Genisis of Rock Cut Architecture | Art Media | Sculpture

Genisis Of Rock Cut Architecture.. Ajanta Caves.

The Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India are thirty rock-cut cave monuments which date from the 2nd century. The caves include paintings and sculptures considered to be masterpieces of Buddhist religious art. The caves were built in two phases starting around 200 BC, with the second group of caves built around 600 AD. Ajanta caves are excavated in a horse shoe shaped rock surface. There are in total thorty excavations found on site, including an unfinished one. Out of the total five cases are chaityagrihas (halls enclosing teh stupas) while the rest are viharas (buddhist monasteries). Depending upon the nature and mineralogical content of the lava flow, the rock formations varied in character and texture, giving rise to various qualities like coarse grained, fine grained formations. Fine grained texture offered higher structural stability and ease in carving the rock surface. The ancient builders at Ajanta, chose the fine grained formations of the Deccan trap, ideal for sculpting and rock hewing. In addition to this, they also traced the horizontal and vertical joints in the rock formation which were created by the earlier volcanic eruptions. Also, basaltic rock is soft during the initial excavation and hardens on exposure to environment. To begin with excavation the layout was first marked on the rock-face and the rock-cutting started from the top and continued downwards towards the floor. The facade-doorway and the verandah were dug out first and then the interior portions like the central hall,

Colors used for the wall paintings were made from pebbles and vegetable found on the hillside. Pebbles of different colors were crushed and ground and the mixed with glue. This was first applied to the chipped rock surface. wherever necessary. the colors were filled in with big brushes. cutting of rock started from the topmost tier. Solid columns of rocks were left as supports. but structural elements like beans columns bear no load. To make the paintings now. the rock cut architecture is imitating elements from wooden architecture. When it dries. a layer of clay was mixed with cow dung and powdered rice hunk. The lines were then drawn in pink. a second coat of lime plaster was a trowel.antechamber and cells were excavated. made from the hair of squirrels tail. In the two or three-tier caves. . A sharp pick-axe was used to make deep incision into the rock followed by breaking of the intervening rock mass till the floor was reached. brown or black. The finishing and carving were then done by a hammer and chisel.

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