Baroque and Beyond C. 1600–1850

Mughal Art in India

What is the Taj Mahal?

The Taj Mahal, in Agra, India, is one of the most recognizable structures around the world, with its white onion-shaped domes, arched windows, and long reflective pool. The Taj Mahal is made of marble, inlaid with colorful stones in a floral pattern, and also decorated with calligraphy inscriptions from the Qu’ran. It is not a palace, but a mausoleum built by the seventeenth-century Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, grandson of Akbar the Great, for his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Monumental tombs were part of an Islamic tradition and the design of the Taj Mahal mirrors the design of garden pavilions in Iran. It evokes a sense of calm and serenity through its symmetrical and balanced forms, and expansive pools and tall minarets. The building is symbolically linked to descriptions of gardens in Paradise from the Qur’an and is considered a masterpiece of Indo-Islamic architecture.

TheTaj Mahal, a white marble mausoleum, was built between 1631 and 1648 at the behest of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his late wife.TheTaj Mahal is a masterpiece of Islamic art in India.


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