The Taj Mahl is one of nine illuminated miniature sculptures from the Luminiart Collection. Click here
to see images of the entire collection on the Artist's website. Olszewski's Taj Mahal was modeled after the ethereal Taj
Mahal, whose beauty is matched only by the romantic story that inspired
its construction. Located in Agra, India, it was commissioned by Mughal
Emperor Shah Jahan, who ruled from 1628 to 1658, in homage to his
Persian wife whom he called Mumtaz Mahal or “Crown of the Palace”. Many
believe that the name “Taj Mahal” is a shorter variant of “Mumtaz
Mahal”. The queen accompanied Shah Jahan everywhere, even on military
campaigns. It was on one of these campaigns that she died in 1631,
shortly after giving birth to her 14th child. Her dying wish to her
husband was that he should “build a tomb in her memory such as the world
had never seen.” Shah Jahan fulfilled her wish.
The Taj Mahal was constructed of materials from all over Asia.
White marble was brought from Rajasthan, jasper from Punjab, and jade
and crystal from China. The turquoise was from Tibet and the lapis
lazuli from Afghanistan, while the sapphire came from Sri Lanka and the
carnelian from Arabia. Twenty-eight types of precious and semi-precious
stones were inlaid into the white marble. More than 1,000 elephants and
20,000 laborers, including sculptors, calligraphers, inlayers, and
stonecutters were involved in the construction, which took twenty-three
years to complete. The total cost was about forty million rupees, at a
time when one gram of gold was sold for 1.3 rupees.
Shah Jahan was deposed by his son Aurangzeb. He spent the last
years of his life under house arrest in the Agra Fort, gazing across the
Yamuna River at the beautiful tomb he had built for his beloved,
waiting for the day they could unite. After his death in 1666, he was
laid to rest beside her.
The Taj Mahal has been described by the poet Sir Edwin Arnold, as
"Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud
passions of an emperor's love wrought in living stones." We invite your
imagination to travel to Agra,
India to feel the aura of eternal love.