Antiquities of Samarkand. Tomb of the Saint Kusam-ibn-Abbas (Shah-i Zindah) and Adjacent Mausoleums. Mausoleum of the Aine Khane (Emir Mussa). Inscription Dating the Building Construction to the Left of the Facade


This photograph of ceramic tile ornament on the Tuglu-Tekin (Emir Hussein) mausoleum 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, in 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 Tamerlane and his successors. Shah-i Zindah (Persian for “living king”) is revered as a memorial to Kusam-ibn-Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad. In 1386 Emir Hussein (one of Tamerlane’s grandees) built a mausoleum for his mother, Tuglu-Tekin. Although the structure was severely damaged by natural causes, the facade and much of its tile decoration survived. This view of the lower left part of the facade displays polychrome ornament, including majolica tiles. Most remarkable is the vertical inscription in Thuluth (cursive) Arabic script set within intricate floral strapwork--all made of carved, glazed terracotta. Beneath the inscription is a panel of carved terracotta containing a floral pattern in a lotus figure frame. Visible on the far left is a decorative ceramic column and base at the outer corner of the facade.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Гробница святого Куссама ибни Абасса (Шах-Зиндэ) и мавзолеи при ней. Мавзолей Айнэ-Ханэ (Эмира-Мусси). Надпись изображающая год постройки здания на левой стороне фасада

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 1, plate 45.

Last updated: September 30, 2016