Front cover image for Mughal Tilework: Derivative or Original?


Mughal Tilework: Derivative or Original?

Although concentrating on Mughal tilework, this paper also discusses its predecessors elsewhere in the Islamic world, particularly in Iran, Central Asia, and Sultanate India. A brief survey of the development of the main techniques, namely monochrome-glazed tiles, sgraffito, tile mosaic, underglaze-painted and cuerda seca, both in Sultanate India and in other parts of the Islamic world, precedes the discussion of Mughal examples in the body of the paper. The paper highlights the initial links with Sultanate tilework, whether underglaze-painted, as in the Punjab, or with tile mosaic, in northern India. The development of Mughal tile mosaic is emphasized, as this was the medium most frequently used for tile decoration. Changes in the colour palette and in the introduction of new patterns are examined, highlighting the extensive use of figural imagery at the Lahore Fort and the simultaneous introduction of naturalistic vegetal panels. The less-frequent Mughal use of underglaze-painted and cuerda seca tiles is also examined. The conclusions summarize the characteristic features of Mughal tilework and suggest areas for future study