The two trees here are cypresses. To the Greeks, cypresses were trees of mourning. To the Persians, they symbolised immortality. For the Mughals, these trees invoked paradise.
Roses climb all over them, and each branch proclaims Sahir Ludhiyanvi’s scathing feminist poem, Nur Jahan ke Mazhar par [recited on Nur Jahan’s Tomb]. In the last
verse he says:
तू मेरी जाँ न मुझे हैरत-ओ-हसरत से न देख
हम में को ई भी जहाँ नूर-ओ-जहां गी र नहीं
तू मुझे छो ड़के ठुकरा के भी जा सकती है
मेरे हा थों में तेरे हा थ हैं ज़न्जी र नहीं
सा हि र लुधि या नवी
tū merī jān mujhe hairat-o-hasrat se na dekh
ham meñ koī bhī jahāñ-nūr o jahāñ-gīr nahīñ
tū mujhe chhoḍ ke ṭhukrā ke bhī jā saktī hai
mere hāthoñ meñ tere haath haiñ zanjīr nahīñ
My love, don’t look at me with amazement and disappointment,
We’re not the world’s light [Jahan-nur], nor world’s conqueror [Jahangir]
You can spurn me, and leave,
In your hand is my hand, not a handcuff.
- Sahir Ludhiyanvi
Nur Jahan planted cypresses, grew roses and distilled rosewater for her beloved Jahangir. She ruled with him and for him. She nurtured her ambitions, talent, and skills to rule an empire. Jahangir cultivated his love– for his empress and for intoxication.
Nur Jahan held Jahangir’s hand, with it, the royal seal. She may have taken charge willingly, or perhaps it was survival. Did she really have a choice?
Cypresses ask difficult questions.
Size : length 72 in. x breadth 17 in. x depth 2 in.
Materials: wooden hangers, scrap sewing machine bits, metal support, gold paint, interior emulsion paint,gold skein, and scrap metal leaves.