Mosque at Joinpore
Artist: Smith, Robert (1787-1873)
Medium: Pencil on paper
Pencil drawing of the Jami Masjid [?] at Jaunpur by Robert Smith (1787-1873) in March 1813. This is one of 18 drawings (20 folios) of landscapes and architecture in Uttar Pradesh taken in 1813. Inscribed on the original album cover is: 'No. 5. Ganges, Soane R. Cawnpore Jaunpoor.' Captain Robert Smith was a military engineer with the East India Company and was in India from 1805 to 1833. He designed a number of buildings in India and also repaired various Indian monuments including the Kutb Minar and the Jami Masjid at Delhi. In 1813 to 1814 he was surveying on the Mirzapur South frontier.
Jaunpur lies some 58 kilometres to the north of the famed Hindu city of Varanasi. It was the capital of a thriving and cultured sultanate power from the last decade of the fourteenth century until the city was destroyed by the armies of Sikander Shah Lodi in the 1490s. This view shows the the high arch of the main facade of the Jami Masjid or congregational mosque built by the Sharqi sultans of Jaunpur in the mid-fifteenth century. It was intended to supersede the smaller Atala mosque which had formerly served as the venue for Friday prayers. The foundations were laid by Sultan Mahmud Sharqi (r. 1440-1457) but it was later enlarged and completed by Sultan Husain Sharqi (r. 1458-79). The high monumental arch or 'pishtaq' which hides the dome behind is a typical feature of late sultanate mosque architecture in the area.