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Kutb Minar, from N.E. - Moslem Tower of Victory near Delhi, India; 240 ft. high, base 47 ft. diam.

Kutb Minar, from N.E. - Moslem Tower of Victory near Delhi, India; 240 ft. high, base 47 ft. diam.

Photographer: Ricalton, James

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1903

Shelfmark: Photo 181/(82)

Item number: 82

Length: 8.9

Width: 17.8

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Stereoscopic photograph of the Qutb Minar near Delhi, taken by James Ricalton in c. 1903, from The Underwood Travel Library: Stereoscopic Views of India. The Qutb Minar is a tower of victory, part of a complex containing some of the earliest structures of Muslim rule in India. It was begun by Qutb-ud-Din Aibak (r.1206-1210), the first Sultan of Delhi and founder of the Slave Dynasty, and continued by Shams-ud-Din Iltutmish (r.1211-1236). This tower accompanies the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque and was probably inspired by the style of Afghan minarets. It is 72.3m (238 ft) high, and rises in five tapering fluted storeys interrupted by projecting balconies. The chief material used is red sandstone. The two highest storeys are mainly marble, they were rebuilt by Firuz Shah Tughluq (r.1351-1388) in 1368 when a cupola was added, later damaged in an earthquake and removed. The four balconies are interspersed with broad carved bands of interwoven calligraphy and floral motifs. This view is described by Ricalton in 'India Through the Stereoscope' (1907): 'My bearer has appeared at the top, whither I sent him to demonstrate the relative height of a human figure at that elevation; he was too far away and too high to hear my voice-I could only motion to him to assume a pose which would enable one to distinguish a personal presence; I extended an arm, he imitated, and sure enough, there he stands as I left him years ago.' This is one of a series of 100 photographs, designed to be viewed through a special binocular viewer, producing a 3D effect. The series was sold together with a book of descriptions and a map with precise locations to enable the 'traveller' to imagine that he was touring around India. Stereoscopic cameras, those with two lenses and the ability to take two photographs at the same time, were introduced in the mid 19th century.

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