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The English factory or Kothī gateway at Cambay: an unpublished Tughluq structure from Gujarat


The port of Cambay in Gujarat was formerly one of the premier ports of western India and home to a rich and vibrant tradition of Islamic architecture and artistic patronage. This article presents a previously unpublished structure from Cambay, the Kothī gateway. Though commonly believed to have been constructed as part of the English factory at Cambay, the article demonstrates through stylistic analysis that the Kothī gateway in fact predates the factory by several centuries and is a neglected Tughluq structure, probably dating to the 1330s A.D.. The article also suggests that the gateway is in fact a rare, if not unique, surviving example of the secular architecture of fourteenth-century Cambay so praised by contemporary travellers. The Kothī gateway therefore represents a valuable addition to our list of known Islamic structures at the port of Cambay, and takes its place among the growing number of Tughluq structures identified in India. The article also provides an opportunity to publish a number of other structures, architectural fragments and carvings from Cambay that relate to the present gateway.

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The research on which this article is based was generously funded by the British Academy, the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), the University of London Central Research Fund, and INTACH UK. I am particularly grateful to the Nawab of Cambay, Najmud Daula Mumtaz-ul-Mulk Dilavar Jung Momin Khan Bahadur Nawab Mirza Mohammad Jafar Ali Khan Najm-es-Sani, and his wife, Begum Parvin Sultan Begum, for their hospitality and help at Cambay and above all for allowing me to work on this monument; this article could not have been written without their co-operation. Unless mentioned otherwise all photographs, plans and drawings are by the author.
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Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
  • ISSN: 0041-977X
  • EISSN: 1474-0699
  • URL: /core/journals/bulletin-of-the-school-of-oriental-and-african-studies
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