales which show previous lives of the Buddha as a king, rather than as an animal or human commoner, and so show settings from contemporary palace life.

In general the later caves seem to have been painted on finished areas as excavating work continued elsewhere in the cave, as shown in caves 2 and 16 in particular. According to Spink’s account of the chronology of the caves, the abandonment of work in 478 after a brief busy period accounts for the absence of painting in caves such as 4 and 17, the later being plastered in preparation for paintings that were never done.

COPIES
The paintings have deteriorated significantly since they were rediscovered, and a number of 19th-century copies and drawings are important for a complete understanding of the works. However, the earliest projects to copy the paintings were plagued by bad fortune. In 1846, Major Robert Gill, an Army officer from Madras presidency and a painter, was appointed by the Royal Asiatic Society to replicate the frescoes on the cave walls to exhibit these paintings in England. Gill worked on his painting at the site from 1844 to 1863 (though he continued to be based there until his death in 1875, writing books and photographing) and made 27 copies of large sections of murals, but all but four were destroyed in a fire at the Crystal Palace in London in 1866, where they were on display.

Another attempt was made in 1872 when the Bombay Presidency commissioned John Griffiths, then principal of the Bombay School of Art, to work with his students to make new copies, again for shipping to England. They worked on this for thirteen years and some 300 canvases were produced, many of which were displayed at the Imperial Institute on Exhibition Road in London, one of the forerunners of the Victoria and Albert Museum. But in 1885 another fire destroyed over a hundred paintings that were in storage. The V&A still has 166 paintings surviving from both sets, though none have been on permanent display since 1955. The largest are some 3 × 6 metres. A conservation project was undertaken on about half of them in 2006, also involving the University of Northumbria. Griffith and his students had unfortunately painted many of the paintings with "cheap varnish" in order to make them easier to see, which has added to the deterioration of the originals, as has, according to Spink and others, recent cleaning by the ASI.

A further set of copies were made between 1909 and 1911 by Christiana Herringham (Lady Herringham) and a group of students from the Calcutta School of Art that included the future Indian Modernist painter Nandalal Bose. The copies were published in full colour as the first publication of London’s fledgling India Society. More than the earlier copies, these aimed to fill in holes and damage to recreate the original condition rather than record the state of the paintings as she was seeing them. According to one writer, unlike the paintings created by her predecessors Griffiths and Gill, whose copies were influenced by British Victorian styles of painting, those of the Herringham expedition preferred an ‘Indian Renascence’ aesthetic of the type pioneered by Abanindranath Tagore.

Early photographic surveys were made by Robert Gill, who learnt to use a camera from about 1856, and whose photos, including some using stereoscopy, were used in books by him and Fergusson (many are available online from the British Library), then Victor Goloubew in 1911 and E.L. Vassey, who took the photos in the four volume study of the caves by Ghulam Yazdani (published 1930–1955).

ARCHITECTURE
The monasteries mostly consist of vihara halls for prayer and living, which are typically rectangular with small square dormitory cells cut into the walls, and by the second period a shrine or sanctuary at the rear centred on a large statue of the Buddha, also carved from the living rock. This change reflects the movement from Hinayana to Mahāyāna Buddhism. The other type of main hall is the narrower and higher chaitya hall with a stupa as the focus at the far end, and a narrow aisle around the walls, behind a range of pillars placed close together. Other plainer rooms were for sleeping and other activities. Some of the caves have elaborate carved entrances, some with large windows over the door to admit light. There is often a colonnaded porch or verandah, with another space inside the doors running the width of the cave.

The central square space of the interior of the viharas is defined by square columns forming a more or less square open area. Outside this are long rectangular aisles on each side, forming a kind of cloister. Along the side and rear walls are a number of small cells entered by a narrow doorway; these are roughly square, and have small niches on their back walls. Originally they had wooden doors. The centre of the rear wall has a larger shrine-room behind, containing a large Buddha statue. The viharas of the earlier period are much simpler, and lack shrines. Spink in fact places the change to a design with a shrine to the middle of the second period, with many caves being adapted to add a shrine in mid-excavation, or after the original phase.

The plan of Cave 1 shows one of the largest viharas, but is fairly typical of the later group. Many others, such as Cave 16, lack the vestibule to the shrine, which leads straight off the main hall. Cave 6 is two viharas, one above the other, connected by internal stairs, with sanctuaries on both levels.

The four completed chaitya halls are caves 9 and 10 from the early period, and caves 19 and 26 from the later period of construction. All follow the typical form found elsewhere, with high ceilings and a central "nave" leading to the stupa, which is near the back, but allows walking behind it, as walking around stupas was (and remains) a common element of Buddhist worship (pradakshina). The later two have high ribbed roofs, which reflect timber forms, and the earlier two are thought to have used actual timber ribs, which have now perished. The two later halls have a rather unusual arrangement (also found in Cave 10 at Ellora) where the stupa is fronted by a large relief sculpture of the Buddha, standing in Cave 19 and seated in Cave 26. Cave 29 is a late and very incomplete chaitya hall.

The form of columns in the work of the first period is very plain and un-embellished, with both chaitya halls using simple octagonal columns, which were painted with figures. In the second period columns were far more varied and inventive, often changing profile over their height, and with elaborate carved capitals, often spreading wide. Many columns are carved over all their surface, some fluted and others carved with decoration all over, as in cave 1.

The flood basalt rock of the cliff, part of the Deccan Traps formed by successive volcanic eruptions at the end of the Cretaceous, is layered horizontally, and somewhat variable in quality, so the excavators had to amend their plans in places, and in places there have been collapses in the intervening centuries, as with the lost portico to cave 1. Excavation began by cutting a narrow tunnel at roof level, which was expanded downwards and outwards; the half-built vihara cave 24 shows the method. Spink believes that for the first caves of the second period the excavators had to relearn skills and techniques that had been lost in the centuries since the first period, which were then transmitted to be used at later rock-cut sites in the region, such as Ellora, and the Elephanta, Bagh, Badami and Aurangabad Caves.

The caves from the first period seem to have been paid for by a number of different patrons, with several inscriptions recording the donation of particular portions of a single cave, but according to Spink the later caves were each commissioned as a complete unit by a single patron from the local rulers or their court elites. After the death of Harisena smaller donors got their chance to add small "shrinelets" between the caves or add statues to existing caves, and some two hundred of these "intrusive" additions were made in sculpture, with a further number of intrusive paintings, up to three hundred in cave 10 alone.

A grand gateway to the site, at the apex of the gorge’s horsehoe between caves 15 and 16, was approached from the river, and is decorated with elephants on either side and a nāga, or protective snake deity.

ICONOGRAPHY OF THE CAVES
In the pre-Christian era, the Buddha was represented symbolically, in the form of the stupa. Thus, halls were made with stupas to venerate the Buddha. In later periods the images of the Buddha started to be made in coins, relic caskets, relief or loose sculptural forms, etc. However, it took a while for the human representation of the Buddha to appear in Buddhist art. One of the earliest evidences of the Buddha’s human representations are found at Buddhist archaeological sites, such as Goli, Nagarjunakonda, and Amaravati. The monasteries of those sites were built in less durable media, such as wood, brick, and stone. As far as the genre of rock-cut architecture is concerned it took many centuries for the Buddha image to be depicted. Nobody knows for sure at which rock-cut cave site the first image of the Buddha was depicted. Current research indicates that Buddha images in a portable form, made of wood or stone, were introduced, for the first time, at Kanheri, to be followed soon at Ajanta Cave 8 (Dhavalikar, Jadhav, Spink, Singh). While the Kanheri example dates to 4th or 5th century CE, the Ajanta example has been dated to c. 462–478 CE (Spink). None of the rock-cut monasteries prior to these dates, and other than these examples, show any Buddha image although hundreds of rock-cut caves were made throughout India during the first few centuries CE. And, in those caves, it is the stupa that is the object of veneration, not the image. Images of the Buddha are not found in Buddhist sailagrhas (rock-cut complexes) until the times of the Kanheri (4th–5th century CE) and Ajanta examples (c. 462–478 CE).

The caves of the second period, now all dated to the 5th century, were typically described as "Mahayana", but do not show the features associated with later Mahayana Buddhism. Although the beginnings of Mahāyāna teachings go back to the 1st century there is little art and archaeological evidence to suggest that it became a mainstream cult for several centuries. In Mahayana it is not Gautama Buddha but the Bodhisattva who is important, including "deity" Bodhisattva like Manjushri and Tara, as well as aspects of the Buddha such as Aksobhya, and Amitabha. Except for a few Bodhisattva, these are not depicted at Ajanta, where the Buddha remains the dominant figure. Even the Bodhisattva images of Ajanta are never central objects of worship, but are always shown as attendants of the Buddha in the shrine. If a Bodhisattva is shown in isolation, as in the Astabhaya scenes, these were done in the very last years of activities at Ajanta, and are mostly ‘intrusive’ in nature, meaning that they were not planned by the original patrons, and were added by new donors after the original patrons had suddenly abandoned the region in the wake of Emperor Harisena’s death.

The contrast between iconic and aniconic representations, that is, the stupa on one hand and the image of the Buddha on the other, is now being seen as a construct of the modern scholar rather than a reality of the past. The second phase of Ajanta shows that the stupa and image coincided together. If the entire corpus of the art of Ajanta including sculpture, iconography, architecture, epigraphy, and painting are analysed afresh it will become clear that there was no duality between the symbolic and human forms of the Buddha, as far as the 5th-century phase of Ajanta is concerned. That is why most current scholars tend to avoid the terms ‘Hinayana’ and ‘Mahayana’ in the context of Ajanta. They now prefer to call the second phase by the ruling dynasty, as the Vākāţaka phase.

CAVES
CAVE 1
Cave 1 was built on the eastern end of the horse-shoe shaped scarp, and is now the first cave the visitor encounters. This would when first made have been a less prominent position, right at the end of the row. According to Spink, it is one of the latest caves to have been excavated, when the best sites had been taken, and was never fully inaugurated for worship by the dedication of the Buddha image in the central shrine. This is shown by the absence of sooty deposits from butter lamps on the base of the shrine image, and the lack of damage to the paintings that would have been happened if the garland-hooks around the shrine had been in use for any period of time. Although there is no epigraphic evidence, Spink believes that the Vākāţaka Emperor Harishena was the benefactor of the work, and this is reflected in the emphasis on imagery of royalty in the cave, with those Jakata tales being selected that tell of those previous lives of the Buddha in which he was royal.

The cliff has a more steep slope here than at other caves, so to achieve a tall grand facade it was necessary to cut far back into the slope, giving a large courtyard in front of the facade. There was originally a columned portico in front of the present facade, which can be seen "half-intact in the 1880s" in pictures of the site, but this fell down completely and the remains, despite containing fine carving, were carelessly thrown down the slope into the river, from where they have been lost, presumably carried away in monsoon torrents.

This cave has one of the most elaborate carved façades, with relief sculptures on entablature and ridges, and most surfaces embellished with decorative carving. There are scenes carved from the life of the Buddha as well as a number of decorative motifs. A two pillared portico, visible in the 19th-century photographs, has since perished. The cave has a front-court with cells fronted by pillared vestibules on either side. These have a high plinth level. The cave has a porch with simple cells on both ends. The absence of pillared vestibules on the ends suggest that the porch was not excavated in the latest phase of Ajanta when pillared vestibules had become a necessity and norm. Most areas of the porch were once covered with murals, of which many fragments remain, especially on the ceiling. There are three doorways: a central doorway and two side doorways. Two square windows were carved between the doorways to brighten the interiors.

Each wall of the hall inside is nearly 12 m long and 6.1 m high. Twelve pillars make a square colonnade inside supporting the ceiling, and creating spacious aisles along the walls. There is a shrine carved on the rear wall to house an impressive seated image of the Buddha, his hands being in the dharmachakrapravartana mudra. There are four cells on each of the left, rear, and the right walls, though due to rock fault there are none at the ends of the rear aisle. The walls are covered with paintings in a fair state of preservation, though the full scheme was never completed. The scenes depicted are mostly didactic, devotional, and ornamental, with scenes from the Jataka stories of the Buddha’s former existences as a bodhisattva), the life of the Gautama Buddha, and those of his veneration. The two most famous individual painted images at Ajanta are the two over-life size figures of the protective bodhisattvas Padmapani and Vajrapani on either side of the entrance to the Buddha shrine on the wall of the rear aisle (see illustrations above). According to Spink, the original dating of the paintings to about 625 arose largely or entirely because James Fegusson, a 19th-century architectural historian, had decided that a scene showing an ambassador being received, with figures in Persian dress, represented a recorded embassy to Persia (from a Hindu monarch at that) around that date.

CAVE 2
Cave 2, adjacent to Cave 1, is known for the paintings that have been preserved on its walls, ceilings, and pillars. It looks similar to Cave 1 and is in a better state of preservation.

Cave 2 has a porch quite different from Cave one. Even the façade carvings seem to be different. The cave is supported by robust pillars, ornamented with designs. The front porch consists of cells supported by pillared vestibules on both ends. The cells on the previously "wasted areas" were needed to meet the greater housing requirements in later years. Porch-end cells became a trend in all later Vakataka excavations. The simple single cells on porch-ends were converted into CPVs or were planned to provide more room, symmetry, and beauty.

The paintings on the ceilings and walls of this porch have been widely published. They depict the Jataka tales that are stories of the Buddha’s life in former existences as Bodhisattva. Just as the stories illustrated in cave 1 emphasize kingship, those in cave 2 show many "noble and powerful" women in prominent roles, leading to suggestions that the patron was an unknown woman. The porch’s rear wall has a doorway in the center, which allows entrance to the hall. On either side of the door is a square-shaped window to brighten the interior.

The hall has four colonnades which are supporting the ceiling and surrounding a square in the center of the hall. Each arm or colonnade of the square is parallel to the respective walls of the hall, making an aisle in between. The colonnades have rock-beams above and below them. The capitals are carved and painted with various decorative themes that include ornamental, human, animal, vegetative, and semi-divine forms.

Paintings appear on almost every surface of the cave except for the floor. At various places the art work has become eroded due to decay and human interference. Therefore, many areas of the painted walls, ceilings, and pillars are fragmentary. The painted narratives of the Jataka tales are depicted only on the walls, which demanded the special attention of the devotee. They are didactic in nature, meant to inform the community about the Buddha’s teachings and life through successive rebirths. Their placement on the walls required the devotee to walk through the aisles and ‘read’ the narratives depicted in various episodes. The narrative episodes are depicted one after another although not in a linear order. Their identification has been a core area of research since the site’s rediscovery in 1819. Dieter Schlingloff’s identifications have updated our knowledge on the subject.

CAVE 4
The Archeological Survey of India board outside the caves gives the following detail about cave 4: "This is the largest monastery planned on a grandiose scale but was never finished. An inscription on the pedestal of the buddha’s image mentions that it was a gift from a person named Mathura and paleographically belongs to 6th century A.D. It consists of a verandah, a hypostylar hall, sanctum with an antechamber and a series of unfinished cells. The rear wall of the verandah contains the panel of Litany of Avalokiteśvara".

The sanctuary houses a colossal image of the Buddha in preaching pose flanked by bodhisattvas and celestial nymphs hovering above.

CAVES 9-10
Caves 9 and 10 are the two chaitya halls from the first period of construction, though both were also undergoing an uncompleted reworking at the end of the second period. Cave 10 was perhaps originally of the 1st century BCE, and cave 9 about a hundred years later. The small "shrinelets" called caves 9A to 9D and 10A also date from the second period, and were commissioned by individuals.

The paintings in cave 10 include some surviving from the early period, many from an incomplete programme of modernization in the second period, and a very large number of smaller late intrusive images, nearly all Buddhas and many with donor inscriptions from individuals. These mostly avoided over-painting the "official" programme and after the best positions were used up are tucked away in less prominent positions not yet painted; the total of these (including those now lost) was probably over 300, and the hands of many different artists are visible.

OTHER CAVES
Cave 3 is merely a start of an excavation; according to Spink it was begun right at the end of the final period of work and soon abandoned. Caves 5 and 6 are viharas, the latter on two floors, that were late works of which only the lower floor of cave 6 was ever finished. The upper floor of cave 6 has many private votive sculptures, and a shrine Buddha, but is otherwise unfinished. Cave 7 has a grand facade with two porticos but, perhaps because of faults in the rock, which posed problems in many caves, was never taken very deep into the cliff, and consists only of the two porticos and a shrine room with antechamber, with no central hall. Some cells were fitted in.

Cave 8 was long thought to date to the first period of construction, but Spink sees it as perhaps the earliest cave from the second period, its shrine an "afterthought". The statue may have been loose rather than carved from the living rock, as it has now vanished. The cave was painted, but only traces remain.

SPINK´S DETAILED CHRONOLOGY
Walter M. Spink has over recent decades developed a very precise and circumstantial chronology for the second period of work on the site, which unlike earlier scholars, he places entirely in the 5th century. This is based on evidence such as the inscriptions and artistic style, combined with the many uncompleted elements of the caves. He believes the earlier group of caves, which like other scholars he dates only approximately, to the period "between 100 BCE – 100 CE", were at some later point completely abandoned and remained so "for over three centuries", as the local population had turned mainly Hindu. This changed with the accession of the Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka Dynasty, who reigned from 460 to his death in 477. Harisena extended the Central Indian Vakataka Empire to include a stretch of the east coast of India; the Gupta Empire ruled northern India at the same period, and the Pallava dynasty much of the south.

According to Spink, Harisena encouraged a group of associates, including his prime minister Varahadeva and Upendragupta, the sub-king in whose territory Ajanta was, to dig out new caves, which were individually commissioned, some containing inscriptions recording the donation. This activity began in 462 but was mostly suspended in 468 because of threats from the neighbouring Asmaka kings. Work continued on only caves 1, Harisena’s own commission, and 17–20, commissioned by Upendragupta. In 472 the situation was such that work was suspended completely, in a period that Spink calls "the Hiatus", which lasted until about 475, by which time the Asmakas had replaced Upendragupta as the local rulers.

Work was then resumed, but again disrupted by Harisena’s death in 477, soon after which major excavation ceased, except at cave 26, which the Asmakas were sponsoring themselves. The Asmakas launched a revolt against Harisena’s son, which brought about the end of the Vakataka Dynasty. In the years 478–480 major excavation by important patrons was replaced by a rash of "intrusions" – statues added to existing caves, and small shrines dotted about where there was space between them. These were commissioned by less powerful individuals, some monks, who had not previously been able to make additions to the large excavations of the rulers and courtiers. They were added to the facades, the return sides of the entrances, and to walls inside the caves. According to Spink, "After 480, not a single image was ever made again at the site", and as Hinduism again dominated the region, the site was again abandoned, this time for over a millennium.

Spink does not use "circa" in his dates, but says that "one should allow a margin of error of one year or perhaps even two in all cases".

IMPACT ON MODERN INDIAN PAINTINGS
The Ajanta paintings, or more likely the general style they come from, influenced painting in Tibet and Sri Lanka.

The rediscovery of ancient Indian paintings at Ajanta provided Indian artists examples from ancient India to follow. Nandlal Bose experimented with techniques to follow the ancient style which allowed him to develop his unique style. Abanindranath Tagore also used the Ajanta paintings for inspiration.

WIKIPEDIA

Posted by asienman on 2017-06-26 20:57:41

Tagged: , India , Maharashtra , Ajanta Caves , Cave 26 , asienman-photography , asienman-photoart

After carfully selecting a bejewelled victim, Angie makes her move!

After carfully selecting a bejewelled  victim, Angie makes her move!

Case Study 113 : Warning, these are the raw, bare unusual occurrences as originally chronicled. Some names, times, places and some facts have been, of course, altered.
Name: Angelica D circa 192__
Subject: an unscrupulous light-fingered body thief
Event: Posh Wedding Reception
Place: Upstate New York
Time: Warm early Autumn Saturday

Angie Being Receptive
Story line:

Angie had heard about the affair, a wedding, from a list of prospective functions provided by a discreetly paid contact. It was being given for the only daughter of a wealthy politician (as if there were any non-wealthy ones!) Angie had happily invited herself to the affair, carefully dressing up in her best for the special occasion!

**
Wedding receptions were by far Angie’s favorite hunting grounds. During the season there could be anywhere from upwards of 20 high end affaires every weekend in the bigger cities, and always 2 or 3 in even the smallest of towns.
Wedding s were usually easy pickings: free food, drink and entertainment, and seldom worn jewelry made for a ready-made mix for Angie to ply her trade. For Angelica D. was a uniquely skilled pickpocket, specializing in the removal for profit of the expensive jewelry worn by the (usually be -gowned) women and young ladies’ who hauntingly dwelt in societies upper crust!
So Weddings, by their nature, were the desirable choice for Angie. One only had to avoid the Bride, her Bridesmaids, and their court, which were usually the major focus of any security present. However, there were plenty of opportunities to be had by employing her special bag of tricks on the outlaying fringe.
Angie had arrived early at the mammoth facility, to scout out the establishment and to scope out who was wearing what. Used to these affairs either being feast or famine, she could quickly tell that in this one there was cooking up a devouring banquet.
**
After Angie had entered the mammoth reception room it did not take her long to spy her first plump prospect, nicely loaded with possibilities. It was a lady, bearing a haughty look, who had been making a b-line through the crowd as way was parted for her. She was wearing a luxuriously long rusty coloured sable fur coat that hid most of her long crimson -red satin gown. What Jewels were visible, ears, fingers and wrist, were all flashing with pricy fire. In tow she held the hand of a young girl, obviously her daughter, wearing actual makeup, which, along with her fetching gown and brite jewelry, made her appear far older than she was. A handsome man , looking like the actor William Powell in a tux, followed behind the pair, husband and father, Angie presumed. She shadowed the little family as they swished their way to a corner table, conveniently located by a rear exit, for a better look over. Her fingers had started with an all too familiar tingle as she took it all in.
**
The husband helped his wife out of the sable, laying it carefully along a bench against the wall. Angie was not disappointed. A silver necklace of large matched diamonds gracefully encircled her throat. A dazzling blood ruby and diamond brooch held up the center of her gown, positioned just below the bust line. Brooches, like this one, were worth a lot once fenced, but its placement required a little more dexterity and skill than she was willing to risk. In actuality, Angie had only attempted twice before to take a brooch pinned to a gown in this fashion. She had only been successful one of those times, only to find out it was a pretty piece of paste.( Years later, as Angie’s talents became more polished, relieving ladies of their dangling brooches, like this blood ruby, became her specialty.. the Eds.) Angie’s eyes moved on. The rest of the snooty lady’s jewels matched her necklace. Long earrings, free clipped, dangling brightly from her earlobe s. A pair of wide ruby bracelets clasped tightly home around elegant red elbow length satin gloves, sparkled devastatingly, matching her brooch. Her long fingers were home to a pair of ruby and diamond rings and a third ring set with a gold band and a vulgarly large solitaire diamond.
**
Angie’s attention turned to the daughter, whom had been helped by her Father , squirming, from the chocolate coloured satin cape that she had been wearing. The youngster, all of about 10, was wearing a cream coloured long puffy sleeved dress with a brown satin sash encircling her waist that matched her Cape. The young lady possessed impossible large bright eyes. The only thing that held more shine than those doe like eyes had been the antique rhinestone diamond necklace that fell dripping ever so invitingly down the front of the precious little imp’s rich glossy gown. The rest of her matching rhinestones (obviously belonging to the child’s mother) consisted of an engaging display of a bracelet, pair of dangling, screwed on clasp earrings, and matching rings encircling a chubby finger one on each hand. It all gleamed brightly, invitingly from her svelte girlish figure. A large round pin held her sash up in place; it sparkled with what looked like a ring consisting of one caret diamonds, as unlikely as it was they could be real.
**
The two females of the family presented a pretty package indeed. Not one to pass up an invite that alluring, Angie walked by , with the pretext of heading to a back exit behind the table the little family had staked, just so she could get a closer peek.
**
Angie’s practiced eye took in a wealth of information during the few seconds it took her to walk up and pass the group, so involved with themselves they never even looked her way. Her attention focused upon the young mother first scoping head to toe.
**
Angie scrutinized the brooch; it was definitely worth the effort. In her mind’s eye, Angie envisioned the mother as a stumbling drunk “bumping into” Angie. Fingers whisking along the slippery lustrously softness of the gown, as the lady was steadied. Angie would accept the women apologies and the pair would part their ways, Angie from the young mother, and the magnificent brooch from the rich satiny red gown. But then the mother raised her head, looking up past Angie, towards a commotion being made behind her. Typical Angie thought, she doesn’t recognize me, so I don’t exist, like some sort of servant. But it was as she caught the young mother in full profile that she realized this lady looked strikingly similar to another woman who had been wearing an expensive dress of teal charmeuse that Angie had had been having a long conversation with, while relieving the woman’s finger of a costly diamond sapphire ring. It had happened only just last weekend at a formal function, and Angie figured she may have not recognized her in passing, but may if Angie were to use one of her approaches again with the intent of taking some of her jewelry, he memory may be jarred, and she may remember her missing ring. This was why Angie only allowed herself to ply her trade for no more than a month in any given place per year. This was from a lesson she had learned early on in her career. And so, for that reason alone, Angie decided to, at least temporarily, abandon any designs she had on the young mother’s brooch, allowing her devious intentions to evaporate from her mind like smoke on the wind. There were plenty more fish in the sea she told herself.
**
Angie still allowed herself a quick appraisal of the squirming 10 year old. She admired the glossy dress of slippery satin that her mother had conveniently dressed her daughter up in, as it fell spilling down to her black open toed shoes. Angie’s fingers started to tingle; this was a perfect tickling gown. Angie liked to think of any long dress or gown that swept down to a females heels as a” tickling gown”. All it took was a strategically placed foot timed with a well place nudge to send the chosen victim tumbling. During the ensuing diversion, Angie would use her long subtle fingers to swiftly probe along the gowned figure, tickling she like to call it due to the tingling sensation of the usually rich material of the victim’s attire. In this fashion, a pre-targeted piece of valuable jewelry could then be easily acquired, no matter what its placement had been on the unfortunate female. If only the chatty youngster had something on better than rhinestones. It was a crying shame to have a child that young dolled up like an adult, but not wearing adult jewels.
**
Angie continued to walk past, unseen, and went out the door. She found herself in a large serenity garden of roses and shrubs, surrounded by a 10 foot high well-trimmed hedge. The sort of garden one usually found in those days around upscale Churches. The only exit was a gate leading onto the parking lot on the side of the church. Here was positioned a solitary, lonely guard in a neat little guard hut. In the opposite, far corner was a statue of Cupid, arrow drawn, standing above a display of blooming moss roses at the end opposite to the gate. There was always potential in places like these.
**
Angie had started to walk over to the Cupid statue when she heard the exit door open. Turning, she saw the young girl, whose mother’s brooch Angie had been scoping out, looking out the door. She snuck through, running out alone, silky tickling gown swishing out behind her. Her heart leapt to her throat as she watched the girls rhinestones sparkle radiantly. She actually turned to head towards the path the unsuspecting child was running up, flexing her fingers as she contemplating a little warm up practice. Angie watched as the dolled up imps necklace flashed with pinpricks of coloure as it bounced to and fro as she ran happily up the path .Angie turned her back to the girl, waiting to hear the telltale click of her heels come up just behind her. She would then move, bumping into the girl as she passed, tripping her to the ground. After which Angie would help her up, removing the girl’s fancy necklace in the process. Come to Mama Angie whispered under her breath, waiting to make her move as the skipping heels grew ever louder.
**
But then Angie froze, hearing the clicking of the exit door again opening behind her. She checked her stride letting the daughter slither past without a glance. She headed again towards the statue, watching her prize move on ahead. Then she heard the father in the background calling out to his little princess. The youngster turned, and ran back, beaming at Angie as she passed. Angie smiled back, her eyes again traveling to the girls neckline, and the sparkling jewelry the outlined her throat. It had been a silly thought she chided herself, as the girl passed from view. If only the necklace had been real, and the father about ten minutes later in discovering his daughter absence. It would have been an unbelievably easy pluck and she could be out the gate before anyone was the wiser. And the best part was that they would probably believe the scampering girl had just lost it in the garden. And, while the parents were looking about, Angie would have been free to renter to ply her trade again. As it was, it was silly of Angie, risking her opportunity on a child’s bauble worth a mere pittance compared to some of the other offerings so readily being flaunted this evening by her adult counterparts.
**
Angie continued her casual stroll through the Garden, happily playing over in her mind some of the jewels that she would like to see adorning the female guests inside, and the scenarios she may be using to acquire them
**
Finding herself approaching the guard hut, she allowed herself a glance back. Jealously she watched the father, who had caught and was carrying his slippery attired daughter, heading back inside. How Angie wished she had been the one carrying the squirming little imp, it would have been like a smorgasbord, with jewels instead of food. Pity her mother had not put the good stuff on the daughter, she sighed to herself. Tonight she would have to work for her butter. She walked past the bored guard, nodding at him, receiving a rather lecherous look in return. A smile was forming across her cunning face, for now it was time to get down to the real business at hand.
**
The affair turned out to be quite a showcase for the very rich. Who were indiscreetly flaunting their riches, trying to outdo one another, probably for the benefit of the politicians’ attention? Certainly not for the attention of the designer satin gowned and flashy diamonded daughter, whom most of the guests hardly knew, or had ever met.
**
Angie always felt like a little kid in a candy shoppe at these lavish affairs.
She spent the first part of the reception mingling and thoroughly enjoying the show her the reception’s guests were u wittingly putting on. Angie, wearing no jewels herself, was something of an anomaly compared to her fellow guests.
**
There were over a thousand luxuriously coloured, squawking female birds and their young chicks pompously displaying valuable finery, oblivious of the cat amongst them waiting to pounce. Angie patently mingled, watching as the adult guests had their fill of food and drink.
Once their guard began to relax, Angie raised hers’, her probingly skillful fingers now more than prepared to begin and ply her trade. For the more they imbibed, the less guarded they were, both about themselves and their female offspring. Angie would start with the adults, 2 or 3 of the right pieces of jewelry, once acquired, and would mean she could call it a night and have enough to support her for a solid month. If she came up empty in that department, her back up would then center on the female off-spring, daughters and nieces.
Most of said offspring would be by then scattered about, aware that their parents were no longer paying them any heed, exploring and playing, sporting their fancy satin gowns, silken dresses, and their dainty jewelry, ripe for the picking. Giving pickpockets like Angie endless opportunity to ply their trade on them, once they had finished working through the adults. Or if the thieves were beginners, plenty of easy practice while “learning the ropes!”
**
Now, when Angie herself was just starting out as a young pickpocket, she stumbled across a treatise written by a man using the pseudonym “Gaston Monescu”. Written around 1826, entitled the Cutpurse: skilles, artes and Secretes of the Dip, it covered the various tactics and moves used by master pickpockets.

Angie had studied it religiously, especially a ploy called the “Necklace Flimp.” This tactic was primarily used for body thieves working alone. Angie had been surprised to learn that a pickpocket could raise his/her skill level above just acquiring wallets. Having the ability to lift a woman’s necklace amazed her, not to mention the profit that could be realized. With practice, Angie had found that not only was it a good technique for acquiring necklaces, but it worked for other pieces of worn jewelry as well.

It was relatively simple process, but took a long time to master.
First part was to employ psychology and watch the potential victim for the unique movements and quirks in their personality and actions that could provide an opportunity for her skills. Then observe the selected piece the victim wore, for value, type of clasp, make, and accessibility. The second part was to employ a bump, slip, or grasp, and in one motion, flick open the studied clasp and send the piece away from the body by either pulling and palming, or dropping it to the floor or ground for retrieval later. If she was noticed, it was “sorry, miss, very clumsy of me” “here let me get if for you, no harm done?” Then walk away and let the waters settle before trying yet again (sometimes even on the same person!)

Angie had practiced the jewelry flimp until she had the technique totally mastered. Starting out first on specially dressed up mannequins in her apartment, than trying it on small pieces of cheap baubles worn by real women in crowded streets and stores. Then on younger, less guarded, better jewelry wearing young girls attending proms and social dances. Young looking for her age at the time, Angie had fit right in amongst them. Then, finally, she graduated to lifting the better jewels of the older, wealthy women attending society’s finer parties and receptions. And it was this path that led her here today, and would also lead several unlucky females to report missing jewelry to their respective insurance companies.
**
See Album “Angie having a Ball” for additional background on our master thief with the light fingers.
**
Angie now eagerly employed those useful talents learned from monsieur Monescu’s little pamphlet at the wedding reception. She mingled freely, carrying around a drink that never touched her lips. She watched and learned, her trained eyes missing very little. Soon, like that hypothetical kid in a candy shoppe, Angie’s head was spinning from so much to choose from that she really could not make any easy choice. So, she waited and watched patiently, knowing opportunity would knock.

**

Then, like it usually happened with Angie, the first genuine opportunity unexpectedly presented herself. Angie literally was run into a rather awkward, spindly lady in thick glasses clad in a fetchingly expensive costume consisting of a thick silver satin blouse with hanging ruffles down its front, combined with a long rustling tiered skirt that swept down to the top of her open toed silver high heels. Her diamond jewelry shone with exuberant flames as they caught the light from the many chandeliers that hung from the vaulted ceiling. The lady expressed frantically her apologies, placing a hand with well ringed fingers on Angie’s shoulder, where they sparkled merrily. No worries Angie said smiling, her eyes taking it all in without appearing to move. She let the frazzled lady leave, allowing her a head start, it was only sporting to do so.
**
Angie shadowed her quarry for a while, seemingly rewarded for her efforts when the lady managed to spill a bit of her drink down on her skirt. In a show of flashing silvery satin and diamonds ,she retreated and disappeared into a nearby powder room, with Angie following eagerly, opportunity knocking.
**
As Angie grabbed onto the closing powder room door, a mid- twenty something girl in a deep green velvet gown came out. Her only jewelry was a wide diamond bracelet wrapped around a wrist of the matching long green gloves she wore. Angie caught it out of the corner of her eye, realizing that it was as expensive as it was bright. But it was her friend, a willowy short haired pretty young thing in a glamorous Chocolate Satin gown that made Angie’s jaw drop. Her jewels, like her friends, were also sparse, but enormously pricy. The long white satin gloves that graced her hands and arms also held matching bracelets, thin, but each one worth the effort. But her real eye catcher was the row of authentic, one caret white diamonds that were rippling exquisite fire along her throat. Angie held the door for them, nodding to as they passed. Noses in the air, they did not appear to notice Angie. Then, with the ladies backs to her, Angie abandoned Miss silver satin and turned to follow. Angie got in behind the two with the intention of getting a closure examination of the clasp of the fiery diamond necklace Miss Chocolate satin was wearing.
**
However, Angie never got her closer look. For at that moment the tossing of the bride’s boutique was announced and Angie was overwhelmed by a mad dash of single ladies heading for the bride. On a lark she allowed herself to be swept along, losing sight of Miss Chocolate satin, but found herself right smack behind Miss Green velvet and her cheerfully sparkling diamond bracelet, a beautifully expensive piece that would have cost someone a king’s ransom. Angie’s fingers began their all too familiar tingling, eager for a chance to acquire jewelry that valuable, but not for any king, just for herself!
**
Though the night was still relatively early, and Angie still had visions of those exquisite rippling diamonds of the pretty Miss in chocolate satin on her mind, she simply could not pass up this opportunity. Angie wedged herself close behind her chosen victim as the multitude of hopeful young women pressed forward to try their luck. As the Bride teased her guests before getting ready to toss her bouquet of white and red roses, Angie expertly scrutinized the bracelet as it dangled from the green velvet glove. When the bride finally turned her back and raised her arms every one of the richly clad single women’s eyes was focused on the bride’s bouquet, Angie’s eyes were fixated on the bracelet. With the music playing loud, the crowd giggling and laughing, and all eyes focused on the gorgeously outfitted young long haired bride, Angie again felt opportunity knocking. Her pulse beating in rhythm with the music, she made ready to seize the chance when it presented itself. The roses flew through the air and all the women raised their hands high, looking all for the world like being involved in a stick-up. Angie timed it perfectly, snapping the clasp, and snatching the bracelet easily away from the gloved wrist of its owner as she raised her arms high to grab at the boutique. In her excitement, shared by everyone, Miss Green velvet ( who did not catch the bouget of roses) never felt a thing. Angie had smirked as she left the giggling group, stowing securely the purloined diamonds, as she imagined what it would have been like to watch that group robbed in a mass stick-up. The money that some enterprising soul could have made from that haul would have been astronomical.
**
She went to the open bar, lighting her first cigarette; she ordered her first real drink of the night. She could feel the coolness of the weighty bracelet in its hiding spot, and Angie, pleased with herself, calmly sipped her drink as she relished in the moment. The toss of the Brides Boutique was, in Angie’s experienced opinion, one of the three common events occurring during a wedding reception that were fertilely prime times for pickpocketing. (Editor’s note.. Miss D. mysteriously never divulged what she considered the other two prime events to be….)
**
She looked about without a worry in the world, coolly watching the antics of some of the younger women on the dance floor. She spied the young miss in the green velvet gown over in a corner talking in an animated fashion with several other women. Green velvet gown’s now bare velvet glove, apparently not noticed by anyone but Angie. One of her group was displaying some bright emeralds peeking through the long silver fur she was wearing, obviously she was leaving, and she was talking excitedly about something to the group formed around her! Nowhere in sight was Miss chocolate satin, too bad, Angie would have loved another peek before leaving.
Angie watched around the room causally, as the cold bracelet pressed expensively against her figure from its hiding spot. She eventually lost track of green velvet and her friends while finishing her drink. Setting down the empty glass, she decided it was time to call it a night. The bracelet now in her possession was easily worth as much as the 2 or 3 separate pieces she usually acquired at functions like these, added together! And, she needed her rest, Angie had a couple of plans the next day, one revolving around the female guests who would be attending an upscale afternoon prom fashion show a, the other, an evening opera performance (invited guests only, and her contact had managed to supply a ticket, at a hefty price!) No rest for the wicked, Angie told herself.
**
On her way out of the main lobby, she found herself leaving behind the very lady in green velvet whose bracelet was now in Angie’s possession. She was with the same gaggle of her similarly dressed friends, including the one exhibiting the emeralds. However, miss chocolate satin was still not visible. They were laughing and joking as they collected their assorted pretty wraps, obviously heading for a nightclub. If she had not already relieved one of them of a bauble, Angie might have invited herself along, if only to have a go at some emeralds. Angie hesitated about leaving withy them, then shrugged, followed the group out the door past the pair of bored rent a cops.
**
She remembered thinking, as she followed the elegant young princesses ,their fluid gowns peeking from under their various furs and wraps, how shallow the very rich could be. She wondered if Miss Green velvets friends had even noticed that she had had diamonds around the wrist of her glove, let alone that they were now missing. She wondered how long it would be before the bracelets loss was discovered. She figured it would be several hours, long enough for its owner not to be sure what place they had been lost. As young Miss Green velvet fancy gown and her friends turned right outside the exit, Angie turned left, heading towards the guard hut at the entrance to the garden.
She decided not to follow them but rather circle around the outside of the garden to give her victim time to leave.
**
That simple decision to make a left turn proved to be a major turning point in Angie’s fortunes that evening.
**
As Angie passed the hut guarding the entrance to the serenity garden, she noticed it was deserted.
It was as she was looking it over, that she heard the sounds of clicking heels moving fast, followed by the sounds of a young girl giggling. On the alert she stole to the backside of the hut, soon spying a splash of something blue and silky between the gaps of a couple of large bushes. Her senses on their highest peak, she began to move cautiously in, hoping the female making the noise would be in need of aid and comfort perhaps.
**
She soon spotted a young lady of about 14 bending over, hands on her knees as she panted heavily. Her back was to Angie, and what pretty back it was. She was nicely attired in a long gown of shiny material dyed deep blue like an afternoon, cloudless summer sky. The gown cascaded down along her petite figure, spilling out on the ground around her feet. Her hair was pulled back, easily displaying a pair of small diamond and sapphire earrings, not rhinestones for this one, but the real McCoy. Around one finger was a gold ring with sapphires, and from her left wrist dangled a thin silver bracelet with a row of diamond chips, both pretty, both valuably real. But it was her last piece of visible jewelry that stole the show. It hung, swinging to and from her neck on a thick braided chain of solid silver. On its end, like a hypnotists prism, was a silver pendent in the shape of a flower, with 1 inch long, pear shaped real diamonds as petals and a fully 2 inch in circumference center stone of deep sea blue. Angie watched it, her eyes following it for a full minute, its expensive fire sealing its own fate as Angie began flexing her fingers. Angie took her eyes off of it and looked around to see why the princess had been running. But all was still as the girl continued to peek through the branches towards the back door leading into the hall. Angie silently approached, and walking up to the pretty miss she bent down and in a friendly tone, asked who she was running from.
**
I played a joke on my sister, and now I’m hiding from her, piped the girl breathlessly, as Angie placed a hand upon the girls shoulder in a conspiratorial fashion, said shoulder made silky soft by the gowns half sleeve.
**
I know a better place where you can hide from her, Angie whispered in the girl’s ear, the dangling earring ever so close to her lips. The girl looked up, smiling, and Angie pointed towards the guard hut, and as the girl looked, Angie’s fingers glided up along the silky shoulder and lifted the thick silver chain up from the back of the gowns’ scooped collar. Come Angie said, and as the girl rose Angie’s fingers nimbly flicked open the chains’ lobster clasp, holding onto the clasp as the other end of the chain slipped down, allowing the pendent to slide free and fall onto the grass at the girls feet, where it lay shimmering. Angie moved her hand to the girls shoulder, squeezing it, while slipping off the braided silver chain with her other hand, whisking it back and away from the guileless young girl. Angie led her princess away from the spot and walked with her to the guard’s hut, still empty, where she had her hide neath the counter.
**
Angie turned and went back to claim the pendent, there still was no sign of any sister. She secured the pendent, joining it with the chain and bracelet, and headed deeper into garden. Her plan was to watch the hut and see which way the girl went after getting bored waiting. But as she skirted the perimeter her plans were changed when, upon rounding a corner of the path at the far end, she saw yet another back belonging to a solitary lady in her late thirties, clad in a long slinky yellow coloured gown of expensively shiny taffeta, bending over to smell the yellow roses on a bush. Instinctively Angie knew two things about her. One was that whatever jewels this lady would be wearing, they would be expensive, and the other was that with an expensive gown like that; the lady would undoubtedly be wearing her jewels. Angie suddenly became aware that her fingers were tingling, as an all too familiar whelming feeling again delightfully washed over her.
**
Angie found herself automatically turning back onto the garden path. She headed around the women and went down to the cupid’s statue, where now out of sight, she carefully hid the purloined bracelet, and still warm fiery pendent and its ‘fancy silvery braided chain..
**
She then headed towards the unsuspecting flower admirer. The ladies’ long brunette hair had fallen, flowing down the backside of her shiny taffeta gown. Angie could see rings and a bracelet gleaming as she was holding up the rose to her face. A long double rope of pearls hung swaying deliciously from her throat. Coming up behind her Angie stood watching; calculating until the lady rose and with a start realized she was not alone.
**
Pretty Angie said, her eyes on the pearls now draping down the front of her marks yellow gown. They are lovely, are they not? The damsel responded thinking Angie was referring to the roses. Just like the ones in the park, my husband and I walked through on our way to catch a cab today. Actually, I meant your dress Angie said complimentary. Thank you the lady practically squealed, I love the way it flows, and she swirled it about to show Angie, who got an eyeful of sparkly jewelry for her efforts. As she continued engaging the women in conversation, Angie decided upon attempting for the woman’s necklace of pearl. Seeing opportunity knocking when Yellow Taffeta pulled her long hair forward so it hang down the front of her gorgeous gown, laying silkily over one shoulder, nicely exposing the pricy necklaces clasp. Angie looked around, they were alone, out of site of the opposite end of the garden where the inside door was, and the guards hut with it’s pretty occupant.
**
Angie, using the marks interest in roses to her advantage, managed to steer the capricious damsel in shiny yellow over to the cupid’s statue. There, she placed a hand upon a silky taffeta covered shoulder, and pointed down to the shrub of moss roses growing at the foot of the statue . When she stooped down to get a closer look, Angie’s fingers whisked from her marks shoulder to the clasp, in a single effort with two fingers, lifted it by the clasp, and snapped it open. At that moment the mark cried “spider” and jumped up, backing into Angie, who watched helplessly as the pearls fell down from the damsel’s throat and slipped along the front of the yellow taffeta gown. They fell with a soft plop unto the ground at their mistress’s feet. Angie tried to lead her away, hoping to come back and reclaim the necklace. But as Angie pointed to another rose bush some distance away, the lady took a step forward, instead of back, planting her feet right onto the pearl necklace. Hey she exclaiming, what’s that, looking down to her high heeled foot? Oh, my pearls the lady squealed again, a glittering hand shooting to feel around her throat. Angie reached down, and reluctantly retrieved them from the base of the rose bush for the squealing lady in yellow . My husband would not have been pleased if I had lost these, she said as Angie held them, feeling their pricey smoothness.
**
She asked if Angie could help her put them on, my maid usually does this sort of thing, you know. Angie reluctantly complied, re- hanging the pearls as the pretty damsel held up her hair, and reluctantly redid the clasp. The Damsel thanked Angie by embracing her in a full hug, her diamond and pearl earring hitting Angie’s cheek. But Angie’s arms were being held by the hugging woman, so Angie was able to only watch the tantalizingly close earring sway free. Angie left yellow-gowned damsel in the garden, getting nothing for her efforts other than the feel of an expensive gown of the likes she could probably never afford to own.
**
With the pretty damsel hovering around the cupid statue, Angie decided to go back into the reception hall until the coast was clear. She carefully looked towards the Guards hut, and seeing that the guard had returned, figured the girl, so fetchingly clad in blue, had been rousted out, so that loose end was probably tied up. She just had to keep a careful eye out. The quite valuable bracelet and pricy necklace with its pendent were well hidden; there was absolutely no danger of someone stumbling over it.
**
Truth was, Angie had found her appetite wetted and once again visions of a lady in chocolate brown satin exhibiting a row of flashy diamonds, teased her thoughts. An accomplished pickpocket like herself had a couple of well-practiced ploys she could utilize to obtain a tight fitting necklace from its mistress. In addition, Angie was now determined to find her and to risk a try. She had really nothing to lose.
**
It took almost an hour of hunting amongst the now well liquored, gaily mingling crowd before Angie could admit to herself that there was absolutely no sign of the willowy lady in the stunning chocolate satin gown. Damn she thought to herself, those diamonds were something special. She shrugged it off, reciting in her mind a wicked little mantra of hers, “Another one who got away, a chance to lose her jewels to Angie on another day!” She strolled about pondering on what her next course of action could be. There had been no sign of the pretty girl in blue whose necklace Angie now had hidden away, and Miss Green Velvet was definitely out of the picture, so she felt that it was still safe to try to pluck one last bird or chick. In her hunt for the brown, Angie had seen several inviting prospects; one lady(purple satin, diamonds), two girls( ivory silk, pearled pin; red satin, gold necklace set with chips of precious stones), and now was weighing the risks.

It was at that point she once again espied the thickly bespectacled awkwardly introverted young lady invitingly wearing the thick silver satin ruffled blouse, which she had been tailing much earlier. And as Angie watched here, she again accepted the invitation. Her prey had appeared on the dance floor, being led around by a rather charming young man. That would make a dandy consolation prize Angie drooled to herself happily as she took in the sparkling show put on by the dancers jewels.
**
Angie looked her over, reacquainting herself with the jewels she so nicely was displaying. A pair of long earrings cascaded down from her earlobes where they precariously held on by antique silver claps. Angie relished the opportunity to “flimp” pairs of earrings like these. Heavily jeweled, each one was worth a tidy sum. Angie mulled this as she continued to study the jewels of her appealingly dressed new target.
**
The girl’s only ring was a solitaire diamond of at least 3 carets on a thick solid gold band worn vulnerably loose on her un-gloved, bare ring finger. A wide silver cuff bracelet with what appeared to be at least seven rows of matching, shimmering diamonds was dangling around her left wrist (she was right handed Angie observed) . The bracelet had a habit of lying over her sleeve, and Angie could see that it was a costly tiffany piece, whose clasp was exceptionally easy to flick open. A diamond pendent hung swinging from her satiny ruffles, held by an extravagantly thick silver chain with a simple , small eye in hook clasp. The Diamonds in the pendent were as shimmery as stars plucked from the night’s sky.
Angie remembered reading that in a poem from a book she had picked up years earlier in a library, while stalking a young mother in a satin dress, wearing an authentic Gruen Watch on one wrist, and a bracelet of diamonds on the other, that had gone into the library in pursuit of her young son running inside. Like that young mother, It was obvious that this lady in silver satin was not accustomed to wearing jewels, and that set probably spent most of their days lying in a safe. Angie licked her lips as she imagined what the other contents of that safe might look like
**
Angie moved in to allow herself a much closer appraisal of her potential victim’s jewels.
The young lady was totally oblivious to anything but the rather surprisingly strikingly handsome man who to all appearances was her Fiancée, who was holding her ever so close. But Angie was able to see enough of what she wanted to. The young Ladies’ thick satin blouse shone richly in the lights, moving like glistening wet liquid silver, while from her waist spilled the long black skirt with satiny tiers that swished and swayed nicely along her figure as she uneasily danced. Her jewels were bursting with colour as they played hide and seek with Angie’s watchful eyes. From all appearances, they were a mismatched couple. He seemed to know everyone and moved with a confident air, she was just the opposite. It made an enticingly intriguing package indeed for someone with Angie’s skills.
**
Silver Satin was the perfect “Gaston Monescu” type of mark, a perfect combination of classic mannerisms, clothing and Jewels worth anyone’s efforts to take. This was the only fly in the ointment that Angie observed. For by the bar she could see that two other sets of eyes were watching the same young lady in shiny satin and blazing diamonds. Angie intuitively knew they were drooling over acquiring jewels she was wearing.
**
She had noticed the pair of young men in loose fitting suits when they had entered a little earlier about the same time as Angie’s reappearance. They were obviously casing the jewels of any woman, young, or old, who walked past them. Angie knew their type, simple thieves, with no real skills outside of holding a knife in a dark alley to the throat of their victim while they unceremoniously searched and stripped them of their treasures. Angie saw that they were whispering amongst themselves and instinctively knew they were watching and waiting for the fetchingly clumsy silver clad lady clad loaded with diamonds, to leave the “establishment”.
**
She is mine Angie whispered, possessively snarling the words under her breath. She looked around as she thought about how best to handle the situation. Her eyes opened wide as she saw a familiar woman waiting by the coat checkroom. Perfect she purred, placing an unlit a cigarette in her mouth and heading over the bar.
**
She sauntered up next to them and ordered a drink, catching their eyes she asked for a light. As they obliged she took a pull and puffed out smoke, asking in a casual tone, “how about my jewels? Boys!” They could see perfectly well that she was not wearing any, and one snarled, “What’s your game, sister?” Angie snarled back in her best cop like manner, “We know what you boys are up to, and we suggest you both call it a night!” “Yer no cop sister”, they challenged, calling her bluff,” what’s your angle!” Angie calmly looked towards the entrance, perfect she mused as she saw their eyes follow hers, “Maybe not” she stated, “but see that lady being helped into the black mink?” “The shiny yellow dame?” one of em asked? “ “yes”, Angie replied taking a puff on her cigarette before going on, “ well that man’s she’s with used to be mine .” “ Now, I aint one to hold a grudge, but, those pearls she’s waltzing around with are worth plenty. And her rings, they are an easy two grand alone.”
**
Angie could tell she had captured their interest, and that they were now paying rapt attention to the lady in the thick yellow taffeta gown whose necklace Angie had almost acquired in the serenity garden. One of them looked at Angie, a suspicious look crossing his mug, “What’s innit for you sister?!” He demanded. Angie looked at him, dripping with sarcastic innocence. “Nothing brother, other than to make sure the jewels of the dame who stole my husband get home safely .” “I just worry,’ Angie went on, “there is a park in front of their residence and that dame in yellow likes to stroll through it to smell the roses after their cab drops them off.” They watched the couple leave, her expensive yellow gown sweeping provocatively at her gold high- heeled shoed feet. Angie looked them in the eyes and said smoothly, “ Gentlemen such as yourselves may want to do a good deed and follow them home to make sure some miscreant doesn’t spot her in those valuable jewels and mink. Not to mention her man’s gold watch and three hundred sawbucks in his wallet!” Angie winked at the pair, “If you catch my drift.” She added.
**
Still not totally convinced about what Angie was selling them, but equally unsure over who Angie was, both men got up and quickly headed towards the main exit as the last slip of an expensive yellow taffeta gown disappeared through the door. Smugly, Angie puffed on her cigarette as she watched them leave.
**
It was then that a hand was placed on Angie’s shoulder from behind.
**
She froze for a split second, before becoming aware of the soft mummer of satin, and of a slender finger was home to a sparkling sapphire ring. Angie smiled and turned around, facing the girl. Pardon me ma’am, she says politely, but do you remember me? Of course dear, Angie gushes while beaming at the forlorn looking miss in the fetching blue gown; I met you in the garden. Yes she confirms, but I lost my necklace somewhere and I was wondering if you remember if I had it on when we met? Angie’s heart leapt, bless this babe in the woods, thinking her necklace had merely been lost, never suspecting that someone like, say, Angie could have been the cause. She absolutely adored the trusting nature of rich girls this age. For that aspect of their purity had allowed Angie, far too easily sometimes, to lift many a jewel from well attired unsuspecting young princesses like this one. Who was now standing before her, miserable, her desirable diamond and sapphire earrings dangling ever so beckoningly, her sad puppy eyes pleading ever so sweetly, and her missing necklace closer than she could ever imagine.
**
No dear, I did not see you with a necklace, Angie lied coolly, as she reached out and stroked the girl tenderly alongside her face, her fingers touching one of the earrings. Angie was looking her fully in the eye, you didn’t lose anything else, and did you dear she asked with a concerned tone. The girl checked her earrings, bracelet and ring (Angie smiled to herself, silently thinking thanks for the info kid!) But when she spoke, it was with hopeful words laced with honey, If you want, I can help you look, my dear. The girl’s eyes lit up for a second, thank you ma’am, I wanted to, but papa said to wait until tomorrow when the light is better.
Angie smiled winningly, don’t worry dear, I’m sure its somewhere in the garden. Someone will find it, she promised, thinking to herself maliciously, and keep it for their own profit!
**
Thank you Ma’am she chirped, at the encouraging words that had been spoken, luckily she could not hear the ones Angie was thinking to herself, and turning moved off, her scrumptious gown swishing pleasantly around her silver heels. Angie watched, as the girl disappeared in the crowd Angie marked her direction.
**
Angie Imagined if the girl had accepted her offer, and she had left with the vulnerable, unguarded princess to search in the garden, and in the process help relieve her of her remaining jewels. There would be enough light with the gas lamps that lined the paths in the garden. Enough light, so that as Angie helped the princess look, her fingers could slip ever so delicately slip in and search along her shiny sky blue gown.
**
Angie licked her lips slowly as she fantasied about the search. The girl bending down to look under a bush, Angie placing her knee sharply in a certain spot below the girl’s armpit, temporarily numbing her upper body. Allowing Angie enough time to pull off both her earrings without feeling it,( this also worked well on working off broaches placed in upper parts of gowns and dresses, not to mention necklaces!) The bracelet would be no problem; it would be the easiest and probably the first, snatched off while the rich girl’s attention was easily diverted away. Since she was not wearing silky gloves, her ring would be the trickiest, but manageable, by either having her walk too close to a water fountain and hopefully having her get her fingers wet, or by simple holding onto her hand and tripping her by stepping on her gowns hem. And just like that, Angie would become that much richer, the rich girl that much poorer. And it all would be done without giving the girl any additional stress, like say she had run into the two muggers Angie had chased off. They may not have been content with just the jewels of a girl dressed as she was that they had found wandering alone in the gardens at night.
**
As Angie excitedly thought about these things, she had trained her focus back upon her original meal ticket, whom for the second time that evening had almost been allowed to slip through Angie’s light fingers. Watching with half lidded eyes, the still dancing couple not unlike a wolf watches lambs, waiting for one to make an ill-fated move away from the flock. The lamb’s fate was sealed, when a vivacious blonde in a long wispy silken dress cut in on the dancing couple. Asking miss silver satin’s fiancé for a dance. He obliged, leaving his shimmering fiancée unaccompanied, nakedly exposed to the wolf that was Angie.
**
More than one way to skin a cat Angie thought, tingling from the thrill of the hunt her prey, now in a reachable situation. She happily headed towards the spot where Miss silver satin had moved off to. A small table, located conveniently by a powder room. One the way she grabbed a half full glass of red wine off a table. Angie circled around young miss silver satin, taking a position up about two table lengths behind her. She casually scoured the area; most of the nearby tables were deserted.
Knowing the band would stop playing soon for the evening; most of the couples were out on the dance floor. All in all, the situation presented the perfect opportunity for some one of Angie’s persuasion.
**
Angie watched as the young lady picked up a glittery silver clutch and opening it, started to search inside. Angie moved swiftly, catching up behind her , tripping intentionally into her, splashing some wine onto the front of the silver satin blouse as the unfortunate lady dropped her purse in surprise. Oh my gosh, I did not see you, miss silver satin pleaded apologetically to Angie, more concerned over Angie’s feelings than her soiled satin blouse. Angie accepted her apology and, producing a lacey silk handkerchief, began to wipe themselves both down.
Angie’s practiced eyes swiftly took it all in. Miss silver satin’s pretty earrings swaying out vulnerably from her long straggly hair as it fell into her face. The clasp of her necklace was also exposed and within easy grasp. A s she reached out for the floor to steady herself, Angie’s eyes took in the sparkling ring on her now wetted finger and then watched the wide bracelet with its’ easily open able clasp slip up glitteringly over her sleeve.
The girl, now thoroughly flustered, started to rise, tripping over her slippery long skirt( with no help from Angie) Angie caught her, taking advantage of the split second opening she had been waiting for and Angie took it, making her selection as she steadied the poor thing with one hand, as the other caressed along a slick silver satin back. Angie’s long supple fingers darted in and deftly did their trick, this time with no spiders interfering. She quickly removed her chosen glittery prize from the distracted lady, who never noticed so much as a prick as Angie removed the expensive piece from her person in the confusion.
**
Angie secreted he shiny jewel as she helped miss silver satin collect herself. Than they rose, and Angie happily accepted miss silver satin profuse and obviously well used, apology. Then, as she fumbled nervously with her thick glasses, Angie laid a calming hand upon her shoulder, her fingers relishing in the richness of her victims sleek ruffled blouse. Miss silver satin was by now so distracted and embarrassed that Angie was all but assured of a clean get away.
However, as an extra measure of caution Angie intentionally jarred silver satin’s elbow of the hand steadying her eye glasses. Thus sending her glasses falling from her face to the floor with a small clatter, then Angie kicked them under a table before the startled lady could react. Angie offered to help, but the lady implored that she was okay, just needed to find her glasses. Angie left as Miss silver satin started to frantically grope around for her glasses, her silver blouse and remaining jewels shimmering brightly along their miserable mistress..
Angie took her leave, knowing that once she found her glasses, Miss silver satin would flee for sanctuary into the ladies powder room, buying her more than enough time for Angie to make her escape. Taking one last look over the dance floor, she blithely saw that miss silver satins fiancé was still in the clutches of the vivacious blonde-haired girl, still safely out of the picture. Angie made her way with purpose to the rear exit leading to the garden that she had used earlier, intending to head out into the serenity garden to collect the hidden bracelet and pendent, adding them to her purloined plunder.
**
As she walked amongst the mostly deserted tables, her mind went to the woman in yellow taffeta and imagined that right about now she would be standing with raised arms and a forlorn look. Ruefully wincing as the man who was holding her mink busily stripped those luscious pearls from the neckline of her tight gown, as the shiny yellow material gleamed in the moonlight! Serves her right for being afraid of spiders, Angie thought unforgivingly.
***
Angie’s mind also went to the poor young princess in blue with the missing necklace. She looked towards the area she had headed, opposite of the back exit to the garden. She reluctantly decided not to push her luck, there was a sister and parents to contend with, and she really had no time left. So she decided to call it a day, a rather successful day, and made her way to retrieve her loot.
**
Angie had now reached the now deserted table by the back exit where the lady in the crimson gown and blood red rubies had been earlier, along with her rhinestone encumbered 10 year old daughter and handsome husband.
**
She paused between the table and the bench, something was not quite right, She eyed the area around the dance floor for any signs of trouble that may be centered on the quite valuable jewels now in her possession. All was quiet, except for a little murmur behind her. Turning she looked at the bench and was shocked to discover the soundly asleep ten year old, using the long rusty sable fur as a blanket. What have we here, Angie thought, licking her lips wickedly?
**
Angie pursed her lips, checking the coast; spotting the young girl’s parents, still on the dance floor, a safe distance away the other side of the room. No sign of miss silver satin. No one else was nearby. Perfect. She went over, bending down so the table hid her. The child looked so vulnerably innocent, sound asleep as she lay on her side, facing Angie. She was clutching an arm of the sable like a warm fuzzy teddy bear, her ring sparkling. Angie gently tugged the mink from the girl’s clasp, and gradually pulled until the fur swished away from along the inert silken figure on the bench, where it fell into a pile on the floor. The child looked very innocent, very vulnerable, like a sleeping princess. An earring lay exposed over one shoulder, her necklace dangled down slightly askew from her slender throat, the pin holding her sash, all of which shone brightly now that it was exposed to the low lights of the ballroom, still called out. Too bad, Angie thought to herself, too bad the mother had not dressed her little doll in real diamonds.
**

Angie again looked to the dance floor; she could see the mother’s jewelry twinkling brightly as the child’s parents danced close, very unaware of anything else but themselves. She looked back over the girl, contemplating. But the song was winding down, Angie stooped to pick up the sable, bird in hand she thought, and placing the rich fur over her arm, stood just as the song ended. Looking at the exit door, so near and yet so far, she started to hasten to it, but checked herself as the band immediately started another, rather slow song that Angie knew quite well.
**
She hesitated, incredibly, everyone was staying on the floor for the final dance, she looked back at the bench, and the sleeping imps exposed jewels still shined, tempting her to come for them. Angie knew that she would only have about four minutes. Always open to new challenges, Angie chose to answer that sweet little invite that the necklace was extending out to her. Checking once again to make sure the parents was still obliviously dancing; she laid the mink down by the door and eased back to the bench. Kneeling down, Angie began to perform the delicate operation.
**
Lifting up the necklace she gently tugged it loose from around the sleeping child’s neck until the clasp appeared. She subtly flicked open the clasp, then shamelessly slipped the necklace from around its perch on the little whelp’s throat. It flickered like some slithering shiny snake, glittering as it came away. Like taking candy from a baby, Angie drooled happily, as she let the necklace run along her fingertips while watching the sleeping princess for a few seconds.
**
Her fitted cream coloured dress shimmered with expensive richness in the shadowy light. The poor thing was so soundly asleep after her long exhausting day that Angie figured she could have peeled the dress off her without causing a stir. This for a pickpocket would be the ultimate test, the pinnacle of her criminal class. But, Angie thought; if she ever had the opportunity to do so, it would have to be worth her while, like a shiny gown, an appealing sky blue gown with half sleeves and scooped collar. And the jewels would be sapphire drop earrings, bracelet and ring, not plain rhinestones. She licked her lips at the enticing thought of such a perfect “coup fera”, than told herself to get back to work, time was money.
**
She slipped her hand along the satin cape being used as a pillow and felt under the girls head until she felt the cold earring she was laying upon. Deftly undoing the screw she pulled it free, watching with delight as it came out from underneath.
**
Angie than, gently lifted, and nimbly stroked back the girl’s ultra-soft hair, exposing her long silvery earring. She pulled the jewel out and laid it out upon the child’s shoulder, where it lay, shimmering vibrantly. Then she reached in with her fingers and began unscrewed its clasp. Pulling it free she added it to her growing collection. She next lifted the hand that had held the warm sable, gently prying open her clenched fingers. The sleeping child never stirred. Angie gently slipped off the glittering ring. She then peeled back a silky sleeve, checking for the bracelet, finding her wrist was bare. The rest of the jewels were hiding securely on the side she was laying upon. Smiling wickedly to herself, an idea popped into Angie’s head.
**
The music was now almost to the halfway point, and Angie thought for a brief second that she should leave . Another quick scan assured her the coast was still clear, and Angie decided to press her luck, eagerly going back to work, putting her idea into motion.
Angie fingers felt along the sleeping child’s waist until she located the brooch. Quickly unfastening the brooch from the chocolate satin sash, she pulled it out. Watching as the diamonds caught fire and burst into vibrant life, unusually vivid for plain rhinestones she thought contemplatively. Angie plopping it in with the growing pile of the sleeping girls purloined baubles. Again reaching in along the warm waist, Angie gradually tugged at the now undone sash. The sleeping girl, unconsciously obliged by turning over on her other side, as the sash was pulled away.
**
Her arm with the ring and bracelet was now exposed. Lifting the arm , and peeling back the puffy sleeve, Angie found and unclasped the bracelet, slipping it away, then allowing it to dangle in triumph before letting it join its purloined mates. Then lifting the child’s hand she pulled at the ring, it was a little tight. Angie licked her fingers, and moistened the girls finger, than began slipping the ring off ever so gently from the along her finger. Almost there, Angie thought, as the ring joined its abducted companions in her pocket.

**
As Angie finished pocketing the last of the girls jewels, her victim whimpers something discernible in her sleep, her small hand feeling to pull up the missing warm sable she had been using as a blanket. Angie quickly looked around, spying a cheap linen coat hanging on a nearby hook, she grasped it and laid it over the stirring girl, stroking her for a precious few seconds. Then rising, calmly Angie snatched a shiny purse from the table, and moved off, unbelieving of her luck. She reclaimed the sable fur, and strolled out the door without looking back.
**
As Angie closed the door she heard the last notes of the song waning from inside. She licked her lip, that was close, but her luck had held. Now all that remained was to visit the Cupid Statue In the garden to reclaim her other prizes. As she reached the statue, Angie realized that she still had the child’s satin sash in her hand.
She smiled as she tied it, blindfolding the cupid statues eyes. Retrieving and pocketing the now stone cold diamond bracelet, and the young Princess in blue’s necklace with its shimmering pendent, she slowly looked around, the cost was clear. Angie coolly made her way to the gate, the bored guard offering to help her with the mink she was carrying. , Angie stopped, and handed it to him. Then turning, allowed him to help her on with it. He puffed out his chest as Angie gave him a sweet smile; she thanked him, then turned and disappeared into the darkness of the night.
**
Angie disappeared from view into the foggy evening, relishing the warmth of the sensuous sable. Happily contemplating the small fortune in jewels it had been in contact with earlier that evening, and also the small fortune she had walked out of the reception with in her possession.
**
The guard watched the spot for some time where the pretty lady in the expensive fur had vanished in the mists. He fantasized for a good few minutes, wondered what had been behind the enchantingly secret smile she had given to him.
Excuse me, sir?, a female voice coming from the garden startles him, he had never heard anyone coming.
He turns, catching an eyeful of a long glamourous, brown satin gown, worn fetchingly by a willowy short haired pretty young thing. Diamonds blazed from around her throat, caught by the gas lights, and from around her white satin gloved wrists as she raised her hands in a pleading fashion.
She continues, pointing to a young girl in a smashing blue satin gown, bending over looking for something in the bushes. My sister lost her necklace and pendent while playing around here earlier, did you or anyone find it? She asked in a rather seductive tone of voice9 not a common, it was her regular voice)
No lady, no one turned in a necklace. Thank you sir, and she turns away, her gown flowing out behind her.
He watches for a minute as she and her sister both move elegantly down the path, continuing their search.
He sighed, and turns away, babysitting rich dames he mutters under his breath, what a dismal way to make a living. Why won’t this affair ever end he asked himself, as he reached for his silver pocket watch to check the time. Damnations he said, not finding it nor its chain and fob, must have dropped it in the alley earlier where I had gone for a nipper from his flask. He sauntered off quickly to the alley located in the direction Angie had disappeared, abandoning his post.
Soon after, a pair of dark figures who had been walking on the opposite side of the street, and had stopped to loiter when they spied the guard talking to some posh broad in a shiny brown dress, saw the guard leaving his post. They quickly stole with sinister intent across the road and entered into the gardens, disappearing into the darkness.
*********************************************************************************
This ended up being Angie’s first big score, She got more for the rhinestone set then she had imagined, the small brooch taken off the brown satin sash had proved to have real diamonds in its center! Also the princess in silky sky blue’s pendent and chain had fetched a nice tidy sum. The jewels lifted from the ladies in Green and Silver also realized quite a handsome profit, as did the sable and purse.
if one includes the real diamond ring slipped off the finger of a silky dressed debutante from the prom show and her rather nice haul of a slim pearl necklace and diamond pin from the Opera, the whole weekend was unimaginably successful.
**
From the profit realized, she had been able to spend a pleasant month away in Monte Carlo, even indulging in the purchase of a rich red wine coloured taffeta gown to wear.
Which she pleasantly found that, when paired with her deftly acquired collection of dripping rhinestone diamond jewelry, she attracted wealthy young males with expensive gold watches and fat wallets like honey bee drones to a bright moss rose.
**
She also enticed a long raven haired, Miss, richly clad in emerald silk, to enter into her snare.
But Angie did not make an entirely clean get away. For the last jewel to be taken was the girl’s brooch , and before Angie could hide it with the rest, the girl spotted its’ glitter in Angie’s hand, and with a gasp had looked down on her dress at the now vacant spot where it had been dangling ever so provocatively for Angie all evening.. Angie smiled at the girl as she had looked up in confusion. The girl had placed a hand to her throat, startled when feeling it bare of her necklace. She looked at Angie in hurt confusion, her eyes wide with fright. Angie placed a finger to the girl’s lips, hushing any fuss she may have been thinking of making over her missing jewelry, and turning her back to the forlorn miss, Angie left, not looking back….
**
But that was a story for another day, so we were promised by Angie, giving us an all too familiar look of devious satisfaction at making us wait.
.************************************************************************************
Editor’s Notes:
Our Thanks to Mr. J. Gardner for pointing out the existence of Mr. Monescu’s 1826 guide
If you enjoyed our little story, please like and leave a comment.
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Thank You
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Posted by Chatwick Harpax on 2014-05-13 19:07:59

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DISCUSSION THREADS REVISITED

DISCUSSION THREADS REVISITED

Books versus eBooks: Which wins?

I know that everything is better on an Apple product. I’m sure eReaders will make inroads. They serve a useful purpose. But only to a point. Old books are like old friends. They love to be revisited. They stick around to give advice. They remind you of days gone by. Books, like friends, hang around.

Never let anyone tell you that organization can’t be beautiful. In order to maximize your storage space, I recommend getting wall to wall bookcases or shelves. You will be able to find some that fit standard rooms, but anything higher than the norm will most probably require something custom-made. This featured workspace, makes an entire wall of shelving its centerpiece. Filled with colorful books and decorative items, it makes for both a practical and attractive home office. The random wall-based bookcase was designed by Dutch architect Huib van Wijk.

BSSR Library Workspace was seen in several lifestyle magazines and E-zines.
Below – without censorship – ‘discussion threads and replies" from lifehacker.com/

# Discussion thread from person A
"That is hideous. I cannot imagine a person selecting any one of those items, much less the combination, for use in their home. New acts of Modernism pretty reliably trigger my gag reflex, though. It was ridiculous enough when it was current, over half a century ago. I mean, imagine humans in that space: can you?"

Reply from person B to person A
"It looks like a study room in a library. But with a shelf. A terrible, terrible shelf."

Reply from person C to person A
"I can imagine myself being very comfortable in that room actually. I can also imagine my grandfather who was an architect during the modern era being equally comfortable in there. BTW – be careful about decrying modernism, look at any photo or painting of an old Japanese interior and compare it which much of Frank Lloyd-Wright."

Reply from person A to person C
"While FLW was a Modern in terms of timing and in the sense that he was breaking from tradition, the underlying principles of his work were far removed from the sterile, faux-utilitarianism of the space above. While the designer borrowed some letters from FLW’s alphabet in the lines of the shelving and the lighting, the language s/he’s speaking is clearly more akin to the ‘stacked boxes’ school of Modern architecture, which couldn’t be less in touch with FLW’s focus on localization and landscape. I may well be out of my depth here, as my knowledge of architecture hasn’t progressed much since middle school, except where it intersects with literature and film. The above space just strikes me as one of many examples of Modernism-for-modernity’s-sake. It’s an unconsciously ironic futurism that has repeated itself for the better part of the last century, built upon a minimalism grown baroque with self-reference and arbitrary flourishes-by-subtraction. It’s a matter of personal taste, I know. I tend to state my case in strong terms, but it should go without saying that I’m only presenting my response to the above scene and the context in which it is presented."

Reply from person X to person A
"I think that there’s "good" modernism and "housing project" modernism. This manages to straddle both somehow."

Reply from person C to person X
"I know what you ar getting at, but think that ‘housing project’ modernism might better be described as utilitarianism or even brutalism."

# Discussion thread from person B
"Below is a rant of why I don’t like this and how it is both a failure of form and function, but you don’t have to read it. Also, I wish I had as much money as it took to build this. First, why are there panels against the wall for the bookcase? That seems like a waste of space. Second, what’s with all the useless trinkets in the ridiculously varying sizes of the bookcase? Third, it’s not even symmetrical, and not in a good way. Fourth, why so many light sources? Fifth, I’m not too fond of the aesthetic of the table or floors."

Reply from person C to person B
"Panels against the wall being a waste of space – they probably take up two inches, and allow something for the shelves to attach to. Wow – people have to like the same types of trinkets as you huh. How do you know they are useless? Maybe they are memories from holidays/places/people gone by? Why the desperate need for symmetry."

Reply from person B to person C
"…allow something for the shelves to attach to. You mean like a wall? I can see how it makes sense to have them if the shelves are not permanent, though. I don’t like trinkets. A physical manifestation of a memory isn’t useless I’ll admit, but these trinkets, which happen to match the decor, seem like they are there to fill in space (i.e. be pointless). Symmetry is the one aesthetic that nearly every human appreciates at least on a subconscious level. However, I understand that asymmetry has its advantages and aesthetic qualities but I don’t believe this particular asymmetrical shelf is good-looking. I say that my thoughts on the aesthetic are just an opinion, but I also think it impacts the function of the space negatively, objectively speaking."

Reply from person Y to person B
"For my part, I also tend to have lots of light sources, just not typically all on at the same time. For me, it’s about options… Read, Work, Evening, etc…"

Reply from person B to person Y
"That makes sense. I suppose all the lights were on for photographing purposes. At least, I hope that’s why."

# Remaining discussion threads

"I had to do a double take on this picture because of the many negative reviews. My first thought was, ‘This is great!’ I guess I had tunnel vision because all I saw was the wall of shelves for books and art and maybe a few trinkets here or there. After looking at the rest of the picture, I can see why people may not like anything else in it, but everybody responds differently to work spaces and we have to find out what works for us. I’d love to have a wall of shelves. I’ve got a lot of books. But, for my office space… I’d choose different colors and furniture. I do like the lighting on the book shelves, though. It gives me ideas…"

"Organized chaos! = good"

"Beautiful.. but can u imagine having to clean that shelf…"

"I love it. My office had a modernistic look with a lot of books. Some people consider books warm and comforting, while others are put off by a wall of nothing but books. My shelves are mostly full of books, and while I look at my shelves, I am not attracted by the arrangement, but by what I know the books contain. They are all tech books. But, the arrangement in this article is a very interesting and attractive combination of books, shelves, objects, and light. This makes me want to rearrange my office, or at the very least tidy this up. Well done! I don’t want to make anybody gag, but I happen to like modern, high tech design. However, the rest of my house is very traditional, so this room is a nice oasis for me."

More comments and critics are welcome!

Explore BSSR  House
www.flickr.com/photos/55176801@N02/sets/72157625373026635/

Posted by iBSSR who loves comments on his images on 2012-04-22 14:20:06

Tagged: , BSSR , LIBRARY , bookshelves , HDR , http://lifehacker.com/ , Huib van Wijk , Dutch , architect , interior , architecture , architektur , books , versus , eBooks , 设计员 , デザイナー , librariesandlibrarians , Artifort , Leolux , Alessi , Luceplan , Deltalight , Kartell , Cini&Nils , cuboluce , Criticism , Review , Random , bookcase , design , Modern , contemporary , international , style , LC , Pawson , Arets , Rietveld , Francine , Houben , Minimum , Minimalism , Minimalist , Modernist , Modernism , Maximalism , Eco , Eco-minimalism , Future , linear , sliding , doors , luxaflex , IKEA , elephant , parade , 仕事場探訪:壁一面の棚を図書館のようにする、という提案 , Home , office , Lounge , Light , house , villa , bauhaus , Wohnzimmer , E-zines , LOVE IT , 建築 , 設計 , MIN2MAX

India – Maharashtra – Ajanta Caves – Cave 26 – 110bb

India - Maharashtra - Ajanta Caves - Cave 26 - 110bb

The Ajanta Caves (Ajiṇṭhā leni; Marathi: अजिंठा लेणी) in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India are about 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE. The caves include paintings and sculptures described by the government Archaeological Survey of India as "the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting", which are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales. The caves were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BCE, with the second group of caves built around 400–650 CE according to older accounts, or all in a brief period of 460 to 480 according to the recent proposals of Walter M. Spink. The site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India, and since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The caves are located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, near Jalgaon and just outside the village of Ajinṭhā 20°31′56″N 75°44′44″E), about 59 kilometres from Jalgaon railway station on the Delhi – Mumbai line and Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line of the Central Railway zone, and 104 kilometres from the city of Aurangabad. They are 100 kilometres from the Ellora Caves, which contain Hindu and Jain temples as well as Buddhist caves, the last dating from a period similar to Ajanta. The Ajanta caves are cut into the side of a cliff that is on the south side of a U-shaped gorge on the small river Waghur, and although they are now along and above a modern pathway running across the cliff they were originally reached by individual stairs or ladders from the side of the river 35 to 110 feet below.

The area was previously heavily forested, and after the site ceased to be used the caves were covered by jungle until accidentally rediscovered in 1819 by a British officer on a hunting party. They are Buddhist monastic buildings, apparently representing a number of distinct "monasteries" or colleges. The caves are numbered 1 to 28 according to their place along the path, beginning at the entrance. Several are unfinished and some barely begun and others are small shrines, included in the traditional numbering as e.g. "9A"; "Cave 15A" was still hidden under rubble when the numbering was done. Further round the gorge are a number of waterfalls, which when the river is high are audible from outside the caves.

The caves form the largest corpus of early Indian wall-painting; other survivals from the area of modern India are very few, though they are related to 5th-century paintings at Sigiriya in Sri Lanka. The elaborate architectural carving in many caves is also very rare, and the style of the many figure sculptures is highly local, found only at a few nearby contemporary sites, although the Ajanta tradition can be related to the later Hindu Ellora Caves and other sites.

HISTORY
Like the other ancient Buddhist monasteries, Ajanta had a large emphasis on teaching, and was divided into several different caves for living, education and worship, under a central direction. Monks were probably assigned to specific caves for living. The layout reflects this organizational structure, with most of the caves only connected through the exterior. The 7th-century travelling Chinese scholar Xuanzang informs us that Dignaga, a celebrated Buddhist philosopher and controversialist, author of well-known books on logic, lived at Ajanta in the 5th century. In its prime the settlement would have accommodated several hundred teachers and pupils. Many monks who had finished their first training may have returned to Ajanta during the monsoon season from an itinerant lifestyle.

The caves are generally agreed to have been made in two distinct periods, separated by several centuries.

CAVES OF THE FIRST (SATAVAHANA) PERIOD
The earliest group of caves consists of caves 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15A. According to Walter Spink, they were made during the period 100 BCE to 100 CE, probably under the patronage of the Satavahana dynasty (230 BCE – c. 220 CE) who ruled the region. Other datings prefer the period 300 BCE to 100 BCE, though the grouping of the earlier caves is generally agreed. More early caves may have vanished through later excavations. Of these, caves 9 and 10 are stupa halls of chaitya-griha form, and caves 12, 13, and 15A are vihāras (see the architecture section below for descriptions of these types). The first phase is still often called the Hinayāna phase, as it originated when, using traditional terminology, the Hinayāna or Lesser Vehicle tradition of Buddhism was dominant, when the Buddha was revered symbolically. However the use of the term Hinayana for this period of Buddhism is now deprecated by historians; equally the caves of the second period are now mostly dated too early to be properly called Mahayana, and do not yet show the full expanded cast of supernatural beings characteristic of that phase of Buddhist art. The first Satavahana period caves lacked figurative sculpture, emphasizing the stupa instead, and in the caves of the second period the overwhelming majority of images represent the Buddha alone, or narrative scenes of his lives.

Spink believes that some time after the Satavahana period caves were made the site was abandoned for a considerable period until the mid-5th century, probably because the region had turned mainly Hindu

CAVES OF THE LATER OR VAKATAKA PERIOD
The second phase began in the 5th century. For a long time it was thought that the later caves were made over a long period from the 4th to the 7th centuries CE, but in recent decades a series of studies by the leading expert on the caves, Walter M. Spink, have argued that most of the work took place over the very brief period from 460 to 480 CE, during the reign of Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka dynasty. This view has been criticized by some scholars, but is now broadly accepted by most authors of general books on Indian art, for example Huntington and Harle.

The second phase is still often called the Mahāyāna or Greater Vehicle phase, but scholars now tend to avoid this nomenclature because of the problems that have surfaced regarding our understanding of Mahāyāna.

Some 20 cave temples were simultaneously created, for the most part viharas with a sanctuary at the back. The most elaborate caves were produced in this period, which included some "modernization" of earlier caves. Spink claims that it is possible to establish dating for this period with a very high level of precision; a fuller account of his chronology is given below. Although debate continues, Spink’s ideas are increasingly widely accepted, at least in their broad conclusions. The Archaeological Survey of India website still presents the traditional dating: "The second phase of paintings started around 5th – 6th centuries A.D. and continued for the next two centuries". Caves of the second period are 1–8, 11, 14–29, some possibly extensions of earlier caves. Caves 19, 26, and 29 are chaitya-grihas, the rest viharas.

According to Spink, the Ajanta Caves appear to have been abandoned by wealthy patrons shortly after the fall of Harishena, in about 480 CE. They were then gradually abandoned and forgotten. During the intervening centuries, the jungle grew back and the caves were hidden, unvisited and undisturbed, although the local population were aware of at least some of them.

REDISCOVERY
On 28 April 1819, a British officer for the Madras Presidency, John Smith, of the 28th Cavalry, while hunting tiger, accidentally discovered the entrance to Cave No. 10 deep within the tangled undergrowth. There were local people already using the caves for prayers with a small fire, when he arrived. Exploring that first cave, long since a home to nothing more than birds and bats and a lair for other larger animals, Captain Smith vandalized the wall by scratching his name and the date, April 1819. Since he stood on a five-foot high pile of rubble collected over the years, the inscription is well above the eye-level gaze of an adult today. A paper on the caves by William Erskine was read to the Bombay Literary Society in 1822. Within a few decades, the caves became famous for their exotic setting, impressive architecture, and above all their exceptional, all but unique paintings. A number of large projects to copy the paintings were made in the century after rediscovery, covered below. In 1848 the Royal Asiatic Society established the "Bombay Cave Temple Commission" to clear, tidy and record the most important rock-cut sites in the Bombay Presidency, with John Wilson, as president. In 1861 this became the nucleus of the new Archaeological Survey of India. Until the Nizam of Hyderabad built the modern path between the caves, among other efforts to make the site easy to visit, a trip to Ajanta was a considerable adventure, and contemporary accounts dwell with relish on the dangers from falls off narrow ledges, animals and the Bhil people, who were armed with bows and arrows and had a fearsome reputation.

Today, fairly easily combined with Ellora in a single trip, the caves are the most popular tourist destination in Mahrashtra, and are often crowded at holiday times, increasing the threat to the caves, especially the paintings. In 2012, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation announced plans to add to the ASI visitor centre at the entrance complete replicas of caves 1, 2, 16 & 17 to reduce crowding in the originals, and enable visitors to receive a better visual idea of the paintings, which are dimly-lit and hard to read in the caves. Figures for the year to March 2010 showed a total of 390,000 visitors to the site, divided into 362,000 domestic and 27,000 foreign. The trends over the previous few years show a considerable growth in domestic visitors, but a decline in foreign ones; the year to 2010 was the first in which foreign visitors to Ellora exceeded those to Ajanta.

PAINTINGS
Mural paintings survive from both the earlier and later groups of caves. Several fragments of murals preserved from the earlier caves (Caves 9 and 11) are effectively unique survivals of court-led painting in India from this period, and "show that by Sātavāhana times, if not earlier, the Indian painter had mastered an easy and fluent naturalistic style, dealing with large groups of people in a manner comparable to the reliefs of the Sāñcī toraņa crossbars".

Four of the later caves have large and relatively well-preserved mural paintings which "have come to represent Indian mural painting to the non-specialist", and fall into two stylistic groups, with the most famous in Caves 16 and 17, and apparently later paintings in Caves 1 and 2. The latter group were thought to be a century or more later than the others, but the revised chronology proposed by Spink would place them much closer to the earlier group, perhaps contemporary with it in a more progressive style, or one reflecting a team from a different region. The paintings are in "dry fresco", painted on top of a dry plaster surface rather than into wet plaster.

All the paintings appear to be the work of painters at least as used to decorating palaces as temples, and show a familiarity with and interest in details of the life of a wealthy court. We know from literary sources that painting was widely practised and appreciated in the courts of the Gupta period. Unlike much Indian painting, compositions are not laid out in horizontal compartments like a frieze, but show large scenes spreading in all directions from a single figure or group at the centre. The ceilings are also painted with sophisticated and elaborate decorative motifs, many derived from sculpture. The paintings in cave 1, which according to Spink was commissioned by Harisena himself, concentrate on those Jataka tales which show previous lives of the Buddha as a king, rather than as an animal or human commoner, and so show settings from contemporary palace life.

In general the later caves seem to have been painted on finished areas as excavating work continued elsewhere in the cave, as shown in caves 2 and 16 in particular. According to Spink’s account of the chronology of the caves, the abandonment of work in 478 after a brief busy period accounts for the absence of painting in caves such as 4 and 17, the later being plastered in preparation for paintings that were never done.

COPIES
The paintings have deteriorated significantly since they were rediscovered, and a number of 19th-century copies and drawings are important for a complete understanding of the works. However, the earliest projects to copy the paintings were plagued by bad fortune. In 1846, Major Robert Gill, an Army officer from Madras presidency and a painter, was appointed by the Royal Asiatic Society to replicate the frescoes on the cave walls to exhibit these paintings in England. Gill worked on his painting at the site from 1844 to 1863 (though he continued to be based there until his death in 1875, writing books and photographing) and made 27 copies of large sections of murals, but all but four were destroyed in a fire at the Crystal Palace in London in 1866, where they were on display.

Another attempt was made in 1872 when the Bombay Presidency commissioned John Griffiths, then principal of the Bombay School of Art, to work with his students to make new copies, again for shipping to England. They worked on this for thirteen years and some 300 canvases were produced, many of which were displayed at the Imperial Institute on Exhibition Road in London, one of the forerunners of the Victoria and Albert Museum. But in 1885 another fire destroyed over a hundred paintings that were in storage. The V&A still has 166 paintings surviving from both sets, though none have been on permanent display since 1955. The largest are some 3 × 6 metres. A conservation project was undertaken on about half of them in 2006, also involving the University of Northumbria. Griffith and his students had unfortunately painted many of the paintings with "cheap varnish" in order to make them easier to see, which has added to the deterioration of the originals, as has, according to Spink and others, recent cleaning by the ASI.

A further set of copies were made between 1909 and 1911 by Christiana Herringham (Lady Herringham) and a group of students from the Calcutta School of Art that included the future Indian Modernist painter Nandalal Bose. The copies were published in full colour as the first publication of London’s fledgling India Society. More than the earlier copies, these aimed to fill in holes and damage to recreate the original condition rather than record the state of the paintings as she was seeing them. According to one writer, unlike the paintings created by her predecessors Griffiths and Gill, whose copies were influenced by British Victorian styles of painting, those of the Herringham expedition preferred an ‘Indian Renascence’ aesthetic of the type pioneered by Abanindranath Tagore.

Early photographic surveys were made by Robert Gill, who learnt to use a camera from about 1856, and whose photos, including some using stereoscopy, were used in books by him and Fergusson (many are available online from the British Library), then Victor Goloubew in 1911 and E.L. Vassey, who took the photos in the four volume study of the caves by Ghulam Yazdani (published 1930–1955).

ARCHITECTURE
The monasteries mostly consist of vihara halls for prayer and living, which are typically rectangular with small square dormitory cells cut into the walls, and by the second period a shrine or sanctuary at the rear centred on a large statue of the Buddha, also carved from the living rock. This change reflects the movement from Hinayana to Mahāyāna Buddhism. The other type of main hall is the narrower and higher chaitya hall with a stupa as the focus at the far end, and a narrow aisle around the walls, behind a range of pillars placed close together. Other plainer rooms were for sleeping and other activities. Some of the caves have elaborate carved entrances, some with large windows over the door to admit light. There is often a colonnaded porch or verandah, with another space inside the doors running the width of the cave.

The central square space of the interior of the viharas is defined by square columns forming a more or less square open area. Outside this are long rectangular aisles on each side, forming a kind of cloister. Along the side and rear walls are a number of small cells entered by a narrow doorway; these are roughly square, and have small niches on their back walls. Originally they had wooden doors. The centre of the rear wall has a larger shrine-room behind, containing a large Buddha statue. The viharas of the earlier period are much simpler, and lack shrines. Spink in fact places the change to a design with a shrine to the middle of the second period, with many caves being adapted to add a shrine in mid-excavation, or after the original phase.

The plan of Cave 1 shows one of the largest viharas, but is fairly typical of the later group. Many others, such as Cave 16, lack the vestibule to the shrine, which leads straight off the main hall. Cave 6 is two viharas, one above the other, connected by internal stairs, with sanctuaries on both levels.

The four completed chaitya halls are caves 9 and 10 from the early period, and caves 19 and 26 from the later period of construction. All follow the typical form found elsewhere, with high ceilings and a central "nave" leading to the stupa, which is near the back, but allows walking behind it, as walking around stupas was (and remains) a common element of Buddhist worship (pradakshina). The later two have high ribbed roofs, which reflect timber forms, and the earlier two are thought to have used actual timber ribs, which have now perished. The two later halls have a rather unusual arrangement (also found in Cave 10 at Ellora) where the stupa is fronted by a large relief sculpture of the Buddha, standing in Cave 19 and seated in Cave 26. Cave 29 is a late and very incomplete chaitya hall.

The form of columns in the work of the first period is very plain and un-embellished, with both chaitya halls using simple octagonal columns, which were painted with figures. In the second period columns were far more varied and inventive, often changing profile over their height, and with elaborate carved capitals, often spreading wide. Many columns are carved over all their surface, some fluted and others carved with decoration all over, as in cave 1.

The flood basalt rock of the cliff, part of the Deccan Traps formed by successive volcanic eruptions at the end of the Cretaceous, is layered horizontally, and somewhat variable in quality, so the excavators had to amend their plans in places, and in places there have been collapses in the intervening centuries, as with the lost portico to cave 1. Excavation began by cutting a narrow tunnel at roof level, which was expanded downwards and outwards; the half-built vihara cave 24 shows the method. Spink believes that for the first caves of the second period the excavators had to relearn skills and techniques that had been lost in the centuries since the first period, which were then transmitted to be used at later rock-cut sites in the region, such as Ellora, and the Elephanta, Bagh, Badami and Aurangabad Caves.

The caves from the first period seem to have been paid for by a number of different patrons, with several inscriptions recording the donation of particular portions of a single cave, but according to Spink the later caves were each commissioned as a complete unit by a single patron from the local rulers or their court elites. After the death of Harisena smaller donors got their chance to add small "shrinelets" between the caves or add statues to existing caves, and some two hundred of these "intrusive" additions were made in sculpture, with a further number of intrusive paintings, up to three hundred in cave 10 alone.

A grand gateway to the site, at the apex of the gorge’s horsehoe between caves 15 and 16, was approached from the river, and is decorated with elephants on either side and a nāga, or protective snake deity.

ICONOGRAPHY OF THE CAVES
In the pre-Christian era, the Buddha was represented symbolically, in the form of the stupa. Thus, halls were made with stupas to venerate the Buddha. In later periods the images of the Buddha started to be made in coins, relic caskets, relief or loose sculptural forms, etc. However, it took a while for the human representation of the Buddha to appear in Buddhist art. One of the earliest evidences of the Buddha’s human representations are found at Buddhist archaeological sites, such as Goli, Nagarjunakonda, and Amaravati. The monasteries of those sites were built in less durable media, such as wood, brick, and stone. As far as the genre of rock-cut architecture is concerned it took many centuries for the Buddha image to be depicted. Nobody knows for sure at which rock-cut cave site the first image of the Buddha was depicted. Current research indicates that Buddha images in a portable form, made of wood or stone, were introduced, for the first time, at Kanheri, to be followed soon at Ajanta Cave 8 (Dhavalikar, Jadhav, Spink, Singh). While the Kanheri example dates to 4th or 5th century CE, the Ajanta example has been dated to c. 462–478 CE (Spink). None of the rock-cut monasteries prior to these dates, and other than these examples, show any Buddha image although hundreds of rock-cut caves were made throughout India during the first few centuries CE. And, in those caves, it is the stupa that is the object of veneration, not the image. Images of the Buddha are not found in Buddhist sailagrhas (rock-cut complexes) until the times of the Kanheri (4th–5th century CE) and Ajanta examples (c. 462–478 CE).

The caves of the second period, now all dated to the 5th century, were typically described as "Mahayana", but do not show the features associated with later Mahayana Buddhism. Although the beginnings of Mahāyāna teachings go back to the 1st century there is little art and archaeological evidence to suggest that it became a mainstream cult for several centuries. In Mahayana it is not Gautama Buddha but the Bodhisattva who is important, including "deity" Bodhisattva like Manjushri and Tara, as well as aspects of the Buddha such as Aksobhya, and Amitabha. Except for a few Bodhisattva, these are not depicted at Ajanta, where the Buddha remains the dominant figure. Even the Bodhisattva images of Ajanta are never central objects of worship, but are always shown as attendants of the Buddha in the shrine. If a Bodhisattva is shown in isolation, as in the Astabhaya scenes, these were done in the very last years of activities at Ajanta, and are mostly ‘intrusive’ in nature, meaning that they were not planned by the original patrons, and were added by new donors after the original patrons had suddenly abandoned the region in the wake of Emperor Harisena’s death.

The contrast between iconic and aniconic representations, that is, the stupa on one hand and the image of the Buddha on the other, is now being seen as a construct of the modern scholar rather than a reality of the past. The second phase of Ajanta shows that the stupa and image coincided together. If the entire corpus of the art of Ajanta including sculpture, iconography, architecture, epigraphy, and painting are analysed afresh it will become clear that there was no duality between the symbolic and human forms of the Buddha, as far as the 5th-century phase of Ajanta is concerned. That is why most current scholars tend to avoid the terms ‘Hinayana’ and ‘Mahayana’ in the context of Ajanta. They now prefer to call the second phase by the ruling dynasty, as the Vākāţaka phase.

CAVES
CAVE 1
Cave 1 was built on the eastern end of the horse-shoe shaped scarp, and is now the first cave the visitor encounters. This would when first made have been a less prominent position, right at the end of the row. According to Spink, it is one of the latest caves to have been excavated, when the best sites had been taken, and was never fully inaugurated for worship by the dedication of the Buddha image in the central shrine. This is shown by the absence of sooty deposits from butter lamps on the base of the shrine image, and the lack of damage to the paintings that would have been happened if the garland-hooks around the shrine had been in use for any period of time. Although there is no epigraphic evidence, Spink believes that the Vākāţaka Emperor Harishena was the benefactor of the work, and this is reflected in the emphasis on imagery of royalty in the cave, with those Jakata tales being selected that tell of those previous lives of the Buddha in which he was royal.

The cliff has a more steep slope here than at other caves, so to achieve a tall grand facade it was necessary to cut far back into the slope, giving a large courtyard in front of the facade. There was originally a columned portico in front of the present facade, which can be seen "half-intact in the 1880s" in pictures of the site, but this fell down completely and the remains, despite containing fine carving, were carelessly thrown down the slope into the river, from where they have been lost, presumably carried away in monsoon torrents.

This cave has one of the most elaborate carved façades, with relief sculptures on entablature and ridges, and most surfaces embellished with decorative carving. There are scenes carved from the life of the Buddha as well as a number of decorative motifs. A two pillared portico, visible in the 19th-century photographs, has since perished. The cave has a front-court with cells fronted by pillared vestibules on either side. These have a high plinth level. The cave has a porch with simple cells on both ends. The absence of pillared vestibules on the ends suggest that the porch was not excavated in the latest phase of Ajanta when pillared vestibules had become a necessity and norm. Most areas of the porch were once covered with murals, of which many fragments remain, especially on the ceiling. There are three doorways: a central doorway and two side doorways. Two square windows were carved between the doorways to brighten the interiors.

Each wall of the hall inside is nearly 12 m long and 6.1 m high. Twelve pillars make a square colonnade inside supporting the ceiling, and creating spacious aisles along the walls. There is a shrine carved on the rear wall to house an impressive seated image of the Buddha, his hands being in the dharmachakrapravartana mudra. There are four cells on each of the left, rear, and the right walls, though due to rock fault there are none at the ends of the rear aisle. The walls are covered with paintings in a fair state of preservation, though the full scheme was never completed. The scenes depicted are mostly didactic, devotional, and ornamental, with scenes from the Jataka stories of the Buddha’s former existences as a bodhisattva), the life of the Gautama Buddha, and those of his veneration. The two most famous individual painted images at Ajanta are the two over-life size figures of the protective bodhisattvas Padmapani and Vajrapani on either side of the entrance to the Buddha shrine on the wall of the rear aisle (see illustrations above). According to Spink, the original dating of the paintings to about 625 arose largely or entirely because James Fegusson, a 19th-century architectural historian, had decided that a scene showing an ambassador being received, with figures in Persian dress, represented a recorded embassy to Persia (from a Hindu monarch at that) around that date.

CAVE 2
Cave 2, adjacent to Cave 1, is known for the paintings that have been preserved on its walls, ceilings, and pillars. It looks similar to Cave 1 and is in a better state of preservation.

Cave 2 has a porch quite different from Cave one. Even the façade carvings seem to be different. The cave is supported by robust pillars, ornamented with designs. The front porch consists of cells supported by pillared vestibules on both ends. The cells on the previously "wasted areas" were needed to meet the greater housing requirements in later years. Porch-end cells became a trend in all later Vakataka excavations. The simple single cells on porch-ends were converted into CPVs or were planned to provide more room, symmetry, and beauty.

The paintings on the ceilings and walls of this porch have been widely published. They depict the Jataka tales that are stories of the Buddha’s life in former existences as Bodhisattva. Just as the stories illustrated in cave 1 emphasize kingship, those in cave 2 show many "noble and powerful" women in prominent roles, leading to suggestions that the patron was an unknown woman. The porch’s rear wall has a doorway in the center, which allows entrance to the hall. On either side of the door is a square-shaped window to brighten the interior.

The hall has four colonnades which are supporting the ceiling and surrounding a square in the center of the hall. Each arm or colonnade of the square is parallel to the respective walls of the hall, making an aisle in between. The colonnades have rock-beams above and below them. The capitals are carved and painted with various decorative themes that include ornamental, human, animal, vegetative, and semi-divine forms.

Paintings appear on almost every surface of the cave except for the floor. At various places the art work has become eroded due to decay and human interference. Therefore, many areas of the painted walls, ceilings, and pillars are fragmentary. The painted narratives of the Jataka tales are depicted only on the walls, which demanded the special attention of the devotee. They are didactic in nature, meant to inform the community about the Buddha’s teachings and life through successive rebirths. Their placement on the walls required the devotee to walk through the aisles and ‘read’ the narratives depicted in various episodes. The narrative episodes are depicted one after another although not in a linear order. Their identification has been a core area of research since the site’s rediscovery in 1819. Dieter Schlingloff’s identifications have updated our knowledge on the subject.

CAVE 4
The Archeological Survey of India board outside the caves gives the following detail about cave 4: "This is the largest monastery planned on a grandiose scale but was never finished. An inscription on the pedestal of the buddha’s image mentions that it was a gift from a person named Mathura and paleographically belongs to 6th century A.D. It consists of a verandah, a hypostylar hall, sanctum with an antechamber and a series of unfinished cells. The rear wall of the verandah contains the panel of Litany of Avalokiteśvara".

The sanctuary houses a colossal image of the Buddha in preaching pose flanked by bodhisattvas and celestial nymphs hovering above.

CAVES 9-10
Caves 9 and 10 are the two chaitya halls from the first period of construction, though both were also undergoing an uncompleted reworking at the end of the second period. Cave 10 was perhaps originally of the 1st century BCE, and cave 9 about a hundred years later. The small "shrinelets" called caves 9A to 9D and 10A also date from the second period, and were commissioned by individuals.

The paintings in cave 10 include some surviving from the early period, many from an incomplete programme of modernization in the second period, and a very large number of smaller late intrusive images, nearly all Buddhas and many with donor inscriptions from individuals. These mostly avoided over-painting the "official" programme and after the best positions were used up are tucked away in less prominent positions not yet painted; the total of these (including those now lost) was probably over 300, and the hands of many different artists are visible.

OTHER CAVES
Cave 3 is merely a start of an excavation; according to Spink it was begun right at the end of the final period of work and soon abandoned. Caves 5 and 6 are viharas, the latter on two floors, that were late works of which only the lower floor of cave 6 was ever finished. The upper floor of cave 6 has many private votive sculptures, and a shrine Buddha, but is otherwise unfinished. Cave 7 has a grand facade with two porticos but, perhaps because of faults in the rock, which posed problems in many caves, was never taken very deep into the cliff, and consists only of the two porticos and a shrine room with antechamber, with no central hall. Some cells were fitted in.

Cave 8 was long thought to date to the first period of construction, but Spink sees it as perhaps the earliest cave from the second period, its shrine an "afterthought". The statue may have been loose rather than carved from the living rock, as it has now vanished. The cave was painted, but only traces remain.

SPINK´S DETAILED CHRONOLOGY
Walter M. Spink has over recent decades developed a very precise and circumstantial chronology for the second period of work on the site, which unlike earlier scholars, he places entirely in the 5th century. This is based on evidence such as the inscriptions and artistic style, combined with the many uncompleted elements of the caves. He believes the earlier group of caves, which like other scholars he dates only approximately, to the period "between 100 BCE – 100 CE", were at some later point completely abandoned and remained so "for over three centuries", as the local population had turned mainly Hindu. This changed with the accession of the Emperor Harishena of the Vakataka Dynasty, who reigned from 460 to his death in 477. Harisena extended the Central Indian Vakataka Empire to include a stretch of the east coast of India; the Gupta Empire ruled northern India at the same period, and the Pallava dynasty much of the south.

According to Spink, Harisena encouraged a group of associates, including his prime minister Varahadeva and Upendragupta, the sub-king in whose territory Ajanta was, to dig out new caves, which were individually commissioned, some containing inscriptions recording the donation. This activity began in 462 but was mostly suspended in 468 because of threats from the neighbouring Asmaka kings. Work continued on only caves 1, Harisena’s own commission, and 17–20, commissioned by Upendragupta. In 472 the situation was such that work was suspended completely, in a period that Spink calls "the Hiatus", which lasted until about 475, by which time the Asmakas had replaced Upendragupta as the local rulers.

Work was then resumed, but again disrupted by Harisena’s death in 477, soon after which major excavation ceased, except at cave 26, which the Asmakas were sponsoring themselves. The Asmakas launched a revolt against Harisena’s son, which brought about the end of the Vakataka Dynasty. In the years 478–480 major excavation by important patrons was replaced by a rash of "intrusions" – statues added to existing caves, and small shrines dotted about where there was space between them. These were commissioned by less powerful individuals, some monks, who had not previously been able to make additions to the large excavations of the rulers and courtiers. They were added to the facades, the return sides of the entrances, and to walls inside the caves. According to Spink, "After 480, not a single image was ever made again at the site", and as Hinduism again dominated the region, the site was again abandoned, this time for over a millennium.

Spink does not use "circa" in his dates, but says that "one should allow a margin of error of one year or perhaps even two in all cases".

IMPACT ON MODERN INDIAN PAINTINGS
The Ajanta paintings, or more likely the general style they come from, influenced painting in Tibet and Sri Lanka.

The rediscovery of ancient Indian paintings at Ajanta provided Indian artists examples from ancient India to follow. Nandlal Bose experimented with techniques to follow the ancient style which allowed him to develop his unique style. Abanindranath Tagore also used the Ajanta paintings for inspiration.

WIKIPEDIA

Posted by asienman on 2017-06-26 20:14:33

Tagged: , India , Maharashtra , Ajanta Caves , Cave 26 , asienman-photography , asienman-photoart