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tile

  • Object:

    Tile

  • Place of origin:

    Lahore (probably, made)

  • Date:

    mid 17th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    earthenware with cuerda seca decoration

  • Museum number:

    IS.50A-1898

  • Gallery location:

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

Physical description

Rectangular tile which was a component of a larger panel. It has a yellow ground painted with a design outlined in dark manganese of a green plant stem and leaves rising to the calyx of a flower. Two orange blobs in the middle of both side edges are probably parts of flowers.

Place of Origin

Lahore (probably, made)

Date

mid 17th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

earthenware with cuerda seca decoration

Dimensions

Height: 20.4 cm, Width: 12.4 cm, Depth: 2.9 cm

Object history note

Said to have come from the tomb of Asaf Khan, whose tomb was built by Shah Jahan in the Shahdara tomb complex in Lahore opposite the tomb of Jahangir, under whom he was Governor of the Panjab and brother of Nur Jahan, wife of the Emperor, later becoming Commnader-in -Chief under Shah Jahan. The tomb has lost most of its tile revetments, and those that survive are of the more usual Indian type of cut-tile mosaic.
Bought from Richard Poyser, Veterinary Major, Army Veterinary Department, Meerut, NWP. His letter to the museum from Meerut, 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' and offers to sell 17 other pieces from the same tomb. He also offered 34 'other 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 on 18 June to Caspar Purdon Clarke '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 precints 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

Architecture, earthenware, enamelled, Lahore, C17

Materials

Earthenware; Enamel paint

Techniques

Cuerda seca

Categories

Ceramics; Earthenware; Tiles

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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