The architect of the Taj put a great deal of thought into the decorative methods of e.g. Carving or color like glazed-tiling, stucco and painting, mosaic and inlay work. The Mughals were known for their love of colors and they made use of almost all decorative schemes and patterns which had been introduced into India following its conquest by the Muslims. They used glazed and enamel tiling, mosaic etc. for decorating their buildings. Glazed tiles were used mainly for exterior decoration whereas glass mosaic and paintings embellished the interiors. Stucco art was used in decorating mainly the interiors but exterior surfaces have also been ornamented with success.
Dado-panels of white marbles were used for the first time in the second
storey hall of the main gate, eastern and western false gateways at the
tomb of Akbar at Sikandara. Each white marble dado is outlined with
black marble lining to improve its artistic effect. Black marble and
abri stones of a chocolate-grey-yellowish colour have been used for
inlay work. The inlaid borders at the Taj mark the ideal stage of its
development. The inlaid borders on the dados in the interior hall have
been thoughtfully distributed.
Epigraphic elements of Koranic suras form an important element of
exterior decoration. Racemes, bouquets of flowers, zigzag motifs and
series of small arches are some of the most commonly used decorative
elements. Slender twigs, twisting leaves and bold flowers combine to
give the Dado a beautiful look. The engraved patterns combine regally
with the inlaid border composed of a highly stylized pattern of set
curves and twists. Suitable stones have been used to give different
tints to the pattern. A delicate framing is given to the Kalasa-plant by
the border. The most pleasing part is the co-relation between the art of
chiseling and inlaying. Jali around the cenotaph Inlay has also been
used profusely on the marble curtain around the cenotaphs. These are
extremely stylized floral designs.
Here, the inlay has been very well combined with the jali-work. The
inlay work on the spandrels of the arches in the interior and exterior
adds magnificence to the overall aesthetic effect. Contemporary texts
specify the stones used in decoration and inlay work they are- Lapis
lazuli, various types of jasper, agate, carnelian, jade, amethyst,
turquoise, onyx, coral etc. The Makrana marble with its pearly clarity
has contributed most to the beauty of the Taj Mahal. It acquires
never-ending shades of colour and soft, unearthly shadows.
It appears masked at down, dazzles at midday, rosy at sunset and
wonderfully cold in moonlight when the dome, hangs poised among the
stars like a great gem. Another interesting facet of the decoration of
the Taj is the incised painting of the mosque and Mehmankhana. The
contemporary folk art developed on extremely simple lines and did not
have the splendor of the court art with so many stones and colors
playing an important part. It was mostly incised and made use of two
simple colors-white and red. The most developed stage of this technique
is found at the Taj Mahal, in the Mosque and the Mehmankhana, Here again
only two colors have been used, a hirmichi red on a white backdrop which
is allowed to show superbly through the scrapped off leaves, flowers and
the outlines. The small curves of white thus bloom energetically on a
red ground-portions of the background and have thus artistically been
brought to the forefront. It is highly unconceivable that such a great
aesthetic effect could be obtained on such a large scale, by the use of
these two simple colors. This harmony was made possible by the skilful
artists and their techniques.
Read about Taj Mahal art and ornamentation. Ornamentation and art of the Taj Mahal is simply splendid.