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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Indian Art and Craft : Ajanta Paintings - 4

Guys, it is the 4th segment on the history of Painting in India.


The artists applied mud plaster in two coats on the rocks. The first coat was used to fill in the pores of the rough rocks, followed by a coat of lime plaster. The painting was done in stages. The outline was made in red ocher and then filled in with brown, deep red or black. The pigments for the paints were from local volcanic rocks with the exception of lamp black. Because animal and vegetable glues were used, the paintings were attacked by insects, and suffered from blistering and flaking.

In the later paintings where the figures stand out boldly, deep colour washes were used. Patches of light colours highlighted facial expressions and various methods were used to create an illusion of depth.


A high degree of craftsmanship incorporating all the rules laid down by ancient Indian treatises on paintings and aesthetics are evident here. Once cannot but notice the fluid yet firm lines, long sweeping brush strokes outlining graceful contours, subtle gradation of the same colour, highlighted nose, eyelids and lips that make the figures transpire from the flat wall surface, Animals birds, trees, flowers, architectures are painted in their true form of beauty. Human emotions and characters are depicted with great understanding and skill.

Attenuated postures, supple limbs, artistic features, a great variety of hair styles and styles of ornaments and jewellery painted in the Ajanta caves indicate the skill of its artisans. In a mural in Cave 10, fifty elephants are painted in different poses. The bulky forms are portrayed in all perspective views, with erect tails and raised trunks, showing them sensing danger.

Related Links:

01. Indian Art and Craft : The Living Age - 1
02. Indian Art and Craft : The painting history of India - 2
Indian Art and Craft : India the home of Painting - 3
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