The elaborate carving of these brackets, corbels and lintels displays the fusion of Hindu and Islamic imagery that characterised the architectural decoration in many areas of the Indian subcontinent during the Mughal dynasty (1526–1857). These sculptures have been radiocarbon dated to 1450–1600, a period coinciding with the establishment of the Mughal Empire throughout India.
The design evokes the sinuous serpentine form of the mythical makara, a composite creature widely found in Hindu temple architecture. Circular and oval ornamentation suggests the beast's vestigial eyes and ears. However, intricate layers of geometric detail and foliate pendants and arabesques on the architectural elements reveal the strong Islamic character of the arts of the Deccan.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label