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Asian art

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Jali screens

18th century


Unknown Artist


This sandstone facade of a Jaisalmer town house or "haveli" is composed of four sections of "jali" work: two on either side of a central window. The window section is framed by narrow lotus-capital pilasters supporting a scalloped arch with foliate design. This arched window frame supports a section of an umbrella dome or "chattri". This facade is made of the local honey-coloured sandstone which is characteristic of the architecture of Jaisalmer. The elaborate and intricate "jali" work is in the design of the flowers and vegetal motifs. The term "jali" refers to the pierced ornamental screens incorporated into a window opening. The technique of "jali" provided for ventilation and sun control in the harsh desert climate of Jaisalmer. But "jalis" were also used as a way of screening the women of these households who would have lived in "purdah". This sandstone facade of a Jaisalmer town house or "haveli" is typical of the house-fronts of the wealthy Rajput nobles and merchants. The "havelis" of Jaisalmer are particularly noted for the ornate carving on their "jalis" & facades.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, 1998.


Other Title

Jali Zaroka

Place where the work was made

Jaisalmer Rajasthan India


18th century

Materials used

yellow sandstone


222.0 x 287.0 cm

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Margaret Hannah Olley Art Trust 1998


Not on display

Accession number


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 2 publications


Phillip Davies, The Penguin Guide to the Monuments of India: Vol. II: Islamic, Rajput, European, London, 1989.

Smith & Singer, Indian art and artefacts from the collection of Joan Bowers, Woollahra, 1998, 32, 46 (colour illus.). Lot 351.