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lunes, noviembre 08, 2010

Biblioteca Central - UNAM Central Library

Biblioteca Central, originally uploaded by Sergio.Arturo.

Juan O'Gorman (July 6, 1905 – January 17, 1982) was a Mexican painter and architect.

O'Gorman was born in Coyoacán, then a village to the south of Mexico City and now a borough of the Federal District, to an Irish father, Cecil Crawford O'Gorman (a painter himself) and a Mexican mother. In the 1920s he studied architecture at the Academy of San Carlos, the Art and Architecture school at the National Autonomous University. He became a well known architect, worked on the new Bank of Mexico building, and under the influence of Le Corbusier introduced modern functionalist architecture to Mexico City with his 1929 houses at San Angel.

Mural in library Gertrudis Bocanegra, Pátzcuaro, Michoacán

An important early commission was for a house and studio for painters Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, built in 1931-32, with its symbolic bridge. Rivera, in turn, influenced O'Gorman's painting. In 1932, Narciso Bassols, then Secretary of Education, appointed O'Gorman to the position of Head of Architectural Office of the Ministry of Public Education, where he went on to design and build 26 elementary schools in Mexico City. The schools were built with the philosophy of "eliminating all architectural style and executing constructions technically."

As he matured O'Gorman turned away from strict functionalism and worked to develop an organic architecture, combining the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright with traditional Mexican constructions.

His paintings often treated Mexican history, landscape, and legends. He painted the murals in the Independence Room in Mexico City's Chapultepec Castle, and the huge murals of his own 1952 Central Library of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, designed with Gustavo Saavedra and Juan Martinez de Velasco. See also Mexican Muralism.

In 1959, together with fellow artists, Raúl Anguiano, Jesús Guerrero Galván, and Carlos Orozco Romero, Juan O'Gorman founded the militant Unión de Pintores y Grabadores de México.

He died on January 17, 1982, as a result of suicide. Authorities believe the artist grew despondent after being diagnosed with a heart ailment which curtailed his work. O'Gorman, who was 76 years old, was found dead at his home.




Premio Príncipe de Asturias 2009

La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) obtuvo el Premio Príncipe de Asturias 2009, en la categoría de Comunicación y Humanidades. (10 de junio).

¡¡¡¡Cachún, cachún, ra-ra!!!!
¡¡¡¡Cachún, cachún, ra-ra!!!!


En la imagen, la Biblioteca Central de la UNAM
con murales de Juan OGorman.
Las pinturas muestran la cosmovisión del
México prehispánico y el encuentro
con la Conquista Española.
La UNAM forma parte del Patrimonio Cultural
de la Humanidad.


UNAM University

UNAM University, originally uploaded by lucanicae.


lunes, agosto 02, 2010

laca de Olinalá Gro.

laca de Olinalá Gro., originally uploaded by mirepe.

Laca linaloense hecha en madera de linalóe que es una madera aromática propia del lugar donde se elabora esta artesanía que es de la comunidad de Olinalá Gro.


Bird Gourd Olinala

Bird Gourd Olinala, originally uploaded by Teyacapan.

This gourd bowl that has been covered with lacquer and painted with flowers is typical of the work from the Olinala area of Guerrero Mexico


Olinala Gourd Guerrero Mexico

Olinala Gourd Guerrero Mexico, originally uploaded by Teyacapan.

Here's a colorful lacquered gourd from Olinala Guerrero to get everyone in the Christmas spirit



Azul, originally uploaded by La Lupe.

Ceramics and pottery in Mexico date far back before the Pre-Columbian period for thousands of years, when the ceramic arts and pottery crafts developed with the first advanced civilizations and cultures of Mesoamerica. With one exception, pre-Hispanic wares were not glazed, but rather burnished and painted with colored fine clay slips. The potter’s wheel was unknown as well, with pieces being shaped by molding, coiling and other methods.

After the Spanish Invasion and Conquest, European techniques and designs were introduced, nearly wiping out the native traditions. Indigenous traditions survive in a few pottery items such as comals, and the addition of indigenous design elements into mostly European motifs. Today, ceramics are still produced from traditional items such as dishes, kitchen utensils to new items such as sculptures and folk art. Despite the fame of the prior, the bulk of ceramic items produced in the country are floor and wall tiles along with bathroom fixtures. Mexico has a number of well-known artisan ceramic traditions, most of which are in the center and south of the country. Examples are the Talavera of Puebla, the majolica of Guanajuato, the various wares of the Guadalajara area, and barro negro of Oaxaca. A more recent addition is the production of Mata Ortiz or Pakimé wares in Chihuahua. While the number of artisans has been dropping due to completion from mass produced items, the production of folk art and fine ware still has an important role in the Mexican economy and the production of pottery in general is still important to Mexican culture.

The making of earthenware began to replace stone utensils in Mexico began around the Purrón period (2300-1500 B.C.E.). Many of these first ceramics were gourd or squash shaped, a carry over from when these vegetables were used to carry liquids. This earthenware developed into a pottery tradition which was mostly made in natural clay and thinly coated with a fine clay slip. Most clays in Mexico need temper to regulate water absorption, with one significant exception being the clay used in the Fine Orangeware of the Gulf Coast.

Pre-hispanic vessels were shaped by modeling, coiling or molding. Except for a proto wheel used by the Zapotecs, the potter’s wheel was unknown until the Spanish Conquest. Simple pinch pots or coiled pots were usually made by the family, with larger molded pieces made by craftsmen. The earliest molded pieces were simply clay pressed against a pre-existing bowl, but double molds and slip casting came to be use to make bowls with relief decorations. Famous examples of this type exist in Tlaxcala and Puebla states. Many figurines were also made using molds. Sometimes vessels were made with several molded pieces with the upper part finished by coiling.

With one exception, pre-Hispanic pieces were not glazed, but rather the finish was made with a slip made of extremely fine clay. This slip often had mineral pigments added for color, which could be added before and/or after firing. Firing was done in an open fire or in a pit. Figurines were often done in the family hearth. Pots were fired in a heap covered with wood which was done on the ground or in a pit. The use of this method for firing most often led to incompletely fired pots, with the notable exception of Fine Orangeware.

The only glazed ware from Mesoamerica is called Plumbate. It was glazed with a fine slip mixed with lead and fired by a special technique. It was produced only for a short time and its appearance marks the Early Post Classic period at many archeological sites.

There are over thirty known methods to have been used decorate pre-Hispanic pottery including pressing designs into the clay with textiles, use of rocker stamps, or pressing items such as shells and the use of pointed sticks. Various manners of putting and preserving colors both during and after firing were also employed. Designs generally fall into four categories: geometric, realistic or naturalistic (generally stylized animals and people), symbolic and pictographic. Most designs are related to designs on other crafts and on artistic works such as murals. All of these pottery styles and methods can still be found in modern Mexico.

17th or 18th century plate from Puebla

The Spanish Conquest introduced European traditions of pottery and had severe effects upon native traditions. Some pottery forms survived intact, such as comals, grinders (molcajetes), basic cooking bowls/utensils and censers. This was mostly done in plain orangeware and some were colored red and black. All pre-Hispanic figurines, since they were almost always related to religion, disappeared and replaced by images of the Virgin Mary, angels, friars, soldiers, devils and European farm animals such as dogs, cattle and sheep. The major effect on production was the introduction of the potter’s wheel, the enclosed kiln, lead glazes and new forms such as candlesticks and olive jars. The importation of European and Asian ceramics mostly affected decoration styles of native produced wares. The impact of these was felt earliest and strongest in the central highlands on Mexico, in and around Mexico City. While some traditional pre-Hispanic style ware was still produced in the early colonial, its quality and aesthetics declined dramatically until it nearly disappeared entirely.

European style ware, especially glazed ware, produced by native craftsmen, began early in the colonial period but was poorly done with only two colors, green and amber. Most decorative elements were stamped on with mixed Spanish and indigenous designs. The most common forms were jugs, pitchers and bowls, all for everyday use. Over time, the production of majolica glazed ware, which was expensive to import from Europe, developed and regulated by the mid 17th century. The best was being produced in Puebla, although it was being also produced in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Aguascalientes and other places. These pieces were primarily had a white or cream colored background with designs painted on them in one or more colors. For the rest of the colonial period, indigenous styles continued to deteriorate all over New Spain, while foreign influences from Europe, Asia and the Middle East produced changes in decorations. By the time of the Mexican War of Independence, Mexican majolica was exported throughout the New World and drove the Spanish version from the market. However, this dominance would not last long before cheaper Delftware from England and Asian wares put pressure on the industry in the 19th century. Mexico continued to import and copy styles from France and England through the 20th century; however, there have been native innovations during the past century and a half as well.

Barro negro cantaro jug at the Museo Estatal de Arte Popular de Oaxaca

Most pottery produced in central Mexico is fired at low temperatures (low-fire) and covered with a glaze made with lead and other minerals. This is because lead will fuse and produce a shine at a firing temperature of less than 800C, while alternatives require temperatures twice as high. The use of lead in these wares has produced health warning in both Mexico and the United States, with the risks being known as early as the late 19th century. Lead from the glaze tends to leach into foods after repeated use. Use of this type of ware has been linked to elevated blood levels in children in Mexico City, Oaxaca and other places and severely high levels in children of potters. The lead content is highest in Oaxacan pottery. This lead content has blocked most rurally produced ceramics from the United States market, where they could fetch much higher prices

In the 1990s, FONART, a government entity that promotes handcrafts and several non-governmental organizations worked to produce an alternative lead-free glaze what works with low-fire ceramics. This glaze is based on boron. They have also worked to get artisans to install $40USD fans in their kilns to make combustion more efficient. This has allowed a significant portion of low-fire ceramics to be stamped “lead free” and allows them to be exported.

However, researchers have found lead content in wares stamped “sin plomo” (without lead). Even though the boron glaze costs less than the traditional lead glaze, many potters refused to change tradition. In all, only half of Mexico’s potters have switched. In some places the problem is the lack of information about the glazes and in some places, artisans claim that they need government financial support, especially for options that warrant a gas-fired kiln. Another problem is that many do not trust the government and ignore warnings.



De colores

De colores, originally uploaded by La Lupe.

Talavera poblana.


Puebla - Talavera Poblana

Puebla.- Talavera Poblana, originally uploaded by Conyhm.


Fuente de las Tres Teresas


Lazy Caturday

Lazy Caturday, originally uploaded by fofurasfelinas.

So cozy and comfy!

Cat Sanctuary - Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil
Cat: Gozamyr


Burrageara Stefan Isler

Burrageara Stefan Isler, originally uploaded by =Anubis=.



LIFE FOR RENT..., originally uploaded by PRAVEEN VENUGOPAL.

Life Runs on Parellel Prospectives ... I SAY..

Dedicated For My Dido : www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HwXgVFS5rY



..~, originally uploaded by ˇ Ŀ ơł чтα ▪▪ ✖ :.


sábado, junio 05, 2010


The axolotl (pronounced /ˈæksəlɒtəl/), Ambystoma mexicanum, is the best known of the Mexican neotenic mole salamanders belonging to the Tiger Salamander complex. Larvae of this species fail to undergo metamorphosis, so the adults remain aquatic and gilled. The species originates from the lake underlying Mexico City and is also called ajolote (which is also the common name for the Mexican Mole Lizard). Axolotls are used extensively in scientific research due to their ability to regenerate most body parts, ease of breeding, and large embryos. They are commonly kept as pets in the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Japan (sold under the name wooper looper (ウーパールーパー Ūpā Rūpā?)) and other countries.

Axolotls should not be confused with waterdogs, the larval stage of the closely related Tiger Salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum and Ambystoma mavortium), which are widespread in much of North America and also occasionally become neotenic, nor with mudpuppies (Necturus spp.), fully-aquatic salamanders which are not closely related to the axolotl but bear a superficial resemblance.

As of 2008, wild axolotls are near extinction due to urbanization in Mexico City and polluted waters. Nonnative fish such as African tilapia and Asian carp have also recently been introduced to the waters. These new fish have been eating the axolotls' young, as well as its primary source of food. The axolotl is currently on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's annual Red List of threatened species.

Leucistic specimen
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Caudata
Family: Ambystomatidae
Genus: Ambystoma
Species: A. mexicanum
Binomial name
Ambystoma mexicanum
(Shaw, 1789)

A sexually mature adult axolotl, at age 18–24 months, ranges in length from 15–45 centimetres (5.9–18 in), although a size close to 23 centimetres (9.1 in) is most common and greater than 30 centimetres (12 in) is rare. Axolotls possess features typical of salamander larvae, including external gills and a caudal fin extending from behind the head to the vent. Their heads are wide, and their eyes are lidless. Their limbs are underdeveloped and possess long, thin digits. Males are identified by their swollen cloacae lined with papillae, while females are noticeable for their wider bodies full of eggs. Three pairs of external gill stalks (rami) originate behind their heads and are used to move oxygenated water. The external gill rami are lined with filaments (fimbriae) to increase surface area for gas exchange. Four gill slits lined with gill rakers are hidden underneath the external gills. Axolotls have barely visible vestigial teeth, which would have developed during metamorphosis. The primary method of feeding is by suction, during which their rakers interlock to close the gill slits. External gills are used for respiration, although buccal pumping (gulping air from the surface) may also be used in order to provide oxygen to their lungs. Axolotls have four different colours, two naturally occurring colours and two mutants. The two naturally occurring colours are wildtype (varying shades of brown usually with spots) and melanoid (black). The two mutant colours are leucistic (pale pink with black eyes) and albino (golden, tan or pale pink with pink eyes).

The axolotl is only native to Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco in central Mexico. Unfortunately for the axolotl, Lake Chalco no longer exists as it was drained by humans to avoid periodic flooding, and Lake Xochimilco remains a diminished glimpse of its former self, existing mainly as canals. The water temperature in Xochimilco rarely rises above 20 °C (68 °F), though it may fall to 6 or 7 °C (45 °F) in the winter, and perhaps lower. The wild population has been put under heavy pressure by the growth of Mexico City. Axolotls are also sold as food in Mexican markets and were a staple in the Aztec diet. They are currently listed by CITES as an endangered species and by IUCN as critically endangered in the wild, with a decreasing population.

Axolotls are members of the Ambystoma tigrinum (Tiger salamander) complex, along with all other Mexican species of Ambystoma. Their habitat is like that of most neotenic species—a high altitude body of water surrounded by a risky terrestrial environment. These conditions are thought to favor neoteny. However, a terrestrial population of Mexican Tiger Salamanders occupies and breeds in the axolotl's habitat.

The axolotl is carnivorous, consuming small prey such as worms, insects, and small fish in the wild. Axolotls locate food by smell, and will "snap" at any potential meal, sucking the food into their stomachs with vacuum force.




jueves, junio 03, 2010

探頭 巴西烏龜 (Red-eared Slider)

探頭 巴西烏龜 (Red-eared Slider), inserito originariamente da *KUO CHUAN.

The red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) is a semi-aquatic turtle belonging to the family Emydidae. It is a subspecies of pond slider. It is a native of the southern United States, but has become common in various areas of the world due to the pet trade. They are popular pets in the United States, Mexico, the Netherlands, Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

Red-eared slider
Plastron of an adult red-eared slider
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Subclass: Anapsida
Order: Testudines
Family: Emydidae
Genus: Trachemys
Species: T. scripta
Subspecies: T. s. elegans
Trinomial name
Trachemys scripta elegans
(Wied-Neuwied, 1839)

Red-eared sliders get their name from the distinctive red mark around their ear. The "slider" part of their name comes from their ability to slide off rocks and logs and into the water quickly. This species was previously known as Troost's turtle in honor of an American herpetologist; Trachemys scripta troostii is now the scientific name for another subspecies, the Cumberland turtle.

Red-eared sliders are almost entirely aquatic, but leave the water to bask in the sun and lay eggs. These reptiles are deceptively fast and are also excellent swimmers. They hunt for prey and will attempt to capture it when the opportunity presents itself. They are aware of predators and people and generally shy away from them. The red-eared slider is known to frantically slide off rocks and logs when approached.

Contrary to the popular misconception that red-eared sliders do not have saliva, they, like most aquatic turtles, have fixed tongues. This is the reason they must eat their food in water.

The female red-eared slider grows to be 25–33 cm (10–13 in) in length and males 20–25 cm (8–10 in). The red stripe on each side of the head distinguishes the red-eared slider from all other North American species. The carapace (top shell) is oval and flattened (especially in the male), has a weak keel that is more pronounced in the young, and the rear marginal scutes are notched. The carapace usually consists of a dark green background with light and dark highly variable markings. The plastron (bottom shell) is yellow with dark paired irregular markings in the center of most scutes. The plastron is highly variable in pattern. The head, legs, and tail are green with fine yellow irregular lines. Some dimorphism occurs between males and females. Male turtles are usually smaller than females but their tail is much longer and thicker. Claws are elongated in males which facilitate courtship and mating. Typically, the cloacal opening of the female is at or under the rear edge of the carapace while the male's opening occurs beyond the edge of the carapace. Older males can sometimes have a melanistic coloration being a dark grayish olive green, with markings being very subdued. The red stripe on the sides of the head may be difficult to see or be absent.

Red-eared sliders are omnivores and eat a variety of animal and plant materials in the wild including, but not limited to fish, crayfish, carrion, tadpoles, snails, crickets, wax worms, aquatic insects and numerous aquatic plant species. The captive diet for pet red-eared sliders should be a varied diet consisting of invertebrates such as worms, aquatic and land plants, and other natural foods. They should never be fed commercial dog food or cat food. Commercial turtle foods can be used sparingly and should not be used as the primary food. Calcium (for shell health) can be supplemented by adding pieces of cuttlebone to the diet, or with commercially available vitamin supplements. A nutritious food readily accepted by young turtles is baby clams soaked in krill oil covered with powdered coral calcium. Younger turtles tend to be more carnivorous (eat more animal protein) than adults do. As they grow larger and older, they become increasingly herbivorous. Live foods are particularly enjoyed and add to the quality of life of captive turtles. Providing a wide variety of foods is the key to success with captive red-eared sliders

Reptiles do not hibernate but actually brumate, becoming less active but occasionally rising for food or water. Brumation can occur in varying degrees. Red-eared sliders brumate over the winter at the bottom of ponds or shallow lakes and they become inactive, generally, in October, when temperatures fall below 50 °F (10 °C). Individuals usually brumate underwater. They have also been found under banks and hollow stumps and rocks. In warmer winter climates they can become active and come to the surface for basking. When the temperature begins to drop again, however, they will quickly return to a brumation state. Sliders will generally come up for food in early March to as late as the end of April. Red-eared sliders kept captive indoors should not hibernate. To prevent attempted hibernation/brumation in an aquarium, lights should be on for 12–14 hours per day and the water temperature should be maintained between 76–80 °F (24–27 °C). Water temperatures must be under 55 °F (13 °C) in order for aquatic turtles to brumate properly. Controlling temperature changes to simulate natural seasonal fluctuations encourages mating behavior.

Courtship and mating activities for red-eared sliders usually occur between March and July, and take place underwater. The male swims toward the female and flutters or vibrates the back side of his long claws on and around her face and head. The female swims toward the male and, if she is receptive, sinks to the bottom for mating. If the female is not receptive, she may become aggressive towards the male. The courtship can take up to forty-five minutes, but the mating itself usually takes only ten to fifteen minutes.[citation needed]

Sometimes a male will appear to be courting another male. This is actually a sign of dominance and they may begin to fight. Juveniles may display the courtship dance, but until the turtles are five years of age they are not mature and are unable to mate.[citation needed]

After mating, the female spends extra time basking in order to keep her eggs warm. She may also have a change of diet, eating only certain foods or not eating as much as she normally would. Mating begins in May and egg-laying occurs in May through early July. A female might lay from two to thirty eggs, with larger females having larger clutches. One female can lay up to five clutches in the same year and clutches are usually spaced twelve to thirty-six days apart. Turtle eggs are fertilized as they are being laid and buried in the sand. The time between mating and egg laying can be days or weeks.

The red-eared slider is commonly kept as a pet and is often sold cheaply (and illegally). Red-eared sliders are the most common type of water turtle kept as pets. As with other turtles, tortoises and box turtles, individuals that survive their first year or two can be expected to live almost as long as their owners. Individuals of this species have lived at least 35 years in captivity.

Red-eared sliders can be quite aggressive—especially when food is involved. If being kept as a pet, care must be taken to prevent injury or even death of its smaller tankmates. However, the opposite can occur if shrimps are introduced as food. Smaller red-eared sliders less than a year old have been known to choke on the shells of the shrimps and suffer from lung puncture.



Rotwangenschildkröte / Red Eared Slider


red-eared slider [Trachemys scripta elegans]


lunes, marzo 29, 2010

.::FIRE::. @Burning Life


Burning Life

Burning Life, inserito originariamente da Hitomi Mokusei.

This was a digital sculpture by Faith Maxwell that was on display at Burning Life. It is called Beyond Aqua.


Burning Life 2009 - Heart &

Burning Life 2009 - Heart
View more Second Life screenshots on WeGame.

Jazz9OmeteotlLonn at Steamboat Tokio stage

Burning Life 2009 Steamboat Tokio stage
View more Second Life screenshots on WeGame.


Fifteen Love

Fifteen Love, inserito originariamente da Rod Monkey.

One of my favourite places on the planet - the awe-inspiring and enigmatic 15 giant moai standing tall at Ahu Tongariki on Rapa Nui.


The Sun Hasn't Set On This Boy Yet

The Sun Hasn't Set On This Boy Yet, inserito originariamente da Rod Monkey.

Rapa Nui...you just have to go. It'll blow you away, trust me.


Ajanta Caves

Ajanta Caves, inserito originariamente da freakyyash.

The distinctive horse shoe shaped Ajanta caves site as viewed some 8 kms away

.... .... .... .... ....

Ajanta Caves (Ajaṇṭā; Devanagari: अजंठा लेणी) in Maharashtra, India are 28 - 30 rock-cut cave monuments created during the first century BCE and 5th century AD, containing paintings and sculptures considered to be masterpieces of both Buddhist religious art and universal pictorial art.

The caves are located just outside the village of Ajinṭhā in Aurangabad district in the Indian state of Maharashtra (N. lat. 20 deg. 30' by E. long. 75 deg. 40'). Since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The caves are traditionally numbered starting from the one closest to the village.



Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra, India

Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra, India, inserito originariamente da markhillary.

Stunning Buddha carving on the wall...

First period

First sanctuaries - chaytia-grihas - in the up to 75 metres deep canyon of Waghora River were created during the Satavahana dynasty in 2nd - 1st century BCE. Several sanctuaries (including sanctuaries No. 9, 10, 19, 26) were made. Murals preserved from this time belong to the oldest monuments of painted art in India.

Second period

Ajanta Caves, map

There exists scientific controversy regarding the length and time of the second period of Ajanta Caves. While earlier it was considered that caves have been shaped over a longer period of time in 4th - 7th centurys, recently long-time researcher of Ajanta Caves Walter M. Spink considers that most activities have taken place in short time period from 460 - to 480 AD during the reign of Vakataka dynasty, emperor Harishena. At this time there took place simultaneous work of creating some 20 cave temples, for most part viharas - monasteries with sanctuary in the rear centre of structures. Each of cave temples seem to be patronised by influential authority, numerous best available artists have been involved in the work with fruitful rivalry between the neighbouring construction sites.

According to Spink, Ajanta Caves seem to be abandoned shortly after the fall of Harishena circa 480 AD. Since then these temples have been abandoned and gradually forgotten. During the next 1300 years the jungle grew back and the caves were hidden, unvisited and undisturbed.

Rediscovery by Europeans

In 28th April 1819 British officer in the Madras army John Smith during the hunt of tiger accidentally discovered entrance in one of the cave temples (No. 9) deep within the tangled undergrowth. Exploring that first cave, long since a home to nothing more than birds and bats and a lair for other, larger, animals, Captain Smith wrote his name in pencil on one of the walls. Still faintly visible, it records his name and the date, April 1819.

Shortly after this discovery Ajanta Caves became well known and renowned due to their exotic setting, impressive architecture, artworks and mysterious, long forgotten history.

Cave One

Painting of Padmapani and Vajrapani from
Cave No. 1
Cave 1

It is first approach and has no relation to the chronological sequence of the caves. It is the first cave on the eastern end of the horse-shoe shaped scarp. According to Spink, it is one of the latest caves to have begun on site and brought to near-completion in the Vākāţaka phase. Although there is no epigraphic evidence, it has been proposed that the Vākāţaka king Harisena may have been the benefactor of this better-preserved cave. A dominant reason for this is that Harisena was not involved initially in patronizing Ajanta.

This cave has one of the most elaborate carvings on its facade with relief sculptures on entablature and ridges. There are scenes carved from the life of the Buddha as well as a number of decorative motifs. A two pillared portico, visible in the 19th-century photographs, has since perished. The cave has a front-court with cells fronted by pillared vestibules on either side. These have a high plinth level. The cave has a porch with simple cells on both ends. The absence of pillared vestibules on the ends suggest that the porch was not excavated in the latest phase of Ajanta when pillared vestibules had become a necessity and norm. Most areas of the porch were once covered with murals, of which many fragments remain. There are three doorways: a central doorway and two side doorways. Two square windows were carved between the doorways to brighten the interiors.

Each wall of the hall inside is nearly 40 feet (12 m) long and 20 feet (6.1 m) high. Twelve pillars make a square colonnade inside supporting the ceiling, and creating spacious aisles along the walls. There is a shrine carved on the rear wall to house an impressive seated image of the Buddha, his hands being in the dharmachakrapravartana mudra. There are four cells on each of the left, rear, and the right walls. The walls are covered with paintings in a fair state of preservation. The scenes depicted are mostly didactic, devotional, and ornamental. The themes are from the Jataka stories (the stories of the Buddha's former existences as Boddhisattva), the life of the Gautama Buddha, and those of his veneration.

Cave Two

Painting, Cave No. 2
Painting from the Ajanta caves
Ajanta Caves
Ajanta Caves

Cave 2, adjacent to Cave 1, is known for the paintings that have been preserved on its walls, ceilings, and pillars. It looks pretty much the same as Cave 1 and is in a better state of preservation.

The facade

Cave 2 has a porch quite different from Cave one. Even the facade carvings seem to be different. The cave is supported by robust pillars, ornamented with designs. The size and ground plan have many things in common with the first cave.

The porch

The front porch consists of cells supported by pillared vestibules on both ends. The cells on the previously "wasted areas" were needed to meet the greater housing requirements in later years. Porch-end cells became a trend in all later Vakataka excavations. The simple single cells on porch-ends were converted into CPVs or were planned to provide more room, symmetry, and beauty.

The paintings on the ceilings and walls of this porch have been widely published. They depict the Jataka tales that are stories of the Buddha's life in former existences as Bodhisattva. The porch's rear wall has a doorway in the center, which allows entrance to the hall. On either side of the door is a square-shaped window to brighten the interior.

The hall

The hall has four colonnades supporting the ceiling and surrounding a square in the center of the hall. Each arm or colonnade of the square is parallel to the respective walls of the hall, making an aisle in between. The colonnades have rock-beams above and below them. The capitals are carved and painted with various decorative themes that include ornamental, human, animal, vegetative, and semi-divine forms.

[edit] The paintings

Paintings are all over the cave except for the floor. At various places the art work has become eroded due to decay and human interference. Therefore, many areas of the painted walls, ceilings, and pillars are fragmentary. The painted narratives of the Jataka tales are depicted only on the walls, which demanded the special attention of the devotee. They are didactic in nature, meant to inform the community about the Buddha's teachings and life through successive births. Their placement on the walls required the devotee to walk through the aisles and 'read' the narratives depicted in various episodes. (Alas, to prevent vandalism, entry into the aisles is restricted by site authorities). The narrative episodes are depicted one after another although not in a linear order. Their identification has been a core area of research since the site's rediscovery in 1819 C.E. Dieter Schlingloff's identifications have updated our knowledge on the subject.

For quite some time the art work was erroneously alluded to as "frescoes". We now know that the proper term for this kind of artwork is mural, because the known process and technique of fresco painting isn't found in this kind of artwork. At Ajanta, the technique and process used to produce this kind of artwork is unlike any other artwork found in the art history of other civilizations. These murals have a certain uniqueness about them, even within the history of South Asian art.

The process of painting involved several stages. The first step was to chisel the rock surface, to make it rough enough to hold the plaster. The plaster was made of clay, hay, dung and lime. Differences are found in the ingredients and their proportions from cave to cave. While the plaster was still wet, the drawings were done and the colors applied. The wet plaster had the capacity to soak the color so that the color became a part of the surface and would not peel off or decay easily. The colors were referred to as 'earth colors' or 'vegetable colors.' Various kinds of stones, minerals, and plants were used in combinations to prepare different colors. Sculptures were often covered with stucco to give them a fine finish and lustrous polish. The stucco had the ingredients of lime and powdered seashell or conch. The latter afforded exceptional shine and smoothness. In cave upper six, some of it is extant. The smoothness resembles the surface of glass. The paint brushes used to create the artwork were made from animal hair and twigs.