Ajanta: The arrival of the uninvited
Volume Three in the Ajanta series focuses on what the site tells us about what happened in the months following the death of emperor Harisena (478 A.D.). In that year the great "Vakataka" patrons had to flee from Ajanta as a result of the Asmakas' takeover of the site. When soon the Asmakas themselves also had to leave because of the needs of war, the great phase of patronage ended at Ajanta. But now a host of pious intruders, mostly monks and devotees still living in the region, could make their own offerings, generally violating the original patrons' programs. In this systematic cave to cave treatment, it is shown through careful interpretation of the physical evidence, that remarkably these new and "uninvited" paintings and sculptures appear only on and/or in caves which had already been dedicated by the earlier patrons. By contrast, excavations where the Buddha image had not been completed, were never utilized for such votive donations.
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Ghatotkacha vihara Intrusions
adjacent Ajanta ambulatory Amitabha appear arch Asmaka Aurangabad Avalokitesvara beneath bhadrasana Buddha bhadrasana images bhadrasana panel bodhisattvas Buddha images Buddha panel Buddhabhadra’s Cave 19 Cave 26 Cave Upper cave’s ceiling cell cell complex completed composition conventional court shrinelet decoration developed dhyana donations donors earlier evidence expediently fašade facade frame fact feature figures finished flanking flawed flying couples flying dwarfs front wall Ghatotkacha halo Harisena’s death iconographic image in Cave inscription intrusive images intrusive panels kneeling devotees large standing Buddhas late date later left wall lotus pedestals lower main image Maitreya makaras monks motifs nagas never padmasana Buddha padmasana images Parinirvana perhaps Period of Disruption pilaster pillars pivot holes plastered and painted porch position probably right rear right wall sculptures seated Buddhas seems shrine antechamber shrine doorway side site’s space Sravasti started stupa suggests surface throne back throne legs underway unfinished Vajrapani Vakataka Varahadeva vyalas yaksha