HOW PAINTINGS WERE DONE IN THE DARK
It is thought that the craftsmen who painted
and sculpted in the Ajanta caves, were mostly Buddhist monks Perhaps
many Hindu craftsmen of the lower castes had accepted the faith of the
Buddha, the Craftsmen, in those days, were grouped together according
to their profession, they learnt their skill from father to son and
son to son. Some of them were great masters, who invented new techniques
new tools and new ways of handling paint and chisel, in every generation.
As the Buddhists began to scoop caves from the 1st century A.D. downwards,
they evolved practical ways of working in the dark. The marshal, or
stick torch, was smeared with vegetable oil and used for lighting dark
corners. Also, large mirrors were used to reflect sunshine in to the
interiors. And the walls were whitewashed smeared with lime plaster,
HOW PAINTS WERE MADE?
Colours used for the wall paintings were made from pebbles and vegetable
found on the hillside. The guide will show you the pebbles of different
Colours, these were crushed and ground and the mixed with glue.
The main colours used were; red ochre, yellow ochre, brown ochre, lamp
black, white and lapis lazuli (blue). This last pigment was imported
from Northern India, central Asia and Persia. Green was made by mixed
this lapis lazuli with Indian yellow ochre.
Techniques of making wall Paintings:
The Indian wall painting technique is different from that of the fresco
of the West. A layer of clay was mixed with cow dung and powdered rice
hunk. This was first applied to the chipped rock surface. When it dries,
a second coat of lime plaster was a trowel. The lines were then drawn
in pink, brown or black; the colours were filled in with big brushes,
made from the hair of squirrels tail.
General Information About Ajanta Caves:
The Ajanta cave temples in continuation from similar rock-cut shines
in the Western Ghats and the Deccan. They are of two different kinds.
Some of them are Chaiity halls, for group worship as in
Bhaja, Karla, and Kanheri. In the Chaitya hall caves (8,9,10,12 &
13), there are symbolic stupas. These represent the grave mounds over
the relics of the Buddha.
The second kind of cave in Ajanta is the Vihara cave.
This has cells for monks to live in. the monks slept on stone bed, which
shows that, even in the rich Mahayana period, austerity was practiced
as a way to attain Buddha hood or enlightenment.