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Dedicatory Inscription from a Mosque

Object Name:
dated A.H. 905/ A.D. 1500
India, Bengal
Gabbro; carved
H. 16 1/8 (41 cm) W. 45 5/16 (115.1 cm) D. 2 3/4in. (7 cm) Wt. 194 lbs. (88 kg)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Gift of Mrs. Nelson Doubleday and Bequest of Charles R. Gerth, by exchange, 1981
Accession Number:
  • Description

    An inscribed panel is often placed in a mosque to record its patron and date of construction. Here, the inscription has been completed in a style unique to northeastern India, in which the vertical letters of some words are shot through with the bowlike configuration of other words, but the contents are typical. The overlapping letters include a saying of the Prophet Muhammad, promising a palace in Paradise to anyone who builds a mosque on earth, and the name of Daniyal, son of Sultan Husain Shah of Bengal (r. 1493–1518), who paid for the mosque to be built.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Inscribed in Arabic in Bengali tughra-style script:
    قال النبي صلی الله علیه وسلم
    من بنی مسجداً لله بنی الله له
    قصراً مثله في الجنة في عهد السلطان علاء و الدنیا و الدین
    ابو المظفر حسین شاه السلطان خلد الله ملکه وسلطانه
    بنی هذا المسجد الجامع شاهزاده دانیال دام عزه في العشر من ذي الحجة
    سنة خمس و تسعمائة
    The Prophet — God’s blessings and peace be upon him — said:
    “He who builds a mosque for God, God builds a palace the like of it in
    paradise.” In the reign of the Sultan ‘Ala’ al-Dunya wa’l din Abu‘l-Muzaffar
    Husain Shah al-Sultan, may God perpetuate his dominion and sovereignty.
    Shahzada Daniyal, may his glory endure, built this congregational mosque on
    the tenth of Dhu’l-Hijja in the year A.H. 905 [July 7, 1500]

  • Provenance

    Possibly Thomas Hope of Deepdene, England; [ David Drey, London, before 1962; sold to Hodgkin]; Howard Hodgkin, London (from before 1962–81); [ Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd., 1981; sold to MMA]

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History