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SCIENTIFIC EXAMINATION OF MARBLE FRETWORK FROM JAHANGIR TOMB, LAHORE, PAKISTAN.

Byline: S. Gulzar and J. P. Burg

ABSTRACT: The white marble fretwork from 17th century Mughal architecture was investigated to formulate the conservation and restoration strategy and for reproduction in compatible materials. Stone fretwork, one of the distinguished and established Mughal decorative art became rare after the decline of Mughal's in the Indian subcontinent. Samples were collected from various historic fretworks of the Jahangir Tomb, a Mughal heritage site atShahdara (Lahore). These samples were studied by optical microscopy and X-ray diffraction for petrographic and mineralogical characterization and for understanding the manufacturing process/ technique. The analytical results showed that theoriginal rock was transported from quarries in the present-day Indiawere dolomitic marbles. The work provided directionto select appropriate marble for restoring fretwork in the Mughal buildings.

Keywords: Marble, Fretwork, Jahangir Tomb, Pakistan, Mineralogy, Petrography.

INTRODUCTION

The Mughals laid great emphasis on the decoration of their monumental buildings. They employed all forms of embellishment including glazed tiling, stone mosaic and inlay works, fresco/mural paintings and stone fretwork for aesthetically appealing surfaces of their magnificent architecture (Nath, 1976 andRehman, 2011). Stone fretwork locally known as "JALI "is one of the beautiful and delicate decorative art introduced and establishedin the Indian subcontinent by Mughal rulers during their reign (1526-1857AD). The fretwork tracery of red sandstone and marble was employed for utilitarian as well as aesthetic purposes (Awan, 2008).Delicate white marble fretwork is mainly seen as screens (locally known as jalies) used to cover balconies (locally known as jharokas) or to divide internal spaces within big arched opening and to serve as railing or parapet (Figure 1).

The frets for internal spaces were used to produce a pleasing effect by allowing sufficient light and cool air while excluding sharp glare (Wheeler, 1970 and Nath, 1976, 1989). This particular decorative technique almost disappeared like many others(arabesque, stalactite, stone inlay etc.) in Pakistan. The prerequisite to reduce or prevent the loss of such decorative art is the characterization of historic materials, classification of their present deterioration state and exploring the compatible materials for restoration.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Fret samples were collected from different locations (ornamental as well as utilitarianfretwork) of Jahangir Tomb inShahdara Complex(Table-1).Several analytical methods including petrograhy, microscopy and XRD were employed for their characterization. The Olympus BH@ BHSP polarizing microscope equipped with Nikon digital camera was used to characterize the mineralogical, texture, cementing material and grain features (grain size of calcite and dolomite in relation to boundary shapes).Light Optical Microscopy (L.O.M.) was also performed on 30um, polished thin sections to analyze the grain size, colour and texture of samples.

A Bruker, AXS D8 Advance powder diffractometer with CuKa radiation was used on sample powders forfurther determination of the mineralogical components and crystalline phases. The patterns were obtained with a Lynxeye super speed detector, step scanning from 5o to 80o with a count for 0.5 s per step and 40 kV and 40 mA in the X-ray tube.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

The analytical work revealed that marble was used in combination with red sandstone for the characteristic representation of Mughal architecture instead of the black/ green schist and basalt used during earlier architectural periods for monumental ornamentation in Indian subcontinent (Chandra, 2003 and Awan, 2008).Investigations and analytical study of marble samples depictedmetamorphic recrystallization,so that the fret marble was found to be a coarse grained rock of interlocking carbonate crystals with few percent of quartz, hematite, limonite and mica.

Petrographic-Microscopic Analysis: The examination of thin sections revealed that all marble samples(Table-2) consist of both calcite (CaCO3) and dolomite (Ca, Mg (CO3)2) in similar proportions with trace amounts of quartz and clay. Epidote({Ca2}{Al2Fe3+}(Si2O7) (SiO4)O (OH))was also identified in few samples as a granular aggregate usually the secondary alteration product of plagioclase ((Na, Ca)(Si, Al)4O8). Calcite grains in various sizes were found in mortar fabric, typical of Makrana marbles with the calcite maximum grain size of 500um was reported by (Natani, 2000; Awan, 2008 andOriglia, 2011). This distinguishing feature was further eloborated in the interlocking of coarse grained calcite surrounded by medium grained (200-280um) calcite.The studied samples also indicated non-uniform metamorphic conditions due to pressurized boundaries in coarse crystals with broken edges.

Microscopic analysis of samples M1 and M4 which were collected from decorative screens showed medium to coarse grained texturewith a grain size of between 100um and 300um (Figure 2).This type of marble was quarried mainly in Makrana, India. It was further classified as dolomitic marble Table-1.Makrana marbles that belonged to the Precambrian (Pre-Vindhyan) Raialo Series also reported by (Wadia, 1957 and Krishnan, 1982), which was medium to coarse grained, saccharoidal and white outcrops,exposed to the southwest of Makrana near Ras (2619': 7411') was found in Rajasthan (Natani, 2001 and Brown and Dey, 2008). Calcite was found to be the main mineral (>75%) with a smallvariationof 1-2% in different samples. The crystals showedstraight boundaries with no shape preferred orientation (Attanasio, 2003 andAttanasioet. al., 2013). Dolomite (22%) with a grain size of 80um to 200um wasidentified as another essential mineral.

Epidote (1.3-1.7%) wasasubhedral grains; optical studies identified both zoisite and clinozoisite. Interstitial and fine grains of muscovite were also identified. Small anhedralquartz grains occurred in the calcite-dolomite matrix. Hematite and limonite weregenerally identifiedas traces in the form of randomly distributed specks.

Microscopic analyses of samples M2, M3 and M5 from screens used in balconies were foundmineralogicallysimilar to samples M1 and M4 but they lackedepidotewhich suggested a different source/location of quarries(Table 2).These well-crystallized, non-foliated dolomitic marbles (Figure 2c) were also quarried at Raialo, in Jaipur, in the vicinity of Makranawere reported by (Natani, 2002 and Brown and Dey, 2008). Calcite (150-500um grain size) and dolomite (100-220um grain size) wereobserved well twinned and cleaved (Figure2d) in these samples also reported by (Zoldfoldi, 2008 andBorghiet. al., 2009).

X-Ray Diffraction Analysis (XRD): X-ray diffraction analysis further complemented the microscopic analysis and confirmeddominance of calcite (CaCO3) and dolomite (Ca, Mg (CO3)2) with subsidiary quartz, muscovite,haematite/ limonite (H/L) and clay (Figure 3a and 3b).

Table 1: Description and mineralogical composition of the investigated marble samples.

Sample###Location###Setting###Mineralogical Composition###Local###Petrographic

####Major###Minor###Trace###Name###Name/ Group

M1###Jahangir Tomb###Geometric###calcite,###epidote,###hematite/###Makrana###Dolomitic

###main building###panel from###dolomite###muscovite,###limonite,###Sang-e-###marble

###minaret###quartz###mica###marmar

M2###Jahangir tomb###Screen###calcite,###muscovite,###hematite/###Makrana###Dolomitic

###facade###dolomite###quartz###limonite,###sang-e-###marble

###mica###marmar

M3###Jahangir tomb###Geometric###calcite,###muscovite,###hematite/###Makrana###Dolomitic

###chamber###panel###dolomite###quartz###limonite,###sang-e-###marble

###mica###marmar

M4###Jahangir tomb###Decorative###calcite,###epidote,###hematite/###Makrana###Dolomitic

###internal###screen inside###dolomite###muscovite,###limonite,###sang-e-###marble

###chamber###quartz###mica###marmar

M5###Jahangir tomb###Balcony###calcite,###muscovite,###hematite/###Makrana###Dolomitic

###main building###dolomite###quartz###limonite,###sang-e-###marble

###mica###marmar

Fretwork Technique: The making of fretwork was a sequential process after selection of stone slabs dressed and prepared according to the required size. The first step was marking the uniform border within which the intended pattern could be traced on the slab. The space delimited by the borders was evenly divided in the form of graph (locally known as AllachaBandhana).The designs were then transferred using the graph marked on the slab. Another method was using stencils on metal sheets and then glued on the marble slab. The marble slab was carved and engraved with chisel following the design on the slabs (known as DandahyBandhana). The honey-comb holes or fret were mainly hexagonal (Chheh Mass) and octagonal (Aath Mass) along with some floral, geometrical and plant patterns. Carving was skillfully made deeper and deeper in different grades of fineness.

Slabs were turned over when pits were 5-7cm deep and the same carving process was repeated on the reverse side of the slab until perforated. Finally the fretwork was rubbed and finished by using emery (coarse corundum for polishing). The fretwork was then fixed with lime mortar in its designated place.

Table 2: Mineralogical and petrographic features of the investigated marble samples

Sample###Sample M1###Sample M2###Sample M3###Sample M4###Sample M5

###Mineralogical composition (%)

Calcite###751###772###77.52###791###772

Dolomite###211###201###211###18.51###201

Epidote###1.50.5###-###-###10.5###-

Quartz###11###0.51###0.51###0.51###11

Clay###Tr###Tr###Tr###Tr###Tr

Others###1.50.05###2.00.01###1.00.01###10.05###2.00.01

###Grain size (um)

Calcite###100 -300###150-400###150-500###100-270###150-500

Dolomite###80-250###100-200###100-220###70-200###100-220

Observation###good cleavage###good###good cleavage###good###good cleavage, quartz

###cleavage###cleavage###presence

Texture###granular###Granular###granular###granular###granular

Boundaries###pressure solutions visible visible###broken###pure and###visible boundaries,

###in boundaries###boundaries,###boundaries###clear###rounded edges

###rounded###boundaries

Conclusions: The built heritage of Pakistan suffered great damages due to the lack of information about historic materials, technology and diagnostic procedures. This studyrevealed that fretwork decoration samples from the Jahangir Tomb, Mughal heriatge site at Lahore were dolomitic marbles transported from Makrana, in Rajasthan. The petrographic-microscopic and XRD analysis showed that the largest grain size was 500um in a mortar fabric. Epidote, quartz, muscovite, H/L and clay were accessory minerals.The complete characterization of the originally employed historic materials also provided information on the techniques, which should be respected for successful restoration programs. The present study employing scientific methodology defined the material composition that would guide selection of appropriate materials for restoration of fretwork.

Acknowledgements: The authors would like to acknowledge the Department of Archaeology and Museums Lahore for their help during the field observations and sampling. We would also like to thank Department of Earth Sciences ETH-Zurich, for their assistance in analytical work.

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Publication:Pakistan Journal of Science
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Sep 30, 2016
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