Antiquities of Samarkand. Mausoleum of the Emir Timur Kuragan (Gur-Emir). Inscription over the Door in the Corridor
This photograph of an arch niche 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. When Timur was buried there in 1405, Gur-Emir became the mausoleum of the Timurids. Shown here is the upper part of a portal arch (peshtak) niche, apparently on left side of the north facade. Fragments of ceramic ornamentation are dimly visible on either side of the portal, above which is a ceramic band containing a sacred text in elongated cursive Arabo-Persian script bordered with decorative figures. Above the inscription is a faience pattern of intersecting geometric forms including pentagons, triangles, and six-pointed stars. This interconnected complexity can be interpreted as a reflection of cosmic order. The brick vaulting of the arch was originally surfaced with ceramic work.
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Title in Original Language
Самаркандския древности. Мавзолей Эмира Тимура-Курагана (Гуремир). Надпись над дверью в коридоре
Type of Item
1 photographic print : albumen
- Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 120.
Last updated: September 30, 2016