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Delhi: Tomb of Altamish, Exterior

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CollectionsArthur Llewellyn Basham
Title: Delhi: Tomb of Altamish, Exterior
Author(s): Photographer: Arthur Llewellyn Basham
Keywords: Delhi Sultanate;architecture
Series/Report no.: Basham Collection
Description: Altamish's imposing mausoleum made use of the Hindu handling of construction without impairing the generally Islamic character of the whole. Tombs built by the Moslems were usually cubes crowned by a dome while the actual tomb was buried beneath the structure. In this case, the dome has been omitted, but the cubiform superstructure has been used. A wealth of geometrical forms are employed in the groundplans and decoration of Islamic buildings, tombs being no exception. The shape of the doorways (and, we shall see later, of the Mihrabs - a very special niche in the mosque) is the only partial exception, and it is an abstraction of a rectangle and hemisphere combination, which has a long developmental history reaching back to the 2nd century A.D. (of which more later). We should pay particular attention to the false divisions of 'stories' on the tomb
there are no stories within the structure. This pattern also possesses a long developmental history and, like the doorways, reaches back to the 2nd century A.D. for its probable origins. It suffices for now to say that these storied divisions are ornamental in function.
Other Identifiers: ANUA 682-1988


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