Guide to the Ajanta Paintings
Vol. 2: Devotional & Ornamental Paintings

By Monika Zin
August 2003
Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers
ISBN: 8121510848
42 pages, Illustrated, 9" x 12"
$37.50 Paper Original

The paintings in the Buddhist cave monasteries of Ajanta (first century BC and fifth century AD) convey unique insights into the life and beliefs of ancient Indians. Alongside the paintings of Buddhist legends, which aimed to convey Buddhist ethics, the caves also contain scores of non-narrative paintings.

Many of them depict the Buddha, the Bodhisatvas, or other Buddhist themes, but the greater portion is made up of images that are only loosely connected to the Buddhist faith: they show lucky charms and auspicious scenes from the worlds of the genies and gods, who showered humans with material wealth rather than assisting them on the path to Nirvana.

The book presents line drawings of many of these devotional and ornamental paintings, together with brief summaries of their interpretations. On the basis of literary references, many of the scenes and symbols are identified here for the first time.

About the Author: Dr. Monika Zin works in the Department of Indology and Iranian Studies at the University of Munich, Germany. She is a specialist in Buddhist art literature and has published numerous articles on Ajanta.

Fine Arts

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