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show them to be of large size, about 30 x 28 ft. In its simplest version (Plate III) it represents a divan placed in front of a cloth screen, and covered with cushions and a check pattern coverlet; and on it are seated a big, stout, burly-looking man and a lady by his side. The man is seated cross-legged, and is in an amatory mood, perhaps somewhat befuddled with wine. His face is heavy and square, and he has both a beard and a moustache. He wears long hair covered by a thick conical cap with a turban, or a fur band around it like the Qilpaq cap of the Central Asiatic races of the present day. On his body is a coat or tunic reaching to the knee and trimmed with, what appears to me, patch-work decorations; knee-breeches and striped stockings complete his dress. He holds a cup in his left hand, and before bim, on the ground, in front of the divan, there is a covered tray. The lady beside him has a gown reaching to the knee, a shell-jacket, (both set off with patchwork trimmings,) and a pair of striped stockings. She has a skull cap on her head, and earrings. Her right hand is lifted as in the act of telling something interesting to her lord. To the right of the man, in front of the divan, there stands a maid, arrayed in a long flowing gown which leaves only the tips of her shoes visible, and holding a flagon, shaped like a soda-water bottle with a long narrow neck, ready to replenish the cup of her lord. Behind the mistress there is a second maid with a wide-mouthed covered jar in her hand.
In the second version the man holds the cup in his right hand, and a stick or straight sword in his left. He has also an elaborately-worked belt, and the trimmings of the coats and gowns are of clifferent patterns. The lady leans on the shoulder of her lord by her right hand, and by her attitude expresses great solicitude to please him. There is also a third maid, squatting in front, and ready to serve out edibles from the covered tray beside her.
The third version is even more developed. (Plate IV). The screen behind the divan is set off with floral designs. The coat of the hero and the gown of his lady, and also that of her maid, are set off with triangular striped streamers flying from the back. The features of the lady are vivid with life, and the expression of endearment on her face is truly admirable. The second maid holds a suruhi or goglet instead of a jar. The lady has, instead of a cap, a fillet round her head with an aigrette in front, and the maids similar fillets, but without the jewel. The third maid is replaced by two bearded, thick-lipped Negro-looking servants who are serving out dishes from the covered tray. The stockings in the last two versions are white. In two small panels the male figure is reproduced in company with another male,--two jovial companions, engaged in pledging their faith to each other over a cup of liquor. (See Plate V, fig. 1). The striped stockings are distinctly seen in these, as also a pair of check-pattern trousers, not striped.
There are more than five hundred representations of Indian men and women in the photographs, but they appear totally unlike the human figures shown in these plates, and, bearing in mind the fact that the artists of these frescoes were most faithful in delineating the peculiarities of their subjects, it is impossible to deny that they took their models for these from other than Indians. It is difficult, however, to determine what nationality they had in view. The features, the cap and the turban of the principal figure, are the exact counterparts of what may be every day seen in the Kabulese fruitsellers in the streets of Calcutta ; but the coat is different. I have never seen an Afghan woman in her native dress, but the gown and the jacket of the female figures appear very like those of Jewesses. The patch-work trimmings are peculiar to them, and the best specimens of the kind of work I have seen are of Jewish make. The Afghans, however, are in no way inferior in this art: they bring to Calcutta every year a number of rugs and other articles of patch-work, which are remarkably beautiful. Knowing how such domestic arts as needle-work and patch-work are perpetuated for generations, and looking at the complexion, the cap and the turban, I was first disposed to believe that the figures on these plates represented Afghans, the thicklipped servants being Negroes.
In the Zodiac Cave (No. XVI) Dr. Bhau Dáji found an inscription which once “contained the names of seven or eight kings of the Vákátaka dynasty, but only that of Vindhyaşakti, the oldest and most eminent, was preserved intact." By a strange fatality,” says the writer, “the inscription has been obliterated wherever a royal name existed, so that one is tempted to suppose that the destruction was intentional. But,” he adds, “ the destructive influence of the rainy weather is sufficient to account for the gaps. The name of this Vindhyaşakti's country is mentioned in the Seoni copperplate ; but the chief himself is not named there. Dr. Bhau Dáji identifies this Vindhyaşakti with a chief of the Kailakila Yavanas who, according to the Vishņu Puráņa, once ruled in India. Having advanced thus far, he takes Kailikila to be identical with an ancient city, and citadel named Ghúlghúleh near Bámián, mentioned by Mr. Masson in his paper on the Antiquities of Bamian (ante, v. 708), and Vákátaka with Bactria, thereby suggesting, though not positively asserting, that the Bactrian Greeks were the authors of the Ajantá caves. If this reasoning be admitted, the figures we have shown would be those of Bactrian Greeks. But there are various difficulties to overcome before we can accept the identification. The name Vindhyaşakti is too thorough a Sanskrit word to be the name of a Bactrian Greek, and there is nothing to connect him with the princes of the Seoni plate, except the word Vákátaka, which, as given in the Seoni plate, is
* Journal, Bombay As. Soc., VII, p. 65.
unmistakably the name of an Indian, and not of a trans-Indian locality, particularly Bactrian, for which the usual and very extensively-employed term is Válhika. In the Puráņas these Válhikas are said to have reigned after Vindhyaşakti. Denying, however, the accuracy of the identification of Vákátaka with Bactria and of Vindbyasakti having been a Bactrian, it might still be said that the figures under notice are Bactrians. In some Kenerki coins the cap is conical, and surrounded by a turban or a band of fur like the Qilpaq cap; the cut of the coat is of the same style, and the close-fitting trousers and stockings are, as far as can be made out in coins, the same. The coarse square face of the Mongolian type is particularly remarkable, and, as the Bactrians exercised supremacy for some time in India from a little before the commencement of the Christian era, to nearly a century after it, it would be much more reasonable to suppose the representations to be of Bactrians, rather than those of Afghans, who attained to no political distinction at the time, and were to some extent included among the Hindus.
The stockings of the peculiar pattern which has hitherto been thought to be the outcome of modern European art, are remarkable : I have noticed them nowhere else in Indian paintings or sculpture. The Hindus seem to have borrowed the stockings from their neighbours; for in a panel in Cave No. 1, there is a representation of an Indian bacchanalian scene, unmistakable from the features and dress, in which they have been reproduced on the legs of a man and his lady-love. Before the importation of stockings from Europe, the Indians got their supplies from Kashmír. I do not, however, know when knitted stockings were first introduced into that country. To England they first came in the reign of Henry VIII, and it is extremely doubtful if they were of much more ancient date in Kashmír. And after all what I take to be stockings might be sewed bose of cloth or milled stuff of some kind.
The indulgence in spirituous drinks was common all over India, Bactria and Persia in ancient times, and the evidence of it in the frescoes does not call for any notice.* That the cup and the flagon indicate something more potent than sherbet, I believe, none will question.
The curtains behind the divan suggest the idea that the sites of the Bactrian domestic scenes were tents, and that the people shown had not become settled inbabitants of the country. But the evidence in this respect is too meagre to attach any importance to such an idea.
Looking to the made-dresses of the Persians and the Bactrians, it might be supposed that the Indians got theirs from those sources ; but, as I have shown in my “ Antiquities of Orissa," such was not the case, at least when the Ajantá frescoes were painted. In the Indian bacchanalian scene above noticed, the dresses of the Indian man and woman are quite different, and by no means such as to justify the assumption that they had been designed from foreign models. In the very affecting picture of the death of a lady of rank in Cave No. XVI, the bodices shown on some of the maid-servants engaged in grinding corn in hand-mills, are quite unlike the jackets of the Bactrian women.
* Vidc passim my papor on 'Spirituous Drinks in Ancient India,' ante, XLII,
pp, I ff.
In an Indian scene in Cave No. I, where a large number of sable beauties are exhibited, there is a figure seated cross-legged, whose dark features, punchy belly and style of sitting, leave no doubt in my mind of his nationality; and he is dressed in a dhuti which leaves a part of his thigh exposed, and a mírzáí of flowered muslin which is thoroughly Indian, and the like of it has nowhere been seen out of India. (See plate V, fig. 2.) The mírzáí is in use by the Hindus to this day all over northern India, and its make seems not to have changed in the least since the time of the fresco.
It is not my intention to enter into a discussion here as to the date of the Ajantá Caves. The late Dr. Wilson of Bombay took them to extend from the third or second century before, to the fifth or sixth century after, Christ. * Mr. Burgess, after a careful study of the Caves, states “ that the oldest of them cannot be later than the second century before the Christian era. Long before him Mr. Fergusson came to the same conclusion in his · Rock-cut Caves of India,' and in his 'History of Eastern Architecture remarked that Cave No. XII, “ the façade of which so much resembles that of the Násik Chaitya (B. C. 129), cannot be far off in date” (p. 122). The latest are supposed to be of the 5th or 6th century. Accepting this opinion for my guide, and there is not much to show that it is untenable, and bearing in mind that Cave No. I is one of the largest and richest in paintings which long preceded sculpture, I may fairly come to the conclusion that the scenes I have described above represent phases of Indian life from eighteen hundred to two thousand years ago.
* Journal, Bombay As. Soc., III, p. 73.