Antiquities of Samarkand. Mausoleum of Tuman-Aka Nuri. Inscription on the Wall of the Tuman Aki Mausoleum


This photograph of a detail on the facade of the khanaka (pilgrims’ lodge) attached to the Tuman-Aka memorial mosque 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) were built in 1405 in homage to the youngest wife of Tamerlane as part of the northern cluster of shrines. The Tuman-Aka ensemble is distinguished by ceramic decoration (including mosaic panels) that display floral, geometric, and inscriptional patterns in colors ranging from deep blue to yellow, violet, and turquoise. The cursive (Thuluth) inscriptions, typically based on Koranic texts, also identify the Persian master who created them, Sheikh Muhammed ibn Khadja Bandgir at-Tugra Tabrizi. The inscription shown here is located to the right of the khanaka facade arch.

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Мавзолей Туман Аки-Нурия. Надпись на стене мавзолея 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