Wall Paintings

  • Early examples can be seen in Buddhist art such as painted cave temples of Ajanta dating from 2nd cen BC to 7th cen AD. The subject matter is mostly associated with the jatakas recording previous births of Lord Buddha.
  • Other depictions include flying apsaras. The painting of Bodhisattva Padmapani from Cave 1 is one of the masterpieces of Ajanta paintings.
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Fig: Bodhisattva Padmapani from Ajanata Cave 1

  • Cave 17 represents Buddha’s visit to door of Yashodhara’s abode.
  • Ajanta offers few Brahmanical figures of iconographical interest. For ex: depiction of Lord Indra.
  • Earliest Brahmanical paintings are found in Badami caves belonging to 6th cen AD.
  • Paintings of Sittannavasal are intimately connected with Jain themes and symbology.
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Fig: Paintings of Sittannavasal

  • In Ellora, several Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina temples were excavated between 8th – 10th cen AD Of significance is the Kailashnath temple, a free-standing structure which is in fact a monolith. Ellora paintings are a departure from the classical norms of Ajanta paintings.
  • The most important wall paintings in South India are from Tanjore, Tamil Nadu. The dancing figures from Rajarajeswara temples of Tanjore (11th cen AD) are beautiful examples of medieval paintings. The technique used here is a true fresco method over surface of the rock.
  • Last series of wall paintings are from Lepakshi temple (16th cen AD) which are pressed within broad friezes and illustrate Saivaite and secular themes.
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