Imam Zamin's Tomb. Niche in the wall towards the west [Qutb]
Imam Zamin's Tomb. Niche in the wall towards the west [Qutb] © British Library/Charles Shepherd

THE niche, situated in the western wall, in the interior of the tomb, forms a graceful piece of decorative carving, and a plaster cast of it A\ras made and brought to England for exhibition in the Kensington Museum, where it may now be seen. The original, which is of white marble, is a very good example of a favourite mode of mural decoration. Its outline consists of a pointed arch supported by broken pillars ; the back of the recess being elaborately carved with arabesques and inscriptions. In buildings of a more domestic character, niches similar in shape are commonly used as shelves, or for containing lamps and in such cases are placed some feet above the ground. In the present instance the niche serves as a species of sanctuary or altar (mihrab), and is meant to do honour to that part of the building pointing westward, towards which Muhammadans prostrate themselves in the exercise of devotions. The subject of the inscriptions engraved on the surface of the niche has been obtained through Dr. Rieu, who kindly gives the information that the writing over the arch and above the panel embodies the Creed of the Muhammadans.