The Cuttub Minar near Delhi
Artist and engraver: Daniell, Thomas (1749-1840)
Medium: Aquatint, coloured
Plate 24 from the fifth set of Thomas and William Daniell's 'Oriental Scenery' called 'Antiquities of India.' The imposing Qutb Minar was begun by Qutb al-Din Aibak in 1192 as a tower to celebrate the victory of the Muslim rule in Northern India and as a minaret for the Quwwat al-Islam Mosque which stands nearby. The first three storeys of attractively varied fluted red sandstone include bands of beautiful calligraphy and stylised floral designs beneath the honeycombed balcony projections. The upper part has been several times damaged by lightning or earthquakes, and the two upper stories mostly covered with white marble are as restored after 1368 by Firuz Shah Tughluq. The remains of the cupola crowning the whole (for which the Daniells' views are the only surviving visual evidence) were further damaged by an earthquake in 1803, and removed.