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Brief Comments On Ajanta’S History And Artistic Methods

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Chapter Summary

Ajanta had two distinct periods of patronage. The first was the early “Hinayana Buddhist” phase, which took place between approximately 100 B.C.E. and 100 C.E. After this Hinayana phase, probably developed by and large under Satavahana patronage, the site lay dormant for over three centuries. Encouraged by Harisena’s interest and energy, a group of powerful patrons among them the emperor’s own prime minister, the pious local king, and ambitious feudatories from the adjacent province decided to initiate this challenging new undertaking early in the emperor’s reign. Ajanta’s new florescence was tragically short-lived, however. In 477, the great emperor Harisena suddenly died, and the site went into deathly convulsions of its own. Ajanta, far up in its deep valley, lay largely forgotten, treasuring the very isolation that so remarkably preserved it.

Keywords: Ajanta; emperor Harisena; Hinayana Buddhist



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