Walter M. Spink’s Ajanta

Note from Geri Malandra

This paper is about the study of Ajanta by Dr. Walter M. Spink, its great scholar, teacher, and friend. Together with the cave temples at Elephanta and Ellora, among many other sites, Ajanta represents the pinnacle of rock-cut temple architecture, sculpture, and painting, preserving a unique repository of Maharashtra’s ancient history, religion, art.

The focus here is the development of Dr. Spink’s ideas. His interests, scholarship, and impact on Ajanta studies over a six-decade career are too wide to cover in a single paper. I have chosen to dig down through the decades of his publications to trace the development of the unique methodology and ideas that have made such a strong impact on views and scholarship about Ajanta. His unending curiosity fueled a philosophy that there is always more to see, know, understand, and connect. I hope this overview will inspire readers to begin or to continue and enrich their own Ajanta studies.

About Geri Malandra

Geri H. Malandra is Associate Director of Professional Development and Conference Services, Continuing Education and Extension at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. In addition to her work on the prehistory, history, languages and art of ancient South Asia, she has also pursued research on the prehistory and art of ancient Iran and on Sumerian and ancient Near Eastern economic texts.

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