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- This photograph of a door leading to the inner courtyard of the Ulugh Beg Madrasah in 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 (1867-86) 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. In the center of Samarkand is the Registan ensemble, composed of three major examples of a madrasah (religious school). The oldest madrasah on Registan Square is named after the astronomer-king and grandson of Timur, Ulugh Beg (1393?-1449), who built it in 1417-20 and is known to have lectured there. During Ulugh Beg’s reign, mathematicians and astronomers such as Kazi-Zade Rumi were among the scholars at the madrasah, which was considered a leading center of Islamic education. The wooden doors shown here are part of the madrasah’s eastern wall, centered on the great iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) entrance arch. The door panels display elaborate carving, with geometric patterns (at top) as well as curvilinear botanical motifs. At the bottom is a Perso-Arabic inscription in a cursive style. The doors are set within an intricately carved frame, which in turn leads to the ceramic ornamentation of the portal facade.
Title in Original Language
Самаркандския древности. Медрессэ Улуг-Бек. Главный фасад (восточный). Дверь ведущая во внутренний двор
Type of Item
- 1 photographic print : albumen
- Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 110.