The Investigation of Features and Methods of Using “Tongborie” Decoration in Architectural Works of Safavid Iran and Mughal India

Document Type : Research Article


1 M.A. in Handcrafts, Applied Art Faculty, University of Art, Tehran, Iran.

2 Associate Professor, Department of HandCrafts, Applied Art Faculty, University of Art, Tehran, Iran.

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, University of Zanjan, Iran


Problem statement: “Tongborie” is one of the dependent elements of architecture in the Safavid Iran and Mughal India eras. Safavids and Mughals cultural and political relations have had a significant role in art influence between two countries so that many arts including Tongborie decorative art which is known as “Chini-khana” in India has gained popularity because of these relations. The main statement of this study is investigating these works in terms of form and application in the architecture of the Safavid Iran and Mughal India eras. This study determines different attitudes of artists in the application of these patterns in the monuments of two lands by investigating form features, patterns, and Tongborie application techniques.
Research objective: The main objective of this study is to investigate how cultural relations between Safavid  Iran and Mughal India influence the evolution of Tongborie objects, the recognition of form features, and the use of these designs in monuments of two countries. The secondary aim is to use of resulted knowledge in designing jewelry and handcrafts which has not been addressed in this article.
Research method: The present study has been based on historical findings analysis and description of patterns based on theoretical and visual knowledge and data collection methods including a field survey of monuments, study of internal and external creditable sources, and obtaining knowledge from experts.
Conclusion: This study shows that the decorative element of Chini-khana has entered Indian art under influence of Iran Tongbories and can be categorized into three general forms “Altar”, “Container”, and “Epigraph” Techniques and materials used in Iranian and Indian models have had differences. Iranian Tongbories have been used in interiors with more variety of forms. In contrast, extent models in India have had a variety in mason techniques and have often been used in the landscaping of external surfaces.


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