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Entrance gateway to Akbar's tomb, Sikandra

Entrance gateway to Akbar's tomb, Sikandra

Artist: Anonymous

Medium: Watercolour

Date: 1817

Shelfmark: Add.Or.1750

Item number: 1750

Length: 47.3

Width: 69.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Drawing

Watercolour, by an anonymous Indian artist, of the entrance Gatehouse to Akbar's mausoleum at Sikandra, dated c.1817. The village was named after Sikander Lodi (1489-1517) the king who established his court at nearby Agra in 1504. The mausoleum of the Mughal emperor Akbar (r. 1556-1605) is set in a large square garden surrounded by battlemented walls with a red sandstone gateway at the centre of each of the four sides. The ground-level storey of the mausoleum comprises a set of arched recesses with a high recessed arch or 'pishtaq' at the centre of each side topped by an ornamental marble kiosk. The burial chamber lies deep within the building. On the top storey, surrounded by a marble screen, is a cenotaph placed exactly above the grave further below. It is carved from a single block of marble and inscribed with the ninety-nine names of Allah. The main entrance, to the south, is inlaid with white marble and has an inscription from the Quran, the Surah-i-Mulk. There are four three-storeyed marble minarets at each corner of the gateway, the first of their kind built in India. During Akbar's reign he encouraged a synthesis of Hindu and Islamic artistic traditions. His tomb may be seen as a culmination of this style in its combined use of imported arcuate and local trabeate methods of construction. The building remained unfinished at his death and was completed by his son Jahangir.

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