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 Capital


This photograph of a column detail 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 distinguished by vibrant ceramic ornamentation with floral, geometric, and inscriptional patterns in colors that range from deep blue to yellow, violet, and turquoise. Shown here is the capital of a column located on the left corner of the niche created by the mausoleum facade arch (peshtak). The curving tendrils and floral motifs (including lotus blossoms) on the capital are echoed in the ceramic tiles and mosaics of the wall to which the column is attached.

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. капитель 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