Ajanta Caves: ancient paintings of Buddhist India
Text and photographs by Benoy K. Behl
Foreword by Milo C. Beach
With a note on the Jataka stories by Sangitika Nigam
With over 200 illustrations, 189 in colour
In 1819, a group of British soldiers on a hunting expedition chanced upon the Ajanta caves in a ravine some 200 miles north-east of Bombay. Ranging from the second century BC to the sixth century AD, the breathtaking Buddhist paintings and sculptures found there rank among the world’s most important cultural treasures.
Ajanta provides virtually the only evidence remaining of painting styles that first developed in India and then travelled with the spread of Buddhism into the Himalayan regions, and then via the Silk Roads across Central Asia into China, and from there to Japan and Korea.
By using only natural light, Benoy K. Behl has captured these works in all their glory and luminosity. The exquisite murals depict tales of previous incarnations of Lord Buddha, scenes of princely processions, ladies with their handmaidens, bejewelled animals, ascetics in monasteries and fantastical birds and beasts, all demonstratinga startling degree of sophistication.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Benoy K. Behl is a graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India. His work on documentaries has informed his acclaimed photographic technique.
‘The Ajanta paintings are reproduced truly for the first time in all their actual ravishing colours and incredible flowing, loving detail … one of the most gorgeous and stimulating books of Indian art ever produced’
— The Times Higher Education Supplement
‘Lavishly produced and magnificently illustrated … the most successful photographic record of the cave and its paintings ever achieved’