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August 18, 2011

"Ajanta" (video review)

Cave Temple, Ajanta, India
© Robert C. MacLaurin
Source: AAEL Digital Image Collection

Ajanta: Written in the Stone
Laurence Castle Productions

Laurence Castle presents the work of Univerity of Michigan’s professor emeritus Walter M. Spink who studied and proposed an entirely different dating system for the caves of Ajanta. Re-discovered after years of abandonment in 1819 by British officer John Smith, the Ajanta caves are richly decorated Buddhist temples located in the Sahyadri Mountains of India. From the time of their re-discovery the cave temples were the subjects of a great debate concerning the date they were created. Over time general consensus held that the majority of the caves were from the 7th century. However, Spink refutes this theory and supports the much earlier date of the 5th century. He provides evidence by examining the dedicatory inscriptions of figures such as Varahadeva, the prime minister of Emperor Harisena and the events of Harisena’s reign. Details in the caves such as candle soot, unfinished works and the style of door hinges also provide clues for the dating of the caves. The film, set amongst the caves themselves, presents detailed footage of everything from the construction to the elaborate decoration of these incredible temples.

This video is among the many available to borrow from Imageworks in the Art, Architecture and Engineering Library. Search for videos in Mirlyn or in our video database.

Posted by rmassare at August 18, 2011 10:00 AM

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