One of ten drawings of details of pietra-dura ornamentation on the cenotaphs of Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal, at Agra.
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This Company painting shows details of inlaid marble decoration, or pietra dura, work on the cenotaph of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the Taj Mahal at Agra. Situated by the River Jumna at Agra, this mausoleum was commissioned by Shah Jahan to enshrine the body of his favourite wife, Arjumand Banu Begum, better known as Mumtaz Mahal ('Elect of the Palace'), who died shortly after giving birth to her fourteenth child in 1631. Construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1632 with a workforce of 20,000 men, and was completed in 1653.
'Company paintings' were produced by Indian artists for Europeans living and working in the Indian subcontinent, especially British employees of the East India Company. They represent a fusion of traditional Indian artistic styles with conventions and technical features borrowed from western art. Some Company paintings were specially commissioned, while others were virtually mass-produced and could be purchased in bazaars.
Detail of pietra dura ornamentation on the cenotaph of Shah Jahan showing flowers.
Place of Origin
Materials and Techniques
Height: 54 cm, Width: 57 cm
Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)
Archer, Mildred. Company Paintings Indian Paintings of the British period
Victoria and Albert Museum Indian Series London: Victoria and Albert Museum, Maplin Publishing, 1992 150 p. ISBN 0944142303
Indian Company Paintings
South & South East Asia Collection