Antiquities of Samarkand. Tomb of the Saint Kusam-ibn-Abbas (Shah-i Zindah) and Adjacent Mausoleums. Mausoleum of the Daughter of Emir Khodzha Toglu Tekin. Column Base


This photograph of a facade detail from an unidentified 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, 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 patron of this mausoleum has not been identified by specialists, but its date of construction is 1361. In addition to ceramic mosaics, the mausoleum is distinguished by glazed carved terracotta panels that display intricate floral, geometric, and inscriptional patterns. The colors range from deep blue to yellow, violet, and turquoise. Shown here is a damaged fragment of a column at the corner of the niche created by the main facade arch (peshtak). The curving tendrils link floral motifs, including the lotus blossom. These sinuous designs were framed by geometric figures, some of which have been preserved.

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 дочери Эмира Ходжи Тоглу-Текин. База колоны

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 1, plate 43.

Last updated: September 30, 2016