Sunday, January 19, 2014

Arjun Rocks: The Meaning of Monuments

by Drew Martin

I thought it would be great to use some fiverr talent abroad to take a look at art from a local's perspective. I liked Arjun's profile so we decided to kick off a series, called Arjun Rocks, which is his fiverr username. Arjun lives in the "Agra Circle" which has hundreds of monuments, and a few World Heritage sites including the Taj Mahal.

Here he is in front of a 400-year-old monument to Shah Jahan's horse, who died in battle. I did some fact-checking because I forgot to ask Arjun where this is located and found several write-ups that claim the horse was made in honor of Akbar the Great's horse. From the "Competent Authority - Agra" site is this description:

The horse effigy stands within the enclosure of Itibari Khan’s Mosque on Agra- Sikandara road. It is said that emperor Akbar rode his favorite horse to this spot from Delhi for a distance of 195 km. The horse got exhausted broke down and died on the spot and was buried here. Akbar installed this statue on its grave. It is a life size statue carved out of single block of red sandstone. Period- between A.D. 1580
 – 1605. The statue was originally found near a railway line just behind the present boundary and it was transferred to its present place in A.D. 1922.

Jahan ruled 1628
 – 1658, Akbar the Great ruled 1556 – 1605, between them ruled Jahangir.

Perhaps the horse is originally for Akbar and the grave/tomb (or as Arjun says "the cemetery") is for Jahan's horse...either way, I like how this plays on what we bring to a monument such as this. A monument is really specific, while a sculpture is open for interpretation even if it is as specific as something like Michelangelo's David, because the latter is both allegorical as well as metaphorical.