Gaur. Ornamental bricks.
Photographer: Ravenshaw, John Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph taken in the 1860s by John Henry Ravenshaw, one of 45 prints in the album 'Gaur: Its Ruins and Inscriptions'. Once known as Lakshmanavati or Lakhnauti, Gaur was an ancient capital of the rulers of Bengal. It came to prominence under the Buddhist Palas from the 8th century, and then prospered under the Hindu Senas from the 12th century. It fell to the Delhi Sultanate in the 13th century and later served as the capital for the independent Sultans of Bengal from the mid-14th century till the 16th century, except for an interval between 1354 to 1442 when neighbouring Pandua was made capital. Gaur was relinquished to ruin and decay by the end of the 16th century. With its history as a provincial centre of Islamic culture, Gaur has the remnants of many monuments. The bricks shown in the photograph served to illustrate the ornamentation of the buildings in Gaur as found by the photographer on his travels there. They are taken from the Dakhil Gate, Qadam Rasul Mosque, Tantipara Mosque, Lattan Mosque, Hussain Shah’s Tomb, Chand and Nim Gates, the Fort and the Chota Sona Mosque (Small Golden Mosque). The principal construction material at Gaur was brick. The only stone available was the black basalt from the Rajmahal Hills in the area. Rarely, granite and sandstone were imported from neighbouring Bihar. Stone was used in the main for pillars which supported arches and domes, and to dress outer walls. Often it was cut into slabs and finely decorated. Stuccoed walls were often decorated with relief-terracotta depicting the flora of the region. Later the builders used faience in the decoration.