Dedicatory inscription from a mosque. Carved gabbro stone, Indian Sultanate period (1206–1555), dated A.H. 905 / A.D.1500. India, Bengal.
Bengali inscriptions of the later Middle Ages often excel in the strong parallelism of the letters; the type of monumental thuluth script used in this instance has been called the “bow-and-arrow” style since the bow-shaped round letters are skillfully woven into the arrow-like straight shafts. The regularity achieved in combining the sixty verticals with the five “bows” is admirable. The stone represents a fine example of Bengali epigraphy from the time when the kingdom of Gaur was a center of literature, poetry, and the architectural arts.
Text & image: Metropolitan Museum of Art