Bibi Peri's Tomb, Lal Bagh, [Dacca]
Photographer: Kapp, Fritz
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph taken by Fritz Kapp in 1904 of the mausoleum in Lalbagh Fort in Dacca (now Dhaka), part of an album of 30 prints from the Curzon Collection. Lord Curzon was Viceroy of India from 1899-1905. In February 1904, he toured Eastern Bengal and visited Dhaka on the 18th and 19th where he stayed at the Ahsan Manzil Palace. This album of gelatine-silver prints commemorates his Dhaka visit, though it is not a record of it and only presents us with general views. Kapp worked as a commercial photographer from the 1880s onwards and had studios in Chowringhee Road and Humayun Place in Calcutta. From the early 1900s he had a studio in Wise Ghat Road in Dhaka. Dhaka is now the capital of Bangladesh, in the 17th century it became prominent as a provincial capital of the Mughal empire, and was a major centre of trade, particularly in fine muslins. Its history, though largely obscured, is ancient, and it was brought under Islamic rule by the 13th century, first by the Delhi Sultanate then by the independent sultans of Bengal, after which it was taken by the Mughals in 1608. In the 18th century Dhaka was eclipsed by Murshidabad under the Nawabs of Bengal and its population diminished. As the fortunes of the Nawabs declined, the power of the East India Company became a new factor. Queen Victoria’s Proclamation in 1858 brought all the territories held by the Company (including Dhaka) under British rule. Tradition states that the ruined Lal Bagh Fort in Dhaka was founded in 1678 by Prince Azam Khan, the son of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, when he was governor here. It was added to by Shayista Khan, Mughal governor between 1679-1688. The complex contains many structures including a huge mosque and the building called Pari Bibi's Tomb, which is believed to be that of Shayista Khan's favourite daughter, the death of whom is said to have caused construction to be halted, resulting in the Lalbagh remaining incomplete. Its interior follows closely the plan of Mughal mausoleums. Black, grey and white marble was used in its construction.