Sunday, November 1, 2015

'Summer Palace' at Qutub Shahi has a chinese connect

In a significant discovery, archaeologists on Friday said they have unearthed artifacts from a 16th century 'Summer Palace' in the Qutub Shahi Tombs complex. The nature of the findings revealed that the sultans had close trade relations with China. 

The 'Summer Palace', in the southwest portion of the royal necropolis, now adds to the city's treasure trove of heritage structures. 

Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) project archaeological director K K Muhammed announced they found Chinese pottery dated 16th century. "This shows that there were trade relations between the Qutub Shahi Sultanate and China. We have also found hookahs," he said at a media interaction jointly hosted by the Trust and the US Consulate-General. 

Hookahs were introduced in India by the Portuguese in 1604 and it is likely that those found at the excavation site belong to the same time period, he said. The archaeological find could have been constructed during the same time period, he added. "Martabani pottery was also found. Martabaniware's roots can be traced to Southeast Asia -- to places like Malaysia, Java and Sumatra," he added. 

The senior archaeologist clarified that the name 'Summer Palace' could be a misnomer as the structure served as an accommodation block for "hundreds of people" working at the tombs complex. Many of them were engaged in Qurankhwani -- arranging group recitations of Quran. Around 28 dorms, measuring roughly 20 feet by 10 feet each, are a part of this block. "There was a muallim (teacher) with 20 to 25 students. A portion which has a mosque has also been found," he said. 

The recently discovered structure has underground chambers that "have a cooling effect" -- which is why it may have been given the name, the expert said. Cisterns and aqueducts were a part of the structure too. 

When compared to other parts of the tombs complex, the southwest portion showed more promise and potential, according to the senior archaeologist. "The earth in the area has not been disturbed unlike in other parts of this place. This is an archaeologists dream," he said. 

Other experts said that the pottery, blue and white in colour, has decipherable Chinese inscriptions. A source explained, ""Ta", meaning great, and "Ming", referring to the Ming dynasty from the Far East, are legible. "This buttresses the theory of a Chinese connection with Qutub Shahis of the Deccan," an expert said. 

The USCG, as a part of its US Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation, funded the AKTC's efforts of conserving the tombs complex, which is believed to be the largest collection of funerary structures.

Times of India. 2015. “'Summer Palace' at Qutub Shahi has a chinese connect”. Times of India. Posted: August 8, 2015. Available online:

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