Antiquities of Samarkand. Tomb of the Saint Kusam-ibn-Abbas (Shah-i Zindah) and Adjacent Mausoleums. Grave Where the Sepulcher of the Saint Stands. Grave of the Saint Kusam-ibn-Abbas (Shah-i Zindah) Who Died in 57 A.H.


This sketch of the interior of the Kusam-ibn-Abbas Mausoleum in the northern cluster of shrines at the Shah-i Zindah necropolis in Samarkand 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. The Shah-i Zindah (Persian for “living king”) ensemble is revered as a memorial to Kusam-ibn-Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad. He is considered by believers to be buried at this site, after being killed in an Arab attack in 673. The part of the mausoleum known as the gurkhana, or sepulcher, is believed to contain his tomb. The sketch gives outlines of the walls, while the foreground shows the stepped sarcophagus (early 14th century), richly decorated with majolica tiles. In addition to floral ornamentation, the surface displays the inscription: “Never consider dead those who are killed on the path to Allah. No, they are alive!” Also noted is the year 57 A.H. (the Islamic calendar), or 676-77 C.E. The sketch is signed by the artist, L.A. Shostak.

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Гробница святаго Куссама ибни Абасса (Шах-Зиндэ) и мавзолеи при ней. Могила, в которой стоит гробница святаго. Могила святого Куссама ибни Абасса (Шах-Зиндэ) умершаго в 57 г. Гиджиры

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 drawing : watercolor


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 1, plate 63.

Last updated: September 30, 2016