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Most beautiful marble screen in the world, around imperial sarcophagi, Taj Mahal, Agra, India.

Most beautiful marble screen in the world, around imperial sarcophagi, Taj Mahal, Agra, India.

Photographer: Ricalton, James

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1903

Shelfmark: Photo 181/(67)

Item number: 67

Length: 8.9

Width: 17.8

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Stereoscopic photograph of the marble screen around the sarcophagus in the Taj Mahal at Agra in Uttar Pradesh, taken by James Ricalton in c. 1903, from The Underwood Travel Library: Stereoscopic Views of India. The Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan (r.1628-58) as a memorial to his favourite wife Arjumand Banu Begum, also known by her titles Mumtaz Mahal (Chosen of the Palace) and Taj Mahal (Crown of the Palace). Work on the tomb began in 1631 and by 1643 the entire complex was almost complete. Built of white marble inlaid with precious stones, the mausoleum is square in plan and surmounted by a bulbous dome with a minaret at each of the four corners. This is a view of a section of the octagonal marble screen that surrounds the two tombs in the centre of the mausoleum. This white marble screen is embellished with delicate open tracery and surrounded by borders of inlaid precious stones in the form of flowers. 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 really 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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