Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Interior of Karle Temple. 7 January 1868--Artist: Leighton, Stanley (1837-1901) Medium: Pencil on paper Date: 1868

Pencil and wash drawing of the interior of the cave at Karla, by Stanley Leighton, dated 7 January 1868. Inscribed on front in pencil: 'Karli (unfinished) S.L. 7 Jan, 1868'; on mount:' Karli between Poonah and Bombay. Interior of the Rock Temple. 7 Jan. 1868.'
The great chaitya or prayer hall at Karli was excavated during the phase of early rock-cut architectural activity in India in the 1st century AD. The cave is preceded by a large courtyard with a huge 'simhastambha', a column with a bell shaped capital topped by four lions. The facade of the cave has a wide horseshoe-shaped window with ribs. The interior is divided into three aisles by two rows of magnificent columns. These have octagonal shafts, pot-like bases and fluted capitals carved with pairs of kneeling elephants ridden by embracing couples. The vaulted ceiling has teak ribs set into the rock. At the end of the central aisle there is the monolithic stupa crowned by an inverted stepped finial and a carved wooden umbrella.

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