Antiquities of Samarkand. Mausoleum of the Emir Timur Kuragan (Gur-Emir). Part of a Corner Column of the Facade


This photograph of a facade detail at the Gur-Emir mausoleum in Samarkand (Uzbekistan) 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 architectural heritage, including Gur-Emir (Persian for "tomb of the ruler"). Although known primarily as the burial place of Timur (Tamerlane), Gur-Emir was begun by Timur in 1403 to commemorate the death of his beloved grandson Muhammad Sultan at the age of 27. The shrine was still not complete at the time of Timur's own death in 1405. With his burial, Gur-Emir became the mausoleum of the Timurids. Shown here is a segment of a polychrome ceramic column attached to a corner of what is probably the north facade. Despite damage to the wall surface, the column displays an exquisite floral arabesque based on a pattern of quatrefoil lozenges connected with delicate tendrils. Within each quatrefoil are three blossoms that spring from a coronet base. Dimly visible to the left is the receding wall of the iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) niche, also covered with ceramic work.

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Мавзолей Эмира Тимура Курагана (Гуремир). Часть угловой колоны фасада

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 119.

Last updated: September 30, 2016