Antiquities of Samarkand. Inner Courtyard of the Shir Dar Madrasah. Northern Side. Beginning
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. This view of a recessed bay, or niche, in the north wall displays the complexity of the decorative work, composed of polychrome tiles in intricate geometric and botanical patterns. Above the pointed arch panel are horizontal inscription bands in the Thuluth cursive style. Visible at the top is an arch vault composed of “stalactite” ceramic components in a manner known as mocárabe.
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Title in Original Language
Самаркандския древности. Медрессэ Шир-Дар. Внутрен. двор. Северная сторона. Начало
Type of Item
1 photographic print : albumen
- Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 94.
Last updated: September 30, 2016