Central Asia, India, Mughal Empire ca. 17th century CE. An elegantly carved sandstone semicircle lintel from a temple. The surface is decorated with a graceful, symmetrical representation of flowers and vines. At the center is a six-petaled flower, the tips of the petals pronounced as if hanging down in teardrop form. A carved chain bearing three-pronged leaves at top and bottom encircles this flower, adding a touch of human creation to the natural beauty. A thick, raised border demarcates the curved edge. Size: 2.3" L x 55" W x 25.5" H (5.8 cm x 139.7 cm x 64.8 cm)
Mughal period architecture was a blend of Islamic, Persian, Turkish, and native Indian styles from earlier periods. Towering, slender minarets, bulbous, onion-like domes, large curved gateways, and ornate, symmetrical decorative programs characterize the imaginative and monumental buildings of the period, of which the Taj Mahal is of course the most famous. This reached its peak during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan, who in addition to the Taj Mahal created the Diwan-I-Am (Hall of Public Audience) and the Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque). Sadly these extravagant achievements heavily taxed the Mughal people, and by Jahan's death, he had bankrupted his empire. The combination of wealth and artistic patronage of the Mughal period remains unparalleled in Indian history.
Provenance: private J.H. collection, Beaverton, Oregon, USA
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The sandstone has flaked in some areas as shown, notably along the upper border as shown. Old collection numbers are written in chalk on the undecorated back. The artwork is well preserved. Deposits on surface commensurate with age.