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The Iron Pillar and the great screen of the Quwwat al-Islam Mosque

The Iron Pillar and the great screen of the Quwwat al-Islam Mosque

Artist: Sita Ram (fl. c.1810-1822)

Medium: Watercolour

Date: 1815

Shelfmark: Add.Or.4831

Item number: 4831

Length: 32

Width: 51

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Drawing

Watercolour of the Iron Pillar and the Quwwat al-Islam Mosque from 'Views by Seeta Ram from Delhi to Tughlikabad Vol. VII' produced for Lord Moira, afterwards the Marquess of Hastings, by Sita Ram between 1814-15. Marquess of Hastings, the Governor-General of Bengal and the Commander-in-Chief (r.1813-23), was accompanied by artist Sita Ram (flourished c.1810-22) to illustrate his journey from Calcutta to Delhi between 1814-15.

Idealised view of the Iron Pillar and the great screen of the Quwwat al-Islam Mosque in the Qutb Minar complex in Delhi. The Qutub Minar complex was initiated by Qutub-ud-din Aibak, the founder of the Slave Dynasty in Delhi (1206-90), to celebrate the onset of Islamic rule in India in 1192. The Iron Pillar, with a height of 7.2 m and diameter of 32 cm, is dated to the Gupta period with Sanskrit inscriptions from the 4th or 5th century. This pillar was taken from a Vishnu temple and placed at this site before the construction of the complex. The Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque is one of the earliest extant in India and is a fine example of Islamic architecture employing Islamic principles of accurate construction and geometric ornamentation, but utilising Indian building traditions. Masonry from 27 Hindu and Jain temples was salvaged for use in the construction of the mosque. Inscribed below: 'Metal Pillar at the Cutub.'

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