Marble fretwork door, Taj, Agra.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a marble screen of the Taj Mahal, Agra, taken by an unknown photographer in the 1880s, part of the Bellew Collection of Architectural Views. The Taj Mahal was built on the banks of the river Yamuna in Agra by the Emperor Shah Jahan (ruled 1628-58) as a tomb for his favourite wife Arjumand Banu Begum, who had died in childbirth in 1631, and derives its name from her title Mumtaz-i-Mahal or 'Chosen of the Palace'. Constructed over a period of 12 years and involving the work of many thousands of skilled artisans, the Taj is the culmination of the evolution of Mughal architecture. Its beauty and charm derives not only from its lucid proportions and exquisite pietra dura decoration, but also from the quality of the marble, quarried from Makrana in Rajasthan, which is its chief material. The marble exterior responds subtly to changes in light and weather, and skilfully carved marble lattices provide a dim light to the interior.