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Emperor Humayun's Garden Tomb

Medallions

Incised Plaster

Humayun's Garden Tomb has just a few types of ornamentation in comparison to Mughal tombs like the Taj Mahal. Incised plaster is one of the methods used. Incised plaster ornamentation is created by applying a smooth, thick layer of plaster to a surface and carving out a design before it cures.

Incised plaster can be found as medallions decorating spandrels in and outside Humayun's Tomb. Incised plaster medallions are used to decorate large spandrels on Humayun's Tomb's pishtaqs, the West Gate, the South Gate, the Nila Gumbad, and the Barber's Tomb. These stylized flower incised plaster medallions are circumscribed by a stellate symbol and rely only on the shadows of their own form and sunlight for definition. The incised plaster medallions inside the tomb are carved with radial patterns and highlighted with a single color of paint.

Incised plaster is also used to create the muqarnas outlines around the ceilings of the tomb's chambers and on the plinth's grave niches' ceilings as an elaborate stellate muqarnas pattern. In both contexts at Humayun's Tomb, the relief is low and subtle, but the bold red paint outlines against the white incised plaster appears like a powerful frame supporting the white chamber walls like a tent.


Illustrations

Medallion
Incised Plaster Medallion Decorated with a Shahada Inscription
Medallion
Stylized Lotus Medallion Found on the Spandrels Inside the Iwans
Stellate Lotus
Incised Plaster Stellate Pattern Found in the Grave Niches

Additional Information

A formal bibliography is posted on the outline page.
pishtaq
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