Interior of the Motee Musjid, Agra.
Photographer: Bourne, Samuel
Medium: Photographic print
View along the central aisle of the Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) at Agra, showing a vista of cusped arches, taken by Samuel Bourne in the 1860s. The Moti Masjid was built by Emperor Shah Jahan (r.1627-1658) at the highest point in the Agra Fort complex. It was completed in 1655, taking seven years to build. The mosque sits on a platform, and consists of a large courtyard surrounded by continuous arcades and a prayer hall. The prayer hall has three aisles, each with seven bays and is surmounted by three elegant marble domes with gilded spires. The prayer chamber has coloured strips set into the floor to denote separate prayer spaces. The central courtyard contains a square marble tank and a sundial in the shape of an octagonal marble pillar. The impact of the Moti Masjid, or Pearl Mosque is to be accounted for by “its proportion, building materials and …cohesive harmony which is the hallmark of the best Mughal architecture”. The north and south side have gateways crowned by marble cupolas.