The large tray of interesting shape is also a product of Mr. Gill’s workshop in Bombay. Made using the cast metal technique, it depicts designs from the ceiling of one of the rooms on the northwest ground floor of Raja Birbal’s House (Mahal-i-Ilahi) at Fatehpur Sikri.The shape of the tray is similar to the jharokas (window balconies) of the same house. The broad border running around has spiral scroll patterns which appear in many buildings at Fatehpur Sikri. The tray rests on five balls fabricated as legs.
Fatehpur Sikri – “City of Victory” – was the new capital city set up by Emperor Akbar. He constructed this capital to celebrate and commemorate the fulfilment of his long-standing wish of having a son. It was in the year 1569 that Prince Muhammad Salim was born at the residence of a Sufi mystic Shaykh Salim-ad-Din Chishti at Sikri. To give outward splendour to this spot Akbar commissioned the construction of Fatehpur Sikri.
Fatehpur Sikri became a centre of art and learning during Akbar’s reign. The city complex had karkhanas (imperial workshops), a kitabkhana (library), an ibadatkhana (place for philosophical discussions), and many other buildings. Mahal-i-Ilahi, popularly known as Raja Birbal’s House, was the largest and finest of the domestic buildings in Fatehpur Sikri – setting aside the royal residence. Birbal, one of the nine gems of Akbar’s court, constructed it for his daughter in 1571 ce.
Incidentally Sir Dorab Tata’s collection in the Museum has a huge teakwood model of Raja Birbal’s House.
Sir Ratan Tata Art Collection.
Indian Decorative Art
Early 20th Century CE
38 x 65 cm