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Carved decoration from the Qutb Minar, Delhi, and from Hindu ruins nearby

Carved decoration from the Qutb Minar, Delhi, and from Hindu ruins nearby

Artist: unknown

Medium: Pencil on paper

Date: 1820

Shelfmark: WD1330

Item number: 1330

Length: 37

Width: 27

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Drawing

Pencil drawing of carved fragments from the Qutb Minar at Delhi and nearby Hindu ruins by an unknown artist, c.1820. Inscribed on the front in ink is: 'Mussulman - from the Minar, Hindu from the ruins near the Kootub.'

The Qutb Minar was built by Qutb-u'd-din Aibek from 1199 as part of the Quwwat al-Islam or 'Might of Islam' congregational mosque complex at Delhi. It was designed as a dominant visual sign of the arrival of Muslim rule in northern India and as a marker of the presence of a Muslim place of prayer. The minaret has sloping sides which are alternately fluted and flanged. Its surfaces are covered in both foliate and calligraphic relief-carved decoration, sections of which are shown here. It was subsequently added to by his successor, Iltutmish, before the top was restored by Firoz Shah in 1369, who used marble to face the upper section. In 1803 the Qutb Minar sustained damage during an earthquake, including the collapse of the upper storey. The repairs and renovations were made under the supervision of Major Robert Smith, Bengal Engineers, and completed in 1829. Much of the accompanying Quwwat al-Islam mosque was built using spolia from Hindu and Jain temples in the area. Inscriptions record that twenty-seven temples were levelled to provide the masonry for the construction of the mosque. Segments of such spolia are also seen in this drawing.

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