Agra. Chini-ka-Rauza. Detail of the painted ceiling of the dome over the cenotaph chamber looking up from the floor
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 view shows a detail of the painted ceiling of the dome over the cenotaph chamber looking up from the floor.
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...[in] the cenotaph chamber, we find four out of the eight sides...are pierced by square openings leading to the vestibules on the north, south, east and west sides whilst the remaining four are formed into pentagonal recesses, covered by half domes. The walls and the ceilings were covered with stucco and were originally painted with exquisite floral and other patterns. Owing to the tomb having been used as a residence by the zamindar (farmer) cultivating the surrounding fields, only a few traces of the decoration are left to us, as the smoke from his fires have almost completely destroyed the paintings...Plate L [this image] is a reproduction of a photograph showing the crown of the dome taken from the floor of the cenotaph chamber, and...showing the decoration upon the medallion or centre piece. The soffit of the dome is corbelled out into seven concentric honeycombed rings."