Antiquities of Samarkand. Tomb of Saint Kusam-ibn-Abbas (Shah-i Zindah) and Adjacent Mausoleums. Mausoleum of Emir Kutuluk Turdi Bek Aka. Detail of Niche Panel on the External Arch (Above)


This photograph of the Shadi Mulk mausoleum at the Kusam-ibn-Abbas 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, in 1867-82, of Turkestan, as the Russian Empire’s Central Asian territories were called. The primary compilers for the visual material were Aleksandr L. Kun, an Orientalist attached to the army, and Nikolai V. Bogaevskii, a military engineer. They devoted special attention to Samarkand’s Islamic architecture, such as 14th- and 15th-century monuments from the reign of Tamerlane and his successors. Built on the site of an ancient settlement known as Afrosiab, Shah-i Zindah (Persian for “living king”) is revered as a memorial to Kusam-ibn-Abbas, a cousin of the prophet Muhammad. The mausoleum of Shadi Mulk Aka was built in 1372 for the burial of Uldjai Shadi-Mulk, the daughter of Tamerlane's elder sister, Kutlug-Turkan-Aka. This view shows a fragment of the main facade arch niche, whose ceramic ornamentation includes polychrome majolica tiles, faience mosaics, patterned Arabic script in the cursive Thuluth form, carved terracotta columns, and the “honey-comb” (mocárabe) form at the top of the niche. The basic colors are dark blue and turquoise.

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Гробница святого Кассима ибни Абасса (Шах-Зиндэ) и мавзолеи при нем. Мавзолей Эмира Кутулука Турди Бек-Ака. Отделка щеки ниши наружного фасада (верх)

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 1, plate 27.

Last updated: September 30, 2016