Posted on: 29 October 2012

Inscription on the cenotaph of Mumtaz Mahal, Taj Mahal.

Architectural; drawings, watercolour, Inscription on the cenotaph of Mumtaz Mahal, Taj Mahal, Delhi or Agra, ca.1820

Copyright: © V&A Images

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"The cenotaph of the emperor, installed more than thirty years later, in 1666, is similar to that of Mumtaz in shape and decorative organization, but larger, and entirely covered with flowers and scroll work without any formal inscriptions, The only inscription is the epitaph, positioned like that of Mumtaz. The covering of the Emperor's cenotaph with recognizable poppies are intended to give heightened realism to red flowers as symbols of suffering and death. The epitaph reads: ‘This is the sacred grave of His Most Exalted Majesty, Dweller in Paradise (Firdaus Ashiyani), Second Lord of the Auspicious. Conjunction (Sahib-i Qiran-i Sani), Shah Jahan, Padshah; may it ever be fragrant! The year 1076 [AD 1666]’." ~~~

"The main decoration consists of inlaid Qur'anic inscriptions. Naturalistic plums are confined to the platform, where two types alternate, between borders of hanging blossoms: one has asymmetrically arranged erect funnel-shaped calyxes and buds, the other a perfectly symmetrical arrangement of seven smaller blossoms and buds; both seem to be inspired by lilies and the upper surface of the platform has a framed flowery scrollwork pattern. Inscribed on the top and the sides of the block are Quran'ic verses in formal Sulus script; their common theme is to comfort the soul (of Mumtaz) with the prospect of Paradise. The epitaph reads: ‘The illumined grave of Arjumand Bano Begam, entided Mumtaz Mahal, who died in the year 1631’." ~~~