‘Benoy K. Behl’s remarkable photographs, painstakingly gathered and digitally restored over thirty years of hard labour, are probably the best and truest record of these fabulous treasures that will ever be created.’ William Dalrymple
A revised edition of a classic title, now with digitally restored photographs, showcasing the finest surviving examples of ancient Buddhist art.
Since their chance re-discovery in 1819, the breathtaking paintings and sculptures of the Ajanta caves have inspired and delighted experts and amateurs alike. Ranging in date from the second century BCE to the sixth century CE, these ancient Buddhist artworks rank among the world’s most important cultural treasures. Benoy K. Behl captured the beauty and luminosity of these works using long exposures and only natural light and now presents them here digitally restored to show the paintings closer to their original glory than ever before.
The exquisite murals, depicting the tales of previous incarnations of Buddha, scenes of princely processions and fantastical birds and beasts, provide virtually the only evidence of painting styles that first developed in India and remain crucially important to the understanding of Buddhist art throughout Asia. On UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites, the Ajanta caves survive as a potent symbol of the great beauty of India’s rich artistic past.
This new edition provides for the first time a view of some of the masterpieces of Ajanta painstakingly digitally restored by Behl. Sensitively carried out, the restoration makes the paintings clearer without interfering with their original grace and nuance, leading to a deeper appreciation of their artistry. Accompanied by expert commentaries to fully immerse the reader in the cultural context of the murals, this book will help preserve the legacy of the glorious art of Ajanta for years to come.