Agra. Chini-ka-Rauza. Interior
Photographer: Smith, Edmund William
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the interior 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.
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 soffit of the dome is corbelled out into seven concentric honeycombed rings...The flowers forming the wreaths between the groined intersections are conventionalized. They are particularly well drawn, and the tangential curves flow gracefully one out of the other and fill up, but do not crowd, the groined spaces. The honeycombed vaulting of the dome springs from a deep and bold concave moulding running round the top of the lower and octagonal portion of the room on the level with the first floor (see Plate LI) [this image]. The ground of the cornice was painted...a deep chocolate, upon which rich scrolls in light blue and a deeper shade of chocolate, enriched with floral wreaths in gold and deep green, were painted. The nose of the moulding is flat and and its face was was coloured a dark rich blue, bordered with narrow bands in gold. Upon the blue ground was an undulating scroll, united by golden links of white flowers shaded red...the sides of the octagonal cenotaph chamber...are deeply recessed from the face of the main wall of the room. The recesses on four of the sides are square...whilst the other four are of a pentagonal shape. All are arched at the top, and the spandrils over the arches are most exquisitely and chastely painted with arabesques in rich and beautiful colours."