December 3, 2012

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Bibi Khanym. Congregational Mosque (Friday Mosque). Inscription on the Left Side of the Marble Reading-Stand (Lau)

This photograph of a part of the marble Qurʼan holder at the main mosque of the Bibi Khanym ensemble 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. Built in 1399-1405 with the spoils of Timur’s campaign in India, the Bibi Khanym ensemble was the location of the city’s main, or Friday, mosque, named in homage to Timur’s senior wife, Sarai Mulk Khanym. The ensemble centers on the mosque, one of the largest in the Islamic world. Inside the mosque was an enormous Qurʼan holder (rihal) donated by Timur’s grandson Ulugh Beg and consisting of two massive triangular marble blocks resting on a marble plinth. Shown here is the left half of the rectangular side of the left block, with carved decoration consisting of scrolls and a pointed foliate pattern of remarkable complexity. The surface is framed by a band of cursive script. In 1875, a few years after this photograph was taken, the lectern was moved into the courtyard in front of the mosque.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Bibi Khanym. Congregational Mosque (Friday Mosque). Inscription on the Left Side of the Marble Reading-Stand (Lau)

This photograph of a part of the marble Qurʼan holder at the main mosque of the Bibi Khanym ensemble 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. Built in 1399-1405 with the spoils of Timur’s campaign in India, the Bibi Khanym ensemble was the location of the city’s main, or Friday, mosque, named in homage to Timur’s senior wife, Sarai Mulk Khanym. The ensemble centers on the mosque, one of the largest in the Islamic world. Inside the mosque was an enormous Qurʼan holder (rihal) donated by Timur’s grandson Ulugh Beg and consisting of two massive triangular marble blocks resting on a marble plinth. Shown here is the right half of the rectangular side of the left block, with carved decoration consisting of scrolls and a pointed foliate pattern of remarkable complexity. The surface is framed by a band of cursive script. In 1875, a few years after this photograph was taken, the lectern was moved into the courtyard in front of the mosque.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Shir Dar Madrasah. Main Facade (Western). Base and Column Section

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. Despite significant damage over the centuries, it remains one of the most lavishly ornamented monuments in Central Asia. This view of the right side of the main facade shows the lower part of the column that marks the right (south) inner corner of the monumental iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open). The turbaned figure gives an idea of the column’s enormous scale. Although much of the ceramic work is missing, the marble base has remained, with its carved inscription in the cursive style and decorative elements in the “stalactite” form. Fragments of ceramic ornamentation are visible in the upper part of the photograph.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Inner Courtyard of the Shir Dar Madrasah. Southern 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 south wall displays decorative work composed of polychrome tiles in intricate geometric, botanical, and inscriptional patterns. Above the panels at the bottom is a horizontal inscription band in the Thuluth cursive style. Decorative panels at the top culminate in pointed arches that merge with a complex structure of intersecting vaults.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Inner Courtyard of the Shir Dar Madrasah. Inscriptions around the Inner Niche and Its Upper Sections. Center

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 consists of a rectangular courtyard enclosed by a two-story arcade. Visible here is the upper part of the niche of the iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) in the center of the south wall. The surfaces are covered with polychrome majolica tiles in elaborate geometric and botanical patterns. The rectangular panels with pointed arches lead to a horizontal inscription band in the Thuluth cursive style. Above the inscription are pointed arch panels divided by a system of intersecting ribbed vaults.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Inner Courtyard of the Shir Dar Madrasah. Inscriptions around the Inner Niche and Its Upper Sections. Center

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 consists of a rectangular courtyard enclosed by a two-story arcade with an iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) and a mosque on the eastern side. This view shows the east wall niche, with the lattice work of a window on the second level. The niche is covered with elaborate ceramic work composed of polychrome tiles in geometric and botanical patterns. The pointed window arch is framed by an inscription band in the Thuluth cursive style. Visible at the top are the “stalactite” decorative elements of the arch vault.