Wazir Khan Mosque


This noble building was erected by a Minister of Jehanghier, the Selim of Moore's tale of 'The Light of the Harem,' in 'Lalla Rookh,' who, spending his summers in Cashmere, made Lahore his winter residence, and bestowed as much care on its embellishment as his father, Acbar [Emperor Akbar], lavished on Agra, and his son Shah Jehan, on Delhi. It was here that he first saw Nourmahal, in a boat on the Ravee, which flows under its walls, and now past his tomb, for his body was brought from Bember, at the foot of the hills, where he died, on the road from Cashmere, in 1627. He built the Palace and Masjid [mosque] adjoining, called from that circumstance the Padishah's Musjid, as the one engraved is called the Wuzeer's. The former is built of red sandstone, inlaid with white marble, and is more costly than the latter, having suffered, in consequence, from the spoilation of the Sikhs, who have carried off its white marble chutrees,* as well as the balustrade of the same material around Jehanghier's tomb, to ornament their tank at Amritsar.

"The Wuzuree Masjid is far more picturesque - the brilliancy of its decoration admirably contrasting with the massive squareness of its form. It is the gateway alone which appears in the print, but a small portion of the Musjid being visible over the outer wall, which on all the four sides below is pierced with arches, which are used as shops. The square fronting the gateway is a market-place, and generally thronged. Conspicuous over the arch is a broad band of Arabic characters, blue on a white background, containing the Moslem's confession of faith - 'There is but one God, and Mahomet is his prophet.' Sentences from the Koran are repeated on a smaller scale on panels all over the front, and the intervals are filled up with intricate patterns in different colours. This inlaid work is identical with some of the decorations of the Alhambra; and specimens of a similar style may be found all through Persia and Afghanistan, Scinde and Moultan, and the Punjaub, and in many of the principal towns of India.

"But is not made of square tiles with a painted pattern running from one to another, but every piece of both pattern and ground is moulded to the required shape, and the glaze in different colours fused on while the tile is in a heated state, and it is afterwards laid on a bed of plaster on the brickwork. The art is not lost either in Scinde or the Punjaub, though it is too expensive to be practised. On examining pieces of the glaze in different colours as now used, they prove to be identical with that now imported from Venice to this country for the same purpose; and there is every probability that Venetian glass has been used throughout the East from the commencement of this mode of decoration.

"Specimens of tiles, as well as inlaid patterns, may be seen at the British Museum, the East India Museum, and the Museum of Economic Geology, Jermyn-street. At the latter place the different coloured glazings used are also exhibited. 

* The canopies, supported on pillars, which crown the minarets and adorn diffferent parts of the mosques and other buildings, are called by that name. It also means an umbrella. "</p>

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