CAVE 17 AJANTA
Cave 17 has some of the most magnificent paintings of Ajanta.
The porch is a stream of jataka narratives and early Buddhist themes in
the graceful fifth century style. It is also connected with a cistern, from
which you can still drink today.
Wall of Cave 17, with the Visvantara
The left end of the porch once had
a magnificent kalachakra- the Wheel of Rebirth, showing the different possibilities
of reincarnation according to your actions, and the possibilities of elevation.
The main wall is covered in Jataka narratives: including
the Visvantara Jataka, where the righteous and generous prince Visvantara
gives away everything he has to help other people.
The Visvantara Jataka, where the
prince tells his wife he is banished for giving away the kingdom's magical
Indra, King of teh Gods, descends
from heaven to see the righteous prince and observe his generosity.
Over the door are eight Buddhas, including Maitreya, the
next Buddha to come.
Hree, it is clear that two painters worked on the door,
because the paint on the left has oxidized. Painters would have made their
own paints, and each painter had his own way of creating the different colors
required. Many of the paints are from minerals which oxidize; therefore
Ajanta painting may have looked very different when it was completed, than
as we see it today.
The ceiling of the Cave 17 porch is very elaborate, and
beautifully executed. Through it we may imagine some of the other porch
ceilings are that lost or direly damaged, like that of Cave
of Cave 17 you would like to share? Please contact me!
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