Discuss critically the three-fold subjects decorative designs, portraiture and narration, of the Ajanta paintings by giving appropriate examples.

Published: May 1, 2016

The subjects of the paintings in the Gupta period are threefold, relating to decorable designs portraiture and narration.  The decorative designs include patterns and scrolls, figures of animals, flowers and trees. Their variety is infinite. Beautiful figures of fabulous creatures and mythological beings, such as Apsarasas.
Of the portraits the central figures are those of various Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Incidents from the life of Gautam Buddha are freely painted. In cave of the great Bodhisattva Padmapalli, Avalokitesvara shows the highest attainment in the way of figure painting.
The narrative scenes are mostly from Jataks, which had been already popularised by the sculptors.

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