Ornament of the Chauburji Gate, Lahore: The Meeting of the Mughal Decorative Style with Traditional Islīmī-Khatā’ī
Keywords:Cut-Brick Work, Decorative Style, Faience Mosaic, Islīmī-Khatā’ī, Jahan Ara Begum, Lahore, Minaret, Mughal, Single Plant Motif, Timurid
The objective of this research paper is to analyze Mughal decorative repertoire of Chauburji Gateway of 1647 at Lahore. The Mughals had a predilection for architectural ornamentation, which reflected in their monumental gateways that not only welcomed the visitor but also imparted sovereignty of the patron. The ones to gardens, like that of Chauburji patronized by Jahan Ara daughter of Shah Jahan, were given special attention as they also reflected Mughal aesthetics—a time when architecturally speaking Lahore was at its bloom. Chauburji is a surviving isolated monument of a unique kind that has not received its due scholarship especially its ornamentation. Qualitative method for art historical research has been deployed for the discourse of this gateway. Not only does Chauburji behold the Timurid and Safavid styles of decoration but also the newly established characteristic Mughal Decorative style. One can not only find curvilinear designs like the traditional islīmī-khatā’ī but also geometrical designs, calligraphy, single plant motifs, trees and still life in faience mosaic and cut-brick work. The gateway also gives an insight into the mindset of the patron of this monumental structure.
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