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  • Thumbnail for Aurangzeb Mosque, entranceway and view from outside
    Aurangzeb Mosque, entranceway and view from outside

    The yellow gate area marks the entrance into the mosque and tomb of the Emporor Aurangzeb. Stalls selling various religious goods line the passage leading into mosque. Worshippers can buy plaques inscribed with Qur'anic passages, scale models and photographs of religious shrines, scarves, prayer caps (topis), and books, among other religious goods. The sign "STD, ISD" designates a long distance telephone booth.

  • Thumbnail for Auspicious figures on cave doorway, woman in Tribunga pose under tree
    Auspicious figures on cave doorway, woman in Tribunga pose under tree

    This female yakshi represents the auspicious fertility of the earth as she stands under the canopy of a fruit-laden tree, possibly mango. Auspicious symbols surround the entranceways to the caves, making these caves also auspcious places to dwell.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora Hindu Caves, Shiva and Parvati on Mt. Kailash, close-up
    Ellora Hindu Caves, Shiva and Parvati on Mt. Kailash, close-up

    Alternately quarrelling and reconciling, the couple, Shiva and Parvati, sit close together here while the demon Ravana shakes their abode from below. Shiva has placed one hand on Parvati's breast while she is resting her hand on his leg.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora Buddhist Caves, Teen Tala, long view
    Ellora Buddhist Caves, Teen Tala, long view

    One of the most impressive caves is number 12, called Teen Tala, fashioned as a vihara with three levels of monastic living quarters positioned around a central prayer hall. Accomodating about 40 monks, Teen Tala gives the viewer a sense of the large monastic community that was active here.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Ramayana scenes
    Kailash Cave Temple, Ramayana scenes

    Familiar scenes from the Indian epic, the Ramayana, cover one outer wall of the main temple. The parallel wall on the other side tells the story of the Mahabharata in carved vignettes of well-known episodes.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Jain Caves, elephant
    Ellora, Jain Caves, elephant

    This majestic and huge elephant stands at the entrance to the most complex of the Jain caves. Elephants are associated with royalty and power.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Manu Stambha
    Kailash Cave Temple, Manu Stambha

    The Manu Stambha stands just inside the temple courtyard.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Jain Caves, Yaksha's elephant seat
    Ellora, Jain Caves, Yaksha's elephant seat

    The yaksha guardian, Matanga, sits on a grand elephant who has knelt to offer his back as a seat for the yaksha. The sculptor has placed a lotus bud in the trunk of the elephant to show his docile nature in the presence of this yaksha protector.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Ganapati Temple, rat vehicle
    Ellora, Ganapati Temple, rat vehicle

    The rat is the vehicle of Ganapati, reflecting the god's ability to overcome all obstacles. Ganapati is revered as the god of good fortune and prosperity, as well as the lord of beginnings.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Ganapati Temple, puja with flowers
    Ellora, Ganapati Temple, puja with flowers

    Performing puja to the deity, Ganapathy, the priest and a worshipper offer flowers.

  • Thumbnail for Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child, child balanced with sweetbreads
    Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child, child balanced with sweetbreads

    The child dressed in a beautiful peach dress and blue scarf sits patiently as her weight balances the sweetbreads on the other side, determining the contribution of her familiy to the community. [See cbind0043 for description of this Thanksgiving Ritual.]

  • Thumbnail for Buddha in lotus position, detail of lay devotees carrying offerings
    Buddha in lotus position, detail of lay devotees carrying offerings

    At the base of a buddha figure, lay devotees, men and women, carry offerings, possibly to celebrate the end of the rainy season retreat. The hair of the laypeople is emphasized in these figures perhaps as a contrast to the shaved heads of the monks and nuns.

  • Thumbnail for Painted Padmapani Bodhisattva
    Painted Padmapani Bodhisattva

    In Cave 1, a well-preserved painted mural features this image of Padmapani Bodhisattva, carrying the lotus (padma) in his right hand and viewing the suffering of the world.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora Buddhist Caves, Chaitya Hall, ribbed ceiling
    Ellora Buddhist Caves, Chaitya Hall, ribbed ceiling

    Cave #10 demonstrates an interesting transition from chaityas constructed with wood to these rock-cut cave structures. The craftsmen sculpted these stone riblike arcs on the ceiling of the cave to resemble the curved roof supports of a wooden chaitya.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Hindu Caves, Shiva kills Andhaka
    Ellora, Hindu Caves, Shiva kills Andhaka

    In Cave 29, Dhumar Lena, Shiva is depicted with eight arms carrying different weapons to kill the demon Andhaka. This is a huge wall sculpture approximately 25 feet high, demonstrating the power of Shiva.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Datta Temple, Linga and Nandin
    Ellora, Datta Temple, Linga and Nandin

    On a pillar of the temple, Shiva's bull, Nandin, protects a Shiva Linga.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Jain Caves, Yaksha Elephant detail
    Ellora, Jain Caves, Yaksha Elephant detail

    Held in the trunk of the elephant is a lotus symboliizing spiritual pursuits and a gentle nature. Placing this lotus in the trunk of this wild and powerful beast, the sculptor may be commenting on the greater power of the Jain practice of non-violence toward all creatures.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Ganapati Temple, inner sanctum doorway
    Ellora, Ganapati Temple, inner sanctum doorway

    The small inner shrine of the temple is set off from the rest of the temple by this decorated doorway. Devotees ring the bell to announce their presence to the god and then step over the door frame to perform their puja and receive darshan. Barely visible just inside the door is the image of the elephant-faced deity.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Ganapati Temple
    Ellora, Ganapati Temple

    Performing puja to the deity of the temple, Ganapathy, the priest offers the flame.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Jain Caves, entrance to the Mahavira shrine
    Ellora, Jain Caves, entrance to the Mahavira shrine

    This shrine to Mahavira, the 24th tirthankara, is set within a very large cave with exquisite carvings of several of the 24 tirthankaras.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Ganapati Temple, doorway
    Ellora, Ganapati Temple, doorway

    At the doorway to the shrine of the temple, people discuss the morning puja with the temple priest.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Jain Caves, tirthankara with animals
    Ellora, Jain Caves, tirthankara with animals

    Demonstrating the Jain practice of non-violence, this tirthankara is depicted with animals and insects at his feet. Near his right leg is a scorpion. Refusing to take life, even in microscopic forms, to make cloth, he lives throughout the year as a "digambara" monk, clothing himself with the sky. Bits of ancient red paint remain on this figure.

  • Thumbnail for East Asian Ceramics:  Then and Now.  05,  Punch'ong-ware Flask
    East Asian Ceramics: Then and Now. 05, Punch'ong-ware Flask by unknown

    In this Korean piece, a folk art piece from the 15th century, we see a whimsical design of fish that, in fact, makes a sophisticated use of positive and negative shapes. The surface of the stoneware vessel was coated with a thick white slip (a clay in a liquid state), done while the vessel, itself, was still damp, semi-soft clay. A sharp tool was then used to draw the design on the surface, with the tool cutting away a line in the white surface slip, revealing the darker clay of the vessel body beneath the slip. The piece was then glazed with a clear (transparent) glaze that would reveal the pattern under the glaze after firing. Although the glaze is clear, after firing it has a pale greenish color. This color comes from the presence of iron oxide in the glaze, which may have been added to the glaze before application or it may be iron from the dark, iron rich clay body used to make the piece. In the latter case, the iron would be pulled into the glaze during the firing process, which would be done in a wood-burning kiln with the presence of smoke and carbon monoxide creating the cool, greenish iron color (in the presence of a clear burning flame, iron oxide would produce a different palette of colors, ranging from tan to a sienna orange -kaki color in Japan- to the black of temmoku glazes). It is this particular greenish iron color that gives these Korean wares their name, punch’ong. The thick potting of this piece identifies it as the product of a rural, folk art kiln; this was not created as a “work of art.†-- Bequest of Russell Tyson, 1964.936

  • Thumbnail for Painted Bodhisattva on pillar, close-up
    Painted Bodhisattva on pillar, close-up

    The pillars inside this cave display many figures of Buddhist monks as bodhisattvas and buddhas. These monks wear the traditional monastic robe covering one shoulder. The bodhisattva holds the lotus, symbol of enlightenment.

  • Thumbnail for Auspicious figures on door lintel
    Auspicious figures on door lintel

    Carved auspicious figures frame the entranceways to several of the caves. These figures include amorous couples, apsaras and gandharvas, and leaping horses. These figures associate the caves with good fortune.