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The cenotaph of Shah Jahan in the Taj Mahal, Agra

  • Object:

    Architectural drawing

  • Place of origin:

    Delhi (possibly, made)
    Agra (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1820 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

  • Public access description

    ‘Company paintings' were produced by Indian artists for Europeans living and working in the Indian subcontinent, especially British employees of the East India Company. They represent a fusion of traditional Indian artistic styles with conventions and technical features borrowed from western art. Some Company paintings were specially commissioned, while others were virtually mass-produced and could be purchased in bazaars.

    The Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to commemorate his deceased wife, Arjumand Banu Begum, better known as Mumtaz Mahal ('Elect of the Palace'), who died in 1631, shortly after giving birth to their fourteenth child. Work was begun in 1632, and the mausoleum was completed in 1653. When his son Aurangzeb seized the throne, Shah Jahan was imprisoned for the rest of his life in Agra Fort, from which he would gaze wistfully at the Taj Mahal in the distance, When he died, in January 1666, his body was interred there alongside that of his wife. His cenotaph, depicted here, is made of white marble inlaid with pietra dura.

  • Physical description

    The cenotaph of Shah Jahan in the Taj Mahal, Agra.

  • Marks and inscriptions

    Tomb of Shah Jehan in the Taj

  • Dimensions

    Height: 49 cm, Width: 70 cm

  • Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

    p. 70, cat. no. 53
    Swallow, D., Stronge, S., Crill, R., Koezuka, T., editor and translator, "The Art of the Indian Courts. Miniature Painting and Decorative Arts", Victoria & Albert Museum and NHK Kinki Media Plan, 1993.

  • Collection code

    South & South East Asia Collection