Category Archives: Deccan history

Delight in design : floral motifs in Bidri craft

    Man is very much a part of nature and what he sees around him influences him deeply. This is more true for artists and craftsmen who are always inspired to create what they have visualised in their imagination. Flora and fauna abounds on this planet and have found their way into artworks. Vegetal and animal motifs are commonly seen in plastic arts, textiles and metalcrafts. We see surreal forms and stylised varieties of flowers, creepers, trees and animals. The designs create a magic of their own and hint at a greater reality beyond space and time.

 Introduction : the beginnings of Bidri

     The art of inlaying one metal on the other to make objects of art and utility is a very old one. It was used for making metal images of the Buddha with copper and silver inlay work in the 6th and 7th centuries, during the Gupta rule in India. The bronzes of Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh from 7th to 10th century and the Jaina bronzes of Eastern India, Central India and Deccan from 6th to 10th century  had  inlay work.  The origin of Bidri craft is  a bit of a mystery; the craft is believed to have been born in Persia. In Safavid Persia (750 -1258A.D) rulers and rich merchants used copper inlaid objects. Later gold ans silver was used and the art practised in many Central Islamic lands. The craft was brought to India by a nobleman. Khaja Moinuddin Chishti and his followers to Ajmer in Rajasthan. Much later a craftsman by name Abdullah-bin-Khaiser migrated to Bijapur in the Deccan and taught the craft to local artists. Bidar became a province of the Bahmani kingdom when it established its rule in South India. Sultan Alauddin II Bahamani (1434 -1457 A.D) of Bidar was gifted metal objects during his coronation and he was much impressed. He gave the craft the name Bidari or Bidri. He invited the craftsmen to settle at Bidar itself. They were provided with facilities and comforts so that they could carry on their craft. Thus with royal patronage the craft flourished under the Bahmanis and the later Baridis who ruled from Bidar. It travelled to other centres  from 1770 A.D, of which Lucknow, Purnea and Murshidabad are noteworthy.

Bidar Fort view, Bidar, Karnataka.

 By Tirumala Nalla – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51144313

  Techniques of Bidri making : creativity and skill set

     The karigars or craftsmen used metals in a very imaginative way. The alloy was made out of copper, zinc and lead. The mixture of zinc and copper in of the ratio 16:1. Copper is added to make zinc take the polish better. On this silver or gold was used to make the design by inlaying in different ways. The techniques have Persian terms; tarkashi which means inlay of wire, taihnishan; inlay of sheet, zarnishan; low relief, zarbulund; high relief and aftabi; cut out designs in overlaid metal sheet. The beauty is created through contrast of the silver against a dark background. Silver is white , shiny after polish and malleable and ductile making it suitable for using during  crafting.  The process involved in the production of a Bidri item of art involves casting, polishing, engraving, inlaying and blackening the alloy. Designs are drawn with a fine point and pure silver is hammered into the pattern. The final polish is achieved with sand paper, charcoal and coconut oil. A way of blackening the Bidri object was by using a type of clay found at Bidar fort. A combination of techniques are used to make the final object. The craft is likened to Damascene work or koftgiri  where gold or silver is encrusted on iron objects.

Designs on Bidri : vegetal and floral  inspirations

    The early Bidriware had beautiful Persian motifs. Designs of Middle Eastern origin and Egyptian floral designs were also incorporated. The ashrafi ki booti and teenpatti ki booti patterns are well known. Also kairi or mango, star patterns, vine creepers, poppy plant with flowers, mahi-pusht or fish scale pattern.

Bidar Fort garden, pool has an ornate pattern, Bidar, Karnataka.

By Santosh3397 – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36533037

 There are some awesome specimens of Bidriware now housed in different places across the world. The objects made include huqqa (hubble bubble)  bases, afatabas or ewers, huqqa  mouthpieces, mir-e-farsh or floor-weights, shamadan or candelabras, chilam or firecups,trays, goblets, pandan or  betel boxes, ittardan or perfume boxes, gulabpash or rose water sprinklers, basins, plates and spittoons. More recently there is jewellery, ashtrays, walking sticks, paperweights and USB covers. The craft has gone through ups and downs but rulers across time have always encouraged and revived the craft. It thrives with exports, retailers and online sales. The workshops are now at Hyderabad and Bidar.

   The skilled craftsmen have used Persian motifs on the alloy; local idioms like the lotus and swastika are found too. French influence is seen from the 18th century. Egyptian design also embellished the objects. Thus not only a combination of techniques but also design happened during the journey of the craft. However the main inspiration for designs on Bidriware are flowers and vegetal patterns like the creepers and leaves.

    A beautiful poem by Ernestine Northover captures the essence of the flower in nature and its effects.

Oh, Flower

‘’Oh, flower, open wide your fragrant maze,

Curl back your petals, and greet the sun,

Look up and drink in its glorious rays,

Which will enhance your beauty, just begun.

Oh, flower, with colours of pure rich fire,

You will always radiate a warmth in me,

And your artistry ignites such desire,

That with truth you could be no parody.

Oh, flower, when raindrops touch your face,

And wild winds dictate your waving head,

Your stance will always sustain your grace,

And resplendence be found in your blossoms spread.’’

Woman with flowers, painting, Safavid Persia/Iran, 1575 AD, Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian, Washington D.C,U.S.A

By Unknown / Smithsonian Institution [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

           Ceiling design, Rangeen Mahal, 16th century, BIdar Fort, Bidar,Karnataka.

Source : https://www.flickr.com/photos/aloshbennett/4347383785

        The images showcased highlight the different patterns and the brilliant effect on the ware created painstakingly by the Bidri artist and craftsman. In many places a combination of motifs can be seen which enhance the final effect.

  Vine creeper -A farsh-i-huqqa or huqqa base from 18th century depicts vine creepers in seamless design all over the body of the object to create a brilliant effect.

   Huqqa base, tarkashi and tehnishan technique, Bidar, 18th century.

 Los Angeles County Museum of Art [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Grape vine, image.

 By Lori (Flickr: That’ll need to age a bit yet…) [CC BY-SA 2.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

   Poppy plant and flower : the huqqa bases shown below depict a stylised poppy plant against a dark background. The poppy flower motif has been put to prolific use in Bidricraft.

 

Huqqa base, Bidar or Hyderabad, 18th century.

 Los Angeles County Museum of Art [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 Poppy flowers,images.

 

       In the image below the technique has been reversed. The dark base is made to stand out and the pattern is etched on the sliver sheet. The huqqa base has stylised poppy flowers with circular decorative scrolls towards the top and bottom.

 

 Huqqa base, aftabi and taihnishan technique, Bidar or Hyderabad, 19th Century.

            Los Angeles County Museum of Art [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Huqqa base, gold work on alloy, Bidar, Mughal period, Dallas Museum of Art, U. S. A,17th century.

 By Daderot – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=68723894

 

Huqqa base, Bidar, Karnataka, late 17th century.

By Unknown – Marie-Lan Nguyen (2006), ಸಾರ್ವಜನಿಕರಿಗೆ ಸೇರಿದ್ದು, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=828340

Pandan or betel-box,  tarkashi technique, stylised poppy and leaf patterns in circles on top, Bidar or Hyderabad,1800.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Cypress tree and flowers : the cypress motif is used in some huqqa bases. The flowers and the tree are depicted in stylised forms. The cypress is group of ceratin kind of trees or plants with similar characters. The plant has been often mentioned in poetry too.

 

Huqqa base, Bidar, between circa 1600 and circa 1800.

By © Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20355115

                                                                          Cypress tree.

 By pellaea (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Cypress flowers.

 

 

 

 Huqqa base, Bidar, Karnataka, 18th century.

http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00glossarydata/terms/bidri/bidri.html

 Lotus in a pond : The sight of a lotus in apond is one of nature’s most beautiful sights.             The Bidri artists have captured this in their creations. A salver below depicts the lotus motif; blooming lotuses, lotus buds and lotuses floating on a pond. The border also made of lotuses enhances the beauty of the artwok as does the waterbody depicted as wavy lines.

 

         Salver, Bidri ware, tarkashi and taihnishan technique, Bidar, 17th century.

 

                                                                  Lotus flower, image.

 

Lotus flowers and buds in a pond, image.

 Combination of star and flowers : The salver below depicts a starry concentric pattern with poppy design in the inner circle with alternating leaf motifs.

Salver, Bidri ware (tarkashi and tehnishan techniques),Bidar,17th century.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Concentric star pattten.

Huqqa with irises, late 17th century, MET Museum, USA. 

By This file was donated to Wikimedia Commons by as part of a project by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. See the Image and Data Resources Open Access Policy, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57856153

Iris flower, image.

Plate, Bidar, 17th century.

 By Hiart – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17606820

Aftaba or ewer, Met Museum, New York, 18th century.

By This file was donated to Wikimedia Commons by as part of a project by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. See the Image and Data Resources Open Access Policy, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61138268

Ugaldan or spittoon, tarkashi and tehnishan techniques, Hyderabad, 1850.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  Bidriware cup and lid, Bidar, Karantaka, 1850, V&A Museum, U.K

By VAwebteam at English Wikipedia – http://images.vam.ac.uk/indexplus/page/Home.html, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8500029

     The earliest Bidriware of the 16th centuries are not available, mostly 17th century onwards one gets to study the various types. Over time the ware has changed according to the demands of the people. After the huqqa base, ugladans, sailabchis and aftabas one can see ashtrays, salvers and trays and now small decorative gift itms, jewellery, vases and boxes of different sizes. The craft has seen many ups and downs during its journey but due to the constant efforts of its revival and support by the rulers right from the beginning it still lives ! At present workshops are there at Bidar and Hyderabad. The magic of the objects created seem to be timeless. Only the forms on which the designs have been made have changed and adapted to changing times. Long live Bidri !

Bidriware, various floral motifs, 21st century.

 By Shivapriya Sulgante [CC BY-SA 4.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

Bidriware, different stylised motifs, 21st century.

 By Manjunath Doddamani Gajendragad at en.wikipedia – Source and Author : Manjunath Doddamani, Gajendragad / Hubli, Karnataka(North), India., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17256729

Bidri craftsman, cypress leaf motif on USB,  21st century.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/bidri-art-form-gets-modern-twist/article6292645.ece, August 2014

Kairi (mango) shaped Bidri dibba, 21st century.

Source :  Jaypore.com.

Mango, image.

 

 

References :

  1. Narayan Sen, Catalogue on Damascene and Bidri Art, Indian Museum Calcutta, 1983.
  2. Krishna Lal, Catalogue, National Museum Collection Bidri Ware, National Museum of India, New Delhi, 1990.
  3. Jagdish Mittal, Bidriware and Damascene work in Jagdish and Kamla Mittal Museum of Indian Art, JKMMIA, Hyderabad, 2011.
  4. http://granthaalayah.com/Articles/Vol4Iss3/19_IJRG16_B03_27.pdf
  5. org
  6. Census of India 1961 :Vol II – Andhra Pradesh, Delhi : Manager of   Publications,1967.
  7. Sultans of Deccan India : Opulence and fantasy/Navina Najaf Hyder andMarika Sardar, New York : Met Museum, 2015.

 

Posted by :

 

Soma Ghosh

 

 

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Chalukyan art : some monuments at Aihole

     The Gupta dynasty and its successors had declined by the end of the 6th century and several changes took place in the Deccan and Southern India. By the time the Vakatakas had collapsed the early Kaluchuris dynasty established itself  around 520 A.D and flourished till 600 A.D.  The Kaluchuris are noted for Pasupata Saivism, a religious  movement in the Deccan and South Asia. They excavated the Jogeswari caves,Mandapeshwara,Elephanta and the Dhumar Lena at Ellora. They were overtaken by the Western Chalukyas of Karnataka. The Kadambas of Banavasi ruled in South Karnataka and were also overtaken by the Western Chalukyas, who were Dravidian and ruled from Badami (ancient Vatapi) and called Badami Chalukyas. Their ruler Pulakesin I fortified the area of Badami in 543 A.D.  Pulakesin II was its most notable ruler. He defeated Harsha on the banks of the Narmada. He expanded the kingdom to the northern limits of the Pallava kingdom. However in  642 A.D Pallava king Narasimhavarman occupied Badami for some time. Pulakesin died fighting. However the Chalukyas regained power under Vikramaditya I. Later Vijayaditya (696-733) ruled for 37 years and built many temples. Vikramaditya II ruled 733 – 744 A.D and was victorious over Pallava king Nandivarman II. He was a kind ruler, made temples at Kanchipuram too. Thus this early Chalukyan dynasty ruled most of the Deccan for 200 years; from mid 6th century to mid 8th century.  They were overthrown by the Rashtrakutas.This dynasty is remembered for it rock-cutting sculpture and later structural temples. The rock cut tradition is found at Aihole and Badami in Karnataka.

Chalukyan art of ancient India reaches a classical zenith at the group of monuments at Aihole in the present state of Karnataka in southern India.  An amazing example of rock cut temple architecture built by the Chalukyas datable to 550 A.D. is the Ravana Pahadi. These Chalukyas were ware called the Early Western Chalukyas by historians. The Deccan became an interface between the upper north and south below in the Indian peninsula. The Ravan Pahadi cave has a simple facade with two dwarapalas  and dwarves. The cave has a central mantapa (hall) with shrines by its sides. At the back end is a linga within a sanctuary. The mantapa is at a lower level than the shrines and sanctuary. The cave walls and ceiling including the corners of the main mandapa or hall have superb sculptures. A multi armed representation of Lord Shiva as Nataraja along with the saptamatrikas . Legend has it that the saptamtrikas were created during his battle with Andhakasura. The figures are slim and their garments have striations which are incised on stone. The cave has a figure of Durga as Mahisasuramardini  depicting her with her with one left hand and folded leg crushing the bull. She holds her weapons including the trident or trisula which is very prominent.

Ravana Pahadi cave,6th century,Aihole,Karnataka.

By Manjunath Doddamani Gajendragad at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55299150

Mantapa , Ravana Pahadi cave temple,6th century, Aihoḷe,Karnataka.

By Dineshkannambadi – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19877895

 

Raval Phadi (Brahmanical Cave) - Image 2.JPG

Linga,Ravana Pahadi ,6th century,Aihole, Karnataka.

By Nagraj – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21380047

Relief work1 in the Ravana phadi cave temple in Aihole.jpg

Nataraja, Ravana Pahadi cave temple, 6th century,Aihole,Karnataka.

By Dineshkannambadi – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19877893

Relief work2 in the Ravana phadi cave temple in Aihole.jpg

Mahisasuramardini, Ravana pahadi Cave temple, 6th century,Aihole, Karnataka.

By Dineshkannambadi – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19877894

      Durga temple at Aihole has an apsidal and oblong plan and is part of a fort or durg, hence its name Durga. It was built during the late 7th and early 8th centuries by the Early Western Chalukyas. There is a circumbulatory passage around the temple having pillars,some with sculptures.. There is an entrance area, a mandapa or hall and an inner shrine. The inner shrine has a narrow circumambulatory path.  The temple has a small porch approached by two staircases. The inner wall of the temple has many sculptures.; Durga as Mahisasuramardini having eight arms. A shikhara is present on the temple’s east-side over the shrine. The temple might have been dedicated to Lord Vishnu as many of his avatars  are carved on the temple like Varaha and  Narasimha.

Durga temple, 6th century,Aihole,Karnataka.

CC0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37733925

Durga Temple Aihole. Vishnu.jpg

Lord Vishnu,Durga temple, Aihole,Karnataka.

By Ismoon (talk) 21:12, 5 June 2013 (UTC) – Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26505253

Kaali Matha.jpg

Durga, 6th century,Aihole, Karnataka.

By Naveenkumarsnayak – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51445322

Aihole 3.JPG

Durga temple,6th century,Karnataka.

By Nithin bolar k – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27944703

Aihole si05-1462.jpg

Celestial couple,ceiling, Durga Temple,6th century, Aihole,Karnataka.

By G41rn8 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40069651

 

References :

  • The art of ancient India/Huntington,Susan,New York : Weatherhill,1985.
  • wikipedia.org

 

Posted by

Soma Ghosh

©author

 

 

Chalukyas of ancient India : glimpses from Badami caves

        The Gupta dynasty and its successors had declined by the end of the 6th century and several changes took place in the Deccan and Southern India. By the time the Vakatakas had collapsed the early Kaluchuris dynasty established itself  around 520 A.D and flourished till 600 A.D.  The Kaluchuris are noted for Pasupata Saivism, a religious  movement in the Deccan and South Asia. They excavated the Jogeswari caves,Mandapeshwara,Elephanta and the Dhumar Lena at Ellora. They were overtaken by the Western Chalukyas of Karnataka. The Kadambas of Banavasi ruled in South Karnataka and were also overtaken by the Western Chalukyas, who were Dravidian and ruled from Badami (ancient Vatapi) and called Badami Chalukyas. Their ruler Pulakesin I fortified the area of Badami in 543 A.D.  Pulakesin II was its most notable ruler. He defeated Harsha on the banks of the Narmada. He expanded the kingdom to the northern limits of the Pallava kingdom. However in  642 A.D Pallava king Narasimhavarman occupied Badami for some time. Pulakesin died fighting. However the Chalukyas regained power under Vikramaditya I. Later Vijayaditya (696-733) ruled for 37 years and built many temples. Vikramaditya II ruled 733 – 744 A.D and was victorious over Pallava king Nandivarman II. He was a kind ruler, made temples at Kanchipuram too. Thus this early Chalukyan dynasty ruled most of the Deccan for 200 years; from mid 6th century to mid 8th century.  They were overthrown by the Rashtrakutas.This dynasty is remembered for it rock-cutting sculpture and later structural temples. The rock cut tradition is found at Aihole and Badami in Karnataka. The Ravana Pahadi Cave at Aihole was excavated in 550 A.D.

    The Badami caves were excavated under the Chalukyas who were patrons of art. Badami was the capital of the Early Chalukyas. Badami is 5 km from the Malaprabha river.The rock is sandstone and the caves are next to an artificial lake, Lake Agastya. There are four main caves.

Badami Caves, 6th century,Karnataka.

By SUDHIR KUMAR D – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28398778

File:Badami-cave-temple.JPG

Badami Caves,6th century, Karnataka.

By rajeshodayanchal (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

      Cave 1 is Saivite. The forecourt of the cave is barely there. A mandapa with pillars and a small shrine are part of the cave. The facade has frieze of dwarfs. The sculpture of Nataraja with Ganesha and a drummer is seen at this cave. The image is 5 feet tall. The different arms are in different mudras and holding different objects. Nandi, the bull, the vehicle of Shiva can also be seen.  Adjoining the Nataraja is Goddess Durga as Mahisasuramardini.  This cave also has Ganesha, Kartikeya sculptures carved on its walls. There is also Harihara (half Vishnu, half Shiva) with Goddesses Lakhsmi and Parvati. There is also a relief sculpture of Shiva as ardhanarishwara, the androgynous Shiva along with consort Parvati. The verandah which is 75 feet by 65 feet has four columns with various carvings of Shiva. two dwarapalas guard the entrance. The carvings of this cave are ornate with the figures having borders around them with more reliefs of birds and animals. The ceiling has Vidyadharas. Lotus motifs have been much used. The roof has five carved panels with shesha,  yaksha figure, apsara and lotuses.

Nataraja at Badami caves, 6th century,Karnataka.

By Jean-Pierre Dalbéra from Paris, France – Temple troglodytique dédié à Shiva (Badami, Inde), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37213652

Harihara,Badami Caves,6th century,Karnataka.

By Ismoon (talk) 21:54, 10 June 2013 (UTC) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Cave 2 is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Steps lead to this cave which lies west of Cave 3. The entrance verandah is divided by four pillars with brackets further having sculptures. many Hindu deities are carved in this cave. Lord Vishnu as Trivikrama or Vamana is depicted in this cave. One foot is on the earth and one is directed north.Vishnu as Varaha too is depicted in this cave.  The dwarapalas of this cave are shown holding flowers. the columns are sculpted too showing mythological scenes including those from Lord Krishna’s life. The ceiling has a wheel with 16 fish spokes along with flying couples and swastikas.

Cave 3  is again a Vaishnavite cave with giant figures of Lord Vishnu as Trivikrama,Anantasayana,Varaha,Paravasudeva,Harihara and Narasimha. The cave faces north and is sixty steps away form Cave 2. The verandah is 70 ft. by 65 ft. and has four free standing pillars with carvings. this cave is fifteen feet high. There are fresco scenes on the ceiling,mostly mythological. Lord Brahma, the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvati are depicted. The roof of the verandah has seven panels with paintings in circular compartments of Hindu deities and  images of dwarapalas.

Lord Vishnu,Badami Caves,6th century,Karnataka.

By Ismoon (talk) 17:00, 10 June 2013 (UTC) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Sculpture2 near pillar bracket in Vaishnava cave temple no. 3 in Badami.jpg

Sculpture,Vaishnava cave temple,Badami Caves, 6th century.

By Dineshkannambadi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia CommonsImage result for badami caves

Carvings,Badami caves,6th century,Karnataka.

By Naane.naanu (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Lord Vishnu as Trivikrama,Badami Caves,6th century,Karnataka.

By Ismoon (talk) 15:49, 12 June 2013 (UTC) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Cave 4 is located to the east of Cave 3, higher than the other caves. It is dedicated to Jaina deities. Like the others this cave is also richly carved. The entrance to the cave has five bays with four columns having brackets.  The verandah of this cave is smaller compared to the other caves.A hall behind the verandah has two free and two joined pillars. The sanctum sanctorum is reached through steps where Lord Mahavira is depicted seated on a lion throne. On two sides are attendants holding fly whisks. Parshvanatha is carved with a snake hood. This cave has Indrabhuti Gautama, Bahubali,Padmavati and also yaksha and yakshi figures.Temple troglodytique jaïn (Badami, Inde) (14352949993).jpg

Lord Mahavira,Badami Caves, Karnataka.

By Jean-Pierre Dalbéra from Paris, France – Temple troglodytique jaïn (Badami, Inde), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37213634

Badami 06.jpg

Tirthankaras,Badami Cave 4, Karnataka.

Cave 5 is not yet dated, small natural cave and can be approached only by crawling with a sculpted figure seated on a throne.

File:Badami caves carvings16.JPG

Badami caves, 6th century,Karnataka.

By Raamanp (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

References :

  • The art of ancient India/Huntington,Susan,New York : Weatherhill,1985.
  • wikipedia.org

 

Posted by

Soma Ghosh

© author

 

Bijapur and Ahmadnagar paintings : regal splendour

Bijapur and Ahmadnagar were two important sultanates of the Deccan in medieval India. Both were powerful and contributed to the regions they ruled; built monuments whose remains are still seen. They were patrons of a unique painting forms which give us not only a historical record of those times but also contribute to the genre of Indian miniature painting. Bijapur paintings have survived in bigger number than those from Ahmadnagar.

The Bijapuri school flourished under Ibrahim Adil Shah II and his successors to some extent. Sultan Adil Shah I too was a patron of the arts and Shirazi, a immigrant from Persia who composed Tazkira-al mulk, worked in his kingdom during his reign. He patronised calligraphers and had a well stocked library.

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Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah II, Bijapur, late 16th century.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/73/Sultan-Ibrahim-Adil-Shah-II-of-Bijapur._Miniature._Deccan%2C_Bijapur%3B_c._1590._The_David_Collection..jpgBy Anonymous [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Bijapuri school was influenced by the Mughal and European style to some extent. Males are seen wearing turbans and royal costumes. The women had South Indian features with elongated eyes,wearing gold jewellery and saris. The main works produced during Sultan Adil Shah I rule were on musical themes like the Javahir al Musiqat-i-Muhammadi.

Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah II was a mystic,a calligrapher and a composer himself; he transformed Bijapuri painting. Highly sensitive, he was influenced by both Islam and Hinduism.The work produced during his reign is very strong on emotion; the word nauras meant everything to him which translates as ‘nine flavours of life’. His writings are collected in Kitab-i-nauras. Maulana Farookh Hussain was an important painter in his court who influenced all the artists of the time.  Bijapuri painting had paintings either with the garden of paradise  setting or a idealised form of a human figure. The clothes were reflective of the era. Muslin robes, Kashmiri shawls , golden slippers, conical headgear are all seen on royalty and noblemen.

The painting of Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah on his elephant, Atash Khan and his mate Chanchal are seen moving through  a meadow. Delicate flowers and trees abound; this painting has strong European influence.

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Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah on his elephant Atash Khan, Bijapur,1600-10.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/20/Sultan_Ibrahim_Adil_Shah_II_Riding_His_Prized_Elephant%2C_Atash_Khan.jpgBy Attributed to Farrukh Beg [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Aayat-ul-kursi, Bijapur,16th century.

By Playing Futures: Applied Nomadology [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The throne verse in the form of a calligraphic horse, Bijapur, 16th century.(Aayat-ul-kursi). The painting style of Bijapur changed when Ahmadnagar was divided between Bijapur and the Mughals. Many Rajputs were serving as Governors in the Mughal administration om Bundi, Kotah and Bikaner. These princes brought their families and probably painters as well. Portraiture became popular and the works began to be dated and signed. Mughal artists too had come to Bijapur and influences are seen in the paintings. Slowly lot of North Indian influence came into the later works. Mohammad Khan and Abdul Karim were important artists during Sultan Mohammad Adil Shah’s reign.

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Sultan Mohammad Adil Shah with Ikhlas Khan, his prime minister, Bijapur, 17th century.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/Muhammad_Adil_Shah_of_Bijapur_and_his_African_Prime_Minister_Ikhlas_Khan_LACMA_M.76.2.35_%281_of_3%29.jpgSee page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Sultan Mohammad Adil Shah selecting a jewel, Bijapur,1650.

By English: thesandiegomuseumofartcollection (Flickr) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

During Sultan Ali Adil Shah reign florals and abstracts too were produced in addition to portraiture.

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Sultan Ali Adil Shah of Bijapur, Bijapur,1800.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f8/Ali_Adil_Shah_of_Bijapur.jpg See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Chandbibi was daughter of Hussain Nizam Shah of Ahmadnagar and was married to Sultan Ali Adil Shah of Bijapur. She was  regent of Bijapur ( 1580-90) and regent of Ahmadnagar (1596-99). She fought hard against the Mughal forces to save Ahmednagar from their hegemony.

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Chandbibi, regent of Bijapur and Ahmadnagar, painting,Bijapur,18th century.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b7/ChandBibiHawking.png

By India, 18th century Deccan School (Sotheby’s, London, 06 April 2011, lot 248) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Mughal and Deccani styles had amalgamated and continued during the reigns of Sultan Ali Adil Shah II and Sultan Sikandar Adil Shah; but the local styles re-emerged in the form of richer colours, prominent facial features and  graceful gestures.

During Sultan Ali Adil Shah’s reign florals and abstracts too were produced in addition to portraiture.

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Sultan Ali Adil Shah II, Bijapur painting, 1670.

By Unknown – http://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/96048.html?mulR=5018, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9500020

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Chandbibi playing polo, Bijapur, 18th century.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/99/Chand_Bibi_playing_Polo_-_Google_Art_Project.jpgSee page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Painting in the Nizam Shahi court at Ahmadnagar(1490-1636) took place under the three Sultans; Hussain Nizam Shahi I, his sons Murtaza I and Burhan II. The art mainly lasted for a short time and only some specimens have survived for posterity. The Tarif-i-Hussain Shahi lauds Hussain and his queen Khanzada Humayun and the conquest of Vijayanagara kingdom. The illustrations include that of the court, the queen and a shalabhanjika/dohada theme of a tree bursting into flowers at the touch of a lovely maiden (most probably the queen herself)

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From the Tarif-i-Hussain Shahi, battle of Talikota, Ahmadnagar,1565.

By Aftabi – Template:Ta’rif-i Husain Shahi [1][2], CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41665109

Ragamala paintings were produced in Northern Deccan which are mostly assigned to Ahmadnagar. They  bear some  similarity to Tarif -i-hussain shahi vide its colour composition and and simple figures.

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Gauri ragini , Ragamala painting , probably Ahmadnagar,16th century.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ef/Gauri_Ragini%2C_First_Wife_of_Malkos_Raga%2C_Folio_from_a_Ragamala_%28Garland_of_Melodies%29_LACMA_M.90.141.2.jpg

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Sultan Hussain Nizam Shah I, from the Tarif-i-Hussain Shahi, Ahmadnagar, 1565.

By Indischer Maler um 1565 – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=153074

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Sultan Burhan Nizam Shah II, Ahmadnagar,1591-95.

By Unknown – PORTRAIT OF BURHAN NIZAM SHAH II. (1591-95) of Ahmadnagar. Biblioteque Nationale, Paris, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24571824

Malik Ambar(1548-1626) was an important figure in Deccan politics. He was an Ethiopian  and sold as a slave and came to India. He organised his own army and became a prime minister at the Ahmadnagar Sultanate. He had an important military role against the Mughals. His portrait captures his complexion, his strong stature showing him with his head-dress, long robe and his sword.

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Malik Amber, Ahmadnagar, 1624-5.

By Hashim (made) (bridgeman berlin) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

References :

  • George, Michell and Zebroswki, Mark/The art and architecture of the Deccan Sultanates, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1999.
  • wikipedia.org

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

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Bygone splendour : a history of the Satavahanas

       The Satavahanas were a South Indian dynasty who ruled for four and a half centuries. They were next to the Mauryas in authority and managed to ward off invaders and ensured peace in Dakshinapatha (southern region of the Indian peninsula) Their age had high economic prosperity, Puranic theism became prominent, Mahayana Buddhism which was more universal became prominent than Hinayana Buddhism. Prakrit flourished as the official language though Sanskrit too gained importance. Their sculptural and aesthetic brilliance can be gauged by their contributions at Amaravati, Bhaja, Nashik, Pitalkhora and Sanchi.

         The sources of the age are scanty and sometimes not reliable and there seems to be difference of opinion between historians. Numismatic evidence is found and the record at Nashik are considered the most important. The Kathasaritsagara is believed to be based on the Prakrit text Brihatkatha from Satavahana times.The Yugapurana of the Gargisamhita and early Jain literature contain information about the Satavahana kings. The times are also reflected in Hala’s Gathasaptasati and Kamasutra of Vatsyayana.

          The inscriptions found of the Satavahanas are around 25 out of which only few are royal records and the others are of private individuals. Most of them are Buddhist in content. The Junagadh inscription of Rudraraman notes the last Saka-Satavahana war. Neighbouring Kalinga King Kharavela mentions their conflict with the Satavahanas in the Hathigumpha inscription at Udaigiri Odisha. Satavahana time coins have been found at places like Nevasa, Kondapur, Maski, Tripuri, Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda. These coins validate the historicity of the rulers as mentioned in the Puranas. However though sometimes unclear, numismatic evidence helps in finding the racial affinities and how the empire disintegrated etc. The Matsya Purana says that altogether 30 kings ruled for 470 years. Vayupurana says 17 rulers and 270 years of rule. The early historians identify the Satavahanas with the Andhras and that they flourished in the Krishna-Godavari region of Eastern Deccan. Their seat of power was Srikakulam or Dhanyakataka. Later historians differ saying they were servants of the Andhras as they are mentioned as Andhrabhrityas in the Puranas. However the Satavahanas is the name of a family and they ruled Andhra, who were vassals of the Mauryas. They inherited the Prakrit language from them. The Puranas indicate that Sirimukha was the founder of the dynasty. He has also been called Sisuka,Srimukha, Chismoka etc.The inscriptions on the relievo-figures at Nanaghat refer to him as Sirimukha Satavahana. This could be interpreted as : son of Satavahana. Satavahana ruled from Paithan, as a vassal of King Asoka of the Mauryas and later consolidated the position for declaring  independence in the Deccan with his son Sirimukha as successor; around 230 B.C. Punch marked coins are attributed to him. He ruled for 23 years; built stupas and viharas for Jainas. He changed his religion during his last days. He was succeeded by his brother Kanha(208-198 B.C) because his son Satakarni was of a young age. He ruled for ten years and his minister or mahamatra got carved a cave for monks at Nashik.

         Satakarni I succeeded him who was most illustrious among the early Satavahanas. His queen Naganika described him as virasura in the Nanaghat inscription recorded after his death. He ruled for 18 years and tried to expand his kingdom; came into conflict with King Kharavela of Kalinga but managed to keep his empire intact. He conducted many sacrifices and worked for the welfare of the Brahmin community. He conducted many sacrifices. He died leaving behind four young sons;Kumara Hakusiri, Sati Srimat, Kumara Satavahana and Vedisiri (the eldest) or Purnotasanga (179 B.C- 161 B.C) who succeeded him and ruled independently.The sons partitioned the empire. Rani Naganika was regent with her father Maharathi Tranakayiro who assisted her in guiding the empire

         Satakarni II was another great king who ruled for 56 years and who restored unity in the split dominions of the empire. Many kings ruled between this king and Gautamiputra Satakarni. Some names include Apilaka, Meghasvati,Kuntala Satakarni,Pulomavi,Hala Satavahana etc. The kingdom went into eclipse between King Hala and Gautamiputra Satakarni, the 26th ruler of the dynasty. This was due to the invasion of the Sakas from the Indus region. The famous work Periplus of the Erythrean Sea  by a Greek sailor, notes these conflicts.

          Gautamiputra Satakarni revived the empire (106 A.D to 130 A.D) and is remembered as one of India’s greatest monarchs. Number of coins found in the Deccan area along with the Nashik Prasasti recorded by his mother Bala Sri give a picture of his reign. As per the Nashik Prasasti, the Satavahana kingdom was limited to the region east of Paithan, parts of Andhradesa and Kalinga, at the time he ascended the throne. However, he undertook many campaigns and destroyed the Kshaharatas defeating Nahapa and recovered regions upto Malwa. His empire extended between Aravalis to the Nilgiris from Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal. He was a skilled archer, learned in the Vedas, a dutiful son and a benevolent king.

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Gautamiputra Satakarni celebrating his victory on Nahapa, a satrap of Gujarat in Western India,artist’s impression.

By Ambrose Dudley [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

        Gautamiputra Satakarni was succeeded by his son Vasistiputra Pulomavi II. He came into conflict  with Chastana and lost Malwa and Saurastra to the Kardamakas. But as per the Nasik and Karle inscriptions Pulomavi retained his control over Maharashtra. He was succeeded by Sivasri or Vasistiputra Satakarni; many coins found in Andhra region bearing his legend have been found. He was most likely a brother of Pulomavi II. He attempted to recover same Satavahana dominions from the Kardamakas.

        As per the Puranic sources Sri Yajna Satakarni is the last great king of the Satavahana dynasty. He had a reign of 29 years and flourished in the last quarter of 2nd century. He is known from inscriptions at Nashik, Kanheri and a large number of coins from all over Deccan, Madhya Pradesh, Berar, Baroda etc. He conquered Central and Western Deccan and the Narmada valley. He patronised Acharya Nagarjuna for who he built a mahachaitya and a mahavihara at Sriparvata (Nagajunakonda). Acharya Nagarjuna built the stone railing around the great stupa at Amaravati. Vijaya Satakarni succeeded him. The process of disintegration of the empire had started in the reign of Pulomavi II and speeded up as subordinate ruling families such as the Kuras of Kolhapur, Chutuis of Banavasi and Ishkavakus of Vijaypuri became formidable and got greater powers for themselves. Vijaya was succeeded by Chandra Sri followed by Puloma and is the last king as per the Puranas. After Sri Yajna the kingdom got divided into independent units under the collateral branches of the dynasty.

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Vashistiputra Pulomavi inscribed on coin.

By PHGCOM [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

          The Satavahanas followed Kautilya’s Arthasastra and manavadharma sastra and was a     hereditary monarchy; the king was called called raja or maharaja. There were autonomous units, though the main empire was under the direct rule of the king who had officers like viswasamatyas, rajamatyas and mahamatras who were officers on special duties. Land revenue was the main source of income for the king’s treasury.

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Royal ear-rings from 1st Century BC India.

By PHGCOM – self-made, photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3032128

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Indian ship on lead coin of Vasistiputra Pulomavi.

By PHGCOM [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commonsimage009

Vasisitiputra Satakarni inscribed on coin.

By Uploadalt – Own work, photographed at British Museum, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12223527

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Coin of  Sri Yajna Satakarni.

By The original uploader was Per Honor et Gloria at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Common.

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Satavahana empire.

CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

     The Satavahanas carried on internal trade and external trade and Nashik, Paithan, Tagara, Govardhana were market towns. They encouraged maritime activities and had ship-marked coins. The Satavahanas imported wines from Rome. They also imported tin, lead,coral and topaz. They exported ivory, agate, carnelian, pepper,silk etc.

       All religions flourished during their rule. The Satavahanas used Prakrit, Sanskrit and also Telugu and Kannada.

      .image015.png

An aniconic depiction of Mara’s assault on Lord Buddha, Amaravati, 2nd century.

CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=378416

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Panduleni caves, Nashik, Maharashtra.

By Rashmi.parab – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21747608

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Images of Jain Tirthankaras at Panduleni complex ,Maharashtra

by Raama – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7975011

The artistic achievements of the age can be seen from the remains of stupas, chaityas and viharas. Buddhism flourished during the Satavahanas. At Amaravati a renowned centre of Buddhism, a unique school of art evolved. The stupa ia monument built on the remains of the Buddha or an eminent Buddhist monk. The stupas were built of brick; Jataka tales and scenes from Lord Buddha’s life were sculpted.

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Mahastupa relief from Amaravati at museum in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

By Soham Banerjee [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commonsimage023

Remnants of Mahastupa at Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh.

By Adityamadhav83 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Donor couples, Karle caves, Maharashtra.

By Amitmahadik100 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28220816

      Chaityas was a Buddhist temple with a stupa as the object of worship. They were covered out of rock at Nasik, Kanheri, Karle, Bhaja, Junnar, Mahad etc. Chaityas have a rectangular hall and divided into nave,apse and the side aisle. The apse has a solid stupa.  Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda had brick stupas. Viharas cut out of rock with an open verandah and a hall surrounded on three sides by rows of cells having benches made of stone.; monks resided in them.

      The Ajanta chaitya can be dated to around 1st century B.C. The Pandulena chaitya is of 1st century A.D. Motifs are carved around the arch and above the entrance are seen sockets and grooves most probably for the musician’s gallery. At Karle, the early Hinayana chaitya is a gift of a merchant of Vaijayanti (present Banavasi). At the front are two huge lion pillars, the hall having a vestibule with three entrances. Exquisitely carved donor couples are seen on the front wall. At Kanheri, rock cut activity began during Yajna Sri Satakarni’s reign during second half of 2nd century A.D. The 3rd chaitya is attributed to him.

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Chaitya at Karle, Maharashtra.

By Amitmahadik100 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28220810

         The art of the Satavahana era was affected by the state of polity. The art  at Bhaja and Amaravati was mostly during the reign of Satakarni I. The early caves at Pitalkhora and Ajanta were executed during  reign of Sirimukha and Satakarni I, so also the earliest sculpture at  Amaravati. Sanchi, located 9 km from Vidisha, an important ancient town during Maurya and Sunga empires, the gateways or toranas were erected during the reign of Satakarni II in 1st century B. C. The Satavahana creations are very grand. The rock-cut temples are in a good state in Maharashtra; the Sanchi stupa has been reconstructed; the Amaravati stupa remains can be seen in museums. Some sculpture examples include a yaksha from Pitalkhora, the Bhaja Vihara caves decorated with carvings and pillars with a lotus capital crowned with mythical animals. Some ivory objects found at Begram(ancient Kapisha) in Afghanistan show  clearly the influence of Satavahana art, both Sanchi and Amaravati styles.

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Great Stupa with torana, Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh.

By Suvro Banerjee – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49228316

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Lord Indra, Bhaja caves, Maharashtra.

By Amitmahadik100 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28220002

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Begram ivory, Afghanistan.

By PHG at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7048722

References :

  • The age of the Satavahanas/Dr. B. S.L. Hanumatha Rao, Hyderabad: P.S.Telugu University, 2001.
  • Satavahana Art/M.K. Dhavalikar/Delhi : Sharda Publishing House,2004.

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

 

 

Bygone splendour : a history of the Adil Shahis of Bijapur

The Adil Shahi kingdom is one of the Deccan Sultanates, one of the five offshoots of the Bahmani kingdom. The kingdom ruled from from 1489 to 1686 A.D with Bijapur as their capital. The Adil Shahis were immigrants from Iran and had brought with them Oriental traditions which reflected in customs and ceremonies,court culture,dress,etiquette,art and architecture.

A  composite culture evolved out of the synthesis with local sensibilities as can be seen even 500 years later from the art,architecture,paintings,jewellery and costume,arms and armour,calligraphy and inscriptions left behind by them. Turko-Iranian/Persian synthesis is evident in their designs and style. The splendour of the Adil Shahis depicts a secular mindset, life of affluence and appreciation for the refined and sophisticated.

The founder of the kingdom was Yousuf Beg. He belonged to the Aq-Quyunlu or white sheep tribe of Diyarbykir in Southern Anatolia(Asia minor). After the death of his father Mahmud Beg of Sawa in Iran,he came to the Deccan being brought by Khwaja Imamuddin who is believed to have sold him as a Georgian slave to the minister Mahmud Khwaja Gawan for the service to the royal bodyguard. Yousuf impressed the Bahmani emperor with his bravery and he rose rapidly to become the governor of Bijapur. Some sources his full name was Yousuf Adil Shah Sawa, while some say Nizam-ul-Mulk procured the title Adil Khan for him, when he was governor of Berar. He soon consolidated his position and acted with authority and autonomy. He was a man of refined taste and culture who invited poets and artists from Persia,Turkey and Rome. He built the Ar-killa and the Faroukh Mahal. Though Yousuf’s authority stated in 1489, he was still loyal to the Bahmani throne. He ruled upto 1510. The dynasty came to be known as Adil Shahi from the title Adil Khan which had been bestowed on Yousuf Beg.

Yousuf’s son Ismail succeeded him with Kamal Khan as regent,because he was a minor.Kamal Khan became ambitious and wanted to oust Ismail; however he was assassinated and Ismail ascended to the throne. Ismail Adil Shah recaptured Raichur from Vijayanagar kingdom in 1519. However hostilities continued for few years. Between the Deccan states too there were hostilities during this time. Ismail was a just ruler, prudent and kind who patronised poets, musicians and was fond of Turkish and Persian. He died in 1535. Ismail Adil Shah built the Champa Mahal in 1521 and established a new town Chandapur in 1520. His son Mallu Adil Khan,an unfit ruler, ruled for six months and was replaced by his younger brother Ibrahim.

Ibrahim Adil Shah I fortified the city of Bijapur and the built the old Jami Masjid. He introduced the Deccani Language in public accounting systems in place of Persian. He also dismissed many afaqis or foreigners from service and appointed people from the Deccan including the Marathas and Habshis. He ended Shia domination and brought Sunnis to power. However his anti-afaqi policy made weakened his kingdom, as the removed personnel joined neighbouring rulers. His reign lasted for over 24 years. During his time Asad Khan was prime minister and commander of his army. Ibrahim Adil Shah I adopted the title of Shah after the death of Kalimullah, Bahmani ruler in 1538. During his reign inter-state hostilities continued and alliances were the order of the day. Bijapur conquered Bidar but lost out Sholapur and Kalyani to Ahmednagar. Bijapur reached upto south of Goa. Ibrahim Adil Shah died in 1557. He established the town of Ibrahimpura and built  a mosque there. He is responsible for the Solah Thami Mahal and built the Ghalib mosques which has 1303 niches for lamps. The fort wall of Raichur was also built by him. He also built a Jami Masjid.

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Ibrahim Adil Shah I,Sultan of Bijapur

Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2012082

He was succeeded by Ali Adil Shah I who reinstated foreigners/afaqis. He aligned his forces with Golconda,Ahmednagar and Bidar. Together they scored victory over Vijayanagara kingdom at the Battle of Talikota, which actually took place at Banighatti in 1565.

Ali Adil Shah I thus ruled from 1557;had no children and so nominated his nephew Ibrahim, son of his brother Tahmasp as his successor. He was assassinated soon after in 1580. During the reign of Ali Adil Shah, diplomatic relations had been established between Mughal emperor Akbar and Bijapur. The city wall of Bijapur was constructed in his reign. He also improved water supply. He built the Gagan Mahal.

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 Ali Adil Shah I , Sultan of Bijapur

By Unknown – http://golgumbad.com/hob_7.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12214102

Ibrahim Adil Shah II ascended the throne at the age of nine with Kamil Khan Deccani as regent and Chand Bibi was to educate him. But he was later replaced by Kishwar Khan by Chand Bibi (widow of Ali Adil Shah I). During his time Ahmednagar invaded Bijapur but did not succeed.However owing to the murder of Mustafa Khan,there arose differences between them and Chand Bibi was confined.He grew unpopular due to his acts and Ikhlas Khan became regent. However after many intrigues and conspiracies Dilawar Khan became very powerful, who also established Sunni faith in Bijapur. Dilawar Khan lost to Ahmednagar at Dhaserao in 1591. He left Bijapur and entered the service of Burhan Nizam Shah II. However when he came back to Bijapur, Ibrahim  confined him in the fortress of Satara and assumed charge of the government. He established better equation with the Mughal court and formed matrimonial alliances with them.Bijapur invaded Ahmednagar again and during battle Nizam Shah lost his life; and Bijapur retreated. In 1596 the Mughals invaded Ahmednagar, Chand Bibi requested Ibrahim to help which he extended. However the kingdom could not be saved. But overall Ibrahim Adil Shah was an able and intelligent politician who protected the Deccani kingdoms from Mughal effort to conquer them totally. He also annexed Bidar and ended the Barid Shahi dynasty in 1619. In 1623 an alliance was formed with Mughals against Ahmednagar. However Malik Amber(prime minister fo Ahmednagar Sultanate) formed an alliance with Golconda and won in the battle of Bhaturi. Ibrahim Adil Shah II changed the official religion from Shia to Sunni but was extremely tolerant. He appointed Marathas and Brahmins to various departments.  He was called Jagadguru and a great patron of the arts, architecture,music and painting. Deccan school flourished under him. He built Saat Manzil in 1583 and Anand Mahal in 1589. He also built Nauras Mahal, Dilkhusha palace and Haidar burj in the fort. He died in 1627.

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Chand Bibi, regent of Ahmednagar and Bijapur

By India, 18th century Deccan School – <a rel=”nofollow” class=”external text” href=”http://www.sothebys.com/en/catalogues/ecatalogue.html/2011/arts-of-the-islamic-world-l11220#/r=/en/ecat.fhtml.L11220.html+r.m=/en/ecat.lot.L11220.html/248/”>Sotheby’s</a&gt;, Public Domain, <a href=”https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1491242″>https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1491242</a&gt;

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Ibrahim Adil Shah II

By Indischer Maler um 1595 – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=153078

 Muhammad Adil Shah, younger son of Ibrahim ruled between 1627 and 1656, who became ruler at 15.He ruled for 30 years. He maintained friendly relations with Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and made a peace treaty in 1636, received the title of Shah in 1648 and got assurance of security for Bijapur. He extended his domination to Konkan, pune,Dhabul, Mysore,south Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. His reign was peaceful, which witnessed development of painting and poetry. He introduced fresco painting and portraits on walls of Asar Mahal and at Saat Manzil. His mausoleum is at Gol Gumbaz.

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Muhammad Adil Shah, Sultan of Bijapur

By Unknown – Portrait of MUHAMMAD ADIL SHAH (1627-56) of Bijapur. British Museum, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24572113

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Muhammad Adil Shah, Sultan of Bijapur 

 By Deccan, India – http://www.asia.si.edu/collections/singleObject.cfm?ObjectNumber=F1968.7, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18066795

He was succeeded by his son  Ali Adil Shah II. However he could not rule well and lot of strife and disorder followed. Prince Aurangzeb was the Viceroy of the Deccan as per Mughal diktat, at this point of time. He invaded Bijapur with the consent of Shahjahan on the pretext of disorder and lack of an able ruler. The Mughals bribed a number of Adil Shahi officers, entered Bijapur and laid siege to Bidar and Kalyani. However the entire operation was called off and a peace treaty was concluded by which  Ali Adil Shah II has to pay an indemnity to the Mughals and Shah Jahan ceded Bidar and Kalyani. During his reign , Nayaks tried to reclaim their territories and Shivaji acquired areas of Bijapur to form an independent Maratha kingdom. Ali Adil Shah ruled from 1656 – 1672, struggling against the Mughals and the Marathas. Persian and Deccani literature, fine arts flourished in his reign. Two memorable works Gulshan-e-ishq and Alinama were produced during his tenure as Sultan of Bijapur. He built Hussaini Mahal with a mosque, Ali Mahal and Arsh Mahal.He is buried at Ali ka Rauza, Bara Kaman in Bijapur.

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Ali Adil Shah II, Sultan of Bijapur

 By Unknown – http://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/96048.html?mulR=5018, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9500020

image011.pngAli Adil Shah II, Sultan of Bijapur

By India, Deccan, Bijapur – Sotheby’s, Public Domain,https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14797152

Sikandar Adil Shah succeeded his father Ali Adil Shah II, but was a minor. Khawas Khan became prime minister and regent. He ruled for three years, but in 1675, the Abyssinian nobleman  Abdul Kazim Buhlul Khan seized power and became prime minister, who promoted his own men who which the Deccani nobles did not like. This led to lot of internal conflict and strife. Anarchy prevailed; Siddi Masud became prime minister followed by Aga Khusrav in 1684. However after many attempts by Sikandar Adil Shah to satisfy the Mughals failed. In 1685, the Mughals laid siege to the fort of Bijapur. After a prolonged effort, Bijapur was occupied and Sikandar Adil Shah surrendered in 1686. He died prematurely while in captivity,at Daulatabad fort. He is buried in the New Market place of Bijapur. Thus ended the Adil Shahi rule.

 

 

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Asar Mahal, Bijapur

By Akshatha – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21407678

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Gol Gumbaz, Bijapur

By Ashwatham at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1805591

image023  Ibrahim Rauza,Bijapur

 By Sanyam Bahga – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21633366

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Bara Kaman, Bijapur

By Unknown – Henry Cousens’ book “Guide to the town Beejapor” published in 1889, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22282996

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Gagan Mahal, Bijapur

By Cousens, Henry – http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/apac/photocoll/v/019pho000001003u01802000.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8625165

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Bijapur Fort, Bijapur

By Hinton, Henry – http://ogimages.bl.uk/images/019/019WDZ000000247U00003000%5BSVC2%5D.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8625287

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 Jami Masjid, Bijapur

 By Cousens, Henry – http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/apac/photocoll/v/019pho000001003u01839000.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8625062

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Mehtar Mahal, Bijapur

Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=565113

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Sangeet Mahal, Bijapur

 By Raghu Jorapur – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21504653

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Dish with inscription and solar design from Bijapur, 1600 A.D.

By Daderot – Daderot, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24947196

References :

Nayeem,M.A/The heritage of the Adil Shahis of Bijapur,Hyderabad: Hyderabad Publishers,2008.

 Hyder, Navina Najat and Sardar,Marika/Sultans of Deccan India 1500-1700,opulence and fantasy,London : Yale University Press ,2015

Posted by : Soma Ghosh

Bygone splendour : a history of the Qutub Shahi dynasty

The Qutub Shahi dynasty of the Deccan is remembered for many contributions. The Golconda Fort,Charminar, various monuments and founding of the city of Hyderabad in the Deccan region of India.

The Bahmani kingdom ruled the Deccan between 1347-1525 from Gulbarga initially and then from Bidar. However it disintegrated and five independent kingdoms evolved . The Qutub Shahis with capital at Golconda, the Imad Shahis with capital at Ellichpur, the Adil Shahis with capital at Bijapur, the Nizam Shahis with capital at Ahmednagar, The Barid Shahis with capital at Bidar.

The founder of the Qutb Shahi kingdom was Sultan Quli, an immigrant whose paternal home was in Hamadan, Iran. The Bahamani empire had many afaqis or immigrants from Iran,Iraq,Turkistan, Arabia,Africa,etc. These afaqis gradually dominated society and occupied important posts. The society of Deccan was a cultural synthesis and included people of different ethnic origin,races,religion and culture etc. This lead to evolution of “Deccan culture” and later “Hyderabadi culture”which continues to this day.

Sultan Quli came along with his uncle Allah Quli to Deccan and Bahmani ruler Sultan Mahmud Shah Bahmani received them well and appointed  Sultan Quli as one of his courtiers.He was given  horses, a jagir of Kurangal. He earned the title Qutb-ul-mulk beacause of his military and literary talent.He was appointed tarafdar(governor) of Telangana in 1495. and the fort at Golconda hill was added to his existing jagir. From this jagir evolved the Golconda fort-city and the capital which got densely populated with time.

Sultan Quli rebuilt the mud fort which was originally built by the Kakatiyas and called Mankal. He renamed it as Muhammadnagar. In 1518, he declared independence and made Golconda his capital. He strengthened the defences of the hill and built strong ramparts. The fort-city included public buildings, mosques, offices, palaces, rest-rooms,gardens, baths etc.

 

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Fort view; pic by Isha Vatsa

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Fort view; pic by Isha Vatsa

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Fort view; pic by Isha Vatsa

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Fort views; pics by Isha Vatsa

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Cannon balls at fort; pic by Isha Vatsa

Sultan Quli ruled for 50 years, 24 as governor and 26 as ruler before his assassination in 1542. The Golconda kingdom extended from Warangal to the Masulipatnam(now Machilipatnam) coast. His son Jamsheed Quli succeeded him who ruled for seven years.

After him Sultan Ibrahim Qutb Shah,sixth son of Sultan Quli ruled after brief rule of few months of rule by Subhan Quli; for  30 years ie. 1550-80. Along with other Sultans of the Deccan subdued Vijayanagara, issued coins and patronised Telugu literature. He also had a great fondness for Persian and was responsible for the rise of Dakhni, precursor to Urdu.

He built the bridge over the Musi river in 1578 in order to expand his capital. His son-in-law Hussain Shah Wali built the Hussain Sagar Lake. A new town Ibrahimpatnam was named after him.He was succeeded by his son, Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah who was only fifteen and the administration was handed over to Rai Rao and Mir Momin Astrabadi.

Muhammad_'Alî_001

 Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah

By Muhammad ‘Alî – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=155956

Since Golconda was large, prosperous and densely populated, its fame of diamonds and printed cloth attracted traders from Europe and Asia, the need for a new city was submitted via a petition to the Sultan by the nobility. This was accepted and the plan for construction of a new city was prepared by Mir Momin Astrabadi. The Sultan laid the foundation in 1591 and named it Hyderabad, after Hyder, the title of the fourth caliph of Islam. Since the city had many gardens it has also been referred to as Baghnagar by historians and travellers. Hyderabad was built on the gridiron system in the form of a large double cross. The Charminar stands at the city centre, completed in 1592 and four roads extend from its portals. The city was divided into 12,000 muhallas(precincts). The city’s main roads were lined with shops, buildings, mosques etc. The Charminar is the most famous Qutb Shahi monument.The Sultan built many public buildings and beautiful gardens. The Charminar is flanked by four arches, the Charkaman at a distance of 375 feet from the centre. The gates are called Sher-e-ali kaman or Sher-e-batil , Kali kaman, Machli kaman, Charminar ki kaman.

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Charminar, Hyderabad

By Ramnath Bhat from PUNE, India – Charminar, Hyderabad.(_MG_8622), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46768370

The Qutub Shahis built many palaces like Khudadad mahal, Chandan Mahal,Sajan Mahal, Lal Mahal, Nadi Mahal and pavillions like Naubat Pahad and Koh-i-tur etc. Muhammad Quli Qutab Shah built the Badshahi Ashura Khana in 1595, where alams similar to the ones carried by Imam Hussain are kept. He also built commercial complexes around the Charminar including the Lad Bazaar. After Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, his nephew Mohammad Qutub Shah, son of Mohammad Amin, succeeded him  in 1612 since he had no male heir. He ruled for 14 years. He laid out a few more gardens and continued work on the Mecca Masjid after getting sand from Mecca in Arabia. The mosque has huge dimensions with a prayer hall of 225 feet length and is 75 feet in height.Sultan Mohammad maintained a  fleet of ships and Golconda had good trade with Europe.He was succeeded by his eldest son Abdullah who supported trade with the British. The Golconda kingdom produced a variety of products and Masulipatnam was an important port city in its territory.

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Sultan Abdullah Qutub Shah

By Unknown (production) – http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O73982/painting-sultan-abdullah-qutb-shah/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17712775

Abdullah Qutub Shah had no male heir and his son-in-law Abul Hasan Tana Shah was made Sultan in 1672. Golconda fell to the Mughals after along seige in 1687 and along with the plunder of Hyderabad, the Mughals took away the accumulated wealth of Sultan Abul Hasan who spent his remaining life at Daulatabad.

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Sultan Abul Hasan Tana Shah

By Minuchihr – http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/objects/124863/Portrait_of_Abul_Hasan_the_Last_Sultan_of_Golconda/set/f6607578453e6ad0c407265b3ac89cfa?referring-=Portrait+of+Abu%27l+Hasan%2C+the+Last+Sultan+of+Golconda#http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/labs/splitsecond/painting.php?id=132, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17115478

 

Golconda was famous for its diamonds and there were many mining sites within the kingdom. The Kohinoor, Hope Diamond, Pitt-regent, Idol’s eye,Dariya-e-noor, Noor-al-ayn are a few famous diamonds.

The Qutub Shahi architecture was unique and included arches,pillars, arches, domes and minarets. The rulers originally came from Persia or Iran and were patrons of art and learning. They invited scholars, artists and craftsmen to their courts. Their architecture was originally a mix of Persian and Deccan styles. Later Turkish influences were seen. Their architectural structures include the fort,mosques,palaces, tombs and public utility buildings.  A very important building was the Darushifa which was  a general hospital and  attached to it was a college for Unani medicine. Qutub Shahis had their own coinage, patronised learning and the languages Persian and Dakhni. Many books were written in Persian in various subjects with their support. Sultan Muhammad Quli himself composed 15,000 couplets in Urdu.

The fort stands on a hill, 400 feet above the plains around and is a large Deccani fort. Sultan Quli replaced the original mud fort and built a new stone structure with large gates. Many structures were built within and it became a fort with three fortifications. There were palace, gardens and mosques. The fort complex is in the shape of an irregular rhombus having a crenallated granite wall, a moat and a citadel called Bala Hissar. The Fateh Darwaza is the outermost gate. The other gates include Bala Hissar Darwaza, Banjari Darwaza, Jamali Darwaza, Naya Qila Darwaza and Moti Darwaza. Bahmani, Badhi, Mecca and Patancheru are the other gates. The fort has 87 bastions and 52 posterns. The Petla Burj, Musa Burj and Madina Burj are well known bastions. A cannon Fateh Rahbar is kept on Petla Burj. Structures inside the fort include Shamshir Kotha, Telka kotha,Dhan ka kotha,Jabbar Kotha, Jami Masjid, Ashur khana,Guard rooms, Hathirath mahal, Katora hauz,, Aslah khana,Ambar khana, Bahmani mosque. a Hindu temple, a throne for the Sultan ascended by ten steps. Palaces of Tarmati and Pemamati , ladies from the royal harem, were also built.

Mushk Mahal was a palace built in 1673 by Miyan Mishk. Toli Masjid was built by Musa Khan, a mahaldar of Abdullah Qutub Shah in 1671. Mosques at Saidabad and Mirpet, which has calligraphy by Hussain b.Mahmud Shirazi were  built by Mohd Quli Qutb Shah. Mosques exist at Khairatabad, Musheerabad and near Puranapul at Hyderabad from the time of the Qutub Shahis.

To the north west of the fort are situated the Qutub Shahi tombs in a garden ambience built in their typical architectural style.

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Qutub Shahi tombs, view from the fort.

By Unknown – http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/apac/photocoll/g/019pho0000752s5u00021000.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8039174

Deccani qalam is the style of painting which evolved under the Qutub Shahis. The kalamkari techniques of Pallakolu. Masulipatnam, Kalahasti flourished in their reign. Picchwais were also produced during the Qutb Shahi rule, expressing themes from Lord Krishna’s life.

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Miniature painting during Qutub Shahi rule

By (Deccan, Golconda), – http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/labs/splitsecond/painting.php?id=122, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17115143

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Ragamala painting, Golconda school

By Deccan School – http://www.harekrsna.com/sun/features/12-11/features2319.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21077970

References :

H.K. Sherwani/History of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, New Delhi ; Munshilal Manoharlal,1974
H.K. Sherwani/Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah founder of Haidarabad, New Delhi : Asia Publishing House,1967.
M.A.Nayeem/The heritage of the Qutb Shahis of Golconda and Hyderabad,Hyderabad: Hyderabad Publishers,2006
M.A.Nayeem/The splendour of Hyderabad, Hyderabad Publishers: Hyderabad,2002.

 

 

Posted by: Soma Ghosh