Ahmadabad: Pillars from Jama Masjid (left), Ahmed Shah's tomb (centre), Ahmad Shah's Queen's tomb (right)
Surveyor: Burgess, James (1832-1916)
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
Pen-and-ink drawing of pillars from the Jami Masjid (left), Ahmad Shah's tomb (centre) and Ahmad Shah's Queen's tomb (right) in Ahmadabad by an anonymous artist dating to between 1884 and 1886. This image is from the Burgess collection, an album of 49 drawings of plans, sections, elevations, sculpture and architectural details of Muslim monuments in Ahmadabad and the surrounding areas made during this period. The drawings were prepared mainly by Indian draftsmen under the supervision of James Burgess (1832-1916). Burgess was in India from 1855 to 1889, he served as the Archaeological Surveyor and Reporter for Western India 1874-80, with South India added 1881-85 before becoming the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India in 1886 until he retired in 1889.
Situated on the banks of the Sabarmati River, Ahmadabad was founded by Ahmad Shah, Sultan of Gujarat, in 1411 on the site of the village of Asaval. The dynasty ruled until 1537 when Sultan Bahadur Shah was killed by the Portuguese at Diu. Gujarat was annexed by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1572. The city is architecturally interesting as it boasts many examples of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Gujarati provincial Islamic architecture. The Jami Masjid was built by Ahmad Shah in 1423 and is generally considered one of the finest mosques in India, the result of years of experimental techniques. Ahmad Shah died in 1442 although his tomb was probably commenced during his lifetime. It comprises a central chamber, with eight surrounding outer rooms separated by pierced stone screens, and roofed with corbelled domes supported on pillars and horizontal lintels. The tombs of the Queens of Ahmad Shah as a complex is similar in style to Ahmad Shah’s mausoleum, comprising eight marble tombs on a raised platform surrounded by an arcaded and screened outer cloister. This drawing shows a single pillar from each of the three monuments.