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Taj Mahal, Agra (U.P.). 1794

Taj Mahal, Agra (U.P.). 1794

Medium: Watercolour with pen and ink

Date: 1794

Shelfmark: WD707

Item number: 707

Length: 35.5

Width: 66

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Drawing

Pen-and-ink and water-colour drawing of the Taj Mahal at Agra by an unknown artist in 1794. Inscribed on the front in pencil is: 'Taaje Mehal from Street (?) 1794'; and on the back in ink: 'View of the Taje Mahal.' This image is from a portfolio of 56 miscellaneous drawings of landscapes and antiquities mostly in upper India made between 1789 and 1820.

The Taj Mahal was built on the banks of the river Jumna at Agra by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal following her death in 1632. The tomb itself is constructed of brick and faced in white marble. Its surfaces are inlaid with gemstones and coloured marbles in calligraphic, geometric and floral designs. Shah Jahan himself was later buried in the tomb next to his wife. The mausoleum sits at the northern end of a formal garden arranged according to a 'chahar bagh' or four-part garden layout of Persian origin. It is flanked on one side by a mosque and to the other by its 'jawab' or echo, thought to have provided a resting house for visitors to the tomb. Both buildings are faced in red sandstone with three white marble onion domes apiece. At the southern end of the garden is a monumental gateway also of red sandstone. Calligraphy around its central arched opening encourages the visitor to continue into the gardens within by asking them to 'Enter Thou my Paradise'.

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