This skilfully carved panel holds, inside a mihrāb, or niche, eight registers produced in fretwork, of different shapes and sizes, in which the outlines of a number of pitchers, a vase and lidded cups can be made out. The decoration is a pleasant balance of shape, an agreeable combination of engraved levels and profiles which evoke the tranquil, carefree life of the Mughal court. The name attributed to this decoration is chini khānah, "Chinese room”, a favourite ornamental motif during the reign of Emperor Jahāngīr (1605 - 1627), once again proving how external forms of art easily penetrated the sophisticated breeding ground of Mughal custom. Although the presence of jugs, flasks and vases may evoke water and therefore the ablution necessary for prayer, Zebrowski asserts these decorations refer to fertility and, therefore, good fortune and abundance, although in the 17th century they were perhaps more valued for their elegant shape.

 

"Mughal Architecture. An Outline of Its History and Development (1526-1858)", Koch E., pag. 70.

"Islamic Tiles", Porter V., pag. 95. "Babur mentions that Timur's grandson Ulagh Beg had a chini-khāneh of which the walls were apparently faced with porcelain tiles brought over from China”.

"Le Arti nell"Islam”, G. Curatola - G. Scarcia, pag. 47.

 

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