Tatta, Karachi District, Sindh. Diwan Shurfakhan's ornamental tombstone within, from back
Photographer: Cousens, Henry
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the ornamental tombstone within Diwan Shurfa Khan's Tomb at Thatta in the Karachi District in Sind in Pakistan, taken by Henry Cousens, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections: Western India 1894-96. Diwan Shurfa Khan (d.1638) was a minister of Nawab Amir Khan, a Moghul governor of Sind during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan (r.1628-58). This tomb was erected in 1639 and is the best preserved buildings on Makli hill. It is a large square structure with a dome that was once covered in light blue tiles and round towers at the corners. The unglazed red bricks have joints of dark blue tiling. This is a close view of the tombstone which is richly embellished with calligraphic carving.
Henry Cousens wrote in 'The Antiquities of Sind' of 1929, "The central gravestone, within, is very elaborately carved with surface tracery in geometric patterns and interlaced Arabic writing...[it] is a particularly fine piece of work...The upright headstone is divided into compartments which are filled with Arabic writing, forming beautiful traceries of interlaced characters. The sides, top, and end of the upper bed-stone are also divided up, in the same way, into panels of writing. The chain bands separating the smaller panels on the headstone are very effective."