Antiquities of Samarkand. Tomb of the Saint Kusam-ibn-Abbas (Shah-i Zindah) and Adjacent Mausoleums. Mausoleum of Sha Arap. Part of a Column


This photograph of the Khodzha Akhmad 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 (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 Timur (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. The Khodzha Akhmad Mausoleum was built in the 1360s, presumably for a local spiritual leader. Located at the end of the necropolis passageway in the northern cluster of shrines, the partially damaged monument displays vibrant ceramic work with floral, geometric, and inscriptional patterns. The name of its designer, Fakhri-Ali, is revealed within a pattern in one of the ceramic tiles. The facade arch, or peshtak, is flanked by glazed terracotta columns carved in elaborate geometric patterns that emanate from a six-pointed star. The bands extending from these star motifs form triangular cells filled with intricate geometric detail. This view shows a fragment of the column to the left side of the arch.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Гробница святаго Куссама ибн Абасса (Шах-Зинде) и мавзолеи при ней. Мавзолей Ша-Арап. Часть колонны

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 1, plate 48.

Last updated: September 30, 2016