January 29, 2013

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Nadir Divan-Begi, Congregational Mosque (Friday Mosque). Entrance to the Mosque

This photograph of the Nadir Divan-Begi 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 architectural heritage. Located next to the Khodzha Akhrar shrine, this madrasah (religious school) was completed in 1631 by Nadir Divan-Begi, vizier of the Bukharan ruler Imam-Quli Khan. The madrasah was planned as a rectangular courtyard with a mosque at the far end from the entrance. This view shows the main facade of the mosque with an iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) arch. At the center of the iwan niche is a portal arch (peshtak) flanked by faience ceramics and a lattice window above. The peshtak is framed by botanical patterns, while the area above the pointed arch is covered with faience work and a horizontal inscription band. The back wall of the iwan niche displays geometric tile patterns including block Kufic letters that form words from the Kalima, the basis of the Shahada, or Islamic declaration of faith. The main facade rises from a marble base in a remarkable display of faience mosaics and geometric patterns. On either side is a one-story cloister arcade.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Nadir Divan-Begi. Inner Door. Inscription above the Entry to the Cells

This photograph of the mosque at the Nadir Divan-Begi 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 architectural heritage. Located next to the Khodzha Akhrar shrine, this madrasah (religious school) was completed in 1631 by Nadir Divan-Begi, vizier to the Bukhara ruler Imam-Quli Khan. The madrasah was planned as a rectangular courtyard enclosed by a one-story arcaded cloister for scholars and a mosque facing the main entrance, at the opposite end. This dim and poorly focused view shows the upper part of the wall within the niche formed by one of the cloister arches. Visible here is a portion of the lattice window above the door to the cloister cells (khujras). The window was originally framed by a polychrome ceramic border with floral motifs. Next to the window is an inscription in cursive Perso-Arabic script.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Nadir Divan-Begi. Inner Door. Inscription above the Entry to the Cell

This photograph of the mosque at the Nadir Divan-Begi 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 architectural heritage. Located next to the Khodzha Akhrar shrine, this madrasah (religious school) was completed in 1631 by Nadir Divan-Begi, vizier to the Bukharan ruler Imam-Quli Khan. The madrasah was planned as a rectangular courtyard enclosed by a one-story arcaded cloister for scholars and a mosque at the opposite end from the main entrance. This view shows the upper part of the wall within the niche formed by one of the cloister arches. At the bottom is a portion of the lattice window above the door to the cloister cell (khujra). The window is framed by a polychrome ceramic border with floral motifs. Above the window is a horizontal inscription in light and dark Perso-Arabic script, written on two levels. The larger niche wall around these central elements is also covered with faience floral patterns. This array of ceramic ornamentation no doubt was intended to suggest the entrance to the Garden of Paradise.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Nadir Divan-Begi. Inner Door. View of One-Storied Cells Surrounding the Inner Courtyard

This photograph of the Nadir Divan-Begi 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 architectural heritage. Located next to the Khodzha Akhrar shrine, this madrasah (religious school) was completed in 1631 by Nadir Divan-Begi, vizier to the Bukharan ruler Imam-Quli Khan. The madrasah was planned as a rectangular courtyard enclosed by a one-story arcaded cloister for scholars and a mosque at one end. This view shows three cells (khujras) on the left side of the south cloister. Each arched cell has a lattice window above the low door. The standing figures give an idea of the scale. Although the facade shows major losses of ceramic ornamentation, it is clear that the arch niches, as well as the outer facade, were covered in a rich array of polychrome tiles with floral and geometric designs. The lower part of the wall was originally surfaced in stone. A brick passageway elevates the arcade from the cobbled courtyard. On the far right is the edge of the iwan arch at the center of the south cloister.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Tillia Kari. Inner Courtyard (Northern Side). View of One-Storied Cells Surrounding the Courtyard

This photograph of the north wall of the courtyard of 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. This view shows a one-story arcaded structure that contains rooms for scholars and that is situated to the left of the iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) arch at the center of the courtyard’s north wall. Despite substantial losses, the facade and the arch niches display remnants of the original polychrome ceramic ornamentation that includes complex geometric figures as well as botanical motifs. The niche facades also contain inscription bands. Each arch niche has a lattice window above the door for improved ventilation, and the arcade itself protects the chambers against the sun. The niches culminate in curved vaults composed of ceramic components in a manner known as mocárabe or “stalactite.”

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Tillia Kari. Inner Courtyard (Northern Side). View of the Large Middle Niche

This photograph of the north wall of the courtyard of 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. This view shows the iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) arch at the center of the courtyard’s north wall. Despite substantial losses, the upper part of the facade displays remnants of the original polychrome ceramic ornamentation. The decorative system includes complex geometric figures as well as botanical motifs. The large arch culminates in a curved vault composed of suspended ceramic components in a manner known as mocárabe or “stalactite.” The arch is flanked by vertical inscription bands, while the top of the facade is marked by a horizontal inscription in an elaborate cursive style. On either side of the arch structure is a one-story arcade containing rooms for scholars.