Taj Mahal is featured among the 8 wonders of the world. It was built in between 1631-1648 under the order of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. It is said that the construction was to fulfil a dying request of Sha Jahan’s favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal. Legend has it that during the last hours of Mumtaz Mahal, she made him promise to build her a mausoleum of unsurpassable beauty and splendour. True to his word, Shah Jahan built her a tomb unlike any other in the world. Such beauty is often subjects of many gallery paintings.
Taj Mahal’s construction took 22 years under the labor of 20,000 workers. The master architect was Ustad ‘Isa, which was the most renowned Islamic architect during that period. Craftsmen from Baghdad, Shiraz, and Bukhara were employed to work on special areas in the structure. An interlocking arabesque concept was used; each single aspect of the building has its own individual place, but is still incorporated in the whole structure. Such concept can be applied when making an abstract art painting. When his wife died, Shah Jahan showed no interest in ruling over the city. His obsession was to have the monument finished, as promised, for his deceased wife. Because of this, he has failed to see the conspiracy laid by his son Aurangzeb to seize the throne. Upon Aurangzeb’s declaration as an Emperor, Shah Jahan was imprisoned in a tower in Red Fort, Agra. The only thing that keeps his sanity is his view of the mausoleum he has built for his wife.
The entire structure was inlaid with marble. The marble creates such an image of the Taj Mahal during sun set, when the orange rays cast by the sun is reflected by the intricate marbling. At dawn, the Taj Mahal gives an image as if it’s floating in air on a heavy fog when viewed from the Jamuna River. Literally, treasure chests upon treasure chests of jewels like rubies and topaz were used to decorate the walls and ceilings of several rooms in the monument. The intricate design and artwork of Taj Mahal is a wonderful subject for abstract painting.