Inlay Decoration on the Sarcophagus of Jahangir’s Tomb

farah khan



Jahangir’s Tomb is located in Shahdara Lahore, Pakistan. This tomb marks the transitional phase of inlay decoration in the sub-continent. Inlay work on the sarcophagus of Jahangir’s tomb is noteworthy in its expression and decorative vocabulary. The rhythmic beauty of designs and technique achieved such a height of appreciation and acknowledgement that it has been considered as one the finest surface decoration among the world’s best architectural surface decorations.

It is debatable among the scholars for the origin of pietra dura technique. This article aims at tracing out the origin of this technique and to prove it with evidences that it was not purely the European technique but an amalgamation of Islamic and European influences. “The technique developed quite separately in India and is usually characterized by a unique distinct style”. (Tillotson, 1990, p. 58)

This article provides references to solve the ambiguity of the origin of pietra dura technique especially with reference to the Indian Sub-continent. It facilitates in tracing different influences involved in the formation of decorative designs. This article explores the philosophy and purpose of the ornamental patterns used on the sarcophagus of Jahangir’s Tomb and highlights the importance of the local artisans who contributed in the development of this technique.


Key Words: Jahangir’s Tomb, Inlay decoration, sub-continent, pietra dura, European technique, decorative designs, sarcophagus, India.


Jahangir’s Tomb, Inlay decoration, sub-continent, pietra dura, European technique, decorative designs, sarcophagus, India

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