December 3, 2012

Antiquities of Samarkand. Inner Courtyard of the Shir Dar Madrasah. Northern Side. End

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, at the end of the north wall displays the complexity of the decorative work, which is 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 a row of panels beneath the arch vault.

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.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Tillia Kari. Main Facade (Southern). Door to the Inner Courtyard

This photograph of the door 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) flanked on either side by a two-story arcade. Shown here is the wooden door within the iwan niche. The panels of the door are covered with a relief of intricate carving in geometric and botanical motifs. The top horizontal panels contain carved inscription bands in a cursive style. Both sides of the door show vertical cracks and have been reinforced by metal strips at the top and bottom.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Tillia Kari. Main Facade (Southern). End. Inscription along the inside of the Main Niche and Its Upper Part

This photograph 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), flanked by a two-story arcade with rooms for scholars. This view shows a ceramic panel on the upper part of the left face of the iwan niche. The main part of the panel is recessed within the figure of a pointed arch. The complex surface is covered with polychrome majolica tiles that form intricate geometric and botanical patterns. Above the pointed arch are fragments of an inscription band in a cursive style. The panel is framed by a raised decorative strip with geometric figures that culminates in a larger cursive inscription band.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Tillia Kari. Main Facade (Southern). Beginning. Inscription along the inside of the Main Niche and Its Upper Part

This photograph 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 polychrome majolica panel on the upper part of the right face of the iwan niche. The main part of the panel, recessed within a pointed arch, contains a pattern formed of interlocking Kufic script. The arch is surrounded by ceramic work with intricate geometric and botanical patterns. Above the pointed arch is an inscription band in a cursive style. The panel is framed by a raised decorative strip with geometric figures that culminates in another horizontal inscription band. The corner has an attached “rope” column.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Tillia Kari. Main Facade (Southern). Inscription on One of the Panels of the Main Niche

This photograph of a detail from 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 the conqueror 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 ceramic tile panel on the upper part of the right side of the niche formed by the iwan arch. The panel’s intricate decorative pattern is composed of Kufic letters that form words from the Kalima, which is the basis of the Shahada, or Islamic declaration of faith. The panel is framed by tile strips. Such detailed photographs indicate the serious documentary purpose and technical mastery of the album’s photographers.