600-year-old artwork used natural dyes

Intricate paintings done over 600 years ago inside the tomb of Sufi saint Syed Shaha Qhabululla Husayni, at the dargah of Sufi saint Khwaja Bandanawaz Geusdaraz, could soon be replaced with glasswork.

Artist and scholar Rehman Patel, who brought to light the work going on inside the tomb, described as “shocking” the dargah authorities’ decision to replace the paintings made of natural dyes with “cheap glasswork”. The next generation would be deprived of the priceless artwork, he said.

Dr. Patel, who forte is the Surpur form of miniature paintings, said here on Monday that the paintings were in the old Persian style, popularly known as Deccani art. They were done by artistes from Iran, who decorated the walls and the domed ceiling.

The tomb was constructed in the 14th century by Bahamani kings Firuz Shah Bahamani and Ahmed Shah Al Wali, he added.

Dr. Patel, who has applied to the Ministry of Culture to undertake a study on Islamic art of north Karnataka, said the paintings had been replaced by glass in half of the tomb when he visited two days ago.

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