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The Ajanta Caves

Ancient Paintings of Buddhist India

Benoy K. Behl, Milo C. Beach

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'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


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.

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'Lavishly produced and magnificently illustrated … the most successful photographic record of the cave and its paintings ever achieved'

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback with flaps

Size: 30.0 x 25.0 cm

Extent: 256 pp

Publication date: 25 April 2005

ISBN: 9780500285015

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.

Milo Cleveland Beach is a museum director, teacher and scholar of Indian painting. He has written, lectured and organized exhibitions internationally on paintings from Rajasthan and the Mughal court.

List of Contributors

Benoy K. Behl, Milo C. Beach, Sangitika Nigam