Agra. Chini-ka-Rauza. Detail of the north-east corner from the east
Photographer: Smith, Edmund William
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Chini-ka-Rauza at Agra in Uttar Pradesh, taken by Edmund William Smith in 1893-4, from the Archaeological Survey of India. The Chini ka Rauz, or Tiled tomb, is believed to be the mausoleum of Afzal Khan, a minister of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (r.1628-58) who died in 1638. Built on a square plan, it has a bulbous central dome and a mosaic façade decorated with elaborate floral patterns composed of enamelled tile fragments. This is a view of the right half of the east façade.
Smith wrote in Moghul Colour Decoration of Agra, 1901, "The Chini-ka-Rauza, or the tomb covered with "china" (enamelled tiles), stands in what was a large garden, but is now a field. The garden was enclosed on the north, south and east sides by walls, but was open on the river front. Being a mausoleum, it is built facing north and south as all such in India are...The Chini-ka-Rauza faces the river...but stands some distance back from the bank,with which it appears to have been connected at one time by a ghat or quay. It is a rectangular building...Within is an octagonal chamber...covered by a rich stalactite or honeycombed dome crowned by another or false one, resting on a sixteen-sided base, which rises considerably above the roof of the building...and has been constructed solely for effect's sake and to lend importance to the design...Generally speaking, one façade is like the other in design, but the tiled patterns with which they are covered vary considerably. The greater portion of the south façade has fallen...and along with it the south-west angle of the building, disclosing the fact that the semi-domes over the vestibules in the centre of the façades leading into the cenotaph chamber are constructed, like many of the ancient buildings in Egypt and Rome, of chattis or pots embedded in concrete."