Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Tillia Kari. Main Facade (Southern). Detail of Corners in Window Niches


This photograph of a detail of the main entrance to the Tillia Kari 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 third Registan component, the Tillia Kari Madrasah, was built in 1646-60, on the site of a former caravanserai. The entrance to the rectangular courtyard is framed by a great iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open). This view shows a detail from the arcade in the upper part of the polygonal iwan niche. The triangular corner is on the left side of a pointed arch that forms one of the arcade niches. The mosaic of polychrome majolica work contains not only floral, tendril, and geometric patterns, but also displays cursive Arabic script within an eight-lobed figure. The mosaic is framed by ceramic tiles that outline the structure. Such detailed photographs indicate the serious documentary purpose and technical mastery of the album’s photographers.

Subject Date

Publication Information

Saint Petersburg, Russia


Title in Original Language

Самаркандския древности. Медрессэ Тилля-Кари. Главный фасад. (южный). Отделка углов в окнных нишах

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print : albumen


  • Illustration in: Turkestan Album, Archaeological Part, 1871-1872, part 1, volume 2, plate 102.

Last updated: September 30, 2016