The Ajanta World Heritage Site comprises of numerous rock-cut Buddhist caves, heavily illustrated with wall paintings and sculptures created between 2nd century BCE – 650 CE. The wall paintings were painted on a dried lime wash coat over a mud plaster. The pigments were minerals mixed with gum binder.
The paintings have deteriorated to a great extent due to climatic conditions and over exposure. Therefore, a number of 19th and early 20th century copies and drawings of paintings that were made are important source to understand and study this lost treasure. In 1846 Major Robert Gill, an Army officer from Madras Presidency and a painter was appointed by the Royal Asiatic Society to make copies of the Ajanta paintings. Gill worked from 1844-1863 and made 27 copies of large illustrations. Unfortunately, these copies were destroyed in a fire at the Crystal Palace in London in 1866 where they were exhibited.
The museum has in its collection copies of paintings done by Sayed Ahmed during the period 1918-1923. Sayed Ahmed was a well- known artist of the time and had also worked with Lady Herringham in her project. He was appointed by the Nizam in 1915 to make copies of the paintings in whose dominion Ajanta was at that time. The museum has 43 copies of Ajanta paintings which were gifted to the museum by Sir. Akbar Hydari.
The Painting displayed is a detail of Padmapani Boddhisattva from the cave-1 of Ajanta. In this painting he wears a pearl neckpiece and in the right hand he is holding a blue lotus.
A gift from Sir Akbar Hydary.
Water colour on paper