Antiquities of Samarkand. Tomb of the Saint Kusam-ibn-Abbas (Shah-i Zindah) and Adjacent Mausoleums. Mausoleum of the Aine Khane (Emir Mussa). Inscriptions on the Upper Left Panel of the Niche


This photograph of decorative ceramic work at the Tuman-Aka mausoleum within 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. Of particular note is Shah-i Zindah (Persian for “living king”), revered as a memorial to Kusam-ibn-Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad. The Tuman-Aka mausoleum and mosque were built in 1405 as a memorial to the youngest wife of Tamerlane and are located to the left of the chartak in the northern cluster of shrines. The ensemble is notable for vibrant ceramic ornamentation with floral, geometric, and inscriptional patterns in colors that range from deep blue to yellow, violet, and turquoise. This panel detail is located on the right side of the niche created by the mausoleum arch (peshtak). At top and bottom are graceful inscriptions in the Thuluth form of Arabic script. In the center is a geometric floral pattern with eight “petals” framed by strips with linked ornamental figures.

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). надписи на левой щеке ниши. (Верх)

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