Antiquities of Samarkand. Shir Dar Madrasah. Inscriptions in the Main Niche of the Facade
This photograph 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. This view shows the large window niche at the center of the wall within the iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open). At the bottom is the upper part of the lattice window, with decorative arched panels containing floral and geometric figures on either side. Above the window is a remarkably elaborate inscription in the Thuluth cursive style. The niche culminates in a curved vault composed of ceramic components in a manner known as mocárabe--also referred to as a “stalactite” vault because of the appearance of the suspended decorative elements. The polychrome ornamentation of this window niche is among the richest in the Islamic world.
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Title in Original Language
Самаркандския древности. Медрессэ Шир-Дар. Надписи в главной ниши фасада
Type of Item
1 photographic print : albumen
- Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 89.
Last updated: September 30, 2016