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Architecture and Art of the Deccan Sultanates 


The Muslim kingdoms of the Deccan plateau in peninsular India flourished from the 
fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Ruling from their fortified capitals, the sultans 
built sumptuous palaces, mosques and tombs and patronised artists who produced 
outstanding paintings, textiles and objects. Many of these buildings and some works of art 
still survive as testimony to the remarkable talents of their builders and craftsmen. This 
volume is the first to offer an overall survey of these varied architectural and artistic 
traditions and to place them within their historical and cultural context. The ethnic and 
religious links which existed between the Deccan and Iran and Turkey, for example, are 
clearly discernible in Deccani architecture and painting, and a remarkable group of 
images, many of which have never been published before, testify to these influences. 
While these partial legacies survive, little has been written on the exotic art of the Deccan 
sultanates until now. The book will therefore be an invaluable source of inspiration to all 
those interested in the rich and diverse culture of India, as well as to those concerned with 
the wider artistic heritage of the Middle East. 


George Michell is an architect, archaeologist and art historian. He has worked on 
numerous research projects in different parts of India, most recently documenting the 
medieval Hindu capital of Vijayanagara. His publications include Architecture and Art of 
Southern India: Vijayanagara and the Successor States (1995) and City of Victory: 
Vijayanagara, the Medieval City of Southern India (1991). 


Mark Zebrowski is an art historian. He has studied Mughal India and the art of the 
Deccan for many years and has recently completed a book on Indian metalwork, Gold, 
Silver and Bronze from Mughal India (1997). He is also the author of Deccani Painting 
(1983). At present he is working on the decorative arts of the Mughal empire. 


Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 


Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 


THE NEW CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF INDIA 


General editor GORDON JOHNSON 


President of Wolfson College, and Director 
Centre of South Asian Studies, Univesity of Cambridge 


Associate editors C. A. BayLy 


Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History, 
University of Cambridge, and Fellow of St Catharine’s College 


andJouN F. RIicHARDS 
Professor of History, Duke University 


Although the original Cambridge History of India, published between 
1922 and 1937, did much to formulate a chronology for Indian history and 
describe the administrative structures of government in India, it has 
inevitably been overtaken by the mass of new research published over the 
last fifty years. 

Designed to take full account of recent scholarship and changing concep- 
tions of South Asia’s historical development, The New Cambridge History 
of India will be published as a series of short, self-contained volumes, each 
dealing with a separate theme and written by one or two authors within an 
overall four-part structure. Volumes will conclude with a substantial bibli- 
ographical essay designed to lead non-specialists further into the literature. 

The four parts are as follows: 


I The Mughals and their Contemporaries 
Il Indian States and the Transition to Colonialism 
HI The Indian Empire and the Beginnings of Modern Society 
IV The Evolution of Contemporary South Asia 


A list of individual titles already published and those in preparation will be 
found at the end of the volume. 


Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 


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2 
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Sufi receiving a visitor, attributed to the Bodleian painter, Bijapur, c. 1610-20 


Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 


THE NEW 
CAMBRIDGE 
HISTORY OF 

INDIA 


ez 
Architecture and Art of the Deccan Sultanates 


GEORGE MICHELL 
and 


MARK ZEBROWSKI 








= CAMBRIDGE 


IS) UNIVERSITY PRESS 

















Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 


PUBLISHED BY THE PRESS SYNDICATE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE 
The Pitt Building, Trumpington Street, Cambridge cB2 rrp, United Kingdom 


CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS 
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© Cambridge University Press 1999 


This book is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception 
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, 
no reproduction of any part may take place without 
the written permission of Cambridge University Press. 


First published 1999 
Reprinted 2006 


Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge 
Typeset in Garamond 10.5/13 pt [VN] 
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library 


Library of Congress cataloguing in publication data 


Michell, George 
The architecture and art of the Deccan sultanates / George Michell and Mark Zebrowski. 
p. cm. — (The new Cambridge history of India; I, 8) 
Includes bibliographical references and index. 
ISBN O §21 56321 6 (hb) 

1. Art, Islamic —India— Deccan. 2. Art, Indic — India — Deccan. 
1. Zebrowski, Mark. uw. Title. 11. Series. 
DS436.N47_ 1987 pt I, vol. 8 
[N7307.D4] 

954 s—de21 
[709'.54'8] 9824737 cIP 


ISBN 0 521 56321 6 hardback 


Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 


CONTENTS 


List of illustrations viii 
General editor’s preface xviii 
Preface Xx 
Maps Xxil 
Introduction I 
1 Historical framework 4 
2 Forts and palaces 23 
3 Mosques and tombs 63 
4 Architectural decoration 115 
5 Miniature painting: Ahmadnagar and Bijapur 145 
6 Miniature painting: Golconda and other centres 191 
7 Textiles, metalwork and stone objects 226 
8 Temples 246 
9 Conclusion 2.68 
Appendix: dynastic lists of Deccan rulers 273 
Bibliographic essay 278 
Bibliography 282 
Index 289 
vil 


Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 


ILLUSTRATIONS 


Unless otherwise noted, photographs of paintings and other works of art have been 
provided by relevant museums and private owners. 


COLOUR PLATES 
between pages 168 and 169 


1 Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah II hawking, Bijapur, c. 1590 (Institute of the 
Peoples of Asia, Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg, St Petersburg album, 
fol. 2, 28.7 x 15.6 cm) 

2 Sultan Murtaza Nizam Shah enthroned, attributed to the Paris painter, 
Ahmadnagar, c. 1575 (Bibliothéque Nationale, Paris, Supplément Persan 
1572, fol. 26, 23.5 x 20.5 cm) 

3 Young prince riding, attributed to the Paris painter, Ahmadnagar, c. 1575 
(private collection, 11 x 10.5 cm) 

4 Siesta, attributed to the Dublin painter, Bijapur, early seventeenth century 
(Islamisches Museum, Berlin, 1.4595, fol. 36, 20.6 x 14.2 cm) 

5 Ascetic visited by a yogini, attributed to the Dublin painter, Bijapur, early 
seventeenth century (Islamisches Museum, Berlin, 7.4596, fol. 4a, 30.3 x 
22.6 cm) 

6 Stout courtier, detail, attributed to the Bodleian painter, Bijapur, c. 1610-20 
(British Museum, 1937 4-10 03, 17 x 10 cm) 

7 Sultan Muhammad Adil Shah, attributed to the Bodleian painter working 
with a Mughal painter, Bijapur, c. 1635 (Elvira and Gursharan Sidhu 
Collection, Menlo Park, California, 15.8 x 8.6 cm) 

8 Prince sniffing a rose, Deccan, early eighteenth century (National Museum, 
New Delhi, 58.39/5, 28 x 17.5 cm) 

9 Prince galloping across a rocky plain, Deccan, c. 1700 (private collection, 
29.3 x 19.4 cm) 

10 Maiden with a parrot, detail of a fragment of a painted cloth, Golconda, 
first half of seventeenth century (AEDTA, Paris) 

ut Painted cloth, single-niche hanging (qanat), Deccan, mid-seventeenth 
century (Khalili Collection, London) 

12 Vase with arabesque, painted plasterwork, Asar Mahal, Bijapur, seventeenth 
century (Mark Zebrowski) 


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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 


13 Arabesque design, tile mosaic panel, Rangin Mahal, Bidar, mid-sixteenth 
century (Mark Zebrowski) 

14 Calligraphic alam, detail of tile mosaic panel, Badshahi Ashurkhana, 

Hyderabad, 1611 (Mark Zebrowski) 

Vase of plenty, detail of tile mosaic panel, Badshahi Ashurkhana (Mark 

Zebrowski) 

16 Calligraphic medallion on chain, painted gesso on stone, mihrab, Jami 
mosque, Bijapur, 1636 (Arnold Lassrich) 


I 


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FIGURES 


Sufi receiving a visitor, attributed to the Bodleian painter, Bijapur, c. 1610-20 
(Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Douce Or.b2(1), fol. 1a, 26.5 x 19.7 cm) 
Frontispiece 
Fort with artificially scarped hill, Daulatabad, thirteenth to seventeenth 
centuries (George Michell) 6 


H 


2 Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah I holding castanets, attributed to the Bodleian 
painter, Bijapur, c. 1610-20 (British Museum, London, 1937 4-10 02, 
17 x 10.2 cm) 15 
3 Plan of fort, Daulatabad, fourteenth to seventeenth centuries 24 
4 Entrance to Balakot, Daulatabad, fourteenth century (David McCutchion) 25 
5 Khush Mahal, Warangal, early fourteenth century (George Michell) 26 
6 Royal residence, Balakot, Daulatabad, fifteenth century (George Michell) 27 
7 Plan of fort and city, Gulbarga, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries 28 
8 Plan of palace city, Firuzabad, founded 1400 29 
9 Audience hall, Firuzabad (George Michell) 30 
10 Plan of fort and city, Bidar, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries 31 
ut Sharza gate, Bidar, 1504 (John Gollings) 32 
12 Plan of Diwan-i Am, Bidar, fifteenth century 33 
13, Diwan-i Am with Takht Mahal (John Gollings) 34 
14 Takht-i Kirmani, Bidar, fifteenth century (John Gollings) 35 
15 Entry gate, Sholapur, fifteenth century (George Michell) 36 
16 Fort walls, Parenda, fifteenth century (George Michell) 37 
17 Plan and section of Farah Bagh, Ahmadnagar, 1583 39 
18 Farah Bagh (India Office Library, London) 40 
19 Chini Mahal, Daulatabad, sixteenth century (George Michell) 42 
20 Plan of citadel and city, Bijapur, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries 43 
21 City walls, Bijapur, begun 1599 (American Institute of Indian Studies) 44 
22 West gate, Panhala, mid-sixteenth century (George Michell) 45 
23 Gagan Mahal, Bijapur, mid-sixteenth century (Mark Zebrowski) 46 
24 Plan of fort and city, Golconda, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries 48 
25 Bala Hisar gate, Golconda, sixteenth century (Yolande Crowe) 50 
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26 Palace zone, Golconda, sixteenth century (Vivek Nanda) 


27 
28 
29 
30 
31 
32 
33 
34 


35 
36 
37 


38 Tombs of Alauddin Hasan Bahman Shah and Muhammad I, Gulbarga, 


39 


Char Minar, Hyderabad, 1591 (Antonio Martinelli) 
Fortifications, Rajgad, seventeenth century (George Michell) 
Plan of Bala Qila, Raigad, seventeenth century 

Towers of Bala Qila, Raigad (George Michell) 

Vijayadurg, seventeenth century (George Michell) 

Ramparts, Janjira, 1707 (George Michell) 

Interior of Jami mosque, Daulatabad, 1318 (David McCutchion) 
Chand Minar, Daulatabad, early fourteenth century and later 
(Antonio Martinelli) 

Solah Khamba mosque, Bidar, 1327 (John Gollings) 

Plan of Jami mosque, Gulbarga, 1367 

Interior of Jami mosque, Gulbarga (John Gollings) 


1358 and 1375 (John Gollings) 
Tomb of Tajuddin Firuz, Gulbarga, 1422 (John Gollings) 


40 Interior of tomb of Tajuddin Firuz (John Gollings) 


41 


42 Interior of Langar-ki mosque, Gulbarga, fifteenth century (John Gollings) 


43 


Tombs, Holkonda, fifteenth century (John Gollings) 


Plan of madrasa of Mahmud Gawan, Bidar, 1472 


44 Madrasa of Mahmud Gawan (John Gollings) 


45 


Tombs of Ahmad I (behind) and Alauddin Ahmad II (in front), Bidar, 
1436 and 1458 (John Gollings) 


46 Plan of tomb of Shaykh Khalilullah (Chaukhandi), Bidar, 1450 
47 Tomb of Shaykh Khalilullah (John Gollings) 


48 


Tomb of Ali Barid Shah, Bidar, 1577 (John Gollings) 


49 Mosque associated with tomb of Ali Barid Shah (American Institute of 


50 


55 
56 
57 


58 


Indian Studies) 

Tomb of Ahmad Bahri Nizam Shah, Ahmadnagar, 1509 (John Robert 
Alderman) 

Damri mosque, Ahmadnagar, 1568 (George Michell) 

Tomb of Salabat Khan, Ahmadnagar, late sixteenth century 

(George Michell) 

Tomb of Malik Ambar, Khuldabad, 1626 (American Institute of Indian 
Studies) 


Entrance to dargah of Shaykh Sirajuddin Junaydi, Gulbarga, early sixteenth 


century (John Gollings) 

Interior of Jami mosque, Bijapur, begun 1576 (John Gollings) 

Anda mosque, Bijapur, 1698 (John Robert Alderman) 

Gate to Mihitar-i Mahal, Bijapur, early seventeenth century (American 
Institute of Indian Studies) 

Plan of Ibrahim Rauza (tomb of Ibraham Adil Shah II and associated 


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52 
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57 
58 
59 

60 


64 


65 
66 
67 
68 


69 
70 
71 
72 
73 
74 
75 


75 
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77 
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79 


81 
82 


83 
85 
87 
89 


91 


92 


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 


mosque), Bijapur, 1626 93 
59 Tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah II (George Michell) 94 
60 Verandah, tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah II (American Institute of Indian 

Studies) 95 
61 Finial, tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah II (American Institute of Indian 

Studies) 96 
62 Plan of Gol Gumbad, Bijapur, 1656 97 
63 Gol Gumbad (Mark Zebrowski) 98 
64 Mecca mosque, Bijapur, late seventeenth century 

(David McCutchion) 99 
65 Jami mosque, Adoni, late seventeenth century (George Michell) 99 
66 Tomb of Jamshid Qutb Shah, Golconda, 1550 (George Michell) 100 


67 Tomb of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, Golconda, 1611 (George Michell) 102 
68 Tomb of Muhammad Qutb Shah, Golconda, 1626 (Mark Zebrowski) 103 
69 Parapet detail, mosque of Hayat Bakshi Begum, Golconda, 1666 


(Yolande Crowe) 104 
70 Toli mosque, Hyderabad, 1671 (Mark Zebrowski) 105 
71 Jami mosque, Gandikota, late seventeenth century (George Michell) 107 
72 Tombs, Thalner, fifteenth century (John Henry Rice) 108 
73 Minaret of Jami mosque, Burhanpur, 1588 (American Institute of Indian 

Studies) 108 
74 Tomb of Shah Nawaz Khan, Burhanpur, 1619 

(John Robert Alderman) 110 
75 Bibi-ka Magbara, Aurangabad, 1661 (Antonio Martinelli) Ill 
76 Shahi mosque, Aurangabad, 1693 (George Michell) 112 
77 Tomb of Sirul Khan, Janjira, 1733 (George Michell) 114 
78 Plaster detail, mosque associated with tomb of Ali Barid Shah, Bidar, 1577 

(American Institute of Indian Studies) 117 
79 Plaster detail, Gol Gumbad, Bijapur, 1659 (Yolande Crowe) 118 
80 Plaster vault, hommam, Burhanpur, 1608 (John Robert Alderman) 119 


81 Plaster vault, Bibi-ka Maqbara, Aurangabad, 1661 (John Robert Alderman) 120 
82 Sculpted animals on Pattancheru gate, Golconda, sixteenth century 


(Simon Digby) 120 
83 Black basalt inscription, tomb of Shaykh Khalilullah (Chaukhandi), Bidar, 

1450 (Mark Zebrowski) 121 
84 and 85 Black basalt string courses, tomb of Shaykh Khalilullah (Mark 

Zebrowski) 122 
86 Carved capital with arabesque, tomb of Shaykh Khalilullah 

(Mark Zebrowski) 123 
87 Polished black basalt cenotaphs, royal necropolis, Golconda, seventeenth 

century (Mark Zebrowski) 124 


88 Detail of corner leg, cenotaph, royal necropolis, Golconda 


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89 Black basalt inscription, cenotaph of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, royal 


90 
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93 
94 
95 
96 
97 


98 
99 


100 
IOI 
102 
103 
104 
105 
106 
107 


108 


109 


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 


(Mark Zebrowski) 


necropolis, Golconda, 1611 (Mark Zebrowski) 

Black basalt kufic inscription, cenotaph of prince Mirza Muhammad 
Amin, royal necropolis, Golconda, 1596, Golconda (Mark Zebrowksi) 
Polygonal platform with rays of basalt, hammam, royal necropolis, 
Golconda, sixteenth century (Mark Zebrowski) 

Carved doorway, tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah I, Bijapur, 1626 (Mark 
Zebrowski) 

Carved calligraphic window and relief medallions, tomb of Ibrahim Adil 
Shah II (American Institute of Indian Studies) 

Perforated screens, tomb of Malik Ambar, Khuldabad, 1626 (American 
Institute of Indian Studies) 

Parapet fragment, Mihtar-i Mahal, Bijapur, early seventeenth century 
(after Cousens 1916, fig. 20) 

Sculpted struts, gateway to Mihtar-i Mahal, Bijapur (American Institute 
of Indian Studies) 


124 


125 


126 


127 


128 


129 


130 


131 


Inlaid mother-of-pearl panel, Rangin Mahal, Bidar, mid-sixteenth century 


(Antonio Martinelli) 

Wooden columns, Rangin Mahal, Bidar (Antonio Martinelli) 
Embossed brass-clad doors, Bibi-ka Maqbara, Aurangabad, 1661 
(George Michell) 

Calligraphic bands in tile mosaic, madrasa of Mahmud Gawan, Bidar, 
1472 (Yolande Crowe) 

Panel of tile mosaic over gateway, tomb of Shah Abul Faid, Bidar, 1474 
(Mark Zebrowski) 

Hexagonal designs, tile mosaic, Badshahi Ashurkhana, Hyderabad, 1611 
(Mark Zebrowski) 

Underglaze painted tiles, Bijapur, sixteenth century (British Museum, 
London, 0a 1895.6-3.152 and 154) 

Flowering rose bushes, underglaze painted tiles, Bibi-ka Maqbara, 
Aurangabad, 1661 (John Robert Alderman) 

Painted ceiling, tomb of Ahmad I, Bidar, 1436 (from Yazdani 1947, pl. 
LXXIVv) 

Arabesque, painted gesso on stone, mihrab, Jami mosque, Bijapur, 1636 
(Mark Zebrowski) 

Trompe-lwil books, painted gesso on stone, mihrab, Jami mosque, 
Bijapur (Mark Zebrowski) 

Sultan Husain Nizam Shah enthroned (Queen Khanzada Humayaun 
overpainted), folio from the Tarif-i Husain Shahi, Ahmadnagar, c. 1565 
(Bharata Itihasa Samshodhaka Mandala, Pune, 15.9 x 12.7 cm) 

Royal figures hunting, side of a lacquered wooden box, Ahmadnagar, 


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134 
136 
137 
139 
139 
140 
141 
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143 


146 


IIo 


Ill 


II2 


113 


114 


II5 


116 


II7 
118 


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I21 


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127 


128 


129 


130 


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 


c. 1565 (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1978.129) 148 
Sultan Murtaza Nizam Shah relaxing, attributed to the Paris painter, 
Ahmadnagar, ¢. 1575 (State Library, Rampur, India, album 4) 149 
Running elephant, Anmadnagar, ¢. 1590-5 (private collection, 

19.5 X 16.8 cm) 150 
Royal picnic, Anmadnagar, c. 1590-5 (India Office Library, London, 401, 

20.5 X 13 cm) 152 
Young prince embraced by a small girl, Anmadnagar, c. 1580-95 (Edwin 
Binney 3rd Collection, San Diego Museum, 15.3 x 15.9 cm) 153 
Peacock in a rainstorm at night, northern Deccan, late sixteenth century 
(private collection, 15.5 x 19 cm) 154 
Gauri ragini, northern Deccan, late sixteenth century (Edwin Binney 3rd 
Collection, San Diego Museum, 25.7 x 19 cm) 155 
Hindola raga, northern Deccan, late sixteenth century (National 

Museum, New Delhi, 23.8 x 18.3 cm) 156 


Lalita ragini, northern Deccan, c. 1650 (private collection, 16.8x 19 cm) 158 
Vibhasa raga, northern Deccan, c. 1675 (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, EA 


1991. 154, 19.7 X I5 cm) 159 
Gambhir raga, northern Deccan, second half of seventeenth century 

(Dr Horst Metzger Collection, Griinstadt, Germany, 25 x 16 cm) 160 
Mother and child, page from the Nujum al Ulum, Bijapur, dated 1570-1 
(Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, 25.8 x 16 cm) 162 
Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah I, attributed to the Bikaner painter, Bijapur, 

1590 (private collection, 26.5 x 16.5 cm) 165 
Procession of Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah IL, attributed to the Bikaner 

painter, Bijapur, 1595 (Bikaner Palace Collection) 166 
Mullah, attributed to the Bodleian painter, Bijapur, c. 1610 (India Office 
Library, London, 402, 15.1 x 7.6 cm) 169 
Fighting cranes, attributed to the Bodleian painter, Bijapur, c. 1610-20 
(Musée Guimet, Paris, MG 9150, 12.5 x 18.3 cm) 170 
Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah II playing the tambur, Bijapur, c. 1595-1600 
(Naprstek Museum, Prague, a.12182, 14 x 14.8 cm) 171 
Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah II riding an elephant, Bijapur, c. 1600-10 

(private collection, 14.1 x 10.5 cm) 172 
Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah’s favourite elephant Atash Khan, Bijapur, 

c. 1600-10 (Babu Sitaram Sahu Collection, Varanasi, 15.5 x 19 cm) 173 
Groom calming a horse, Bijapur, c. 1610 (Victoria and Albert Museum, 
London, Ls. 88-1965, 11.4 x 10.3 cm) 174 
Yogini, attributed to the Dublin painter, Bijapur, early seventeenth 

century (Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, 11a(3), 19.4 x 11.7 cm) 175 
Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah II venerates a learned sufi, written attribution to 


the painter Ali Reza, Bijapur, c. 1630 (private collection, 16.2x14.4cm) 176 


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132 


133 


134 
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136 


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138 


139 
140 


141 


142 


143 
144 
145 
146 


147 


148 


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 


Darbar of Sultan Muhammad Adil Shah, inscribed as the work of 
Muhammad Khan, son of Miyan Chand, Bijapur, dated 1651 (City Palace 
Museum, Jaipur, a.G. 771, 22.3 x 18.1 cm) 178 
Sultan Muhammad Adil Shah and Ikhlas Khan riding an elephant, signed 

by Haidar Ali and Ibrahim Khan, Bijapur, mid-seventeenth century (Sir 
Howard Hodgkin Collection, London, 26.7 x 30.5 cm) 180 
Sultan Muhammad Adil Shah and courtiers performing religious rites in the 
Asar Mahal, signed by Abdul Karim, Bijapur, mid-seventeenth century 


(private collection) 182 
Floral fantasy, Bijapur, first half of seventeenth century (Elvira and 
Gursharan Sidhu Collection, Menlo Park,California, 27 x 15 cm) 184 
Floral vase, Bijapur, c. 1650 (Sir Howard Hodgkin Collection, London, 

25.5 X 16.7 cm) 185 
Starving horse harassed by birds, marbled paper drawing, Bijapur, 
mid-seventeenth century (private collection, 13.4 x 16.7 cm) 186 


Darbar of Sultan Ali Adil Shah IT, attributed to the Bombay painter, 
Bijapur, c. 1660 (late Dr Moti Chandra Collection, Bombay, 18.7 x 17.4 


cm) 187 
Sultan Ali Adil Shah I shooting an arrow at a tiger, attributed to the 
Bombay painter, Bijapur, c. 1660 (private collection, 21.7 x 31.6 cm) 188 
Deer hunt, Bijapur, c. 1660-70 (private collection, 24 x 45 cm) 188 
Sultan Ali Adil Shah II with a courtesan, Bijapur, c. 1660-70 (private 
collection, 20.6 x 31 cm) 189 


Angels bearing trays, detail of frontispiece of the Zakhira-i 

Khwarizmshahi, Golconda, dated 1572 (Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, 
Indian Ms. no. 30) 192 
Dancing before a sultan, fol. 53b of the Kulliyat of Sultan Muhammad 

Quli Qutb Shah, Golconda, c. 1590-1600 (Salar Jang Museum, 


Hyderabad, 27.7 x 14.5 cm) 194 
Sultan Muhammad Qutb Shah, Golconda, second half of seventeenth 
century (private collection, 21.3 x 11.9 cm) 195 
Sultan Muhammad Qutb Shah, signed by Hashim, Mughal, c. 1620 

(Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1.M. 22—1925, 19.5 x 11.5 cm) 196 
Sultan Abdullah Qutb Shah watching a dance performance, Golconda, 

c. 1630 (British Museum, London, 1974 6-17 I-s, 21.3 x 11.2 cm) 197 
Darbar of Sultan Abdullah Qutb Shah as a youth, Golconda, c. 1630 

(British Museum, London, 1937 4-10 o1, 25 x 15.5 cm) 198 


Procession of Sultan Abdullah Qutb Shah riding an elephant, Golconda, 

c. 1650 (Saltykov-Shtshedrine State Public Library, St Petersburg, Dorn 

489, fol. 18b, 21.3 x 30.3 cm) 199 
Wedding procession of Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah and Bhagmati, 
Golconda, c. 1650 (Sir Howard Hodgkin Collection, London, 


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150 
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154 


155 
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157 


158 


159 


160 
161 
162 
163 
164 
165 


166 


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 


24.1 x 32 cm) 201 
A Deccani sultan visits holy men, Golconda, c. 1650 (Institute of the 

Peoples of Asia, Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg, St Petersburg album, 
fol. 47, 29.5 x 46 cm) 201 
African eunuch, Golconda, third quarter of seventeenth century 

(Sir Howard Hodgkin Collection, London, 22.5 x 12.3 cm) 203 


Sultan Abul Hasan walking in a garden, Golconda, c. 1672-80 
(Edwin Binney 3rd Collection, San Diego Museum, 27.7 x 20.6 cm) 204 
Shah Raju on horseback, signed by Rasul Khan, Golconda, c. 1672-80 


(private collection, 24 x 17.7 cm) 205 
Sleeping maiden, Golconda, last quarter of seventeenth century 
(Islamisches Museum, Berlin, F. 4589, fol. 1, 13 x 16 cm) 207 


Sleeping maiden, top of a lacquered jewel box, attributed to Rahim 
Deccani, Golconda, last quarter of seventeenth century (Victoria and 


Albert Museum, London, 851-1889, 9.2 x 13.7 cm) 208 
Lacquered book cover, Golconda or Hyderabad, c. 1700 (Sir Howard 
Hodgkin Collection, London, 23 x 16 cm) 209 
Allah-wirdi Khan receiving a petition, Hyderabad, early eighteenth century 
(City Palace Museum, Jaipur, a.G. 656, 34.6 x 25.5 cm) 211 
Hindola raga, Bidar (?), early eighteenth century (private collection, 

31.6 x 24 cm) 214 


Atachin Beg Bahadur Qalmagq out hawking, Deccan or Kishangarh, early 
eighteenth century (British Museum, London, 1947 9-20 06, 

36.5 x 28 cm) 215 
Lady listening to a musician, an unidentified ragini, Hyderabad, third 

quarter of eighteenth century (India Office Library, London 426 (rx), 


24 Xx I5 cm) 217 

Nawab Saif al-Mulk selecting jewels, attributed to Venkatachellam, 

Hyderabad, c. 1795 (private collection, 37.6 x 25.2 cm) 219 

Nawab Sikandar Jah sniffing a mango, Hyderabad, c. 1775 (Latifi 

Collection, Bombay, 10.5 x 8.5 cm) 220 

Nawab Ghulam Ahmad Khan visiting Shaykh Burhanuddin Sahib, 

Kurnool, ¢. 1815-23 (National Museum, New Delhi, 33 x 23 cm) 221 

A disfigured begum enjoys her garden, Kurnool, c. 1780 (private collection, 

30 x 18 cm) 222 

Sadashiv Rao, called the Bhao Sahib, Maratha, c. 1750-60 (Raja Dinkar 

Kelkar Museum, Pune) 223 

Shahoor Maharaj Chhatrapati, Maratha, probably Satara, c. 1847 

(Sotheby’s, London, Oct. 22, 1993, lot 223, 38.0 x 51.5 cm) 224 

Painted cotton, double-niched hanging (qanat), from the toshkhana of 

the Maharaja of Amber, Golconda, mid-seventeenth century (Victoria 

and Albert Museum, London, 1.s. 19-1989, 231 x 193 cm) 227 
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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 


Detail of painted cotton floor spread, from the toshkhana of the Maharaja 
of Amber, Golconda, first half of seventeenth century (Victoria and Albert 
Museum, London, 1.M. 160-1929, 246 x 325 cm) 228 
Fragment from a painted cotton floor spread, Deccan, seventeenth 

century (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1.M. 58 1933, 62 x 24 cm) 229 


Steel dagger with gilt copper hilt, Golconda, c. 1600 (David Collection, 
Copenhagen, 36/1997. 42.5 cm) 231 
Detail of portrait of Sultan Ali Adil Shah I, Bijapur, c. 1605 (Arthur M. 
Sackler Gallery, Washington, 17.2 x 9.8 cm) 232 
Steel vambrace (arm guard) overlaid with gold, Deccan, mid-seventeenth 
century (private collection, |. 33.5 cm, w. 13.5 cm) 233 
Bronze incense burner in the shape of a peacock, Deccan, late fifteenth or 
early sixteenth century (private collection, h. 30 cm) 234 
Detail of the Throne of Prosperity, fol. 191 r. of the Nujum al Ulum, 

Bijapur, dated 1570-1 (Chester Beatty Library, Dublin) 235 
Bronze incense burner in the shape of a lion, Deccan, late fifteenth or 

early sixteenth century (Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, 
Washington, F 1991.12, h. 17.2 cm, |. 14.9 cm) 236 
Bronze bowl in the shape of a ten-pointed star, Deccan, fifteenth century 
(private collection, h. 8.5 cm, d. 23 cm) 237 
Detail of engraved copper salver with traces of gilding, Golconda, c. 1600 
(Mittal Museum, Hyderabad, 76/1442, d. 60.5 cm) 238 
Tinned brass begging bowl (kashkul), Golconda, c. 1600 (David 

Collection, Copenhagen, 61/1998 h. 16 cm, |. 38.4 cm) 239 
Brass incense burner in the shape of an octagonal shrine, Deccan, 
seventeenth century (private collection, h. 24 cm, d. 18 cm) 239 
Bidri huqgqa base inlaid with brass and silver, Bidar, mid-seventeenth 

century (private collection, h. 21 cm) 240 
Bidri tray inlaid with brass and silver, Bidar, seventeenth century (David 
Collection, Copenhagen, 16/1987, d. 31 cm) 241 
Brass alam in the shape of a protective hand, dated 1766-7, Badshahi 
Ashurkhana, Hyderabad (Lois Safrani) 242 
Silver filigree tray with gilding on ribs, Karimnagar, eighteenth century 
(Krishna Riboud Collection, Paris, |. 35.5 cm, w. 25 cm) 243 


Boat-shaped mortar of polished nearly black basalt, Golconda, 
seventeenth century (Maharukh Desai Collection, London, |. 24 cm, 


h. 9.5 cm) 243 

Footed bowl of polished black basalt, Asar Mahal, Bijapur, seventeenth 

century (d. approx. 40 cm) (Mark Zebrowski) 244 

Sygmoid-shaped bowl of serpentine marble, Deccan, seventeenth century 

(private collection, |. 22 cm, h. 5 cm) 245 

Jagadishvara temple, Raigad, 1674 (George Michell) 248 
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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 


Shivarajeshvara temple, Sindhudurg, 1695 (George Michell) 
Plan of Omkareshvara temple, Pune, 1736 

Vishveshvara temple, Mahuli, c. 1735 (George Michell) 
Ganapati temple, Wai, 1762 (George Michell) 
Trimbakeshvara temple, Trimbak, mid-eighteenth century 
(George Michell) 


Plan of Ghrishneshvara temple, Ellora, last quarter of eighteenth century 


Ghrishneshvara temple (George Michell) 

Shivatirtha, Ellora, last quarter of eighteenth century (Michaela Soar) 
Stone lamp columns (dipamalas) in the Khandoba temple, Jejuri, last 
quarter of eighteenth century (George Michell) 

Rukmini temple, Nagpur, late eighteenth century (George Michell) 
Entrance towers of Khandoba temple, Bid, late eighteenth century 
(David McCutchion) 

Chhatri of Krishna II, Kolhapur, c. 1815 (George Michell) 

Wall niche, Trishunda Ganapati temple, Pune, 1770 

(George Michell) 

Wall sculpture, Vitthala shrine within Jagateshvara temple, Nagpur, 
second half of eighteenth century (George Michell) 


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GENERAL EDITOR’S PREFACE 


The New Cambridge History of India covers the period from the beginning of 
the sixteenth century. In some respects it marks a radical change in the style of 
Cambridge Histories, but in others the editors feel that they are working firmly 
within an established academic tradition. 

During the summer of 1896, F. W. Maitland and Lord Acton between them 
evolved the idea for a comprehensive modern history. By the end of the year the 
Syndics of the University Press had committed themselves to the Cambridge 
Modern History, and Lord Acton had been put in charge of it. It was hoped that 
publication would begin in 1899 and be completed by 1904, but the first volume in 
fact came out in 1902 and the last in 1910, with additional volumes of tables and 
maps in 1911 and 1912. 

The History was a great success, and it was followed by a whole series of 
distinctive Cambridge Histories covering English Literature, the Ancient World, 
India British Foreign Policy, Economic History, Medieval History, the British 
Empire, Africa, China and Latin America; and even now other new series are being 
prepared. Indeed, the various Histories have given the Press notable strength in the 
publication of general reference books in the arts and social sciences. 

What has made the Cambridge Histories so distinctive is that they have never 
been simply dictionaries or encyclopedias. The Histories have, in H. A. L. Fisher’s 
words, always been ‘written by an army of specialists concentrating the latest results 
of special study’. Yet as Acton agreed with the Syndics in 1896, they have not been 
mere compilations of existing material but original works. Undoubtedly many of 
the Histories are uneven in quality, some have become out of date very rapidly, but 
their virtue has been that they have consistently done more than simply record an 
existing state of knowledge: they have tended to focus interest on research and they 
have provided a massive stimlulus to further work. This has made their publication 
doubly worthwhile and has distinguished them intellectually from other sorts of 
reference books. The editors of The New Cambridge History of India have 
acknowledged this in their work. 

The original Cambridge History of India was published between 1922 and 1937. 
It was planned in six volumes, but of these, volume 2 dealing with the period 
between the first century ap and the Muslim invasion of India never appeared. 
Some of the material is still of value, but in many respects it is now out of date. The 
past fifty years have seen a great deal of new research on India, and a striking feature 
of recent work has been to cast doubt on the validity of the quite arbitrary 


XVili 


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GENERAL EDITOR'S PREFACE 


chronological and categorical way in which Indian history has been conventionally 
divided. 

The editors decided that it would not be academically desirable to prepare a new 
History of India using the traditional format. The selective nature of research on 
Indian history over the past half-century would doom such a project from the start 
and the whole of Indian history could not be covered in an even or comprehensive 
manner. They concluded that the best scheme would be to have a History divided 
into four overlapping chronological volumes, each containing about eight short 
books on individual themes or subjects. Although in extent the work will therefore 
be equivalent to a dozen massive tomes of the traditional sort, in form The New 
Cambridge History of India will appear as a shelf full of separate but comple- 
mentary parts. Accordingly, the main divisions are between 1. The Mughals and 
their contemporaries, u. Indian States and the Transition to Colonialism, 11. The 
Indian Empire and the Beginnings of Modern Society, and 1v. The Evolution of 
Contemporary South Asia. 

Just as the books within these volumes are complementary so too do they 
intersect with each other, both thematically and chronologically. As the books 
appear they are intended to give a view of the subject as it now stands and to act as a 
stimulus to further research. We do not expect The New Cambridge History of 
India to be the last word on the subject but an essential voice in the continuing 
discussion about it. 


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PREFACE 


Though George Michell and Mark Zebrowski have pursued independent direc- 
tions in their research with regard to the history of Indian art, the Deccan has 
emerged as a common focus of attention. George Michell began to take an interest 
in the Sultanate architecture of this area as an extension of his study of Vijayanagara 
initiated in the early 1980s. That research is embodied in another volume of the 
current series (1.6). It was only by examining monuments at the successive capitals 
of the Bahmani and Adil Shahi rulers that Michell was able to interpret military and 
courtly buildings at Vijayanagara. This enquiry revealed the lack of an exhaustive 
survey of Deccani architecture. Nor, it seemed, had there been any serious effort to 
integrate these traditions with those of the Mughals and the Marathas. It was this 
gap in the subject that suggested the need for an introductory yet scholarly survey 
that would encompass these different aspects of Deccani architecture. 

Mark Zebrowski’s interest in the Deccan, sustained for more than twenty-five 
years now, has focused mostly on the arts of the Sultanate courts that remained 
more or less independent of the artistic activities of the Mughal emperors of North 
India. Attracted by the outstanding quality of miniature paintings, textiles and 
metalwork produced at the Deccani courts, Zebrowski realised that the decorative 
arts of this region were being overlooked or mistakenly ascribed to Iranian, Mughal 
or Rajput workshops. Painting was his first interest and this led to a doctoral thesis 
on the subject, later published in revised form as Deccani Painting (1983). Since 
then, Zebrowski has extended his interest to silver, gold and bronze objects from 
both North India and the Deccan. His chapters in this volume aim at a broad 
survey of Deccani fine arts that will complement the architecture chapters. 

In spite of the limitations of this work, which of necessity complies with the 
condensed format of The New Cambridge History of India series, the authors make 
some claim to having written a comprehensive survey of Deccani architecture, 
painting and decorative arts over some five hundred years, a period when this 
region was dominated by Muslim rulers. This ambitious time span has suggested 
the suitability of a straightforward chronological approach devoted to different 
building types and works of art. The aim here is to present the broadest possible 
appreciation of the Deccan in terms of architectural activity and artistic patronage. 

The Introduction with which the volume opens is intended as a preliminary 
appreciation of Deccani buildings and works of art, placing them within the 
context of both the Indian and Middle Eastern cultural traditions. Chapter 1 
presents an overview of the major political events that occured in the Deccan from 


Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 


PREFACE 


the beginning of the fourteenth to the end of the eighteenth centuries. This 
historical survey notes those personalities who played prominent roles as patrons of 
architecture and art from the rulers of the various Sultanates to the Mughal 
governors and their Maratha adversaries. Chapters 2 and 3, both by George 
Michell, survey the principal monuments of the region, distinguishing military and 
palace architecture from Islamic religious buildings, such as mosques, tombs and 
the occasional madrasa. Chapter 4, to which both authors have contributed, focuses 
on architectural decoration, especially incised stuccowork, carved stonework and 
brilliantly coloured tilework. Mark Zebrowski is responsible for chapters 5 and 6, 
which examine the major schools of miniature painting that flourished at the 
Deccani courts. Chapter 7, also by Zebrowski, examines Deccani resist-dyed cotton 
textiles, inlaid and engraved metalwork, and carved stone objects. These objects are 
among the very finest that India has produced. Temples erected by the Maratha 
leaders and commanders in the latter part of the period covered here constitute a 
distinct topic in the history of Deccani architecture. Michell deals with this 
emerging Hindu artistic tradition in chapter 8. The final chapter, which is a joint 
effort, takes the form of a conclusion, aiming at an overall analysis and synthesis of 
the materials in terms of stylistic development. The volume ends with an appendix 
listing the rulers of the different Deccani dynasties. 


Throughout their research on this work, the authors have benefited from the 
generosity of colleagues and friends who have helped unstintingly with information 
about monuments, art works, historical references and photographic sources. The 
authors are particularly indebted to John Robert Alderman, Jayant Bapat, Richard 
Blurton, Ilay Cooper, Rosemary Crill, Yolande Crowe, Simon Digby, Marcus 
Fraser, Francesca Galloway, Stewart Gordon, Tanvir Hasan, Sir Howard Hodgkin, 
Ebba Koch, Helen Philon, Venetia Porter, Krishna Riboud, Klaus Rétzer, Lois and 
Shehbaz H. Safrani, Ashutosh Sohoni, Susan Stronge and Andrew Topsfield. 
Archaeology directors and local scholars who assisted in the planning of field trips 
include D. N. Akki (Gogi), S. K. Aruni (Pune), Shaikh Ansar Ahmed (Ahmad- 
nagar), Balasubramaniam (Kamalapuram), R. R. Borkar (Nagpur), P. K. Ghanekar 
(Pune), A. P. Jamkhedkar (Bombay), M. S. Mate (Pune), S. Nagaraju (Hyderabad) 
and Shaikh Ramzan (Aurangabad). 

Graham Reed prepared the map, while the architectural plans are the work of 
Jaideep Chakrabarti. The photographs have been supplied by the institutions and 
individuals given in the list of illustrations. Throughout the writing of this book 
Marigold Acland at Cambridge University Press has been a constant source of 
encouragement. 


XXi 


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Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 


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Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 


INTRODUCTION 


The plateau region in the centre of peninsular India, known as the Deccan, is one of 
the country’s most mysterious and unknown regions in terms of artistic heritage. 
Few scholars, Indian or foreign, have worked extensively in the Deccan, which 
remains little visited and surprisingly unexplored. In consequence, many sites of 
outstanding historical and architectural significance, whether urban mosques and 
tombs or remote mountain citadels, lack adequate documentation and publication. 
A further problem is that in the past relatively few works of art were given a Deccani 
attribution. An increasing number of miniature paintings, textiles and inlaid metal 
objects are now assigned to this region. This means that the time has come for a 
reassessment of the Deccan as a dynamic centre of patronage for architecture and 
the fine arts. 

Before considering individual monuments and works of art, it is important to 
stress the remarkably high quality of Deccani architecture and art. Courtly and 
religious buildings, miniature paintings, textiles and metal objects from this region 
are among the finest the subcontinent. And much of Deccani art is rare, far rarer 
than Mughal art. It is likely that the painting workshops in the Deccan were always 
smaller than those of North India. Rarity increases the risk of oblivion and makes 
research and publishing all the more urgent. Furthermore, the emotional content of 
Deccani art is unique. Whereas Mughal art has a generous dose of logic and 
verisimilitude behind its glamour, especially in its classic phase under the patronage 
of Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb in the seventeenth century, Deccani art 
revels in dream and fantasy. Paintings pulsate with restless lines and riotous colours, 
rejecting the Olympian calm of the Mughal style. We may well ask if Deccani 
painting ever attained to a classic phase, with all the restraint and power which such 
a phase implies. Perhaps it did, but only for the briefest moment at the courts of 
Bijapur (Frontispiece, Figs. 2 and 123 and Colour Plate 6) and Ahmadnagar 
(Colour Plates 2 and 3). At most other times opulent excess reigned unchallenged 
and produced some of the most lyrical images in Indian art. 

Not unlike painting, Deccani architecture too is the stuff of dreams. When 
walking through a Mughal palace or garden-tomb, we are soothed by its monu- 
mental dignity and sobriety. It is of the real world, but the real world infused with 
extra logic. In contrast, the palaces and tombs at Bidar, Bijapur and Golconda 
invigorate us with exotic visions of the Middle East, a fantastic Arabian Nights 
atmosphere. Nor should this impression be dismissed as fanciful, for we must not 
forget that the Deccan was always a distant Islamic culture, far from its Middle 


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ARCHITECTURE AND ART OF THE DECCAN SULTANATES 


Eastern sources. In its brilliant architecture we sense a romantic yearning for the 
domes and minarets of the Muslim heartland. 

Such a nostalgia for the Middle East, in fact, seems to have informed many 
aspects of Deccani culture. The sultans identified with Iranian and Turkish rulers, 
adopting their ceremonial practices and patterns of patronage. The ethnic composi- 
tion of the Deccan was the result of sustained contacts with the Middle East, with 
large and influential communities of Turks, Persians, Arabs and Africans. From the 
fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries, sufis, men of letters, merchants and soldiers 
migrated to the Deccan from all over the Middle East, lured by the generosity and 
wealth of the sultans. 

The profound impact of Middle Eastern culture is also hardly surprising con- 
sidering the origins and religious affiliations of Deccani rulers. The Qutb Shahis of 
Golconda were descended from Qara Qoyunlu Turkman princes who were driven 
out of Iran in the fifteenth century; the Adil Shahis of Bijapur claimed blood links 
with the Ottoman dynasty established in Istanbul; the Nizam Shahis of Ahmad- 
nagar, although descended from Hindus converted to Islam, embraced Shiism in 
the early fifteenth century. After the conquest of Iran by the Shia Safavid dynasty in 
1501, Persian influence became paramount. Deccani kings perceived the Safavid 
state as the source of their own legitimacy and the Sunni Mughal empire as their 
enemy. Cultural ties were also maintained with the Shia holy cities of Iraq. Shia 
Islam was the official religion. 

The Deccan preserved its political independence from North India until the 
present century, except for a brief period of about four decades following the 
conquest by Aurangzeb in the second half of the seventeenth century. Asa result, a 
distinct Islamic culture developed there which displayed more direct contact with 
the Middle East than with North India. The Deccan became within India the 
greatest centre of Arabic learning and literary composition. Persian poets, historians 
and scribes flocked there, among them Urfi, Zuhuri and Firishta. Deccani architec- 
ture and metalwork were adorned with the finest Persian and Arabic calligraphy in 
India. Urdu literature was born at the Bijapur and Golconda courts in the late 
sixteenth century, almost two centuries before its full development in North India. 

However, the full extent of Deccani Muslim culture remains somewhat enig- 
matic, partly because the sultans lacked the customary Islamic passion for historical 
record. Sultans commissioned fewer histories than their Mughal contemporaries, so 
less is known about this region than about North India. Also, Deccani buildings 
and paintings are rarely dated or inscribed — as Mughal and Rajasthani works often 
are — so we know little about Deccani architects and artists, or their relationship 
with their patrons. 

Much of what we can learn about Deccani art must come directly from looking 
at it. As Mark Zebrowski has already written (1983:10): 


Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 


INTRODUCTION 


Few Deccani paintings record historical events or realistically portray their subjects as 
Mughal art does. Nor was there much interest in the thrills of the hunt, court ceremonial or 
Hindu ritual, favourite Rajasthani themes. Instead, princely portraits predominate which 
aim to establish a gently lyrical atmosphere, often one of quiet abandon to the joys of love, 
music, poetry or just the perfume of a flower. Although figures are conventional types, 
moods... . are established through fantastic colours... We are admitted into a private world 
of feeling . . . rarely do we see an army on the march. Reflection and reverie triumph over 
dramatic action. 


The elegance of Iran, the sensuality of South India and even the occasional 
influence from Europe all contributed to the power of Deccani architecture and art. 
Like other hybrids, this tradition flowered vigorously, but briefly, succumbing 
suddenly to the onslaughts of European culture in the nineteenth century. 


Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 


CHAPTER 1 


HISTORICAL FRAMEWORK 


Though most of the monuments and works of art surveyed in this volume are 
categorised as Sultanate, Mughal or Maratha, these essentially stylistic designations 
should not be understood as implying chronologically discrete periods. The chief 
sultans of the Deccan maintained their independence for more than a century after 
the Mughals first invaded the region at the end of the sixteenth century. This means 
that Sultanate and Mughal epochs overlapped rather than one succeeding the other. 
From the last quarter of the seventeenth century onwards the Mughals and 
Marathas were forced into an uneasy coexistence. This led ultimately to the 
distintegration of the great North Indian empire. Such concurrent dynastic devel- 
opments, though resulting more often in war than in peace, form the background 
to the highly spirited artistic tradition that is the subject of this volume. 

The turbulent events of these centuries are explained to some extent by the 
unique location of the Deccan plateau as a meeting place of forces from both North 
and South India, the promise of boundless land and wealth inspiring repeated 
invasion. In the first decades of the fourteenth century, the Deccan was subjugated 
by the Khaljis and Tughlugs, the first Muslim rulers of Delhi; some two and a half 
centuries later the Mughals arrived, though it took them more than one hundred 
years to consolidate their conquests. Resistance to these assaults from Delhi 
occurred in three waves: the military thrust of the mighty Hindu Vijayanagara 
kingdom south of the Tungabhadra—Krishna rivers in the fifteenth and first half of 
the sixteenth centuries; the opposition of the Shia Muslim sultans throughout most 
of the seventeenth century; and the guerilla tactics of the Hindu Maratha warriors 
in the second half of the seventeenth and first half of the eighteenth centuries. 

Since the Deccan encompasses the heart of the peninsula, from the Arabian Sea 
to the Bay of Bengal, it was also able to act as a receptacle for influences arriving 
from abroad. Direct emigration of literary and religious figures from the Iranian, 
Turkic and Arab lands, as well as of soldiers and slaves from East Africa, the 
so-called Habshis, resulted in an influential population of newcomers, mostly 
Muslims. The struggle for domination between these immigrants of varied origins, 
known as Afaqis, and the descendants of the original invaders from North India 
and their local Hindu converts, the Dakhnis, is a crucial feature of courtly life in the 
Deccan, especially during the Sultanate period. Beginning in the early sixteenth 
century, these newcomers also included the Portuguese who were established on the 
Arabian Sea coast. Before long, they too became enmeshed in local affairs. They 
were followed in later centuries by the Dutch, French and English. 


4 


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HISTORICAL FRAMEWORK 


THE KHALJIS AND TUGHLUQS 


At the time of the first Muslim invasion from Delhi at the end of the thirteenth 
century the Deccan was occupied by the Yadavas of Devagiri (later renamed 
Daulatabad), the Kakatiyas of Warangal and the Hoysalas of Dorasamudra (mod- 
ern Halebid). The territories controlled by these three dynasties of Hindu rulers 
more or less coincided with the Marathi, Telugu and Kannada linguistic zones of 
the region. The expedition of Alauddin, nephew and son-in-law of Jalaluddin Firuz 
Shah, the Khalji ruler of Delhi, disrupted these kingdoms. After fording the 
Narmada and Tapti rivers, Alauddin reached the outer walls of Devagiri in April 
1296. Unprepared for Alauddin’s onslaught, Ramachandra, the Yadava raja, was 
compelled to pay a huge ransom of gold, jewels, textiles, elephants and horses. 
Alauddin’s soldiers plundered the Devagiri palace, but left one month later after 
Ramachandra had agreed to pay an annual tribute. Returning directly to Delhi, 
Alauddin was proclaimed sultan in October that same year, his claim to the Khalji 
throne bolstered by the Yadava treasure that he had carried off as booty from the 
Deccan. 

Not content with having conquered Devagiri, Alauddin headed another expedi- 
tion in 1302-3, this time directed against Warangal. Unlike the assault on the 
Yadavas, the attempt to plunder the Kakatiyas failed. The next intrusion into the 
Deccan occured in 1309-10, the Khalji army on this occasion being led by Malik 
Kafur. Having secured the loyalty of Ramachandra, Alauddin turned his attention 
once more to the war with Warangal, ordering Malik Kafur to subjugate its ruler, 
Prataparudra. The operation met with success and in 1310 Prataparudra sued for 
peace, promising to remit an annual tribute to Delhi. Encouraged by these lucrative 
assaults and discovering the riches of the Hoysala and Pandya kingdoms further 
south, Alauddin conceived yet another campaign. Leaving Delhi in October 1310 
and passing by Devagiri to recruit reinforcements, Malik Kafur arrived at 
Dorasamudra in record time. After the Hoysala king Ballalla had surrendered, 
Malik Kafur persuaded him to march with the Delhi troops against Madura, 
headquarters of the Pandyas in the Tamil lands in the extreme south of the 
peninsula. This mission met with little resistence and Malik Kafur was once again 
able to acquire an immense treasure. 

At the conclusion of these raids, an uneasy peace returned to the Deccan, the 
Yadavas, Kakatiyas and Hoysalas having been reduced to vassals by Delhi. Yet the 
supremacy of the Khaljis in peninsular India was challenged by Singhana, who 
succeeded Ramachandra as ruler of Devagiri in 1312. Malik Kafur was despatched 
once again to the Deccan and in the ensuing battle Singhana lost his life. This time 
the Yadava citadel and the surrounding country were permanently occupied by the 
Delhi troops. The Khalji annexation was completed when Alauddin issued coins in 
his own name from the Devagiri mint. Malik Kafur was recalled to Delhi in 1315, 
shortly before Alauddin’s death. In the dynastic turmoil that followed, Malik Kafur 


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1 Fort with artificially scarped hill, Daulatabad, thirteenth to seventeenth centuries 


was murdered and Qutbuddin Mubarak Shah came to power. Concerned that 
Devagiri was slipping out of control, Qutbuddin organised a march to the Deccan 
in 1317, taking with him his favourite commander, Khusro Khan. Devagiri was once 
again occupied, and Qutbuddin returned to Delhi, but only after ordering a 
mosque to be erected to commemorate the Khalji victory (see chapter 3). 

Khusro Khan remained in the Deccan to plan further forays southward. But his 
influence came to an end in 1321 when the Khaljis were overthrown by the 
Tughlugs. One of the first tasks of the new dynasty was to incorporate the Deccan 
into the Delhi Sultanate. In 1323 Ghiyathuddin Shah, first of the Tughluq sultans, 
ordered his son Ulugh Khan to occupy the region and to press southward into the 
Tamil area. Maintaining control over these farflung territories proved difficult, 
however, and several local rulers took the opportunity of rebelling. On the death of 
his father in 1325, Ulugh Khan assumed the throne under the name of Muhammad 
Shah. In an attempt to consolidate the Tughlug hold on the Deccan and the Tamil 
lands further south, Muhammad Shah conceived the notion of shifting the Delhi 
court to Devagiri. In 1327 this citadel became the second capital of the Tughlug 
Sultanate under the name Daulatabad, City of Prosperity (Fig. 1). Ramparts and 
gates added to the fort at this time are still extant (see chapter 2). 

Muhammad’s drastic move proved only a temporary measure, for within a few 
years many of the North Indian migrants returned to Delhi. Nor did the relocation 
of the imperial seat succeed in achieving political stability; many parts of the 


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conquered Deccan broke away, such as Warangal in 1329 and, further south, 
Madura in 1334. The year 1336 marks the traditional foundation date of 
Vijayanagara, the kingdom established by the Sangamas at their new capital on the 
Tungabhadra, some 500 kilometres south of Daulatabad. All lands beyond this 
river were from this time on permanently lost to the Tughlugs. 

Unrest in the Deccan reached a climax in 1345 with a rebellion led by Ismail 
Mukh, an Afghan officer who routed the army sent by the Delhi sultan. 
Daulatabad’s treasury was seized and the governorships of the different provinces 
were redistributed among the nobles. Hasan, ablest of Muhammad Shah’s fol- 
lowers and honoured by him with the title of Zafar Khan, was appointed military 
commander. But under his leadership the tendency towards independence con- 
tinued and the Deccan nobles finally broke with Delhi. To advertise his success, 
Zafar Khan ordered the erection of a victory tower known as the Chand Minar at 
Daulatabad (see Fig. 34). In August 1347 Zafar Khan ascended the throne as 
Alauddin Hasan Bahman Shah. 


THE BAHMANIS 


Alauddin (1347-58) gave his family name to a new line of rulers, henceforth known 
as the Bahmanis after the legendary hero Bahman of the Persian epic, the Shah 
Namah. His first task was to obtain the submission of local chiefs and to bring all 
the Deccan territories of the former Tughlugs under his control. He then occupied 
the Konkan, a narrow strip of land flanking the Arabian Sea coast. The former 
Kakatiya citadel of Warangal, however, remained beyond his grasp, though not that 
of his successors. Towards the end of his rule, Alauddin selected Gulbarga, 320 
kilometres south-west of Daulatabad, as the new Bahmani capital. 

The reign of Alauddin’s son and successor, Muhammad I (1358-75), is marked by 
a division of the Bahmani territories into the provinces of Daulatabad, Bidar, 
Gavilgad and Golconda. To mark the special status of Gulbarga, Muhammad 
ordered the construction of a Jami mosque within the fort (see Fig. 36). Muham- 
mad’s reign coincided with the introduction of gunpowder into the Deccan, where 
it was used as early as 1365. The consequence of this type of warfare is seen in 
fortifications with slit holes for guns and rounded bastions with crenellations (see 
Fig. 4). Like later Bahmani sultans, Muhammad was preoccupied with wars against 
the Sangamas of Vijayanagara. The main source of conflict was control of the richly 
watered tract of territory between the Krishna and the Tungabhadra. Strategic sites 
in this area, such as Raichur and Mudgal, were won and lost on more than one 
occasion. 

A period of instability followed upon Muhammad’s death, during the reigns of 
two short-lived rulers, Mujahid and Dawud. The comparatively peaceful reign of 
Muhammad II (1378-97), the next sultan, was marked by only minor skirmishes 
with Vijayanagara. The period of Tajuddin Firuz (1397-1422), one of the most 


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powerful of the Bahmani rulers and certainly the outstanding personality of the era, 
saw the influx of numerous Persians, Arabs and Turks. This resulted in a struggle 
for power between the newcomers and the older-established elite that marked the 
beginning of the Afaqi-Dakhni friction. Firuz was a learned sultan and his era has 
been viewed in terms of cultural synthesis. He was also a pious man who invited 
prominent Sufi teachers, such as the Chishti saint Hazrat Muhammad Gesudaraz, 
to settle in his capital. Though Firuz attempted to achieve peace with Vijayanagara 
by marrying the daughter of Devaraya I, struggles over the disputed territories were 
never resolved. It was while returning from a successful expedition beyond the 
Tungabhadra in 1400 that he founded a palace city named after himself as 
Firuzabad (see Fig. 8). One problem for Firuz in his later years was the rift that grew 
between himself and his brother Ahmad. This was aggravated by Gesudaraz’s 
prediction that Ahmad would inherit the Bahmani throne. 

This, in fact, came to pass after Firuz died, followed soon after by Gesudaraz. 
Firuz was buried in a magnificent mausoleum on the outskirts of Gulbarga, within 
sight of the saint’s tomb (see Figs. 39 and 40). At some date between 1424 and 1427, 
Ahmad I (1422-36) decided to shift the Bahmani capital to Bidar, about 100 
kilometres to the north-east. This move signalled a perceptible change in the 
character of the Sultanate, which thereafter manifested increasing contacts with the 
Mongol and Timurid world of Iran and Central Asia. Asa result, the Afaqis became 
the dominant faction at the Bahmani court. The influence of these foreigners is 
discernible in the architecture of the era which displays obvious Iranian tendencies 
(see chapters 2 and 3). Another manifestation of the increased contacts with the 
Middle East are the links that Ahmad established with saintly figures such as Shah 
Khalilullah, son of the revered Shah Nimatullah of Kirman, and a formidable 
shaykh in his own right, who arrived in Bidar in 1431. Throughout his reign, Ahmad 
was preoccupied both with wars against Vijayanagara and with struggles against 
rival sultans in Malwa and Gujarat, the regions to the north and north-west of the 
Deccan respectively. The outcome of these confrontations, however, was rarely 
decisive and the Bahmani kingdom survived more or less intact. 

Ongoing strife between the Afaqis and Dakhnis and fruitless campaigns against 
Vijayanagara, Malwa and Gujarat disrupted the reign of Alauddin Ahmad II 
(1436-58). The supposed tyrannical behaviour of the next sultan, Humayun 
(1458-61), is sometimes explained by the attempts of the Afaqis to depose him. It 
was under Humayun that Mahmud Gawan began to be involved with affairs of 
state. His political career progressed during the reign of Muhammad III (1463-82). 
As prime minister under this youthful ruler, Mahmud Gawan assumed full respon- 
sibility for state affairs. Though his policy of balancing Afaqis against Dakhnis won 
him the support of the indigenous population, Mahmud Gawan’s own sympathies 
were with the Afaqis and the Shia sect to which many belonged. In a bid to affirm 
the supremacy of Shiism at the Bahmani court, Mahmud Gawan ordered the 
construction of a grandiose madrasa. Though surviving only in a damaged state, 


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this theological college testifies to the pervasive influence of Iranian architectural 
and religious traditions in the Deccan (see Figs. 43 and 44). Its brilliantly coloured 
tiles are the finest of the era in India (see Fig. 100). 

Difficulties with Malwa, the region immediately north of the Deccan, led to a 
major battle in 1467-8, but under Mahmud Gawan’s able command the Bahmani 
forces emerged unscathed. A triumph of his diplomacy was the coalition with 
Vijayanagara against the Orissan army which had threatened the Bahmani king- 
dom on its north-eastern frontier. Another objective was Goa, the leading port of 
the Konkan, which was taken in 1472. With the Bahmani territories stretching from 
the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal and from the Tapti on the north to the 
Tungabhadra on the south, Mahmud Gawan was able to carry out administrative 
reforms, including a revision of land measurement and revenue assessment. These 
successes must have aroused considerable envy, for in 1481 he became the victim of a 
conspiracy and was beheaded by order of the sultan. On learning of the plot 
Muhammad suffered remorse and he himself died exactly one year later. 

The long reign of his son Mahmud (1482-1518) coincides with the disintegration 
of the Bahmani kingdom, a process which was hastened by courtly intrigues. The 
most important military commanders established themselves with greater authority 
in their provincial headquarters: thus, Nizam al-Mulk at Ahmadnagar, Imad 
al-Mulk at Achalpur, Yusuf Adil Khan at Bijapur and Sultan Quli Qutb al-Mulk at 
Golconda. Qasim Barid, an officer based in Bidar, challenged the sultan’s author- 
ity, forcing Mahmud to appoint him as prime minister in 1488. This provided an 
excuse for the provincial governors to declare their autonomy. Meanwhile, the 
threat from Vijayanagara continued, especially under Narasimha Saluva who had 
wrested the throne from the Sangamas. Narasimha and Yusuf Adil Khan, leader of 
the Bahmani forces, met on several occasions in the ensuing war. With the arrival of 
the Portuguese the Bahmanis suffered losses on the Arabian Sea coast, including 
Goa. Only minor figures with little actual power occupied the Bahmani throne 
between 1518 and 1538. They are, however, buried in the company of their more 
powerful predecessors in the necropolis at Ashtur on the outskirts of Bidar (see Fig. 


45). 


THE NIZAM SHAHIS, IMAD SHAHIS AND FARUQIS 


The opening decades of the sixteenth century witnessed the fragmentation of the 
Bahmani kingdom into smaller Sultanates, each governed by an independent 
dynasty. The three most powerful dynasties of Deccan kings were the Nizam Shahis 
of Ahmadnagar, the Adil Shahis of Bijapur and the Qutb Shahis of Golconda. 
Their territories more or less coincided with the Marathi, Kannada and Telugu 
countries. Lesser rulers were the Imad Shahis based at first at Gavilgad, capital of 
Berar on the north-eastern fringe of the Deccan, and the Baridis who governed 
from Bidar in continuation after the Bahmanis. Another state is Khandesh, located 


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between the Tapti and Narmada on the northern periphery of the Deccan. 
Founded in 1382 by Malika Raja, a former Tughluq officer, the Farugis enjoyed a 
history that was longer than that of the Bahmanis, maintaining their lineage 
throughout the sixteenth century. 

A review of the simultaneous careers of these Sultanates reveals an unceasing 
history of shifting alliances and wars, effectively preventing any single kingdom 
from attaining supremacy. Afaqi-Dakhni strife inherited from Bahmani times 
continued; so too did conflicts with Vijayanagara. Short-lived coalitions with the 
Tuluvas, the new line of rajas at Vijayanagara, contributed further to the instability 
of the period. Only when all of the Deccan sultans perceived the empire on their 
southern flank as a common enemy was a consortium formed that led to the battle 
of January 1565 in which the Vijayanagara forces were finally vanquished. 

The first Sultanate to attain autonomy was that of the Nizam Shahis. These kings 
traced their origins to Malik Hasan Bahri, a converted Hindu in the service of the 
Bahmanis, who gained recognition by waging wars on behalf of Mahmud Gawan. 
However, Malik Hasan fell victim to the hostilities that beset Bidar following the 
death of Mahmud Gawan; he was himself murdered in 1486. Thereupon his son, 
Ahmad Nizam al-Mulk, broke into open revolt. Establishing his headquarters at 
Junnar in the western Deccan, Ahmad successfully resisted the forces sent to subdue 
him by Qasim Barid of Bidar and Yusuf Adil Khan of Bijapur. He then declared 
independence, striking coins in the name of Ahmad Bahri Nizam Shah (1496-1510). 

As a result of the relations that he forged with local Maratha chiefs, Ahmad Bahri 
augmented his holdings by acquiring the strongholds of Daulatabad and Panhala. 
He also attempted an assault on Khandesh in the hope of expanding his dominions 
to the north. On his death, Ahmad was buried in a magnificent tomb on the 
outskirts of Ahmadnagar (see Fig. 50), the capital that he founded towards the end 
of his reign and which was named after him. Though only a child when he ascended 
the throne, Burhan I (1510-53) was supported by his capable commanders who 
protected the kingdom from the attacks of the Imad Shahis and Adil Shahis. They 
were, however, unable to avoid clashes with the armies of Khandesh and Gujarat. 
Shiism was adopted as the state religion, thereby bringing the Nizam Shahi 
kingdom into sympathetic relations with Iran. In the wars against Bijapur through- 
out the period, Burhan often allied himself with Golconda and Vijayanagara. 

Burhan’s son and successor, Husain I (1553-65), secured the Nizam Shahi 
frontiers and achieved an accord with the Portuguese. The resulting peace gave the 
sultan an opportunity to construct the great circular fort of his capital (chapter 2). 
In 1564 Husain’s army joined that of Bijapur, Bidar and Golconda to counter the 
threat from Vijayanagara. Their victory over Ramaraya, commander of the vast 
Tuluva army, was decisive, but Husain himself died shortly after. The Nizam Shahi 
throne was inherited by his eldest son, Murtaza I (1565-88). The alliance with 
Bijapur and Golconda was soon broken and Murtaza was involved in new power 
struggles. The declining fortunes of Bidar and Berar inspired Murtaza to join forces 


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with Ali I of Bijapur. The policy proved successful and in 1574 Berar became a 
province of the Nizam Shahi kingdom. That this was the high point in the fortunes 
of Ahmadnagar is suggested by the grandiose Farah Bagh complex built just outside 
the capital (see Figs. 17 and 18), considerably more imposing than the palaces built 
on similar plans in Iran at the same time. The obviously Middle Eastern features of 
the Farah Bagh contrast with the more Deccani style of the Damri mosque, the 
most exquisite monument of the era (see Fig. 51). Painting and the fine arts also 
flourished at the Nizam Shahi court during Murtaza’s reign judging from the two 
imposing portraits of this ruler (see Colour Plate 2 and Fig. 110). These extraordi- 
nary miniatures, executed in a refined and original style, are among the earliest 
known paintings produced in the Deccan. 

The circumstances in which the much smaller kingdom of Berar was founded in 
the extreme north-east corner of the former Bahmani state parallels those of 
Ahmadnagar. Fathullah Imad Shah, after whom the dynasty was named, rose to 
power as a military officer under the Bahmanis. After assisting Mahmud Gawan in 
his campaigns of 1472-3, he was appointed governor of Berar from where he 
attempted to maintain cordial relations with the commanders of Bijapur and Bidar. 
The citadels at Gavilgad and Narnala were consolidated under his orders (see 
chapter 2). Fathullah was succeeded by his son, Alauddin (1510-30), who resisted 
the agression of the Nizam Shahis by enlisting the aid of Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. 
The next Imad Shahi ruler, Darya (1530-61), attempted an alliance with Bijapur in 
order to avert the threat from Ahmadnagar, but this strategy proved futile. It was 
not until the reign of the next sultan, Burhan (1562-74), that Berar was finally 
annexed by the Nizam Shahis. 

To return to the affairs of Ahmadnagar: the later years of Murtaza’s rule were 
marked by plots and assassinations, with renewed assaults from Bijapur. Having 
occupied Berar, Murtaza continued to press northwards and made several raids on 
Khandesh. Here he was checked by the Mughal army which from 1586 presented an 
entirely new threat to the Deccan. Relations with his own family deteriorated 
rapidly and in 1588 Murtaza was imprisoned by his own son. 

A period of uncertainty ensued. The next Nizam Shahi ruler of any importance, 
Burhan II (1591-5), was partly supported by the Mughal emperor Akbar who 
attempted to interfere in local affairs. After the death of Burhan, there was a series of 
short-lived sultans whose powers were curtailed by courtly strife. With the invasion 
of the Adil Shahis in 1595 and the subsequent demise of Ibrahim, who occupied the 
throne for a few months only, state affairs were taken over by Ibrahim’s sister, 
Chand Bibi. Though she proved an able ruler, Chand Bibi was unable to prevent 
the loss of Berar to the Mughals in 1596. Ongoing quarrels at the Nizam Shahi court 
offered further opportunities for Mughal intervention. Ahmadnagar was taken in 
1600 by Akbar’s commander Abul Fazl, who had Chand Bibi murdered. 

The following years witnessed the rise of Malik Ambar, a Habshi (African) slave 
who emerged as the most powerful figure in the Nizam Shahi state at the turn of the 


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seventeenth century. It was only with his support that the Mughals were expelled 
from Ahmadnagar and that Murtaza II came to be crowned there in 1600. Malik 
Ambar overcame his internal enemies, led expeditions against Bidar and Golconda 
and even managed to withstand the attacks of the Khan-i Khanan, commander of 
the Mughal forces under Jahangir. 

After installing Burhan HI (1610-31) on the throne, Malik Ambar resumed his 
offensive against Bijapur and Golconda, but had only limited success with the 
Mughals. Besides his outstanding military leadership, Malik Ambar was also an 
active builder. His tomb at Khuldabad, 8 kilometres north of Daulatabad, is the 
finest of the Nizam Shahi period (see Fig. 53). In subsequent years the Mughals 
intensified their assaults on the Nizam Shahis, often with the aid of reinforcements 
from Bijapur. A temporary respite for Ahmadnagar came in 1633 when Shahji, a 
Maratha noble, helped the Nizam Shahi forces to recover the forts at Pune and 
Junnar. However, this only served to provoke the Mughals, who stormed 
Daulatabad that same year. This citadel now became the chief garrison of the 
invaders under their new leader, Prince Aurangzeb. The conquest of Ahmadnagar’s 
territories proceeded and in 1636 Murtaza III, the last Nizam Shahi ruler, was taken 
prisoner. Shortly after, this Sultanate was absorbed into the Mughal empire. 

The Faruqis of Khandesh have already been noted. These kings established 
themselves first at Thalner on the Tapti, shifting later to Burhanpur 150 kilometres 
upstream. The turbulent history of the Farugi kingdom is partly explained by its 
location: to the south were the Bahmanis and their successors, the Nizam Shahis; to 
the north was the kingdom of Malwa, annexed by Gujarat after 1531. Though both 
the Nizam Shahis and the Gujarat sultans repeatedly intruded into Faruqi-held 
lands, Khandesh preserved its autonomy for more than 200 years before succum- 
bing to the Mughals in 1600. Among the many Farugi rulers of distinction was Adil 
Khan II (1457-1501). His long reign witnessed the transformation of Burhanpur 
into one of the wealthiest centres of trade and textile production in the Deccan. It 
was the widow of a later ruler of the same name, Adil Khan III (1508-20), who built 
its imposing Bibi-ka mosque (see chapter 3). 


THE ADIL SHAHIS AND BARIDIS, ASCENDANCY OF THE 
MARATHAS 


The early history of the Adil Shahis derives from the career of Yusuf Adil Khan, 
governor of Bijapur under Mahmud Gawan. Following the example of Ahmad 
Nizam al-Mulk, Yusuf asserted his autonomy in the last years of the fifteenth 
century and was able to consolidate his holdings in spite of opposition from 
Qasim Barid. One of Yusuf’s first tasks was to fortify Bijapur and to provide it 
with a sophisticated hydraulic system (see chapter 2). By the time of his death in 
1510, Yusuf’s territories extended from the Bhima on the north to the Tunga- 
bhadra on the south. In 1503 Yusuf proclaimed Shiism as the state creed at Bijapur, 


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inspired by Shah Ismail, the Safavid ruler of Iran who had acted similarly in the 
previous year. Shortly afterwards, the Portuguese arrived at Goa. Yusuf attempted 
to expel the Europeans by attacking Goa and fostering an alliance with the 
Egyptian and Gujarat fleets. But the port was irrecoverably lost to the Adil Shahis 
and from 1510 onwards the Portuguese were permanently established on the 
Arabian Sea coast. 

The next ruler, Ismail Khan (1510-34), succeeded as a minor to the Bijapur 
throne. Kamal Khan, the regent, was forced to make peace with the Portuguese. He 
then turned his attention to the internal affairs of the state, restoring the Sunni rites 
of worship in the mosques and supressing the Afaqi contingent at the Adil Shahi 
court. Kamal Khan’s ambitions for power turned against him and in 1512 he was 
stabbed to death. In the civil strife that followed the Afaqis rose to power. The 
disorder at Bijapur created an excuse for Amir I (1504-43), the first Baridi ruler, to 
invade parts of the Adil Shahi territories. Amir I was supported by Krishnadevaraya, 
the new and powerful Tuluva emperor, with the result that Vijayanagara recovered 
a portion of the lands previously lost to the Bahmanis. The arrival of the Gujarat 
army put an end to this process and with the aid of these supplementary forces 
Bijapur was able to recover most of its possessions. 

In contrast to his regent, Ismail did everything possible to sponsor connections 
with Iran. He was rewarded in 1519 when Shah Ismail addressed him in an embassy 
as ‘Shah’. Thereafter, the Bijapur sultans considered themselves superior to the 
other Deccani rulers. Ismail was so captivated with Iranian culture and manners 
that he had his officers wear the Shia headdress and included the name of the 
Safavid ruler in the Friday prayers recited in the mosques of the kingdom. These 
acts formed part of an anti-Dakhni policy in which the sultan vowed to admit only 
Afaqi officers to his army and court. 

After a year of uncertainty following Ismail’s death, the Adil Shahi throne was 
occupied by the teenager Ibrahim I (1535-58), with Asad Khan as prime minister. 
This figure, who was probably a Sunni, revoked the pro-Shia policy of Ismail, and 
Dakhnis were once again favoured for military and courtly positions. Under Asad 
Khan’s able command, the Bijapur army enjoyed successes against both 
Vijayanagara and Ahmadnagar, and in 1543 resisted the machinations of Sultan 
Jamshid of Golconda. On the western flank, they were attacked by the Portuguese, 
forcing Ibrahim to sue for peace. The situation had not much improved when Ali I 
(1558-80) succeeded, by which time Ali Shah (1543-80) was ruling at Bidar. Ali Adil 
Shah I reverted to Shiism, favouring the Afaqi contingent. He attempted to enter 
into an agreement with Ramaraya of Vijayanagara with whom he campaigned 
against Ahmadnagar in 1559-61. This association was abandoned in favour of the 
celebrated confederacy of Bidar, Ahmadnagar and Golconda against Vijayanagara. 
Of all the Sultanates, Bijapur benefited most from the triumph of January 1565, 
amassing considerable booty and securing lands beyond the Tungabhadra. An idea 
of the large-scale building projects that this victory made possible may be had from 


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the imposing Jami mosque at Bijapur (see Fig. 55). Ali I met his end by stabbing and 
was the first Adil Shahi sultan to be laid to rest in the capital. 

Ali Barid Shah, his counterpart at Bidar, died the same year and was buried in a 
lofty domed monument on the outskirts of his capital (see Fig. 48). This sultan was 
involved in the struggles of the period, shifting his alliances from Ahmadnagar to 
Bijapur as circumstances dictated. Among his architectural achievements is the 
Rangin Mahal in the Bidar fort, the most complete and exquisitely decorated 
courtly structure to survive from the sixteenth century (see Figs. 97 and 98). Ali was 
succeeded by Ibrahim (1580-7), heir to a declining kingdom threatened by power- 
ful states on all sides. 

The long reign of Ibrahim Adil Shah II (1580-1627) is often considered a golden 
age in the fortunes of Bijapur. His rule began under the regency of Kamal Khan and 
the administration of the Habshi officer Ikhlas Khan. The importance of Ikhlas 
Khan, who rose to the position of prime minister, may be gauged from the 
miniature paintings in which he appears together with his royal patron (see Figs. 132 
and 133). Ibrahim’s reign was marked by war with Ahmadnagar and difficulties with 
disobedient chiefs. In 1591 Akbar sent a diplomatic mission to Bijapur in order to 
ascertain whether the Adil Shahis would accept Mughal suzerainty; Ibrahim de- 
clined. Meanwhile, Malik Ambar had recovered Ahmadnagar and attempted to 
invade the Bidar kingdom. Benefiting from the commander’s preoccupation with 
the Mughals, Ibrahim succeeded in taking Bidar in 1619 and annexing the Baridi 
dominions. This aroused the wrath of Malik Ambar who marched unhindered to 
Bijapur where he stormed Ibrahim’s unfinished new city of Nauraspur (see chapter 
2). One minor incident of Ibrahim’s reign was the loss of the island fortress of 
Janjira to the Habshi naval generals in 1618. Known as the Sidis, this line of local 
rulers was to outlast the Adil Shahis themselves. 

Ibrahim II enjoys the reputation of having been the greatest patron of the arts of 
his era. Contemporary literature praises the sultan as a skilled poet, who preferred 
to use Deccani Urdu rather than Persian, as well as a musician, calligrapher and 
connoisseur of painting. The truth of this description is borne out by the rapturous- 
ly coloured miniatures, some of them royal portraits, ascribed to his reign (Fig. 2; 
see also Colour Plate 1 and Figs. 121-9). Here, in a surprising way, Iranian pictorial 
traditions are animated by Deccani opulence and fantasy. Ibrahim was no less 
significant as a builder. The mausoleum and accompanying prayer hall that he 
completed before his death on the outskirts of the capital, a complex known as the 
Ibrahim Rauza, are unsurpassed for their splendid domed compositions and 
virtuoso stone carving (see Figs. 58 to 61). 

After the death of Ibrahim II, the Dakhni contingent at court was successful in 
placing his second son, Muhammad (1627-56), on the Bijapur throne under the 
regent Khawas Khan. This noble attempted to form an alliance with Ahmadnagar 
in order to restrain the Mughal advance. This, however, did not prevent the 
emperor Shah Jahan from dispatching an army to Bijapur in 1631, directed by his 


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2 Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah I holding castanets, attributed to the Bodleian painter, 
Bijapur, c. 1610-20 


father-in-law, Asaf Khan. Though this expedition was repulsed, it paved the way for 
a better organised campaign five years later which forced Muhammad to sign a deed 
of submission. Having suffered this humiliation, Muhammad was freed for a time 
from the Mughal threat and was able to concentrate on expanding his borders. 

It was during the later years of Muhammad’s rule that the Adil Shahi Sultanate 
reached its maximum extent, hampered neither by Anmadnagar, which by now had 
become part of the Mughal empire, nor by Golconda. This was the period of 
Bijapur’s most ambitious architectural achievements, as exemplified by Muham- 
mad’s own mausoleum, the Gol Gumbad, the most technically advanced domed 
structure to be erected in the Deccan (see Figs. 62 and 63), reputedly the largest 
dome in the world after St Peter’s in Rome. That this was also a time of artistic 
flowering is borne out by the many miniatures ascribed to Muhammad’s reign. The 
obviously Mughal appearance of these works suggests the influence of North Indian 
artistic and cultural modes. Military operations under Muhammad tended to be 
directed southwards. Under the able leadership of Randaula Khan and Shahji, the 
latter having arrived from Ahmadnagar, the Bijapur troops marched into the Tamil 
lands where they occupied the fortresses at Vellore and Gingee, overcoming 


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opposition by the Nayaka kings of Thanjavur. Meanwhile, Muhammad attempted 
an association with Dutch traders in an attempt to restrain the Portuguese who had 
by now established maritime supremacy in the Arabian Sea. 

One event which was to have far-reaching consequences was the insurrection of 
Shahji’s son, Shivaji, who had been granted governorship of the Pune province, 
now part of Bijapur’s domains. Taking advantage of Muhammad’s preoccupation 
in the south, Shivaji occupied the citadel of Torna in 1646. Shahji was arrested by 
Muhammad in an attempt to subdue his disloyal son, but he was released when 
Shivaji capitulated. Yet Shivaji became active soon after and in 1650 took the hill 
forts of Purandhar and Rairi, the latter destined to become his capital as Raigad. 
Over the following years Shivaji captured a number of mountain strongholds in the 
Sahyadri ranges on the north-western fringe of the Adil Shahi territories. Though 
his influence extended also to the Konkan, Shivaji was unable to capture the island 
citadel of the Sidis at Janjira. 

War with the Mughals broke out during the reign of Ali II (1656-72). Prince 
Aurangzeb led the Mughal army which arrived at Aurangabad in 1657 and from 
there headed south. Only after seizing Bidar and the fort at Kalyana did Aurangzeb 
march on Bijapur. But at the last moment he was recalled to Delhi by Shah Jahan 
and was forced to conclude a hasty peace with Ali. Both the Adil Shahis and the 
Mughals were troubled by raids executed with considerable daring by bands of 
Maratha warriors led by Shivaji. These rebels were temporarily subdued in 1665 
when Shivaji was compelled to sign a treaty by which he agreed to assist in the war 
against the Adil Shahis. However, this did not prevent Shivaji from steadily 
consolidating his influence in the western Deccan. In 1674 he had himself crowned 
as a traditional Hindu monarch, assuming the title of chhatrapati, lord of the 
[royal] umbrella. The ceremony took place in his newly completed ceremonial 
headquarters at Raigad (see Figs. 29 and 30). 

Khawas Khan assumed command of the Adil Shahi sultanate on the assumption 
of the throne by the infant Sikandar Ali (1672-86), but was ousted in turn by his 
rival, Bhalol Khan. Courtly intrigue at Bijapur left the capital open to attack by the 
forces of Shivaji, who then proceeded south as far as Thanjavur, absorbing all the 
previous Adil Shahi conquests in the Tamil lands. In 1679 Shivaji joined a 
contingent of the Mughal army in an attempt to besiege the Adil Shahi capital. But 
the campaign was abandoned and Shivaji died soon after in April 1680. Freed of his 
most skilled adversary, Aurangzeb, now emperor, was thus able to concentrate on 
the two remaining Sultanates. It was, however, not until 1685 that the Mughal army 
reached the outer walls of Bijapur. Some eighteen months of seige were required to 
force Sikander to hand over the keys of the citadel, whereupon Bijapur became a 
province of the Mughal empire. 


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THE QUTB SHAHIS 


Sultan Quli Qutb al-Mulk, founder of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, rose to prominence 
as a governor of the Bahmanis. In 1487 he was sent to the eastern provinces of the 
kingdom to quell rebellious leaders. After establishing himself at Golconda, which 
he strengthened with rings of ramparts and formidable gates (see Figs. 24 and 25), 
he mounted expeditions against the forces of Vijayanagara, taking Warangal from 
the rebellious Shitab Khan. In the later years of his governorship Qutb al-Mulk 
resisted the combined armies of Bidar and Bijapur which had attempted to occupy 
Golconda. Unfortunately, he came to an ignoble end when he was murdered by his 
son, Jamshid (1543-50), who then assumed power. Though Jamshid never pro- 
claimed himself sultan, he compelled local chiefs to accept his authority and 
managed to wrest several forts from the Baridis. For a time he entered into a 
coalition with Ahmadnagar and Berar. 

The next ruler of consequence, Ibrahim (1550-80), overcame his distrust of rival 
sultans and lent his army to the confederacy against Vijayanagara. As a result of the 
1565 victory, Ibrahim inherited the hill forts of Adoni and Udayagiri. He then 
raided Penukonda, the fortified site where the Vijayanagara court had fled. Ibrahim 
was involved for much of his reign with struggles against the Nizam Shahis. He was 
the first Golconda ruler to assume the title of sultan and to issue coins in his own 
name. 

One of the first acts of Muhammad Quli (1580-1611) was to shift the Qutb Shahi 
capital to nearby Hyderabad. The focal point of the newly planned city was the 
Char Minar, the most architecturally innovative monument of the era (see Fig. 27). 
The flowering of poetry and painting at the new capital owed much to the 
personality of this sultan, who equalled his contemporary Ibrahim Adil Shah as an 
impassioned patron of the arts. Muhammad Quli was soon plunged into conflicts 
with Bijapur, as well as being threatened with aggression from the Mughal army. 
Chand Bibi appealed to Muhammad Quli to join the Ahmadnagar forces in a 
common cause against the conquerors, but her request failed. Meanwhile, the 
Golconda king crushed a rebellion at Kondavidu in the eastern Deccan and 
occupied the Vijayanagara stronghold of Gandikota. 

The Mughals brought increasing pressure to bear on Muhammad, the next Qutb 
Shahi ruler. On receiving Shah Jahan’s envoy at Golconda in 1616, Muhammad 
agreed to further the Mughal cause by withdrawing all support for Malik Ambar. 
The reign of this sultan is marked by the first contacts with European merchants 
who were attracted to Golconda by the diamonds and textiles for which the 
kingdom was famous. That Muhammad was also a capable builder is revealed by 
the Mecca mosque at Hyderabad, as well as by his own mausoleum in the royal 
necropolis at Golconda (see Fig. 68). 

The Mughal menace affected much of the long reign of Abdullah (1626-72). In 
1636 Abdullah was forced to sign the deed of submission, bringing the Qutb Shahi 


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territories directly under Shah Jahan’s surveillance, thereby reducing Golconda 
effectively to a Mughal protectorate. Among the terms imposed, the Sunni faith 
was to replace Shiism as the state religion, and the name of the Mughal emperor was 
to be recited in the Friday prayers. But even these measures did not guarantee the 
end of Mughal aggression, for in 1656 Aurangzeb and his forces once again besieged 
Golconda. 

Abul Hasan (1672-87), last of the Qutb Shahis, was led into an agreement with 
Shivaji whom he perceived as an ally in the struggle against the Mughals. The 
Maratha leader spent a whole month in Hyderabad in 1677 before mounting his 
southern campaign. After the fall of Bijapur to the Mughals in 1686, the imperial 
army was free to concentrate on Hyderabad. The third siege of Golconda lasted 
eight months and in September 1687 the gates of the fort were opened by treachery. 
Abul Hasan was taken prisoner and died three years later in captivity at Daulatabad. 
In spite of this sorry end to the rule of the Qutb Shahis, the Hyderabad court shows 
no sign of artistic decline in its later years, judging from the sumptuous portraits of 
royal figures and elegant maidens ascribed to the reigns of Abdullah and Abul 
Hasan (see Figs. 145-54), a tradition that continued into the early eighteenth 
century under the patronage of the Mughals, then the Asaf Jahis. 


DECLINE OF THE MUGHALS, RISE OF THE ASAF JAHIS 


The last two decades of Aurangzeb’s life were spent in almost continuous warfare 
with the Marathas. In 1688-9, Aurangzeb’s armies marched south and east to 
repossess the former territories of Bijapur and Golconda taken from the Mughals 
by Sambhaji (1680-9), Shivaji’s son. With the help of Shaykh Nizam, former officer 
of Golconda who had gone over to the Mughals, Aurangzeb captured and executed 
Sambhaji. He then occupied Rajgad and Torna, both of which had been stren- 
gthened by Shivaji (see chapter 2). The imperial army pursued Rajaram 
(1689-1700), brother and successor of Sambhaji, all the way to Gingee, but it was 
only with difficulty that the Mughals secured this citadel in 1698. Rajaram was 
killed soon after and the Maratha leadership passed eventually to Sambhaji’s son, 
Shahu (1708-49), who was also imprisoned by the Mughals. Aurangzeb met with 
little resistance when he occupied Pune and Satara, principal centres of Maratha 
power. 

Though much preoccupied with these campaigns, Aurangzeb found time to 
build extensively, especially at Aurangabad. This city, renamed after the emperor 
himself, served as capital of the Mughal empire from 1693 until his death. The 
fortifications, gates and royal residence constructed during Aurangzeb’s reign still 
stand (see chapter 2); so too the imposing garden tomb of his wife, known 
popularly as the Bibi-ka Magbara, erected in 1661 by his son Azam Shah, then 
governor of the Deccan (see Fig. 75). In spite of the instability of the emperor’s later 


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years as well as of those of his successors, the Mughal court at Aurangabad enjoyed 
vigorous artistic activity, owing mainly to the patronage of high-ranking officers in 
Aurangzeb’s service, including many Rajput officers. Paintings in a mixed Mughal- 
Rajput style were produced at Aurangabad and other centres at this time (see Figs. 
117-19). 

Aurangzeb’s deep attachment to Sufi saints at Khuldabad explains his decision to 
be buried in the simplest possible manner next to the tomb of Shaykh Zainuddin 
Shirazi. The emperor’s death in 1707 initiated a struggle among his sons for control 
of the Deccan. Azam ascended the Mughal throne at Ahmadnagar barely one 
month after his father’s death. Before withdrawing to Delhi, he released Shahu in a 
bid to encourage civil strife among different Maratha factions. Since the Deccani 
wars had proved costly, the pay of the Mughal army was kept in arrears. This 
proved a handicap for Azam who was challenged by his brother Muazzam, who 
eventually ascended the imperial seat as Shah Alam Bahadur Shah (1707-13). A 
dispute with the Deccani nobles was resolved with the appointment of Dhulfigar 
Khan as viceroy. He intrigued with other Mughal princes in an effort to dislodge 
Bahadur Shah. Though Dhulfigar was appointed prime minister, he did not 
relinquish his governorship of the Deccan which he continued to control through 
his deputy Dawud Khan. 

Dynastic turmoil in Delhi, which resulted in Farrukh Siyar (1713-19) being 
crowned emperor, together with the depleted treasury of the Mughal army, forced 
Dawud Khan to accept the military support of the Marathas. In return, the 
Maratha generals were permitted to collect taxes from the southernmost provinces 
of the Deccan. In 1713 Dawud Khan was replaced by Nizam al-Mulk who ended the 
remission of taxes, thereby earning the loyalty of disaffected Maratha chieftains 
such as Sambhaji of Kolhapur (1714-60), a rival claimant to Shahu’s throne. After 
his recall to Delhi and the murder of Farrukh Siyar, Nizam al-Mulk was appointed 
prime minister of Muhammad Shah (1719-48), the new emperor. In 1724 he 
returned to Aurangabad where he confronted the armed opposition of the Mughal 
nobles. The ensuing battle was only won with the aid of Bajirao, the peshwa, or 
chief minister, of Shahu. In the following year Muhammad Shah conferred on 
Nizam al-Mulk the title of Asaf Jah in gratitude, confirming his governship of the 
Deccan and leaving him to rule virtually free of interference from Delhi. The Asaf 
Jahi kingdom, as it came to be known, developed into the last great bastion of 
Islamic culture in India, surviving until 1950. 

The vast territories encompassed by the six Deccani provinces, extending from 
the Narmada in the north to the Kaveri in the south, yielded an income almost 
equal to that of the rest of the Mughal empire including Afghanistan. In conse- 
quence, Nizam al-Mulk’s power rivalled that of the Delhi ruler himself. Supported 
by adequate funds, Nizam al-Mulk bestowed estates on his nobles and promoted 
his officers. Though enjoying effective autonomy, he avoided the use of royal 


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insignia, assuming the title of Nizam instead, a practice followed by his successors. 
The sack of Delhi in 1739 by Nadir Shah of Iran and the consequent loss of the 
imperial treasury signalled the end of Mughal leadership. 

A struggle for succession lasting three years ensued upon Nizam al-Mulk’s death 
in 1748. It was his third son, Salabat Jang (1751-62), who emerged victorious, aided 
by French troops under Dupleix and Bussey. This ruler paid his debt to the French 
by conceding to them trading possessions on the Bay of Bengal coast. Salabat Jang 
maintained his own contingent of European troops in an effort to ward off the 
Marathas. On the outbreak of war between England and France in 1756, the French 
were driven out of the region by the English with whom Salabat Jang had 
concluded various arrangements. The Maratha forces invaded the Asaf Jahi terri- 
tories soon after, compelling Salabat Jang to surrender Aurangabad and Bidar in 
1761. Asa result, Salabat Jang’s nobles lost confidence in his capability as an effective 
leader and he was deposed by his younger brother, Nizam Ali Khan, Asaf Jah II 
(1762-1802). 

This ruler was responsible for transferring the Asaf Jahi capital from Aurangabad 
to Hyderabad. Nizam Ali Khan then set about recovering the territories lost to the 
Marathas, beginning with the reoccupation of Daulatabad. Hostilities against the 
Marathas continued up to 1765 when peace was finally achieved. This permitted the 
Nizam to enter into a treaty with the English by which they would furnish him with 
subsidiary forces in return for a permanent presence in Hyderabad. 

The outstanding event during these years was the growing influence of Haidar 
Ali, a noble who had distinguished himself in earlier Mughal campaigns and who 
had acted as governor in the southern part of the Kannada lands. Haidar’s 
aggressive campaigns, together with those of his son and successor, Tipu Sultan, 
persuaded Nizam Ali Khan to ally himself with both the Marathas and the English. 
Though these forces were successful in 1791, this did not prevent Tipu from 
reasserting his power; nor did it dissuade the Marathas from turning against the 
Nizam. No doubt it was the fear of Maratha domination that persuaded the 
Hyderabad ruler to agree to the establishment of a British garrison at nearby 
Secunderabad. According to a new treaty of 1798, Nizam Ali Khan was compelled 
to join forces with the British against Tipu. But the triumph over this valiant figure 
at Srirangapattana in 1799 did not mean the end of Maratha attacks, which were to 
continue into the following century. 


DISPERSAL OF MARATHA POWER 


Shivaji’s ascendancy during the period of the Mughal invasion of the Deccan and 
his coronation at Raigad in 1674 have already been noted; so too the careers of 
Sambhaji and Rajaram, both of whom met their deaths at the hands of the 
Mughals. With Shivaji begins the revival of Hindu traditions that was to become 
the outstanding feature of eighteenth-century Maratha culture. This led to the 


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increased popularity of Hindu pilgrimage sites with the consequent resuscitation of 
temple architecture and art which display many innovative tendencies (see chapter 
8). 

The Marathas under Shahu commanded most of the western Deccan, but were 
unable to expand eastwards owing to the Mughal presence. Under the able 
leadership of Balaji Vishvanath (1714-20), the first peshwa, the Marathas accepted 
the vassalage of the Delhi emperor, but with the right to collect taxes from the 
northern provinces. As representative of Maratha power, Balaji personally visited 
Delhi in 1719 to ratify the terms of the treaty. The next year his son, Bajirao I 
(1720-40), succeeded as the second peshwa. It was this minister who conceived the 
notion of expanding northward, and in this endeavour he was joined by the 
Gaekwad, Holkar, Shinde and Bhonsale chiefs. Bajirao’s campaign proceeded 
rapidly and by 1729 the Maratha armies had passed through Malwa and Gujarat on 
their way to Rajasthan. The peshwa pushed on to Delhi and in 1737 briefly held the 
Mughal emperor to ransom. Bajirao next turned his attention to the Konkan and 
developed the Maratha naval capacity at ports like Alibag. He attacked the Por- 
tuguese possessions of Bassein and Chaul, both of which fell in 1740. Among the 
building projects of the second peshwa are the fortified residence of Shanwar Wada 
and the temple of Omkareshvara, both at Pune (see Fig. 188). 

Shahu chose Bajirao’s son, Balaji Bajirao, known also as Nana Saheb (1740-61), 
as the third peshwa. His rule coincided with the greatest extent of Maratha 
influence. Successful raids on Bihar and Orissa brought parts of East India within 
the Maratha orbit. By this time, the Maratha kingdom of Thanjavur had enjoyed 
virtual autonomy for several decades. The Marathas fought only one major cam- 
paign against Hyderabad in these years. It began with the siege of Aurangabad and 
ended in 1751 with the annexation of Khandesh and the western half of Berar. By the 
middle of the eighteenth century the Marathas had occupied substantial tracts of 
the former Mughal empire and in the process had adopted many aspects of Mughal 
administration. The impact of Mughal culture on Maratha art is also seen in the 
brightly coloured murals produced at this time (see chapter 4). A significant 
departure from Mughal procedure, however, was the autonomy with which the 
Maratha chiefs ruled the conquered territories: the Gaekwads in Baroda, the 
Holkars in Indore, the Shindes in Gwalior, the Bhonsales at Nagpur. These figures 
had considerable impact on the revival of temple building in the regions under their 
control, as can be seen at Trimbak, Ellora and Jejuri (see chapter 8). 

Rebellion broke out at the death of Shahu and Nana Saheb had difficulty in 
persuading the Maratha chiefs to accept Ram Raja as chhatrapati in 1749. There- 
upon, the Marathas came into conflict with the French, whom they routed with 
ease in 1751. The defeat of the combined Maratha forces at Panipat in 1761 by the 
Afghan army, however, signalled the beginning of their decline. The fourth and 
fifth peshwas, Madhavrao I (1761-72) and Narayanrao (1772-4), had difficulty in 
controlling the breakaway Maratha factions and keeping the Hyderabad forces at 


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bay. Madhavrao II (1774-96), who succeeded as the sixth peshwa, allied himself 
with the English in an attempt to curb the rise of Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan. By 
the time the British stormed Srirangapattana in 1799, the Maratha state had 
disintegrated into civil war. 


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CHAPTER 2 


FORTS AND PALACES 


The seemingly unending cycle of raids, sieges and invasions of the period under 
consideration helps explain why defensive works in the Deccan were accorded such 
architectural importance. Fortified cities and impressive strongholds were occupied 
successively by different armies, thereby experiencing more than one phase of 
construction; some sites span many hundreds of years, even going back to pre- 
Sultanate times. Disentangling the chronology of the various structural additions, 
replacements and renovations is no easy task and further research is still much 
needed. Studying palace architecture in these centuries is further hampered by an 
overall scarcity of well-preserved examples. Ceremonial, residential and service 
buildings were often built in lighter materials, such as wood and plaster, rendering 
these structures vulnerable to damage, if not total destruction. Furthermore, parts 
of palace complexes that now consist of overgrown piles of rubble await archae- 
ological exploration. 

On their arrival in the Deccan, the armies of the Delhi sultans encountered a 
longstanding tradition of military architecture. The chiselling of the sides of the 
great basalt hill that forms the dramatic focus of the Devagiri citadel had already 
been completed at this time; so too the concentric rings of granite fortifications at 
Warangal. Ramparts at these and other pre-Sultanate sites, such as Raichur, have 
walls with quadrangular bastions constructed of long stone slabs laid without any 
mortar. Gateways consist of bent entrances and passageways roofed with horizontal 
beams. Unfortunately, there is virtually no evidence for Deccani palace architecture 
in pre-Sultanate times. 


THE TUGHLUQS 


Available architectural sources for the military works and royal complexes of the 
Delhi invaders were the fortified cities of North India, the most impressive of which 
is the citadel at Tughlugabad founded by Ghiyathuddin Shah in the early four- 
teenth century. Masonry ramparts at this site display sloping walls and large 
rounded bastions with prominent battlements of rounded elements and box-like 
machicolations. The massive blocks of stone are generally secured with substantial 
mortar. The courtly complex within the walls of Tughluqabad, now in an advanced 
state of decay, appears to consist of a sequence of arcaded courts punctuated by 
audience halls and places of prayer. Gates and portals are bridged by stone arches 
with angled profiles; flattish domes and pointed vaults span the chambers of 
residential and service structures. 


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Hammam 


Lt 
0 500 m 


Damlatabad 


3 Plan of fort, Daulatabad, fourteenth to seventeenth centuries 


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4 Entrance to Balakot, Daulatabad, fourteenth century 


All these stylistic and technical features were introduced into the Deccan follow- 
ing the Muslim conquest. This, however, is not at first apparent under the Khaljis, 
who seem to have had little opportunity to build on a grand scale. (The mosques 
that they erected somewhat hastily at Bijapur and Daulatabad are noted in chapter 
3). The situation changed under the Tughlugs, who did not merely invade the 
Deccan, but for a time transferred their capital there. The occupation of the former 
Yadava stronghold at Devagiri was accompanied by substantial building works. 
The Tughluq commanders exploited to advantage the rock citadel, which they 
termed Balakot, adding an intermediate circular fort known as Kataka on its 
northern and eastern flanks. They were also responsible for Ambarkot, the fort 
which fans out in an irregular ellipse, almost 2 kilometres from north to south (Fig. 
3). Both Kataka and Ambarkot benefit from double circuits of massive ramparts set 
at a marked angle and lined with slit holes and battlements. The two lines of walls 
of Kataka employ polygonal and round bastions; the higher inner line is distin- 
guished by box-like machicolations. Broad moats provide additional protection. 

The Delhi gate in the northern walls of Ambarkot has an arched opening 
decorated with sculpted lions in the spandrels. Of greater interest is the entrance on 


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5 Khush Mahal, Warangal, early fourteenth century 


the east side of Kataka which presents a sequence of arched gates and intermediate 
courts. They are shielded by massive outworks with curved outlines projecting 
almost 80 metres away from the main line of fortifications. A street running 
westward leads to a similar gate in the walls of Balakot, its arched entrance set 
between tapering circular buttresses (Fig. 4). 

There is only scattered evidence for Tughlug building activities elsewhere in the 
Deccan. The Khush Mahal at Warangal, previously attributed to a Qutb Shahi 
governor after which it is named, has recently been identified as an audience hall 
erected by the Tughlugqs when they occupied this site (Fig. 5). As the only surviving 
ceremonial structure of the era, the Khush Mahal is of unusual interest. The building 
consists of a long north-facing chamber with arched openings on four sides. 
Transverse arches with slightly horseshoe-shaped profiles, a dinstinctive Tughluq 
feature not found in later architecture, once carried a timber roof, now lost. 


THE BAHMANIS 


Historical continuity between the Tughlugs and the Bahmanis is reflected in both 
military works and palaces. Building activity continued at Daulatabad under the 


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6 Royal residence, Balakot, Daulatabad, fifteenth century 


first Bahmanis. The ruined residence within Balakot is contained by high walls and 
entered on the north side through an arched gate (Fig. 6). Triple chambers inside 
have arched doorways opening off an internal court. Surviving details include 
carved wooden beams and brackets set into the walls, sharply incised plasterwork 
with geometric and arabesque motifs in bands and medallions, and perforated 
windows with geometric designs in plaster-covered brickwork (see chapter 4). 
These attributes were to become hallmarks of the mature Bahmani style. 

Mounds of overgrown rubble are the only traces of courtly structures inside the 
citadel at Gulbarga. The circular fort containing the royal enclave, however, is well 
preserved thanks to later repairs by the Adil Shahis. Tapering stone walls with 
round bastions define an irregularly shaped circle, more than 300 metres across 
(Fig. 7). The east gate, which faces towards the city, has a pointed arched opening 
flanked by towers. That at the north-west corner, leading to the royal tombs a short 
distance beyond (see Fig. 38), is more imposing, being contained within curving 
walls set into the ramparts. The gate leads to a bazaar street inside the fort. This 
consists of two lines of small square chambers with arched doorways sheltered by 
angled eaves; the chambers are roofed with pyramidal vaults. Other than the Jami 
mosque (see Figs. 36 and 37), the only other feature of interest inside the Gulbarga 
fort is the Bala Hisar. This solid keep, the top of which is reached by a staircase on 
the north side, seems to have been intended as a vaulted audience hall, but was later 
filled in. Nothing can now be seen of the probable circular walls that once protected 


the city. 


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& Shah Bazaar mosque 
dargah | 









‘i Bala Hisar 
a tombs 
aa 


Zi (ad Haft Gunbad 
— I 


Jami mosque 


® 





0 500 1000 m 


Gulbarga 


7 Plan of fort and city, Gulbarga, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries 


That Bahmani forts were not confined to circular configurations is clear at 
Firuzabad, 30 kilometres south of Gulbarga (Fig. 8). Intended as a military 
encampmentas well as a pleasure resort, Firuzabad is laid out as an irregular square, 
almost 1,000 metres across, defined by massive walls on three sides and by the 
Bhima river on the west. Gateways on the east and west have arched entrances 
framed by polygonal bastions and shielded by barbican enclosures. Passageways are 
roofed with pointed vaults articulated with shallow ribs. The walled palace area 
overlooking the river is entered from the east through a ceremonial portal with 
traces of animal motifs in moulded plaster set in the spandrels. The interior consists 
of a confused mass of dilapidated structures and fallen stone blocks. Double- 
storeyed chambers with arcaded side walls, now missing their wooden floors and 
roofs, may have accommodated the various queens and their retinues. A similar but 
larger double-storeyed structure facing north into a rectangular court outside the 
royal zone served as a public audience hall (Fig. 9). Its floors and roof have long ago 
disappeared, exposing the sequence of transverse arches. 

Hammams at Firuzabad are the earliest in the Deccan. The bath within the 
palace area has a dome surrounded by low pyramidal vaults. Chambers used for 
disrobing and bathing still preserve their original plasterwork. This hammam was 


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Ywuopg@wy, 





Firuzabad 


8 Plan of palace city, Firuzabad, founded 1400 


probably intended for members of Firuz’s private household, in contrast to the 
more decayed bath of similar design a short distance east of the royal area, 
designated for public use. Two lines of small vaulted chambers defining a bazaar 
street, as in the Gulbarga fort, are seen outside the city walls near to the river. 

An idea of the civic architecture sponsored by the governors of the early 
Bahmanis is seen at Sagar, now a remote town 80 kilometres south of Gulbarga. 
Though the earthen walls that surrounded this settlement have vanished, an 
imposing gateway bearing an inscription of 1407 still stands. The entrances with 
angled arches are surrounded by bands of plaster decoration. Low pyramidal vaults 
rise from the corners of the roof. 

Bidar, the later Bahmani capital established by Ahmad I, is laid out as two 
separate zones (Fig. 10). The irregular circular fort containing the royal enclave is 
located to the north, on rising sandstone bluffs. To the south is the partly 
quadrangular city, with two main streets crossing at right angles. The intersection is 


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9 Audience hall, Firuzabad 


marked by a circular tower, the Chaubara. An idea of the grand scale of this plan 
may be had from the length of the north-south axial street which runs for about 
1,500 metres. Finely finished sandstone walls enclosing both fort and city are 
strengthened by polygonal bastions with bold crenellations and box-like machicola- 
tions on triple brackets. An additional line of walls on the south side of the fort is 
shielded by a moat with rock-cut trenches. A sequence of three gates at the 
south-eastern corner leads from the city to the fort. The intermediate Sharza gate, 
dated 1504, has polygonal balconies projecting from the sides with a band of 
coloured tiles running across the high parapet (Fig. 11). The Gumbad gate, reached 
only after passing across the moat, has double arches with pointed contours 
surmounted by a flattish dome. 

The ensemble of courtly monuments within Bidar’s fort, though now incom- 
plete, gives the best possible idea of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century planning. 
Unlike the strongly Tughlug character of early Bahmani military and courtly 
architecture, the palaces and religious buildings of the later Bahmanis display the 
impact of Iranian traditions (see also chapter 3). This is most apparent in the formal 
layout of the Bidar palace, with its axial alignments of residential apartments, 


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\\ to Ashtur 
a 
Takht-i kirmani 7 
4 
madrasa 
a 
Chanbara 
DW 
Jami 
mosque 


0 500 m 
Bidar 


to Plan of fort and city, Bidar, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries 


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uu Sharza gate, Bidar, 1504 


audience halls and ceremonial gateways. The preference for steeply pointed arches 
and recesses outlined in stone is another indication of foreign influence. 

Separate complexes stand freely within the Bidar royal enclave or are built up 
against the ramparts. The Rangin Mahal, immediately within the Gumbad gate, 
overlooks a small court reached through a vaulted gate. The interior apartment 
consists of a six-bay hall with ornately carved wooden columns and brackets 
carrying a flat timber ceiling (see Fig. 98). The sequence of exquisitely appointed 
private chambers opening to the rear is notable for its tile mosaic dadoes and 
mother-of-pearl inlay decoration, a result of the remodelling of the palace under the 
later Baridis (see Colour Plate 13 and Fig. 97). 

The next part of the Bahmani palace at Bidar focuses on a walled garden, the Lal 
Bagh, bordered on the west by the facade of the Solah Khamba mosque (see Fig. 
35). A cistern with a cusped stone margin in the middle of the garden is fed by a 
water channel. This runs from the Tarkash Mahal, its arcaded storeys serving as the 
southern perimeter of the Lal Bagh, to the royal bath to the north. Both the Tarkash 
Mahal and the adjacent Gagan Mahal consist of multi-bay vaulted halls facing onto 
small internal courts. 

The Diwan-i Am and Takht Mahal at Bidar are associated with the ceremonial 


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12 Plan of Diwan-i Am, Bidar, fifteenth century 


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13. Diwan-i Am with Takht Mahal 


activities of the Bahmani court (Figs. 12 and 13). They comprise quadrangular 
walled compounds entered through imposing but detached gateways. The northern 
parts of the compounds serve as courts overlooked by audience halls on the south. 
Finely worked stone steps run the full width of these halls, while similarly treated 
elements indicate regularly spaced columns, presumably in timber and now lost. 
Subsidiary side chambers have walls punctuated by arched recesses, but the poly- 
chrome tiled panels are now mostly lost. The side chamber with a complicated plan 
in the Takht Mahal is identified as a throne room. This is entered through a lofty 
portal dominated by a pointed arched recess in the typical Timurid manner. Wall 
panels and arched recesses are defined by thin strips of dark-coloured basalt. 
Iranian inspiration appears also to have dictated the design of the Takht-i 
Kirmani, a gate facing onto Bidar’s main north-south street (Fig. 14). This once led 
to a set of apartments intended for a saint and his descendants who migrated from 
Kirman, hence the name. The building is dominated by a central arched opening, 
the curving sides of which are fashioned in multiple planes incorporating rows of 
buds. A doorway surrounded by shallow niches is set within the arch; enlarged 
medallions fill its spandrels. Similar but smaller arched openings are arranged on 
two levels on either side. The fagade is topped with a bold parapet with trefoil 


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14 Takht-i Kirmani, Bidar, fifteenth century 


elements which runs between domical finials. (The elaborate plasterwork is dis- 
cussed in chapter 4.) 

A line of strongholds running between Bidar and Daulatabad reinforced the 
western flank of the Bahmani dominions. Kalyana, 75 kilometres south-west of 
Bidar, comprises two irregular circular forts arranged in concentric formation, the 
outer ring of which is assigned to the Bahmani period. This displays standard 
fifteenth-century features, such as sloping walls with massive round and polygonal 
bastions topped with bold crenellations and box-like machicolations on brackets. 
Sholapur, about 100 kilometres further west, is laid out as a quadrangle, about 320 
by 175 metres, but here the bastions are polygonal only. The single entrance is 
through a sequence of three gates at the north-east corner (Fig. 15). As at Kalyana, 
the inner circuit of walls is a later addition of the Adil Shahis. 

Parenda, too kilometres north-west of Sholapur, repeats this quadrangular 
scheme, though on a reduced scale. The fort, which dates from the period of 
Mahmud Gawan in the second half of the fifteenth century, is one of the best- 
preserved specimens of Bahmani military architecture (Fig. 16). It consists of two 
lines of ramparts with box-like machicolations, both topped with crenellated 
parapets with loopholes. The outer lower walls have polygonal bastions, arranged in 


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1s Entry gate, Sholapur, fifteenth century 


pairs at the corners; the inner higher walls display contrasting round bastions. The 
main gate at the north-east corner consists of a sequence of three arched entrances 
with intermediate courts. The outermost entrance protrudes into the moat, where 
there would have been a drawbridge. Among the dilapidated features inside the 
Parenda fort are a Jami mosque, an armoury and a hammam with a single domed 
chamber. A ruined structure with a raised floor level may have been a columned hall 
facing north into an open court. 

Strategically, one of the important citadels for the Bahmanis was Raichur, 120 
kilometres due south of Gulbarga, on the edge of the territory disputed with 
Vijayanagara. Originally an outpost of the Kakatiyas, Raichur was greatly enlarged 
under the Bahmanis, who encased the earlier circuit of walls within an irregular 
quadrangle of ramparts reinforced with round bastions. Gates set into both earlier 
and later forts display typical Bahmani features such as lintel-topped openings 
surmounted by flattish arched recesses and battlemented parapets. The Naurang 
gate, which provides access to Raichur from the north, is provided with a spacious 
court surrounded by arcades. Projecting guard rooms flanking the entrances on the 
east and north are carried on brackets sculpted as squatting lions. (Granite blocks 
carved with Hindu mythological figures and decorative motifs were added when 
the fort was temporarily occupied by Vijayanagara.) 


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16 Fort walls, Parenda, fifteenth century 


Further examples of military architecture survive on the frontiers of the Bahmani 
kingdom. The mountain strongholds of Purandhar and Shivneri on the eastern 
fringe of the Sahyadris, more than 300 kilometres west of Bidar, were both fortified 
under the Bahmanis; so too the citadels at Gavilgad and Narnala in the Satpura 
range in Berar, even further away. The irregular shapes of all mountain strongholds 


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are explained by the natural formations of their sites, with ramparts hugging the 
edges of cliffs. Round bastions and square crenellations are generally preferred. The 
fort at Narnala is entered through three elaborate gates on the south side. The 
Mahakali gate, the outermost of this sequence, was erected in 1487 by Fathullah 
Imad Shah shortly before his declaration of independence from Bidar. It is 
decorated with carved panels of lotus designs and a parapet of trefoil-shaped 
battlements. Guard rooms at either side are lit by perforated stone windows set into 
projecting balconies. 


THE NIZAM SHAHIS AND IMAD SHAHIS 


On taking command of the northern territories of the splintered Bahmani king- 
dom, the Ahmadnagar sultans improved earlier citadels such as Daulatabad and 
Purandhar. However, the most elaborate Nizam Shahi project was the fort con- 
structed at the new capital of Ahmadnagar. The earthen ramparts thrown up by 
Ahmad Bahri in 1490 to protect his palace were replaced by stone walls in 1563. 
These create an almost perfect circle of walls, about 1,800 metres in diameter and 20 
metres high, reinforced by twenty-two regularly placed round bastions. One 
example in the north-east quadrant exhibits triple lobes, presumably for additional 
strength. Rectangular openings at the tops of the walls are the original parapet 
indentations, filled in at the time of the first Mughal siege of Ahmadnagar in 1596. A 
moat 10 metres wide is shielded by an earthen mound that encircles it. A single 
bridge on the west side leads to a large half-circular barbican containing two arched 
gates. 

Inside Ahmadnagar fort only a single structure survives. Ahmad’s residence 
consists of a formal reception hall, some 30 metres long, roofed with a sequence of 
domes, much restored in later times. More impressive are the courtly buildings on 
the periphery of the city. Farah Bagh, 4 kilometres south, is the centrepiece of a 
grandiose complex completed in 1583 (Figs. 17 and 18). The central building is 
purely Iranian in spirit, though grander than any comparable structure in Iran, 
testifying to the close links that existed with the Middle East at this time. Its layout 
and symmetrical elevations, dominated by double-height portals on four sides, 
anticipate by almost fifty years the Taj Mahal at Agra, though without the crowning 
domes. The two-storeyed structure stands in the middle of a square pool, ap- 
proached from the north by a causeway 72 metres long. The plan of the building, an 
irregular octagon almost 40 metres across, conforms to a well-known Iranian 
scheme. Fagades on four sides display double-height arched portals flanked by tiers 
of smaller arched recesses, repeated on the angled corner faces. Both portals and 
recesses have half domes plastered with multiple facets. Interior chambers with 
similar vaults at both levels open on to or look down into the central chamber. This 
is roofed with a lotus dome rising some 18 metres above an octagonal fountain set 
into the plaster floor. 


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17 Plan and section of Farah Bagh, Ahmadnagar, 1583 


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18 Farah Bagh 


The Hayat Behisht Bagh, 6 kilometres north of Ahmadnagar, was intended as a 
pleasure resort for the Nizam Shahis. The nucleus of the complex is a two-storeyed 
octagonal pavilion standing in a similarly shaped pond. Pointed arched openings 
are flanked by smaller openings bridging the corners. The central chamber is 
surrounded by an arcade and overlooked by windows from the upper level. A 
monumental portal south of the pond incorporates a small hammam with two 
chambers roofed with perforated vaults; adjoining rooms have cisterns for hot and 
cold water. Flat brick vaults survive although they have been robbed of their 
timbers. About 500 metres further south is an underground water palace with an 
unusual badgir, or wind tower, the only example known in the Deccan. This 
typically Iranian feature consists of a chimney-like tower with angled vents at the 
top. These catch the breeze that cools the subterranean domed chambers arranged 
around a rectangular pond. Earthenware pipes set into mortar indicate the extensive 
water system with which the palace, and indeed the whole city, was provided in 


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Nizam Shahi times. This scheme utilises channels that conduct water from dams 
and springs in the surrounding hills. Masonry ventilation towers regulate the 
pressure so that the water flows freely. 

A comparable programme of water works is still in operation at Aurangabad. 
This city, 15 kilometres south of Daulatabad, was founded in 1610 by Malik Ambar 
under the name of Khirki. It is supplied by water transported from distant springs 
and wells by means of an extensive network of aqueducts, channels and pipes. Some 
of the channels are more than 4 kilometres long and are partly cut into the rock and 
roofed with masonry, a technique of water management imported from Iran to the 
Deccan. As at Ahmadnagar, water is regulated by ventilation towers. Panchakki, the 
water mill that stands beside the Kham river on the western flank of Aurangabad, 
has a tower of this type. Water falling from an elevated cistern drives a large wheel 
for grinding grain. Among the surviving examples of Malik Ambar’s building 
activity at Aurangabad is the Bhadkal gate of 1616. This free-standing structure 
displays tiers of shallow arched recesses with medallion-on-bracket motifs in the 
spandrels. The interior passageway is roofed by a dome supported on eight 
intersecting arches. 

Daulatabad served as the governmental seat of the Nizam Shahis after Ahmad- 
nagar was temporarily lost to the Mughals in 1601 and several structures here may 
be assigned to this period. Among the crumbling palace buildings within Balakot 
stands the Chini Mahal, so called because of the traces of blue and white tiles set 
into its facade (Fig. 19). The pavilion presents superimposed arched openings 
between tapering buttresses divided into shallow niches. The eaves and gallery 
running along the top of the facade have mostly fallen. The interior comprises a 
double-height hall roofed with transverse arches and flanked on one side by arcaded 
chambers at two levels. 

Only fragmentary indications are available of Imad Shahi military and courtly 
architecture. Achalpur, previously known as Ellichpur, is almost devoid of monu- 
ments assigned to this epoch. One surviving city gate has a lobed profile framing the 
arched entrance; surrounding panels show arched recesses and carved medallions. 
Of greater interest is Hauz Katora, 3 kilometres west of Achalpur. The centrepiece 
of this ruined palace is a three-storeyed octagonal tower standing in the middle of a 
circular pond. This has arched openings on all sides, with two superimposed domed 
chambers within. Achalpur was never adequately defended; in times of warfare the 
Imad Shahis retreated to the nearby forts of Gavilgad and Narnala, both Bahmani 
foundations. 


THE ADIL SHAHIS 


It was only after Yusuf Adil Khan declared himself independent that Bijapur 
assumed any importance. The rings of fortifications begun by Yusuf and completed 
by Ali I in about 1565 define two concentric zones, with the citadel in the middle, 


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19 Chini Mahal, Daulatabad, sixteenth century 


some 400 metres in circumference, contained within the city (Fig. 20). The greater 
east-west axis of this configuration stretches to over 3 kilometres. This preference 
for circular layouts was maintained in later times when Ibrahim II gave orders for 
the twin city of Nauraspur to be laid out at a site 3 kilometres to the west. The 
ramparts, begun in 1599 but never completed, define a ring of even greater 
dimensions than those of Bijapur (Fig. 21). Fortifications at both cities display 
sloping walls reaching to a height of about 10 metres, with round bastions, 


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me, 


Gol Gumbad 


eee 













Ibrahim 
ee Taj Bauri 
| = 
Jami mosque 
& Nah 
0 500 1000 m 


20 Plan of citadel and city, Bijapur, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries 


numbering ninety-six in the outer ring at Bijapur, topped with crenellations and 
interspersed with machicolations. Gates with lofty arched entrances are set between 
massive bastions and approached across bridges spanning ditches, now mostly filled 
in. The Shahpur gate in the north-west quadrant of Bijapur is bridged by a lintel 
carried on corbelled brackets and topped with a bold parapet of curved elements. 
Analogous military works were undertaken by the Adil Shahis at other locations 
within their domains. They include the fort at Panhala, occupying an outlying spur 
of the Sahyadris, some 200 kilometres west of the capital. The ramparts of this 
stronghold define an approximately triangular zone that exploits the natural steep- 
ness of the rocky bluffs. A double gate with an arcaded court in between marks the 
principal entrance to the fort from the west side. The outer gate is surmounted by a 
chamber with arched windows overhung by ornate eaves (Fig. 22). The inner gate is 
entered from the court through a highly decorated doorway. This is bridged by a 
lintel set into an arched recess defined by both cusped and curving profiles. Finely 
etched relief patterns decorate the jambs and lintel (see chapter 4). (The plaster 
composition of Ganesha between lions set into the arch above is a later addition of 
the Marathas when they occupied Panhala.) Among the other Adil Shahi construc- 


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21 City walls, Bijapur, begun 1599 


tions surviving at Panhala is the Sajji Koti, a small viewing pavilion on the east side 
of the fort. The upper chambers, with domes carried on faceted pendentives, have 
balconies projecting out over the ramparts. More impressive is the trio of granaries 
within the Bala Qila area. The largest example has sixteen bays, each roofed with a 
flattish vault with a square hole, separated by a single line of columns that runs the 
full length of the building. Steps within the walls ascend to roof level. The entrance 
at the east end of the granary is topped with a balconied domed chamber decorated 
with plaster vaulting in the finest Bijapur manner. 

The Adil Shahi additions to the Bahmani fort at Sholapur have already been 
mentioned. Some 45 kilometres east of Sholapur is Naldurg, an Adil Shahi 
foundation. This occupies a basaltic bluff rising dramatically some 60 metres above 
a horseshoe-shaped bend in the Bori river. Angled walls with slit holes present a line 
of massive rounded bastions with guard rooms on top. Two bastions on the western 
flank take variant square and multi-lobed forms. A lookout at the northern 
extremity of the fort is built as an isolated circular bastion more than 30 metres in 
diameter; its summit is reached by a long flight of steps. The adjacent granary has 
rounded vaults which roof two long chambers. The fort is connected to a smaller 
outwork by a wall thrown across the river. This creates a dam to supply the Adil 
Shahi garrison with drinking water. 


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22 West gate, Panhala, mid-sixteenth century 


Like the Nizam Shahis, the Adil Shahis were familiar with Middle Eastern 
systems of water management. A major channel flowing from Nauraspur to 
Bijapur, joined by others from nearby dams, fed the moat that runs around the 
citadel as well as a series of tanks and ponds. Water was conducted through partly 
rock-cut and vaulted aqueducts where it was regulated by regularly spaced ventila- 
tion towers. Water storage occasionally took on a monumental expression. The Taj 
Bauriand Chand Bauri, located just inside the Mecca and Shahpur gates respective- 
ly, consist of large square reservoirs overlooked by arcades. Flights of steps descend- 
ing to the water in both examples are bridged by broad arches. The arch of Taj 
Bauri is buttressed by minaret-like towers capped with domical finials. The 750- 
metre-long dam at Shahpur, midway between Bijapur and Nauraspur, has a central 
sluice gate designed as an imposing portal with double-storeyed arcades. 

The core of the palace complex within the Bijapur citadel is a spacious quad- 
rangle surrounded by arcades, occupied today as in the past by administrative 
offices and judicial courts. The Chini Mahal to the south takes its name from the 
glazed tiles that were discovered in the vicinity. Its ceremonial hall 40 metres long is 
flanked by suites of rooms. The Sat Manzil at the north-west corner of the 
quadrangle preserves only four of its original seven arcaded storeys. That this was a 


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23 Gagan Mahal, Bijapur, mid-sixteenth century 


pleasure pavilion is suggested by water basins and traces of murals (see chapter 4). 
Immediately north is the Jal Mandir, a diminutive but exquisitely detailed pavilion 
standing in the middle of a small pond. Its ornate brackets, eaves, parapet, finials 
and dome recall the more elaborate religious structures of the era. The Gagan 
Mahal, a short distance further north, is an imposing audience hall of the period of 
Ali I (Fig. 23). It presents a lofty central arch flanked by two smaller arches facing an 
open area intended for public assemblies. The Anand Mahal to the east and a 
ruinous structure at Nauraspur are of the same type, with characteristic triple- 
arched facades. Elephant stables and granaries are among the many decaying 
structures to be seen within the citadel. 

Far the best-preserved Adil Shahi palace at Bijapur is the Asar Mahal east of the 
citadel walls. This is connected with the innermost zone by a bridge, only portions 
of which survive. Originally used as a hall of justice known as the Dad Mahal, the 
building was converted in 1646 into a sacred reliquary to house two hairs of the 
Prophet, thereby ensuring its preservation through the centuries. Its eastern front 
consists of a double-height portico with octagonal timber columns carrying a 
wooden panelled ceiling, probably all replacements. Chambers to the rear are 
arranged around halls on two levels. Portions of the murals with which the interior 
was furnished are preserved (see Colour Plate 12); so too the elaborate inlaid doors 


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and screens (represented in Fig. 133). The Jahaz Mahal, a decaying structure 
standing a short distance to the north, consists of arcaded chambers on two levels. 

No account of Bijapur’s palace architecture would be complete without reference 
to Kummatgi, a pleasure resort 16 kilometres east of the capital, where an ensemble 
of pavilions, tanks and cisterns overlooks a large lake. The focus of the complex is a 
double-storeyed tower with decorated vaults standing in the middle of a square 
pond crossed by a small bridge. Water was raised to a storage cistern on the roof 
from where it flowed downward through pipes set in the walls. Protruding spouts 
may have been for cooling sprays and sprinklers set into ceilings. A long low 
pavilion facing the tower is roofed with vaults carried on faceted pendentives 
covered with murals (see chapter 4). 


THE QUTB SHAHIS 


On assuming the eastern dominions of the former Bahmani kingdom, the Qutb 
Shahis came into conflict with the Reddi chiefs who occupied a string of forested 
hills about 250 kilometres south-east of Golconda. The principal Reddi strongholds 
at Kondapalle, Kondavidu, Vinukonda and Udayagiri were eventually secured by 
the Qutb Shahis, but the repairs that they made here are of little architectural 
interest. The same is true at Warangal, 140 kilometres north-east of Golconda, 
where the Qutb Shahis merely added crenellated parapets and curving barbican 
walls. 

The Qutb Shahis made more substantial contributions to the forts at Koilkonda, 
Medak and Bhongir. The defensive gates erected in 1550 by Ibrahim I at Koilkonda, 
for instance, show arched openings with angled profiles and bold parapets. Remains 
of courtly buildings, magazines and granaries are scattered around all of these sites. 
Gandikota, a Qutb Shahi citadel overlooking the gorge of the Pennar river some 
300 kilometres south of Golconda, preserves its massive ramparts with both square 
and round bastions topped with plaster-coated battlements pierced by slit holes. 
The main gate on the east has an austere arched entrance surrounded by a parapet 
enlivened by short finials. An unusual courtly pavilion stands within the fort. Its 
triple storeys are marked by horizontal cornices with arched openings in the middle 
of each side. 

Undoubtedly the greatest achievement of the Qutb Shahis was their stronghold 
at Golconda, expanded under successive rulers, particularly Ibrahim I in the second 
half of the sixteenth century (Fig. 24). The formal layout of the city and its fortified 
palace can still be appreciated even though many of the buildings are now in ruins. 
The impact of Iranian urban traditions is best seen in the axial alignments of 
defensive gates, commercial streets, ceremonial portals and audience halls. These 
elements are distributed within a double series of concentric walls that ring a great 
rock, the Bala Hisar, rising 140 metres above the plain. The outer fort containing 
the city is delimited by broad ramparts creating an irregular circle of almost 5 


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Naya Qila 





0 500 1000 m 
Golconda 


24 Plan of fort and city, Golconda, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries 


kilometres. Round bastions reinforce tapering walls capped with lines of crenella- 
tions rising to an average height of 18 metres. The broad ditch on the outside is now 
mostly dry. The approximately quadrangular Naya Qila extension on the north- 
east, an addition of 1724, has a massive nine-cusped bastion jutting out of the 
defensive wall. 

The Fateh gate on the east, through which the conquering Mughal army entered 
Golconda, is shielded by massive curving outworks commanded by projecting 
guard chambers carried on sculpted brackets. Similar chambers surmount the two 
entrances of the gate itself. The inner entrance retains its wooden doors with iron 


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cladding in geometric designs. Among the other entrances with similar defensive 
arrangements are the Moti gate in the north-east quadrant, the Mecca gate to the 
south-west and the Banjara gate to the north-west, the last leading to the royal 
necropolis (see chapter 3). 

A bazaar street 300 metres long connects the Fateh gate with the second ring of 
fortifications that contains the Bala Hisar, or inner fort. Arcaded chambers lining 
the street, still used as shops and residences, served as the principal market of 
Golconda. Here stands the khazana, or royal treasury, its central court entered 
through an arched gate. The western extremity of the street is flanked by a pair of 
ceremonial portals, each with a dome carried on two walls and two open arches. 
Elaborately decorated plasterwork in the spandrels shows fantastic animals and 
birds, and also winged figures in pleated costumes. Immediately north of these 
portals stands the Jami mosque (see chapter 3). Among the dilapidated buildings in 
the vicinity is the Nau Mahal complex. This includes a long granary structure with 
sixteen bays, each roofed with a perforated flattish dome, exactly as at Panhala. 

The Bala Hisar gate, the principal entrance to Golconda fort, is concealed by a 
detached barbican wall (Fig. 25). The entrance has a pointed arch enlivened with 
triple rows of foliate motifs; yalis and ornate medallions fill the spandrels. The 
composition is topped with three projecting guard chambers supported on curved 
brackets. The gate leads directly to a portico roofed with a flattish dome. The royal 
hammam immediately to the north comprises a complex of interconnecting 
chambers roofed with flattish domes. Gardens with axial waterways were once 
situated nearby. A road flanked by vaulted barracks, stores and other service 
structures proceeds west towards the stepped path that ascends to the summit of 
Bala Hisar. The Qutb Shahi palace to the south is now a labyrinth of fallen walls 
and vaults (Fig. 26). Even so, it is possible to make out a north-south linear 
sequence of vaulted chambers and high-walled enclosures that provides a transition 
from public to private zones. 

The triple arcades of the Shilkhana, or armoury, dominate the first and outer- 
most enclosure of the Golconda palace. The second enclosure is overlooked from 
the west by the Taramati mosque (see chapter 3). The Dad Mahal faces onto the 
eastern half of the enclosure. This comprises a nine-domed hall flanked by residen- 
tial quarters with small chambers at either side. An arcade leads by way of a lofty 
audience hall, with transverse arches supporting heavy vaults and domes, to the 
third enclosure where the private zone of the palace begins. The paved court here 
has a twelve-sided pool in the middle and a part-octagonal chamber at the 
north-west corner. Residential apartments open to the east and west. On the south 
is the Rani Mahal; its raised terrace with wooden columns, now lost, leads into a 
triple-vaulted hall. Steps to the south descend to another hall, possibly for courtly 
assemblies, the vaults of which have collapsed leaving only the supporting piers. 
Beyond, at the lowest level, is the Shahi Mahal, the fourth and innermost enclosure. 
This consists of a small pavilion standing in the middle of a private garden. This 


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- 
| ry 
-_ 
\ * 


Sad 





25 Bala Hisar gate, Golconda, sixteenth century 


partly fallen structure has portals on four sides raised on a vaulted substructure. 
Additional residential apartments, now almost totally ruined, are situated to the 
east. A short distance to the west is a small mosque hidden from view by high walls, 


probably intended for the female members of the Qutb Shahi court. 


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26 Palace zone, Golconda, sixteenth century 


Steps ascending to the summit of Bala Hisar pass through walls built of massive 
granite blocks set into natural boulders. The path is dotted with stores and 
granaries, and also a six-domed treasury with an inscription of 1624. Tanks and 
channels form part of a complicated system by which water was raised by wheels to 
the uppermost level of the citadel. The darbar hall occupies the highest point of the 
Bala Hisar. The lower level of the hall is divided into vaulted bays. A chamber with 
triple openings set into the rear walls was reserved for the sultan. The rooftop 
pavilion offers uninterrupted views of the palace below, as well as of the entire city 
and its surroundings. 

As has already been noted in chapter 1, it was Muhammad Quli who took the 
decision to move the Qutb Shahi capital to a new site on the south bank of the Musi 
river, 8 kilometres east of Golconda. The plan of Hyderabad, which dates from 
1591, shows even more obvious Persian influence than that of Golconda, judging 
from the symmetrical layout of bazaar streets, arched portals, open squares, gardens 
and fountains. Not unlike the Safavid capital of Isfahan, Hyderabad is dominated 
by two commercial thoroughfares intersecting at right angles. The crossing is 
marked by the Char Minar, the largest and most original architectural conception 
of the Qutb Shahis, and indeed of any of the Deccani sultans (Fig. 27). This 
splendid ceremonial structure, which continues to dominate the city, presents a 
quartet of imposing arched portals, each spanning more than 11 metres across. 


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27. Char Minar, Hyderabad, 1591 


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Arcaded storeys and geometric screens are positioned above. The four corner 
minarets, after which the monument is named, rise to an impressive height of 56 
metres, including their domical finials. Spiral staircases within their shafts, opening 
onto triple tiers of balconies, ascend to the upper levels. These were used as a 
madrasa and a mosque from where public proclamations were read out. The rear 
wall of the mosque is indicated by blank niches framed by petalled ornament. 

Hyderabad’s formal layout extends north of the Char Minar.The four arched 
portals of the Char Kaman, erected in 1594, originally defined a great open square in 
front of the Qutb Shahi palace. This concept of formal space owes much to 
Timurid inspiration, as is indicated by the close resemblance of the Char Kaman to 
the Registan in Samarqand. The west arch at Hyderabad led directly to the parade 
grounds where Muhammad Quli reviewed his troops. Drummers were accom- 
modated in an elevated chamber on the east arch. A portion of the octagonal 
cistern, the Gulzar Hauz, in the middle of the square is still to be seen, even though 
much of the square is now filled in with buildings. The complex also includes the 
Jami mosque (see chapter 3) at the south-east corner. 

Immediately south of the Char Minar is the Mecca mosque, the largest in 
Hyderabad (see chapter 3), next to which is the rambling Chaumahalla palace 
associated with the later Asaf Jahis. 


THE MUGHALS 


Though the Mughals made only a limited contribution to military and palace 
architecture in the Deccan, they were responsible for introducing a fully developed 
style that was entirely new to the region. Typical features of Mughal courtly 
pavilions and fortified gates are broad arches with well-defined lobes, domes 
and vaults with intricately faceted decoration, open roof-top pavilions known as 
chhatris and bangla roofs with characteristic curving cornices and ridges. 

In 1601 the Mughals occupied Burhanpur on the northern fringe of the Deccan. 
The city became the residence of Abd al-Rahim, the Khan-i Khanan, governor of 
Khandesh in the last years of Akbar and throughout much of the reign of Jahangir. 
He seems to have been active in furnishing Burhanpur with an adequate water 
supply. As in earlier Sultanate cities, the new hydraulic system employed subter- 
ranean channels to conduct water from the surrounding hills. The Khan-i Khanan 
was also responsible for laying out a series of gardens with large ponds. Though the 
locations of these gardens on the outskirts of the city have been identified, their 
precise layouts are unclear. Other civic works undertaken by the Khan-i Khanan at 
Burhanpur include a hammam dating from 1608. Only a portion of its complicated 
plan, with variously shaped halls opening off a central octagonal chamber, can now 
be made out. The building is remarkable for the plasterwork of its Iranian-style 
faceted vaults (see Fig. 80). This obviously Middle Eastern characteristic is ex- 
plained by the architect who is known to have come from Khurasan. 


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Further evidence of Mughal building activities in the Deccan is to be seen at 
Daulatabad. The citadel fell to the Mughals in 1633, thereafter serving as their 
principal headquarters until the move to Aurangabad. Shah Jahan’s palace, which 
survives only in an overgrown and dilapidated condition, is situated beneath the 
northern flank of Balakot. The complex focuses on two large courts. The inner 
court is conceived as a four-square garden with raised walkways surrounded by 
pavilions with cusped arcades. The apartment on the west has three interconnecting 
octagonal chambers roofed with flat vaults; arcaded verandahs at the rear overlook 
the rock-cut trench that surrounds the rock. Two brick-built hammams, both with 
perforated domes, form part of the complex. Another Mughal courtly structure at 
Daulatabad is the pavilion just beneath the summit of Balakot. Its part-octagonal 
balcony surveys the whole site. The hammam outside the fortified eastern entrance 
to Kataka has square and octagonal chambers roofed with flattish domes on faceted 
pendentives. Smaller cells in the corners are provided with baths. 

In 1653 Aurangzeb chose Aurangabad as the base for his Deccan campaigns. The 
Qila Arak, his imperial residence, was laid out three years later on an eminence in 
the northern part of the city. The walled zone is entered on the south through the 
Naubat gate, aligned with the earlier Jami mosque (see chapter 3). Aurangzeb’s 
private pavilion (now incorporated into a Government School of Art) has a central 
chamber roofed with a bangla vault flanked by small pyramidal vaults. The 
building stands in the middle of a terraced garden with formal ponds and fountains. 
Among the other Mughal residences at Aurangabad is the Sunahri Mahal in the 
Begampuri district, north of the city walls. This is the work of a Rajput officer who 
accompanied Aurangzeb into the Deccan. Arched openings in its double-storeyed 
facade, now stripped of all decorative features, face east onto a spacious walled 
compound. Little is left of the golden tinted murals which give their name to the 
building. 

It was only after the Maratha raid on Aurangabad in 1668 that Khan Jahan 
Bahadur, governor at the time, decided to erect stone walls around the city. The 
fortifications, 4.5 metres high with crenellated parapets and slit holes, are reinforced 
with round bastions, some with towers. Gates on four sides display imposing 
arched openings surmounted by prominent battlements. Entrances are flanked by 
polygonal bastions topped with domed chhatris in the mature Mughal style. 
Similar but smaller gateways were erected by Aurangzeb at nearby Khuldabad. 

Among the projects executed by Aurangzeb’s generals at the lesser centres is the 
Farah Bagh south-east of the fort at Bidar. This dilapidated pleasure garden dating 
from 1672 extends up to a spring at the the foot of a wooded hill. It consists of three 
terraces provided with cisterns and cascades. 

Mughal architecture in the Deccan by no means came to an end with Aurangzeb. 
An idea of later activity may be had from the fortifications at Ajanta, a small 
settlement some 100 kilometres north-east of Aurangabad, a short distance from the 
celebrated Buddhist caves. In 1730 Nizam al-Mulk added a square of crenellated 


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walls reinforced by polygonal bastions. The south gate is approached by crossing an 
arched bridge. The octagonal sarai outside the north gate belongs to the same 
period. Other works undertaken by Nizam al-Mulk include the ramparts of 
Burhanpur constructed in 1728. The finely finished walls overlooking the Tapti are 
strengthened by prominent round bastions topped with a line of battlements. 
Gateways display broad arches flanked by towers capped with bangla pavilions. The 
towers on one example are enlivened with projecting niches containing cusped 
arches; angled tiled roofs in shallow relief are seen above. The Ahukhana on the 
other side of the Tapti near Burhanpur may also date from Nizam al-Mulk’s era. 
This walled complex, now devoid of its original gardens and ponds, is dominated 
by a central square pavilion built according to the Iranian baradari scheme, with 
triple-arched openings in the middle of four sides. Another structure within the 
complex combines double bangla vaults with pairs of fluted domes. The corners are 
emphasised by finials that recall the minarets of mosques dating from the earlier 
Farudi era (see chapter 3). 


SHIVAJI 


Under the Marathas the art of warfare was developed into sophisticated science. 
The Ajnapatra, a textbook on martial tactics and fort building credited to Shivaji’s 
son, Sambhaji, incorporates a body of knowledge that had accumulated during the 
brief but brilliant career of Shivaji. The military successes of this figure and his 
descendants against the much larger but more cumbersome Mughal forces owed 
much to their imaginative exploitation of the rugged mountainous terrain on the 
western fringe of the Deccan plateau. Shivaji captured a number of citadels 
established in earlier times and refurbished them for his own use; he also created 
several new strongholds. In these tasks he was much aided by his commander 
Moropanth Pingle. The result was an impregnable line of hill forts running for 
almost 250 kilometres along the outer ridges of the Sahyadri ranges. 

Rajgad was Shivaji’s first seat of government, serving as his principal head- 
quarters from 1646 to 1672. The citadel occupies a triple-pronged hill, rising 1,317 
metres above sea level, with sheer drops on all sides (Fig. 28). Moropanth Pringle 
built the fortifications that cling to the cliffs, following the edges in continuous 
undulations. The walls are doubled, with trenches in between, and this provided 
additional security at the far ends of the three long spurs that fan outwards from the 
middle of the fort. Round bastions occur irregularly, some with internal staircases 
descending to outworks at their bases. An arched gate on the north gives access to 
the northern spur, where the remains of columned halls, stores and granaries can 
still be made out. The Bala Qila occupies the triangular rise in the middle of the 
fort. It is entered on the east side through a pointed arch surrounded by decorated 
panels and flanked by polygonal bastions. The level top is occupied by rock-cut 
cisterns and the overgrown ruins of Shivaji’s residence. All that can now be seen of 


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28 Fortifications, Rajgad, seventeenth century 


the walled palace is a sequence of rectangular structures, each with a verandah 
leading to a long chamber. 

Pratapgad, 30 kilometres south of Rajgad, guards an important pass descending 
to the Konkan. This hill, fortified in 1656, was the scene of Shivaji’s treacherous 
encounter with Afzal Khan, commander of the Bijapur army. Like Rajgad, the 
ramparts at Pratapgad follow the curving lines of the escarpment, creating lower 
and upper forts. Bastions and towers are mostly rounded. 

Some 45 kilometres north-west of Pratapgad is Raigad, Shivaji’s capital from 
1672 onwards and the site of his coronation two years later. Continuous walls are 
not required because of the sheer escarpments with which the hill is ringed. The 
fortifications were added by Shivaji after he occupied the site in 1656. Massive cubic 
blocks of basalt laid without any mortar are reinforced by round bastions. Walls 
between closely spaced bastions both shield the jagged north-western promontory 
of the hill and protect the entrance on the eastern flank. This gate is concealed by 
extended bastions that curve outwards, a characteristic of Shivaji’s fortification. 
Sculpted lotus medallions and lions grasping diminutive elephants fill the spandrels 
of the arch above the entrance. 

Architectural features of unusual interest extend over the comparatively level top 
of Raigad fort. The Bala Qila to the south served as Shivaji’s residential and 


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OO 








| = 5 a fH = — al 




















| | 
| 
E 





0 50m 


29 Plan of Bala Qila, Raigad, seventeenth century 


ceremonial headquarters (Fig. 29). The formal planning of this walled complex is 
still apparent, even though the wooden and brick portions of the various structures 
have vanished. Access to the Bala Qila from the north is announced by a pair of 
twelve-sided towers with multiple tiers of arched openings free-standing outside the 
walls (Fig. 30). An arched gate leads to a long flight of steps which ascends to a 
walled passageway. Doorways in the west wall lead to six walled compounds with 
associated storage areas, identified as residences of the female members of Shivaji’s 
court. Officers were accommodated in a zone at a lower level to the east of the 
passageway. There are five discrete suites, each with a rectangular chamber standing 
in the middle of a square walled compound. 

The enclosure at a higher level east of the passageway constitutes the ceremonial 
core of the Bala Qila at Raigad. Stone foundations of columned halls are aligned on 


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GELS 5 


30 Towers of Bala Qila, Raigad 


an east—west axis, with colonnades running along the peripheral walls. The plat- 
form in the middle once supported Shivaji’s throne, the remains of which are still 
held in honour. (The cast-iron pavilion that shelters the throne is modern.) Side 
buildings functioned as granaries and treasuries. The throne faces east onto a square 
court with a fountain in the middle. The house of justice is located on the south. 
The gate in the middle of the east side of the court serves as an imposing entrance to 
the whole complex. Its lofty arched opening has sculpted panels in the spandrels 
showing lions crushing elephants. The interior passageway is roofed with a cor- 
belled vault. Nothing survives of the upper gallery. A path leads from this gate to a 
broad bazaar with two lines of twenty-two shops, each a suite of three small 
chambers. These face each other across a north-south street some 12 metres broad. 
The octagonal plinth which served as Shivaji’s cremation site lies beyond the 
Jagadishvara temple to the north-east (see Fig. 186). 

An important factor in Shivaji’s strategy of expansion was to control the Arabian 
Sea trade by developing stategic ports and equipping them with fleets of ships. In 
1665 Shivaji chose an island offshore from Malvan, some 240 kilometres south of 
Raigad, as his coastal headquarters. Three years were required to complete the walls 
of Sindhudurg, the name which Shivaji gave to the new fort. Even Portuguese 
experts are reputed to have been employed in the works. The fortifications, which 
follow the irregular indentations of the island, are 4 metres thick and up to 10 


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31 Vijayadurg, seventeenth century 


metres high, though now partly damaged by the sea. Both slit holes and rectangular 
openings for cannon are seen at the top. More than fifty round bastions are carried 
up as free-standing towers with prominent openings. The single entrance to the 
fortified island at the north-east corner is protected by curving outworks similar to 
those already noticed at Raigad. The doorway is bridged by a lintel set within an 
arched recess; the interior of the gate is roofed by vaults and a single dome. 

In 1669 Shivaji took over the Adil Shahi settlement at Vijayadurg, 65 kilometres 
north of Sindhudurg, finest of all deep-water harbours on the Maharashtra coast. 
Vijayadurg assumed a crucial significance in Shivaji’s naval attacks on the Sidis of 
Janjira. The fort, which occupies a rocky promontory forming the west side of a bay 
at the mouth of Vaghotan creek, is joined to the mainland on the south by a narrow 
neck of land. The promontory is reinforced by two irregular concentric circles of 
massive walls, with a third line of walls being added for additional protection on the 
landward side (Fig. 31). The walls are of massive construction, with large round 
bastions, most of which have withstood the eroding effects of the ocean. The inner 
circuit of walls, complete with twenty towers, rises to a height of 36 metres. Broad 
walkways on the top provide access to rectangular or semi-circular headed openings 
and to angled slit holes for cannon. The main entrance to the fort is approached 
through curving outworks typical of Shivaji’s period. These are reached only after 
passing across a moat that cuts through the neck of land. Direct access from the 
ocean is possible from a nearby landing. A stepped path running between two 
curving lines of walls leads to the inner gate of the fort. Decaying structures of 


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i 


A a 





32 Ramparts, Janjira, 1707 


various periods stand inside. They include a vaulted magazine entered through a 
multi-lobed doorway and a barrel-vaulted granary divided into four chambers. The 
largest feature is a two-storeyed structure with rectangular windows, possibly a 
barracks block, now missing its timber floor and roof. 

Suvarnadurg, about 125 kilometres north of Vijayadurg, is another of Shivaji’s 
maritime forts, later serving as a naval station of the Angres. Like Sindhudurg, 
Suvarnadurg is completely contained by walls running around the irregular shore of 
the island. Residences and magazines inside the fort are now much ruined. 


THE SIDIS AND ANGRES 


After the fall of the Bijapur kingdom the Sidis ruled independently from their 
island home of Janjira. The architecture of this marine stronghold, the finest on the 
Arabian Sea coast, is roughly contemporary with the forts of Shivaji’s period. The 
massive walls that follow the irregular outlines of Janjira island, rising 15 metres 
vertically out of the sea, were begun in 1694 and completed in 1707 by Sirul Khan 
(Fig. 32). They show battlements with angled tops alternating with arched openings 
for cannon. Round bastions punctuate the walls at more or less regular intervals. 
Lead is used in the joints between the basalt blocks to counter the corrosive effects 
of the sea water. 


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Janjira fort is entered through a single gate on the north side. Its arched opening 
is surmounted by a frieze of battlements flanked by sculpted lions; the guard room 
above has a balcony carried on lotus brackets. Steps ascend to a domed chamber, 
the side walls of which have carved panels showing lions grasping diminutive 
elephants. Crumbling buildings within the fort are distributed around two large 
tanks, one elliptical, the other circular, partly excavated out of the rock. They 
include a small mosque as well as residences, stores and magazines. The ensemble is 
dominated by the four-storeyed audience hall, the facade of which has prominent 
cornices that run across shallow square corner towers. Doorways in the middle of 
each side have cusped arches with lotus medallions in the spandrels; rows of arched 
windows above repeat the same motifs. 

The island citadel of Kolaba some 100 kilometres north of Janjira was established 
in 1720 by Kanhoji Angre, the Maratha admiral and pirate. Kolaba occupies a 
narrow rock in the middle of Alibag harbour, some 250 metres offshore. It consists 
of a quadrangular arrangement of walls reinforced with seventeen round towers. 
The main entrance at the north-east corner is shielded by an outwork reached by a 
long causeway. The pointed arched opening is flanked by rounded towers. Domed 
storerooms and animal stables stand inside, as well as a granary and two dilapidated 
residences. 


THE PESHWAS 


Under Shivaji’s descendants the centre of Maratha power shifted from the hills to 
the plains. Pune, situated little more than 50 kilometres directly north-east of 
Rajgad, became the principal headquarters of Maratha power in 1727, during the 
period of the second peshwa, Bajirao I. The Shanwar Wada which stands in the 
middle of the city is a rectangular fort, some 170 by 150 metres in dimensions. 
Formidable walls of mixed stone and brick construction are strengthened by 
prominent round bastions at the corners and in the middle of three sides. Contrast- 
ing polygonal bastions flank the north Delhi gate which overlooks an extensive 
parade ground. Its arched entrance is surmounted by a gallery with wooden arcades 
and a tiled roof. The palace that occupied the interior of Shanwar Wada was 
destroyed by fire in 1808, leaving only the masonry foundations of columned halls 
and passageways and the stone outlines of water channels and ponds of various 
shapes. Many of these features are disposed symmetrically along a north-south axis. 
The core of the complex consists of a sequence of three courts at ascending levels: 
the first comprises a garden with four-square plots and central ponds either side of a 
pathway; the second is surrounded by elevated colonnades on four sides; the third 
has a large square tank in the middle. A formal pond with lotus-shaped plots for 
planting on the east side of the complex is overlooked by an arcaded gallery set into 
the outer walls. Smaller polygonal and elliptical ponds are situated on the west side, 
in the vicinity of service structures with brick-built channels and vent holes. 


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An idea of the original appearance of the Shanwar Wada may be had from the 
Peshwa residence at Satara, 140 kilometres south of Pune. Virtually nothing 
remains here from the period of Rajaram and Shahu, both of whom made this city 
the capital of the expanding Maratha kingdom. The so-called New Palace dates 
only from after 1818, thereby falling outside the scope of the present study. Even so, 
its timber and brick construction with arcades surrounding a sequence of interior 
courts, and its open hall for public ceremonies and enclosed hall for private 
meetings, are all features that would have been present in the Shanwar Wada. 

Similar but smaller residences belonging to the eighteenth century still stand in 
the old city of Pune. They display multi-storeyed timber frameworks with brick 
infill roofed with sloping tiles. The mansions are laid out with single or double 
internal courts. The influence of Mughal design is evident in the galleries with 
cusped arcades and the decorative patterns of the woodwork. Gardens with water 
channels and ponds occupy the larger courts. A comparable group of mansions is 
seen at Sasvad, 30 kilometres south of Pune, ancestral home of Balaji Vishvanath, 
the first peshwa. Here the residences are surrounded by high walls with rounded 
corners, entered through arched portals. (Temples of the same period make use of 
identical walled compounds and gates; see chapter 8.) Brick buildings within have 
finely worked timber columns and beams, now in a state of decay. 


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CHAPTER 3 


MOSQUES AND TOMBS 


The large number of relatively well-preserved mosques and tombs contrasts mark- 
edly with the dilapidation of the forts and palaces noted in chapter 2. Apart from 
the usual array of Jami mosques and lesser places of prayer in the principal cities of 
the Deccan, there is also an impressive series of tombs. Personal ambition on the 
part of sultans, their ministers and commanders accounts for a funerary tradition 
that often represents the finest architectural achievements of the period. Nowhere is 
this better demonstrated than at Bijapur and Aurangabad where royal mausoleums 
were conceived on the grandest possible scale. The direct involvement of patrons in 
such projects is almost always recorded on the monuments, with the result that 
religious architecture presents a relatively clear chronological pattern. 

A characteristic feature of Deccan culture during these centuries is the abundance 
of saintly personalities, especially members of the Chishti and Naqshbandi orders, 
who gained status as spiritual advisors to the sultans and their families. The dargahs 
of the most important holy figures, originally financed by royal bequests, have been 
maintained through the centuries as popular places of worship and are active today. 
They continue to attract large crowds of pilgrims on the occasions of the Urs 
festivities celebrating the death anniversaries of the saints. 


KHALJIS AND TUGHLUQS 


The first mosques in the Deccan are assigned to the years following Malik Kafur’s 
invasion. These hastily conceived projects rely on earlier traditions in Delhi where 
large courts with domed entrance chambers led to long prayer halls divided into 
regular bays by columned aisles. The use of arched portals to articulate the principal 
facade of the prayer chamber at Daulatabad was doubtless inspired by the arched 
screen wall erected in front of the prayer chamber of the Quwwat-al Islam mosque. 
The great Qutb Minar which stands near to this Delhi monument probably also 
served as the model for the Chand Minar at Daulatabad, similarly a detached 
structure. Both minarets were intended as victory towers, proclaiming the triumph 
of Islam in newly conquered territories. 

Karimuddin’s mosque inside the Bijapur citadel is the earliest in the Deccan. 
Dating from 1310, it is built entirely of robbed temple columns and beams, 
reassembled to create a long flat-roofed hall. In the middle of the hall is a raised 
ceiling serving as a clerestory. The Jami mosque of Kataka, the intermediate fort at 
Daulatabad, was erected in 1318. Its vast rectangular court, some 80 by 60 metres, 


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33 Interior of Jami mosque, Daulatabad, 1318 


the largest in this part of India, is entered on three sides through domed chambers 
with unadorned sloping walls. The spacious prayer hall has a columned fagade 
interrupted by four arched portals, an unusual scheme not to be repeated in later 
times. Behind the facade is a columned hall with twenty-five aisles, each five bays 
deep, roofed with shallow domes (Fig. 33). An enlarged dome on twelve columns 
rises over the bays in front of the central mihrab in the rear wall. Though many 
columns have stylised floral and figural designs carved on their shafts, they were not 
all removed from dismantled temples; some were carved expressly for this building. 

A short distance north of the Jami mosque stands the brick-built Chand Minar 
(Fig. 34). Its 30-metre-high cylindrical shaft is divided into four stages by three 
diminishing circular balconies. These are carried on brackets sculpted with pendant 
lotuses. Though the base of the minar dates from Tughlug times, the central section 
was added by Alauddin Hasan to commemorate his occupation of Daulatabad in 
1346. Its fluted profile recalls that of the Qutb Minar. The summit of the Daulatabad 


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34 Chand Minar, Daulatabad, early fourteenth century and later 


minaret is marked by a bulbous dome. Its base is concealed by a structure with a 
small mosque, added in 1445. The tapering cylindrical minaret of the Ek Minar 
mosque at Raichur is almost certainly a Tughluq foundation. Roughly executed 
open stonework balconies are carried on lotus brackets. A cornice of angled bricks 
and a shallow frieze of battlements decorate the base of its domical top. 

Another monument dating from this era is the Solah Khamba mosque in the fort 
at Bidar (Fig. 35). Founded in 1327, it consists of a long prayer hall with nineteen 
aisles, each five bays deep, roofed with flattish domes on faceted pendentives. 
Instead of temple-like columns, the supports here are massive circular columns with 
stylised leafy motifs at the top. The mihrab recessed into the rear wall is framed by a 
cusped arch. The bays in front form a large chamber. The dome is carried on 
squinches that display struts fashioned as elephant trunks. The outer arcade lacks 
any original features, the parapet of pierced interlocking battlements being a later 
addition. The principal dome with a characteristic flattish profile is raised on a 
circular drum articulated with trefoil crenellations in relief. Whatever court would 
have been laid out in front of the prayer hall was later incorporated into the Lal 


Bagh (see chapter 2). 


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35 Solah Khamba mosque, Bidar, 1327 


Tomb building in the Deccan was initiated by the Tughlugs on a modest scale as 
can be seen in the mausoleum of the Chishti saint Hazrat Burhanuddin Gharib 
erected at Khuldabad in 1344. This small cubic building has sloping walls with 
corner pilasters capped with a somewhat flattish dome. 


THE BAHMANIS 


A dependence on Tughluq models characterises the religious architecture of the 
Bahmanis in its first phase at Gulbarga. The Jami mosque within the fort at 
Gulbarga is remarkable since it is without any open court (Figs. 36 and 37). This 
novel feature partly recalls Tughlug practice, such as the Kirkhi mosque in Delhi in 
which a central court is replaced by four smaller sub-courts, as well as contemporary 
Anatolian mosques which are often entirely roofed over. The date of 1367 inscribed 
on a slab set up beside the entrance to the Gulbarga monument has been ques- 
tioned; it is possible that the Jami mosque as it stands today was only built towards 
the end of the century, during the reign of Firuz Shah. The outer aisles on three 
sides of the prayer hall present receding perspectives of low arches with angled 
profiles. These carry pointed vaults on rectangular plans, ten on the north and 


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PTO 
= 





0 ; 25m 
36 Plan of Jami mosque, Gulbarga, 1367 


south sides, seven on the east side, with domes over the corner square bays. Smaller 
interior bays are roofed with shallow domes on faceted pendentives. An enlarged 
chamber in front of the mihrab, occupying an area equivalent to nine bays, is roofed 
with a single dome. The angled arches of the drum have trefoil interiors with 
elongated lobes. The exterior of the Jami mosque has been somewhat altered: the 
timber screens that once filled the arcaded openings are lost; the arched entrance 
portal on the north is a later addition. The principal dome is elevated on a cubic 
clerestory. 

The evolution of the Bahmani style is best illustrated in the funerary monuments 
of the period. The earliest examples dating from the second half of the fourteenth 
century are simple buildings clearly based on Tughluq models. West of the fort at 
Gulbarga is the necropolis of the tomb buildings of Alauddin Hasan Bahman Shah, 


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37 Interior of Jami mosque, Gulbarga, 1367 


Muhammad I and Muhammad II (Fig. 38). These squat cubic structures have 
markedly sloping walls, unrelieved except for an angled arched opening in the 
middle of each side. Crenellated parapets run between fluted finials with domical 
tops; the domes are smooth and flattish. One small unidentified building in this 
group displays a fluted dome, a rare instance in the Deccan. The tomb that forms 
the core of the dargah of Shaykh Sirajuddin Junaydi, located at a similar distance 
north of the fort, conforms to the same scheme. So do the tombs of Mujahid and 
Dawud I in the Haft Gunbad complex on the eastern flank of the city. These latter 
examples are both double tombs, with twin domed chambers linked by narrow 
corridors. The mausoleum of Zainuddin Shirazi at Khuldabad, dating from 1370, 
closely resembles these Gulbarga monuments. 

That this robust style was not confined to funerary architecture is visible in the 
Shah Bazaar mosque north of Gulbarga fort, a project assigned to the reign of 
Muhammad I. The mosque has a large court entered through a domed entrance 
chamber identical to the tombs just noted. Exactly the same style of domed 
entrance is found in the Jami mosque at Firuzabad dating from 1400. Both mosques 
have large rectangular courts. The prayer hall of the Shah Bazaar mosque has fifteen 
aisles, each with six domed bays. That at Firuzabad has collapsed, leaving only the 


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a Eee a eS aS oe 
38 Tombs of Alauddin Hasan Bahman Shah and Muhammad I, Gulbarga, 1358 and 1375 
perimeter wall with arched openings and crenellated parapet. A staircase set into the 
thickness of the walls once led to a raised gallery in the north-west corner of the 
prayer hall, probably reserved for the use of the sultan and his retinue. An 
important variation to be noted at Firuzabad is the preference for arches with 
rounded rather than angled profiles. 

The next phase of funerary architecture at Gulbarga is represented by the 
masterpiece of the early Bahmani period, the tomb of Tajuddin Firuz in the Haft 
Gunbad complex (Figs. 39 and 40). This double structure has two domes rising 
more than 9 metres above the parapet of trefoil battlements. A series of innovations 
announces the mature Bahmani style. The walls are no longer plain and tapering; 
instead, they are almost vertical and are divided into double tiers of recesses framed 
by angled arches in multiple planes. The upper recesses are filled with masonry 
screens with simple geometric patterns. Similar panels appear above the doorways. 
These are sheltered by angled eaves on temple-like brackets with half-pyramidal 
vaults above. Bands of plaster motifs decorate both the exterior and interior of the 
building (see chapter 4). Arched recesses of the same design arranged in two tiers 
adorn the interiors of the chambers. At the lower level, corner arches have cusped 
profiles, while those higher up are conceived as squinches with fluted outlines. 


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oes 


39 Tomb of Tajuddin Firuz, Gulbarga, 1422 


Though twin tombs were not to be repeated in Deccan architecture, double tiers 
of arched wall recesses, lines of trefoil crenellations and fully shaped domes become 
essential features of the mature Bahmani style. All these attributes are present in the 
mausoleum of Gesudaraz that forms the nucleus of the dargah a short distance east 
of Gulbarga. The Chor Gunbad outside the city on its western flank was erected in 
1420 for Gesuedaraz, but was never actually used. Miniature domed pavilions at the 
corners replace the more usual finials. 

The dispersal of this funerary model beyond the capital is seen at Holkonda, 30 
kilometres north of Gulbarga (Fig. 41). The largest though unidentified tomb of 
this group has a single entrance framed by an arched recess in triple planes. The 
adjacent tombs show double tiers of arched recesses with trefoil parapets and fluted 
corner finials. An imposing gate with a lofty arch in two planes serves as the 
entrance to the complex. 

The tomb of Khalifat al-Rahman north of Firuzabad presents unusual variations. 
Its fagades are dominated by central portals with arched recesses framing doorways 
or windows. The crenellated parapet and fluted finials of the portals are raised up 
above those of the walls at either side. Four passageways with pointed vaults lead to 
the central domed chamber; smaller domed rooms occupy the corners. The vaults, 


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40 Interior of tomb of Tajuddin Firuz 


which are accentuated by flattish ribs, are identical to those noted in the defensive 
gateways of the nearby palace city (see chapter 2). The use of raised portals in the 
middle of each side and the combination of vaulted and domed spaces surrounding 
the central chamber, which is set back within the core of the building, is closer to 
Iranian models than to previous Deccan architecture. Another instance of a pointed 
vault with ribs occurs in the Langar-ki mosque, 2 kilometres north of Gulbarga 
(Fig. 42). Here, however, the vault which roofs the prayer hall is laid out in a 
transverse direction with respect to the qibla wall. A cusped arch framed by double 
sets of recesses serves as the mihrab. A trio of similar arches is seen on the outer 
facade. 

Buildings at Bidar typify the later phase of the Bahmani style in which there is 
increasing evidence of direct influence from the Turco-Iranian world. Nowhere is 
this better illustrated than in the great madrasa erected by Mahmud Gawan in 1472 
(Figs. 43 and 44). Modelled on a well-established Central Asian building type, this 
building provides an unprecedented example of architectural transposition. Thoug- 
h the madrasa was severely damaged in an explosion in 1696 the original scheme is 
apparent. The great court has four imposing arched portals surmounted by domes 
raised high on circular or octagonal drums. At either side of the portals are triple 


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41 Tombs, Holkonda, fifteenth century 


tiers of arched openings leading to teaching rooms; domed chambers at the corners 
once accommodated libraries. The principal facade, facing east onto the main 
north-south street of the city, was flanked by a pair of tall cylindrical minarets, of 
which only one still stands. It has three stages separated by cantilevered balconies; 
the summit is domed. Traces of the striking polychrome tilework with which the 
madrasa was decorated survive (see Fig. 100). 

Funerary monuments of the later Bahmanis are concentrated at Ashtur, 3 
kilometres north-east of Bidar (Fig. 45). The impressive tomb of Ahmad I is both 
the earliest and the finest of the group. Its walls are articulated by tiers of arched 
recesses, seven at the top and four on each of the middle and lower registers. The 
pointed contours of these arches are typical of the Persian-dominated manner of the 
period. The crenellated parapet with corner finials is repeated on the sixteen-sided 
drum on which the dome is raised; a pot-like finial crowns the dome. Paintings 
adorn the interior (see Fig. 105). 

The facade of the adjacent tomb of Alauddin Ahmad II employs five arched 
recesses of unequal height arranged in symmetrical formation. The arches have 
gently curved profiles outlined with stone bands. Similarly framed diagonal square 
panels are placed above the outer niches. This scheme is enhanced by polychrome 
tilework, the finest on any Bahmani funerary monument (see chapter 4). The later 


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Soca 


42 Interior of Langar-ki mosque, Gulbarga, fifteenth century 


tomb of Muhammad III recalls earlier schemes in its use of triple tiers of arched 
recesses; the parapet elements are enlarged but plain. There is a complete absence of 
decoration. Two nearby small tombs have unusual pyramidal vaults. 

A short distance west of the Ashtur cemetery is the tomb of the saint Shaykh 
Khalilullah Nimatullahi, known locally as Chaukhandi (Figs. 46 and 47). This 
unusual complex is entered through a large gateway with imposing pointed arches. 
Inside the mausoleum is a square domed chamber surrounded by a two-storeyed 
free-standing octagon. The fabric of this screen wall is reduced by arched recesses 
flanked by panels that include diagonal squares, all outlined in masonry bands 
carved in a variety of patterns (see Figs. 84-6). The doorways are graced by long 
Koranic inscriptions dated 1450 (see Fig. 83). Another tomb on the southern 
outskirts of Bidar enshrines Hazrat Shah Abul Faid, a saint who died in 1474. This 
mausoleum has its walls divided into the usual triple tiers of arched recesses; the 
hemispherical dome above is the largest of the period. Tile mosaic embellished the 
main entrance (see Fig. ror). 


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Ct 








0 50m 


43. Plan of madrasa of Mahmud Gawan, Bidar, 1472 


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44 Madrasa of Mahmud Gawan 





45 Tombs of Ahmad I (behind) and Alauddin Ahmad II (in front), Bidar, 1436 and 1458 


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0 5 10m 


46 Plan of tomb of Shaykh Khalilullah (Chaukhandi), Bidar, 1450 


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47 Tomb of Shaykh Khalilullah 


THE BARIDIS 


Architectural activity under the Baridis is mostly restricted to garden tombs in and 
around the capital. The most important funerary monuments stand in the royal 
necropolis 2 kilometres west of Bidar. The tomb of Qasim I is a small insignificant 
building in the late Bahmani style; that of Amir I, his successor, was left with two 
storeys of arched recesses, but without any dome. 

The mausoleum of Khan Jahan, brother of Amir I, stands on a high platform in 
the middle of a square garden with regularly laid out walkways, water channels and 
octagonal platforms surrounded by a perimeter wall and moat. The tomb itself is a 
modest structure, with two unequal tiers of triple recesses with pointed arches 
decorated with incised plasterwork. The walls are surmounted by a bold parapet of 
trefoil crenellations. The so-called Barber’s tomb nearby is a small open structure 
with four arches carrying a small dome. The adjacent triple-bay mosque repeats the 
same pointed arches in multiple planes. 

The masterpiece of the Baridi series is the mausoleum of Ali Shah, completed in 
1577 (Fig. 48). The tomb consists of a lofty domed chamber, open on four sides, 


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48 Tomb of Ali Barid Shah, Bidar, 1577 


standing in the middle of a standard Persian chahar-bagh, or four-square garden. 
Each facade has a central pointed arched opening, with double tiers of smaller 
arched recesses at either side. Five horizontal bands intended for tilework are seen 
above the openings. All the arches and bands are outlined in strips of dark 


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49 Mosque associated with tomb of Ali Barid Shah 


grey-green basalt. The parapet and base of the dome, both with ornate trefoil 
parapet elements or petals, are elaborately treated; an octagonal finial marks the 
summit. Bands of coloured tilework decorating the walls of the domed chamber 
include elaborately painted Koranic inscriptions (see chapter 4). The dome is 
carried on multi-faceted pendentives decorated with plaster scrollwork. The sar- 
cophagus beneath is of polished black basalt. The garden in which the tomb is set is 
entered on the south side through a gateway with broad low arches with a suite of 
upper rooms above. Beyond is a small mosque with three arches in triple planes 
surrounded by intricate plaster decoration (Fig. 49). A delicate pierced parapet of 
interlocking battlements surmounts the angled eaves. Octagonal minarets with 


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domical tops flank the facade. The interior consists of three chambers roofed with 
flattish domes supported on faceted pendentives (see Fig. 78). 

The tomb of Qasim II reverts to the earlier Bahmani scheme at Ashtur, with 
double tiers of arched recesses flanking larger and higher recesses in the middle. 
Squares set on the diagonal fill the rectangular panels over the central recesses. An 
unusual complex east of Bidar, the Habshi Kot, is also associated with the Baridis. 
The most important feature in this cemetery is a rectangular enclosure of arched 
screens with an open domed tomb in the middle. 

Other than mosques associated with funerary monuments, few new places of 
worship were erected by the Baridis; an exception is the Kali mosque just south of 
Bidar. The prayer hall is a modest structure with three aisles, each of two bays. 
Multi-faceted piers and arches support a flat ceiling over the central rear bay and 
shallow domes elsewhere. The mihrab is constructed as a part-decagon, topped 
with its own small dome. Incomplete octagonal minarets rising from tapering 
pedestals frame three unadorned arched openings. They are sheltered by eaves on 
ornate brackets and a plain parapet. Elsewhere, the parapet presents a line of 
cut-out trefoil elements. An unusual feature is the buttress-like projection contain- 
ing the mihrab which is roofed by a small domed pavilion raised on open arches. 


THE NIZAM SHAHIS 


Most of the Nizam Shahis were not great tomb builders, as they preferred to have 
their bones transported to Kerbala in Iraq in accordance with Shia practice. An 
exception was Ahmad Bahri whose mausoleum of 1509 forms the centrepiece of 
Bagh Rauza, the walled garden complex on the western fringe of Ahmadnagar (Fig. 
50). The tomb has arched openings flanked by similarly shaped recesses on each 
side. Pilaster-like jambs flank the principal doorway on the south. The facade is 
ornamented with carved panels of different designs (see chapter 4). A brick frieze of 
arched recesses is overhung by stone eaves carried on brackets linked by suspended 
beams. Corner and intermediate finials are capped with domical tops. The interior 
is lavishly decorated with a line of plaster arches, some with cusped interiors, over 
which runs a band of calligraphy. The south-west corner of the compound is 
occupied by a small structure with a pyramidal vault, the last resting place of 
Ahmad’s prime minister. The king’s astrologer is buried in a domed building just 
outside the enclave. 

The Jami mosque in Ahmadnagar also dates from the reign of Ahmad Bahri. Its 
prayer hall of five by three bays is roofed with shallow domes on alternating 
octagonal and circular bases. Qasim Khan’s mosque, another building of this 
period, presents a triple-bay facade, the central arch being wider and taller. Of 
greater originality is the Mecca mosque erected in 1525 by Rumi Khan, a Turkish 
artillery officer in the service of Burhan I. Its prayer hall is reached by a steep flight 
of steps, built on top of a sarai. Triple arches are supported by polished granite 


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50 Tomb of Ahmad Bahri Nizam Shah, Ahmadnagar, 1509 


columns, reputedly imported from Mecca, hence the name of the building. The 
finials have clusters of curved brackets carrying miniature eaves and fluted domical 
tops. The interior is roofed with transverse vaults, both flat and pointed, running 
the full width of the building. 

The Kotla complex in the northern quarter of Ahmadnagar was constructed in 
1537 at the orders of Burhan I as an educational institution to promote Shiism. The 
central square court is surrounded by arcades with chambers for student accommo- 
dation. The enclosure is approached on the east through an arched gate and a 
domed sarai, now partly fallen. A large platform in the middle of the court marks 
the site of an open cistern. The mosque on the west has a prayer chamber with five 
aisles, three bays deep, roofed with alternating pyramidal vaults and shallow domes. 
The arcaded facade is overhung by eaves carried on brackets and angled struts that 
imitate carved woodwork. 

The next group of monuments at Ahmadnagar is assigned to the reigns of 
Husain I and Murtaza I. The tomb of the nobleman Sharza Khan, popularly known 
as Do Boti Chira, is an unusual small structure dating from 1562. It consists of a 
central domed bay with vaulted side bays. Its unadorned surfaces contrast markedly 
with the ornate treatment of the Damri mosque of 1568 standing outside the city, 
about 500 metres north-east of the great circular fort (Fig. 51). Though small in 
scale, this finely finished building epitomises the carved intricacy of the Nizam 


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51 Damri mosque, Ahmadnagar, 1568 


Shahi style (see also chapter 4). Piers separating the triple arches of the fagade and 
the framing buttresses are divided into niches. The cut-out trefoil parapet above has 
finials topped with miniature octagonal pavilions and domical pinnacles; an 
unusual free-standing arch connects the inner pair of finials. Flat roof slabs over the 
six bays of the interior are unusually fashioned so as to reflect the patterning of the 
floor slabs directly beneath. The rear wall has polygonal side niches and square 
central niche. Arched windows in the flanking walls lack their balcony slabs. 


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sa B 


ty 
aA 
ig 
ig 
5 ah 
i 





52. Tomb of Salabat Khan, Ahmadnagar, late sixteenth century 


The tomb of Rumi Khan, patron of the Mecca mosque, who died in 1568, 
displays double tiers of triple-arched recesses with doorways and windows in the 
middle of each side. Pavilion-like finials, now missing their domical tops, are placed 
at the corners of a large dome with a petalled base. This scheme is repeated in the 
dargah of Hazrat Shah Sharif, erected in 1596 a short distance east of the city. The 
arched recesses of the outer walls have contrasting pointed and lobed profiles. The 
mausoleum of Salabat Khan presents a quite different scheme (Fig. 52). This unique 


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towered monument commemorates Salabat Khan, prime minister of Murtaza I, 
and himself a builder of note, being responsible for reconstructing Farah Bagh (see 
Figs. 17 and 18). The austere but impressive tomb stands on a spacious hilltop 
terrace, commanding views across the plain to Ahmadnagar to kilometres to the 
west. The graves of Salabat Khan and his wife are placed in an octagonal basement. 
Above rises a three-storeyed octagon, some 23 metres high. Each side is marked by 
tiers of broad arched openings, the upper two with projecting balconies on lotus 
brackets. The double-height octagonal chamber is surrounded by domed bays on 
eight sides. 

The dearth of monuments at Ahmadnagar in the seventeenth century is ex- 
plained by the cessation of building activity owing to the repeated assaults on the 
city by the Mughals and the shift of the Nizam Shahi capital to Khirki, later 
renamed Aurangabad. Some of the finest mosques and tombs in and around 
Aurangabad are linked with the career of Malik Ambar. The Jami mosque on the 
north side of the city, founded in 1615 and extended in Mughal times, presents an 
undecorated facade with slightly pointed arches overhung by eaves on carved 
brackets. This faces onto a square court with a large central cistern, partly sur- 
rounded by domed chambers. The Kali mosque within the walled city is also linked 
with Malik Ambar. Medallions carried on curving brackets occupy the spandrels 
above the triple arches of the facade. Octagonal corner buttresses are decorated with 
ornamental niches and topped with domical finials. Shallow domes on faceted 
pendentives roof the three interior bays; that in the middle rises as a fluted dome on 
the outside. 

Malik Ambar’s most impressive achievement is undoubtedly his own tomb 
standing near the crest of the hill just north of Khuldabad (Fig. 53). This was 
completed by the time of his death in 1626. Three crisply worked recesses with 
lobed arches are set into each side of the building. Those in the middle are filled 
with jali screens displaying varied and finely cut geometric patterns (see Fig. 94). 
Screens also flank the doorway on the south side, but are reduced to relief carving 
on the west side. A line of smaller and shallower arched recesses at the top of the 
walls is overhung by a bold cornice on ornate brackets; corner turrets are conceived 
as miniature pavilions, complete with angled eaves and domical tops. Stylised 
palmettes embellish the parapet. The flattish dome rises on a fringe of well- 
articulated petals. Immediately outside the walls of the complex stands the tomb of 
Malik Ambar’s wife, also with stone screens. 

A few metres south-west of these monuments is a small but highly individual 
tomb, now ruined, said to be that of Malik Ambar’s grandson. It consists of an 
octagonal domed chamber on a square plinth, with octagonal pillars standing freely 
at the corners. Clusters of brackets projecting from the pillars carry circular 
pavilions roofed with brick domes. An angled cornice running continuously 
around the building projects in part-circular fashion around the corner pavilions. 
The larger, more conventional monument to the north may have been erected by 


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53. Tomb of Malik Ambar, Khuldabad, 1626 


one of the Nizam Shahi nobles. The tomb, which stands in a walled compound, has 
double tiers of triple-arched recesses, overhung by angled eaves and a parapet with 
corner finials. Other unidentified tombs stand near to the Ghrishneshvara temple at 
Ellora (see chapter 8), beneath the crest of the hill already noted. They display 
pierced stone screens and relief lotus medallions typical of the Nizam Shahi 
manner. A tomb with comparable details, including jali screens either side of the 
arched entrance, stands on a rise to the east of the outer fortifications at Daulatabad. 

Other noteworthy examples of Nizam Shahi religious architecture are found in 
the outlying areas of the kingdom. The prayer hall of the Kali mosque of 1578 at 
Jalna, 60 kilometres east of Aurangabad, for instance, stands in a walled compound 
entered through an arched gate flanked by jali screens. The hall is topped with 
corner finials displaying fluted domical tops. Octagonal columns carry six small 
domes within. The adjacent hammam, completed five years later, has domed 
chambers on faceted pendentives. Directly opposite the mosque is a sarai with a 
large square court surrounded by arcaded chambers. Jalna preserves at least one 
interesting tomb of the period. The dargah of Zacha and Bacha has pierced screens 
set into arched recesses on three sides. Sculpted lotuses adorn the doorway on the 
south. The dome rises over a parapet with octagonal corner finials. 


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The Jami mosque within the fort at Parenda also dates from the Nizam Shahi 
period. The prayer hall stands within a high walled enclosure entered through an 
arched gate to the north and a domed entrance to the east. The nine aisles of the 
interior, each of three bays, are created by temple-like columns with blocks, capitals 
and brackets decorated with foliate ornament. The outer row is sheltered by angled 
eaves. Triple stone windows are placed in the end walls. The mihrab is created from 
delicately carved basalt. 

The mosque and tomb of Dilawar Khan at Rajgurunagar, formerly Khed, 45 
kilometres north of Pune, are somewhat later. The patron of this complex, which 
dates from 1613, was a commander of the Ahmadnagar forces and distinguished 
himself when fighting against the Mughals. The facade of the mosque has triple 
arches with cusped profiles. The central two bays of the interior are unusually 
roofed with a single dome raised high on a sixteen-sided drum. The adjacent tomb 
is of conventional design, with double tiers of triple arches contrasting pointed and 
lobed profiles. Miniature pavilions serve as corner finials. 

An unidentified tomb of large proportions, almost 17 metres square, stands on 
the outskirts of Junnar, 30 kilometres north of Rajgurunagar. Its outer walls show 
two rows of arched recesses, four larger ones below and five smaller ones above. The 
doorway on the south side has pilaster-like jambs and shallow eaves carried on 
brackets; the arched recess contains a pierced stone window. Two smaller tombs 
nearby are distinguished by their pyramidal vaults. 


THE ADIL SHAHIS 


The technical and aesthetic accomplishments of Adil Shahi religious architecture 
are explained by the comparatively long reigns of the Bijapur sultans, the highly 
developed aesthetic taste of many of these rulers and the considerable resources at 
their command. The intensely sculptural quality of Adil Shahi buildings reflects the 
contribution of local stone masons to the development of a highly individual style, 
descendants no doubt of local temple builders. 

Prior to 1565, when the Vijayanagara threat was finally overcome, the Bijapur 
kings built only on an unassuming scale, except for religious sites associated with 
saintly personalities. Among Yusuf Adil Khan’s first projects was the addition of a 
monumental free-standing entrance to the dargah of Shaykh Sirajuddin Junaydi at 
Gulbarga (Fig. 54). This monumental gate stands at one end of the street leading to 
the Shah Bazaar mosque. Double arcades with angled profiles flank a central portal 
raised slightly above the roof line. Lofty corner minarets present unadorned stone 
cylinders divided into three stages by balconies and capped with flattish domical 
tops. Similarly shaped minarets were added at about the same time to the gateway 
of the complex next to the dargah of Gesudaraz, also at Gulbarga. This emphasis on 
paired minarets is also observed at Aland, 40 kilometres north-west of Gulbarga. 
Two gateways, probably belonging to the time of Yusuf, define a processional path 


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54 Entrance to dargah of Shaykh Sirajuddin Junaydi, Gulbarga, early sixteenth century 


leading to the dargah of Ladle Sahib, mentor of Gesudaraz. Each portal has a pair of 
unadorned cylindrical shafts capped with bulbous domes. The minarets of the 
outer gate show arcaded galleries at two levels. 

Religious constructions at Bijapur were at first fairly limited. Asen Beg’s mosque 
of 1513 resembles contemporary Nizam Shahi projects in the use of diminutive 
pavilions as corner turrets. The elevated circular drum decorated with a petalled 
frieze carrying the bulbous dome, however, displays typical Adil Shahi attributes. 
Another early monument is the idgah in the north-west quarter of the city dating 
from 1538. This prayer wall is flanked by tapering circular towers and projecting 
balconies. 

Ibrahim’s old Jami mosque and the mosque of Ikhlas Khan are the earliest 
religious structures at Bijapur to demonstrate the full range of Adil Shahi features. 
These triple-bay structures employ broad rounded arches in double planes, with 
finely worked plaster roundels in the spandrels and wing-like motifs over the apexes 
(see chapter 4). Brackets with pendant lotuses carry angled eaves, above which are 
decorated plaster parapets. Ibrahim’s old Jami mosque introduces octagonal tur- 
rets, two large ones in the middle and two smaller ones at the corners, all intended 
to take domical finials. In Ikhlas Khan’s mosque, a lofty double-stage pavilion rises 


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over the mihrab at the rear. Both mosques have flattish domes carried on 
pendentives with angled profiles. 

That these schemes became current in Bijapur’s architecture is evident in the 
Rangin mosque, a triple-bay building with a cut-out parapet running between 
extended corner turrets. A similar but highly decorated mosque of 1556 is associated 
with the tomb of Ain al-Mulk, a noble at the court of Ibrahim I, at Ainapur, 2.5 
kilometres east of the city. Here there are only pot-like finials with domical tops set 
into the parapet. The tomb itself has double tiers of triple arches on each side, with 
miniature domed pavilions at the corners of the large hemispherical dome. This 
mausoleum contrasts markedly with the maqbara of the first Adil Shahis at Gogi, 
some 85 kilometres south of Gulbarga. The simple funerary monument has eight 
bays spanned by broad arches and roofed with flattish domes on faceted penden- 
tives. This was evidently the model for the tomb of Ali I, the first royal mausoleum 
to be erected in Bijapur. Each facade presents five unadorned arches, the wider end 
arches corresponding to the vaulted corridor which runs around the sepulchral 
chamber. It is roofed unusually with three small domes carried on broad transverse 
arches. 

Among the buildings ascribed to Ali I’s reign outside the capital is the Safa 
Shahuri mosque of 1560 at Ponda, merely 35 kilometres south-east of the Por- 
tuguese capital at Goa. The square prayer hall, which stands on a high plinth 
overlooking a large tank, has its outer walls divided into arched recesses. These carry 
neither dome nor vault, only a sloping tiled roof on a wooden frame, in accordance 
with building practice in the Konkan. More conventional is the Jami mosque of the 
same date within the fort at Naldurg. This simple structure has arches with cusps 
cut into the outer plane; a fringe of lotus buds lines the central arch. Brackets with 
cross pieces carry the angled eaves. A dome rises on a fringe of petals. 

The Jami mosque at Bijapur begun by Ali I in 1576 was never finished. Corner 
buttressing indicates where tall minarets would have risen. The fagade of the prayer 
hall presents nine arches, but only the central arch has a lobed profile and 
medallion-on-bracket motifs in the spandrels. Overhanging eaves are carried on 
sculpted brackets but the parapet was never started. The hemispherical dome rising 
on a cubic clerestory is relieved by arcades and a pierced parapet interrupted by 
delicate finials with domical tops. The interior is impressive for its noble simplicity 
(Fig. 55). Its thirty-six bays are roofed with shallow domes on pendentives, the nine 
central bays covered with a single dome. Eight intersecting arches with intermediate 
faceted pendentives create an octagonal space over which the dome appears to float, 
a structural device of considerable ingenuity which appears here for the first time. 
The mihrab bearing an inscription of 1636 is one of the most grandly proportioned 
and sumptuously decorated in the Islamic world (see Colour Plate 16 and Figs. 106 
and 107). It rivals the great mihrab in the tenth-century mosque at Cordoba. 

A smaller, more unusual building belonging to Ali I’s reign is the complex of Ali 
Shahid Pir. This includes a small mosque with triple arches, with rows of cusps cut 


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55 Interior of Jami mosque, Bijapur, begun 1576 


into the outermost plane. Corner finials display from the ground upwards square, 
octagonal and circular sections, with domical tops on petals. The interior has a 
single pointed vault running parallel to the fagade. The mihrab is conceived as a 
decagonal chamber with intersecting arches roofed with a dome protruding high 
above the roof. An almost similar tower-like mihrab is seen in the Kali mosque at 


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Gogi, a commission of Ibrahim II’s sister. The interior of the prayer hall consists of 
a single chamber with a small dome suspended on eight intersecting arches. 

The long reign of Ibrahim II is marked by the evolution of a more elaborate style 
with an emphasis on exquisite carved detail. Malika Jahan Begum’s mosque, built 
in 1586 by the sultan in honour of his wife, is the first in this new idiom. Cut-out 
brackets have triple sets of curving elements richly adorned with arabesque orna- 
ment; intermediate panels are filled with medallion-on-chain motifs. Full lotuses 
are carved on the underside of the overhanging eaves. The pierced parapet com- 
bines interlocking elements with stylised palmettes. Intermediate pinnacles take the 
form of miniature pavilions, complete with arched openings filled with pierced 
screens, angled eaves, corner finials and hemispherical domes on petals, the last 
imitating in diminutive form the central dome. That this highly intricate manner 
was not confined to the capital is proved by the Kali mosque at Lakshmeshwar, a 
small town some 200 kilometres south of Bijapur. Its lavish decoratation includes 
stone chains hanging from the corner minarets. The entrance gateway to the 
complex rivals the prayer hall in the elaboration of its ornamention. 

In Bijapur one building of curious design, the Anda mosque of 1608 (Fig. 56), 
follows the two-storey Kali mosque at Ahmadnagar mentioned earlier. The lower 
level of the Bijapur example is occupied by a walled sarai with a central portal 
surrounded by four lesser windows. The upper level which serves as a prayer hall has 
a fluted dome raised high on a sixteen-sided arcaded drum. Another unusual 
composition is the Chhoti mosque of 1614 in Akalkot. The fagade of this single-bay 
mosque presents a broad curving arch with lobes cut into the outer frame. This 
contains a pierced stone screen into which is set the actual entrance framed by a 
smaller arch. The octagonal minarets at either side were never finished. 

The Mihtar-i Mahal at Bijapur, another work assigned to the period of Ibrahim 
II, consists of a small mosque entered through a multi-storeyed gateway (Fig. 57). 
The latter is remarkable for the projecting balconies of arched openings supported 
on carved angled struts (see Fig. 96). Slender finials with bulbous domes at the 
summits flank the exterior. The mosque of the Mihtar-i Mahal also makes use of 
angled struts. Together with brackets these carry the eaves and the ornate cut-out 
parapet above (see Fig. 95). Unusually slender minarets flank the facade of Nau 
Gumbad, the only mosque to combine multiple domes and pyramidal vaults. 

The most splendid monument of Ibrahim II’s reign is the complex named after 
him (Figs. 58 and 59). It stands outside the walls on the west side of Bijapur. The 
Ibrahim Rauza was originally intended for Taj Sultana, Ibrahim’s queen, but was 
later converted into a mausoleum for the sultan and his family. The scheme as 
completed in 1626 consists of a paired tomb and mosque. These are elevated on a 
common plinth and set in the middle of a large formal garden, about 140 metres 
square. Steps on the north and south reached by raised pathways ascend to the 
plinth. The tomb has a central chamber, almost 13 metres square, roofed by a 
horizontal vault divided into nine squares with curved sides. The outer walls are 


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56 Anda mosque, Bijapur, 1698 


covered with panels of geometric and calligraphic designs, executed both as shallow 
relief and as perforated screens (Fig. 60, see also Figs. 92 and 93). These motifs 
adorn the doorways, as well as the windows admitting light to the sepulchral 
chamber. Arches of uneven spacing with corbels support the flat roof of the 
surrounding verandah. The exterior presents a pyramid of turrets and finials, 
crowned with a three-quarter sphere raised high on a frieze of petals. The eaves and 
cornice over the arches of the verandah wrap around the corner octagonal buttres- 
ses; stone chains for lamps once hung from the eaves. Finials have miniature 
arcaded storeys, cornices and bulbous domes (Fig. 61). The mosque, which faces 
east towards the tomb, echoes many of these features, though at a slightly smaller 


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pep 


57. Gate to Mihtar-i Mahal, Bijapur, early seventeenth century 


scale. Corner buttresses are carried beyond the roof line as slender minarets. 
Arcaded balconies project from the side walls of the prayer chamber. 

If the Ibrahim Rauza is the most exquisite monument at Bijapur, then the 
grandest is the mausoleum of Muhammad Adil Shah, known as the Gol Gumbad 
(Figs. 62 and 63). Though the tomb is the structural triumph of Deccan architec- 
ture, it is impressively simple in design, with a hemispherical dome, nearly 44 
metres in external diameter, resting on a cubical volume measuring 47.5 metres on 
each side. The dome is supported internally by eight intersecting arches created by 
two rotated squares that create interlocking pendentives, a device first noticed in the 
Jami mosque. The austere quality of the interior accentuates the structural virtuos- 
ity. A cenotaph slab in the floor marks the true grave in the basement, the only 
instance of this practice in Adil Shahi architecture. A large half-octagonal bay 
projects outwards in the middle of the west side. The exterior is majestic, with triple 
sets of arched recesses on three sides. Medallion-on-bracket motifs are etched into 
the plasterwork of the spandrels (see Fig. 79). The central recesses are filled with 
stone screens pierced by doorways and windows. Horizontal eaves extending 
outwards for more than 3 metres are supported on tiers of sculpted brackets and 
surmounted by an arcade and trefoil parapet. Octagonal corner towers have open 


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0 50m 


58 Plan of Ibrahim Rauza, Bijapur, 1626 
(tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah II and associated mosque) 


stages marked by arcades concealing interior staircases. They are topped by bulbous 
domes on petalled bases imitating the great dome that hovers over the central mass, 
acting as a climax to the whole composition. 

An inscription over the south door of the Gol Gumbad gives the date of 
Muhammad’s death as 1656, presumably when construction stopped; the attached 


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59 Tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah II, 1626 


mosque, for example, has no parapet. Its restrained facade of five arches is flanked 
by slender minarets with the usual domical turrets. The garden gateway of the 
complex has an arcaded gallery for drummers and musicians. The tomb of 
Muhammad’s queen Jahan Begum at nearby Ainapur is virtually identical to the 
Gol Gumbad, except that it is about half the size. Only the corner turrets and 
connecting arcades were completed. 

Among the lesser monuments of Muhammad’s reign are a number of buildings 
associated with the Adil Shahi nobility. Mustafa Khan’s mosque of 1641 has an 
unusually large central arch flanked by two narrow ones. The tomb of Shah Nawaz 
Khan, who died in 1647, is a small open structure. Its central chamber is surrounded 
by arcaded bays with an intermediate storey to elevate the dome. The insistence on 
verticality often leads to a loss of harmonious proportions. The tomb of Afzal 
Khan, Muhammad’s prime minister who died in 1653, is located 4 kilometres 
north-west of the city. It also suffers from a disproportionately high dome. The 
adjacent mosque has two storeys, the upper level duplicating the hall beneath, 
though without a stone mimbar. 

Afzal Khan was also responsible for a tomb and mosque at Afzalpur, 80 
kilometres north-east of Bijapur. The unadorned triple arches of the prayer hall 
contrast with the pierced parapet and pavilion-like finials. Another work of this 
patron is the finely detailed mosque in an outer court of the dargah of Hazrat 


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Sewer Sane SIE I 
PEERY 


SFE TS 


Se 


PF aate 





ie pe aca a 
ee aye 











60 Verandah, tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah II 


Gesudaraz at Gulbarga. This small structure is provided with overhanging eaves 
carried on carved brackets, with the usual array of finials and slender corner 
minarets. The immense double-curved arch that springs from the pair of five-stage 
square towers at the corners of the same court seems to be a contemporary 
construction. The spandrels have unusual roundels containing heraldic animals on 
curving brackets, all in shallow relief. (The pavilion with a curved bangla roof 
standing freely beneath is an insertion of the Mughal period.) 

Outlying monuments of the Bijapur kingdom are sometimes built in more sober 
versions of the Adil Shahi style. An example is the tomb of Abdul Wahhab Khan, 
governor of Kurnool, 275 kilometres south-east of the capital, dating from 1639. 
The central domed chamber has pierced stone windows on three sides. It is 
surrounded by a spacious verandah roofed with domes and shallow vaults. The 
outer walls have arched openings of different widths. They are capped with the 


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61 Finial, tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah II 


usual eaves on sculpted brackets and crenellated parapet. The dome with a petalled 
neck rising on a circular drum has a quartet of pavilion-like turrets repeating those 
at the corners of the walls beneath. 

The tomb of Ali II at Bijapur, left unfinished at the death of the sultan in 1672, is 
the last major building project of the Adil Shahis. It stands on a high plinth larger in 
area than that of the Gol Gumbad. The finished portions present an imposing line 
of gently pointed arches, seven on each side, surrounding the central square 
chamber. The undated Mecca mosque within the citadel, also assigned to the reign 
of Ali II, is surrounded by high walls, suggesting that it may have been intended for 
courtly women (Fig. 64). Its prayer hall consists of a hemispherical dome carried on 
eight intersecting arches surrounded by an arcade, open only on the east. A pair of 
large minarets devoid of any decoration is incorporated into the compound walls. 

The Jor Gumbad, another late Adil Shahi monument at Bijapur, comprises a 
pair of tombs of similar shape and size which house the remains of the commander 
Khan Muhammad and his spiritual advisor Abdul Razzaq Qadiri. Both buildings 
are octagonal, with tall elegant facades capped with cornices on brackets and corner 
finials with domical tops. Three-quarter spherical domes have prominent petalled 
flutings at their base. A contemporary building is Allah Babu’s mosque south-west 


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62 Plan of Gol Gumbad, Bijapur, 1656 


of the Gol Gumbad. This is unusually surmounted by a roof-top chamber roofed 
with a small dome on a constricted petalled neck. 

That imposing monuments were still being constructed during the last years of 
the Bijapur kingdom is demonstrated in the Jami mosque at Adoni, 200 kilometres 
south-west of Bijapur (Fig. 65). This is the work of Masud Khan, governor of 
Sikander Adil Shah, who retired here in 1683. The complex is entered through a 
monumental gate incorporating narrow minarets. The prayer hall of twenty-five 
bays, with alternating vaults and shallow domes, displays the usual arcades, over- 
hanging eaves, cut-out trefoil parapet and intermediate domical pinnacles. Flank- 
ing minarets of slender proportions are decorated with stone chains. The dome, 


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63 Gol Gumbad 


much diminished in proportion, rises on a high petalled neck. Side doorways 
within the hall are surrounded by panels and elaborate pediments. 


THE QUTB SHAHIS 


Like the religious architecture of the Adil Shahis, that of the Qutb Shahis begins 
modestly; here, however, the predominant external finish is moulded plaster rather 
than carved stone. The Jami mosque at Golconda was erected by Quli Qutb 
al-Mulk in 1518 next to the ceremonial portals that announce the entrance to the 
fort (see chapter 2). The courtyard in which the mosque stands is entered on the east 


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PPP ISPIO? S 


Pon ee ae 





64 Mecca mosque, Bijapur, late seventeenth century 


TES 
—. 








cE Sive 


65 Jami mosque, Adoni, late seventeenth century 


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66 Tomb of Jamshid Qutb Shah, Golconda, 1550 


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side through a domed gate incorporating a reused temple doorway and a finely 
carved inscription. The prayer hall is a simple structure of fifteen bays roofed with 
both flattish domes and curved vaults. Its five-arched facade is surmounted by a 
parapet of interlocking battlements running between corner miniature pavilions 
and a single dome. The curved mihrab has a fine calligraphic panel. Quli Qutb 
al-Mulk’s mausoleum in the royal necropolis 600 metres north of the fort walls at 
Golconda is a similarly modest structure with three recessed arches on each side 
topped with a hemispherical dome. 

The fully developed Golconda style appears somewhat suddenly in the middle of 
the sixteenth century, as in the tomb of Jamshid Qutb Shah (Fig. 66). This 
double-height octagonal chamber, the only mausoleum of this shape at Golconda, 
is relieved by superimposed arched recesses and projecting balconies with ornate 
balustrades. Finials cluster around the petalled neck of the dome of slightly bulbous 
form. The adjacent tomb of Ibrahim Qutb Shah recalls earlier Bahmani schemes, 
with its double tiers of arched recesses outlined in stone borders. Remains of 
excellent cut tilework are seen in the surrounding bands. The trefoil parapet has 
small domical finials at its corners. Cut-out sinuous elements ornament the base at 
each corner. The same sultan seems also to have been responsible for the Taramati 
mosque within the first enclosure of the palace area (see chapter 2). The triple- 
arched facade is raised on a substructure of arched cells. The parapet above is 
missing its plaster screens, but the parapet of trefoil battlements survives. Ibrahim’s 
mosque, named after its royal patron, just beneath the summit of the fort, has a 
modest prayer hall of three bays flanked by slender minarets. 

The accession of Muhammad Quli signals a more ambitious phase in Qutb 
Shahi religious architecture. The Jami mosque in between the Char Minar and the 
southern arch of the Char Karman in Hyderabad was erected in 1597 by Amir 
al-Mulk, a prominent noble at the court. The prayer hall presents seven arched 
openings surmounted by secondary arches with cut-out lobed profiles (plain over 
the central arch). This upper tier of arches is carried on fluted curved brackets 
projecting outwards from the wall. Minarets rising on octagonal corner buttresses 
have cut-out colonettes framing the topmost circular stage. An unusual feature of 
the interior is the rectangular vault over the bay immediately in front of the mihrab. 

Muhammad Quli’s own mausoleum is the only one at Golconda to be raised on 
a vaulted substructure accommodating the actual grave. The tomb itself is a 
single-storeyed building with recessed bays in the middle of each side to accommo- 
date deep porticos with slender timber-like columns and brackets (Fig. 67). The 
deeply cut and partly pierced cornice with a frieze of medallions also runs around 
the part-octagonal corner buttresses. Corner finials above have geometric designs 
on their octagonal shafts and domical tops with double tiers of petals. The slightly 
bulbous dome that crowns the whole composition has a strongly developed petalled 
base. Inside, the dome is carried on eight arches giving sixteen intersecting profiles. 

The Qutb Shahi style attains its grandest expression during the reign of Muham- 


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67. Tomb of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, Golconda, 1611 


mad. The Mecca mosque in Hyderabad, begun in 1617 but not completed until 
1693, is the major project of the period. Built wholly of dressed stone, its prayer hall 
has five aisles, three bays deep. The domical ceilings of the bays are carried on 
pendentives, except for the central bay which has a flat roof with curved sides. The 
combination of lofty arches and a reduced cornice gives the 67-metre-long facade a 
light appearance in spite of its vast scale. Circular corner minarets have octagonal 
arcaded balconies at parapet level, but were never carried higher. (Their capping 
domes are Mughal additions.) Another instance of Muhammad’s somewhat severe 
style is the idgah built on the south-eastern fringe of Hyderabad. Its five-bay prayer 


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68 Tomb of Muhammad Qutb Shah, Golconda, 1626 


hall is surmounted by a line of lobed arches and a prominent parapet. The facade is 
framed by massive minarets of stunted proportions with intermediate twelve-sided 
arcaded galleries. Muhammad’s own tomb at Golconda presents an imposing 
pyramidal composition (Fig. 68). The central chamber is surrounded by a spacious 
arcaded gallery with seven openings on each side. The upper storey has five deep 
recesses on each side. A parapet of plain battlements runs between the octagonal 
corner buttresses. The almost spherical dome, rising on enlarged and fully modelled 
petals decorated with tiles in trefoil panels, attains an overall height of more than 50 
metres. 

The sculptural aspect of Qutb Shahi religious architecture reaches its zenith 
during the long reign of Abdullah. Deeply modelled plasterwork enlivens arches 
and galleries, while pierced plaster screens are set into cornices and parapets. 
Mosque facades become narrower and more vertical in proportion, owing to the 
increased height of multi-stage minarets. The most important examples of this 
exuberant style are scattered around the Hyderabad area. Khairati Begum’s mos- 


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Si 


Senna 


CORES AS OO 
RY Sea by 


x 





69 Parapet detail, mosque of Hayat Bakshi Begum, Golconda, 1666 


que, some 4 kilometres north of the Char Minar, completed in 1626 by the 
daughter of Muhammad Qutb Shah for her tutor Akhund Mulla Abdul Malik, is a 
large and ornate building. The triple arches of the facade have motifs of ribbed fruit 
at the apexes with tassels at either side. Deeply incised geometric patterns of 
different designs cover the upper two stages of the minarets. The domical tops 
resting on petals are repeated in miniature form in the finials that interrupt the 
cut-out interlocking battlements of the parapet. The mosque of Hayat Bakshi 
Begum in the Golconda necropolis, a foundation of Muhammad’s queen, dates 
from 1666. This building also exhibits the decorative refinement typical of the era 
(Fig. 69). The five-arched facade shows ribbed fruit, incised tassels and medallions 
with calligraphy framed by foliate bands. The parapet displays a frieze of deeply cut 
flowers, a line of cut-out geometric screens set between octagonal finials and a 


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70 Toli mosque, Hyderabad, 1671 


parapet of trefoil elements. Both frieze and parapet run around the twelve-sided 
arcaded galleries protruding from the corner minarets. 

These decorative tendencies reach their climax in the exuberant yet elegant Toli 
mosque of 1671, situated midway between Golconda and Hyderabad (Fig. 70). The 
five-arched facade of the prayer chamber, its central arch emphasised by lobes, is 
enlivened with incised tassels and superb calligraphic medallions. The eaves are 
carried on finely worked brackets and beams. The line of pierced screens above is 
topped with a double parapet of arcades and battlements separated by curved 
brackets. Triple sets of galleries on the minarets, the central gallery provided with 
an additional balcony, are decorated with deeply modelled foliate elements. The 
interior of the Toli mosque is divided into an outer hall with five bays roofed with a 
flat transverse ceiling and an inner hall with flattish domes over three bays. Raised 
balconies set into the end walls of the outer hall show triple arcades, eaves and 
parapets. 

Another noteworthy foundation assigned to Abdullah’s reign is the mosque at 
Mushirabad, 6 kilometres north of the Char Minar. The five-bay facade of the 
prayer hall is topped with a gallery with lobed arches carried on projecting brackets. 
Cut-out interlocking elements are interrupted by finials with tiers of buds, ribbed 


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motifs and miniature bulbous domes. The minarets are ornamented with fully 
modelled plasterwork. The bottom stages show bold curvilinear petal-like motifs; 
the twelve-sided intermediate stages have their corners marked by lotus buds, while 
the circular top stages display bold geometric patterns. Arcaded galleries between 
the two uppermost stages are carried on tiers of petals and buds. The minarets are 
crowned by ribbed domical finials. 

Compared with the decorative vitality of mosque architecture during this period, 
contemporary tomb design is relatively restrained. The sultan’s own mausoleum 
standing outside the main gate of the Golconda group is a nobly proportioned 
structure recalling the tombs of his predecessors. The lower storey has seven arches, 
the upper storey five; finials mark the corners and intermediate points. The facade is 
decorated with richly worked plaster and tilework. The nearby tomb of Hayat 
Bakshi Begum, who died in 1666, repeats some of the motifs on the adjacent 
mosque, already mentioned. The interior of the mausoleum contains subtle plaster 
modelling which contrasts curved and lobed profiles in the arched recesses. Of 
greater originality is the tomb of Mian Mishk, officer of Abul Hasan, who died in 
1676. This monument stands within a compound together with a mosque, ham- 
mam and sarai on the north side of the old bridge crossing the Musi north-west of 
the Char Minar. Not unlike the earlier mausoleum of Muhammad Quli, Mian 
Mishk’s tomb also employs timber-like columns and brackets. In this example, 
however, these columns create a colonnade that wraps around the small domed 
chamber, partly concealing the triple-arched entrances on each side. A similar 
colonnade runs around the tomb chamber of Hazrat Syed Shah Raju, a saint who 
died in 1684 and was then interred at a site a short distance west of the Char Minar. 
This structure, which presents a prominent bulbous dome on a high drum rising 
above a cubical chamber, dispenses with the usual complement of arcaded storeys 
and domical finials. 

Qutb Shahi religious architecture is not entirely restricted to the area immediate- 
ly around Golconda and Hyderabad, but mosques and tombs in outlying centres, 
such as in the fort at Udayagiri, are generally of little merit. An exception is the Jami 
mosque at Gandikota which represents the mature Qutb Shahi style at its best (Fig. 
71). Circular minarets with double sets of galleries flank a modest triple-bay facade 
with the usual double cornice and parapet. 


THE FARUQIS OF THALNER AND BURHANPUR 


Religious architecture of the Faruqis shows a greater affinity with building tradi- 
tions in Malwa and Gujarat than with those of the Deccan. This is obvious from 
mosques and tombs at Thalner, Burhanpur and Asirgarh built in variations of 
Central and Western Indian styles. The reason for including these monuments here 
is that these same sites were later absorbed into the Mughal province of Khandesh, 
one of the chief administrative units of the Deccan. 


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71 Jami mosque, Gandikota, late seventeenth century 


Faruqi architecture at Thalner is confined to a group of mid-fifteenth-century 
tombs, including the lasting resting places of Nasir Khan and Miran Mubarak Shah 
I (Fig. 72). Their cubic forms with controlled elevational treatments and the 
somewhat angled domes on pronounced cylindrical drums are characteristics of the 
Malwa style. One tomb has smaller domes of the same type repeated at the corners, 
in obvious reference to Hoshang Shah’s mausoleum at Mandu. Facades have 
shallow arched recesses and angled eaves carried on carved brackets. One octagonal 
tomb, now without its dome, has pointed arched openings on each side or- 
namented with fringes of buds surrounded by stylised designs in shallow relief. The 
southern arch frames a doorway with jambs and lintel. Tombs of the later Faruqis 
follow the same scheme, as can be seen in the complex on the outskirts of 
Burhanpur. Here, the lower cubic portions of the tombs have arched recesses in the 
middle of each side, sometimes with stone screens placed over the doorways and in 
the niches at either side. Domes with slightly angled profiles are raised on promi- 
nent octagonal drums, giving the buildings a somewhat massive appearance. 

Two places of prayer at Burhanpur are associated with the Faruqis. The Bibi-ka 
mosque was constructed at some date prior to the middle of the sixteenth century. 
Its stylistic connections with Gujarat are explained by the fact that the building 


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73 Minaret of Jami mosque, Burhanpur, 1588 


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patron, the widow of Adil Khan II, was the daughter of Muzaffar II, sultan of 
Ahmadabad. The long facade of this monument is distinguished by a central portal 
with an enlarged arch flanked by substantial minarets. The treatment of these lofty 
towers is magnificently planned, with shallow balconies allowing a transition from 
octagon to circle; four windows project outwards from the topmost stage. The Jami 
mosque, begun in 1588 by Adil Khan IV, is larger but simpler. The fifteen arches of 
its long facade are separated by piers with shallow niches and carved lotus medal- 
lions. Above, the parapet has elegantly shaped crenellations. Corner minarets are 
divided into four stages, octagonal below and polygonal above (Fig. 73). They are 
topped with miniature pavilions with arched windows, angled eaves and small 
domes. The prayer hall is divided into regular bays by plain cross vaults. An 
inscription in Sanskrit and Persian is set into the arch over the central mihrab. The 
hall opens onto a courtyard surrounded by a colonnade. The same scheme is 
repeated in the Jami mosque that crowns a rocky eminence within the citadel at 
Asirgarh, 18 kilometres north of Burhanpur. Here the minarets are reduced to their 
simplest forms, being capped simply with plain domical tops. 


THE MUGHALS 


Mosques and tombs sponsored by the Mughal emperors, commanders and officials 
in the Deccan tend to conform to architectural patterns well established in North 
India by the beginning of the sixteenth century. This is obvious from the insistence 
on fluted tapering columns, lobed arches, angled overhangs, diminutive chhatri- 
like turrets, bangla vaults and fluted domes. In spite of their overall standardisation, 
however, Mughal monuments in the Deccan are not always conventional in design. 

Mughal religious architecture in Khandesh anticipates by several decades build- 
ing activities in the Deccan itself. The tomb of Shah Nawaz Khan at Burhanpur 
dating from 1619 (Fig. 74) was erected by Khan-i Khanan for his deceased son. It is 
original in conception, rising in stages to create an overall pyramidal composition. 
The lower storey has triple-arched openings in the middle of each side, with 
octagonal buttresses at the corners protruding above the roof as slender pavilions. 
They are capped with stunted domes that recall the tops of minarets in earlier 
Faruqi buildings. The upper storey consists of a pavilion with separate sets of four 
and eight slender finials encasing the flattish dome. The later tomb of Burhanuddin 
Raz-i Ilahi repeats this basic scheme, but without the roof-top pavilion. 

The earliest example of Mughal architecture within the Deccan heartland is both 
the largest and in many respects the most original. The Bibi-ka Maqbara was 
erected at a site 2 kilometres north of Aurangabad by Azam Shah for his mother, 
Rabia Daurani (Fig. 75). The mausoleum stands in the middle of a large garden 
entered on the south side through an imposing gateway. This has a central arched 
portal flanked by panels filled with flowering plants and topped by spandrels with 
arabesque motifs, all in delicately modelled plasterwork. Vaults and domes in the 


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74 Tomb of Shah Nawaz Khan, Burhanpur, 1619 


arched recesses at either side are softened by multiple facets. Slender finials with 
domical tops are placed at the corners. Inlaid brass doors are inscribed with the 
name of the architect and a date equivalent to 1661 (see Fig. 99). Panels of painted 
tilework are seen on the walls (see Fig. 104). The garden is surrounded by 
crenellated walls with bastions topped with chhatri-like pavilions at the corners. It 
is divided into thirty-two plots by twelve waterways, the crossings marked by 
sandstone platforms containing ponds and fountains. Carved stone screens line the 
axial walkways. 

The architect of the Bibi-ka Maqbara, Ataullah, was the son of Ustad Ahmad, 
designer of the Taj Mahal; this accounts for the close schematic relationship 
between the two monuments. But comparisons with the Taj tend to underscore the 
unsatisfactory proportions of the Aurangabad tomb, while failing to acknowledge 
the innovative aspects of its layout and distinguished ornamentation. The mauso- 
leum itself is a grandiose conception dictated by rigorous symmetry. Each facade 
has a central arched portal flanked by double tiers of similar but smaller arched 
recesses. A great dome with a pronounced bulbous profile crowns the whole 
composition. Octagonal domed chhatris and tapering octagonal finials topped with 
diminutive square pavilions mark the corners. The doorway on the south leads to 
an octagonal gallery overlooking the grave at the lower level, a feature unknown in 
any other Mughal tomb. The cenotaph is enclosed by an octagon of delicately 


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75  Bibi-ka Maqbara, Aurangabad, 1661 


carved marble screens. Squinches carry the lofty dome that rises above. White 
marble cladding with polychrome inlays combines with delicately moulded plaster- 
work both inside and outside the building (see Fig. 81). Like the Taj Mahal, the 
mausoleum is framed by four tapering minarets which stand freely at the corners of 
the terrace; the Aurangabad examples, however, are octagonal rather than circular, 
though they also have domed pavilions at the top. West of the tomb is a small 
mosque with lobed arches and corner minarets. Panels with lotuses and arabesques 
embellish the facade. Shallow fluted domes roof the interior bays. 

Besides the extension of the Jami mosque begun by Malik Ambar, the Mughals 
commissioned several new places of prayer in Aurangabad. The Chauk mosque of 
1662 erected by Shaista Khan, maternal uncle of Aurangzeb, stands on a terrace that 
rises above the crowded market streets. It is a sober structure lacking any obvious 
Mughal characteristics, with a single central dome and octagonal corner buttresses. 
The Lal mosque of 1665 built by Zain al-Abidin, a government official, is similar in 
layout, but has lobed arches carried on typical fluted columns. More unusual is the 
Shahi mosque of 1693, erected by Aurangzeb for his private use on the east flank of 
Qila Arak (Fig. 76). The prayer hall is roofed by triple vaults with curved bangla 
cornices topped with fluted domes; the facade shows enlarged trilobed arches. 


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76 Shahi mosque, Aurangabad, 1693 


The return of the Mughal court to Delhi after Aurangzeb’s death by no means 
signalled the demise of Mughal architecture at Aurangabad. The Shah Ganj 
mosque of 1720 occupies the west side of the great market square laid out by 
Aurangzeb in the middle of the city. The prayer hall is raised high above street level, 
with shops built into its sides. Flights of steps on the north and south sides ascend to 
a spacious courtyard with a large cistern in the middle. The prayer chamber 
presents a line of lobed arches with finely polished plasterwork. The smaller, more 
interesting Kaudiya Luti mosque just inside the western line of fortifications of the 
city has pierced stone windows set into the walls of the prayer hall. Side chambers 
have doorways capped with bangla cornices in shallow plaster relief. Cusped arches 
carry domes, that in front of the mihrab being raised on a high drum. 

Later funerary monuments at Aurangabad are confined to small-scale buildings 
such as the dargah of Shah Musafir, Aurangzeb’s spiritual guide, who died in 1699. 
Together with a mosque, madrasa and sarai, the saint’s tomb faces onto a small 
garden adjoining the Panchakki water mill (see chapter 2). The elegant pink 
structure makes use of the usual fluted columns and lobed recesses. The adjacent 
mosque employs broad lobed arches in highly polished white plaster. The corners 
of the roof are marked by small chhatris; triple domes rise on friezes of acanthus 
leaves. The tomb of Nizamuddin Auliya of 1724 has the same chhatri turrets, but 
there is only a single bulbous dome on well-formed acanthus leaves. Qadar Auliya’s 
tomb, which is otherwise similar, is surrounded by an arcaded corridor roofed with 


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curving bangla vaults in the middle of each side and low pyramidal vaults at the 
corners. 

Several late Mughal tombs are planned as garden complexes. The mausoleum of 
Pir Ismail, Aurangzeb’s tutor, stands outside the Delhi gate on the north side of 
Aurangabad. The flat-roofed building has corner chhatris with fluted domes; 
doorways at the ends of the arcaded facades lead into the octagonal chamber. The 
complex is entered on the south side through a gate with triple arches and roof-top 
pavilions. A similarly planned complex tomb is the Lal Bagh at Khuldabad. This 
dilapidated funerary monument was laid out by Khan Jahan, Aurangzeb’s foster 
brother. It comprises an octagonal tomb in the middle of a chahar-bagh garden. 
Another funerary garden is located on a hill slope east of Daulatabad. Its surround- 
ing walls have corner chhatris with fluted domes and an entrance gate on the west 
side. Square plots surround the central dais with graves. 

Other important Mughal funerary monuments are seen at Khuldabad where are 
buried Aurangzeb and his son Azam Shah. While the royal graves within the dargah 
of Hazrat Zainuddin are no more than simple gravestones, the complex itself was 
much extended under the Mughals. The square courtyard in front of the saint’s 
tomb is surrounded by two-storeyed arcades with baluster columns and cusped 
arches. A monumental gateway topped with bangla pavilions stands to the south. 
On the west side is a mosque with lobed arches, corner minarets and a hemispheri- 
cal dome on acanthus frieze. Similar additions are seen in the dargah of Hazrat 
Burhanuddin Gharib opposite. The courtyard to the rear of the complex incorpor- 
ates the graves of Nizam al-Mulk and Nasir Jang. Of greater architectural interest is 
the tomb of Muntajabuddin Zar Zari Badshah a short distance north of Khul- 
dabad. The chamber has superimposed pointed and lobed arches in the middle of 
each side, with additional lobed recesses cut at an angle into the corners. Roof-top 
pavilions have petalled domes of the same type as that which rises above the 
sepulchral chamber. 

Monuments beyond the Aurangabad area sponsored by the governors of the 
different provinces show the Mughal style at its most conventional, as for example 
in the mosques at Jalna and Bidar. Aurangzeb’s gateway to the Jami mosque at 
Bijapur and the additions that he made to the Mecca mosque at Hyderabad are 
among the more ambitious structures of the period. Here, too, may be mentioned 
the tomb of Shah Shuja just north of Burhanpur. This fascinating but historically 
obscure building, probably belonging to the early eighteenth century, consists of a 
small circular chamber with twelve bulbous projections. These are echoed in the 
lobed plan of the terrace on which the tomb stands. The projections dictating the 
complex profile of the angled eaves terminate in diminutive part-circular pavilions. 
These show ribbed domes clustering against the sides of the main dome. Narrow 
flanges between the projections are topped with shallow finials. 


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77 Tomb of Sirul Khan, Janjira, 1733 


THE SIDIS 


Adil Shahi traditions seem to have dictated the religious architecture of the Sidis 
whose building activities coincide with the late Mughal era. The Jami mosque on 
the mainland opposite their island fort of Janjira has an arcaded prayer hall flanked 
by corner buttresses with cut-out curving brackets. Windows are placed in both the 
side and rear walls. The mausoleum of Sirul Khan who died in 1733 is located about 
1 kilometre away (Fig. 77). The sepulchral chamber is surrounded by an arcade and 
raised on a double terrace. The stunted dome has boldly modelled petals at its base. 
A pair of smaller, almost identical tombs standing on a common plinth nearby are 
associated with Yaqut Khan, who died in 1707, and his brother Khariat Khan. In 
spite of their obvious Adil Shahi appearance, these buildings employ Mughal-style 
lobed recesses in the middle of each side. The walls are overhung by angled eaves 
and trefoil parapets set between slender pinnacles. The domes are similarly stunted 
in profile. 


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All the phases of Deccani architecture surveyed in this volume are characterised by 
richly adorned surfaces. Incised plaster appears to have been the preferred material 
for decoration in Bahmani buildings during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, 
continued in later times under the Baridis and Qutb Shahis. This material was 
replaced to some extent by stone as a primary decorative medium in the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries, as in the mosques and tombs of the Nizam Shahis and 
Adil Shahis. Carved wood and coloured tiles were probably in widespread use 
throughout these centuries, but only fragmentary evidence has survived; sadly, the 
painted heritage is similarly incomplete. This situation changes to some extent in 
the eighteenth century from which time there are Maratha-style mansions fur- 
nished with woodwork and murals. 

The repertory of ornamental themes in all materials is at first limited, with a 
preference for geometric and stylised floral motifs inherited from Khalji and 
Tughlug architecture. That indigenous traditions gradually manifest themselves is 
evident in the widespread use of naturalistic motifs based on the lotus and other 
plant forms. The impact of Iranian and even occasionally Turkish traditions 
detected in later Bahmani and in Nizam Shahi buildings is accompanied by a new 
range of motifs, especially calligraphy, stylised plant forms and dense arabesque 
patterns. The most spectacular instance of an imported decorative scheme is the 
tilework on the madrasa of Mahmud Gawan at Bidar. Architectural ornament in 
carved stone at Bijapur attains a degree of exuberance unmatched elsewhere. 
Designs based on animal and vegetal motifs become popular, though always in 
partnership with calligraphic, arabesque and geometric patterns, reflecting the 
sustained impact of Islamic artistic conventions. 


INCISED PLASTERWORK 


Plaster decoration is at first restricted to bands around arched openings and 
recesses, and to medallions in the spandrels above. Early Bahmani buildings make 
use of a limited range of geometric and floral motifs, as can be seen in palaces at 
Daulatabad and Firuzabad (see chapter 2) and in mosques and tombs at Gulbarga 
and Holkonda (see chapter 3). This decorative repertory also includes simple 
geometric patterns in screens. It has been argued that crown-and-wing motifs at the 
apexes of arches are derived from ancient Iranian royal emblems, but it is more 
likely that such motifs have their origins in the decorative themes of earlier Hindu 


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monuments in the Deccan. This ornamental range is elaborated in the tomb of 
Tajuddin Firuz at Gulbarga where strapwork, petalled fringes and creeper motifs all 
appear in arched bands; cornices are created with rows of angled bricks, diagonal 
squares and trefoil crenellations. The mosque within the dargah of Mujarrad Kamal 
at the same site has flattish arches with lobes encrusted with calligraphy, seemingly 
suspended over the arched openings. Probably the most refined plasterwork of the 
era is the delicately incised calligraphy and foliation of the mihrab in the Langar-ki 
mosque just north of Gulbarga. 

Plasterwork in later Bahmani monuments sometimes achieves sumptuous ef- 
fects, as on the facade of the Takht-i Kirmani at Bidar (Fig. 14). The crown-and- 
wing motif at the summit of its central arch is transformed into an elaborate 
cartouche crowded with intricate arabesques; similar patterns fill the enlarged 
medallions in the spandrels and the trefoil crestings of the parapet. More restrained 
plasterwork adorns the Baridi monuments in the same city, as in the tomb of Khan 
Jahan where medallion-on-chain motifs appear inside the arched recesses. The 
interior of the mosque associated with the tomb of Ali Barid Shah displays elegantly 
worked cartouches filled with arabesques above the wall niches, including the 
mihrab (Fig. 78). Deeply moulded patterns adorn the plastered wall niches of the 
inner apartments of the Tarkash Mahal. 

Plasterwork in early Adil Shahi monuments at Bijapur continues the same 
tradition, as can be seen on the facades of Ikhlas Khan’s mosque and the prayer hall 
associated with Ain al-Mulk’s tomb at Ainapur. Ornate medallions and cartouches 
decorate the arches of Ali Shahid Pir’s mosque; enlarged medallion-on-chain motifs 
embellish the dome inside. Elaborate plasterwork also enhances Adil Shahi courtly 
structures. Medallions-on-bracket motifs appear in the spandrels of the monu- 
mental arch in the Gagan Mahal within the citadel; the brackets take the form of 
upside-down fish, complete with eyes, gills and tails. The fish are reduced to 
sinuous outlines in most later versions of this motif. The deteriorating chambers of 
the nearby Sat Manzil bear traces of elaborate decoration inside flattish domes and 
vaults. Here can be seen a variety of inventive patterns employing strapwork, 
medallions and cartouches, all executed with utmost refinement. 

With the development of carved stonework in later Adil Shahi architecture, 
plaster decoration tends to be confined to cartouches and medallions on sinuous 
brackets. They are seen on both structures of the Ibrahim Rauza as well as on the 
small but exquisite mosque of the Mihtar-i Mahal. The largest cartouches and 
medallion-on-bracket motifs are those filled with luxuriant but crisply cut scroll- 
work on the facade of the Gol Gumbad (Fig. 79). Bands marking the different 
stages of the corner minarets of this monument exhibit seemingly endless variations 
on the interlaced parapet design. 

Unlike the Adil Shahis, the Qutb Shahis retained plasterwork as the primary 
medium of decoration. Monumental gates, such as that which serves as the principal 
entrance to the Bala Hisar at Golconda, show ornate arabesque medallions as well as 


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78 Plaster detail, mosque associated with tomb of Ali Barid Shah, Bidar, 1577 


sharply modelled peacocks with long feathers and curly-tailed lions. A large range of 
decorative themes is seen in and around the arches marking the principal facades of 
Qutb Shahi mosques and tombs: ribbed fruits in high relief, cartouches filled with 
fanciful foliation, deeply incised flowing tassels, roundels filled with arabesque 
designs. Calligraphy makes an occasional appearance, as on the mosque associated 
with Hayat Bakshi Begum’s tomb (see Fig. 69). Cornices lining arcades and galleries 
tend to be deeply moulded, sometimes with pierced plaster screens displaying bold 
geometric designs. Rows of petals marking the necks of domes, including those at a 
diminutive scale capping minarets and finials, become increasingly three-dimen- 
sional and outward curving. The most ornate Qutb Shahi monuments, such as the 
Toli mosque between Golconda and Hyderabad, orchestrate all these themes into 
an unparalleled decorative density (Fig. 70). 


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79 Plaster detail, Gol Gumbad, Bijapur, 1656 


What little plasterwork survives on Nizam Shahi monuments indicates a close 
relationship with Adil Shahi traditions, as for example on Ahmad Bahri’s tomb at 
Ahmadnagar. The Bhadkal gate at Aurangabad preserves remnants of plaster 
decoration, including medallion-on-bracket motifs. More popular are the intricate 
net-like designs inspired by Iranian traditions, such as the complex multi-faceted 
vaults filling the interiors of pendentives and half-domes. The finest examples, 
though no longer crisp and complete, are seen in the Farah Bagh palace. The 
Middle Eastern character of these patterns is modified by the introduction of full 
and half lotuses with clearly defined petals. That Mughal architecture in the Deccan 
had already absorbed such Iranian motifs is evident in the intricately faceted plaster 
vaults painted with stylised floral designs roofing the hammam at Burhanpur (Fig. 
80). Patterns with naturalistic plant forms, such as stalks and tendrils, laid out in 
strict geometric fashion, animate the elegant plasterwork of the spandrels and 
interior vaults of the main tomb and entrance gate of the Bibi-ka Maqbara (Fig. 81). 
Plaster decoration elsewhere in Mughal architecture is mainly confined to delicately 
worked bands of acanthus leaves at the necks of domes. 


CARVED STONEWORK 


One of the most distinctive features of Deccani architectural decoration is the use of 
local fine black basalt. In the hands of extraordinary craftsmen, this exceptionally 


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RRO ae 
BESO AE, 
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80 Plaster vault, hnommam, Burhanpur, 1608 


hard material was cut with crisply shaped designs and then polished to achieve a 
smooth mirror-like finish, ideal techniques for stylised geometric, foliate and 
calligraphic patterns. Such craftsmen were of course following in the footsteps of 
their predecessors who had produced similarly burnished basalt columns for the 
halls of Hindu temples. 

Isolated examples of stone carving in Bahmani and Baridi architecture are 
evident in the sculpted animal motifs that appear in the spandrels over arched 
openings, as in the Delhi gate at Daulatabad and the Sharza gate at Bidar. (They 
form a counterpart to animal designs in plasterwork and polychrome tilework, now 
mostly lost.) To these examples may be added the heraldic lions on the Sharza 
bastion at Bijapur. There are, in addition, the tigers and fantastic animals and birds 
sculpted onto granite blocks set into the side walls of the Banjara and Pattancheru 
gates at Golconda (Fig. 82). The preference for animal motifs at the entrances to 
Deccani forts survives into Maratha times. The principal gates at Raigad and 
Janjira, for instance, are adorned with panels showing lions clawing at diminutive 
captive elephants. 

Stone calligraphic panels are accorded much prominence in the decor of mos- 
ques and tombs. Both Arabic and Persian are used, occasionally together in 


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82 Sculpted granite animals on Pattancheru gate, Golconda, sixteenth century 


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, : ae MR Le AD s 
83 Black basalt inscription, tomb of Shaykh Khalilullah (Chaukhandi), Bidar, 1450 


bilingual inscriptions, with a preference for thuluth script with generously overlap- 
ping letters. Other than quoting select Koranic verses, these texts mostly record 
details of building construction and the names of patrons. The texts inscribed on 
the right-hand mihrab of the Jami mosque within the fort at Raichur include the 
Shia Profession of Faith and prayers calling for God’s blessings on the twelve Shia 
Imams. 

The finest examples of calligraphy from the Bahmani era are the black basalt 
slabs placed over the doorways of the tomb shrine of Shaykh Khalilullah outside 
Bidar (Fig. 83). Koranic quotations in majestic thuluth script (xm, 23-4) are 
superimposed on a background of great volutes of foliate scrollwork. The work of a 
calligrapher from Shiraz named Mughith, these compositions are among the 
greatest epigraphic masterpieces of Indian and Islamic art. (Other noteworthy 
Bahmani inscriptions discovered at Panhala and Raichur have been removed to 
museums at Kolhapur and Hyderabad.) 

One aspect of Bahmani decorative stonework not hitherto noted is the fashion 
for the prominent basalt string courses which follow the lines of the buildings, 
particularly arched openings, as well as dividing up wall surfaces into rectangular 
panels to hold mosaic tilework. These string courses are often carved in spiral 
designs, stone versions of Timurid plaster and brick forms, as on the tombs of the 


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| 





84and 85__ Black basalt string courses, tomb of Shaykh Khalilullah 


Bahmani sultans at Ashtur north-east of Bidar and that of Hazrat Shah Abud Faid 
south of the city. On the tomb of Shaykh Khalilullah, however, the string courses 
are more complicated, with fascinating positive—negative forms of great originality 
(Figs. 84 and 85), recalling ninth-century stucco ornament of palaces at Samarra in 
Mesopotamia and thirteenth-century stone ornament on Seljuq mosques in 
Anatolia. More conventional are the small but delightfully carved arabesque designs 
which grace the capitals of the wall pilasters (Fig. 86). 

Qutb Shahi buildings, otherwise free of stone decoration, exploit carved basalt 
calligraphy with great effect. Most mosques and tombs in the Golconda-Hyderabad 
area contain basalt panels carved with fine Arabic or Persian texts in the thuluth 
style designed by the best Middle Eastern scribes brought to Golconda by the 
sultans. We notice in these panels a tendency to arrange the script in vertically 
stacked registers, present on Deccani metalwork as well. Following the Bidar 
tradition, the bold and well-written script is placed on a background of lively foliate 
scrollwork creating images of dynamic and restless beauty. A splendidly long 
thuluth inscription of 1559 runs around the walls of the Mecca gate at Golconda. 


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86 Carved capital with arabesque, tomb of Shaykh Khalilullah 


The vast necropolis containing the tombs of the Qutb Shahi sultans and their 
families at Golconda is the repository of some of the finest stone epigraphy from the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in India. The mosque associated with Hayat 
Bakshi Begum’s tomb has a lobed mihrab arch surrounded by a rectangular frame 
incised with vertically stacked Koranic verses. Outside the various domed struc- 
tures, in a pleasant garden setting, are the highly polished basalt cenotaphs of the 
sultans’ relatives (Figs. 87 and 88). For the most part these are undecorated, but 
with fine streamlined proportions, usually of stepped rectangular form, often with 
elegant non-functional corner legs. The cenotaphs inside the tomb structures are 
inscribed with extraordinary thuluth script. Often the same verses that appear on 
metalwork are present here; in particular, the Shia Profession of Faith, the Cry to 
Ali (Nadi Aliyyan), and the Throne Verse (11, 256) and other Koranic passages. The 
cenotaph of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, dated 1611 in the year of the sultan’s 
death, is particularly fine (Fig. 89). Equally well fashioned is the nearby cenotaph of 
prince Mirza Muhammad Amin, son of Ibrahim Qutb Shah, who died in 1596 (Fig. 
90). The latter is distinguished by a harmonious square panel of kufic, a rare 
instance of this script in India. Highly polished and funereally black, these 


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88 Detail of corner leg, cenotaph, royal necropolis, Golconda 


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89 Black basalt inscription, cenotaph of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, royal necropolis, 
Golconda, 1611 


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90 Black basalt kufic inscription, cenotaph of prince Mirza Muhammad Amin, 
royal necropolis, Golconda, 1596 





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91 Polygonal platform with rays of basalt, haommam, royal necropolis, Golconda, 
sixteenth century 


cenotaphs glisten in the half light of their tomb chambers like powerful symbols of 
death. 

Another extraordinary example of Qutb Shahi stonework is the polygonal 
platform inside the hammam associated with the royal necropolis. (This was almost 
certainly used by visiting courtiers and nobles, and was not intended as a mortuary 
bath as is usually suggested.) More than 2 metres in diameter, this platform is 
formed of cement with twelve gracefully curving rays of polished black basalt 
radiating out from a central circle of the same material. Its classically balanced form 
makes an appropriate setting for courtly bathing (Fig. 91). As in the cenotaphs, this 
platform was evidently designed by an artist brilliantly sensitive to form and the 
expressive potential of stone. 

Stone calligraphy also plays a significant role in Adil Shahi architecture. The 
inscribed slab in the Jami mosque at Raichur, already noted, shows a row of 
cartouches framing angled bands and a central diamond filled with thuluth, in the 
manner of textile designs. Similar angled bands and diamond patterns with 
inscriptions frame the doorways of the sepulchral chamber in the Ibrahim Rauza at 
Bijapur (Fig. 92). The superb relief work is matched by perforated screens display- 
ing interlocking cut-out letters (Fig. 93). The wall medallions are filled with relief 
inscriptions. 

In contrast, stone calligraphy forms only a minor aspect of Nizam Shahi 
architectural decoration. The outer surfaces of the tomb of Ahmad Bahri at 


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92 Carved doorway, tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah II, Bijapur, 1626 


Ahmadnagar, for instance, are enhanced by medallions filled with lotuses and 
Arabic script. Similar motifs also appear in the medallions that surround the arched 
entrance of the Mahakali gate at Narnala, a late Bahmani monument that antici- 
pates the Nizam Shahi style. The treatment of the small but exquisitely appointed 
Damri mosque at Ahmadnagar is more elaborate (Fig. 51). Bands of strapwork 
surround the triple arches of the facade, while a fringe of lotus buds animates the 
overhang. At either end square buttresses have arched niches alternating with relief 
medallions, both surrounded by deeply cut foliation. Triple mihrab niches in the 


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93 Carved calligraphic window and relief medallions, tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah I 


rear wall are framed by geometric ornament, with stylised foliation filling the 
central recess. Pierced screens with inventive geometric designs are characteristic of 
Nizam Shahi funerary architecture, as can be seen in the mausoleum of Malik 
Ambar at Khuldabad (Fig. 94). 

Stone carving reaches its most florid expression at Bijapur, as is clear from the 
richly sculptural treament of brackets, eaves, parapets and finials. All these features 
are present in miniature form in the crisply detailed Jal Mandir, the plinth and wall 
surfaces of which are encrusted with tightly packed designs. Sculptural exuberance 
reaches its zenith in Malika Jahan Begum’s mosque. The eaves are carried on 
double sets of cut-out sinuous brackets adorned with elegant arabesque patterns. 
Lotus medallions and palmette fringes cover the undersides of the eaves. This 
ornate treatment is sustained in the parapet where cut-out interlocking elements are 
combined with palmettes. Fragments of the perforated parapet of the Mihtar-i 
Mahal show graceful arabesque flourishes in the finest Timurid manner (Fig. 95). 
That stone chains hanging from eaves also form part of this decorative repertory is 
demonstrated in the Kali mosque at Lakshmeshwar. 

The carving of the Ibrahim Rauza rivals all these examples (Figs. 59-61, 92, 93). 
Here additional elements are introduced, such as angled struts with animal-like 
forms beneath the eaves and miniature cut-out finials clustering around the minaret 


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1626 


94 Perforated screens, tomb of Malik Ambar, Khuldabad, 


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95 Parapet fragment, Mihtar-i Mahal, Bijapur, early seventeenth century 


shafts. Geometric and foliate patterns on the outer walls of the sepulchral chamber 
and the ceiling of the surrounding verandah are unique in their delicacy and variety. 
They include looped and knotted patterns, bands of flowers connected by curving 
stalks, and elegant arabesques. The sculptural treatment of the superimposed 
balconies of the Mihtar-i Mahal shows lions, geese and foliation, both in shallow 
relief and in cut-out imitation of timberwork. Struts reinforcing the brackets 
beneath the eaves of the associated mosque are fashioned as leaping beasts on 
aquatic monsters (Fig. 96). 

That carved stonework under the Adil Shahis was by no means confined to 
religious architecture is demonstrated by the west entryway of the fort at Panhala 
which displays a remarkable richness of detail. The doorway of the gate facing into 


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96 Sculpted struts, gateway to Mihtar-i Mahal, Bijapur 


the courtyard of this entrance complex is surrounded by bands of relief designs 
mingling interlocking trefoil parapet elements, medallions filled with arabesques 
and sinuous bracket motifs. 

The only known instance of the luxuriant and highly intricate technique of 


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97 Inlaid mother-of-pearl panel, Rangin Mahal, Bidar, mid-sixteenth century 


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98 Wooden columns, Rangin Mahal, Bidar 


mother-of-pearl set into polished basalt is associated with the sixteenth-century 
Baridi rulers. Sumputuously decorated bands and panels depicting flowers, curving 
tendrils and calligraphy adorn the doorway of the innermost suite of rooms in the 
Rangin Mahal at Bidar (Fig. 97 and p. 137). 


WOODWORK AND METAL CLADDING 


Wooden decoration in Deccani architecture can only be studied from the scantiest 
remains. Probably the earliest examples are the timber columns and brackets set 
into the plaster walls of the ruined Bahmani palace at Daulatabad. Later woodwork 
is visible in the Baridi additions to the Rangin Mahal at Bidar (Fig. 98). Free- 
standing columns and half-columns set into the walls of the principal hall have 
projecting brackets with triple tiers of pendant buds reinforced by angled struts 
with fish-like sinuous motifs. The same type of brackets and struts appear in Nizam 
Shahi and Adil Shahi architecture, though here reproduced in stone. The timber- 
like quality of these elements is most obvious in the Mihtar-i Mahal at Bijapur. 
Only isolated instances of woodwork survive from the Adil Shahi era. Though 
the wooden columns and panelled ceiling of the double-height portico of the Asar 
Mahal are probably replacements, the finely worked trellis windows with geometric 
designs over the panelled doors of the inner chambers are clearly original. A 


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99 Embossed brass-clad doors, Bibi-ka Maqbara, Aurangabad, 1661 


wooden item of interest, though probably also a later addition, is the canopy 
sheltering Muhammad Adil Shahi’s grave within the Gol Gumbad. This has small 
openings of different designs topped with a gabled roof. 

Compared with the paucity of materials for the Sultanate and Mughal eras, an 
abundance of woodwork survives in Maratha architecture. While the timber 
portions of the royal residences at Raigad and Pune have been lost, a large number 
of wadas, or mansions, survive to give some idea of eighteenth-century Deccani 
wood traditions. Houses in Pune, Wai and Paithan preserve wooden supports with 
ornate shafts, curving brackets with fully sculpted leaves and buds, and struts with 
animal and bird-like motifs. Doorways are surrounded by sculpted jambs, with 
lines of pendant buds or acanthus leaves on the lintels. Panelled walls and ceilings 
have wooden pieces fitted into frames with different geometric designs. Balconies 
with arched openings are surrounded by richly worked floral borders. 

Metal cladding still remains on some of the doors in the defensive entryways to 
Deccan forts, for example the geometric designs in iron strapwork on the inner 
door of the Fateh gate at Golconda. By far the most sophisticated metal cladding is 
seen in the Bibi-ka Magqbara at Aurangabad (Fig. 99). Brass-covered doors with 
embossed designs of flowering plants in the most refined Mughal manner lead to 


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the steps ascending to the central terrace of the tomb. Similar work is also seen in 
the main gate of the complex. 


GLAZED TILEWORK 


Only after the move to Bidar did the Bahmanis turn to tilework as the major source 
of colour in their buildings. Its splendour is still apparent on the monuments of the 
city, though the tilework has inevitably deteriorated because of India’s monsoonal 
climate. Two techniques were especially popular: cut tiles, in which a mosaic was 
created from separately coloured tiles shaped and fitted together to create compli- 
cated designs, and underglaze painted tiles, in which patterns with different colours 
were painted onto a tile, before glazing and firing. Yet a third technique, known in 
Europe as cuerda seca, was occasionally also practised, in which colours added to 
the tiles were separated by a sticky substance which leaves a dark line after firing. 
These different ceramic procedures were brought to peninsular India directly from 
the Middle East, rather than via North India. The remarkable similarity of Deccani 
cuerda seca tiles to similar work in mosques at Bursa and Edirne suggests also the 
possibility of artistic influence from Ottoman Turkey. In spite of this close 
relationship to foreign models, Deccani tilework often equals and even surpasses 
Iranian and Turkish examples, both technically and aesthetically. The individual 
pieces of Deccani tile mosaic are so perfectly joined that a fluidity of line is achieved 
which rivals the effects of fine underglazed painted panels, like those of the best 
period from Iznik in Turkey. (This fineness is never achieved in Iran where the 
joints are always clearly visible.) The depth of colour of Deccani tilework is also 
rarely matched by Iranian examples. In short, although the impetus for tile 
revetments came from the Middle East, the quality of most Deccani tilework 
surpasses its models. 

Magnificent panels created from underglaze painted tiles once covered the lower 
portions of the walls in the chambers opening off the audience hall in the Diwan-i 
Am at Bidar. Among the varied compositions recorded before the tiles mysteriously 
disappeared were bold geometric, arabesque and calligraphic patterns in blue, 
turquoise and yellow, all in the most refined manner. Royal sun and tiger emblems 
depicted on hexagonal tiles once filled the spandrels of the portal facing into the 
courtyard of the Takht Mahal. 

Elsewhere in Bidar, architectural tilework conforms to the mosaic technique. 
That remaining on Mahmud Gawan’s madrasa rivals the finest Timurid workman- 
ship of Central Asia and Iran and presents a ceramic analogue of the black basalt 
panels of the tomb of Shaykh Khalilullah. The madrasa was once entirely covered in 
tiles, but now only the surviving single minaret and the facade next to it retain a 
substantial quantity (Fig. roo). A monumental band of calligraphy filling the 
horizontal space between the arched recesses and the roof contains a Koranic verse 
(xxxIx, 73-4) written in elegant thuluth designed by the calligrapher Ali as-Sufi. 


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too = Calligraphic bands in tile mosaic, madrasa of Mahmud Gawan, Bidar, 1472 


The letters in white upon pale blue volutes are set against a dark blue background. 
This composition contrasts with the shimmering chevron pattern of glazed bricks 
in turquoise, blue, yellow and white covering the cylindrical minaret shaft. 

The tomb of Alauddin Ahmad II was also covered with tiles, but only the arched 
recesses of the principal facade contain enough to give some idea of the original 
splendour. The technique here is cuerda seca, with designs of interlocking split-leaf 
palmettes, leaves and stems, mainly blue and white contained within a yellow 
border. (The motifs show considerable similarity to those on the fifteenth-century 
cuerda seca mihrabs of the Green Mosque in Bursa and the Muradiyye mosque in 
Edirne, the outstanding masterpieces of early Ottoman art, except that the Bidar 
designs are even more energetic, rather like the effect of fluttering wings.) 

Better preserved are the tiled panels on the tomb of Hazrat Shah Abul Faid 
outside Bidar (Fig. ror). The main entrance is decorated with mosaic tiles in the 
arch above the door — enclosed within a black basalt frame carved in spiral designs — 
in the spandrels and on the side walls. These tiles are significant for the impressively 
large scale of their motifs, reminiscent of carpet designs, and for the fact that they 
represent the earliest instance of a specifically Deccani colour scheme. Along with 
the turquoise, blue and white which we have already noted in the tilework of the 
other Bidar monuments, uniquely Indian tones of rich mustard-yellow and grass- 
green also make their appearance, colours repeated in later times, not only in the 
Deccan but in Delhi, Lahore and Kashmir as well. 

The later Baridi Shahs also used tiles extensively. The masterpiece of their 


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tor Panel of tile mosaic over gateway, tomb of Shah Abul Faid, Bidar, 1474 


contribution to this medium is the interior of the Rangin Mahal, one of the most 
exquisitely decorated apartments ever built under Islamic rule in India. The 
spacious columned hall once had its walls entirely covered with tilework, but this 
only survives around the black basalt arched doorway leading into the royal 
chamber (Fig. 98). Crossing this threshold, we pass into an enchanted world. The 
dadoes are covered with superb mosaic tiles in elegantly restrained patterns (see 
Colour Plate 13). The colours are mainly blue and white, with the inclusion of 
mustard-yellow and grass-green. The nearly black basalt archways above the tiles 
are inlaid with exquisite floral arabesque patterns in iridescent mother-of-pearl (see 
Fig. 97). The modest dimensions of this royal chamber, its star-shaped plan, its rich 
tilework and the pink and green tones of the mother-of-pearl sparkling in the 
semi-darkness all contribute to an overpowering sense of fantasy and refinement, 
like the mysterious atmosphere of early Deccani painting. 

Yet further instances of Baridi tilework are seen in the mausoleum of Ali Barid 
Shah at Bidar. Though the panels above the main arches here are now devoid of 
tiles, perhaps never added, the interior of the sepulchral chamber still preserves 
splendid mosaics with poetic quotations in thuluth style. Bands of Koranic texts on 
the upper parts of the walls are animated by floral backgrounds and borders in blue, 
turquoise, white and yellow. 

Judging from the fragmentary evidence of surviving tilework, the Qutb Shahs of 
Golconda were the ultimate Deccani patrons of this craft. Like their Turkman 


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ancestors in the Middle East, they were fervent Shias and were much given to 
constructing halls to accommodate the annual ceremonies commemorating the 
martyrdom of Husain, the Prophet’s grandson. The finest of these Shia halls, the 
Badshahi Ashurkhana in Hyderabad, was constructed in 1596 by Sultan Muham- 
mad Quli Qutb Shah. In 1611 its interior walls were covered in mosaic tiles, the 
finest in India, forming one of the most original decorative schemes of its kind 
anywhere in the Muslim world. The Badshahi Ashurkhana tiles are arranged in 
large panels, more than 3 metres high and more than 1 metre wide. The remarkably 
brilliant colours are mainly blue and white, in addition to specifically Indian tones 
of mustard-yellow and grass-green and a mellow terracotta. (These hues are almost 
never seen in the Middle East, except for a brief period in the early sixteenth century 
at Iznik where cuerda seca tiles containing similar greens and yellows were pro- 
duced; they lack, however, the depth of tone so exceptional in the Deccani 
examples.) 

Three of the Badshahi Ashurkhana panels are noteworthy. One represents a giant 
alam, a religious metal standard symbolising the battle standards carried by Husain 
and his followers at Kerbala. This tear-shaped alam contains bold Arabic script, 
written both right-side round and mirror reversed (see Colour Plate 14). It is 
flanked by two smaller alams with addorsed roaring dragons and flame-like 
projections, remarkably like the actual metal alams preserved in the adjacent 
storeroom (see Fig. 181). A second panel has designs of staggered hexagons con- 
taining jewel-like shapes connected by grand arabesque swirls (Fig. 102). Ona third 
panel a massive pot-of-plenty overflows with twisting and turning vegetation (see 
Colour Plate 15). The extravagance of these motifs coupled with the fluidity of their 
design — the mosaic pieces are fitted so precisely that from a distance the panels 
seem to be frescoed rather than tiled — produces an effect of delirious energy. It is 
very likely that the royal tombs at Golconda were once entirely covered with mosaic 
faience as well, as a small patch of similar tilework survives on the upper walls of the 
tomb of Ibrahim Qutb Shah. 

Underglaze painted tiles had less popularity in the Deccan than mosaic tiles. 
There are, however, two tiles in the British Museum, London, with simple but 
lively designs in underglaze cobalt blue and turquoise, said to have come from 
Bijapur (Fig. 103). They resemble the cruder blue and white tiles of Sindh and 
Punjab, but also show a connection with tiles from sixteenth-century Damascus. 
The London pieces are similar to excavated fragments dug out of the palace of the 
Bahmani governor at Goa which was destroyed with the arrival of the Portuguese. 
(Comparable tiles decorated with designs of grape vines still adorn the walls of the 
seventeenth-century convent of Santa Monica in Old Goa.) 

Underglaze painted tilework with noticeably different motifs was introduced 
into the Deccan by the Mughals. The most accomplished examples are the dadoes 
inside the gateway to the Bibi-ka Maqbara at Aurangabad (Fig. 104). These are 
decorated with tall vertical panels of flowering rosebushes, reminiscent of the 


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102 Hexagonal designs, tile mosaic, Badshahi Ashurkhana, Hyderabad, 1611 





103 Underglaze painted tiles, Bijapur, sixteenth century 


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104 Flowering rose bushes, underglaze painted tiles, Bibi-ka Maqbara, Aurangabad, 1661 


tiled flowers of the dargah of Shaykh Bakhtiyar Kaki in Delhi, added in the 
redecoration of the complex by Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. Although the designs of 
the Aurangabad flowers are taken from the classical Mughal repertoire, their strange 
palette of white, green and purplish-pink comes from the Deccani world. 


WALL AND CEILING PAINTINGS 


The record of paintings in Deccan palaces and tombs is even more incomplete than 
that of coloured tilework. The only examples from the Bahmani era to be spared to 
any extent are those that cover the interior walls and dome of Ahmad I’s mauso- 
leum outside Bidar (Fig. 105). Though now much faded, the original vermilion and 
gold scheme can still be made out. Panels below are filled with expanding geometric 
patterns; bands above show cartouches of stylised arabesques and calligraphy in 
superimposed thuluth and nastaliq. The dome is highlighted with concentric bands 
of calligraphy, the outermost band interrupted by eight hexagons filled with the 
name of Ali in kufic script and fringed with elegant palmettes of arabesque 
ornament. The area of the dome around this composition is occupied by cartouches 


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1os_ Painted ceiling, tomb of Ahmad I, Bidar, 1436 


incorporating the names of the twelve Shia teachers in geometric kufic, as well as 
flowering plants with curving stalks. These painted compositions are closely linked 
to contemporary Timurid and early Ottoman carpet designs and manuscript 
illustrations, once again demonstrating direct artistic contacts between the Deccan 
and the Middle East. 

Fragmentary remains at Bijapur indicate that painting also flourished under the 
Adil Shahis. The carved mihrab in the Jami mosque preserves traces of extravagant 
paintwork on crisply modelled gesso. The spandrels above the arch are filled with 
leafy tendrils bursting into fanciful blue and purple flowers on a rich golden 
background (Fig. 106). Here too are trompe-l’wil depictions of books in low relief, 
painted rich golds and browns to suggest embossed leather bindings (Fig. 107). But 
the glory of the mihrab is the treatment of the faceted part-dome, where cal- 


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106 Arabesque, painted gesso on stone, mihrab, Jami mosque, Bijapur, 1636 


ligraphic alams, some on chains, are surrounded by elegant leafy tendrils (see 
Colour Plate 16). These magnificent compositions combine the formality of 
Middle Eastern pictorial traditions with the luxuriant naturalism of the Deccan. 

Murals in the Asar Mahal at Bijapur are of equal interest. The original courtly 
purpose of this building, before its conversion into a sacred reliquary in 1646, is 
revealed by wall paintings in one of the upper-floor chambers. Though now 
severely damaged, the figures in these compositions have been identified as courtly 
women and their attendants: seated on a throne, dressing a naked child, eating and 
drinking, playing musical instruments, and receiving a man clad only in a thin piece 
of cloth. The crowded scenes, the varied postures and the shaded limbs and 
costumes have suggested to some observers the possibility of the involvement of 
European artists. More likely, the paintings are the work of Deccani artists familiar 
with foreign paintings or prints. 

A second smaller upper-floor chamber in the Asar Mahal rivals the Rangin 
Mahal at Bidar for its harmonious proportions and exquisite decoration. It brings 
to mind those magical pavilions ‘painted by the artists of China’, metaphors of 


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a 





107. Trompe-l'wil books, painted gesso on stone, mihrab, Jami mosque, Bijapur 


perfection, mentioned in Persian mystical poetry. Arched niches in this room have 
their recesses painted with vases of plenty in shimmering gold and lapis lazuli (see 
Colour Plate 12). These vases are composed of energetic arabesque patterns similar 
to fifteenth-century Timurid design. (They are particularly close to the chinoiserie 
fantasies of fifteenth-century scroll fragments representing exotic bridal processions 
mounted in Album H.2153 in the Topkapi Saray, Istanbul.) Between these niches 
are nineteenth-century patterns of flowering creepers painted over the original 
designs. 

Paintings on the walls and vaults of one of the pavilions at the pleasure resort at 
Kummatgi can now only be studied through old photographs. They include 
depictions of courtly pastimes, such as a polo match complete with horses and 
players, wrestling, drinking and music-making. Europeans in formal dress, possibly 
envoys to the Adil Shahi court, also appear, some posed beside a tree with curiously 
shaped birds. The grouping of the figures as well as the deep shading of the limbs 
and robes suggests a knowledge of European artistic traditions. 

Substantial evidence for mural painting is available in Maratha architecture. 
While the major pictorial compositions that adorned eighteenth-century palaces at 


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Satara and Pune have now been lost, paintings of the period survive at lesser centres. 
In many respects, they bear a close relationship to illustrations in contemporary 
manuscripts. Mansions and temples at Wai preserve some of the finest Maratha 
paintings. Wall panels in the Joshi Manavalikar Wada are dedicated to religious 
topics, such as multi-armed Durga slaying the buffalo demon Mahisha, and 
Krishna seated with a crowd of gopis. The style exploits traditional South Indian 
conventions, but the floral borders, repeated on the throne on which Krishna sits, 
are familiar from contemporary manuscripts. Panels in the Nana Phadnis Wada, 
also at Wai, are closer to miniature painting. One scene shows women bathing 
beneath a tree, the figures arranged in static postures. The walled garden in front 
and the landscape beyond are delineated with little concern for depth. The 
composition is set in a lobed recess animated with painted floral borders. 

Wall panels in the Moti Baug at Wai are of greater merit. The paintings are 
framed by graceful floral borders typical of the Maratha idiom. Both courtly and 
religious topics appear, including a scene with Garuda and Hanuman worshipping 
Vishnu. The figures stand in shrines complete with decorated columns, lobed 
arches and multi-tiered pyramidal towers. Flowering trees beneath and cloudy skies 
above derive from the miniature tradition. Another panel shows women at their 
toilet, the figures seated within a formal palace-like setting. The colours are bright 
and flat, exactly as on paper. Other paintings of the period are seen in temples at 
Pune (see chapter 8), where wall niches and ceilings are invariably enhanced by 


graceful floral borders. 


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CHAPTER 5 


MINIATURE PAINTING: 
AHMADNAGAR AND BIJAPUR 


AHMADNAGAR 


The briefest and most mysterious phase of Deccani painting occurred at the late 
sixteenth-century court of Ahmadnagar. Brief, because, all told, it lasted barely 
three decades; mysterious, because we know nothing of its antecedents nor its 
aftermath, nor even the identities of its principal artists and patrons. All that survive 
are the illustrations to a historical manuscript which can be considered the ‘pre- 
classical’ phase of the school, three great ‘classical’ portraits of remarkable power, 
these latter amongst the most profound and subtle images India has produced, and 
a handful of drawings which, although fine works of art in their own right and 
obviously related to the three great portraits in style and costume, do not quite 
measure up to them in expressive power. This artistic tradition — if a school of such 
short duration can be termed a tradition — was a mere flash of artistic brilliance, 
snuffed out by the Mughal conquest in 1600. We assume of course that the original 
production of art at Ahmadnagar was substantially larger than what has survived 
the vicissitudes of history, though we doubt that any of the Deccani centres 
approached in quantity the output of the Mughal school. 

The Nizam Shahis were the ruling dynasty, and three sultans seem to have been 
generous patrons: Husain and his sons Murtaza I and Burhan II. The earliest 
surviving paintings illustrate a manuscript of the history of the reign of Husain; the 
text composed by Aftabi, entitled the Tarif-i Husain Shahi, is now in the Bharata 
Itihasa Samshodhaka Mandala, Pune. Husain led the alliance with the sultans of 
Golconda, Bijapur and Bidar which defeated the Hindu empire of Vijayanagara in 
January 1565. He died five months later. The Tarif praises Husain and his wife 
Khanzada Humayun, describes the defeat of the Vijayanagara army, but does not 
mention the sultan’s death. We conclude that the manuscript was produced in 
about 1565, between the sultan’s victory and his death. 

The text stresses the rule of both Husain and Khanzada Humayun. Such political 
prominence was rare for women in Islamic society in India and the Middle East, 
and female portraiture did not exist. Female figures in Persian miniatures are the 
heroines of poetic romance, not real women. The Tarif proves to be deeply 
unorthodox and highly significant, for the queen herself appears in six of its twelve 
illustrations! Five pages depict court life and one the ancient dohada theme: a tree 
bursting into flower at the touch of a beautiful and virtuous woman. In the five 
court scenes an indistinct form shares the sultan’s throne: it is a woman in an orange 


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oo AS oe eee 





ARCHITECTURE AND ART OF THE DECCAN SULTANATES 
















































































c. 1565 


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108 Sultan Husain Nizam Shah enthroned (Queen Khanzada Humayaun overpainted), 
folio from the Tarif-i Husain Shahi, Ahmadnagar 


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tie-died sari, the same figure as in the undamaged and exquisite dohada scene. 
Partly scratched away but still visible, perched on the sultan’s knee like the consort 
of a Hindu god, it must be Khanzada Humayun (Fig. 108). 

The portraits document her rise and fall, for, like the other two Muslim women 
who managed to rule India, Nur Jahan and Raziya Sultana, her fortunes ultimately 
suffered a terrible reversal. Painted into the manuscript in 1565, at the height of her 
influence, her figure must have been removed in 1569, when, after four years of rule 
as regent, she was imprisoned by her rebellious son, anxious to accede to his father’s 
throne. We further assume that the vandal, not realising that the heroine of the 
dohada page was also the queen, as the king does not accompany her, left it 
undisturbed. 

A drawing of Sultan Husain Nizam Shah viewing an elephant, clearly related to 
the Tarif; in the Salar Jang Museum, Hyderabad, and a remarkable painted and 
lacquered wooden box in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, are the only other 
works of art to have survived from Husain’s reign (Fig. 109). The trees, rocks and 
flowers on the box are painted with the exuberance so noticeable in Deccani work, 
and the dashing hunting and hawking figures have the facial types, squarish 
‘handle-bar’ moustaches and costumes of the Tarif 

This simple but vital style hardly prepares us for the next phase of Ahmadnagar 
painting with its noble and realistic figures, subtle psychological insight and 
astounding technical refinement. It is as if in one decade European painting made 
the leap from provincial daubings to the accomplishments of the Renaissance! 
Although we admit that much artistic production has certainly been lost, and with 
it the missing links between these two very different styles, it is undeniable that a 
sudden shift occurred immediately after the Tarif’ The sultans of Ahmadnagar 
turned their backs on primitivism and began to patronise painters who were in the 
artistic vanguard of the Islamic world: painters who were aware not only of stylistic 
and technical developments at the Safavid and Mughal courts but of those in far-off 
Europe as well. 

Two portraits of the sultan of Anmadnagar, both inscribed Nizam Shah, painted 
in about 1575, one in the Bibliothéque Nationale, Paris, the other in the State 
Library, Rampur, encapsulate this new sophistication (see Colour Plate 2 and Fig. 
110). Both are by the same anonymous hand whom we can call the Paris painter. In 
the first, the young king, with adolescent down on his cheeks but with a fully grown 
moustache, sits upon a gilded throne richly inlaid with mother-of-pearl. While he 
offers gold to a courtier on the left, a young page, wearing a childishly tied turban, 
runs up to the throne from the right to hand ‘pan’ to the king, the whole creating a 
tight psychological unity rarely achieved in more formal Mughal portraiture. In the 
Rampur picture the same king lounges on a canopied bed, gripping a cushion in the 
classical Indian pose of royal ease; the image — all sinuous curves — is a relaxed 
counterpoint to the official scene in Paris. 

We are inclined to identify the two royal figures as Murtaza I on three counts. 


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109 Royal figures hunting, side of a lacquered wooden box, Ahmadnagar, c. 1565 


First, his reign was the cultural zenith of the state, when the poets Zuhuri and Urfi 
emigrated from Iran to Ahmadnagar. Second, the king is very young, with his beard 
still not fully grown, an appropriate appearance for Murtaza in about 1575, the date 
we suggest for both works, when he was in his twenties, rather than for his brother 
Burhan who succeeded him in 1591 at the age of 35. Third, the style is close to very 
early Mughal paintings, especially to fol. 68b of the Ashiga manuscript, dated 1568, 
where we see a similar scene, though mirror reversed, complete with an enthroned 
prince and a short courtier running towards him. Mughal art of the 1590s, which 
some see as the source for the mysterious Ahmadnagar style, had already passed into 
a different phase by that date. 

A third painting by the Paris painter completes his known euvre (Colour Plate 


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0 Sultan Murtaza Nizam Shah relaxing, attributed to the Paris painter, 
Ahmadnagar, ¢. 1575 


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ut Running elephant, Anmadnagar, c. 1590-5 


3). It presents an adolescent prince of 12 or 13, wearing the transparent white coat 
and the gilt metal purse of Central Asian origin tied round his waist, both typical of 
Deccani costume. The prince rides through a fantastic landscape of undulating 
golden plants, while that magical ‘breeze’ so typical of later Deccani paintings wafts 
through his garments and the horse’s mane. In all three works the figures are tall 
and majestic, regally surrounded by abundant space. Their mood of noble gravitas 
upholds the humanism of the Indian figural tradition, especially apparent in Gupta 
sculpture of a thousand years before. Other details come from further afield. The 
singing lyrical line and sparkling surfaces — the gold sashes and turban are tooled to 
catch the light — are Persian refinements. Still other traits link this style to Europe. 
The effulgent gold background of the Paris and Rampur pages, stippled in black 


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around the human shapes, bears a striking resemblance to the conventions of 
gold-ground Sienese paintings of the fifteenth century which may have entered the 
Deccan through Portuguese Goa. 

A small group of superb line drawings, with some colour, belong to a slightly 
later phase of Ahmadnagar art, possibly the reign of Murtaza’s brother Burhan II. 
He had spent years of exile at the Mughal court, and it is not surprising that the 
style of these works reflects Mughal developments of about 1590. The Running 
elephant, in an American private collection (Fig. 111), has the dashing mood of many 
of Akbar’s illustrated manuscripts where the speed of the emperor’s actions are 
stressed, so unlike the majestically measured rhythms of the Paris painter. But even 
under Mughal influence there is a Deccani delight in the decorative potential of line 
and texture — the curling trunk, the mottled hide, the curvaceous tail — which 
dominates the image at the expense of those narrative values that so grip our 
attention in Mughal historical painting. 

In this respect the Royal picnic in the India Office Library, London, bows even 
further to Mughal example (Fig. 112). Whereas the Paris painter presented symbols 
of monarchy, first governing, then relaxing from the stresses of governing, here we 
have an almost excessive recording of the details of a picnic laid out for the sultan, 
probably Burhan Nizam Shah himself. Although the technique is refined and the 
composition brilliantly unified, we can hardly deny that many of the details are but 
spiritless adaptations of the Paris painter’s manner: the inlaid, but now preposter- 
ously ornate throne, the page handing the sultan ‘pan’, the feathery but now 
excessively curling sashes. We have seen them all before, rendered with considerably 
more vigour. 

The Royal picnic is probably by the same hand as the Running elephant, as the 
facial types are identical and the dark knots in the stippled tree trunk next to the 
throne are just like the cavity of the elephant’s ear, though lacking the latter’s 
vivacity. We can only conclude that Ahmadnagar’s rich artistic tradition was 
already showing signs of decay by the mid-1590s. 

The most touching work of this late period is the Young prince embraced by a 
small girl in the Edwin Binney 3rd Collection in the San Diego Museum (Fig. 113). 
We sense that the Mughals are at the gates; a feast is laid, sumptuous platters and 
flasks are spread out upon the floor, but only a young prince and his even younger 
sister attend the banquet. She timidly grips his arm. He grandly beckons her 
forward, but he is only a puppet, composed of elegant calligraphic lines, a Deccani 
variation of the typical Persian beautiful youth. His face and his costume — 
elongated sash, loosely tied turban and a metal purse hanging from a gold belt 
round his waist — reveal his Ahmadnagar origins. We cannot be sure of the subject 
of this enigmatic work. After Burhan’s death in 1595, there was a series of child kings 
whose reigns usually ended in murder, real power remaining in the hands of 
feuding regents. It may therefore portray one or the other of these unfortunate 
kings, pawns in the power struggle which preceded the Mughal conquest of 1600. 


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Ahmadnagar, c. 1590-5 


Royal picnic, 


12 


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113 Young prince embraced by a small girl, Anmadnagar, ¢. 1580-95 


NORTHERN DECCAN 


One of the obstacles to a fuller understanding of Deccani art involves the splendid 
group of late sixteenth-century ragamala paintings which, before 1983, were usually 
ascribed either to the court of Bijapur or, more frequently, to Ahmadnagar. Now 
that the court production of those two centres has come into clearer focus, we can 
safely refute such connections, but we are, nevertheless, at a loss to provide 
convincing alternatives. 

It is not even possible to establish the exact number of surviving ragamala 
pictures, for published accounts do not agree. Excluding the group which may have 
been in the now dispersed Roerich Collection in Bangalore — unpublished and 
unseen by the author — there may be as many as fifteen or sixteen pages. At present, 
however, only nine can be definitely accounted for: Peacock in a rainstorm at night 
(Fig. 114), Gauri ragini (Fig. 115), Hindola raga (Fig. 116), Sri raga, Patanasika 


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rte 


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114 Peacock in a rainstorm at night, northern Deccan, late sixteenth century 


ragini, Dhanasri ragini, Kamghodi ragini, Prince and ladies in a garden house and 
Malavi ragini. As there are enormous differences in format and quality, these 
surviving pages must represent several different hands — some applying paint in a 
most sophisticated manner while others are folk-level artists trying to adapt to a 
new idiom — and they certainly represent more than one ragamala. It is important 
to stress here these variations in quality, for in our opinion previous accounts have 
not sufficiently done so. The first three examples described here are among the most 
beautiful Indian paintings from any period, whilst the other six are decidedly lesser 
works, and even at times surprisingly rough in execution. 

The most dramatic is the fragmentary Peacock in a rainstorm at night, an 
extraordinary image, about two thirds of the original page, which uses black for its 
sombre setting (Fig. 114). The monsoon rains have begun. The male bird flies from 
tree to tree shrieking his mating call and startling tiny birds roosting in the luxuriant 
new foliage. As rain and peacocks invariably symbolise unrequited love in Indian 
painting and poetry, the missing portion probably contained a love-sick heroine 
whose lover has not come to their planned forest tryst. 

Gauri ragini is undoubtedly by a different painter (Fig. 115). Giant trees grow in 
sturdy circular masses, filled with leaves in repeating patterns. The girls’ tall, 


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THY SANA Seer ee aM 
sNRTETETTE : SESS NT SARG 








u5 Gauri ragini, northern Deccan, late sixteenth century 


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IRR AUMG TAG Sk MANA MART] OGL tli ee. 
ITAumMIyr% Se MATA = saa cAhs shee 
Se rare fanart: TAAR Te 
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116 Hindola raga, northern Deccan, late sixteenth century 


elongated bodies and simple profiles are repeated in Hindola raga (Fig. 116). Both 
works are probably by the same artist. His rich palette and monumental designs 
create an effect of glowing magnificence — like medieval European stained glass — 
quite different from the sinuous patterns of the Peacock. 


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Despite their differences, all these pages have an earthy directness, quite unlike 
the courtly atmosphere of most other great Deccani masterpieces. Some scholars 
have assigned them to Ahmadnagar, but their naive charm has nothing in common 
with the majestic humanism of that school’s great tradition of portraiture. However 
the strong colours and simple figures of the Tarif-i Husain Shahi, previously noted, 
do bear some similarity. 

Other scholars have suggested Bijapur as a provenance chiefly on the unconvinc- 
ing basis of Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah’s enthusiasm for music. Ibrahim actually 
wrote a book of Urdu songs, the Kitab-i Nauras, which contains numerous 
descriptions of ragas and raginis. However, the nine surviving ragamala paintings 
do not match any of Ibrahim’s descriptions. Their inscriptions, in crude Sanskrit 
and Persian, cannot possibly reflect the high cultural level at Ibrahim’s court where 
such major Iranian poets as Urfi and Zuhuri worked. Significantly, none of the 
paintings bears the slightest similarity to the style of portraiture known to have been 
painted at Bijapur. 

At present, circumstantial evidence suggests a provenance but cannot prove it. 
The lyrical but uncomplicated style implies the work of a brilliant innovator 
working at a provincial centre far from the courtly atmosphere of the Ahmadnagar 
and Bijapur capitals. The Sanskrit inscriptions suggest a Hindu patron. Within the 
whole range of Deccani art they most resemble the illustrations of the Tarif; which 
in turn bear some similarity to the illustrated cookbook entitled the Nimat Namah 
executed at Mandu, for the Khalji sultan of Malwa in the early sixteenth century. 
Hindu influences from Rajasthan are strong. Many semi-independent Hindu rajas 
lived in the northern Deccan, not far from Rajasthan and Central India, feudatories 
of the Muslim sultans of Ahmadnagar, Khandesh and Berar. We believe that one of 
these princes was the most likely patron of the ragamala paintings. 

A related style of painting — usually with Hindu subject matter and ever- 
increasing Mughal influence — continued throughout the seventeenth century in 
northern Deccani centres. Some of the patrons were doubtless local Hindu rajas; 
others were Rajasthani noblemen who served as officers in the Mughal army, for the 
fort of Ahmadnagar and most of the northern Deccan fell under Mughal control in 
1600. After that date the capital of the Mughal Deccan was shifted permanently to 
Aurangabad. 

Aurangabad became the centre of a hybrid Rajasthani-Deccani school of paint- 
ing. A now dispersed ragamala found at Ghanerao, an outpost of the Jodhpur 
kingdom in Rajasthan, and a Gita Govinda painted in an identical manner are the 
main examples of this style (Fig. 117). Both sets were thought to have been executed 
in Rajasthan until the discovery of an illustrated Rasamanjari, in a rougher version 
of the same style, containing a colophon giving the invaluable information that it 
was painted at Aurangabad in 1650 for a Mewari (and therefore Rajasthani) patron. 
The style is essentially Rajasthani but uses a cool Deccani palette of blue, pink and 
mauve that differs substantially from the warm colours typical of Rajasthani taste. 


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7 Lalita ragini, northern Deccan, c. 1650 


We therefore assume that the painters were Rajasthanis who, after having been 
taken south by their patrons, began of necessity to use locally available pigments. 
Vibhasa raga, a painting from a related ragamala, combines Rajasthani earthiness 
with the charm and lyricism of the Deccan (Fig. 118). 

At Burhanpur, as well, a school of painting may have developed in the mid- 
seventeenth century which brought together extravagant Deccani shapes with large 
areas of unmodelled colour typical of Malwa. A single ragamala set, now dispersed, 
is the sole surviving example of this hybrid style; one page painted in strange tones 
of black, pink, grey, blue and orange is in the Musée Guimet, Paris. Though the 
overall format resembles that of so many Malwa ragamala illustrations, the em- 
phatic shapes of flowers and creepers — and even the heroine’s profile — relate to 
Deccani traditions. 

Five folios of a ragamala set, formerly in the Khajanchi Collection, Bikaner, were 
painted in the northern Deccan in the second half of the seventeenth century under 
Mewari pictorial influence. They are now divided between the Bharat Kala Bhavan, 
Varanasi, and the National Museum, New Delhi. Two other pages from the set are 


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u8  Vibhasa raga, northern Deccan, c. 1675 


in the Kronos Collection, New York. Gambhir raga, a surrealistic image of a 
musical youth riding a giant fish in a lotus pond, of exactly the same dimensions, 
may be the eighth known page of this ragamala, though the hand responsible for it 
is considerably more fluid (Fig. 119). 


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second half of seventeenth century 


northern Deccan, 





ug Gambhir raga, 











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BIJAPUR: REIGN OF ALII 


Compared to the brilliant but deplorably scanty remains of painting from Ahmad- 
nagar and the northern Deccan, we enjoy a surprising abundance from Bijapur. 
Although this body of material is still infinitely smaller than what survives of 
Mughal and Rajasthani art, it is just enough to reveal the presence of several 
extraordinary hands. Each of these painters, whilst working within the general 
confines of the school, managed to project a strongly personal vision. 

These remarkable developments belong almost entirely to the reigns of Ibrahim 
Adil Shah II and to a lesser degree to the reigns of his successors during the mid to 
late seventeenth century; before the last two decades of the sixteenth century 
Bijapuri painting was a decidedly modest affair. In fact absolutely no painting can 
be ascribed to Bijapur before the reign of Sultan Ali Adil Shah I. This ruler was 
certainly a man of culture and patron of the arts, for Rafi uddin Shirazi, an émigré 
Iranian and author of the Tazkira al-Mulk, a history of the Bijapur kingdom up to 
1612, says that Ali I ‘had a great inclination towards the study of books and he had 
procured many books connected with every kind of knowledge, so that a coloured 
library had become full. Nearly sixty men, calligraphers, gilders of books, book 
binders and illuminators were busy doing their work the whole day in the library’ 
(Joshi 1955:97). 

The references to a ‘coloured’ library and ‘illuminators’ (could they be painters 
or simply decorators?) are vague and do not give any precise information. Never- 
theless, we can with assurance attribute a certain number of paintings to Ali’s 
patronage. The most significant are in the manuscript entitled the Nujum al Ulum, 
or Stars of Science, in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin (Fig. 120, see also Fig. 173). 
This book touches on various subjects, chiefly connected to astrology and magic. 
The number of miniatures totals 400, or approximately 780 if zodiacal signs are 
included. Some occupy a full page while others are mere marginal decorations. The 
subjects of the illustrations vary enormously: angels, the signs of the zodiac, 
talismans, sorcerers, the invocation of spirits, constellations, the celestial levels, 
processions, demonesses, animals and weaponry. The manuscript is one of the few 
dated landmarks of Deccani painting. A date equivalent to 1570-1 appears twice in 
the text and also in a simplified colophon on the last page. A note by a former owner 
within the text stating that the book once belonged to Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah H, 
calling him by his self-bestowed title of jagat guru, or world teacher, suggests but 
does not prove a Bijapur provenance. 

In general the style of the illustrations is close to that of the Tarif-i Husain 
Shahi from nearby Ahmadnagar. Female figures, especially, conform to South 
Indian ideals of beauty with tall majestic bodies, massive gold jewellery and belts 
(worn over saris) and enormously elongated eyes. It is in the male figures that we 
see the first inkling of Mughal influence on Deccani art: costumes, turbans, 
postures, as well as the convincing suggestion of mass and vigorous movement, 


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i 


120 Mother and child, page from the Nujum al Ulum, Bijapur, dated 1570-1 


owe an enormous debt to the pictorial innovations of the early Akbari school. 

Only two other illustrated books can be attributed to Ali’s reign. One on music 
and dance, entitled the Javahir al Musigat-i Muhammadi, is in the British Library. 
It contains forty-eight paintings in a crude version of the Nujum style and a 
perplexing dedicatory note on fol. 4a to Sultan Muhammad Adil Shah. This note 
must have been written later than the illustrations, considering the latter’s thor- 
oughly sixteenth-century style. The second work, also on a musical theme, is a 
Marathi commentary on Sarangadeva’s Sangita-Ratnakara in the City Palace 
Museum, Jaipur. It contains four miniatures closely related to both the Nujum and 
the Javahir style, but more energetic and closer to a Deccani folk idiom, with little 
Islamic flavour. One painting, executed in a rapid sketchy manner, perfectly 
captures the excited rhythms of the Indian dance. 


BIJAPUR: REIGN OF IBRAHIM II 


Contemplating the rich bounty of nearly seventy miniatures which have come 
down to us from late sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Bijapur is like throwing a 
window wide open upon an enchanted world. No doubt Ahmadnagar and north- 
ern Deccani pictures are equally magical, but merely a fraction of the original 


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production of those two kingdoms has survived the vicissitudes of history. From 
Bijapur, brooding landscapes and idealised forms intrigue us in abundance, no less 
through expressive line and colour than by the noble, introspective expressions of 
the human figures depicted. 

The mystical temperament of Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah II, the patron of the 
greatest of these works, gave a strong imprint to the production of the school. In 
certain ways, he reminds us of his older contemporary, the Mughal emperor Akbar. 
Just as Akbar transformed Mughal art, Ibrahim elevated Bijapur painting to a level 
of expressive power and technical refinement that rivalled the greatest Mughal and 
Safavid works, but with an atmosphere of mystery that had no place in the classic 
phases of the other schools. Ibrahim was a dreamer, with an almost morbid 
sensitivity to art and music. He was the product of a hybrid civilisation. It is hard to 
label him either a Muslim or a Hindu; rather he had an aesthete’s admiration for 
the beauty of both cultures. Hinduism fascinated him and, as already noted, he 
adopted the title of jagat guru, possibly emulating Akbar who founded a syncretic 
religion and placed himself at the head of it. Ibrahim wears a necklace of rudraksha 
beads, the dried berries worn by Hindu sages, in most of his portraits. 

Unlike Akbar, however, Ibrahim was not politically aggressive. His own writ- 
ings, and those of his courtiers, touch on artistic or mystical subjects, never on 
conquest or everyday affairs of state — the meat of Mughal historiography — so that 
we know much less about the Deccan than about the Mughal empire. The pensive 
and sometimes melancholy paintings he commissioned must have struck a respon- 
sive chord in this curious man’s soul. Less realistic than Mughal miniatures and 
laden with strong feelings, they suggest that emotion was everything for Ibrahim 
Adil Shah. 

A few Deccani accounts shed light on Ibrahim’s role as patron of the arts and the 
atmosphere at his court. The most revealing is the Seh Nathr (The Three Essays) by 
Zuhuri, the Persian poet laureate, and the Kitab-i Nauras, a collection of songs 
written by the sultan himself in Deccani Urdu. The Seh Nathris a trilogy composed 
of the Nauras (the Persian preface to the sultan’s Urdu work of the same name), the 
Gulzar-i Ibrahim (The Rose Garden of Abraham) and the Khan-i Khalil (The Table 
of the Friend of God). The first two essays praise the sultan and his talents while the 
third celebrates the members of his court. 

Zuhuri describes Ibrahim as an outstanding musician, painter and calligrapher 
and an energetic patron of the arts, keen to attract artists from the entire world: ‘No 
thorn in the path of Art ever pierced a man’s foot but he picked up gardens of 
flowers .. . from [Ibrahim’s] favour... [and] . . . had Egypts of sugar cast into his 
throat by the. . . [royal] . .. munificence’ (Ghani 1930:465). 

Zuhuri explains the mysterious word nauras, which cast a spell upon Ibrahim 
that lasted throughout his life, as a mixture of the ‘nine juices’, or emotional 
essences of Indian aesthetic theory. He points out that although Ibrahim is a virtual 
slave to all the arts, music is by far his first love. Zuhuri lists among Ibrahim’s six 


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courtiers, all outstanding men in their fields, the painter Farrukh Husain. Though 
nothing specific is divulged about Farrukh Husain’s style the description is 
glowing: 


The fourth [courtier] is Maulana Farrukh Husain: than whose painting nothing better can 
be imagined. The expert painters take pride in being his pupils, and having adopted the 
outline of his plain sketch as their model put their lives under obligation. From the sight of 
his black pen the green haired [the beautiful] have learnt wiles. The freshness of his painting 
has put the portrait of the beautiful to shame, and has thrown it into the whirlpool of . . . 
jealousy . . . That magical painter has put in motion the breeze which throws aside the veil 
from the face of the beautiful. (Ghani 1930:462-3) 


A certain amount of information can be gleaned from this passage. It is probable 
that Farrukh Husain was the master painter of the royal atelier at Bijapur and that 
he influenced the style of lesser artists working there. Moreover, he may have drawn 
outlines to which his followers applied colour, just as in the Mughal workshops the 
great masters drew outlines of figures and other painters coloured them in. Lastly, 
the very mention of a painter’s name amongst the sultan’s favourites proves the high 
status of some artists in Muslim India at this time, contrary to their relatively low 
position in later centuries. Such high rank certainly continued under Ibrahim’s 
successor Muhammad from whose reign a remarkable darbar scene has survived, 
celebrating the award of a special honour to one of the sultan’s painters (see Fig. 
131). 

Ibrahim’s own writings, gathered together under the title Kitab-i Nauras, offer us 
a glimpse of his unique personality and the religiously relaxed tenor of his court. In 
highly Sanskritised language he sings of his regard for Hindu deities, the ragamala, 
the pangs of separation when he has to leave, even for a moment, his favourite 
elephant Atash Khan and his tambur, or stringed instrument, Moti Khan. He 
showers equal praise upon Sarasvati, Hindu goddess of learning, the Prophet 
Muhammad and the Deccani Muslim saint Gesudaraz buried at Gulbarga. Perhaps 
the most astounding passage occurs in the 56th song where he describes himself as a 
Hindu god: 


In one hand he. . . [holds] a musical instrument, in the other, a book which he reads and 
sings songs related to the Nauras. He is robed in saffron-coloured dress, his teeth are black, 
the nails are red . . . and he loves all. Ibrahim, whose father is god Ganesh and . . . mother 
pious Sarasvati, has a rosary of crystal round his neck, a city like Vidyapur [Bijapur] and an 
elephant as his vehicle. (Ahmad 1956:146) 


Such songs almost certainly formed the subject matter of Bijapur painting. The 
portrait in the Naprstek Museum, Prague, for example, corresponds to this self- 
description, for Ibrahim is depicted holding his tambur Moti Khan, with a rosary 
round his neck, nails lacquered red and two elephants and a tiny cityscape — 
probably Bijapur itself — in the background (see Fig. 125). He appears in similar 
guise in nearly all other surviving portraits. 


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atone Me 5S Ces Haye) 2s 
121 Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah I, attributed to the Bikaner painter, Bijapur, 1590 


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Procession of Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah If, attributed to the Bikaner painter, 


122 


1595 


> 


Bijapur 


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Despite Zuhuri’s praise, Firishta’s historical chronicles and the sultan’s own 
songs, Ibrahim remains a mysterious figure — like his paintings. The precise 
accounts of the Mughal court do not exist for the Deccan, whose history remains 
the realm of fantasy and conjecture. And whereas Mughal painting clearly illumi- 
nates the Mughal world through realistically observed detail, Deccani art presents 
us with an exotic civilisation seen through the charmed mirror of poetry. 

The earliest painting of the reign is of a plump, rosy-cheeked youth wearing a 
conical turban and a splendid emerald necklace (Fig. 121). The elegant nastaliq 
inscription on the turban confirms that he is Ibrahim. Zuhuri repeatedly connected 
Ibrahim with the prophet Ibrahim, known as khalil, the ‘friend’ of God, and in fact 
entitled his third essay about Ibrahim’s court the Khan-i Khalil. It is not surprising 
then that the inscription reads: “He is Khalil. The oyster shell of the heavens 
contains nothing like thee. Faridun and Jan have no son like thee.’ 

The sultan’s sprouting facial hair — his moustache but not his beard is nearly 
fully grown — suggests an age of at least 16, or even older. The painting probably 
dates from 1590 when the king defeated his regent and assumed real power at the 
age of 19. 

The same artist, whom we can dub the Bikaner painter, was responsible for the 
portrait of Ibrahim walking with his courtiers, in the Bikaner Palace Collection 
(Fig. 122). With the opulence typical of Deccani taste, the figures are loaded with 
sumptuous scarves, robes and jewellery. The inscription on the verso in Rajasthani 
Hindi, added a century after the execution of the portrait, identifies the king as 
Ibrahim. It states that this picture — like many other paintings and objects in the 
same collection - was taken from the Deccani fort of Adoni by the Mughal 
besieger, Maharaja Anup Singh of Bikaner, and then checked into his collection in 
1691. As in the previous work, Ibrahim wears his tall, conical turban, his face is 
heavily shaded and the palette includes vivid blue, red, orange and abundant gold. 
The chief difference here is Ibrahim’s youthful infatuation with Hinduism. He 
now sports a luxuriant beard, hair tumbles out from behind his turban, and his 
necklace, though still of the same design, is no longer of emeralds but of rudraksha 
berries. In the earlier work he is still the pampered adolescent, while here he is a 
mystically inclined young man, long haired and indifferent to jewellery. From 
now on all his portraits depict him wearing this rosary of berries round his neck, 
just as he describes himself in the 56th song of the Kitab-i Nauras already referred 
to. 

By the early seventeenth century two broad stylistic strands had emerged within 
the Bijapur school. Some artists, keenly sensitive to Iranian taste, used the Islamic 
arabesque and the paradise garden setting to a lyrical effect rarely surpassed in the 
Middle East. Others, like the Bikaner painter, earthier and more Indian, chose 
instead the idealised human form as their means of expression. The culmination of 
this latter strand is the work of a brilliant artist whom we can call the Bodleian 
painter, after his Sufi receiving a visitor in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (see 


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Frontispiece). His achievements may be termed deeply humanistic in the sense that, 
as in many of the greatest works of European art, interest in the human condition is 
central to his vision. The dignified calm of his figures forms part of the classic phase 
of Deccani art. 

The Bodleian composition stuns us with its mood of total peace, surely a 
reference to the saint’s great piety. Sombre tonalities suggest the mysteries of the 
spiritual world. The sufi, with long hair and nails, receives the silent attention of a 
devotee while a pet white parrot perches in a tree. Nearby, four gilt alams inject a 
Shia connection. The bearded visitor, with a prominently hooked nose, wearing the 
white cloak of a penitent, humbly awaiting the saint’s blessing, strongly resembles 
portraits of Ibrahim Adil Shah. This picture may commemorate the important 
event of this sultan’s visit to a powerful dervish at a critical moment in his reign. 

The Bodleian painter was equally at home within the palaces of power. His Stout 
courtier in the British Museum, London, examines a veteran of politics (see Colour 
Plate 6). Clothed in the finest muslin robes and a Kashmiri shawl, he is undoubted- 
ly a man of action: proud, resolute and accustomed to giving orders, to judge by his 
face and stance. As in the Bodleian picture, there is an atmosphere of majestic 
stillness, as if our courtier is meditating upon some newly discovered truth. His 
hands are folded like those of the white-garbed penitent, the same plants line the 
bottom of the picture space, and a characteristic zone of shadow around the 
contours of each form gives the illusion of space and roundness. We discern the 
growing influence of Mughal portraiture which similarly isolates subjects against a 
void, but while Mughal portraits are often stiff, here textiles and plants sway with 
exotic rhythms. 

The theological side of Bijapur court life is represented by the Mullah in the 
India Office Library, London, also attributable to the Bodleian artist (Fig. 123). Asa 
member of the ulama, or interpreters of divine law, this figure was part of the 
orthodox Muslim establishment, opposed to the wild sufi we saw living in the 
jungle. The formal perfection of this scene has the qualities of a Chardin still life: 
shawl, beard, finger-ring, cane, irises and partridges balance each other in flawless 
harmony which gives this figure a tremendous, though lonely, dignity. 

The same artist’s portrait of Ibrahim in the British Museum shows considerably 
less interest in exploring the subject’s mood (see Fig. 2). Instead he aims to produce 
an effect of lyrical and seductive perfection. Ibrahim is like a puppet, but how 
beautiful are his raiments and how enchanting is his garden! His fingers are long 
and elegant, his eyes are almond-shaped and his feet are minuscule and encased in 
golden slippers. Although the work is uninscribed, the subject can hardly be anyone 
other than Ibrahim. The full beard, conical turban and necklace of rudraksha 
berries establish his identity, while the castanets in his left hand refer to his passion 
for music. Here, as in the other paintings, diaphanous robes sway, as if caught in a 
breeze, and the sultan extends the small finger of his left hand in the same gesture as 
the mullah holding the Koran. 


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123. Mullah, attributed to the Bodleian painter, Bijapur, c. 1610 


The Fighting cranes in the Musée Guimet, Paris, is the only surviving animal 
study by this painter of portraits (Fig. 124). The jewel-like flowers against the 
mysterious dark green background, the wind-bowed reeds and the thick white paint 
of the cranes’ bodies, now flaking, are characteristic of his work. All the paintings 
which can be attributed to this gifted artist, including the Fighting cranes, but with 
the exception of the Bodleian picture, are approximately the same size, averaging 17 
by 10 centimetres. Originally they may have formed part of a splendid Bijapur 
album which included portraits of the major figures at court. 

One of the greatest images in Indian or Islamic art is Lbrahim Adil Shah I 
hawking mounted in the St Petersburg album in the Institute of the Peoples of Asia, 
Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg (see Colour Plate 1). The sultan majestically 
rides his hennaed horse through a magical meadow of swaying trees and star-like 
flowers. Paint is applied to the surface in ‘pointilliste’ dabs. Rocks swarm with 
bizarre faces and animal shapes. An elegant nastaliq inscription just above the large 
tree on the upper right identifies the subject as a ‘portrait of the emperor Ibrahim 
Adil Shah’. A date of 1590 is likely, as the king has not yet grown a beard. 

The St Petersburg artist rivalled the Bodleian painter in power, but worked in a 
more Islamic style with a fondness for arabesque ornament, calligraphic line and 


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ONC Bisa 


124 Fighting cranes, attributed to the Bodleian painter, Bijapur, c. 1610-20 


paradise garden settings. His faces, as in Iranian art, show little emotion or 
individuality, but his ability to create an atmosphere of unparalleled rapture and 
fantasy more than compensates. 

He may be Farrukh Husain. An inscription above the horizon on the right edge 
of the picture space, almost cut off by remounting, gives the name of the artist 
responsible as Farrukh Beg, a well-known Mughal artist who worked for Akbar and 
Jahangir. Now it is quite possible that Farrukh Beg and Farrukh Husain are one and 
the same artist. However, it is also likely that this inscription was written at the 
Mughal court after the painting had left the Deccan prior to its departure for Iran — 
where it was incorporated in the eighteenth century into the album in which it is 
still located — for it was not the custom for Deccani paintings to bear signatures or 
written attributions to artists. As an inscription added to a painting far in time and 
place from its execution cannot be entirely reliable, we regard it with caution while 
not disputing its significance and possible veracity. 

The portrait of Ibrahim in the Naprstek Museum, Prague, is closely related (Fig. 
125). As he has now grown a beard, it must be later, c. 1595-1600. He plays his 
beloved tambur and wears the customary rudraksha necklace. The hint of a 
European distant vista, first noticed at the top of the St Petersburg painting, is here 
carried further. Trees are reduced in scale and executed in transparent washes of 
colour. The artist must have been familiar with European prints and oil paintings, 
which Ibrahim may have obtained from Portuguese Goa, a mere 250 kilometres 
from Bijapur. 


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© Sep 

















125 Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah I playing the tambur, Bijapur, c. 1595-1600 


This painting also bears important inscriptions. It has been pasted onto a folio of 
a Mughal album which once belonged to the emperor Jahangir. A Persian inscrip- 
tion on the folio identifies the king as ‘Ibrahim Adil Khan Deccani, governor of 
Bijapur’ and attributes the work to the hand of Farrukh Beg, painted in 1610-11. 
The fact that the inscription is Mughal not Deccani — the Mughals always referred 
to the Deccani kings as khans, or governors, not sultans or shahs — detracts from its 
reliability but, like the St Petersburg inscription, again raises the possibility that 
Farrukh Beg and Farrukh Husain are the same person. 

Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah II riding an elephant, by the same artist, is in a looser 
style probably because of its diminutive size (Fig. 126). The animal may be 
Ibrahim’s favourite, Atash Khan, whom he praises in the Kitab-i Nauras. Behind 
Atash Khan stands a smaller elephant, probably Chanchal, his mate. In this Iranian 
garden setting, European influences are strong: thin washes of colour at the top 
suggest a distant vista, earthy European colours have replaced Persian iridescence, 


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126 Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah II riding an elephant, Bijapur, c. 1600-10 


and the groom, in the lower right-hand corner, wearing European cape and knee 
breeches, has been taken from a Western source. 

Atash Khan lumbers through a meadow in another painting by the same hand 
(Fig. 127). Ethereal flowers and trees provide a delicate counterpoint to the animal’s 
great bulk. The groom, gracefully approaching the elephant with armloads of hay, 
wearing semi-European dress, derives from representations of Summer in six- 
teenth-century Dutch prints of the Four Seasons. This luminous meadow has as 
much in common with the backgrounds of Flemish paintings as with the gardens of 
Iranian art. 

A very small picture of a horse and groom in the Victoria and Albert Museum, 
London, continues this European-inspired theme and must again be by the same 
hand (Fig. 128). Compared to the previous four paintings, the main difference here 
is that the artist — we may call him the St Petersburg painter or Farrukh Husain or 
Farrukh Beg with equal justification — is clearly moving away from the highly 
finished style of his youth towards a freer, more abstract idiom. He now uses only 
the thinnest washes of colour for distant trees and constructs foreground plants 
with delicate dabs of paint. The picture may date from c. 1610, or later. 


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= 





127. Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah’s favourite elephant Atash Khan, Bijapur, c. 1600-10 


Another group of paintings, all by the same hand, formerly attributed to either 
Golconda or Ahmadnagar, can now be firmly placed within the Bijapur domain. 
They include the Yogini in the Chester Beatty Library (Fig. 129), the Siesta and the 
Ascetic visited by a yogini, both in the Islamisches Museum, Berlin (see Colour Plates 
4and 5), the Kiss in the Topkapi Saray, Istanbul, and the Madonna and child in the 
Freer Gallery of Art, Washington. All are developments of the simple yet bold style 
of the illustrations of a Deccani Urdu manuscript in the British Library, entitled the 
Pem Nem (The Law of Love). \ts Bijapur provenance is undeniable, for its author 
Hasan Manjhu Khalji describes in first-hand detail the city of Bijapur, Ibrahim Adil 
Shah, his tambur Moti Khan, his elephant Atash Khan and the Kitab-i Nauras. 

The hand responsible for the opening illustration, fol. 46a, is by far the most 
talented of the many painters who worked on the book. This page, which depicts an 
adolescent prince seated in a green meadow beneath a castle on a crag, in front of a 
dark-skinned yogini, is so similar to the Dublin Yogini that the same hand may be 
responsible for both. But whereas the former is merely illustrative and exotically 
pretty, with little real character, the latter haunts us with sinister enchantment: she 
is a real sorceress wearing extravagant jewels and whispering to a black bird, an evil 
omen. Fantastic plants undulate beside her. Her face is swarthy and Medusa-like. 


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128 Groom calming a horse, Bijapur, c. 1610 


The picture’s dark ambiguities may symbolise the seductive heresies that rivalled 
Islam for the allegiance of Ibrahim Adil Shah. 

The same artist, whom we can call the Dublin painter, executed a second 
masterpiece, now in Berlin, of a young prince dozing in a garden. The composition 
was dubbed the Siesta when first published many years ago, and the name has 
remained attached to it (see Colour Plate 4). Unlike the Yogini we see nothing 
malign here; this is only a sultry but elegant afternoon in the relaxed atmosphere of 
Ibrahim’s court. The art of living was obviously so important to the Deccanis that 
such ‘unserious’ pursuits became a major theme of art. It is as if the task of ruling 
and the stress of conquest which so obsessed the Mughals and provided the subject 
for so many of their paintings did not exist in the south. As the sleeping prince 
resembles Ibrahim when he was still beardless, the Siesta may be an idealised 
portrait of the sultan shown as a beardless youth, the conventional ideal of beauty in 
Persian literature, although the picture must date from the early seventeenth 
century. 

The Ascetic visited by a yogini, also in Berlin, is probably by the same artist a 
decade or so later (see Colour Plate 5). Shading has hardened into firm patterns, and 


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129  Yogini, attributed to the Dublin painter, Bijapur, early seventeenth century 


colours are darker. Gold and lapis lazuli are used more abundantly and the distant 
vista — so ethereal in earlier pictures — has now become crowded with figures and 
pavilions, suggesting the hubbub of the world which the saint had fled. He turns 
away from it, and also from the yogini, who, with palms together in the Indian 
gesture of adoration, tries to make the holy man into an object of worship. 

A similar theme is explored in Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah II venerates a learned suft 
(Fig. 130). The sultan humbly poses as the sufi’s servant, bearing a bejewelled water 


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130 © Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah LI venerates a learned sufi, written attribution to the 
painter Ali Reza, Bijapur, c. 1630 


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flask and a spittoon. This image reminds us of Ibrahim’s piety and attachment to 
dervishes, first suggested by the Bodleian picture. The fully rounded forms, rigidly 
architectural setting and heavily shaded faces look forward to trends in mid- 
seventeenth-century Bijapur painting and must, therefore, date from the last years 
of Ibrahim’s reign. The attribution written on the eighteenth-century mount to Ali 
Reza cannot refer to the Bikaner artist of the same name whose Rajasthani work has 
nothing in common with the style of this picture. 


BIJAPUR: REIGNS OF THE LATER SULTANS 


The partition of Ahmadnagar between the Mughal empire and Bijapur in 1636 
brought a large Mughal military force into the northern and central Deccan. 
Among the many Rajput princes serving as governors and officers in the imperial 
army were the maharajas of Bundi, Kotah and Bikaner. The successive maharajas of 
Kotah, for example, spent nearly all their lives in the Deccan during the seventeenth 
and early eighteenth centuries. Such grand princes brought their wives, relatives 
and servants. It is certain that painters accompanied them as well so that the 
maharajas could continue their role as patrons of the arts from the magnificent tents 
in which they lived. 

The proximity of so many Mughal and Rajput patrons and artists transformed 
Bijapur taste. Mughal art was relatively naturalistic: favourite themes were portrait- 
ure or the recording of real events, contemporary or historical. The artist’s name 
and the subject of the picture were often identified through inscriptions written by 
either the artist, the patron or a library clerk. The Deccani painter, who was up to 
then almost always anonymous, sought instead to establish moods and, therefore, 
shunned realistic colours and shapes. Portraiture was extremely popular, but 
conventional ideals of beauty won out over the physical likeness of the subject, who 
is, moreover, rarely identified in inscriptions. 

With the arrival of the Mughals and Rajputs, differences between the art of 
North India and the Deccan began to fade, though they never completely disap- 
peared. Mughal-style portraiture, with subjects placed against a stark background, 
restrained in line and colour, gained popularity. Most Bijapur painting from the 
reign of Sultan Muhammad Adil Shah retains the brilliant decorative sense of the 
Deccan, but the romantic atmosphere of earlier work declines. Nevertheless, the 
subjects’ expressive gestures and sidelong glances and the vibrant Deccani colours 
inject a vitality that is often lacking in northern art. Curiously, there is also a new 
interest in historical record as if the Deccanis were trying to challenge the victorious 
Mughals at their own game; several paintings of the mid-seventeenth century are 
signed and a few are even dated! 

Until recently there was very little evidence that Mughal artists had emigrated to 
the courts of the Deccani sultans. A painting in the Sidhu Collection in California, 
however, suggests that at least one Mughal painter — and a remarkably talented one 


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131 Darbar of Sultan Muhammad Adil Shah, inscribed as the work of Muhammad Khan, 
son of Miyan Chand, Bijapur, dated 1651 


at that — was working at Bijapur early in Muhammad’s reign (see Colour Plate 7). It 
is clearly a portrait of Muhammmad as a young man, as a comparison with the few 
inscribed portraits of this sultan proves. As he was born in 1613 and seems barely 
more than 20 years old here, we can date the portrait to about 1635. 


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The figure of the sultan is clearly modelled after the imagery developed for Shah 
Jahan and could only have been executed by an artist from the Mughal atelier. The 
sultan’s turban, belt and dagger, and even the posture of his body, are so like 
Bichitr’s famous portrait of Shah Jahan in the Victoria and Albert Museum, dated 
1632, that they could have been drawn from the same charba, or pounce, a piece of 
paper or thin vellum pricked with holes used for tracing. Our Mughal artist must 
have arrived in the Deccan shortly before executing this portrait, for he has 
assimilated nothing of the local style. Later Mughal input assumes a Bijapur 
flavour, as in the darbar scene of 1651 which has stronger colours and more vibrant 
lines (Fig. 131). 

The Sidhu portrait is probably an uneasy alliance of two artists from different 
backgrounds. The drawing of the sultan is coolly Mughal, but the colours are South 
Indian and rich, and above all the background is amongst the wildest and most 
mysterious in all of Deccani art. Muhammad wears a canary yellow shawl over a 
glistening gold and silver ikat coat and stands before a mauve sky. Star-like flowers 
sparkle at his feet. The bird-filled tree is painted in the local ‘pointilliste’ technique. 
The sultan listens to a parrot, considered in India to be capable of transmitting 
secrets. A conch shell lies at his feet, while by his side a pillar supports a porcelain 
cup and a glass carafe filled with blood-red wine. The image must have had a 
symbolic meaning understood by the initiated few at court and lost to us now. All 
these details, but especially the feeling of intense energy pouring out from the 
natural world behind the sultan’s cool facade, remind us of the brilliant artist who 
worked for Ibrahim II whom we have called the Bodleian painter. We believe a 
Mughal artist using a charba of Shah Jahan drew the face and figure of the sultan in 
the latest Mughal fashion. The Bodleian painter, prized for his ability to create lush 
romantic moods, coloured the figure and filled in the background. 

It is interesting to note the gradual absorption of northern influences. In the 
darbar scene of the same sultan in the Jaipur collection there is no longer a question 
of a purely Mughal figure against a purely Deccani landscape; instead we have a 
more integrated composition (Fig. 131). Although Mughal conventions are still 
strong in facial types and costumes, the rich palette of maroon, orange, bright blue 
and moss-green is Deccani. Moreover, the informal pose of the sultan on a bed-like 
throne, a traditional South Indian convention, and the expressive gestures of the 
nobles charge the scene with an energy that would be out of place in a Mughal 
picture. 

The Persian inscription on the scroll held by the courtier directly beneath the 
throne, which gives both the date and the artist’s name, is crucial for our recon- 
struction of the Deccani schools, as no other signed and dated work from before the 
late eighteenth century is known. The date corresponds to 1651. The courtier 
holding the scroll points exactly to the painter’s name, ‘Muhammad Khan, son of 
Miyan Chand’. His gesture reinforces the picture’s significance as a pictorial 
announcement of a royal grant to the artist and suggests that the figure in question 


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132 Sultan Muhammad Adil Shah and Ikhlas Khan riding an elephant, signed by Haidar 
Ali and Ibrahim Khan, Bijapur, mid-seventeenth century 


is Muhammad Khan himself. If he is the artist, then this is one of the very few 
Indian self-portraits. It strongly implies that the master painters at Bijapur enjoyed 
prestigious positions at court, similar to the rank held by Farrukh Husain earlier in 
the century at the court of Ibrahim I, for the artist’s jewellery and robes are as 
sumptuous as those of the other courtiers. 

Muhammad Khan obviously specialised in court portraiture for his hand is 
noticeable in paintings in the India Office Library, in the British Museum, in the 
Jaipur Collection and in the collection of Edwin Binney 3rd. According to the 
inscription, revenue from the town of Tib [?] will provide the painter with a daily 
income of half a hun, the currency used in South India and the Deccan. A second 
Persian inscription, obscured by repainting, is barely visible between the skirt of the 
throne and the great floral meander at the bottom of the painting. It also attributes 
the painting to ‘Muhammad Khan, son of Miyan Chand’, and can be deciphered 


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only because it is identical to the undamaged inscription on another portrait of the 
same sultan in the Jaipur Collection. 

Most of the other courtiers are not easily identifiable because of the rarity of 
inscribed Bijapur portraits. The noble standing behind Muhammad Khan is Sayyid 
Nurullah, who appears opposite the sultan in a double portrait in the tiny Divan of 
Urfi, dated 1636, now in an American private collection. The stout, dark-skinned 
courtier gesturing towards the king is definitely the African vizier, Ikhlas Khan, who 
dominated both his feeble master and the kingdom. The noble holding the turban 
pin across from the sultan is shown in an identical pose in a painting in the India 
Office Library, though we do not yet know his name. 

Muhammad Khan’s work, undeniably competent, informative and colourful, is 
staid in comparison to the portrait of Muhammad Adil Shah and Ikhlas Khan, his 
Habshi vizier, astride a richly caparisoned elephant, in the Sir Howard Hodgkin 
Collection, London (Fig. 132). We are immediately struck by the fluid contours of 
the animal’s body and the magnificent colours: the background is vivid blue, Ikhlas 
Khan wears a silver-grey coat strewn with pink blossoms and the sultan is entirely 
dressed in gold, the surface of his robe pricked with a stylus to catch the light. We 
are reminded of earlier portraits from Ibrahim’s reign, though now Mughal 
precision and restraint have replaced the earlier mood of fantasy. 

An inscription running up the lower left-hand side of the page, written in elegant 
gold naskh, gives the names of two hitherto unknown artists: Haidar Ali and 
Ibrahim Khan. We know for certain that at the Mughal court some painters 
specialised in drawing outlines, others in colouring those outlines and still others in 
painting faces. This inscription suggests a similar arrangement at Bijapur, but we do 
not yet know which portion of the work was allotted to which artist, information 
usually included in Mughal inscriptions. A portrait of this sultan’s grandson, 
Sikandar, in the Custodia Collection, Paris, also bears a written attribution to two 
artists, one of whom is Ibrahim Khan, but again the inscription fails to inform us 
about the precise division of labour. 

The most ambitious work to have survived from the reign of Muhammad Adil 
Shah is a large drawing touched with colour and gold depicting an assembly of what 
must have been a large part of the Bijapur court (Fig. 133). The sultan performs 
religious rites in a grand chamber before a sanctuary richly hung with flowers 
containing a golden casket inscribed with the names of Allah and Muhammad. At 
the sultan’s feet lies a dhup-dan, or incense burner, loaded with burning sticks that 
perfume the hall. Some forty-two courtiers stand in a circle around the sultan, 
including Ikhlas Khan. A curious dervish behind the sultan wears a conical hat 
inscribed with holy names. Most of the notables stand in rigid poses of religious 
propriety with grave expressions on their faces; in fact the drawing is formal to the 
point of stiffness, a mood that may have been thought appropriate to the solemnity 
of the occasion. Some nobles, however, implore the sultan with open mouths while 
others cry out with pious fervour. One man even faints away in ecstasy. A tiny 


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133 Sultan Muhammad Adil Shah and courtiers performing religious rites in the Asar 
Mahal, signed by Abdul Karim, Bijapur, mid-seventeenth century 


inscription on the open book held by the third figure below Ikhlas Khan gives the 
painter’s name, Abdul Karim. 

The casket in this painting is probably the famous reliquary containing hairs 
from the Prophet’s beard enshrined in the Asar Mahal, the immense palatial relic 
house just outside the citadel at Bijapur. The tall ribbed pilasters, the large ogivally 
arched windows and the lattice-work above the windows are still clearly recognis- 


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able in the interior of the actual edifice. The ceremony depicted must be the annual 
viewing of the Prophet’s hairs, the most significant Muslim festival at Bijapur, even 
today. The flower-decked sanctuary, the incense, the assembly of the court and the 
decoration of the chamber strewn with superb Iranian and Indian carpets — still 
kept in the storeroom of the shrine and in the local museum ~ are all appropriate for 
the celebration of this event. It is curious how Deccani taste moved away from the 
fantasy of the pictures done for Ibrahim II to the almost excessive recording of 
detail of this painting without ever accepting the restrained realism of Mughal art. 

Two Bijapur flower paintings, very different from one another, exemplify 
Muslim delight in floral and abstract design in preference to figural art. The floral 
fantasy in the Sidhu Collection, composed of delicate palmettes, flame-like sprouts 
and Timurid-inspired lotuses, explodes with the rhythm and energy of the tradi- 
tional Islamic arabesque (Fig. 134). It has more in common with the taste of 
Ibrahim’s reign than that of Muhammad’s era. The great floral vase in the Hodgkin 
Collection is, on the other hand, characteristic of mid-seventeenth-century Bijapur 
(Fig. 135). (It may be compared with the gold and lapis vase designs in the murals of 
the Asar Mahal at Bijapur; see Colour Plate 12.) Moreover, the fine border of a 
portrait of Ali Adil Shah II in the Barber Institute, Birmingham, is by the same 
hand as the Hodgkin vase, with similar floral medallions and an identical use of 
deep maroon with blue, rare colours seen also in the Darbar of Ali Adil Shah IT of c. 
1660 (Fig. 137). 

Considering the taste for abstract art throughout the Islamic world, it is not 
surprising that connoisseurs in Turkey, Iran and India greatly admired marbled 
paper and marbled paper drawings. Martin (1912:93-4, 106-8) attributed the 
greatest examples of this craft to Ottoman Turkey, and rightly suggested that the 
‘colours must have been applied while the paper was wet, since the paper is 
completely saturated with them’. He mentions the brilliant, variegated colours, the 
outlines “enhanced by gold lines drawn by a hand that even the greatest European 
decorator would have envied’, the Turkish love for this expensive paper, and its 
great rarity, so sought after that few collectors were willing to part with it. The 
prestige of marbled work has recently been confirmed by the discovery of two 
superb pages of Timurid marbled paper, inscribed in a fine divani hand, now in the 
Kronos Collection, New York. They are decorated with matching ‘chinoiserie’ 
patterns evoking weeping willow branches, outlined in gold. The inscription states 
that they were among the presents sent from Iran to Sultan Ghiyathuddin Khalji of 
Mandu and entered into the royal library on 1 August 1496. This craft, which today 
would be considered a minor art form, was deemed worthy of special historical note 
in Islamic India. 

There is strong evidence that most of the surviving marbled drawings with 
human or animal figures, including those first published by Martin, were executed 
not in Iran or Turkey but in the Deccan. Some of the best examples are either still in 
Deccani collections, or were acquired in the Deccan. Where human figures occur, 


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134 Floral fantasy, Bijapur, first half of seventeenth century 


their faces and costumes are typical of Bijapur in the mid-seventeenth century. The 
mauve, blue and yellow clouds in the background of so many Deccani pictures, 
often painted in turbulently swirled patterns, resemble the patterns of marbled 
paper, as in the Deer hunt (Fig. 139). Finally, the marbled paper so often used in 
Deccani manuscripts for end papers and the margins of paintings is of the same 
variety as in the marbled drawings. 

The finest surviving example is the Starving horse harassed by birds, in a private 
collection (Fig. 136). The subject symbolises the lower instincts of human nature 
which the mystic must ‘starve’ to attain spiritual progress. Here, in a moving way 
that astonishingly transcends the merely decorative nature of the craft, blood oozes 
from marbled wounds between golden ribs, combining pathos and preciousness in 
a most poignant manner. 

The integration of Mughal and Deccani stylistic elements continued during the 
reigns of Ali II and Sikandar Adil Shah, but new aims became apparent. Portraiture 
retains its popularity but there is a reassertion of local decorative values and a 


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135 Floral vase, Bijapur, c. 1650 


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136 Starving horse harassed by birds, marbled paper drawing, Bijapur, 
mid-seventeenth century 


rejection of Mughal realism. Line becomes more playful, with a typically Deccani 
spring. Eyes become larger and sweep gracefully upwards, as in the eighteenth- 
century Kishangarh school of Rajasthan, the artists of which may have learned this 
mannerism from Bijapur. Rich colours reappear, elegant gesturing becomes the 
rule and Mughal formality yields to Deccani romanticism. In short, pattern and 
ornament reassert their earlier importance over narrative values. It is clear that as 
Bijapur reeled under Mughal aggression, the arts achieved a new brilliance. 

The Darbar of Sultan Ali Adil Shah IT in the collection of the late Dr Moti 
Chandra, Bombay, uses the conventions of the Jaipur picture of 1651 (see Fig. 131), 
but far surpasses it with its daring colour and rhapsodic line (Fig. 137). The earlier 
work is historical record, the later one a statement of cultural and psychological 
realities, and therefore much more original. In part it is a picture of the vivacity of 
youth, for the sultan appears to be in his early twenties, an age that would provide a 
date of c. 1660. 

The courtier holding the scroll to the right of the sultan is a Hindu, as he wears a 
caste mark on his forehead. The only Hindu nobles at court were the Maratha chief 
Shahji and his renegade son Shivaji. Shahji organised a truce between Ali and his 
son in 1661 which lasted three years. The painting may represent the reconciliation 


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1337. Darbar of Sultan Ali Adil Shah II, attributed to the Bombay painter, 
Bijapur, c. 1660 


of the three men. The nobleman with the scroll may be Shivaji, holding the royal 
firman pardoning him for his offences, while the white-bearded dignitary at his side 
may be his father. 

A likeness of Ali shooting an arrow at a tiger, in a private collection, is by the 
same artist, whom we can dub the Bombay painter (Fig. 138). The sultan is shown 
in the stance of royal prowess, like royal figures slaughtering beasts in ancient 
Achaemenid and Sassanian art, oddly enough more clearly ‘remembered’ in seven- 
teenth-century India than in Iran. His radiant face, giant size and sparkling lapis 
lazuli turban all contribute to the emblematic effect. Torn at the bottom, the 


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138 Sultan Ali Adil Shah II shooting an arrow at a tiger, attributed to the Bombay 
painter, Bijapur, c. 1660 





139 Deer hunt, Bijapur, c. 1660-70 


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140 Sultan Ali Adil Shah II with a courtesan, Bijapur, c. 1660-70 


picture probably lacks about one third of its original surface. Just beneath the bow is 
the curved golden tail of a missing mythological beast, probably a griffin, upon 
which Ali originally stood. 

The great Deer hunt in a private collection possesses a similar heroic mood, 
retaining the poetry of early seventeenth-century Deccani art (Fig. 139). Two 
princes, the first dressed in mauve riding a white horse, the second in maroon on a 
blue stallion, advance majestically towards a herd of deer which bolt in utter 
confusion. Facial types, costumes and the domed building in the upper left 
conform to Bijapur conventions. What really elevates this scene of man preying 
upon animals is its setting. Above a jagged horizon, windswept trees punctuate a 
sombre sky, beneath turbulent clouds like the curious designs of marbled paper. We 
seem suddenly to be witnessing not a mere hunt but a ritual slaughter, performed to 
the thunderous din of an approaching storm. 

The unfinished Sultan Ali Adil Shah II with a courtesan depicted beneath a 
garden canopy strikes a profoundly different mood though it was executed by a 
closely related artist at about the same time (Fig. 140). Botticelli-like, it celebrates 
the charms of love and beauty with no sinister undertones. Ali grasps the arm of his 
indolent lover while spring breezes caress a perfect garden; mango trees blossom on 
the right of the tent while others bear mature fruit on the left. Some areas, like the 
garments and the vegetation, are fully completed, while other areas — the figure of 


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the sultan for example — still await the finishing touch of the artist. Several 
eighteenth-century Hyderabad paintings survive which are more formal but still 
charming versions of this delightful picture. 

Painting continued in much the same mould under Sultan Sikandar who came 
to the throne at the age of 4 and who was deposed by the Mughals at 18. 
Considering his youth and the constant civil strife leading to the Mughal conquest, 
it is perhaps unwise to ascribe artistic patronage to the king himself. Probably the 
great nobles, increasingly independent at their jagirs, or estates, employed import- 
ant painters who may have been fleeing the capital at this time. At any rate, only a 
few pictures can be attributed to the last two decades of independence. One is an 
accomplished portrait of Sikandar in the Custodia Collection, Paris, which bears a 
Persian inscription attributing the work to the artists Abdul Qadir and Ibrahim 
Khan. The name of the latter artist also appears in second place on the portrait of 
Sultan Muhammad Adil Shah and Ikhlas Khan riding an elephant, painted a few 
decades earlier (see Fig. 132). A more ambitious work is the Sultans of the Adil Shahi 
dynasty in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. Although such genealogical 
pictures, portraying the ruling members of the dynasty seated together, are known 
from Mughal India — the most notable being the Emperors and princes of the House 
of Timur in the British Museum — this is the only royal example from the Deccan. 
Sikandar is shown as a very dark-skinned child of about ro or 12, much as he appears 
in the Paris portrait. 


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MINIATURE PAINTING: 
GOLCONDA AND OTHER CENTRES 


GOLCONDA 


Both the character of Golconda painting and the problems involved in reconstruct- 
ing its history differ considerably from those of other Deccani schools. Neither the 
austere compositions nor the majestic human figures of Ahmadnagar are present; 
nor do we encounter the mysterious and romantic world represented in Bijapur art, 
so far removed from everyday reality. Instead, close ties with Safavid and Mughal 
art continued throughout the history of the school. Although the Qutb Shahi 
sultans enjoyed exotic diversity in the paintings they commissioned and employed 
painters from all over India, Iran and Central Asia — who continued to paint in 
variants of their original styles — Safavid influence was paramount. This meant that 
Golconda art was always less humanistic than other Deccani schools: figures are 
closer to the glorious dolls of Safavid illustration and, therefore, possess less mass 
and naturalistic expression than is usual in the arts of India. 

The Middle Eastern orientation of Golconda painting can be partly explained by 
the ethnic origins of the ruling house which was descended from the Qara Qoyunlu 
(Black Sheep) Turkman sultans of western Iran and Anatolia. They were forced to 
emigrate to India in the fifteenth century and must have continued similar patterns 
of artistic patronage in the subcontinent, attracting above all Persian artists and 
writers to their court. 

The heterogeneous nature of the school makes it very difficult to chronicle. As 
only a fragmentary portion of the original output has survived, great Golconda 
pictures seem like isolated peaks of genius, bearing little relation to one another. 
Every phase of Safavid art has its reflection at Golconda. To complicate matters, by 
the second half of the seventeenth century we begin to discern reciprocal Indian 
influences on Iranian art emanating from both the Mughal and Deccani traditions. 
The Persian artists Shaykh Abbasi and Muhammad Zaman were especially respon- 
sive to Deccani design; the mysterious painter Rahim Dakani — whose name of 
course suggests a Deccani connection — worked in a style which would have been 
equally at home in late seventeenth-century Isfahan or Golconda. 

Despite links to Iran, a local flavour inevitably developed. Both native and 
foreign artists must have often worked side by side and influenced each other’s 
work. They must also have used locally available pigments so that the characteristi- 
cally fiery palette of Golconda developed, mainly lilac-pink, coral-red and tur- 
quoise-blue. Both abstract ornament and figural scenes have a seething vitality of 


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ie OF : RAS ag a ERP NAS : 


141 Angels bearing trays, detail of frontispiece of the Zakhira-i Khwarizmshahi, 
Golconda, dated 1572 


line and composition and occasionally an Indian feeling for mass that is fundamen- 
tally un-Persian. Instead, we are reminded of the pulsating rhythms of the Indian 
dance and the dense stone figures on the facades of South Indian temples. In short, 
despite Persianate taste, an underlying Indian sensibility is everywhere apparent. 

The earliest miniature paintings probably date from the reign of Ibrahim Qutb 
Shah, all in variants of Persian styles and not one equal to the masterpieces of the 
following reign. The manuscript of the Anwar-i Suhayli in the Victoria and Albert 
Museum, London, possibly dating from the Issos or 1560s, has 126 miniatures. It 
bears Qutb Shahi seals but no colophon. The vegetation is exuberantly lush, and 
the architecture depicted has Golconda traits. Related illustrated manuscripts are 
the Sindbad Namah in the India Office Library, London, and the Shirin and 
Khusrau in the Khudabaksh Library, Patna, though neither has a proper colophon 
mentioning a Golconda patron. 

We are on surer ground with the medical encyclopaedia entitled Zakhira-i 
Khwarizmshahi in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, for its colophon states that 
it was written at Golconda in 1572. There are no illustrations, but the double-page 
frontispiece has superb simurghs attacking leonine dragons and flying angels 
bearing trays and tambourines, all amidst seething arabesques (Fig. 141). The 
simurghs and dragons are similar in form and spirit to those of a great Golconda 
dagger (see Fig. 169). 


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Deccani tradition affirms that the next sultan, Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, was 
as important a patron of the arts as his contemporary at Bijapur, Ibrahim Adil Shah 
Il. Few paintings survive from Muhammad’s reign, but those which do are 
extraordinary Golconda variations on Persian themes. Nearly all are contained in a 
sumptuous manuscript of the sultan’s own Urdu verse, the Kull/iyat, in the Salar 
Jang Museum, Hyderabad, so lavishly illuminated and illustrated that it must be 
Muhammad Quli’s own copy. The quality of his poetry establishes him as India’s 
first great Urdu poet. 

The first six miniatures sparkle with tooled gold surfaces, iridescent colours and 
applied areas of marbled paper. They embody more than any other work the 
richness — some would say the excess — of Golconda taste. They are all by the same 
hand which, although profoundly influenced by Bukhara styles, exhibits strong 
Indian traits. The first miniature, fol. 5a, depicting a polo match, has facial types 
which derive from Deccani conventions. In the second page, fol. 12a, a man servant 
at bottom left, opening a ewer of wine, again shows Deccani traits. The fourth 
miniature, fol. 29b, swarms with life. King Solomon sits on his throne surrounded 
by animals who glance and growl at each other, and strange grotesque masks munch 
on the leafy border! A simurgh, made of applied marbled paper, flies by. In the fifth 
illustration, fol. 53b, angels shower a prince with jewels as he observes a dance 
performance (Fig. 142). The angels’ wings are of marbled paper. The paint surface is 
so thick that it has crackled like porcelain, and in some areas the details are in relief. 
The ladies seated at bottom right resemble figures in early Mughal art. 

We believe that this artist is Indian, although he has absorbed much from Safavid 
and Bukhara example. The restraint of Persian art is noticeably absent in his work, 
though present in the last two illustrations of the book, fols. 93a and 97b, both 
probably by a Bukhara émigré painter. Sober in his use of line and colour to the 
point of dullness, he proves himself an artist of little originality. 

Few other paintings can be attributed with certainty to Golconda during the late 
sixteenth or early seventeenth centuries. The tiny Prince and an ascetic in the Freer 
Gallery, Washington, signed by Jan Quli, has recently been attributed to Bijapur, 
but displays Golconda characteristics in its colouring and in its architectural details 
such as the intersecting arcade over the garden gate. The Composite horse and the 
Tree on the island of Waqwag, both in the Islamisches Museum, Berlin, also show 
Golconda traits. The Prince hawking in the India Office Library, the Young prince 
riding a horse in the Mayer Institute, Jerusalem, and the Two Jovers, in the Harvard 
University Art Museums, Cambridge, are probably Golconda versions of Bijapur, 
Ahmadnagar and Safavid pictures, respectively. 

We are on surer ground with a portrait of Sultan Muhammad Qutb Shah, in a 
private collection (Fig. 143). Dressed in a white muslin jama sumptuously bordered 
with gold, he ambles through a garden against a jet-black background. Although 
the figure’s rigidity suggests a date three or four decades after the sultan’s death in 
1626, there is still considerable poetry: the sultan seems not of this world, but as 


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142 Dancing before a sultan, fol. 53b of the Kulliyat of Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb 
Shah, Golconda, c. 1590-1600 


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Se = By 


143. Sultan Muhammad Qutb Shah, Golconda, second half of seventeenth century 


delicate as the rose he sniffs. The image contrasts profoundly with the Mughal 
portrait of the same king by the artist Hashim, inscribed in Jahangir’s own hand as 
‘a good likeness of Sultan Muhammad Qutb al-Mulk’, probably based on a lost 
Deccani original (Fig. 144). In the Mughal picture there is no feeling for the 
pleasures of the fleeting moment. Instead, Muhammad is rooted to the spot like a 
butterfly pinned down in a case. We sense the atmosphere of isolation and 
formality of a great imperial court, so much at odds with real human feelings. 
With the establishment of the Mughal protectorate during the reign of Muham- 
mad’s successor, Abdullah Qutb Shah, Mughal cultural influence at Golconda — as 
at Bijapur — rapidly increased. In the arts Mughal realism came to be just as admired 
as the Persian tradition. A great painter who worked for Abdullah late in his reign in 
a semi-Deccani, semi-Mughal idiom created a handful of extraordinary portraits of 
the sultan and members of the court (Figs. 147-50). None of these works is 
inscribed, but their subjects can be identified by comparison with the large number 


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144 Sultan Muhammad Qutb Shah, signed by Hashim, Mughal, c. 1620 


of small portraits of Deccani notables — usually coarsely painted against a plain 
green background — executed at Golconda for sale to European merchants and 
travellers. They often bear identifying inscriptions in Dutch, Portuguese, French or 
— more rarely — English. 

But before dealing with the new realism, let us discuss a group of five miniatures 
executed at the beginning of Abdullah’s reign, c. 1630. Bound up in a Divan of 
Hafiz, in the British Museum, London, they have no illustrative connection with 
the text of the manuscript, nor with its other miniatures, which are in a metropoli- 
tan Persian style. 

One of the paintings, fol. 26b, securely establishes a new dating for the group 
(Fig. 145). Originally the paintings had been dated to 1610-20, then later to 
1586-90, and the royal figure identified successively as Muhammad Qutb Shah, 
then Muhammad Quli. More recently it has been shown that the courtier seated to 
the immediate left of the throne is Muhammad Ibn-i Khatun, prime minister to 
Abdullah. Ibn-i Khatun was elevated to the rank of prime minister and was allowed 
to sit by the side of Abdullah’s throne in 1629, so the sultan portrayed has to be 
Abdullah. Since he is still beardless and very young, the painting probably dates 


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Mx | 
a 
cathy 


145 Sultan Abdullah Qutb Shah watching a dance performance, Golconda, c. 1630 





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146 Darbar of Sultan Abdullah Qutb Shah as a youth, Golconda, c. 1630 


from c. 1630 when the king was 16 years old. Moreover, it bears strong stylistic 
similarities to Persian painting from Isfahan of the 1630s and 1640s rather than to 
any earlier period of Iranian art. 

Nowa close inspection of a darbar scene in the British Museum, presided over by 
an equally youthful king, reveals the same courtier, Ibn-i Khatun, sitting to the 
right of the royal throne, quite unmistakable with his white beard and heavy, black 
eyebrows (Fig. 146). He is very clearly sitting while all the other courtiers are 
standing. As the young sultan wears a red turban with a gold cross band, the same 
fashion worn by Abdullah in the painting inserted into the Divan of Hafiz, he must 
also be Abdullah at about the same age. 

This darbar scene is a Deccani interpretation of Mughal group portraits of the 
Jahangir period. But the artist, unlike his Mughal contemporaries, hardly explores 
the personalities of the various nobles or their relationships to one another. Instead, 
he seeks to create a convincing picture of royal splendour. Gold paint — for 


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i 


vd =e itil 
sarees pavemonedn “57S i 
eee! sya 





147 Procession of Sultan Abdullah Qutb Shah riding an elephant, Golconda, c. 1650 


clothing, jewellery, architecture and vessels — is applied with wild abandon. Never- 
theless, a new formality, derived from Mughal example, is beginning to take hold. 
The repetition of flower sprigs in the background and the strong symmetry of 
composition establishes an air of reserve radically different from the dreamily 
relaxed images of earlier Deccani kings (see, for example, Colour Plate 4). 

Only a handful of portraits of Abdullah have survived. One in the Ashmolean 
Museum, Oxford, depicts the king about ten years later, seated — again with 
considerable formality — on a garden terrace. Another, in the Victoria and Albert 
Museum, aside from its enchanting palette of gold, blue and green, is to all intents 
and purposes simply a Deccani version of the standard, single-figure Mughal 
portrait. 

The most exciting Golconda painting to have survived — the finest example of the 
new realistic mode and one of the outstanding masterpieces of Indian art — is the 
processional portrait of Abdullah on elephant back, accompanied by a tumultuous 
crowd of courtiers, pages, singers and musicians, in the Saltykoy-Shtshedrine State 
Public Library, St Petersburg (Fig. 147). With the surging composition typical of 
the Deccan, the artist has managed to record the bustle of a moving crowd, 
something the Mughal artist was usually incapable of achieving, resorting instead to 


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a sedentary mass of closely packed bodies with little suggestion of movement. 

Strong colour adds to the excitement of the scene: the sky is deep blue: the clouds 
are vivid orange. The central pavilion is gold, ‘studded’ in Golconda fashion with 
white, green and red dots meant to be jewels. The sultan, also dressed in gold, rides 
a saffron-coloured elephant while his attendants ride blue ones. Despite the 
complexity of the gesticulating figures, they blend into a satisfying decorative 
pattern, just as the carved figures on the walls of South Indian temples harmonise 
with structural lines. 

The realism of the portraits allows us to identity a few of the noblemen marching 
ahead of the sultan. The slim, round-shouldered man in the uppermost row nearest 
the king is Khairat Khan, an important minister from 1634 until his death in 1655. 
Shah Mirza precedes him. The portly figure in the middle row nearest the king is 
Mir Jumlah, conqueror of South India, who defected to the Mughals in 1656. This 
impressive painting may be dated to c. 1650, before the death of Khairat Khan and 
the departure of Mir Jumlah. 

Recently — almost miraculously, considering the rarity of great Golconda paint- 
ings — another work by this artist turned up on the London art market (Fig. 148). 
The subject was originally identified as the wedding procession of Sultan Abdullah 
Qutb Shah. Now, although this artist certainly worked for Abdullah, here he 
depicts the earlier king Muhammad Quli. The features of Muhammad Quli are 
well known from inscribed portraits done for European visitors to Golconda in the 
seventeenth century. The same sultan is famous in Deccani lore for having married 
a Hindu dancing girl named Bhagmati, and it is precisely this event which is 
represented here. The girl on his lap is definitely a Hindu, for she wears a 
prominent red tilak on her forehead. The attendants walking along with the royal 
couple have similar features, wear the same open sandals and form the same 
bustling throng as the royal followers in the St Petersburg procession. The delight- 
fully observed Hindu girls bearing gilt trays and vases behind the king, and the 
Hindu temples, complete with stepped pyramidal towers in local South Indian style 
in the upper right-hand corner, underline the ecumenical nature of the romance. 

A composite picture in the famous St Petersburg album in the Academy of 
Sciences, St. Petersburg, depicting an idealised Deccani sultan visiting a settlement 
of holy men in the deep countryside, is partly by the same Golconda painter (Fig. 
149). The realism of the figures is his, and the three ladies beneath the figure of the 
sultan have the same sense of movement and wear the same type of sandals as the 
groups of followers in the previous two pictures. 

A fourth painting, the likeness of a dark-skinned nobleman, in a private collec- 
tion, is by the same hand (Fig. 150). The complexion and features of this figure 
strongly suggest that he was — like Malik Ambar — a member of Golconda’s large 
Habshi community and probably a eunuch, since although he is not young he has 
neither a beard nor a moustache. He must have enjoyed a high position at court, to 
judge from his proud appearance, for eunuchs knew the secrets of the harem. 


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A ee ee SaaS Oa // 


148 Wedding procession of Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah and Bhagmati, 
Golconda, c. 1650 





149 A Deccani sultan visits holy men, Golconda, ¢. 1650 


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Younger, he is clearly visible in the St Petersburg procession, upon the small blue 
elephant behind the sultan, fanning the king with a long white scarf (see Fig. 147). 
In both pictures he wears the same white turban and dress, and his body is full of 
that elegant, forward movement that this artist so convincingly conveys. 

Doomed kings often seem extraordinary. We muse: “He was so promising. If 
only he had had more time.’ Such, I suspect, is our reaction to Abul Hasan, 
Abdullah’s successor and the last sultan of Golconda. Political and cultural events 
certainly took a strange turn when he arrived unexpectedly upon the scene. He was 
Abdullah’s son-in-law and had been living quietly in Gulbarga where he was a 
follower of the famous saint Shah Raju, direct descendant of Gesudaraz. When a 
dynastic squabble elevated Abul Hasan to the throne, Shah Raju accompanied him 
to Hyderabad where he exercised enormous influence at court. 

The new king appointed a Telugu brahmin, Madanna, to the post of mir jumlah, 
or prime minister. Hindu influence increased; Madanna gave key administrative 
posts to other Hindus, providing the orthodox Aurangzeb with an excuse for 
invasion. Royal firmans were issued for the first time in bilingual form, in both 
Persian and Telugu. Urdu, Telugu and Arabic literature began to be patronised 
with greater fervour than Persian by Abul Hasan, himself an ethnic Arab. Shah Raju 
wrote Urdu marthiyas, or dirges, in honour of the Shia martyrs, more than a 
century before these melancholy compositions gained popularity at Lucknow. 
Mughal historians accused the Golconda court of debauchery and heresy for these 
and other reasons. 

Deccani and European accounts are kinder to Abul Hasan, who bravely resisted 
Aurangzeb’s eight-month siege of Golconda and who seems to have been an 
unusually tolerant and gentle man. Abul Hasan’s sufi ideals were evident when 
Aurangzeb’s generals captured the fort. They rushed to his apartments and were 
surprised when the sultan, with composure, asked them to join him for breakfast 
which he was about to start, explaining how man must accept good fortune and 
adversity with equanimity as gifts of God, for God had first made him a beggar, 
then a king, and then a beggar once again! 

Though Deccani tradition maintains that Abul Hasan, nicknamed tana shah, or 
king of taste, was a great patron of the arts, few paintings can be ascribed to his 
court. But this lacuna may be the result of accidents of survival following the 
Mughal invasion. A few portraits of the king and his courtiers can be attributed to 
Golconda with certainty, continuing the tradition of Mughal-inspired realism 
which began in the preceding reign. However, a Persianate strand existed indepen- 
dently along side of it, adding Deccani fluidity of line, opulence and sensuality to 
what was basically a very formal, late seventeenth-century Isfahan idiom; some of 
these latter works bear the signature of Rahim Dakani. 

A likeness of Abul Hasan surveying the delights of his garden is in the Edwin 
Binney 3rd Collection, San Diego Museum (Fig. 151). Amidst trees and flowers, 
wearing a gold coat and shawl, shaded by a servant holding a shield — suggesting 


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150 African eunuch, Golconda, third quarter of seventeenth century 


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We Fae a. ean) 


1st Sultan Abul Hasan walking in a garden, Golconda, c. 1672-80 


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152 Shah Raju on horseback, signed by Rasul Khan, Golconda, c. 1672-80 


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that comfort was more important than warfare at this court — the sultan exudes a 
relaxed mood that contrasts with the earnestness of Mughal portraits. The strong 
sense of potential movement reminds us of the St Petersburg procession (Fig. 147), 
the Wedding procession of Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah and Bhagamati (Fig. 
148), A Deccani sultan visits holy men (Fig. 149), and the African eunuch (Fig. 150); all 
five paintings may be by the same hand. 

As Abul Hasan, who was born in 1646, is still a young man here, a date during the 
1670s, soon after he ascended the throne, is likely. His fur-collared, three-quarter- 
length coat — rather ill-suited to the heat of the Deccan — is present in all portraits of 
the sultan. It is exactly the same as that worn by his contemporary, Shah Suleyman | 
of Iran (1667-94). 

More or less contemporary is the remarkable equestrian portrait of Abul Hasan’s 
spiritual guide, Shah Raju, in a private collection (Fig. 152). In most representations 
of this saint in the diminutive albums made for foreign visitors to the Deccan his 
beard is grey. Here his beard is black, suggesting that this likeness was executed 
shortly after he moved to Hyderabad in 1672. Despite his realistically observed 
Kashmir shawl, the figure of Shah Raju is highly conventional. Not so his horse, 
whose taut muscles and steaming breath establish this artist as one of India’s 
greatest animalists. The finely written white naskh inscription in the lower right- 
hand corner identifies the painter as Rasul Khan. Related portraits of Shah Raju and 
his scholarly son, Akbar Shah Husaini, signed by Rahim Khan, are in the Edward 
Binney 3rd Collection. 

Not all Golconda painters felt comfortable working in the realistic style derived 
from Mughal art. Many came under the influence of the new Persian mode 
practised by Shaykh Abbasi and Ali Quli Jabbadar. Their work, representing a 
decisive break with the calligraphic subtleties of the sixteenth and early seventeenth 
centuries, shows signs of familiarity with the stiffly formal aesthetic of ancient 
Achaemenid and Sassanian stone carving, and, curiously, with contemporary 
European prints, apparent in a liking for heavy shading and thin washes of colour. 
The strength of this Iranian strand in Indian painting — first in the Deccan and later 
in several North Indian schools of the early eighteenth century — suggests that 
Shaykh Abbasi, or artists working in a similar style, had emigrated to the Deccan. 
However, recent claims by Welch (1985, 1997) that Shaykh Abbasi headed a 
Golconda atelier with his two sons Muhammad Taqi and Ali Naqi, and that Rao 
Jagat Singh of Kotah hired a Golconda artist at Aurangabad who became the major 
talent of the Kotah school in the early eighteenth century (dubbed the Kotah 
master), belong to the realm of conjecture. One discrepancy among many is the fact 
that Jagat Singh died in 1683, before the fall of Golconda in 1687 and the dispersal of 
its artists. 

The influence of the art of one country upon that of another is fascinating, for 
although motifs and techniques travel easily, the spirit of art does not. Deccani 
painting remained as different from Iranian painting as French art did from Italian, 


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153 Sleeping maiden, Golconda, last quarter of seventeenth century 


though the artistic impact of Italy on France and of Iran on India was enormous. 
For example, the drawing of a sleeping maiden in the Islamisches Museum, Berlin 
(Fig. 153) cannot be imagined without the example of Shaykh Abbasi and related 
Safavid painters. Nevertheless, the Persian’s dour restraint has disappeared; instead 
the Deccan’s brilliant decorative sense and easy evocation of life’s pleasure have 
totally taken charge. We sense the warm breezes, luxuries and languid pace of a 
tropical world. With delicate twists of loosened garments and an enigmatic smile, 
the girl is as voluptuous as the nudes of South Indian stone sculpture. 

The painted scenes on the top and four sides of a small varnished papier-maché 
box, probably a jewel casket, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, are more 
conventionally pretty (Fig. 154). The vignette on the top of the box depicting a 
sleeping princess dreaming of her absent lover is remarkably like the Berlin 
drawing. Meticulous draughtsmanship and rich colour evoke a mood of exquisite 
sensuality. The artist is certainly Rahim Dakani, for the work is identical in style to 
a lightly coloured drawing in the Chester Beatty Library which bears the inscrip- 
tion: ‘the work of the slave Rahim Dakani’. The use of the nisba “‘Deccani’ suggests 
that although this artist or his forbears were natives of the Deccan, he may have 


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154 Sleeping maiden, top of a lacquered jewel box, attributed to Rahim Deccani, 
Golconda, last quarter of seventeenth century 


been working elsewhere, perhaps in Iran. In fact, he may have been one of several 
Deccani artists active in Isfahan during the late seventeenth century, carrying back 
to Iran the synthesis of Indo-Persian styles achieved at Golconda. 

Two varnished pen cases in the Khalili Collection, London, decorated in a 
slightly more Persian style than the Victoria and Albert Museum jewel box and the 
Dublin drawing, suggest that the artist had trained in a Deccani mode as a young 
man and then shifted to a more Persian manner later in life. One of the pen cases, 
decorated with figures dressed in Indian costume, but lacking Indian suggestion of 
weight and volume, is inscribed with the characteristic signature (or attribution?) of 
Rahim Dakani; the other is unsigned, but certainly by the same hand, and bears a 
date equivalent to 1706-7. The latter has a more conventionally Persian design of 
birds and flowers with no human figures. Rahim may have painted both pen cases 
in Iran, late in his career, decades after the Victoria and Albert Museum box. His 
work is significant for the subsequent development of eighteenth- and nineteenth- 
century Iranian art, since Zand and Qajar painting closely follow the path he 
forged. 

Much wilder, and therefore more Deccani, are two painted and varnished leather 
book covers in the Sir Howard Hodgkin Collection, London, one of which is 
reproduced here (Fig. 155). They lack the restraint of Rahim Dakani and of Safavid 


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a be A 


S oA Raab 


cman rads 


Be 


155 Lacquered book cover, Golconda or Hyderabad, c. 1700 


art in general, and we are treated instead to remarkable designs of trees of life 
against a gold background, flanked by massive, flower-filled vases. Huge birds roost 
in the trees and outsized insects search for nectar, recalling Golconda painted 
cottons. The obsessive detail, the abundance of gold and the typically Indian 


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suggestion of mass create a delirious opulence characteristic of the best Deccani 
design. Although the book covers may date from after 1700, their style is essentially 
Golconda fertilised by Iran. 


MUGHAL HEGEMONY 


Aurangzeb’s conquest of Bijapur and Golconda was not as inimical to the arts as is 
generally assumed. He was an orthodox Muslim, but his only overtly hostile act in 
regard to art was to command all figural murals to be erased in the Adil Shahi palace 
in Bijapur. Aurangzeb was far too busy with warfare during the next two decades to 
exert any long-lasting effect on art. He halted for only four months at Hyderabad 
and was soon off in pursuit of the Marathas whom he now perceived as the chief 
obstacle to total conquest of the Deccan. 

The absence of the emperor from Hyderabad, locked in endless struggle with the 
Marathas in the western Deccan, unleashed centrifugal forces which provided 
opportunities both for the officers who had accompanied him into the Deccan and 
for the local nobility to amass considerable wealth and power. Many of these figures 
were able to transform their jagirs, or estates, into small hereditary fiefs and to begin 
to act as important patrons. A new rage for portraiture developed between the fall of 
Golconda (1687) and the emergence of the Hyderabad kingdom (1724) and this 
enhanced the prestige of these new princelings. Although this period has largely 
been ignored from an artistic point of view, so many extraordinary paintings have 
come to light that it can now be seen as one of the most exciting phases of Indian 
portraiture, all the more surprising as courts and ateliers were often small and 
remote, and times were unsettled. 

Hyderabad remained the greatest centre of the arts, for its Mughal governors 
were both cultured and semi-independent. After the fall of the city to the Mughals, 
three powerful governors ruled: Jan Sipar Khan (1688-1700), his son Rustam Dil 
Khan (1700-13) and Mubariz Khan (1713-24). Beneath them were the faujdars, or 
commanders, in charge of the thirteen great forts of the former Qutb Shahi 
territories. Potential patrons of painting then — even counting just Mughal officers 
— were plentiful. The shift in patronage from great urban rulers to lesser nobles in 
smaller centres accelerated during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centu- 
ries, occurring not only in the Deccan but in North India as well. This phenom- 
enon reflected the breakdown of the central authority which great Islamic princes 
had imposed upon much of India during the Sultanate and Mughal periods. The 
era of the great Mughals and the fabulously rich sultans of the Deccan had now 
definitely passed from reality to legend. 

A new style of painting arose which combined the comparative realism of the 
north with Deccani fantasy and extravagance. The subjects of portraiture are often 
given the stern profile of Mughal princes full of ‘imperial purpose’, but are placed 
in such a dream world of exotic shapes and colours that we feel their seriousness is 


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156 Allah-wirdi Khan receiving a petition, Hyderabad, early eighteenth century 


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but a pose. And of course the setting, because of its contrast to the sitter, absolutely 
steals the show! 

Just such an image is the young prince sniffing a rose, in the National Museum, 
New Delhi (see Colour Plate 8). His seemingly impassive profile could be inter- 
preted either as high seriousness, or as intense reverie. Standing before a yellow- 
green meadow, he wears a cream and purple coat with a red and gold turban. Giant 
butterflies sip nectar from huge irises in the garden which mirror the more realistic 
irises of the prince’s coat. The painting is as poetic as the best Bijapur painting of a 
century before, and as a friend once aptly commented: ‘It is not the depiction of a 
man but the representation of the perfume of a garden.’ 

Another early eighteenth-century artist — almost certainly working at Hy- 
derabad, for we can trace his influence upon later Hyderabad painting — carries 
precision of line and Mughal sobriety to Deccani extremes. In his portrait of a 
Mughal nobleman receiving a petition, symmetry and balance, no longer tempered 
by Mughal realism, become ends in themselves, as in the work of great modern 
abstract painters (Fig. 156). Colours are intense, the vegetation lush and the figures 
are a brilliant assortment of physical types, races and personalities, including black 
and white eunuchs. 

The inscription on the verso identifies the nobleman as Mansabdar Allah-wirdi 
Khan. A mansabdar, or officer, of that name served Aurangzeb during the Deccani 
conquest: he was an accomplished poet, Persian in origin, the author of a well- 
known Divan. No information is given about the artist’s identity. Appropriately, 
this painter’s reaction to nature resembles that of a Persian poet of the Mughal 
period: extremely formal, but able to make astounding feats of observation. The 
multi-coloured servants, the birds, the butterflies and the deer are all in typical 
poses, but no less pungently alive for their idealisation. 

There are close links between Deccani painting and the Rajasthani school of 
Bikaner, but the precise nature of the relationship has never been satisfactorily 
explored. Several maharajas of Bikaner served the Mughals as generals in the 
Deccan throughout the late sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries, spending large 
parts of their reigns there. Anup Singh (1674-98) resided permanently in the 
Deccan. A number of superb Deccani paintings and objects in the Palace Collec- 
tion, Bikaner, bear inscriptions stating that they were acquired either by Rai Singh, 
when he was a Mughal governor at Burhanpur (1607-11), or by Anup Singh while 
governor of Adoni (1689-98). The presence of Deccani pictures, and perhaps 
Deccani painters — probably brought back to Rajasthan by returning maharajas — 
may have influenced the local style. 

The artist responsible for the unfinished portrait of Nawab Salabat Khan, in the 
Victoria and Albert Museum (1.s.57—-1949), may have also worked for Anup Singh 
in the Deccan. Lavish in scale and in mood, this picture is a delightful essay in 
white, light green, pink and gold. The nawab’s colossal stature, daintily encased in 
transparent muslin and surrounded by diminutive ladies, continues a long tradition 


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of massively proportioned Deccani royal figures, reminiscent of the sixteenth- 
century representations of the sultan of Ahmadnagar (see Colour Plate 2 and Fig. 
110). The delicate palette, the daintily drawn courtesans with long eyes and the 
distinctive foliage composed of tiny dabs of bright colour arranged in circles are also 
present in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Bikaner paintings. The inscription 
on the reverse, giving the nawab’s name not in Persian, as we would have expected, 
but in devanagari script, suggests that this picture was painted for a Rajput patron. 
The illustrations of the Nal Daman, dated 1698, in the Prince of Wales Museum, 
Bombay, are by the same hand. The story is a seventeenth-century Urdu version of 
the romance of Nala and Damayanti, an episode from the great Hindu epic, the 
Mahabharata, implying that this manuscript, like the portrait, was executed for a 
Hindu patron, possibly the maharaja of Bikaner. 

A large group of very small paintings, about 19 by 8 centimetres, now widely 
dispersed, was probably executed in the Hyderabad region during the first few 
decades of the eighteenth century. The text is said to be a history of the Qutb Shah 
dynasty, but a page in the Rietberg Museum, Zurich, depicting a Hindu hero 
beheading a demon by means of a chakra, the discus sacred to the god Vishnu, 
implies that the text is mythological rather than historical. Perhaps these numerous 
paintings — in Paris, Zurich, New Delhi and Peshawar — were the standardised 
production of a Deccani workshop, turning out illustrations of both Hindu and 
Muslim subjects. 

The same artists were responsible for a grander project, a ragamala of impressive 
dimensions, only five pages of which have survived, four in the Nelson Gallery, 
Kansas City, and one in a private collection, Hindola raga (Fig. 157). This picture is 
the visual representation of a particular raga, or mode of Indian music, intended to 
be sung in the morning and related to Spring. Hindola means swing; here the 
young hero — resembling a local Deccani raja — sits on a swing, gently serenaded by 
female musicians. Yellow stains on the terrace are all that remain from the 
impassioned rites of Holi, the Spring festival when celebrants douse each other with 
coloured water. Despite the recent frenzy, the mood is formal, established by cool 
colours, precise draughtsmanship and extreme symmetry of detail. What really grip 
our attention are the razor-sharp diagonals which lead us towards the mysterious 
castle on the hill, a welcome relief from the rigidity of the terrace world. It has been 
suggested that the provenance of this set is Bidar; if so, the impressive structure on 
the cliff, so conspicuous in each miniature, may well be the vast Bidar fort. 

The brave warrior with his army on the march was a common subject for Mughal 
painters and was adopted by Deccani artists as well, chiefly after the Mughal 
conquest. The Prince galloping across a rocky plain, in a private collection, is the 
masterpiece of this genre (see Colour Plate 9). The overall nervous energy of the 
scene and the porcelain-like fragility of the powder-blue horse charm us with their 
elegant inappropriateness. This Deccani painter, more accustomed to representing 
a private world of sentiment than a public world of pomp and action, transforms 


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157 Hindola raga, Bidar (?), early eighteenth century 


the dusty plain into a garden for our delectation, and the prince’s army becomes but 
a distant mirage. 

The young man’s features and costume resemble those of Prince Azam Shah, 
Aurangzeb’s favourite son and heir apparent for many years, who, however, did not 


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158 Atachin Beg Bahadur Qalmag out hawking, Deccan or Kishangarh, early 
eighteenth century 


manage to succeed his father upon the throne. Azam Shah was active in the Deccani 
campaign and presented Abul Hasan, the last sultan of Golconda, to the emperor 
after the capture of the fort. This painter may have begun his career working for 
Abul Hasan and later switched over to the Mughals. Azam Shah was probably a 


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generous patron of the arts, for several Deccani portraits of him survive, some 
connected with the surrender of Golconda fort. A large drawing of him entering 
Ahmadabad in Gujarat, where he was made governor in 1701, is in the Hodgkin 
Collection. 

Because of the migration of Deccani painters to North India and the presence of 
Mughal and Rajput noblemen in the Deccan, it is often difficult to differentiate 
between Deccani and Rajput schools — notably, as we have seen, the school of 
Bikaner. We have the same problems with Kishangarh. 

The large depiction of a Turkman warrior out hakwing with attendants, in the 
British Museum, may be by a Deccani artist in the early years of the eighteenth 
century (Fig. 158). The colours of the background are romantically dark, dramati- 
cally setting off the jewel-like tints — green, violet and yellow — of the courtiers’ 
costumes. The fantasy provided by the horse’s extravagantly waved mane, the dark 
complexions of the attendants and the overall sense of opulence immediately recall 
great Deccani portraits of a century earlier. We know the identity of the warrior 
through a second version of this picture, mirror reversed, in the Jehangir Collec- 
tion, Bombay. It bears a Persian inscription identifying him as Atachin Beg 
Bahadur Qalmag, a likely enough Turkic name for a Deccani officer of Central 
Asian origin, but rather unlikely for an officer at a Hindu Rajput court. 

Nevertheless, this likeness resembles early eighteenth-century Kishangarh work. 
The horse’s long neck, bony muzzle and even his outlandishly curled mane occur in 
the paintings of the artist Dal Chand who worked at Delhi and Kishangarh. An 
unpublished drawing in the Kanoria Collection, Patna, definitely executed at 
Kishangarh, is a copy of Azachin Beg Bahadur Qalmaq. All these paintings suggest 
either that Deccani artists found patronage at Kishangarh, where the British 
Museum portrait may have been painted, or that so many Deccani paintings were 
acquired by the royal Kishangarh collection that they profoundly influenced the 
course of this school throughout the eighteenth century. We must remember as well 
that the famous elongated ‘Kishangarh eye’ was seen first in Bijapur portraits of the 
reign of Ali Adil Shah II, nearly a century before its appearance in Rajasthan. 


HYDERABAD AND KURNOOL 


The Asaf Jahis at Hyderabad, known in later times as the Nizams, preserved the 
ancient Persianate culture of the Deccan until well into the twentieth century, and, 
after the fall of Delhi and Lucknow to British forces in the mid-nineteenth century, 
welcomed northerners of talent. This meant that the conservative court of Hy- 
derabad became the last great bastion of semi-independent Islamic power and 
patronage in India. Marriage ties with Middle Eastern courts were encouraged, 
especially with the Ottomans of Istanbul, the highest-ranking dynasty of the 
Muslim world. 

After Nizam al-Mulk’s death in 1748 power struggles developed between the 


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159 Lady listening to a musician, an unidentified ragini, Hyderabad, third quarter of 
eighteenth century 


Nizams and the English, French and Marathas which resulted in political and 
economic instability for many decades. These troubled times transformed Deccani 
painting. In earlier centuries the powerful princes of the great Muslim states, 
inspiring awe and respect, provided the natural subject matter of art. As we have 
seen, brilliant portraits of rulers, courtiers and dervishes resulted. Yet this great 
period of portraiture seems to have been a short-lived aberration in the long history 
of Indian painting. Traditionally, Indian artists were more accustomed to represen- 
ting deities than real people — as few portraits have survived from before the 
sixteenth century — using the nude human body, especially the female form, as a 
model for the gods. 

With the breakdown of Islamic authority, eighteenth-century Deccani artists 
rediscover the female body, creating an idealised world of princesses and courtesans 
(Fig. 159). The feminine principle re-emerges, considerably Islamicised of course, 
reaffirming the continuity of Indian culture. Male portraiture also continues, but it 
seldom really moves us, the sitters resembling cardboard cut-outs. In the likeness of 


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Nawab Saif al-Mulk selecting jewels (Fig. 160), for example, we relish fine details and 
enchanting colours but the man behind the facade has vanished, so different from 
the awesome representations of the sultan of Ahmadnagar painted two centuries 
earlier (see Colour Plate 2 and Fig. 110). And even in this rediscovered world of 
feminine charm, there is often a tendency towards effects of mere prettiness, as in 
eighteenth-century French painting. 

We should not be overly critical however. Some great paintings were produced, 
especially at provincial Deccan centres where artists often worked with greater 
originality than those at Hyderabad, and at the courts of Maratha rulers, who, after 
decades of guerilla warfare against the Mughals, were now settling down in the 
cities of the western Deccan. Moreover, India began to be bombarded by European 
culture, through colonisation of her coasts, to which she was not yet able to adapt. 
The eighteenth century should not be seen as totally decadent and sterile. If there 
were only a few brilliant kings there were many brilliant writers who seemed to 
thrive on misfortune and who created a new golden age of Urdu and Persian poetry. 
And although eighteenth-century Deccani art usually lacks the power of earlier 
work, it achieves a gentler mood in a minor key. 

The finest example of Hyderabad painting is the complete ragamala of thirty-six 
paintings in the India Office Library, called the Johnson Ragamala, probably from 
the third quarter of the eighteenth century (Fig. 159). These pages conjure up a 
magic world through polished, enamel-like surfaces and supremely elegant figures; 
rarely has the exotic imagery of Persian and Indian poetry attained such rich visual 
interpretation. These images are appropriate, yes, but they still represent an art in 
decline, for the figures are not only conventional but repetitive. Looking at a few 
pages is enchanting, but viewing them all is tedious. 

The ragamala takes its name from its eighteenth-century owner, Richard John- 
son, British resident at Hyderabad (1784-5). Johnson had lived in Calcutta, where 
his interest in Indian culture brought him into contact with Warren Hastings and 
Sir Elijah Impey, both patrons of Indian art. Johnson had also been posted to 
Lucknow for two years where he was friendly with Antoine Polier, who owned 
outstanding Indian miniatures, and the Frenchman Claude Martin. Johnson, with 
his interest in Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit literature, was fascinated by the correla- 
tion between Indian painting and music. This ragamala must have especially 
appealed to him because of its evocation of poetical symbolism and musical modes. 

Probably dating from a few decades later is the depiction of Nawab Saif al-Mulk, 
son of Azim ul-Umara, prime minister of Asaf Jah II, selecting jewels brought to 
him by a Hindu servant (Fig. 160). Real pieces of glistening blue-green beetle wing 
pasted onto the surface of the picture represent the nawab’s emerald jewellery, a 
technique common in Pahari and Deccani painting, but found almost nowhere else 
in India. Brilliant tones of green, gold and mauve and rigidly precise shapes give the 
effect of a magnificent object set with stones rather than the painterly record of a 
real event. Despite the fact that we still enjoy these opulent little images, a deadly 


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160 Nawab Saif al-Mulk selecting jewels, attributed to Venkatachellam, 
Hyderabad, c. 1795 


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See: 





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161 Nawab Sikandar Jah sniffing a mango, Hyderabad, c. 1775 


hardness has set in. Our feeling is of a fabulously rich material culture that is captive 
to its past, with little scope for originality. 

A few surviving sketches prove that some artists could draw refreshingly from life 
should they be given the unlikely task of doing so. A small drawing of prince 
Sikandar Jah, who later became Asaf Jah III, in the Latifi Collection, Bombay, is a 
rare depiction of a moment in a child’s life (Fig. 161). He sits on the floor gloating 
over his good luck, for he holds not one but two delicious mangoes, hardly knowing 
which one to eat first, while we feast our eyes upon his doll-like body and elegant 
gestures. As he was born in 1768 and appears to be about 6 or 7 in the drawing, we 
date the work to c. 1775. 

A second rapid sketch, this time with gold and pigment on an unpainted 
background, in the Government Museum, Hyderabad, records a mother, or 
servant girl, trying to cajole a little boy out of a peevish mood. While he tries to slap 


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162 Nawab Ghulam Ahmad Khan visiting Shaykh Burhanuddin Sahib, 


Kurnool, ¢. 1815-23 


her, she whispers to him, perhaps promising some halva if only he will behave. He 
wears the muslin coat of the Deccan and a pointed cap very similar to that worn by 
Sikandar Jah, suggesting that he too is a spoilt young prince. 

Painting at some provincial courts south of Hyderabad retained vitality and 
originality throughout the eighteenth century and well into the nineteenth, at a 
time when stereotypes had become the rule at the capital. Muslim officers in 
Aurangzeb’s service, Pathan (Afghan) in origin, established themselves at lesser 
centres such as Kurnool and Cuddapah which later became independent states 
paying tribute to the nizams. Hindu rajas ruled at Gadwal and Wanparthy. 
Kurnool, picturesquely situated on the south bank of the Tungabhadra, was by far 
the largest of these subordinate states and had the most important school of 
painting. Surviving work consists entirely of portraits of the nawabs smoking 
huqqas, listening to singers and, most frequently of all, paying visits to saints, 
suggesting that the area was an important centre of Muslim piety. 

In a miniature in the National Museum, New Delhi, Ghulam Ahmad Khan, 
brother of the ruling nawab, Munawwar Khan (1815-23), stands during his visit to 
the saint Burhanuddin Sahib (Fig. 162). The saint’s purity is conveyed by the 


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ee ¥ 











163. A disfigured begum enjoys her garden, Kurnool, c. 1780 


austere whiteness of his cell which, however, has the scale and elaborate decoration 
of a palace chamber. And although the figures are rigidly drawn, there is consider- 
able strength in the composition and the architectural setting. 

The finest Kurnool work to have come to light — if, indeed, it is from Kurnool — 
is the remarkable study of the Disfigured begum, in a private collection (Fig. 163). 
Not only is the begum dark-skinned, a feature generally thought unattractive in 
India, but she has suffered a disfiguring illness, either smallpox or perhaps a stroke, 
for her mouth is skewed up on her right side and she has lost an eye. We wonder 
what agony she has been through. This image is unique in Indian miniature 
painting where idealisation is the norm and such glimpses of harsh reality are kept 
safely at a distance through heavy satire or caricature. With subtlety rather than 
slapstick, the artist contrasts his subject’s horrible face with the beauty with which 
she surrounds herself. What wonderful objects she owns and uses! And what a 
garden! In keeping with Deccani tradition, it is a garden of dreams where waters 
plash and giant dragonflies suck nectar from huge flowers. 

The decorative detail of this innovative picture suggests Kurnool, or perhaps a 
Hyderabad artist working there who was able to shed the dreary artistic formulae of 
the capital. The arabesque of the carpet, as well as the red velvet cushion upon 


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164 Sadashiv Rao, called the Bhao Sahib, Maratha, c. 1750—G6o 


which the begum reclines, are varnished to give sheen when turned in the light. 
Kurnool, like Kashmir, was actually a centre for the manufacture of lacquerware 
objects. Papier-maché fans, trays and boxes were decorated in low relief with 
ornament identical to the detail in this picture, often in similar tones of green and 
yellow. Miniature painters at Kurnool were probably responsible for the main 
figures and overall compositions, while artisans from the lacquer industry meticu- 
lously filled in the ornament. 


PUNE AND SATARA 


Even before the British protectorate of 1800, the Nizams were not in total control of 
the Deccan. The Hindu Marathas possessed large tracts of the northern, western 
and southern Deccan. They were organised in a loose confederacy of semi- 
independent chiefs, centred at Satara, Kolhapur and Pune under the nominal 
control of the chhatrapati, or emperor, a descendant of Shivaji. Other chiefs who 
had been sent out to collect tribute from the provinces of the disintegrating Mughal 
empire established kingdoms at Dhar, Indore, Gwalior and Baroda, all outside of 
the Deccan proper. 


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PRON Merete raat 


i; 


165 Shahoor Maharaj Chhatrapati, Maratha, probably Satara, c. 1847 


Little is known of Maratha painting. A few superb miniatures have come to light, 
but it is still impossible to reconstruct the extent or the chronology of any school. 
Probably each centre of Maratha power had its own regional style of portraiture; 
outside the Deccan the maharajas of Gwalior and Baroda must have also patronised 
miniature painting which had some links with Deccani styles because of the ruling 
families’ dynastic ties to Maharashtra. 

One of the most moving Deccani images of the eighteenth century is the 
inscribed portrait of the young Maratha general Sadashiv Rao, called the Bhao 
Sahib, in the Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, Pune (Fig. 164). Sadashiv Rao had 
achieved brilliant victories over the Nizam in the 1750s, but was tragically killed at 
the battle of Panipat in 1761. Here he is portrayed as charismatic and detached as a 
Hindu god, with diminutive attendants ministering to his every need: one presents 
a document, another announces the victor’s presence with a huge lacquered fan in 
the shape of a great lotus leaf, while a third fans him with a fly whisk. The same 
atmosphere of proud silence characterises contemporary Mandi portraits from the 
Punjab Hills, hinting at yet another unexplained connection between the Deccani 
and Pahari schools. 

Maratha power was firm but ephemeral. The wealth which passed to Maratha 
courts soon corrupted these sturdy warrior chiefs who had boasted of cutting down 


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the withered tree of Mughal rule. They also withered, and at an alarming pace. For 
decades the Maratha emperor’s hereditary prime minister, the peshwa, residing at 
Pune, had wielded real power while his master survived as a figurehead. In 1818 the 
British abolished the peshwa’s office and incorporated his lands into the Bombay 
Presidency. 

Now the British continued the fiction for several more decades. They reinstated 
the Maratha emperor on the throne of Satara and, when he proved difficult, 
replaced him with his adopted son, Shahoor Maharaj Chhatrapati. A painting of 
this child-king’s court portrays the descendants of fierce Maratha warriors as 
weightless puppets, the strings now being pulled from distant London (Fig. 165). 
The figures look well-meaning, but the court is a mere stage set. The boy had ruled 
for only a year when the British annexed Satara in 1848. 


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CHAPTER 7 


TEXTILES, METALWORK AND STONE 
OBJECTS 


PAINTED COTTONS 


Amongst the Asian products which most stirred the admiration and envy of Europe 
in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were Chinese porcelains and Indian 
painted cottons commonly called ‘chintzes’ in English-speaking countries. Com- 
pared with European linens and woollens, Indian painted and dyed cottons seemed 
almost miraculous: they were light and comfortable, they could be easily washed 
and — most surprisingly — their rich colours were fast. The complicated and 
time-consuming technology involved in the manufacture of these textiles was the 
result of centuries, perhaps millennia, of secret knowledge gradually amassed, 
refined and passed on from father to son. Cotton on its own will not accept 
permanent dyeing; what Indian craftsmen had discovered was the use of mordants 
(metallic salts which combine with various dyes and permit them to bond with 
cotton fibres) in conjunction with resists (materials used to prevent colouring 
particular areas of the cloth), the process permitting lively detailed patterning and 
brilliant colours. 

Several factors suggest that the best painted cottons were produced on the Bay of 
Bengal (Coromandel) coast of the kingdom of Golconda. First, the vibrant tone of 
red most prized in Europe was produced by the root of the chay plant when grown 
in the calcium-rich soil of the Krishna river delta. Second, craftsmen on this coast 
tended to use a pen and brush to apply colour, giving a much freer design than 
could be achieved with blocks, which were more commonly used in western India. 
Thirdly, the human figures resemble — and are occasionally identical to — known 
Golconda paintings on paper, and certain motifs are present in other classes of 
Deccani decorative arts. Furthermore, the French traveller Francois Bernier writes 
in 1665 that the tent of Aurangzeb was ‘lined with painted chittes [chintzes] of that 
fine workmanship of Masulipatam [Golconda’s major seaport], which represent a 
hundred different sorts of flowers’. 

An especially exciting painted cotton was recently acquired by the Victoria and 
Albert Museum, London (Fig. 166). It is a double-niched hanging, originally either 
part of a tent wall, or a qanat, a movable textile screen used to form room-like 
enclosures inside or outside palaces. The hanging was once in the toshkhana (store) 
of the maharajas of Amber in Rajasthan. On the left-hand panel a medallion of 
furiously interlocking, snake-like palmettes occupies centre stage with giant falcons 
seizing tiny antelopes. On the right-hand panel, a two-headed mythical bird or yali 


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166 Painted cotton, double-niched hanging (qanat), from the toshkhana of the 
Maharaja of Amber, Golconda, mid-seventeenth century 


holds tiny elephants in its claws and devours others, part of the same tradition 
which produced lion-shaped incense burners and animal friezes on the walls of 
Golconda fort (see Figs. 82 and 174). The designs are drawn with that surging 
energy typical of the Deccan, particularly at Golconda, be it glazed tilework, 
miniature paintings, book illumination or metalwork. 


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Se 
EN 


ia 





ea: 


ea 


a 


from the toshkhana of the Maharaja of 


first half of seventeenth century 


> 


Golconda, 


Amber, 


167 Detail of painted cotton floor spread 


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168 Fragment from a painted cotton floor spread, Deccan, seventeenth century 


A painted cotton fragment in the AEDTA Collection, Paris, represents a girl 
dressed in red, feeding a beautifully formed mango to a green parrot which has 
perched on her shoulder (see Colour Plate 10). She wears Deccani garments with 
many strands of pearl chokers and abundant jewellery. Her facial type, costume and 
proximity to a bird are reminiscent of the Dublin Yogini (see Fig. 129); probably 
both are references to a character from local folklore. The dignity of the figure and 
the restraint of the design differ significantly from other early seventeenth-century 
painted cottons and suggest a different workshop. 

More typical are the superb summer floor spread in the Victoria and Albert 
Museum (Fig. 167), and a wall hanging in the Calico Museum, Ahmedabad. These 
textiles represent the epitome of the dyer’s art in terms of technical sophistication 


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and originality of design, and are probably amongst the earliest surviving pieces. In 
the London example, small figures of hunters, animals and lovers move as if in an 
enchanted forest, dwarfed by wild extravagant plants. The back of this floor spread 
bears the owner’s seal of Mirza Raja Jai Singh of Amber (1621-67) and inventory 
dates of the Amber palace ranging between 1639 and 1650. 

A fragmentary summer floor spread in the Philadelphia Museum of Art is made 
up of two different painted cottons, one making the field, the other forming the 
border on three sides. It bears a devanagari inscription on the reverse stating that it 
was in the possession of a Muslim shrine and the inventory date 1690. Two small 
textile fragments, one from the field and one from the border, are in the Victoria 
and Albert Museum, one of which is reproduced here (Fig. 168). Although the 
design of both is a repeat floral pattern, there is enough variation to prove it was 
drawn freehand with a pen and brush, not stamped. The flowers show the vivacity 
of Deccani forms beginning to be effected by Mughal formality during the reign of 
Shah Jahan. 

A qanat panel in the Khalili Collection, London, is the ultimate marriage of 
Deccani vigour with Mughal restraint (see Colour Plate 11). A free depiction of a 
giant poppy plant beneath a cusped arch, the red is particularly rich and glowing, 
the drawing lively and the composition extremely bold. The red Chinese clouds 
and plant tendrils have the delicacy of coral branches. The detailing in the leaves 
and flower petals is so infinitely fine — produced by the subtle use of resists — that it 
resembles the effect of the most masterful marbling on paper, a Deccani craft (see 
Fig. 136). This qanat is closely related to a panel in the Metropolitan Museum, New 
York, of identical quality and similar size, which — like so many other great painted 
cottons — came from the Amber Palace Collection. 


METALWORK 


Surprisingly, Deccani metalwork is more plentiful and better known than that from 
any other region of India. The cause of such relative abundance — in fact, the 
quantity is much smaller than from comparable periods of European history — was 
the survival of the kingdom of Hyderabad and the Islamic way of life it protected 
until well into the twentieth century. Cocooned by a traditional environment, 
Deccani Muslims — and Hindus — tended to retain vessels and paraphernalia which 
they had inherited from their forbears. Even if they did not choose to use such 
old-fashioned items, they were less influenced by foreign fashions and, therefore, 
less likely than their co-religionists in British India to have metal objects melted 
down. Thus in a country with little taste for preserving or collecting artefacts of the 
past, a significant number of weapons and vessels passed unscathed into present-day 
collections and into art historical awareness. 

The Deccan produced marvellously designed daggers and swords, their hilts 


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169 Steel dagger with gilt copper hilt, Golconda, c. 1600 


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170 Detail of portrait of Sultan Ali Adil Shah I, Bijapur, c. 1605 


composed of entwined animal shapes, usually lions, elephants, simurghs and 
dragons locked in furious combat. Two such daggers survive, one in the David 
Collection, Copenhagen, the other formerly belonging to Howard Ricketts, Lon- 
don. There are also two swords in the British Museum, London, and in the 
Government Museum, Bikaner, bearing inscriptions mentioning ‘Adoni’, the Adil 
Shahi fortress stormed by the Mughals in 1689. 

Recently, a third dagger, now in the David Collection, Copenhagen, the finest of 
the group, turned up on the London art market (Fig. 169). Its gilt copper hilt is a 
seething mass of fantastic animals, a fusion of the South Indian sculptural tradition 
with the Islamic arabesque, reminiscent of early Golconda painting. Disparate 
elements are brilliantly reconciled. The quilon is formed of two grotesque masks, 
Italian in origin but transformed by Deccani taste, and two birds, their tails giving 
rise to an elegant grip set with rubies. The grip is composed of a lion grasping a tiny 
elephant on one side, and a simurgh and a dragon biting and snarling at each other 
on the other. Friezes on the walls of Golconda fort and a series of bronze incense 
burners use similar lions and elephants (see Figs. 82 and 174). The extraordinary 
elegance of these motifs coupled with their tremendous animal vitality makes this 


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171 Steel vambrace (arm guard) overlaid with gold, Deccan, mid-seventeenth century 


dagger one of the greatest masterpieces of Indo-Islamic design. Sultan Ali Adil Shah 
I of Bijapur actually wears a similarly conceived dagger in a portrait now in the 
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington (Fig. 170). 

The Islamic component of Deccani art dominates the decorative scheme of a 
vambrace (arm guard) in a private collection (Fig. 171). Fine scrollwork, composed 
of gold overlay, ‘negative’ within cusped medallions and ‘positive’ without, has the 
surging vitality we associate with early Deccani ornament. Similar palmettes fill the 
borders of a Golconda painted cotton summer floor covering in the Cincinnati Art 
Museum, a piece of which bears an Indian inventory date of 1645. The ogivally 
arched form of the vambrace is a characteristic common to both the textile design 
and the architecture of the Deccan. 

A small group of zoomorphic incense burners survives from the Sultanate period, 
one in the shape of a peacock and three lion-shaped pieces, one of which is 


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172 Bronze incense burner in the shape of a peacock, Deccan, late fifteenth or 
early sixteenth century 


discussed here. The peacock incense burner successfully joins the abstraction of 
Islam with Indian plasticity (Fig. 172). The comma-shaped flourishes on the tail 
and crest are South Indian features. Similar birds dance on the steps of the Throne 
of Prosperity in the Nujum al Ulum manuscript in Dublin dated 1570-1 (see Fig. 
173). As the peacock shows little of the naturalism inaugurated by Mughal painting 
in the second half of the sixteenth century, we assign it to the late fifteenth or early 
sixteenth century. 

The leonine vessel uses the old Deccani motif of a lion with an upraised paw, 
sometimes standing alone or, as here, trampling a tiny elephant (Fig. 174). Such 
creatures appear carved on the facades of the earlier Hoysala temples of the southern 
Deccan and on the walls of Golconda fort (see Fig. 82). Along with the prancing 
peacocks already noted, similar animals are also seen on the pages of the Nujum al 
Ulum. This lion’s plump features, horns and bulging eyes derive from the Deccani 
repertoire, especially from the fantastic leonine beast, the yali. But there is also the 
influence of the animal vessels of the Middle East, especially from Seljug Iran. 

The only other candidate for a Sultanate dating is a beautiful bronze bowl with a 


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7 m r 
: 7 
;. - 
om : : 
- = oe : = 
; ; . ‘\ ; 
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173 Detail of the Throne of Prosperity, fol. 191 r. of the Nujum al Ulum, Bijapur, 
dated 1570-1 


rounded body and a raised, cusped rim in the shape of a ten-pointed star (Fig. 175). 
Beneath the rim are fretwork brackets. Each of the ten panels is engraved with 
loosely drawn Timurid-style arabesque upon a ring-punched ground. The cusped 
stellar shape of the bowl recalls the terrace pools in Sultanate and Mughal palaces, 
the closest parallel being the fifteenth-century cistern in the Lal Bagh at Bidar which 
has fourteen cusped points (see Fig. 35). The bowl’s tiered body and brackets 
beneath the rim are South Indian features: the decorative platform in the centre of 
the tank in front of the Asar Mahal, Bijapur, has the same tiered and bracketed 
profile. 

A group of about twenty bronze, brass or copper vessels decorated with superb 
thuluth script can be attributed to the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Deccan 
on stylistic grounds. Their inscriptions are in the style of the Arabic epigraphy 
carved on black basalt panels in mosques and tombs in the Golconda-Hyderabad 
area (see chapter 4). Designed by the best émigré scribes from Iran or the Arab 
world, such calligraphic compositions are on average of a quality far superior to the 
epigraphy in contemporary North Indian buildings. The chief traits of this group 
of vessels can be summarised as follows: the metal is often thicker than that of 
Safavid or Mughal pieces; the calligraphy, almost always thuluth but occasionally 


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174 Bronze incense burner in the shape of a lion, Deccan, late fifteenth or early 
sixteenth century 


naskh, is of an especially bold type, much larger in relation to the size of the object 
than the script on Mughal or Safavid pieces and having that special, energetic 
quality characteristic of the best Deccani ornament; the content of the inscriptions 
is frequently Shia, the invocation to Ali being particularly common; the dragon 
heads on kashkuls (begging bowls) and engraved animal motifs on other vessels 
have a pronounced South Indian flavour; lastly, the repertoire of shapes differs 
substantially from that of Safavid metalwork, including mainly trays, plaques, lotas 
(globular Indian water vases, unknown in Iran) and stemmed cups, as well as 
kashkuls and alams. 

The large copper salver with traces of gilding in the Mittal Museum, Hyderabad, 
is by far the finest of this group of vessels (Fig. 176). It surpasses Safavid and 
Timurid models, and the designer must have been an exceptional painter from the 
royal Golconda atelier. As on related lotas and stemmed cups, the ornament is 
arranged in concentric bands around a central roundel enclosing a South Indian 
hamsa, or swan. An extraordinary thuluth inscription relates the Shia profession of 
faith, followed by a verse from the Koran (Lx1, 13). The part which really astonishes, 
however, is the outer field which presents the animals of Iranian painting and 
Indian jungles with a freedom and naturalism that only the best Indian painting can 


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175 Bronze bowl in the shape of a ten-pointed star, Deccan, fifteenth century 


rival. This menagerie includes phoenixes, lions, dragons, cows and elephants, all set 
against a dense arabesque of great vigour. The hamsa and the lion with an upraised 
paw — an ancient South Indian motif — place the salver firmly in the Deccan. 

A large kashkul in the David Collection, Copenhagen, surpasses in size and 
quality not only other Deccani begging bowls, but surviving Safavid and Timurid 
examples as well (Fig. 177). Of thick, well-cast brass, it has mellowed to the black 
tone typical of patinated Deccani vessels. We cannot imagine that a mendicant 
could easily carry such a weighty piece; instead, it probably served as a ceremonial 
object in a shaykh’s tomb. Its roaring dragon finials, crested and bearded in South 
Indian fashion, have the mass and naturalism that derives from the Hindu sculp- 
tural tradition. The broad calligraphic frieze beneath the rim on the outside is the 
Shia call to Ali, the nadi aliyyan, followed by a Koranic verse: ‘succour is from God 


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176 Detail of engraved copper salver with traces of gilding, Golconda, c. 1600 


and victory near’ (LxI, 13). Inside, concentric registers round a central almond- 
shaped medallion at the bottom enclose pious phrases and Shia prayers. 

Another piece that may have had a sacred connection is a lamp or incense burner 
of openwork cast brass, in a private collection (Fig. 178). Its fantastic shape is a 
minute version of Deccani tomb architecture: its polygonal plan imitates shrines at 
Bidar and Golconda; its feet resemble pilaster brackets; its small round dome 
perched high up on a fringe of lotus petals and the pendant lotus bud on one corner 
—all the others are lost — reproduce a Bijapur minaret in miniature (Fig. 61). We can 
well imagine this exotic object gracing a shaykh’s tomb and the amazement of 
devotees seeing the clouds of perfumed smoke billowing out from its extravagant 
shape or, if used as a lamp, the intricate shadows which it cast all around. 

An important class of Deccani metalwork is bidri, the black alloy containing 
mainly zinc, made in Bidar, inlaid with designs of silver or brass and very 


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178 Brass incense burner in the shape of an octagonal shrine, Deccan, 
seventeenth century 


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a he y 
VATA 
uN 


i 


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Hi aa 


i TAY 
pa 
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! 





179 Bidri huqga base inlaid with brass and silver, Bidar, mid-seventeenth century 


occasionally copper. The finest examples share the sombre fantastic air of early 
Deccani painting. Probably developed to rival the opulently inlaid metal wares of 
the Middle East, the craft may date back to the fourteenth or fifteenth cen- 
tury,though the oldest extant pieces cannot be earlier than the late sixteenth or early 
seventeenth centuries. 

A highly original Bidar craftsman, probably working in the mid-seventeenth 
century, produced a closely related group of four huqqas with rare pictorial 
ornament, one of which is reproduced here (Fig. 179). Wine cups and vases fill the 
niches of pleasure pavilions, tall palms cast shade, forts crown rocky crags exactly as 
in Deccani paintings — and in the real landscape of the region — and precious 


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180 Bidri tray inlaid with brass and silver, Bidar, seventeenth century 


springs gush forth from rocks forming the cooling stream which encircles the 
bottom of the globe. The division of the huqga surface into water, earth and sky, 
with all possible pleasures provided, evokes the idea of an ideal world. We are 
reminded of the Koranic paradise garden, a theme as old as Islam itself, most 
completely expressed in the grand mosaic scheme of the Umayyad mosque at 
Damascus. The brass and silver inlay on a seventeenth-century bidri tray, which 
originally would have supported a matching huqqa, forms a magnificent sunburst 
pattern radiating out from a central lotus motif, one of the most powerful designs 
from Muslim India (Fig. 180). 

Another aspect of Deccani metalwork is represented by the ceremonial standards 
known as alams, noticed already in the discussion on tilework (chapter 4). Metal 
alams are still used in Shia mourning rituals in Hyderabad and collections of such 
items are to be found in the ashurkhanas of the city. Royal chronicles of the Qutb 


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181 Brass alam in the shape of a protective hand, dated 1766-7, Badshahi Ashurkhana, 
Hyderabad 


Shahi era mention gold alams studded with jewels, but these no longer exist. The 
brass alams preserved in the treasury of the Badshahi Ashurkhana in Hyderabad 
post-date the Qutb Shahi period, but are, nevertheless, of great quality. Like earlier 
Deccani metalwork, they are decorated with fine thuluth script. Dragon heads of 
the South Indian makara type enliven extravagant silhouettes. The finest piece is 
based on the shape of the protective hand symbolic of the five figures of Shia Islam — 
Muhammad, Fatima, Ali, Hassan and Husain — and is dated 1766-7 (Fig. 181). 
Dragons on each side bear minute zulfigars, Ali’s double-edged sword; the fine 
thuluth script is confined to roundels and cartouches, like Deccani architectural 
ornament. 

Masterfully worked silver wire was used in the filigree objects made at Karim- 
nagar north of Hyderabad. A dressing table set, which includes containers, rose 
water sprinklers and candlestands, in the Lord Clive Collection, Powis Castle, 
Wales, was first inventoried in 1774 and must, therefore, date from shortly before 
then. Even finer filigree fills the space between silver gilt ribs, rippling like waves, in 
the field of a large elegant tray of slightly earlier date (Fig. 182). A coarser casket of 


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182 Silver filigree tray with gilding on ribs, Karimnagar, eighteenth century 





183 Boat-shaped mortar of polished nearly black basalt, Golconda, seventeenth century 


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184 Footed bowl of polished black basalt, Asar Mahal, Bijapur, seventeenth century 


the same work containing flasks and a ladle stamped ‘Hyder’ (presumably for 
Haidar Ali) was found by the British in the palace of Tipu Sultan at Srirangapattana 
in 1799; it is now in the British Museum, London. A small collection of early pieces 
is preserved in the Salar Jang Museum, Hyderabad. Modern, but tasteless filigree 
items are still produced at Karimnagar, as well as at Cuttack in Orissa. 


PORTABLE STONE OBJECTS 


Compared to the large number of Mughal jades and marble objects from North 
India, almost nothing survives of what must have been an equally important stone 
carving industry in the Deccan. In the National Museum, Delhi, there is a 
boat-shaped mortar of polished, almost black basalt with ogivally arched ends, very 
much in the tradition of Golconda cenotaphs and Bidar architectural ornament 
(see chapter 4). An attribution to a Deccani Sultanate workshop is not merely 
conjectural: the mortar bears a large naskh inscription mentioning Sultan Muham- 
mad Quli Qutb Shah. A larger vessel of similar form, but with no inscription, is ina 


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185 Sygmoid-shaped bowl of serpentine marble, Deccan, seventeenth century 


private collection (Fig. 183). The basalt from which it is fashioned is nearly black, 
veering to dark purple, flecked with brown feldspar, qualities typical of the Deccani 
mineral. 

A large footed bowl, approximately 40 centimetres in diameter, survives in the 
Asar Mahal in Bijapur (Fig. 184). The vessel is of polished black basalt and is 
dramatically cusped. The twisted ribbing of the body has exactly the same shape as 
the curved rays of the dais in the Golconda hammam (see Fig. 91). It may be a 
seventeenth-century incense burner, for a smaller, less powerful object of this type 
survives in the Badshahi Ashurkhana at Hyderabad where it is still used for this 
purpose. 

Another candidate for a seventeenth-century Deccani provenance is a vessel of 
sygmoidal form (Fig. 185). The green serpentine marble out of which this object is 
cut is found on the Deccan plateau. Its local Persian and Urdu name is zahr muhra, 
or poison stone, following the belief that a vessel of serpentine marble — like one of 
celadon — will discolour or crack if food containing poison is placed inside. Its 
elegant shape is geometric, but reminds us also of a leaf or flower petal. A Deccani 
bronze bowl of the same shape but deeper, engraved with thuluth script and 
probably used as a kashkul, is in the David Collection, Copenhagen. 


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CHAPTER 8 


TEMPLES 


Hindu religious architecture in the Deccan was effectively brought to an end by the 
Delhi conquests. Temples all over the region were desecrated and destroyed, their 
ceremonies profoundly disrupted if not altogether extinguished. So complete was 
the devastation that when need arose again to build Hindu sanctuaries in the second 
half of the seventeenth century there was no living tradition to draw on; the 
immediate solution was to borrow from contemporary practice. The extent to 
which Maratha temples relied on Sultanate and Mughal architecture is seen in the 
techniques and decorative devices derived from mosques and tombs (see chapter 3). 
The earliest Maratha temples, such as Shivaji’s shrine at Raigad and his memorial at 
Sindhudurg, are built of stone and mortar, with repeated use of pointed arches as 
well as vaults and domes supported on pendentives and squinches. Ornamentation 
is generally restricted to stylised parapet elements and lotus finials. Such a depend- 
ence on techniques and features derived from mosques and tombs, whether 
Sultanate or Mughal, does not seem to have implied any religious associations; 
rather, it was merely a case of adopting traditions which lay nearest to hand. 

As temple building increased in response to the expansion of Maratha power in 
the course of the eighteenth century, architects also took opportunities to study the 
remains of past traditions. The most readily available models in the Maratha 
heartland were the Yadava temples of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the 
dilapidated remains of which were plainly visible throughout the western Deccan. 
No historical evidence exists to show how exactly these earlier monuments were 
studied; the results, however, are clear. Imitation Yadava temples sprang up all over 
the Maratha territories, as at Nasik, Trimbak and Ellora. Not only were Yadava 
plan types and elevational treatments closely copied, attempts were also made to 
emulate Yadava religious art, with figures and animals carved on basements, wall 
niches and column blocks. In time, all of these disparate, though essentially 
indigenous traditions were reconciled, with Sultanate and Mughal features blend- 
ing effortlessly with revivalist Yadava features. 

The appearance of this synthetic mode coincides with religious developments in 
Maharashtra during this time. The growth in popularity of the cults of Bhavani of 
Tuljapur, Khandoba of Jejuri and Vithoba at Pandharpur, for instance, is explained 
by the support given to these divinities by Shivaji and his successors. In response to 
what was, in effect, a revival of popular Hinduism, temples at these and other 
pilgrimage sites, including Nasik, Ellora and Ramtek, benefited from substantial 
investment. So thoroughly were existing temples at these localities remodelled by 


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Maratha patrons that sometimes almost nothing is preserved of their earlier, 
pre-Sultanate fabric. 

Another factor affecting Hindu religious architecture in the Maratha era was the 
close identification of sponsor and monument. Many building projects were the 
result of a single figure who took a particular interest in the god or goddess 
worshipped there and whose name was inscribed on a plaque recording the bequest 
near to the entrance. Temple building was a visible means of asserting authority, 
especially by powerful personalities in recently won territories, such as the Bhon- 
sales of Nagpur or the Chhatrapatis of Kolhapur. The commitment to temple 
building by the Holkars, for example, parallels their emerging autonomy; so too the 
activities of newly prominent families, like the Pant Pratinidhis of Mahuli or the 
Rastes of Wai. 

A development to be noted towards the end of the period under review here is 
the appearance of the memorial shrine, termed chhatri, dedicated to a particular 
ruler. This practice, hitherto unknown in the Deccan, was probably imported into 
the region from Rajasthan where there was a long-standing tradition of royal 
chhatri building. The linga shrine which serves as a memorial to Shivaji at 
Sindhudurg is the first such structure. This is followed by a series of later funerary 
monuments that reaches its climax in the chhatri of Ahilyabai at Maheshwar, 
the grandest of the Maratha series. This ornate building resembles a temple 
in all essential respects, except that it is consecrated to a historical queen who is 
worshipped there as a saint. 


SHIVAJI AND HIS DESCENDANTS 


Hindu religious architecture under the Marathas was initiated at Raigad where 
Shivaji erected a linga shrine to Jagadishvara in 1674, the year of his coronation (Fig. 
186). The temple stands in a walled compound with an arched entrance on the east 
leading to Shivaji’s cremation site. The shrine itself is a somewhat austere structure 
with a sanctuary housing the image of the deity and an attached mandapa, or hall, 
both raised on a common plinth. Plain walls are overhung by sloping stone eaves on 
brackets, now mostly lost. The parapet above has trefoil elements in relief running 
between octagonal corner finials with domical tops. The sanctuary is roofed with a 
plastered dome on a petalled frieze; this contrasts with the pyramidal vault above 
the mandapa. An earlier temple erected by Shivaji is the Bhavani shrine at 
Pratapgad, founded in 1661 to replicate the cult at Tuljapur. This modest building 
is of little merit, except for the two stone lamp columns, or dipamalas, 
with tapering profiles and tiers of curving brackets. This feature was to become 
ubiquitous in later religious complexes. 

It was Rajaram who was responsible for erecting the Shivarajeshvara temple on 
the island fort at Sindhudurg in 1695 (Fig. 187). The original scheme consists of a 
sanctuary and arcaded mandapa. The exterior of the building is devoid of interest, 


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186 Jagadishvara temple, Raigad, 1674 


except for the pyramidal tower over the sanctuary. This is created by dimishing tiers 
capped with an octagonal finial with a bulbous domical top on a petalled base. The 
attached mandapa has a triple-aisled interior created by massive piers carrying 
semi-circular arches. Continuous curved vaults roof the side aisles, while three 
raised vaults with curved sides rise above the central aisle. Each of these vaults is 
capped with a domical finial similar to that on the tower. As with the Jagadishvara, 
the vaulting techniques and parapet and finial elements are all familiar from 
Sultanate practice; the combination of these features, however, is unlike anything 
known before. 


THE PESHWAS 


The inventive adaptation of Sultanate forms for Hindu ritual usage seen at Raigad 
and Sindhudurg seems to have set a trend that was followed in the temples erected 
by the peshwas and their ministers during the course of the eighteenth century. By 
this time Mughal architecture was established in the Deccan and its impact 
extended as far as Hindu religious buildings. The most obvious Mughal features to 
appear in Maratha temples are lobed arches and arcades serving as entrances to 
mandapas and porches. Superstructures also betray Mughal influence. Polygonal, 


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187 Shivarajeshvara temple, Sindhudurg, 1695 


multi-stage towers consist of tiers of niches framed by fluted columns and headed 
with lobed arches; capping bangla cornices are enlivened with curving petalled 
cornices. Finials take bulbous domical forms that rise on tiers of petals. 

The Omkareshvara temple at Pune erected by Bajirao in 1736 skilfully integrates 
Sultanate constructional devices with Mughal decorative features (Fig. 188). The 
temple stands within a high-walled compound entered on the east through an 
arched portal. It is laid out on a nine-square plan, the bays roofed with flattish 
domes on faceted pendentives, replaced by vaults over the two front corner bays. 
The linga sanctuary, which occupies the central bay, has a doorway on the east and 
screens on the other three sides. The exterior is plain, except for a bold cornice on 
lotus brackets and a parapet of cut-out battlements. Eight low domes surround the 
square tower that rises over the central bay. This displays two diminishing tiers of 
lobed arches topped with a bulbous lotus dome. 

Other temples at Pune are simpler in layout, the attention focusing mainly on 
the central spire. The example in Tulsibagh constructed in 1761 by Balaji Bajirao 
has an unadorned square sanctuary. This is topped with an ornate brick and plaster 
tower attaining an overall height of about 45 metres. The spire is divided into six 
stages, the lowest being square, the remainder twelve-sided. Each stage is adorned 
with a set of sculpture niches in the typical Mughal manner; miniature lotus domes 
serve as finials, duplicated at the summit of the central spire. The temple in nearby 


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188 Plan of Omkareshvara temple, Pune, 1736 


Belbagh, begun four years later, displays a similar but shorter tower. Its sanctuary is 
approached through an antechamber with a Mughal-style arcade. Similar arcades 
with lobed arches serve as the entrance to the domed mandapa adjoining the 
sanctuary of the Rameshvara temple. The polygonal spire of the Vitthalvadi has 
only two tiers of twelve niches, giving the temple a somewhat stunted appearance. 

Tapering twelve-sided towers with multiple layers of lobed niches continue to be 
popular throughout the eighteenth century, being adopted in the rebuilding 
projects commissioned by the peshwas at important religious sites like Alandi and 
Tuljapur. Religious monuments erected at the lesser centres of the Maratha state 
generally combine Sultanate and Mughal features with revivalist halls and porches. 
The almost identical Vateshvara and Sangameshvara temples dating from 1725 on 
the outskirts of Sasvad imitate the star-shaped sanctuaries, closed mandapas and 
open porches of Yadava times. Both examples stand on fortified terraces with pairs 
of dipamalas at the front corners. The outer walls are articulated by deeply cut 


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horizontal mouldings relieved by friezes of medallions and petals, overhung by 
projecting eaves. Multi-faceted brick and plaster towers rising in three diminishing 
stages repeat the projections of the sanctuaries beneath. Central panels curve up in 
tusk-like formation on four sides to frame the petalled bulbous domes which crown 
the superstructures. Smaller and simpler towers crown the mandapa roofs; finials 
with domical tops surmount corner buttresses. The porches display well-articulated 
stone columns and brackets. 

Temples at Mahuli on the Krishna, 5 kilometres east of Satara, display slightly 
different combinations of elements. The largest of this group is the Vishveshvara, 
erected in about 1735 by Shripatrao, a member of the local Pant Pratinidhi family 
(Fig. 189). The main building stands on a polygonal terrace, partly surrounded by 
arcades, with steps descending to the river either side of a centrally placed dipamala. 
A sanctuary with angled corners in star-shaped formation opens off an open 
mandapa with projecting porches and balcony seating on three sides. The tower 
reflects the angled projections of the sanctuary beneath, onto which are superim- 
posed shallow niches with bangla cornices. The tower is capped with a bulbous 
dome on a prominent petalled neck. A smaller tower repeating many of these 
elements crowns the adjoining antechamber; the capping dome here is fluted rather 
than plain. Turrets treated as miniature pavilions rise upon the roof of the mandapa 
as well as that of the Nandi pavilion that stands freely in front. The tower of the 
nearby Sangameshvara temple presents a simpler curving design with central 
panels, similar to the Sasvad monuments already noted. The sanctuary at Shing- 
napur, about 75 kilometres to the east, is stylistically related to the Mahuli group. 

Temples on the Krishna at Wai, 35 kilometres upstream from Mahuli, were 
sponsored by members of the local Raste family. Some present conventional 
schemes. The Kashivishveshvara of 1757, a project of Anandrao Bhikaji, stands in a 
walled compound entered through an arched gate on the east. The plain walls of the 
sanctuary and mandapa have small perforated stone windows, one of which 
displays a design with knotted serpents. The twelve-sided tower has triple sets of 
niches capped by a fluted petalled dome. The mandapa is roofed with a lotus dome 
on pendentives. A large tortoise is engraved on the floor beneath. In contrast, the 
sanctuary interior is roofed with a curved vault. The free-standing Nandi pavilion 
in front is flanked by a pair of octagonal dipamalas. 

The Ganapati temple at Wai, erected in 1762 by Ganapatrao Bhikaji, presents a 
contrasting design of striking originality (Fig. 190). This imposing monument 
consists of a large rectangular chamber with a pyramidal vault housing a 2 
metre-high image of Ganesha. Unadorned exterior walls are surmounted by a brick 
and plaster tower shaped as a fluted cone more than 20 metres high. This 
remarkable composition is adorned with petals at the base and with ribbed circular 
motifs at the summit; diminutive replica cones mark the corners. Comparable 
pyramidal towers with alternating convex and angled flutings are seen in several 
smaller temples at Pune. Another of the Wai temples which shows some measure of 


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189 Vishveshvara temple, Mahuli, c. 1735 


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190 Ganapati temple, Wai, 1762 


originality is the Mahalakshmi completed in 1778. Its tower presents five diminish- 
ing tiers of twelve arched niches in shallow relief arranged in circular rather than 
polygonal formation. 

Domical forms, generally in plaster-covered brickwork, sometimes replace 
polygonal spires. The Siddheshvara at Toke, on the bank of the Godavari, 55 
kilometres north-east of Ahmadnagar, is of interest for the central dome surroun- 
ded by eight lesser half-domes which cluster around it. The vertical contours of 


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these domes contrast with the flattish profile of the dome over the mandapa. The 
outer walls of the temple have multiple projections relieved by deeply cut horizontal 
mouldings. These run almost continuously around the balcony seating of the partly 
open hall. 

Imitation of earlier modes has already been noted as a distinctive attribute of 
Maratha temple architecture. Deeply cut horizontal bands, occasionally with 
shallow friezes of stylised ornament, articulate the outer walls of both sanctuaries 
and mandapas. Smoothly curving towers have lesser spires of identical shape 
superimposed on the sides, each with the same circular ribbed element and pot 
finial that cap the central shaft. Doorways both inside and outside employ pilasters, 
angled eaves and pediments of serpentine designs. Among the examples displaying 
this range of revivalist features are the Sundarnarayana and Naroshankara, the 
former dating from 1756, standing on opposite banks of the Godavari at Nasik. 
Mandapas of these temples are approached through triple porches with balcony 
seating. The roofs vary: bulbous domes with pronounced ribbing are seen in the 
Sundarnarayana, whereas the Naroshankara has complicated pyramids of sculpted 
elements with vertical faces creating triangular facets. One of the finest doorways of 
the type already noted is that leading into the mandapa of the Trishunda Ganapati 
temple at Pune, completed in 1770. As at Nasik, this entrance is flanked by wall 
niches of obvious Mughal inspiration, with fluted columns and bangla roofs in 
relief (see Fig. 199). 

Curved towers of the same type as at Nasik cap the slightly later Mohiniraja 
temple at Nevase, about 40 kilometres north of Ahmadnagar. The mandapa in this 
example has eight columns carrying beams carved with Hindu subjects; the cor- 
belled dome above has a central pendant lotus. A later version of this curving spire is 
seen in the Kalarama temple at Nasik, completed in 1790. Bulbous domes with 
articulated horizontal mouldings roof both mandapa and porch. Yet another 
variation on the clustered tower theme occurs at Bhimashankar, a remote forested 
site 120 kilometres north-west of Pune. The dilapidated Yadava temple here was 
entirely reconstructed by financiers from Pune, the tower itself being the responsi- 
bility of Nana Phadnavis, minister of the later peshwas. 

Arguably the most impressive revivalist temple of the Maratha series is the 
Trimbakeshvara at a site marking the source of the Godavari, 30 kilometres west of 
Nasik (Fig. 191). The monument was begun under Balaji Bajirao, but work 
continued until the end of the eighteenth century. The sanctuary presents a 
multi-faceted plan approaching a diagonal square. Wall projections are carried up 
into the spire where they are transformed into double tiers of diminutive towered 
elements. Shallow outlines of superimposed curved spires, each with a ribbed 
part-circular finial, flank the four sides of the central shaft. The hall and trio of 
entrance porches, as well as the Nandi pavilion in front, are roofed with pyramids of 
ribbed elements with triangular side facets. 

That the memorial chhatri tradition was continued by the peshwas is seen at 


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191 Trimbakeshvara temple, Trimbak, mid-eighteenth century 


Raver on the south bank of the Narmada, about 35 kilometres upstream from 
Maheshwar. The cenotaph of Bajirao is a modest hexagonal building raised on a 
square plinth. Its sandstone walls have arched recesses in the middle of each side. 
Perforated screens with geometric and looped designs are placed above. The walls 
are topped with a plain cornice. There is no dome or any roof, the monument being 
open to the sky. 


HOLKARS, BHONSALES AND OTHER MARATHA FAMILIES 


The synthetic but ubiquitous temple style continued to evolve in the later decades 
of the eighteenth century under the sponsorship of lesser military figures, some of 
whom emerged as autonomous rulers in the farther territories of the Maratha 
empire. The Holkars of Indore built extensively in the Deccan, Malwa and other 
parts of Central India, especially under the capable direction of Ahilyabai and her 
general Tukoji. The most architecturally ambitious monument in Maharashtra to 
be associated with this queen is the revivalist Ghrishneshvara temple standing 
in front of the rock-cut monuments at Ellora (Figs. 192 and 193). The finely 
worked sandstone walls of the south-facing sanctuary are articulated by deeply cut 


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192 Plan of Ghrishneshvara temple, Ellora, last quarter of eighteenth century 


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193 Ghrishneshvara temple 


horizontal mouldings as well as by shallow projections. The brick and plaster tower 
rising above is divided into diminishing tiers of model elements arranged either side 
of central bands that terminate in a bulbous domical finial on petals. The frontal 
projection shows an encrusted arch framing Shiva and Parvati riding on Nandi. 
The adjoining open mandapa accommodating a sculpted Nandi has porch projec- 
tions with balcony seating on three sides. The interior of the sanctuary, in excess of 5 
metres square, is roofed by a dome carried on corner arches. A related work by 
Ahilyabai at Ellora is the pond known as Shivatirtha, a short distance from the 
Grishneshvara (Fig. 194). The stepped basin stands in a square enclosure with 
entrances in the middle of four sides. Eight small linga pavilions with pyramidal or 
curving clustered roofs are distributed around the water. The complex is notable for 
the strictly symmetrical design and fine degree of finish of the architectural 
portions. 

Another monument that benefited from Holkar patronage is the Khandoba 
temple at Jejuri, 16 kilometres south of Sasvad, which was renovated by Tukoji in 
about 1770. The main shrine, which stands in a polygonal arcaded compound at the 
top of a steep hill, is a modest structure capped with Mughal-style pavilions 


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Se os 
= al 





194 Shivatirtha, Ellora, last quarter of eighteenth century 


showing bangla cornices. The Panchalinga shrine to the rear is distinguished by an 
octagonal spire with triple tiers of niches topped with a domical finial. A line of four 
imposing dipamalas stands in front of the shrines (Fig. 195). These tapering 
octagonal columns are topped with petalled domical finials. 

Further Mughal-derived elements are seen in the arched entrance to the complex 
and in the gateways lining the access steps. The small Mahadeva shrine in the town 
below is also the work of Tukoji. The chief object of worship here is a linga behind 
which are statues of Malharo and his three wives. 

Maheshwar on the bank of the Narmada, at the northern extremity of the 
Deccan, became the Holkar capital under Ahilyabai, who oversaw the construction 
of the palace here as well as nearby shrines, rest-houses and chhatris. The memorial 
that she erected for her infant son Vitthalrao, who died in 1765, is a small but 
elegant building dominated by a Mughal-style fluted dome, the curving segments 
rising upon well-formed acanthus decoration. At the same time, Ahilyabai was also 
actively engaged in temple building at localities well beyond her capital. Her 
temples at Varanasi and Gaya, for instance, are among the most significant Hindu 
constructional projects in North India belonging to the second half of the eight- 
eenth century. They fall, however, beyond the geographical confines of this study. 

The largest monument at Maheshwar, actually dedicated to Ahilyabai herself, 
was begun by her successor Yeshwantrao in 1799, four years after her death, but 


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195 Stone lamp columns (dipamalas) in the Khandoba temple, Jejuri, last 
quarter of eighteenth century 


completed only in 1833 by Krishnabai, Yeshwantrao’s widow. Ahilyabai’s memorial 
forms part of a grandiose complex, incorporating Vitthalrao’s chhatri with which it 
is aligned, and a monumental entrance gate approached from the river by an 
imposing flight of steps. Ahilyabai’s chhatri is dominated by a cluster of curving 
towered elements that rises over an inner domed sanctuary. This is preceded by an 
open mandapa displaying cusped arches as well as pavilion-like parapet elements 
topped with miniature domes. 

The Bhonsales became active temple builders only after they had established 
themselves at Nagpur in the Gond territories of eastern Maharashtra in about 1740. 
Their religious monuments reconcile Mughal-inspired features with revivalist 
features drawn from earlier Central Indian temple practice. The Raghurajeshvari 
and Rukmini temples standing in adjacent compounds in the centre of Nagpur are 
assigned to the reign of Raghuji II in the last quarter of the eighteenth century (Fig. 
196). These almost identical sanctuaries are approached through Mughal-style halls 
with fluted columns and lobed arcades, all fashioned in wood. The shrines, finely 
executed in deep red sandstone, are laid out on 24-sided star-shaped plans with 
multiple angles approaching a circle. Sculptural friezes animate the basement 
mouldings, wall niches and brackets carrying the overhangs. The towers above 


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196 Rukmini temple, Nagpur, late eighteenth century 


repeat the angled projections of the walls, here converted into tiers of miniature 
tower models. Central vertical bands decorated with shallow geometric patterns 
display superimposed tiers of towered profiles with sharply pointed pinnacles. 
These ascend to circular ribbed elements and pot finials. Antechambers have their 
own towers, with similar but simpler curved designs. Among the other temples of 
this type at Nagpur is the small Mahadeva shrine on the bank of the Shukrawani 
tank. The frontal face of its tower is carved with a band of dense foliate ornamen- 
tation that surrounds the trilobed entrance to a roof-top chamber. The tower of the 
Muralidhar temple, built of plaster-covered brick, presents a less complicated 
multi-faceted scheme. Diminishing tiers of lobed niches accommodating miniature 
figures ascend to a domical finial framed by standing Nandis. 

Of equal architectural interest are the Bhonsale chhatris in the Navi Shukrawari 
enclave near the Nag river, south-east of Nagpur’s centre. The memorial of Raghuji 
I, the most elaborate of the group, has a central square chamber with axial doorways 
roofed by a conical tower with shallow faceted sides and pot finials. A verandah with 
angled arched openings proceeds around the chamber. Corner bays and those 
projecting outwards in the middle of each side are topped with Mughal-style 
pavilions, complete with fluted columns, lobed arches, curving bangla cornices and 


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smooth domes. This was evidently no aberrant scheme judging from the small 
Shiva temple in the northern part of the city. This repeats the overall layout of 
Raghuji’s chhatri, complete with verandah and accompanying roof-top pavilions. 
The central chamber, however, is surmounted with a raised pavilion of the same 
type rather than a tower. Another variation is the introduction of pierced stone 
screens into the arched openings of the verandah. Returning to the chhatri com- 
plex: the example commemorating Janoji, Raghuji’s successor, is a modest structure 
with a central chamber surmounted by a square tower with curving sides divided 
into shallow grooves. It too is surrounded by a verandah of lobed arches with corner 
roof-top pavilions. However, these last features are topped with finials with domical 
tops rather than domes. Temple construction continued at Nagpur throughout the 
early nineteenth century, but these projects lie outside the scope of this volume. 

Raghuji I was responsible for fortifying the sacred hill at Ramtek, 48 kilometres 
north of Nagpur, where he repaired the Yadava-period shrines that crown the 
summit, installing new images of Rama and Lakshmana. Bhonsale projects over- 
look Ambala lake at the foot of Ramtek hill. Small shrines clustered on the stepped 
bank reveal a full range of typologies: towers with superimposed clustered elements; 
spires with sharply angled profiles; towers with curving faces divided into horizontal 
grooves; flattish domes rising on petalled bases; pyramidal domes with petalled 
sides; upper arcaded storeys with domes or curving vaults. These diverse superstruc- 
tures are invariably topped with circular ribbed elements and pot finials, thereby 
proclaiming their religious purpose. The Jain complex beneath the northern slopes 
of Ramtek hill has several finely finished temples dating from the end of the 
eighteenth century and the first decades of the nineteenth century. These yellow 
sandstone buildings have their sanctuary walls and curving towers entirely covered 
with deep grooves. These richly textured surfaces are interrupted by lobed wall 
niches and curving bands with petalled motifs. 

The Shindes, another prominent Maratha military family, were also active 
sponsors of temple architecture. Most of their constructional activities were con- 
centrated at sites in the heartland of Central India. An exception, however, is the 
Khandoba temple at Bid, some 100 kilometres east of Ahmadnagar, erected by 
Mahadaji Shinde before his death in 1794 (Fig. 197). The entrance to the Bid shrine, 
which is dedicated to the same deity as at Jejuri, is flanked by a pair of unusual 
dipamalas conceived as towers rising more than 20 metres. These hollow tapering 
structures each have eight faceted buttresses decorated with plaster figures and 
animals in flat relief; stone brackets are for lamps. Tiers of windows in the recesses 
between the buttresses light internal staircases. The temple itself is surrounded by a 
colonnade and roofed with small pavilions displaying bangla cornices. 

Religious architecture in the south-western corner of the Maratha territories was 
mainly undertaken by the Chhatrapatis of Kolhapur. The Mahalakshmi temple 
erected by the Shilharas in the twelfth century was substantially repaired and 
expanded by Sambhaji, who had the image of the goddess consecrated in 1715. The 


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197 Entrance towers of Khandoba temple, Bid, late eighteenth century 


surrounding enclosure with its quartet of arched portals and the dipamalas inside 
the compound are eighteenth-century additions. Further testimony to the building 
activities of the Kolhapur rulers is seen in the funerary complex beside the 
Panchaganga river just outside the city. Royal chhatris here overlook the water or 
stand within a walled enclave entered through an arched gate on the east. Octagonal 


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tapering dipamalas line the path leading to the chhatri of Krishna II, finished in 
about 1815, the most elaborate of the group (Fig. 198). This consists of a small shrine 
fronted by a yellow sandstone portico with finely fashioned lobed arches. The 
faceted walls have precisely cut basement and wall mouldings relieved by shallow 
lotus flowers. The plaster-covered brick superstructure is of the clustered type with 
model elements arranged in diminishing layers flanking central tapering bands. 
The interior doorway to the linga sanctuary is framed by temple-like pilasters 
surmounted by relief towers. 


SCULPTURE 


The revival of figural sculpture must rank as one of the outstanding artistic 
contributions of the Maratha era. In general, the sculptures are generally Western 
Indian in style, as is obvious from the smoothly rounded contours of the bodies and 
the sharply delineated facial features. Such foreign influence is explained by newly 
forged links between the Marathas and Gujarat and Rajasthan, regions which had 
enjoyed a relatively uninterrupted tradition of Hindu and Jain religious art during 
the Sultanate and Mughal periods. 

Stone is the preferred medium for major votive icons in Maratha temples. These 
vary from popular and much repeated Nandi and Ganesha images, some of ample 
dimensions, incorporated into almost all Shiva sanctuaries, to images associated 
with particular holy sites. Vithoba at Pandharpur, for instance, is fashioned in black 
basalt in accordance with long-established iconographic prescriptions. The stand- 
ing two-armed figure of the god is squat and somewhat crudely carved, but is 
nonetheless an object of great sanctity. Portraits of historical figures intended for 
devotion represent an innovative aspect of the sculptural art of the period. The 
black stone image of Shivaji worshipped at Sindhudurg shows the seated chhatra- 
pati, with sun and moon emblems behind. A later version of this same formula is 
seen at Maheshwar where there is a seated image of Ahilyabai currently under 
veneration. 

Figural art in revivalist sanctuaries is mostly confined to diminutive wall niches 
flanked by small pilasters and headed with angled eaves. Icons on the shrine of the 
Sundarnarayana temple at Nasik, for example, show Hanuman on the south, 
Narayana on the west and Indra on the north. Similarly accommodated deities 
appear on the walls of the principal sanctuary in the Vithoba complex: Anan- 
tashayana on the south, Krishna on Kaliya on the west, Venugopala on the north. 
More unusual are the panels with courtly and mythological scenes on the Siddhesh- 
vara temple at Toke. The panel on the north wall of the antechamber depicts an 
enthroned ruler in the company of a kneeling man; to the left is an elephant with 
courtly personages in front of a shrine. The corresponding panel on the south 
illustrates the archery contest from the Mahabharata epic where the hero Arjuna 
shoots an arrow to win Draupadi. 


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CANE S Toss Me 
198 Chhatri of Krishna II, Kolhapur, ¢. 1815 


A uniquely rich sculptural programme adorns the fagade of the Trishunda 
Ganapati temple at Pune (Fig. 199). The outer doorway is flanked by fully carved 
guardians leaning on clubs; the sinuous profile of the pediment above incorporates 
miniature aquatic monsters and human figures. Panels beneath empty lobed niches 


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y 


- 





- 





- 


——_ al 
199 Wall niche, Trishunda Ganapati temple, Pune, 1770 


at either side show warriors, pairs of fighting elephants with armed attendants and 
even a chained rhinoceros in the company of British soliders. The upper parts of the 
walls are lined with crouching dwarfs and monkeys. 

Exactly the same crouching figures are carved on column brackets in many 
temples; additional themes adorn the blocks on column shafts. Columns in the 
Vateshvara temple outside Sasvad, for instance, have blocks carved with warriors, 
wrestlers, elephants, lions, horses and stylised lotuses. A large variety of divinities 
and legendary episodes appears on the columns of the Ghrishneshvara temple at 
Ellora. The repertory here includes scenes of hunting, with horses and men sporting 
guns. A selection of Vishnu’s incarnations and the principal episodes of the Krishna 
story occur at Toke. A comparable range of topics is found in the halls of the 
Pandharpur complex. Courtly figures and amorous couples are combined with 
icons of deities on the Nagpur temples, as in the small Vitthala shrine consecrated 
to Krishna. 

Sculptures on royal memorials demonstrates that figural art was well established 
at the end of the eighteenth century. Vitthalrao’s chhatri at Maheshwar has shallow 
friezes of animated elephants on the basement and fully sculpted maidens and 
couples on the walls. Courtiers wear tilted circular hats, or pagadis, typical of 


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200 Wall sculpture, Vitthala shrine within Jagateshvara temple, Nagpur, second half of 
eighteenth century 


peshwa dress; soldier are clad in British or French uniform. Figures on the temples 
and chhatris associated with the Bhonsales at Nagpur show amorous scenes of 
Krishna with Radhika (Fig. 200). 

Plaster sculptures in the lobed recesses of polgyonal brick spires have already 
been noted. These figures were originally brightly painted and arranged according 


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to an overall programme. The Kashivishveshvara at Wai, for instance, has seated 
human devotees on the lower two stages of niches, with deities confined to the 
upper third stage. Though the temple is dedicated to Shiva, it includes an image of 
Narasimha, an incarnation of Vishnu. Pavilions rising over the east doorway to the 
mandapa contain icons of Durga and Sarasvati with Ganesha in the middle. 

This mix of human and divine personalities is maintained on the spire of the 
Rama shrine in Tulsi Bagh at Pune. Figures in the lowest tier wear pagadis, 
suggesting that they represent peshwa nobles or officers. Celestial musicians occupy 
the upper tiers, with deities on top. Similarly attired figures are seen on the tower of 
the Vateshvara temple outside Sasvad. Standing guardians flank the axial niches, 
while half-elephants grace the corners of the projections beneath. Patrons make an 
occasional appearance. The frontal niche over the Nandi pavilion of the Vishvesh- 
vara temple at Mahuli, for instance, contains two figures, possibly the donor of the 
monument and his wife, worshipping a linga. 


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CHAPTER 9 


CONCLUSION 


Having separately considered the most significant examples of Deccani courtly and 
religious architecture, miniature paintings, textiles and metal objects, it is now 
necessary to evaluate the overall character of these buildings and works of art. The 
discussions in the preceding chapters have defined a profusion of distinctive artistic 
modes that emerged between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries. This stylistic 
multiplicity may be singled out as an overriding characteristic of Deccani art. That 
these divergent but concurrent idioms should coincide with the sponsorship of 
different lines of rulers is hardly surprising, considering the dominant role of 
sultans and their nobles, commanders and governors in the political and cultural 
life of the region. Architectural and pictorial styles follow dynastic careers, under- 
scoring the interdependency of art and patronage in this era. 

Another, no less representative trait that runs through the descriptions of 
Deccani architecture and painting is the constant relationship to North Indian and 
Middle Eastern traditions. In the course of these stylistic borrowings, foreign 
modes were transformed in order to create new and intrinsically Deccani idioms. 
This stylistic metamorphosis seems not to have been restricted to a single moment 
in Deccani history; to the contrary, it was an on-going process that responded 
creatively to both invasion and influence from outside the region. 


STYLISTIC MULTIPLICITY 


The dominant role of the Sultanate, Mughal and Maratha courts in the sponsorship 
of architecture and the arts gives credence to a view that the visual arts played a 
central role in giving visual expression to the personal ambitions of powerful 
figures. Each dynasty of Deccani kings, from the Bahmanis to the Asaf Jahis and 
Marathas, promoted a highly individualistic idiom which they employed for their 
courtly and religious buildings and, in later times, for paintings, metalwork and 
textiles. This lack of stylistic unity is hardly surprising considering that the Deccan 
experienced extreme political instability for most of the period under examination. 
Only under the Bahmanis did the region enjoy some measure of unity, but then 
there was the constant threat from Vijayanagara. As the major representatives of 
Muslim culture in peninsular India in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the 
Bahmani sultans developed a distinctive architecture for their military, palatial and 
religious projects which affirmed cultural and religious ties with the Middle East, 
while at the same time embodying local ambition. Within the context of peninsular 
India, Bahmani architecture confronted Vijayanagara with a totally alien aesthetic. 


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(It is worth recalling that Vijayanagara courtly structures adopted many Bahmani 
features, thereby indicating a significant interchange between these opposing cul- 
tures.) 

The relationship between style and dynasty must have been firmly anchored in 
Deccan culture because each of the five successor states that emerged after the 
collapse of the Bahmani kingdom developed its own artistic personality. The 
striking multiplicity of idioms that characterises building activities in these first 
decades of independence of these states is obvious in the mosques and tombs 
erected in Ahmadnagar, Bidar, Bijapur and Golconda. Drawing on well-established 
Bahmani traditions, religious architecture in the first half of the sixteenth century at 
these new capitals evolved distinctive typologies, elevational treatments and decor- 
ative programmes. The tendency towards dynastic limitations of style is less well 
articulated when it comes to military architecture, probably because of the universal 
demands of war and its practice. Earlier links with the Middle East varied in 
intensity, with the Adil Shahi and Qutb Shahi styles affirming a Deccani identity 
with greatest force, as is abundantly clear from the different emphasis that both 
styles placed on architectural decoration. 

The first appearance of Deccani fine arts in the course of the sixteenth century 
demonstrates a similar alliance of dynasty and style. Paintings commissioned by the 
Nizam Shahis, Adil Shahis and Qutb Shahis are executed in easily distinguishable 
modes, thereby justifying the classification of miniatures into dynastic schools, as 
has been followed here. As in architecture, the distribution of such schools accords 
well with political boundaries. This concurrence of dynasty and artistic idiom was 
sustained in the first half of the seventeenth century, especially at Bijapur and 
Golconda-Hyderabad, capitals of the two most influential and long-lived sultan- 
ates. Independent architectural modes characterise courtly and religious buildings 
at these centres. Paintings, metal objects and textiles commissioned by the Adil 
Shahi and Qutb Shahi sultans may be similarly distinguished in terms of style. 

A quite different situation developed under the Mughals. The preference of 
Aurangzeb and his nobles for North Indian modes inevitably undermined the 
aesthetic independence of Deccani arts. Even so, high-quality works continued to 
be produced at local workshops, even if these were mostly executed in a provincial 
Mughal style. Deccani miniature paintings, inlaid bidri metalwork, jewelled 
weapons and sumptuously coloured textiles dating from the end of the seventeenth 
and beginning of the eighteenth century rival those produced at the same time in 
Delhi or Lahore. 

Meanwhile, the rise of the Marathas discovered new potentialities for provincial 
Mughal art by inventing an entirely novel architectural idiom that mingled North 
Indian attributes with Hindu revivalist features. Temples erected by the chhatra- 
patis, the peshwas and their subordinates throughout the course of the eighteenth 
century came to signify the aspirations of a rapidly expanding martial kingdom, 
while at the same time affirming an essentially Deccani identity. That architectural 


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elements from Gujarat and Rajasthan were in time also incorporated into this 
synthetic idiom can be seen as an aesthetic response to the conquests of western 
Indian by Deccani forces. 

The ascendancy of the Marathas, however, did not signal the demise of artistic 
patronage at the Deccani Muslim courts. Mughal-style art, which had come to a 
virtual standstill at Delhi and Lahore by about the middle of the eighteenth 
century, enjoyed a new lease of life under the Asaf Jahis, successors to the 
Golconda-Hyderabad state. In this last phase of Deccani art (surviving up until the 
middle of the nineteenth century), architecture and the fine arts followed radically 
different paths. Religious buildings and palatial complexes revived earlier schemes 
in Golconda and Hyderabad, thereby visually relating the Asaf Jahis to the past 
achievements of the Qutb Shahis. In contrast, Hyderabadi painting, metalwork and 
textiles executed in a provincial manner were more concerned to maintain links 
with the vanished glories of North India. 


STYLISTIC TRANSFORMATION 


Any understanding of the relationship of dynasty and style in the arts of the Deccan 
also depends on unravelling the mechanisms by which external influences were 
transformed into native styles. This affirmation of indigenous traditions did not 
take place at any single point in the five centuries or so of Deccani history covered 
here; rather, it responded to successive waves of foreign influence. The first phase to 
be discerned coincides with the Bahmani period. North Indian modes of military, 
palace and religious architecture introduced into the peninsula by the Tughlugs 
were wholeheartedly adopted by the Bahmanis. As a result, the earliest Deccani 
mosques and tombs display North Indian attributes such as sloping walls, promi- 
nent battlements, flattish domes and arches with angled profiles. The same features 
are also seen in the ramparts at Daulatabad and Parenda, the ruined audience hall 
standing in the middle of Firuzabad, the mosque in the royal enclave at Bidar and 
the tombs at Holkonda. 

The process of transformation by which the first genuinely Deccani style was 
created was completed towards the end of the fourteenth century, by which time 
innovative tendencies were already apparent in religious architecture. The Jami 
mosque in the fort at Gulbarga dispenses with the usual courtyard to create an 
interior roofed entirely with domes and pyramidal vaults, a scheme rarely used in 
India. The nearby mausoleum of Tajuddin Firuz duplicates the cubic chamber to 
create a double-domed structure, another example of a one-off layout. The uncon- 
ventional use of Tughlug-type niches in multiple planes to enliven fagades became a 
distinctive hallmark of the mature Bahmani style. The emancipation of Deccani 
practice from Tughluq prototypes occurred in about the middle of the fifteenth 
century, by which time Bahmani culture had come under the sway of Middle 
Eastern traditions. 


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CONCLUSION 


As has already been shown, Deccani architecture from this time onwards is only 
comprehensible in terms of the contacts forged between peninsular India and the 
Turco-Iranian heartland. Middle Eastern influence in the Deccan is already notice- 
able in the courtly and religious monuments of the later Bahmanis and their suc- 
cessors, the Baridis. The links between the fifteenth-century palace complex in Bidar 
and contemporary building traditions in Iran and Central Asia have been pointed 
out, especially with reference to the alignments of courtyards and ceremonial gates. 
Lofty portals with pointed arched openings are outlined in stone bands in the typical 
Timurid manner. Timurid practice also dominates the painted plasterwork, col- 
oured mosaic tiles and carved calligraphic panels, all of superlative quality, that 
adorn the tombs at nearby Ashtur. The apogee of this imported idiom is the madrasa 
of Mahmud Gawan in Bidar, an architectural transplant that faithfully reproduces 
the plan and elevational treatment of Persian models. Its coloured mosaic tiles 
match and even surpass the most refined Middle Eastern designs of the period. 

An equal fascination with Turco-Iranian styles has been observed at Ahmadnagar 
in the second half of the sixteenth century. The Farah Bagh, the grandest surviving 
residence of the Nizam Shahis, accords with well-established Safavid typology in its 
adherence to a strictly symmetrical, irregular-octagonal plan. Imposing portals in 
the middle of four sides give access to a central domed chamber of immense propor- 
tions. The delicate treatment of the plaster vaulting within the side niches accords 
with contemporary Iranian practice. Vaulting systems of Middle Eastern origin 
have also been noticed in Adil Shahi architecture. They include intersecting arches 
on rotated squares supporting domes in the Jami mosque and Gol Gumbad at 
Bijapur, without doubt the greatest constructional triumphs of the era. 

The appeal of Middle Eastern models for Deccani arts is particularly noticeable in 
the late sixteenth century. Among the paintings produced at the Ahmadnagar court 
are two compositions portraying Sultan Murtaza Nizam Shah. As has already been 
observed, the miniatures exhibit the facial types, costumes and calligrahic line typi- 
cal of Turco-Iranian paintings. The presence of similar Middle Eastern elements has 
also been recognised in paintings produced at Bijapur under Ibrahim I], Muham- 
mad and Ali II, considered here to represent the high watermark of Deccani pictorial 
art. The figures of courtiers, princes and holy men, all in paradise-like garden 
settings, show definite Persian elements. Turco-Iranian traits are even stronger in 
contemporary Golconda paintings, especially in miniatures commissioned by Mu- 
hammad Quli and Muhammad Qutb Shah. Pictorial compositions focus on royal 
court scenes and pastimes characterised by dense pulsating compositions, bright 
colours and stylised arabesque, all hallmarks of Timurid-Safavid painting. 

A synthesis of Persian Safavid models with indigenous taste is apparent in the 
finest early seventeenth-century Deccani paintings. Works by the so-called St 
Petersburg painter include seated and equestrian portraits which reconcile Middle 
Eastern pictorial conventions with a preference for brilliantly coloured and exuber- 
ant compositions, typically Deccani in spirit. Paintings by the so-called Dublin 


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painter blend the huge flowers and trees of the Deccan style with the formal portrait- 
ure of the Middle East. One of the most extraordinary transmutations of Safavid 
motifs is seen in the tile mosaics of the Badshahi Ashurkhana in Hyderabad. Con- 
ventional Persian designs of overflowing vases, flowering trees and calligraphic stan- 
dards are here revitalised in local yellows, blues and turquoises of startling brilliance 
and subtlety. 

As has already been mentioned, the Turco-Iranian pictorial idiom at Bijapur and 
Golconda-Hyderabad did not survive beyond the end of the seventeenth century, 
owing to the pervasive influence of Mughal art. The Deccan experienced a second 
wave of artistic influence from North India under the Mughals, who introduced 
into the region a fully evolved but foreign tradition. Mosques and tombs erected by 
Aurangzeb and his nobles towards the end of the seventeenth century and in the first 
decades of the eighteenth century conform to conventional Mughal types and dec- 
orative motifs. But such transplants were not always devoid of innovative tenden- 
cies. The Bibi-ka Maqbara near Aurangabad has been appreciated here for its novel 
traits, including the singular device of an octagonal gallery overlooking the tomb 
beneath. Other smaller Mughal projects in Aurangabad, such as the tomb of Qada 
Auliya, present unconventional groupings of more familiar Mughal elements, such 
as bangla vaults and domes. 

Portraits produced for the Mughal nobles and their successors in Aurangabad and 
Hyderabad, and even at lesser centres like Kurnool and Cuddapah, still exhibit 
strong local traits, though executed in a typically late Mughal manner. The harden- 
ing of line and simplification of tone noted in eighteenth-century paintings at the 
Mughal courts have also been detected in Deccani art. This same manner extended 
even to Maratha painting, as can be seen in the luscious floral borders of wall 
paintings and manuscript pages. Yet late painting did on occasions achieve a certain 
aesthetic independence, as has been noted in the vivid palette used by Deccani 
painters of the period, even when working within accepted pictorial conventions. 
Inlaid metal objects are also related to contemporary Mughal art, but the fully 
formed flowers that adorn ewers and trays have more the intense energy of the 
Deccani tradition than the languid grace of the North Indian style. 

As has been pointed out, Mughal architecture in the Deccan had a greater impact 
on temples than on mosques and tombs. The fulfilment of Hindu ritual require- 
ments seems not to have prevented Maratha architects from freely borrowing 
Mughal-style cusped arches which find startlingly novel applications in wall niches 
and spires. This quest for new forms is perhaps nowhere better seen than in the 
magnificent Hindu monument erected by the queen Ahilyabai at the ancient site of 
Ellora. While harking back to the grandiose projects of the pre-Islamic era, this 
temple presents an inventive synthesis of disparate architectural elements that per- 
fectly matches the scope of Maratha culture at the time of its greatest political and 
military extent. 


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APPENDIX: DYNASTIC LISTS OF DECCAN 
RULERS 


Khaljis of Delhi 
Jalaluddin Firuz Shah, 1290-6 
Alauddin Muhammad Shah, 1296-1316 
Qutbuddin Mubarak Shah, 1316-21 


Tughlugs of Delhi and Daulatabad 
Ghiyathuddin Shah, 1321-5 
Muhammad Shah, 1325-51 


Bahmanis of Gulbarga and Bidar 
Alauddin Hasan Bahman Shah, 1347-58 
Muhammad I, 1358-75 
Mujahid, 1375-8 
Dawud I, 1378 
Muhammad II, 1378-97 
Dawad II, 1397 
Tajuddin Firuz, 1397-1422 
Ahmad I, 1422-36 
Alauddin Ahmad I], 1436-58 
Humayun, 1458-61 
Ahmad III, 1461-3 
Muhammad III, 1463-82 
Mahmud, 1482-1518 
Ahmad IV, 1518-20 
Wallyullah, 1520-6 
Kalamullah, 1526-38 


Faruqis of Thalner and Burhanpur 
Malik Raja, 1382-99 
Nasir Khan, 1399-1437 
Miran Adil Khan I, 1437-41 
Miran Mubarak Shah I, 1441-57 
Adil Khan II, 1457-1501 


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Dawud Khan, 1501-8 

Adil Khan III, 1508-20 

Miran Muhammad Shah I, 1520-37 
Miran Mubarak Shah II, 1537-66 
Miran Muhammad Shah II, 1566-76 
Adil Khan IV, 1576-97 

Bahadur Shah, 1597-1601 


Adil Shahis of Bijapur 
Yusuf Adil Khan, 1490-1510 
Ismail Adil Khan, 1510-34 
Mallu Adil Khan, 1534-5 
Ibrahim I, 1535-58 
Ali I, 1558-80 
Ibrahim II, ts80—1627 
Muhammad, 1627-56 
Ali II, 1656-72 
Sikander, 1672-86 


Nizam Shahis of Ahmadnagar 
Ahmad Bahri, 1496-1510 
Burhan I, 1510-53 
Husain I, 1553-65 
Murtaza I, 1565-88 
Husain II, 1588-9 
Ismail, 1589-91 
Burhan II, 1591-5 
Bahadur, 1595-1600 
Murtaza IT, 1600-10 
Burhan III, 1610-31 
Husain III, 1631-3 
Murtaza III, 1633-6 


Baridis of Bidar 
Qasim I, -1504 
Amir I, 1504-43 
Ali Shah, 1543-80 
Ibrahim, 1580-7 
Qasim II, 1587-91 
Amir II, 1591-1600 
Mirza, 1600-9 
Amir III, 1609-19 


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Imad Shahis of Achalpur 
Fathullah, —1510 
Alauddin, 1510-30 
Darya, 1530-61 
Burhan, 1562-74 


Qutb Shahis of Golconda and Hyderabad 
Sultan Quli Qutb al-Mulk, 1512-43 
Jamshid, 1543-50 
Ibrahim, 1550-80 
Muhammad Quli, 1580-1611 
Muhammad, 1611-26 
Abdullah, 1626-72 
Abul Hasan, 1672-87 


Mughals of Delhi and Aurangabad 
Akbar, 1556-1605 
Jahangir, 1605-27 
Shah Jahan, 1628-58 
Aurangzeb, 1658-1707 
Shah Alam Bahadur Shah, 1707-13 
Farrukh Siyar, 1713-19 
Muhammad Shah, 1719-48 


Pathan Nawabs of Kurnool 
Khizr Khan, -1674 
Dawud Khan, 1674-1712 
Ali Khan, 1712-18 
Ibrahim Khan, 1718-31 
Alif Khan I, 1731-44 
Himayat Khan, 1744-51 
Munawwar Khan I, 1751-92 
Alif Khan II, 1792-1815 
Munawwar Khan II, 1815-23 
Ghulam Rasul Khan, 1823-39 


Chhatrapatis of Raigad and Satara 
Shivaji, 1674-80 
Sambhaji, 1680-9 
Rajaram, 1689-1700 
Tarabai, 1700-8 
Shahu, 1708-49 


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Ram Raja, 1749-77 
Shahu I, 1777— 


Bhonsales of Nagpur 
Parasoji, —1709 
Kanhoji, 1709-30 
Raghuji I, 1730-55 
Janoji, 1755-72 
Madhoji, 1772-5 
Raghuji II, 1775-1816 


Chhatrapatis of Kolhapur 
Sambhaji, 1714-60 
Shivaji II, 1762-1812 


Peshwas of Satara and Pune 
Balaji Vishvanath, 1714-20 
Bajirao I, 1720-40 
Balaji Bajirao, 1740-61 
Madhavrao I, 1761-72 
Narayanrao, 1772-4 
Madhavrao II, 1774-96 
Bajirao II, 1796-1818 


Asaf Jahis of Aurangabad and Hyderabad 

Nawab Mir Qamar uddin, Nizam al-Mulk, Asaf Jah I, 1724-48 
Nawab Mir Ahmad Khan, Nasir Jang, 1748-50 

Nawab Muzaffar Jang, 1750-1 

Nawab Salabat Jang, 1751-62 

Nawab Mir Nizam Ali Khan, Asaf Jah II, 1762-1803 
Nawab Sikandar Jah, Asaf Jah III, 1803-29 

Nawab Ali Khan, Nasir ud daula, Asaf Jah IV, 1829-57 
Nawab Ali Khan, Afzal ud daula, Asaf Jah V, 1857-69 
Nawab Mir Mahbub Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VI, 1869-1911 
Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII, 1911-50 





Holkars of Indore and Maheshwar 
Malharao, 1725-66 
Ahilyabai, 1766-95 
Tukoji, 1766-97 
Yeshwantrao, 1797-1811 


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Angres of Kolaba 
Kanhoji, -1729 
Sekhoji, 1729-33 
Sambhaji, 1733-42 


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BIBLIOGRAPHIC ESSAY 


HISTORICAL FRAMEWORK 


The history of the Deccan in the centuries covered in this volume is well served by a number of 
comprehensive studies, but many dealing with political and military history are now of some age. 
Essential bibliographies are provided by Khalili (1985, 1987). Persian and Arabic epigraphic 
sources are summarised in Desai (1989, n.d.) and various volumes of Epigraphia Indica, Arabic 
and Persian Supplement and Epigraphia Indo-Moslemica. 

The Sultanate period is surveyed by Haig (1907, 1928), Briggs (1909-10), Venkataramana 
(1942) and Sherwani and Joshi (1973), the last with excellent historical chapters by various 
authors concentrating on the different Sultanate kingdoms. Social, religious and cultural aspects 
of the Sultanate courts are considered by Ahmad (1953), Nizami (1974), Alavi (1977), Eaton 
(1978, 1998), Ernst (1992, 1993), Bredi (1993), Naqvi (1993) and Wink (1993). 

Several specialised studies focus on individual Sultanates. For the Bahmanis see King (1900), 
Sherwani (1953), Sinha (1964), Husaini (1966) and Siddiqi (1989). Biographies of influential 
Bahmani figures such as Tajuddin Firuz and Mahmud Gawan are given in Sherwani (1942, 
1943-4). An account of the Nizam Shahis is provided by Haig (1920-3) and Shyam (1966). Malik 
Ambar, effective ruler of Ahmadnagar at the turn of the seventeenth century, is the subject of 
Seth (1957), Shyam (1968) and Tamaskar (1978). For the Adil Shahis see Nayeem (1974) and 
Verma (1974, 1990). Ibrahim Adil Shah’s career is outlined by Joshi (1948), but see Ghani (1930) 
and Ahmad (1956) for additional sources. Rocco (1920), Minorsky (1955), Siddiqi (1956) and 
Sherwani (1974) offer historical materials relevant to the Qutb Shahis, while Sherwani (1957, 
1967) takes a detailed look at the career of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, founder of the dynasty. 
The Faruqis of Khandesh, on the northern fringe of the region, are surveyed by Haig (1918) and 
Shyam (1981). 

There is a relatively large literature on the Mughal period, but only a few studies focus on the 
Deccan. See Bilgrami and Willmott (1884), Haig (1937), Sarkar (1963), Richards (1975, 1995, chs. 
10-11) and Nayeem (1985, 1987) for detailed works on the Mughals in the Deccan and the rise of 
the Asaf Jahis. 

The Marathas form the topic of numerous enquiries, the most comprehensive being Duff 
(1912), Sen (1928), Kincaird and Parasnes (1931), Sardesai (1946-9), Rawlinson (1963), Gokhale 
(1988) and Gordon (1993, 1994). Maheshvari and Higgins (1989) offer useful historical summa- 
ries of all the important Maratha centres. For the background of the Sidis, Abyssinian admirals of 
the Marathas, see Banaji (1932). 


ARCHITECTURE 


No comprehensive study of Deccani architecture exists for the centuries examined here. The 
Sultanate period, for instance, is generally condensed into chapters of larger works, as in Brown 
(1942, chs. x11 and xtv), Sherwani and Joshi (1974, ch. 4), Soundara Rajan (1983, ch. 6) and Harle 
(1986, ch. 32). Mate (1961-2) attempts an overview of Sultanate buildings, but is mainly 
concerned with the development of particular architectural features. Merklinger (1981) deals only 
with monuments in Karnataka, though her treatment of this region is the most extensive yet 


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BIBLIOGRAPHIC ESSAY 


published. Michell (1996) provides an illustrated overview. Chapters by Desai (1974a, 1974b) 
give a more satisfactory overview of Sultanate architecture. Technical and structural aspects are 
reviewed by Fischer (1974). 

Various Sultanate fortresses are covered in the Annual Report of the Archaeological Department 
of H. E. H. The Nizam’s Dominions (Hyderabad), as well as in Goetz (1949) and chapters of Toy 
(1957, 1965), Joshi (1985), Fass (1986) and Ramachandra Murthy (1996). Few of these studies are 
accompanied by reliable site plans. Deccani palaces are described in Reuther (1925), still 
impressive for its clear photographs and accurate drawings. A few of these monuments are 
covered in Michell (1994). For the Tughlug origins of the Deccan style see Welch and Crane 
(1983), also Rani (1991) and Shokoohy and Shokoohy (1994). 

Monographic volumes and specialised articles cover the major Sultanate cities. Burton-Page 
(1986), Mate (1989) and Mate and Pathy (1992) deal with Daulatabad, but a reliable site map and 
descriptions of individual monuments are still lacking. The situation is little better for Gulbarga, 
in spite of articles by Yazdani (1928) and Merklinger (1975, 1986). The lesser known palace city of 
Firuzabad is the subject of an article by Fischer (1955) and a volume with plans by Michell and 
Eaton (1992). The architecture of Bidar benefits from a magnificently illustrated monograph by 
Yazdani (1947), the finest for any Deccani site. There is also an article by Merklinger (1976) and a 
chapter by Michell in his edited volume (1986). For Anmadnagar, see Reuther (1925) and Gadre 
(1986), the latter with unique but poorly executed maps. The remote site of Sagar has recently 
been surveyed by Aruni (1996-7). 

Bijapur is probably the best-studied Sultanate city, judging from monographs and articles by 
Meadows Taylor and Fergusson (1866), Reuther (1925), Merklinger (1978) and Burton-Page 
(1986). A complete account of Bijapur’s monuments, accompanied by handsome drawings and 
photographs, is provided by Cousens (1916, reprinted 1976). The water structures of Bijapur are 
documented by Rétzer (1984). Religious and courtly monuments of the twin cities of Golconda 
and Hyderabad have often been described: Bilgrami (1927), Reuther (1925), Sherwani (1958, 
1976), Krishna Sastry (1983, 1983-4), Pieper (1984), Michell in his edited volume (1986), Naqvi 
(1987), Petruccioli (1991), Safrani (1992) and Shorey (1993). Hussain (1996) has covered the royal 
gardens at Golconda, but the palace complex at this site remains largely undocumented and 
unmapped. Notices of monuments at lesser known sites, such as Raichur and Burhanpur, are 
found in Merklinger (1977) and Koch (1991b). The mosque at Ponda in Goa is reported by Hutt 
(1981) and Shokoohy (1997). 

Architectural decoration in Sultanate buildings is touched on in many of the above works, but 
there is no specialised study. Tilework is particularly neglected, probably because the record is so 
fragmentary. Examples on Bahmani and Baridi monuments in Bidar are partially reproduced in 
Yazdani (1947). Further discussion is found in Crowe (1986a, 1986b), Curatola (1991) and Hasan 
(1995). Mosaic tilework on the interior of the Badshahi Ashurkhana in Hyderabad, probably the 
finest in India, is reported in Bilgrami (1927) and Crowe (1986a), but is extensively reproduced 
here in colour for the first time. This tilework remains virtually unknown to historians of Indian 
and Islamic art. Bijapur tiles are discussed by Porter (1995), who provides a valuable technical 
discussion. Related tiles from Goa are shown in Via Orientalis (1991). 

Even fewer data are available for the carved stone decoration of Sultanate buildings. Goetz 
(1963) provides a useful though brief survey of sculpted decoration, mostly on fort walls and 
gates. Begley (1985) concentrates on monumental stone calligraphy, with many significant 
Deccani examples. See Bilgrami (1927) for illustrations and translations of the inscriptions in the 
Hyderabad area. The only article on plaster decoration, Shokoohy (1994), is restricted to the 
Bahmani monuments. 

Mughal architecture in the Deccan awaits a specialised enquiry. Recent histories of Mughal 
architecture by Koch (1991a) and Asher (1992), otherwise commendable, treat Deccani monu- 


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ments only in passing. Desai’s chapter (1974) is the only attempt to provide an overview of the 
Mughal contribution to Deccani architecture. This may be supplemented by Sreenivasachar 
(n.d.), who describes Mughal buildings in Aurangabad. 

Maratha architecture is totally ignored in all general surveys, including those given above. 
Mate (1959) attempts a review of Maratha military and religious buildings, but his approach is 
hampered by a lack of reliable drawings. Maratha forts are covered in competent studies by 
Deshpande (1982) and Desai (1987), both with useful maps. Mate (1982) and Jamkhedkar (1982) 
examine Maratha temples in and around Pune and Nagpur, respectively. Kanhere (1989) and 
Sohoni (1998) present information on Maratha temples at other sites in Maharashtra, the latter 
with accurate plans and details. Religious constructions associated with Ahilyabai, the celebrated 
Holkar queen, are considered briefly in Burgess (1878) and Bhatt (1979). Kanhere (1982a, 1982b), 
Khare (1982) and Morwanchikar (1982) draw attention to domestic architecture of the Marathas. 
Murals are covered in Garg (1987) and Deshmukh (1992). 


MINIATURE PAINTING AND THE FINE ARTS 


Until the 1930s, the Deccani school of painting was hardly known, its great masterpieces usually 
described as Persian, Indo-Persian or Mughal. Mehta (1926) was the first scholar to attribute a 
major work, the magnificent study of a bull elephant, probably Atash Khan, to a Deccani artist. 

Discoveries multiply during the next decades. Kramrisch (1937) traces the development of 
Deccani art forms from ancient times to the nineteenth century, publishing for the first time the 
Tarif-i Husayn Shahi from Ahmadnagar. Goetz (1935, 1936, 1944, 1950, 1952-3), Gray (1937, 
1938), Chandra (1951), Khandalavala (1955-6) and Skelton (1957, 1958) present important new 
materials, thereby giving definition to what is a new subject. Barrett (1958), in a short but brilliant 
monograph, makes the interesting contrast between the worldly concerns of the Mughal empire 
and the dreamy escapist tenor of the Deccani courts, as reflected in the arts of these two great 
Indo-Islamic cultures. This is followed by two additional short studies (Barrett 1960, 1969). 
Contributions by various scholars to the 1963 issue of Marg magazine devoted to Deccani 
painting show the high quality and extraordinary diversity of the different schools. Additional 
discussions accompanied by illustrations of many newly attributed Deccani paintings are found 
in Ivanov, Grek and Akimushkin (1962), Barrett and Gray (1963, pp. 115-29), Mittal (1966, 1968, 
1971), Skelton (1971), Binney (1973) and Zebrowski (1981a). 

Zebrowski (1983), who provides the first comprehensive study on the subject, more than 
doubles the known corpus of Deccani paintings, bringing to light much new historical informa- 
tion as well. Seyller (1995) charts the career of the Mughal artist Farrukh Beg, who may be 
identical with the Bijapur artist Farrukh Husain mentioned by the Persian poet Zuhuri. Welch 
(1985, 1997) presents a fascinating personal account of a possible connection between the 
Golconda school and Rajput painting at Kotah. 

Recent monographs, catalogues and articles containing additional materials useful for a study 
of Deccani painting include Zebrowski (1986a), Stronge (1990), Via Orientalis (1991), Safrani 
(1992), Leach (1995) and Losty (1995). For related examples of painted lacquerwork see 
Zebrowski (1982b). 

The study of miniature painting under the Marathas is still in its infancy, but see Banerji 
(1956) and Doshi (1972). Select illustrated manuscripts are discussed in Ranade (1983). 

Pioneer research on Deccani resist-dyed cottons is provided by Irwin (1959) and Irwin and 
Brett (1970). But it is Gittinger (1982) who provides the most complete compendium of 
materials to date, the source of much of the discussion offered here. Smart (1987) groups together 
an important number of such cottons which bear seventeenth-century dates and seals from the 
royal Amber Collection in Rajasthan. Crill (1988) deals with pieces in the Victoria and Albert 


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Museum, London. Cohen (1986) not only discusses resist-dyed cottons, but assigns a number of 
embroideries, pile carpets and flat-woven floor coverings to the Deccan. 

Deccani bronze vessels decorated with Arabic script, among the greatest masterpieces of 
Islamic metalwork, have long been assigned to either Iran or North India (Melikian-Chirvani 
1982). The most comprehensive survey of the subject, with fresh attributions, is now in 
Zebrowski (1997a). For bidriware, a type of inlaid metalwork unique to the Deccan, see 
Choudhury (1961), Stronge (1985, 1986) and Zebrowski (1981b, 1982a, 1986b, 1995, 19974, 1997). 
Excellent bronze, gilt copper and bidri vessels are illustrated in Welch (1985). 


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1 Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah I hawking, Bijapur, c. 1590 


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2 Sultan Murtaza Nizam Shah enthroned, attributed to the Paris painter, 
Ahmadnagar, c. 1575 


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3 Young Prince Riding, attributed to the Paris painter, Ahmadnagar, c. 1575 


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4 Siesta, attributed to the Dublin painter, Bijapur, early seventeenth century 


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5 Ascetic visited by a yogini, attributed to the Dublin painter, Bijapur, 
early seventeenth century 


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attributed to the Bodleian painter, Bijapur, c. 1610-20 


6 Stout courtier, detail, 


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7 Sultan Muhammad Adil Shah, attributed to the Bodleian painter 
working with a Mughal painter, Bijapur, c. 1635 


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8 Prince sniffing a rose, Deccan, early eighteenth century 


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9 Prince galloping across a rocky plain, Deccan, c. 1700 


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10 Maiden with parrot, detail of a fragment of a painted cloth, Golconda, first half of 
seventeenth century 


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u Painted cloth, single-niche hanging (qanat), Deccan, 
mid-seventeenth century 


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12 Vase with arabesque, painted plasterwork, Asar Mahal, Bijapur, 
seventeenth century 


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13 Arabesque design, tile mosaic panel, Rangin Mahal, Bidar, 
mid-sixteenth century 


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14 Calligraphic alam, detail of tile mosaic panel, Badshahi Ashurkhana, 
Hyderabad, 1611 


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1s Vase of plenty, detail of tile mosaic panel, Badshahi Ashurkhana 


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16 Calligraphic medallion on chain, painted gesso on stone, mihrab, Jami mosque, 
Bijapur, 1636 


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