Today there is a set of five films of around 8-9 minutes each that look at different aspects of the caves at Ajanta, which are some of the most famous cave monasteries in the world, that appear to have been carved out, sculpted and painted from around the 2nd c. BCE to the 6th c. CE.
In the earliest phase the caves have themes that centre on the Buddha Gautama and his past lives as remembered in the Jataka stories, and also include decorations and chaitya halls.
In the later phase it appears that the themes are closely connected with the developing Mahayana, and the place of the various Bodhisattvas as taught there comes to predominate.
The films themselves look at the caves from different aspects: their rediscovery, how they were excavated, the paintings and the sculpture and relief work are all examined.
The films are very well-made and the presentation is engaging, and we get close up to some of the finest examples of Buddhist art that remain in the world from ancient times.
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