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Delhi: Tomb of Altamish, Interior

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CollectionsArthur Llewellyn Basham
Title: Delhi: Tomb of Altamish, Interior
Author(s): Photographer: Arthur Llewellyn Basham
Keywords: Delhi Sultanate;architecture;architectural ornament
Series/Report no.: Basham Collection
Description: Remains of the earliest Islamic art in India are no longer available to us because of the destruction wrought by counter-invading peoples such as the Mongols and by the indigenous population. These monuments would have included mosques of an early type and other trappings such as thrones or illustrated material. Some very small mosques, still in ruins, do remain in the lower Sind area, and remnants of Islamic influenced Hindu decoration survive in north-west India from these earliest years, but it is not until the beginning of the 13th century that we find better examples: the first of these from the Delhi sultanate. The first ruler to put the Delhi sultanate on a firm administrative basis was Altamish (also Itutmish), who ruled between 1211-1236. His commissioned buildings included an extension of the Delhi mosque (began in 1193), the completion of the Qutb-Minar, a second mosque at Budaun, and a very richly decorated mausoleum for himself behind the Qutb Minar mosque - all displaying the most perfect combination of Islamic and Indian forms. Our illustration shows the interior of the sultan's mausoleum and the marvelous profusion of Islamic abstract decorations
note in particular the use of script around the entrance, which imperceptably [sic] blends with the pure abstract designs. This is our first example of Islamic decoration acting through Hindu technique, for the Moslem builders applied their own systems of ornaments in a Hindu fashion - by carving on the surface of the facade itself rather than applying pre-carved sections as was commonly done in their own country. -- detail. 1210-1235.
Other Identifiers: ANUA 682-1989


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