February 25, 2013

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Tillia Kari. Plan, Elevation, and Sections

These drawings of the first and second story plans, sections, and front elevation of the Tillia Kari Madrasah in Samarkand (Uzbekistan) are 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 caravansarai. Like other examples of the madrasah in this region, its basic plan is formed by a rectangular courtyard. Tillia Kari is unusual in that its main entrance is on the “side” facade, rather than on the same axis as its mosque, in the center of the east wall. Also atypical is the decreasing of the two-story main facade to a one-story arcade for the other three walls. Although less florid than the other madrasah in its decorative ornament, it achieves high artistry with the geometric rigor of its form, particularly in the design of the mosque.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Ulugh Beg. Plan, Elevation, and Sections

This plan, elevation and sections of the Ulugh Beg 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 oldest extant component on Registan Square is the Ulugh Beg Madrasah, built in 1417-20 by the scholar-king and grandson of Timur, Ulugh Beg. This madrasah was long considered the leading center of Islamic education in Central Asia. The plan, with masonry walls marked in red, shows the entrance portal and iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) arch (bottom), which is also presented in the elevation on the right. Included in the plan and in this east facade elevation are two minarets. The plan also shows the many cells or rooms for scholars along the courtyard. On the bottom right is a section of one of those cells (khujras). The top of the plan includes a mosque, situated at the west wall of the courtyard and rendered in a section drawing on the bottom left. The four corner chambers are lecture rooms (darskhonas).

Antiquities of Samarkand. Inner Courtyard of the Shir Dar Madrasah (Southern Side). Inscription along the Left Side of the Main Niche

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 containing rooms for scholars. Visible here is the niche of the iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) in the center of the south wall, together with one bay of the arcade (on the left). The upper part of the niche shows an intricate system of intersecting vaults. The surfaces are covered with polychrome majolica tiles in geometric and botanical patterns. The iwan is framed with a vertical inscription band in a florid cursive style.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Inner Courtyard of the Shir Dar Madrasah (Southern Side). Inscription along the Right Side of the Main Niche

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 containing rooms for scholars. Visible here is the niche of the iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) in the center of the south wall, together with one bay of the arcade (on the right). The surfaces are covered with polychrome majolica tiles in intricate geometric and botanical patterns. Above the door on the second floor is the lattice of a ventilation window. The iwan is framed with a vertical inscription band in a cursive style.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Shir Dar Madrasah. View of the Madrasah from the East

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 Bukhara Astrakhanid dynasty. This view from the east shows the east wall of the quadrangle, with a mosque in the center marked by a lattice window. Although the structure was relatively well preserved in this active seismic zone, the east wall’s layer of ceramic tiles shows substantial losses. The wall decoration consists of intersecting geometric figures with block Kufic inscriptions such as “Muhammad the Prophet of Allah.” In the background is the back of the massive structure of the iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open), flanked on either side by ribbed domes (over instruction halls), and minarets. In the foreground are brick houses with flat roofs supported by log beams.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Inner Courtyard of the Shir Dar Madrasah (Northern Side). Inscription to the Left of the Niche

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 containing rooms for scholars. Visible here is the niche of the iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) in the center of the north wall, together with one bay of the arcade (on the left). The surfaces were originally covered with polychrome majolica tiles in geometric and botanical patterns. The iwan is framed with decorative strips of geometric motifs as well as a broader inscription band in the Thuluth cursive style.