Watercolour of Two Minarets from the Wazir Khan Mosque
Painted by the draughtsman Amir Baksh in the Punjab style, this architectural watercolour shows two of the four minarets from the seventeenth century Wazir Khan Mosque. Baksh chose to paint the minarets from an angle which enables one to appreciate both the octagonal and the square style minarets with their distinctive balconies and domes. The façades are painted with precision, showing the intricate details and vibrant colours of the kashi-kari mosaics made of glazed pottery and tiles.
Born in Lahore, Baksh was from the prominent Chughtai family who had dominated the musawir (“painter”) and naqqash (“decorator” and “illuminator”) scene in the Punjab since the eighteenth century.1 In 1882, during the Simla Fine Art Exhibition, Baksh won the Patiala Prize for “the best picture, in native style, original or copy, by a native artist of the Punjab”.2 He was later responsible for training a large number of Drawing Masters of the Punjab,3 and became the Head Teacher of Drawing in the Municipal Artisan’s Training School at Amritsar.4
1. R.P. Srivastava. 1983. Punjab Painting. New Delhi: Abhinav Publishers. p. 46.
2. Quoted in Susan Weber. 2017. “Kipling and the Exhibitions Movement”. In John Lockwood Kipling: Arts & Crafts in the Punjab and London, edited by Julius Bryant and Susan Weber, 205-280. New York: Bard Graduate Centre Gallery. p.209.
3. Muhammad Abdullah Chughtai. 1961. A Century of Painting in the Panjab, 1849-1947. Lahore: Kitab Khana-i-Nauras. p. 44.
4. Tahir Kamran. 2016. “Lockwood Kipling’s Role and the Establishment of the Mayo School of Art (1875-1898)”, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 26 (3) p. 456.