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  • Object:

    Architectual tile

  • Place of origin:

    Panjab (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1650 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    glazed earthenware with cuerda seca decoration

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case 16, shelf 8 []

This Mughal glazed earthenware tile was bought by the museum in 1898 with no accompanying information about its provenance other than that it came from Mian Mir, near Lahore. It was presumably made in the region, which has a tradition, strongly influenced by Iran, of architectural decoration using glazed tiles. It probably dates from about 1650.

Physical description

Square tile with a stylised floral motif of green, brown and yellow within an ornate shaped border of blue and brown surrounded by green.

Place of Origin

Panjab (possibly, made)


ca. 1650 (made)



Materials and Techniques

glazed earthenware with cuerda seca decoration


Height: 17.5 cm, Width: 20.3 cm, Depth: 2.8 cm

Object history note

Bought as part of a larger group from Richard Poyser, Veterinary Major, Army Veterinary Department, Meerut, NWP and said on acquisition to have been 'Obtained from a Mahomedan priest in Mian Mir. Near Lahore'. His letter to the museum sent from Meerut, dated 13 April 92, refers to 'three broken pieces of encaustic tiles wh.[which] belonged to the Tomb of Azof Khan (AD about 1628) at Shahrah near Lahore' that he had earlier sold the museum, and contained an offer to sell 17 other pieces from the same tomb. He also proposed the museum buy 34 'pieces of encaustic tiles from other tombs or mosques (which can be named) of about the same date and character precisely'. The total number of 50 pieces were offered for 250 guineas.
On his return to England in 1898 as Lieutenant-Colonel, he wrote to Caspar Purdon Clarke, Director of the South Kensington Museum, 'I may add for your private information, that the old Indian tiles, which took me nearly 7 years to collect & which, as you are aware, are exceedingly difficult to obtain for many reasons, all came - excepting two - from Lahore & its neighbourhood where the tombs still stand to which they belonged, & some details will be found on the back of each & of an authentic nature.
Some I secured from a Mahommedan priest, - within the precincts of an important tomb, & just within its outer boundary wall, where they had been set up edgways to form square holes for pigeons to breed in: others from another priest had paved for himself a seat with them & upon which he constantly sat & read his Koran. he had also faced the wall at his back & side (in a corner) to a certain height with the same: Money would not get these out of him, but he sold me some loose ones. Another lot I purchased from a native shop keeper who lived near a celebrated tomb, & he fished them up out of a deep cellar under his shop. Two very fine specimens I secured in Delhi & you will find them so marked on the back.'

Descriptive line

TILE: Square tile with a floral motif of green, brown and yellow enamel within an ornate border of blue and brown surrounded by green. Lahore, 17th century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Robert Skelton, cat. no. 10
Skelton, Robert, et al, The Indian Heritage. Court life and Arts under Mughal Rule London: The Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982

Labels and date

TILE: Square tile with a floral motif of green, brown and yellow enamel within an ornate border of blue and brown surrounded by green. Lahore, 17th century. [2005.]


Earthenware; Enamel paint; Earthenware (red)


Cuerda seca


Ceramics; Architecture; Tiles; Earthenware


South & South East Asia Collection

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