Antiquities of Samarkand. Mausoleum of Tuman-Aka Nuri. Section of Detail to the Side Entrance Niche of the Tuman-Aka Mausoleum


This photograph of a ceramic detail of the small mosque adjacent to the Tuman-Aka mausoleum in 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, in 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 Tamerlane and his successors. Of particular note is Shah-i Zindah (Persian for “living king”), revered as a memorial to Kusam-ibn-Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad. The Tuman-Aka mausoleum and mosque (with attached khanaka, or pilgrims’ lodge) were built in 1405 as a memorial to the youngest wife of Tamerlane and are located to the left of the chartak in the northern cluster of shrines. The ensemble is distinguished by vibrant ceramic ornamentation with floral, geometric, and inscriptional patterns in colors that range from deep blue to yellow, violet, and turquoise. The panel shown here, located on the right side of the niche framed by the peshtak (facade arch) of the mosque, uses intersecting strapwork to create complex ten-pointed stars containing floral motifs in geometric arrangements.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Мавзолей Туман Аки-Нурия. Часть отделки щеки входной ниши в мавзолее Туман-Аки

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 1, plate 42.

Last updated: September 30, 2016