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Mausoleum of Akbar, Sikandra 556

Mausoleum of Akbar, Sikandra 556

Artist: Anonymous

Medium: Watercolour

Date: 1820

Shelfmark: Add.Or.556

Item number: 556

Length: 258

Width: 356

Scale: Millimetres

Genre: Drawing

Watercolour, by an anonymous artist, of the Mausoleum of Akbar at Sikandra, dated sometime between 1820 and 1825. The image is inscribed on the front in Persian characters, 'Naqshah i maqbarah i hadrat Jalal al-Din Muhammad Akbar Shah dar Sikandrah' (Picture of Akbar's tomb in Sikandrah), and on the back in English, '14. The Tomb of Jalaloodeen Akbar Shall, at Secundra, near Agra.' 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. 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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