Central Asia, India, Mughal Empire ca. 17th century CE. Made from a beautifully banded red and ecru colored sandstone, this is a gracefully carved semicircle lintel from an elite home, temple, or mosque. At its center is a ten-petaled flower inside an openwork six-pointed star. This, in turn, is set within an openwork circle with further floral flourishes. Surrounding this inside a thick border are shallow reliefs of symmetrical, sinuous leaves, vines, and, low in the carving, two delicate flowers. Size: 1.5" L x 42" W x 23.75" H (3.8 cm x 106.7 cm x 60.3 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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Small repair on lower edge; this is well done and unobtrusive. There are a few scratches, chips, and nicks commensurate with age as well as small losses to the peripheries. Nice deposits on surface.