The Use of Quranic Inscriptions in the Bahmani Royal Mausoleums
The Case of Three Tombstones from Ashtur
Three inscribed tombstones have been (re)discovered within the second royal funerary complex of the Bahmani dynasty (1347-1527), in the village of Ashtur (Bidar district), in the modern state of Karnataka, India. The finding of the tombstones in situ and their hypothetical dating – based on the architectural analysis of the nearest structures – call for some considerations with regard to their peculiar location in a funerary chamber under the base of one of the structures of the complex. At the same time, the examination of the content of the inscriptions and the specific choice of some Quranic verses (ayat) allow us to reflect on the use and recurrence of Quranic inscriptions in the Gulbarga and Bidar districts in the first half of the Bahmani Sultanate (ca 1347-1436), and on the specific meanings and powers attributed to them when associated with royal burials.