CAVE 4: THE FALLEN CEILING
Cave 4 was an ambitiously planned vihara- too ambitious.
Looking at the ceiling, one can see where it collapsed, following the lay
of the basalt. The walls had been finished, but had to be raised to accomodate
the new height at the center of the large hall. The columns also had to
The door of Cave 4, with lunging
lions and yaksis.
The cave is unfinished. Only a few haunting vignettes of
sculpture were completed outside the main shrine and the magnificent door.
Musicians sit upon the bases of the columns which lead to the shrine. We
discovered by trying that the acoustics in the cave are beautiful.
The door is itself ambitious, with the lions almost in
the round (and therefore sadly damaged).
The Buddhas over the lintel were painted, as the door probably
The back of the cave is very dark, and one of the pilasters
is carved with a beautiful makara in a lotus medallion. This motif is seen
throughout Ajanta, in low relief.
Avalokitesvara stands at the door of Cave Four in a litany
of his salvation of people in sudden danger. This image was painted.
Do you have
pictures of Cave 4 you would like to share? Please contact me! I am especially
interested in pictures of the walls where it was smoothed before the collapse,
pictures of the columns, and pictures of the shrine, so I can complete this
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