Antiquities of Samarkand. Mausoleum of Tuman-Aka Nuri. Inscription in the External Niche of the Nuri Mausoleum


This photograph of a facade detail at 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, built in 1405 as a memorial to the youngest wife of Tamerlane, are adjacent to the chartak in the northern cluster of shrines. The mausoleum is distinguished by vibrant ceramic ornamentation in colors that range from deep blue and black to yellow, violet, and turquoise. Its mosaic panels in particular represent the apogee of architectural ceramic work in this region. The facade fragment shown here contains both geometric and inscriptional patterns. 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.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Мавзолей Туман Аки-Нурия. Надпись в наружной нише мавзолея Нурия

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