February 25, 2013

Antiquities of Samarkand. Inner Courtyard of the Shir Dar Madrasah (Northern Side). Inscription to the Right 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 arch 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 right. 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.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Inner Courtyard of the Shir Dar Madrasah (Eastern Side). Inscriptions around the Inner Niche and Its Upper Sections. 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 an arch niche in the middle of the east wall displays the complexity of the ceramic work, composed of polychrome majolica tiles in intricate geometric and botanical patterns. The panel with a pointed arch leads to a horizontal inscription band in the Thuluth cursive style. The panels are framed with raised decorative strips. At the top is a row of panels beneath the arch vault.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Inner Courtyard of the Shir Dar Madrasah (Eastern Side). Inscriptions around the Inner Niche and Its Upper Sections. 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 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 east 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 (Eastern Side). 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 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 east wall. The surfaces are covered with polychrome majolica tiles in geometric and botanical patterns. The lower panels with pointed arches are surmounted with a horizontal inscription band in a florid cursive style. The upper part of the niche shows an intricate system of intersecting vaults.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Inner Courtyard of the Shir Dar Madrasah (Eastern 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 consists of a rectangular courtyard enclosed by a two-story arcade with rooms for scholars. This photograph shows the left side of the arch of the iwan (vaulted hall, walled on three sides, with one end open) in the center of the north wall. The surfaces were originally covered with polychrome majolica tiles in elaborate geometric and botanical patterns. Visible here are remnants of a vertical ceramic inscription band in the Thuluth cursive style. At the left is a partial view of the arcade extending from the central arch.

Antiquities of Samarkand. Madrasah of Tillia Kari. Inner Courtyard (Southern Side). Upper Part of the Minaret

This photograph of a minaret on the south side 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, taken from inside the courtyard, shows a minaret with its damaged cupola. To the right of the minaret is the large cylinder that originally supported a dome above the mosque within the madrasah. Both minaret and cylinder are surfaced with polychrome ceramic ornamentation. The cylinder has geometrically arranged patterns composed of Kufic letters that form words from the Kalima, which is the basis of the Shahada, or Islamic declaration of faith. The minaret displays remnants of geometric and floral designs. At the top of the shaft is a horizontal inscription band in a decorative cursive style.