January 29, 2013

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Tillia Kari. Inner Courtyard (Western Side). Prayer Niche (Mihrab) inside the Main Mosque

This photograph of the interior of the mosque located at the west wall 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 interior view shows the qibla wall containing the mihrab, or niche indicating the qibla, the direction of Mecca toward which Muslims pray. The lower walls display carved stone elements (probably marble), including panels and a projecting ledge. The walls above the ledge are covered with elaborate 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.” Partially visible on the far right are the steps leading to the minbar, or pulpit.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Tillia Kari. Inner Courtyard (Western Side). Elevation (Minbar) inside the Main Mosque

This photograph of the interior of the mosque at 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 center of this remarkable interior view shows the steps leading to the minbar, or pulpit. The lower walls display an array of carved stone elements (probably marble), including panels and a projecting ledge. The walls above the ledge are covered with elaborate polychrome ceramic ornamentation. The decorative system includes complex geometric figures formed by intersecting lines, as well as lozenge patterns with botanical motifs. The surfaces are bordered with vertical strips of ceramic tiles. The figure with a white turban adds an element of solemn dignity to the sacred space.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Tillia Kari. Inner Courtyard (Western Side). Column Base

This photograph of a facade detail from 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 includes the base and part of a column attached to a facade corner on the west side of the inner courtyard. The bulbous base, the column fragments, and the flanking panels are made of carved white marble. After Tamerlane’s campaign in India (1399), marble appeared frequently in Samarkand structures, to which the material gave the lustre of monumentality. A carved inscription band rests above the receding rows of a “stalactite” form of dentilation on both the panels and the column shaft. The upper part of the column fragment displays a pattern of geometric and botanical motifs.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Tillia Kari. Inner Courtyard (Western Side). Base of Half of a Corner Column (Exterior)

This photograph of a facade detail from 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 includes the base and part of a column attached to a facade corner on the west side of the inner courtyard. The complex base, column, and flanking panels are made of carved stone, possibly marble, which is used elsewhere in the medrese. After Tamerlane’s campaign in India (1399), marble appeared frequently in Samarkand structures, to which the material gave the lustre of monumentality. A carved inscription band rests above the receding rows of a “stalactite” form of dentilation on the panels and the column shaft. Other decorative figures have been obscured by stucco.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Tillia Kari. Inner Courtyard (Western Side). Section of a Column (Pillar)

This photograph of a facade detail in 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. The ceramic column shown here is at the corner of a niche in the courtyard side of the west wall. The column’s intricate decorative pattern is a composite of polychrome glazed tiles containing geometric and botanical motifs. The column is flanked by vertical strips with a lozenge pattern, a strip of monochrome tiles, and another strip with floral motifs framed by intersecting geometric forms. The color range includes dark blue, light blue, orange, yellow, and white. Such detailed photographic documentation reflects a methodical approach to the study of these Islamic monuments.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Tillia Kari. Inner Courtyard (Western Side). Part of a Marble Foundation

This photograph of the interior of the mosque at 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, partially underexposed because of limited interior light, shows the lower corner adjacent to the steps to the minbar, or pulpit (to the right; not visible in this photograph). The rich ornamentation shown here includes ceramic work and carved marble. The attached column rests on a marble base and displays a bold pattern of intersecting lines. The dimly visible ceramic panels show intricate geometric and botanical patterns. The projecting rows of the marble cornice at the top of the photograph have a “stalactite” form of dentilation, as does a fragment of the plinth at the lower right.