Antiquities of Samarkand. Tomb of Saint Kusam-ibn-Abbas (Shah-i Zindah) and Adjacent Mausoleums. Mausoleums of Uldzh Inak and Bibi Zinet. View of the Mausoleums of Tamerlane's Benefactress and Her Daughter (Uldzk Inak and Bibi Zinet)


This view of a mausoleum at the Shah-i Zindah necropolis in Samarkand is from the archeological part of Turkestan Album. The lavish edition in six volumes 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 primary compilers for the visual material were Aleksandr L. Kun, an Orientalist attached to the army, and Nikolai V. Bogaevskii, a military engineer. They devoted special attention to Samarkand’s Islamic architecture, such as 14th- and 15th-century monuments from the reign of Tamerlane and his successors (the Timurids). Built on an ancient burial ground, Shah-i Zindah (Persian for “living king”) is revered as a memorial to Kusam-ibn-Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad. This photograph shows a double-domed structure thought to have been built in 1437 by Ulugh Beg, the renowned astronomer king and grandson of Tamerlane. Although it is identified in the album as the mausoleum of Tamerlane's benefactress Uldzk Inak and of her daughter Bibi Zinet, the structure is also considered the tomb of Ulugh Beg’s fellow astronomer, Kazy-Zade Rumi. The effects of neglect are clearly visible on the superb ceramic tile decoration (including patterned Arabic script), much of which has since been restored.

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 Ульджа Инага и Биби Зинет. Вид мавзолеев кормилицы Тамерлана и дочери ея (Ульджа Инага и Биби Зинет)

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 1, plate 22.

Last updated: September 30, 2016