Antiquities of Samarkand. Inner Courtyard of the Shir Dar Madrasah (Western Side). Inscription inside the Main Niche
This photograph of the interior courtyard of the Shir Dar Madrasah 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 architecture, such as 14th- and 15th-century monuments from the reign of Timur (Tamerlane) and his successors. In the center of Samarkand is the Registan ensemble, composed of three major examples of a madrasah (religious school). The second madrasah in the ensemble, the Shir Dar, was built in 1619-36, during the Astrakhanid dynasty. Despite significant damage over the centuries, it remains one of the most lavishly ornamented monuments in Central Asia. The form of this madrasah is typical for the region, with a rectangular courtyard enclosed by a two-story arcade. Visible here is the main arch niche of the west wall, which centers on a large window with a hexagonal lattice pattern (partially blocked). On either side of the window are elaborate polychrome panels that include faience mosaic work. The panel designs consist of botanical motifs in geometric arrangements. Also visible are horizontal ceramic inscriptions in the Thuluth cursive style.
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Title in Original Language
Самаркандския древности. Медресэ Шир дар. Внутренний двор (зап. сторона). Надпись внутри главной ниши
Type of Item
1 photographic print : albumen
- Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 92.
Last updated: September 30, 2016