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Oil painting - Copy of painting inside the caves of Ajanta (cave 2 )
  • Copy of painting inside the caves of Ajanta (cave 2 )
    Bombay School of Art
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Copy of painting inside the caves of Ajanta (cave 2 )

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Ajanta (made)

  • Date:

    1872-1885 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


    Bombay School of Art (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Museum number:

    IS.22-1885

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is a copy of one of the many painted panels that form the ceiling in cave 2 at Ajanta. These cave paintings date from the 1st century BC to about AD 480 and are the oldest surviving examples of painting in India. They depict stories from the lives of the Buddha (the Jatakas).

The Ajanta cave complex was discovered in 1819 and attempts were made to document the paintings inside them. In 1844 Major Robert Gill was commissioned to make copies. Unfortunately most of the paintings he completed were destroyed in a fire in 1866. To make up for this loss, from 1872 to 1885 John Griffiths from the Bombay School of Art and seven Indian students spent every winter at the caves. This is one of the approximately 300 paintings they produced.

Physical description

Line of floral decoration, winding leaves and stems with large flowers interspersed with small white flowers. There is some fire damage.

This is probably from the ceiling of cave 2.

Place of Origin

Ajanta (made)

Date

1872-1885 (made)

Artist/maker


Bombay School of Art (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

Height: 1350 mm, Width: 270 mm, Height: 1390 mm with frame, Width: 310 mm with frame, Depth: 40 mm with frame

Object history note

Commissioned by the Government of India between 1872-1885 and deposited in the India Museum, London.

Historical context note

The cave paintings of Ajanta are the oldest surviving examples of painting in India. They depict stories from the lives of the Buddha (the jatakas) and date from the 1st century BC to about AD 480. The cave complex was discovered in 1819 and since then attempts have been made to document the paintings inside them. In 1844 Major Robert Gill was commissioned to make copies. Unfortunately most of the paintings he completed were destroyed in a fire in 1866. To make up for this loss, from 1872, John Griffiths from the Bombay school of Art and seven Indian students spent every winter for the following 13 years at the caves producing approximately 300 paintings, of which this is one.

Descriptive line

Copy of painting in the caves of Ajanta by John Griffiths and students of the Bombay School of Art.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Griffiths, J, The paintings in the Buddhist cave temples of Ajanta, India, 1896
Burgess, J, Notes on the Bauddha Rock-Temples of Ajanta, Bombay, 1879

Production Note

Painted by John Griffiths and students from the Bombay School of Art

Materials

Canvas

Subjects depicted

Buddhism

Categories

Buddhism; Paintings; India Museum

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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