Antiquities of Samarkand. Tomb of the Saint Kusam-ibn-Abbas (Shah-i Zindah) and Adjacent Mausoleums. Mausoleum of Sha Arap. Detail of the Mausoleum Walls
This photograph shows a wall fragment of the interior of an unidentified mausoleum in the northern cluster of shrines at the Shah-i Zindah necropolis (Samarkand, Uzbekistan). The photograph is from the archeological part of Turkestan Album, a six-volume survey 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. Of particular note is Shah-i Zindah (Persian for “living king”), built on the elevated site of an ancient settlement known as Afrosiab and revered as a memorial to Kusam-ibn-Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad. Although the patron of this mausoleum has not been conclusively identified, it was built in 1360-61, probably for a maiden of noble birth. The collapse of the dome--likely due to an earthquake--enables a clear view of the interior walls, which were covered in polychrome ceramics. This fragment displays a faience mosaic panel consisting of floral patterns centered on the lotus motif. Above the panel is the beginning of an inscriptional band with letters in the cursive Thuluth style. The floral motif continues in the decorative borders.
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Title in Original Language
Самаркандския древности. Гробница святаго Куссама ибни Абасса (Шах-Зиндэ) и мавзолеи при ней. Мавзолей Ша-Арап. Отделка стенъ мавзолея
Type of Item
1 photographic print : albumen
- Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 1, plate 53.
Last updated: September 30, 2016