Antiquities of Samarkand. Tomb of the Saint Kusam-ibn-Abbas (Shah-i Zindah) and Adjacent Mausoleums. Mausoleum of Sha Arap. Section of Inscription on the Front Facade

Description

This photograph of a decorative inscription from an unidentified mausoleum in the northern cluster of shrines at the Shah-i Zindah necropolis (Samarkand, Uzbekistan) is from the archeological part of Turkestan Album. The six-volume photographic survey was 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, its date of construction is known to be 1360-61. Despite major damage, the mausoleum facade has a rich array of polychrome ceramic ornamentation in floral, geometric, and inscriptional forms. The facade arch, or peshtak, is framed by a carved, glazed terracotta band of script in the cursive Thuluth style. The letters are set within an intricate tendril pattern, and the band has a tile border. This view shows a fragment of the inscription on the lower left side of the facade.

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Language

Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Гробница святаго Куссама ибни Абасса (Шах-Зиндэ) и мавзолеи при ней. Мавзолей Ша-Арап. Часть надписи на фасаде

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen

Notes

  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 1, plate 51.

Last updated: September 22, 2014