Antiquities of Samarkand. Tomb of the Saint Kusam-ibn-Abbas (Shah-i Zindah) and Adjacent Mausoleums. Mausoleum of Emir Assad. Column Capital


This photograph of a column detail from an unidentified mausoleum in 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 devoted 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. Among the shrines in the necropolis is an unnamed mausoleum whose basic structure collapsed, as well as much of its main facade. Nonetheless, surviving ceramic work on the facade reveals a complex decorative program similar to that of the nearby Usto Ali mausoleum (circa 1380). The fragment of a glazed terracotta column shown here is located in the main arch niche. The column shaft displays the lotus motif and culminates in an octagonal capital marked with figures that echo the interlocking geometric motif on the adjacent ceramic band.

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 Эмира Ассада. Капитель колонны

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 1, plate 39.

Last updated: September 30, 2016