By Walter Spink

Quantity 6 of Walter Spink's huge and carrying on with examine of the Ajanta caves, with over 350 illustrations, explains the slow evolution of the site's architectural and sculptural beneficial properties in the course of Ajanta's remarkably short improvement (462-480 CE).

Walter M. Spink, Professor Emeritus of Indian paintings on the collage of Michigan obtained his PhD from Harvard college in 1954. His leader curiosity has entered upon the Ajanta caves in India, the place he had spent decades, with aid from Bollingen, Guggenheim, Fulbright Foundations, NEH, and AIIS for his Ajanta: heritage and Development.

Naomichi Yaguchi, affiliate Professor, Kanazawa college, Japan, has taken all the images for, and has been actively keen on discussions in regards to the quantity.

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In Cave 2, on a number of the pillar bases, the simpler dwarfs or lions are replaced by complex loving couples or triads. This exuberance recedes to some degree in the slightly later developments in Cave 21, 23, and 24, where the patron (Buddhabhadra or an associate) may have decided to paint related motifs at these points, in order to save time and money. In some cases, the pillars of these late viharas are elaborated with little “supporting” dwarfs at the capital level. This is especially notable in Buddhabhadra’s great caitya hall, Cave 26, the lavishness of which surely reflects the pride and power of the cave’s Asmaka patrons so highly praised in its dedicatory inscription.

Although it would be difficult to extend the consistent patronage of the site beyond 478—for one must allow a few years for the Period of Disruption and important political developments during the years that follow—it is not only possible, but reasonable, to start this crowded period of post-Hiatus activity at 473 rather than 475. 1 Given the need to fit all of the Vakataka developments at Ajanta into the short span of time that I have proposed (462–478), our expansion of the site’s late phase of activity has another advantage.

The exuberantly carved undersurface of this capital clearly shows the continuing impact of the now-defeated Upendragupta’s esthetic, despite the fact that the decoration here was done after the Hiatus, when Upendragupta was no longer ruing over the site. With the single exception of the porch of Cave 6U, the standard pillar capitals all have (or were planned to have) painted undersurfaces, either with simple floral and/or geometric designs, as in the interior of Cave 2 or, in a few cases, with more functional forms.

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