Antiquities of Samarkand. Tomb of the Saint Kusam-ibn-Abbas (Shah-i Zindah) and Adjacent Mausoleums. Mausoleum of Sha Arap
This photograph shows the upper part of the facade arch (peshtak) of an unidentified mausoleum in the northern cluster of shrines at the Shah-i Zindah necropolis (Samarkand, Uzbekistan). The photograph is from the archeological part of Turkestan Album, a six-volume survey produced in 1871-72, under the patronage of General Konstantin P. von Kaufman, the first governor-general (1867-82) of Turkestan, as the Russian Empire's Central Asian territories were called. The album devotes special attention to Samarkand’s Islamic architecture, such as 14th- and 15th-century monuments from the reign of Timur (Tamerlane) and his successors. Of particular note is Shah-i Zindah (Persian for “living king”), built on the elevated site of an ancient settlement known as Afrosiab and revered as a memorial to Kusam-ibn-Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad. Although the patron of this mausoleum has not been conclusively identified, it was built in 1360-61, most likely for a maiden of noble birth. Despite major damage, the facade displays rich polychrome ceramic ornamentation in bands of floral, geometric, and inscriptional forms. The arch frames the main entrance and culminates here in a “honeycomb” (mocárabe) vault, a device used in much of Samarkand’s architecture. Beneath the decorative vault are bands of carved terracotta ornament with both Kufic and Thuluth script.
- acku Afghanistan
- Image Size
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- Contained in galleries