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The Uzbek Architecture of Afghanistan1

Bernard O’Kane
p. 123-160

Texte intégral

  • 1 A shortened form of this paper was delivered under the title “Uzbek Copy or Timurid Original? The C (...)
  • 2 Princeton, 1991.

1We are fortunate that an extensive account of the patronage of the Uzbeks in Afghanistan has been incorporated by Robert McChesney into his pioneering work Waqf in Central Asia2. However, it is arguable that the standing remains (including those now destroyed but documented in photographs) have not received the attention they deserve. It is a measure of the underestimation of Uzbek architecture in the Balkh region that several buildings which have been ascribed to their predecessors, the Timurids, are more probably the work of various Uzbek dynasties. Chief among these is the mazâr (shrine) of Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa at Balkh, the others being the mazâr of Khwaja ‘Akkasha at Balkh and two mausoleums at Mazar-i Sharif which were destroyed after the 1930s.

The Historical Setting

  • 3 A thorough summary of the political history, from which much of the following is taken, is provided (...)

2The word Uzbek today is conventionally used in two senses, firstly to refer to the political system of the khans of Transoxiana of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, and secondly to refer to the tribal groups who provided the amirial power for these ruling khans. The khans derived their legitimacy from their descent from Chingis Khan3. In addition to the khans and the Uzbek amirs, the third major power group within the state, and one especially relevant to the patronage of architecture, was the uluma and sheykhs.

3The state was based upon the appanage system, the four major ones being the regions of Bukhara, Samarqand, Tashkent and Balkh. Balkh was briefly brought under Uzbek control by the founder of the dynasty, Mohammad Shibani Khan, in 1505, but only after 1526, when the Shibanid Kistan Qara Soltan began his eighteen year governorship of the town, did Uzbek rule become lasting. Kistan Qara Soltan chose to be buried at the nearby ‘Alid shrine (the mazâr-i sharif) upon his death in 1544, a move clearly in keeping with the impression of permanent Uzbek control over the region. Another long governorship of Pir Mohammad b. Jani Beg (1546-67) cemented the stability of the appanage, even if we know nothing of any patronage undertaken by this governor.

4‘Abd Allâh Khan was the nephew of Pir Mohammad, and his campaign to end the internal Uzbek feuding that had broken out since the death of ‘Obeyd Allâh in 1540 was launched from Balkh. However, after Pir Mohammad’s death in 1567 ‘Abd Allâh opened hostilities against the Balkh appanage and ended by capturing it in 1573. He made a pilgrimage to Mazar-i Sharif at the same time. ‘Abd Allâh succeeded his father Iskandar in 1582 as Khan of Bukhara, and promptly gave his son ‘Abd al-Mo’men the governorship of Balkh.

  • 4 The most detailed study is in idem, “The Conquest of Herat 995-6/1587-8: Sources for the Study of S (...)

5In 1588-9 ‘Abd al-Mo’men and his father captured Herat after an arduous eleventh month siege4; during the next eight years, most of the cities of Khorasan fell to ‘Abd al-Mo’men’s campaigns. The booty that would have accrued from these conquests would obviously have been more than sufficient to finance his substantial building ventures in Balkh and Mazar-i Sharif. However, these successful military ventures and his ambitions led to strained relations with his father and his father’s amirs. As a result, when ‘Abd al-Mo’men succeeded his father in 1598 his reign lasted a mere six months before he was assassinated at the hands of those amirs who feared for their lives.

  • 5 The dynasty is also known as Ashtarkhanid (from Astrakhan, their place of origin), or Janid, after (...)
  • 6 He also supposedly raised the height of the shrine building itself and expanded its size, but, as M (...)

6His death sparked another round of internal fighting, with a different Chingisid branch, the Toqay-Timurid Khans5, emerging as the victors. The first Toqay-Timurid governor of Balkh, Vali Mohammad (1601-6, ruling subsequently as Khan 1606-12), ordered a number of improvements to the shrine, including a chahâr-bâgh surrounding it and a new tree-shaded road leading to it from Balkh, but no traces of these remain6.

  • 7 Idem, “Central Asia,” p. 191.
  • 8 Waqf, 128.

7From the point of view of patronage, the last governor of importance for this study is Sobhan Qoli, who had an exceptionally long rule of thirty years at Balkh (1651-81) during which his brother ‘Abd al-’Aziz ruled as Khan at Bukhara. Although the prosperity of Central Asia declined with that of the silk route in this period7, there were sufficient funds available for the erection of large madrasas by both Sobhan Qoli and ‘Abd al-’Aziz Khan. Sobhan Qoli’s reign was marked by good relations with the uluma and Sufi communities, exemplified by the foundation ceremony of his madrasa in Balkh (see below) where in a show of humility he handed bricks and mortar to various religious dignitaries8.

Mazar-i Sharif

  • 9 Lisa Golombek and Donald Wilber, The Timurid Architecture of Iran and Turan, Princeton, 1988, cat. (...)
  • 10 Bar al-asrâr, India Office Library, London, no. 575, ff. 318b-319a; Waqf, p. 68.

8The shrine of the shah-i mardân, as the supposed tomb of ‘Ali is called locally, is the reason for the existence of the town, which in the past century has supplanted Balkh in importance. The main shrine building consists of a dome chamber and a preceding vaulted oratory. As McChesney has shown, this oratory was not part of the original Timurid construction, as had been previously suggested9, but can be equated with the jâmi’-ye âstâna (shrine congregational mosque) which Mahmud b. Amir Vali says was built by ‘Abd al-Mo’men10.

  • 11 Bar al-asrâr, loc. cit.
  • 12 O. von Niedermayer, with contributions by Ernst Diez, Afghanistan, Leipzig, 1924, Pl. 192.
  • 13 Ibid., Pl. 187, and partially on the left in Pl. 189.

9Mahmud b. Amir Vali also writes that the tomb of Kistan Qara Soltan was located on the south side of the shrine11. This can probably be identified as one of two mausoleums that used to exist, until the 1930s at least, to the southeast and southwest of the shrine at Mazar (Fig. 1). One of them is illustrated in detail by Niedermayer12, the other by him from afar13. But fortunately extensive photographic documentation of them is present in the Byron and Schroeder archives.

10The best evidence for the identification of these comes from C. E. Yate, who mentions a couple of mausoleums near the shrine. He continues:

« the eastern building apparently contains tombs only of ladies of royal descent; but unfortunately the stones mostly either have either no name or no date, and the only real legible inscriptions are those to the memory of Kansh, daughter of Kilich Kara Soltan, dated A.D. 1543, and Sharifah Soltan, dated A.D. 1619. The tombstones in the western building are mostly similarly defaced, but among them are the names of Khan Kara Soltan, A.D. 1543; Kara Soltan, son of Jani Beg, A.D. 1545; Kilich Kara Soltan, son of Kastin Kara Soltan, A.D. 1555; and Ibrahim Muḥammad Bahadur, son of Siunj Bahadur, dated A.D. 1601. »

  • 14 Bar al-asrâr, ff. 318b-319a.
  • 15 Hâfìẓ Nur Muḥammad, Târikh-i Mazâr-i Sharif (Kabul,1946), p. 94. I owe this reference to Robert McC (...)
  • 16 Sharafnâma-ye shâhi, facsimile and tr. M. A. Salakhetdinova, Moscow, 1983, ff. 68a-b, tr. p.154-5.
  • 17 Audrey Burton, The Bukharans: A Dynastic, Diplomatic, and Commercial History, 1550-1702 (New York, (...)
  • 18 O’Kane, Timurid Architecture, cat. no. 2.

11According to Mahmud b. Amir Vali the gonbad of Kistan Qara Soltan b. Jani Beg Khan was indeed adjacent to the south side of the shrine14. In the Târikh-i Mazâr-i Sharif the tomb of Kistan Qara Soltan is called the Gonbad-i Kabud, and Kistan Qara Soltan’s wife Tursun Begum is credited with having first built it for herself15. The tombstones in the western mausoleum would seem to indicate that it may well have been the tomb of Kistan Qara Soltan. Kilich Qara Soltan was certainly the son of Kistan Qara Soltan, and is mentioned in Hafiz Tanish as having been active up to 959/155216; Ibrahim Muḥammad Bahadur b. Suyunch Bahadur is probably a misreading for Muḥammad Ibrahim b. Suyunch17. Perhaps Kara Soltan b. Jani Beg should be identified with Kistan Qara Soltan, although the date of his death should be 1547 and not 1545. If the tomb was first built by Kistan Qara Soltan’s wife Tursun Begum it would not be surprising to find him interred there after his death, as was the case in Herat, for example, with Gawhar Shad and her husband Shah Rukh18. Both mausoleums also were transformed into dynastic ones by numerous later burials.

  • 19 Bar al-asrâr, ff. 318b-319a; also discussed in McChesney, Waqf, p. 103-4.
  • 20 For the use of this term see Lisa Golombek, The Timurid Shrine at Gazur Gah, Toronto, 1969, Chapter (...)

12The identity of the other mausoleum is unclear – one would have thought that, as it is as substantial as the tomb of Kistan Qara Soltan, Mahmud b. Amir Vali would also have mentioned it in his description of the shrine surroundings in 1634-519. Its location does seems to correspond with the ḥaẓira (i.e. an open tomb with a low walled surround20) of Ayum Bibi, one of the wives of Nazr Mohammad – he mentions the tomb of Kistan Qara Soltan after it, and then mentions that both were on the southern side of the tomb, the first (i.e. that of Ayum Bibi) on the right of the Khiyaban, the second on the left. However, the mausoleum is obviously a gonbad and not just a ḥaẓira, and, assuming Yate is right, it contained much earlier women’s tombs, including one daughter of Kistan Qara Soltan. However, it was not unusual for builders of dynastic mausoleums to re-inter their ancestors within them.

  • 21 O’Kane, Timurid Architecture, Pl. 22.4.

13What can be ascertained about the buildings from the standing remains as they appeared in earlier photographs? The tomb of Kistan Qara Soltan shows a circular drum pierced by eight windows above an octagonal collar (Figs. 2-4). Within the drum was a smaller octagonal lantern dome, similar to the arrangement at the madrasa at Khargird, for example21. Between each window the drum was revetted with arched panels which alternated with geometric and floral designs. The use of small tesserae which contributed to the fineness of the designs within the arched panels is also evident on the remains of the thuluth inscriptions above the windows which is in keeping with a date close to its Timurid prototypes, within the governorship (1526-44) of Kistan Qara Soltan.

  • 22 G. A. Pugachenkova, “‘Ishrat-Khāneh and Ak-Saray, Two Timurid Mausoleums in Samarkand,” Ars Orienta (...)

14The dome chamber was cruciform, with semi-domed niches on the main axes. A subsidiary chamber preceded it on the south, for the remains of the springing of the vault on the two flanking piers can be seen in Fig. 3. The corners seem to have been taken up with smaller subsidiary rooms, although from the meagre remains it is impossible to say whether they were bevelled to make an octagonal plan, or were square, in which case a plan similar to the Timurid Aq Saray at Samarqand22 would have resulted.

  • 23 As I argue below for a date closer to the later of the two occupants of the tomb mentioned by Yate, (...)
  • 24 Robert Byron, “Islamic Architecture. K. Tīmūrid. a) General Trends,” in A Survey of Persian Art fro (...)

15In the case of the tomb of Sharifa Soltan23 (Figs. 5-9), enough of the building was intact to show that it indeed had a plan similar to that of the Aq Saray: a cruciform dome chamber with small corner rooms, axial niches leading on three sides to eyvâns, and on the fourth to a domed room, possibly flanked by niches (Fig. 5). The interior of the dome (Fig. 8) had a zone of transition identical to that of Khwaja ‘Akkasha, although in this case covered with unpainted plaster24. The squinches at the base of the squinch-net had smaller versions of the inlaid stars seen at the mazâr of Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa. Like the tomb of Kistan Qara Soltan, it led to a lantern dome within the drum.

  • 25 Byron, “Islamic Architecture,” p. 1143.

16The tilework on the drum (Fig. 9) shows a marked affinity with that of the mazâr of Abu Nasr Parsa. The square Kufic around the top of the drum is the first half of the shahâda in which the hâ’ of illâ and allâh and the lâm-alif interlace is rendered by a square with three smaller projecting squares; at Balkh the similar phrase on the portal screen has identical squares on the lâm-alif interlace; the hâ’s of illâ and allâh have one smaller projecting square. Both inscriptions have the second half of the shahâda in a darker colour (dark-blue at Balkh) woven amid the uprights. There is also a remarkable similarity in the floral panels on the drums of Sharifa Soltan and Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa, as Byron had already observed: “These vases are repeated on the panels of the East Mausoleum at Mazār-i Sharīf, where the mosaic is equally coarse, but is varied by an unpleasant pinkish ochre25.” The vases indeed share such small details as the tri-lobed flowers within their flaring handles and their stylized stands with horizontal tentacles.

The mazâr of Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa, Balkh

  • 26 Golombek and Willber, Timurid Architecture, p. 295, write of “a subterranean room containing a tomb (...)

17This now consists of a large domed cruciform chamber over a crypt, a massive pishṭâq flanked by two-story niches towering over the nearby grave of Abu Nasr Parsa, and single-story niches flanked by axial niches on the other sides (Figs. 10-14). Although the mihrab in the main chamber indicates that it was used for prayer, the crypt underneath the building (Fig. 15) shows that it also functioned as a mausoleum, although who might have been buried there remains unknown26.

  • 27 p. 64-5.
  • 28 Robert Byron, “The Shrine of Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa at Balkh,” Bulletin of the American Institute fo (...)
  • 29 E. g. John D. Hoag, Islamic Architecture, New York, 1977, p. 272-5; Golombek and Wilber, Timurid Ar (...)

18Following its early mentions by Diez in Niedermayer’s Afghanistan27 and by Byron28, most publications have categorised it as a Timurid monument, probably built shortly after the death of Khwaja Parsa in 146029. I propose that what we see of the building today is substantially the work of ‘Abd al-Mo’men b. ‘Abd Allâh Khan, the Shibanid governor (and later Khan) of Balkh in the late sixteenth century. Another factor which has limited interpretation of the building up to now is the appreciation that it is unfinished. It will be shown how the principal eyvân was originally designed to be supplemented by three others on the main axes (Figs. 11-12), which establishes the monument as being in the tradition of the great centrally-planned mausoleums of Mughal India.

  • 30 According to Robert McChesney, “Pârsâ’iyya,” EI2, p. 272, he was Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa’s patron. He (...)
  • 31 Solṭân Moḥammad b. Darwish Moḥammad, Majma’ al-gharâ’eb, Tashkent, Institut Vostokovedeniia Akademi (...)
  • 32 According to Golombek and Wilber, Timurid Architecture, p. 295, Khwândamir, abib al-seyar, vol. 4, (...)
  • 33 Khwândamir, abib al-seyar, vol. 4, p. 205.
  • 34 Ibid., vol. 4, p. 295.
  • 35 Mo’in al-Din Moḥammad Zamchi Esfezâri, Rouzat al-jannât fi owṣâf madinat Harāt, ed. Sayyed Moḥammad (...)
  • 36 O’Kane, Timurid Architecture, Cat. no. 25. The main difference in the two is that the shrine of Khw (...)
  • 37 For the type of plan which would permit this, see the Timurid masjed-i Gonbad in Ziyaratgah: O’Kane (...)

19Recently, evidence supporting a Timurid origin for the shrine has come to light in the form of a passage from Qadi Soltan Mohammad’s Majma’ al-gharâ’eb, where the Timurid amir Mazid Arghun30 is stated to have build the lofty dome (gonbad-e ‘alî) of the mazâr (shine)31. This mazâr32 was also used as a mausoleum, as Khwandamir informs us that Mirak Jalal al-Din Qasem, who died on 29 April 1496, was buried within it33. In a later passage Khwandamir also provides other interesting information regarding the plan and use of the mazâr34. The story concerns a plot against Badi’ al-Zaman Mirza in which the conspirators unwisely tried to recruit an amir, Mohammad Baqer, who in fact was loyal to Badi’ al-Zaman. Mohammad Baqer arrived early at the rendezvous, the jamâ’atkhâna of the mazâr of Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa, and installed another amir of Badi’ al-Zaman, Pahlavan ‘Ali, in a locked chamber (hojra) of the jamâ’atkhâna, where he could overhear the conspirators and confirm Mohammad Baqer’s account. The term used for the main room of the mazâr, an assembly-hall (jamâ’atkhâna), is that used by Esfezari to describe the shrine of Sheykh Zeyn al-Din at Taybad (848/1444-5)35, a building which has much in common with the present shrine of Khwaja Parsa in that it has a large cruciform prayer hall with adjacent chambers built opposite the grave of the person it commemorates36. However, neither at Taybad nor at Balkh do the adjacent chambers open on to the assembly hall, a necessary condition for the eavesdropping mentioned by Khwandamir37. This leads to the suspicion that the edifice may have been rebuilt.

  • 38 Captain Peacocke, R.E., Records of Intelligence Party, Afghan Boundary Commission, Simla, 1887, p.  (...)
  • 39 Nancy Hatch Dupree, The Road to Balkh, Kabul, 1967, p. 91.
  • 40 “À l’étude,” p. 33.
  • 41 Richard Frye, “Balkh,” EI2, p. 1000, who mentions that it was probably built at the end of the 16th(...)
  • 42 Royal Asiatic Society Library, London, ms. No. 160, f. 126a. I am most grateful to Robert McChesney (...)
  • 43 British Library, London, Or. 6478, ff. 240b-241a. I am most grateful to Audrey Burton for alerting (...)

20Other evidence for rebuilding is readily forthcoming, although in earlier reports it tends to emerge in garbled fashion. In 1886 Peacocke was told that the mazâr was the work of ‘Abd Allâh Khan and that there was a date and an inscription to that effect on the building38. Dupree, writing of the shrine, mentions that Khwaja Parsa died in 159739, the date which Pugachenkova gives for restoration of the tilework of the building by ‘Abd al-Mo’men Khan40. Frye and Togan had also ascribed the building to the Uzbeks41. There are two sources for this information, one being an inscription on the building that was extant at least until the 1930’s, the other being two passages in Mohammad Yusof Monshi’s Tarikh-i Moqim Khâni. The first, in the context of describing the location of the madrasa of Sobhan Qoli, mentions that ‘Abd al-Mo’men was the builder of the shrine42; the second says that he was responsible for restoring the tilework on a number of buildings, such as the arch and dome (tâq u gonbad) of the mazâr of Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa, the portal of the gate of the citadel of Balkh (tâq-e darvâza-ye arg-i Balkh), the mazâr of Khwaja ‘Akkasha, the dome of the Baba Janbaz market (chahârsu), and the shrine of ‘Ali at Mazar-i Sharif (mazâr-i ażrat-i shâh-i mardân)43.

  • 44 The same kunya, abo’l-ghazi, is used for ‘Abd al-Mo’men’s father ‘Abd Allah in an (unpublished) fou (...)

21Although the inscription has now vanished, it can be seen in a detail of a photograph of the shrine by Byron (Fig. 14). It formed part of an epigraphic medallion situated above the apex of the arch. The enlarged section of the photograph is near the limits of clarity, but on the left hand side it is nevertheless possible to make out al-‘adl abo’l-ghazi ‘Abd al-Mo’men Khan, sana 1005 (1597-8)44.

22Does this inscription commemorate just the restoration of the tilework by ‘Abd al-Mo’men, or was he responsible for more – for replacing all of the tilework, for redecorating the interior, for rebuilding the whole? As mentioned above, the description by Khwandamir of a room opening off the main interior space suggests that the plan has been altered since the original building of the shrine.

23The scale of the monument is itself an argument for rebuilding. While it is true that some amirs or vazirs of Shah Rukh’s and Sultan Husain’s court built large monument of the highest quality, the period after the reign of Shah Rukh was one of internecine wars that considerably weakened the economy. There is little evidence for architectural patronage by the Timurid Sultan Abu Sa‘id (r. 1459-69), let alone by any of his amirs, such as Mazid Arghun. However, ‘Abd al-Mo’men’s booty from his raids on Khurasan would have provided ample funds for an undertaking of this size.

24A number of stylistic details also testify to at the very least a thorough redecoration of the building. These include the limited palette of the tilework, the size of the tile-mosaic tesserae, the form of the foundation inscription; the script used for the inscription on the mihrab, the proportions of the dado decoration, the form of vaulting in the interior, and the painted decoration. These may be examined in turn.

  • 45 Byron, “Islamic Architecture,” p. 1143; and his earlier characterisation: ‘The character of the mos (...)
  • 46 The examples are discussed in O’Kane, Timurid Architecture, p. 65-6. Underglaze-painted tiles also (...)
  • 47 In the fourteenth century a Central Asian atelier was at work near Herat (Bernard O’Kane, “The Tomb (...)

25The poverty of the tilework has been noticed before: “It is coarse, and the palette has shrunk; the two blues and black and white are used almost exclusively45.” In fact black was used here very sparingly too (Fig. A). What parallels can we find for this reduced palette? The combination of white, light- and dark-blue was a common one in fourteenth century underglaze-painted tiles, although the technique itself was not common in Timurid buildings46. Shibanid buildings at Bukhara with the same colour scheme in underglaze painted tiles include the Madar-i Khan madrasa (1567) (within the entrance eyvân) and the Gowkushan madrasa (in the foundation inscription of 978/1568-9). However, the much rarer use of the palette in tile-mosaic can also be seen in Shibanid buildings. The first is the entrance portal of the Kalan mosque in Bukhara where the inscription (dated 920/1514-5) is restricted to white and dark-blue, with just occasional pieces of light-blue (Fig. B). At the khânaqâh of the Char Bakr complex outside Bukhara not only is the foundation inscription of 970/1562-3 restricted to these three colours, but the arabesque tile-mosaic decoration of the spandrels below it (Fig. C) has the same palette, providing a very close parallel to that of the shrine of Khwaja Parsa47.

  • 48 For this term, see O’Kane, Timurid Architecture, p. 67-8.
  • 49 T. Pulatov, L. Yu. Mankovskaia, Bukhara: A Museum in the Open, Tashkent, 1991, Pl. 88.
  • 50 The monument was largely destroyed around 1987: Bernard Dupaigne, “Des monuments gravements endomma (...)
  • 51 For a possible example see O’Kane, Timurid Architecture, Ghâr-e Darvishân, Cat. No. 60. The inscrip (...)

26The decoration also displays several forms incongruous with Timurid prototypes. The foundation inscription in the medallion is admittedly as unusual in a Shibanid as a Timurid context, but the frame of the portal screen is a constant repeat of the first half of the shahâda in large bannâ’i tiles48, where in a Timurid monument one almost invariably sees a foundation or Quranic inscription in fine tile-mosaic. A similar repeating inscription can be seen on top of the portal screen of the Kokeltash madrasa (1568) in Bukhara49. A comparison of the mihrab in the interior with that of the shrine at Azadan50 (Figs. 16-17) should make clear the difference between Shibanid and Timurid aesthetics. Although the palette has been widened here to include brown and green the coarseness of the tesserae, and hence of the designs, makes the mihrab seem cruder than its Timurid counterpart. At Balkh the finest tesserae are reserved for the pattern framing the mihrab, but even so they form a poor contrast to the elegant thuluth calligraphy of Azadan. The inscription at Balkh is in just two colours, brown on dark-blue and is in nasta’liq, a script virtually unknown in Timurid architecture51. The bloated frame of the dado next to the mihrab is another sure Shibanid sign, as on that of the mausoleum within the Mir-i’Arab madrasa at Bukhara (Fig. 18), the thin Timurid norm being apparent at Azadan.

  • 52 For examples see Bernard O’Kane, “The Tiled Minbars of Iran,” Annales Islamologiques 22 (1986), p.  (...)
  • 53 Pulatov, Bukhara, Pl. 36.
  • 54 E.g. the Mozaffarid Quran stand of 761/1359 (ill. in Thomas W. Lentz and Glenn D. Lowry, Timur and (...)
  • 55 V. Bulatova and S. Shishkina, Samarkand, A Museum in the Open, Tashkent, 1986, Pl. 9.

27The vaulting of the interior (Fig. 19) is notable for the way in which the squinch-nets composed of intersecting arches are signaled mainly by their painted outlines, rather than by three-dimensional variations in their placing. Their artificiality is further underlined by the irregular geometric figures painted above them within the cruciform niches of the dome chamber (e.g. within the semi-dome above the mihrab). This is familiar from a Shibanid monument such as the khânaqâh (970/1562-3) of Char Bakr (Fig. 20) and may again be contrasted with the Timurid example of Azadan (Fig. 21). In the corners of the dome chamber the muqarnas is decorated with a number of inset tile-mosaic stars. This was common in Timurid and Safavid buildings in southeast Iran, but not in Khorasan52. However, it can be seen in the madrasa erected by ‘Abd al-Mo’men’s father ‘Abd Allâh Khan (1588-90) at Bukhara53. If the painted decoration of polylobed arches on the walls (Fig. 19) clearly bears no resemblance to any Timurid scheme, neither does it conform to Shibanid models. The ”polylobing,” while based on a scheme that goes back to Mozaffarid and Timurid models54 has reached a stage of abstraction where the lobes have been transformed into floral motifs, a common form in nineteenth century Central Asia, e.g. in the Khwaja Khizr mosque in Samarqand55. The astonishingly good state of preservation of the painting within the open niches flanking the pishâq would also argue for a relatively recent date for this work.

  • 56 McChesney, “Central Asia,” p. 191.

28The unusual technique of brick decoration on the pishṭâq has been noted before. The brick core is set back 27 cm from the revetment. At intervals of 30 cm a row of bricks protrudes, on to which the revetment was applied. This might at first lead to the thought that it is a revetment on top of an original Timurid core. But no signs of a finished exterior are visible beneath the revetment, the only parallel for this technique being on the madrasa of Sobhan Qoli Khan, built within sixty years of Khwaja Parsa, and never subsequently repaired, as far as we know (see below). Sobhan Qoli Khan is credited with restoring the pishṭâq of Khwaja Parsa,56 but it is unlikely that he would have carried out major works and left ‘Abd al-Mo’men’s foundation inscription intact. It is more probable that this was a local building technique that made its first appearance (to us – many examples of it have undoubtedly been destroyed) under ‘Abd al-Mo’men, and which was used more extensively some sixty years later in Sobhan Qoli Khan’s madrasa. The technique undoubtedly contributed to the decay of the remaining revetment on both buildings.

  • 57 Except on the north and south sides where a door, and above it a window, open into the dome chamber (...)
  • 58 According to McChesney, Waqf, p. 136, four madrasas had been built beside the shrine by the middle (...)
  • 59 For a few of many examples see O’Kane, Timurid Architecture, Pls. 2.7, 22.8, 25.1, 33.2, 36.2; for (...)
  • 60 Sengupta, “Timurid Mosque,” p. 57, noted the missing pishṭâq at the rear and that the original had (...)

29At present the outside of the mazâr has a rather peculiar appearance on the three other sides than the pishṭâq. The two corners have single story semi-octagonal niches each with a staircase leading to what is now a flat space with a vertical wall behind leading to the drum (Fig. 13). On the main axes are simple recesses, again with a blank wall57 leading up to the base of the drum. The south recess has the remains of a vault that was clearly inserted later (it is not bonded with the rear wall); these remains are part of a series of domes on this side that were visible until the 1930s (Fig. 11)58. On either side of each of these three recesses the wall turns at a forty-five degree angle to form a vertical moulding c. 70 cm wide, and as high as the wall reaches – 11 m in the case of the two mouldings abutting the southeast and northeast sides. Neither these mouldings, nor the semi-circular mouldings that flank the southwest and northwest corner niches are completed at the top. The angled mouldings at the corners of the axial recesses are the standard transition between courtyard (or outer wall) and eyvân in Timurid and Shibanid architecture59. The conclusion, strangely neglected in the literature up to now, is that the building is substantially unfinished, and that the original scheme called for axial eyvâns and two-story niches in between (Fig. 22)60.

30It is not difficult to understand why it might have been unfinished. Granted that the towering east eyvân and the dome behind it were always intended to be the focal point of the complex, the addition of three other eyvâns, even if smaller, joined by two-story niches, would have rendered the fine tilework on the exterior of the drum, and much of the dome itself, all but invisible from ground level. However, the conception is nonetheless intriguing, not least for the link it provides with the plans of the great Mughal mausoleums of India, that of Homayun and the Taj Mahal.

Antecedents

  • 61 Golombek and Wilber, Timurid Architecture, Figs. 27, 75, 59, 103, 42, 96, respectively.
  • 62 Mausoleums: in the Mir-i ‘Arab madrasa, Bukhara (G. A. Pugachenkova and L. I. Rempel’, Vydayushchie (...)

31The cruciform dome chamber at the center of the plans of those Mughal mausoleums and at Balkh had long been the standard form for large covered spaces in Timurid architecture. These structures could be freestanding or part of larger ensembles and of various functions: mausoleums (Gur-e Mir, Gowharshad), khânaqâhs (Aḥmad Yasavi, Mulla Kalan), mosques (Kok Gonbad), or jamâ’atkhânas/funerary mosques (Taybad)61. Examples of cruciform dome chambers with the above functions are also familiar from Shibanid examples62. However, the exteriors of all of these buildings are generally square. Although the tomb of Homayun is also basically a square, it is one in which the central dome may be thought of as having octagonal pavilions joined to it on the diagonals. The two-story niches on the diagonal of these pavilions in turn make the overall plan into an irregular octagon. Where did the corner niches come from?

  • 63 Bernard O’Kane, “The Gunbad-i Jabaliyya at Kirman and the Development of the Domed Octagon in Iran, (...)
  • 64 O’Kane, Timurid Architecture, cat. no. 38.
  • 65 See Ebba Koch, Mughal Architecture: An Outline of Its History and Development (1526-1858), Munich, (...)

32There are a number of possibilities. One is that they developed from the tradition of octagonal mausoleums, early examples of which include the Buyid Gonbad-i Jabaliya in Kerman which probably originally had entrance niches on each side63, and the tomb of Oljeytu at Soltaniya, which has a single upper story of outward-facing galleries. The Mir-i Ruzadar, a Timurid mausoleum in Balkh itself, is an example of a hybrid form in which one side of its central dome chamber is square and the other octagonal, with single story outward-facing niches on the diagonal64. India itself has a long tradition of octagonal mausoleums with outer arcades, particularly under the Surid dynasty which temporarily supplanted Homayun’s rule, although the alteration of eyvâns with axial niches is not to be found within them until the appearance of the very Timurid looking Sabz Burj at Delhi in the second quarter of the 16th century65.

  • 66 The best plans are in Roberto Orazi, “The Mausoleum of Muḥammad Sharīf Ḫān near Ghazni: Architectur (...)
  • 67 Pugachenkova, “À l’étude,” p. 37-41; Golombek and Wilber, Timurid Architecture, cat no. 66.
  • 68 For the dates see Orazi, “The Mausoleum,” p. 271 n. 13. The inscription on the tomb of Mohammad Sha (...)
  • 69 Orazi, “The Mausoleum,” p. 271.

33Particularly close to Abu Nasr Parsa is the mausoleum of Mohammad Sharif Khan at Ghazna, which also had four axial eyvâns and two-story niches in between (Fig. 23)66. Perhaps because of this very similarity the monument has in the past been ascribed to the Timurid period67. This, however, is to ignore the evidence of the tombs on the platform in the center of the building, and the style of the painted decoration. The tombs on the platform are dated, from east to west, 1544, 1590, 1564 and 1555, which suggests, in the absence of architectural evidence to the contrary, a terminus post quern of 1544 for the building and a terminus ante quern of 1590. Given that the centrally placed tombs on the platform might be those most likely to be associated with its original foundation the date of 1590 could well be the date of installation of all four, although this cannot be certain. Three other tombs outside the platform (including that of Mohammad Sharif Khan) are dated 1602, 1603 and 161168. It is difficult to argue with Orazi, who notes that “it appears evident from the position of the platform, which is situated exactly in the centre of the room, that only the graves in it can be related in some way to the original construction of the ziyārat, while the others may have been added later on, perhaps because they were intended for the remains of relatives69.”

  • 70 Golombek and Wilber, p. 300. The date of 941 for the shrine rebuilding comes from the Waṣilât al-Sh (...)
  • 71 See for example the Sabz Burj and Nila Gonbad in Delhi: Koch, Mughal Architecture, Figs. 8- 9.
  • 72 Rather than either the light-blue or dark-blue, matching the typical colours of tile-mosaic, as see (...)

34These dates would of course place the monument in the Mughal period. Is there any evidence from the architecture for a Timurid dating? The links with the plan of Abu Nasr Parsa can now be seen to reinforce a date in the second half of the 16th century, rather than one a century earlier. Surprisingly, in view of their dating, the parallel adduced by Golombek and Wilber for the squinch-net vaulting is the shrine of Abo’l-Qasem in Herat, built in 941/1534-5 while the town was briefly under Safavid rule70. But in any case this type of vaulting had been common in Mughal architecture since the second quarter of the 16th century71. The painted decoration is also at least if not more likely to be Mughal than Timurid: that on the squinch-net at the entrance to the ‘Arabsaray of Homayun’s tomb complex and the interior of the nearby Sabz Burj of c. 1525-50 provide close parallels, and in general the slate-blue ground of the pendentives72 and the more naturalistic blossoms of the squinch-net (Fig. D) are more indicative of a Mughal than a Timurid date.

  • 73 The most complete biographical information on him is to be found in M. E. Subtelny, “Mīrak-i Sayyid (...)
  • 74 Mughal Architecture, p. 46.
  • 75 The most complete collection of these plans is in Günkut Akin, Asya Merkezi Markan Geleneği, Ankara (...)
  • 76 Catherine B. Asher, Architecture of Mughal India (The New Cambridge History of India, I: 4), Cambri (...)

35A second candidate for the transmission of the octagonal plan to Homayun’s tomb is garden pavilions, a link which is made all the more relevant in that Mohammad, the son of the famous landscape architect Mirak Sayyed Ghiyas, was the architect of Homayun’s tomb73. Mirak Sayyed Ghiyas, in addition to being the chief landscape architect at the court of the late Timurid ruler Soltan Hoseyn Beyqara, had worked first for Babur in Agra in 935/1529 and then at the court of the Shibanid ‘Obeyd Allâh Khan in Bukhara (1533-9). Koch has noted how in Mughal architecture “ideas of funerary and residential architecture were almost interchangeable74,” and some of the earliest manifestations of the hasht behesht or ninefold plan, of which the tomb of Homayun is a variation, have indeed been in garden pavilions75. The two-storied octagonal Sher Mandal in the Purana Qal‘a at Delhi is a Mughal pavilion in the Timurid style, although whether it dates from the before the tomb of Homayun or later is still uncertain76.

  • 77 See Masahi Haneda, “Emigration of Iranian Elites to India during the 16th-18th Centuries,” Cahiers (...)
  • 78 Yusupova, “L’évolution,” Fig. 3C2.

36Was the incorporation of two-story corner pavilions in the shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa a response to the plan of Homayun’s tomb, was it an independent development, or was it based on some now lost Central Asian prototype? The journey by Mirak Sayyed Ghiyas from Mughal India to Central Asia may have been a common one (as travel between Safavid and Mughal states was)77, and would have provided an easy way for information to travel. It could of course also have been an Uzbek development, the plan of the khânaqâh of Qasem Sheykh (1559) at Karmina for instance78 being an oft-cited antecedent of the Mughal tombs.

37As we have seen above, there is also a possibility that the earlier mausoleum at Mazar-i Sharif of Kistan Qara Sultan was built on a similar plan, and developed into a dynastic mausoleum. Could ‘Abd al-Mo’men’s work at the Khwaja Parsa shrine, erected just before he succeeded his father as Khan, have been intended to provide a dynastic mausoleum that would supersede that of Kistan Qara? Erected at the centre of the old city, the Khwaja Parsa shrine would have a provided a most conspicuous reminder of his munificence and piety. If it was intended for himself, his plan was thwarted by his assassination in a village near Tashkent.

  • 79 Ed. Mehdi Towhidipur, Tehran, 1337/1958, p. 396-7.
  • 80 Cited in McChesney, Waqf 86n. 36.
  • 81 Idem, “Pārsā’iyya,” EI2, p. 272-3.

38At any rate, his work on the building shows the continuing prestige of the Parsa’iya order. Although the founder of the order was buried in Madina, his son Khwaja Abu Nasr in whose honour the dome chamber was built was sufficiently renowned to merit inclusion in ‘Abd al-Rahman Jami’s compilation of saints, Nafaât al-Uns79. Mahmud b. Amir Vali, writing around 1634, mentions that since the time of Ulugh Beg (i.e. within Khwaja Parsa’s lifetime) the post of sheykh al-islam had remained within the family80, and the ties of major figures in the order and the main political rulers of the age were well in evidence within the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries81. I do not have any particular evidence of ‘Abd al-Mo’men’s relations with members of the Parsa family, but those more conversant with the manuscript sources may well uncover closer ties.

The mazâr of Khwaja ‘Akkasha, Balkh

  • 82 See n. 24 above. Mukhtarov, Balkh, p. 38 notes that the identity of the legendary Khwaja ‘Akkasha, (...)
  • 83 Diez, in Niedermayer, Afghanistan, p. 65, favours a Timurid date, as do Frye, “Balkh,” EI2, p. 1000 (...)

39The Târikh-i moqim khâni also mentions that ‘Abd al-Mo’men restored the mazâr of Khwaja ‘Akkasha, located at the northeast of the old city at one of its gates82. This building, usually attributed to the Timurid period, is rather enigmatic which may account for its comparative neglect in previous literature83. At the time of its first publication, by Niedermayer, an entrance eyvân led to an open courtyard with semi-octagonal side recesses, and further, through another axial eyvân, to a dome chamber with a cruciform interior and a semi-octagonal exterior, with only the drum surviving above it.

  • 84 Golombek and Wilber, Timurid Architecture, p. 297, report that “According to local report, a second (...)
  • 85 Golombek and Wilber, ibid., claim that “Niedermayer’s plan … shows two axial domes,” but as can be (...)
  • 86 Ibid., p. 297.
  • 87 The eyvân is clearly visible in Niedermayer, Afghanistan, Pl. 203. It might be objected that the ba (...)
  • 88 Afghanistan, Pl. 202.

40Since then the dome has fallen in, and the forepart of the courtyard has entirely disappeared84. What was the original composition of the building? Golombek and Wilber’s plan differs from Niedermayer’s (Fig. 24) and Foucher’s85 in suggesting that the central space of the forecourt was occupied by a dome. The plan is certainly amenable to this interpretation, and another factor in its favour is the inefficient uses of large masses of masonry at the north and west corners, used solely for the purpose of housing staircases – were they simply buttresses for a large dome? But another factor strongly argues against a central dome, namely the form of the vault that now stands at the entrance to the smaller dome. Had it been a semidome, as Golombek and Wilber suggest86, it could well have led to a higher dome, but in fact it is a barrel-vaulted eyvân, a form that in Timurid or Uzbek architecture is invariably freestanding and not part of the transition to a dome87. What was in the mass of masonry that formed the sides of the entrance eyvân and the now-disappeared southeast part of the forecourt? Niedermayer’s plan shows no inner rooms on this side, but just as he does not show the staircase entrances on the northwest side, he fails to signal an entrance which is visible in his photograph88 on the third bay from the right (the southeast corner). A finished wall of a room (or another staircase passage?) is visible in this photograph. Another area of dispute is the existence or otherwise of rooms flanking the former dome chamber. They are not shown on Niedermayer’s plan, but are “restored” in Golombek and Wilber’s. Fortunately this can be resolved by photographs taken by Schroeder and Byron, one of which I reproduce (Fig. 26). It shows clearly that the exterior at the point of the octagonal bevel is a finished wall, and that no rooms were present on this side.

41The original plan thus remains a puzzle – why the masses of masonry flanking the central space if not for a dome, and why the barrel-vaulted eyvân if there was a dome? Only one solution occurs to me: that the central space was indeed intended to be covered by a dome, but that a change of plan (such as death of the patron) led to the cheaper substitution of an open central courtyard and a smaller second eyvân (and perhaps the unfinished condition of the dome interior as shown in Fig. 27).

  • 89 O’Kane, Timurid Architecture, Pl. 22.3.

42Even granted the slight resemblance of the original plan to that of the shrine of Khwaja Aḥmad Yasavi, there is not much about it that would determine whether the building is Timurid or Uzbek. Two elements are of use for stylistic analysis: the zone of transition of the interior dome, which has been preserved in a photograph of Schroeder (Fig. 26), and the form of the tilework on the drum (Fig. 25). The lower squinch-net has parallels with both Timurid buildings and their Uzbek copies (including the tomb of Sharifa Soltan at Mazar-i Sharif, above [Fig. 8]), but the way in which the ribs of the abutting semi-domes do not connect with the squinchnet has more in common with the interior of the Char Bakr khânaqâh (Fig. 20) than the madrasa at Khargird89, for instance.

  • 90 E. g. on the exterior of the shrine of Khwaja Aḥmad Yasavi, Turkistan or the Friday mosque of Timur (...)
  • 91 Bulatova and Shishkina, Samarqand, Pl. 42.

43The small details of tilework that survive provide a more promising basis for dating. It is surprising under either the Timurids or Uzbeks that the right hand al-mulk li’llâh in Fig. 25 was written with an extra lâm. But it could be argued that the relatively spindly form of the letters has more in common with the shahâda on the pishṭâq of the shrine of Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa that with the more robust Timurid naskh in bannâ’i style90. Another feature suggests a Shibanid rather than a Timurid dating: the form of the tile-mosaic medallions visible at the top of the truncated drum (Fig. 25). Timurid medallions tend to be simpler than these composite forms, for which parallels exist on the dome of the Shir Dar madrasa in Samarqand91.

44It seems again, as with the mazâr of Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa, that we have evidence of work by ‘Abd al-Mo’men which could range from a substantial refection of a Timurid shell to a complete rebuilding. It is probably to him that we should credit the building as we know it.

The madrasa of Sobhan Qoli Khan, Balkh

  • 92 Cited in Mukhtarov, Balkh, p. 69.

45Only the portal of this monument survives (Figs. 27-8), but this and information from the waqfîya are enough to show that it was a very substantial building indeed. A vague idea of its components is given in its waqfîya: “It comprises lofty arches and vaulted niches, a majestic portal, a central courtyard and two large domed rooms, one of which is intended as a lecture hall. The other is located to the …side of it. The structure under the dome and its adjacent area are designated for performing the prescribed prayers and serve both as a mosque and lecture hall. The madrasa also has 150 hojras on two floors92.”

  • 93 Best appreciated at a glance in the plan of Bukhara in Klaus Herdeg, Formal Structure in Islamic Ar (...)
  • 94 McChesney, Waqf, p. 132.
  • 95 Idem, “Central Asia, § I, l(iv)(c): Western: History: 16th-19th centuries,” The Dictionary of Art, (...)
  • 96 The waqf was administered by a mutavalli who could, in theory have been a member of the family, but (...)

46The description could fit any number of Timurid or Uzbek madrasas, from those of Ulugh Beg in Samarqand and Bukhara to the Mir-i ‘Arab madrasa and ‘Abd al-’Aziz madrasas in Bukhara93. But the evidence that it had 75 living chambers (hojras) on each of two floors, and supported 24 salaried positions94 indicate that it was one of the largest buildings of its kind, despite the downturn in the economy due to the decline of the silk route after the middle of the seventeenth century95. Sobhan Qoli’s control over the land available for waqf obviously was a major factor in its size: it has also been estimated that nearly 10-20 % of the cultivable land in the Balkh region was allotted to its upkeep, a figure that one might suspect to have been inflated for the sake of a family waqf (waqf ahli), although such does not seem to have been the case here96.

  • 97 Pulatov, Bukhara, Pl. 59.

47As far as the standing remains are concerned, the interior of the portal is in the form of a semi-octagon (Fig. 28), a rare example of a novelty in Uzbek architecture whose first occurrence can be traced back to the Mir-i ‘Arab madrasa in Bukhara97. Even the meagre remains are enough to show that its tile decoration was lavish, it not of the highest quality. The remaining tiles are in bannâ’i technique (including an unusual yellow ground), while the imprints of now missing square tiles appear on the spandrels of the two story niches. The more expensive tile-mosaic is not in evidence. On the soffit of the eyvân arch suban allâh is among the phrases repeated in square Kufic, a not coincidental reminder of the name of the founder.

  • 98 Yate, Northern Afghanistan, p. 280; Dupree, Road, p. 93-4.
  • 99 McChesney, Waqf, p. 270-1.
  • 100 Foucher, La vieille route, p. 66.

48It was rumoured98 that the poor state of the tilework was due to Mohammad ‘Alam Khan when he transferred the capital of the province from Balkh to Mazar-i Sharif and retiled the shrine buildings there. However, as he established a tile workshop there for that very purpose99, this is unlikely. Foucher reported that it was the bricks that were taken, which would more effectively explain the discrepancy between the pishṭâq’s survival and the disappearance of the rest of the building100. As mentioned above, the technique of fixing the tiles on to a thin membrane may have had more to do with their instability.

49Finally, one should note the location of the madrasa, facing the mazâr of Khwaja Parsa across the meydan at the centre of the city. Paired buildings had been commonplace in earlier Uzbek and Timurid architecture, but if built at different times it was common for the later building to try and eclipse the earlier, as in the case of the Shir Dar and Ulugh Beg madrasas at the Registan in Samarqand. Although Sobhan Qoli contributed to the restoration of the mazâr of Khwaja Parsa, the mass of his madrasa would certainly have overshadowed it. It was the mazâr which survived, however, either because its waqfs were more numerous or more respected, or because of the honour felt for the saint in whose honour the building itself was named.

Conclusions

50The four monuments on which we have concentrated are all examples of Uzbek monuments which have previously been attributed to the Timurids.

51The pace of architectural change in Iran and Central Asia was slow, and the reattribution of monuments to later or earlier centuries has been a commonplace of studies in recent decades. But one must also acknowledge that the Uzbeks are partially to blame for this state of affairs: had their architecture been less derivative the confusions are less likely to have arisen.

  • 101 Maria E. Subtelny, “Art and Politics in Early 16th Century Central Asia,” Central Asiatic Journal 2 (...)
  • 102 McChesney, Waqf, p. 137, lists a number of these.
  • 103 Of his work on the citadel and walls of Balkh (Robert McChesney, “‘Abd-al-Mo’men b. ‘Abdallāh,” Enc (...)

52Timurid culture was considered the epitome of many aspects of the arts at the Uzbek court101. It would be surprising if the monuments above did not reflect Timurid prototypes, but, as we have seen, there is also evidence of Uzbek variations upon the original models. We are missing the great bulk of the architectural record of the Uzbeks in Afghanistan102, and these monuments provide a valuable record of one facet of their artistic achievements. It is also to be hoped that this paper will restore some of the credit which should be due to Abd al-Mo’men for his architectural patronage103.

Fig. 1 – Mazar-i Sharif, tombs to the south of the shrine, exterior

Fig. 1 – Mazar-i Sharif, tombs to the south of the shrine, exterior

photo: 1930s, Robert Byron, courtesy the Conway Library, the Courtauld Institute of Art

Fig. 2 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Kistan Qara Soltan (second half of the 16th century), east façade

Fig. 2 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Kistan Qara Soltan (second half of the 16th century), east façade

photo: 1930s, Robert Byron, courtesy the Conway Library, the Courtauld Institute of Art

Fig. 3 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Kistan Qara Soltan (second half of the 16th century), southeast façade

Fig. 3 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Kistan Qara Soltan (second half of the 16th century), southeast façade

photo: 1930s, E. Schroeder, courtesy Harvard An Museums

Fig. 4 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Kistan Qara Soltan (second half of the 16th century), detail of drum

Fig. 4 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Kistan Qara Soltan (second half of the 16th century), detail of drum

photo: 1930s, E. Schroeder, courtesy Harvard Art Museums

Fig. 5 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Sharifa Soltan, sketch plan

Fig. 5 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Sharifa Soltan, sketch plan

drawn by Dina Montasser

Fig. 6 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Sharif a Soltan (early 17th century): east façade

Fig. 6 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Sharif a Soltan (early 17th century): east façade

photo: 1930s, Robert Byron, courtesy the Conway Library, the Courtauld Institute of Art

Fig. 7 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Sharif a Soltan (early 17th century): north façade

Fig. 7 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Sharif a Soltan (early 17th century): north façade

photo: 1930s, E. Schroeder, courtesy Harvard Art Museums

Fig. 8 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Sharif a Soltan (early 17th century): interior zone of transition

Fig. 8 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Sharif a Soltan (early 17th century): interior zone of transition

photo: 1930s, E. Schroeder, courtesy Harvard Art Museums

Fig. 9 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Sharifa Soltan (early 17th century), detail of drum

Fig. 9 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Sharifa Soltan (early 17th century), detail of drum

photo: 1930s, E. Schroeder, courtesy Harvard Art Museums

Fig. 10 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), plan and section (after Sengupta)

Fig. 10 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), plan and section (after Sengupta)

Fig. 11 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), exterior

Fig. 11 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), exterior

photo: 1930s, E. Schroeder, courtesy Harvard Art Museums

Fig. 12 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), exterior, detail of dome

Fig. 12 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), exterior, detail of dome

photo: 1930s, E. Schroeder, courtesy Harvard Art Museums

Fig. 13 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), exterior

Fig. 13 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), exterior

photo: 1975, B. O’Kane

Fig. 14 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), exterior, detail of foundation inscription

Fig. 14 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), exterior, detail of foundation inscription

photo: 1930s, Robert Byron, courtesy the Conway Library, the Courtauld Institute of Art

Fig. 15 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), interior of crypt

Fig. 15 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), interior of crypt

photo: 1975, B. O’Kane

Fig. 16 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), interior

Fig. 16 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), interior

photo: 1975, B. O’Kane

Fig. 17 – Azadan, shrine of Khwaja Abo’l-Walid (c. 1475-1500), interior (now destroyed)

Fig. 17 – Azadan, shrine of Khwaja Abo’l-Walid (c. 1475-1500), interior (now destroyed)

photo: 1975, B. O’Kane

Fig. 18 – Bukhara, Char Bakr, khânaqâh (970/1562), interior

Fig. 18 – Bukhara, Char Bakr, khânaqâh (970/1562), interior

photo: 1975, B. O’Kane

Fig. 19 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7): mihrab

Fig. 19 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7): mihrab

photo: 1975, B. O’Kane

Fig. 20 – Azadan, shrine of Khwaja Abo’l-Walid (c. 1475/1500), mihrab (now destroyed)

Fig. 20 – Azadan, shrine of Khwaja Abo’l-Walid (c. 1475/1500), mihrab (now destroyed)

photo: 1975, B. O’Kane

Fig. 21 – Bukhara, Mir-i ‘Arab madrasa (942/1535-6), dado of Mausoleum

Fig. 21 – Bukhara, Mir-i ‘Arab madrasa (942/1535-6), dado of Mausoleum

photo B. O’Kane

Fig. 22 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7): restored elevation

Fig. 22 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7): restored elevation

drawn by Dina Ghaly

Fig. 23 – Ghazni, plan of mausoleum of Mohammad Sharif Khan (second half of the 16th century) (after Orazi)

Fig. 23 – Ghazni, plan of mausoleum of Mohammad Sharif Khan (second half of the 16th century) (after Orazi)

Fig. 24 – Balkh, shrine of Khwaja ‘Akkasha (c. 1590-8), plan (after Niedermayer)

Fig. 24 – Balkh, shrine of Khwaja ‘Akkasha (c. 1590-8), plan (after Niedermayer)

Fig. 25 – Balkh, shrine of Khwaja ‘Akkasha (c. 1590-8), dome chamber: exterior

Fig. 25 – Balkh, shrine of Khwaja ‘Akkasha (c. 1590-8), dome chamber: exterior

photo: 1930s, Robert Byron, courtesy the Conway Library, the Courtauld Institute of Art

Fig. 26 – Balkh, shrine of Khwaja ‘Akkasha (c. 1590-8), dome chamber: interior

Fig. 26 – Balkh, shrine of Khwaja ‘Akkasha (c. 1590-8), dome chamber: interior

photo: 1930s, E. Schroeder, courtesy Harvard Art Museums

Fig. 27 – Balkh, madrasa of Sobhan Qoli (begun 1660), entrance portal

Fig. 27 – Balkh, madrasa of Sobhan Qoli (begun 1660), entrance portal

photo: 1930s, E. Schroeder, courtesy Harvard Art Museums

Fig. 28 – Balkh, madrasa of Sobhan Qoli (begun 1660), entrance portal, detail

Fig. 28 – Balkh, madrasa of Sobhan Qoli (begun 1660), entrance portal, detail

photo: 1975, B. O’Kane

Fig. A – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), detail of tile mosaic

Fig. A – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), detail of tile mosaic

Fig. B – Bukhara, entrance of Masjed-e Kalan (920/1514), detail of end of tile mosaic inscription

Fig. B – Bukhara, entrance of Masjed-e Kalan (920/1514), detail of end of tile mosaic inscription

Fig. C – Bukhara, Char Bakr, khânaqâh (970/1562), detail of tile mosaic

Fig. C – Bukhara, Char Bakr, khânaqâh (970/1562), detail of tile mosaic

Fig. D – Ghazni, tomb of Mohammad Sharif Khan (second half of the 16th century), detail of zone of transition

Fig. D – Ghazni, tomb of Mohammad Sharif Khan (second half of the 16th century), detail of zone of transition
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Notes

1 A shortened form of this paper was delivered under the title “Uzbek Copy or Timurid Original? The Case of the Shrine of Khwâja Parsâ, Balkh” at the Troisième Colloque International de l’IFEAC, Tashkent, 24-26 September, 1996. I am greatly indebted to Robert McChesney for his full responses to several queries concerning Balkh under the Uzbeks. For their help with the Schroeder archives in the Harvard University Art Library collection I am indebted to Michele de Angelis and Noha Khoury.

2 Princeton, 1991.

3 A thorough summary of the political history, from which much of the following is taken, is provided in ibid., chapters 3-4 and idem, “Central Asia. vi. In the 10th-12th/16th-18th Centuries,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, vol. V, p. 176-93.

4 The most detailed study is in idem, “The Conquest of Herat 995-6/1587-8: Sources for the Study of Safavid/Qizilbāsh-Shibānid/Ūzbak Relations,” in Etudes Safavides, ed. Jean Calmard, Bibliothèque Iranienne 39, Paris and Tehran 1993, p. 69-107; see also Audrey Burton, “The Fall of Herat to the Uzbegs in 1588,” Iran 26 (1988), p. 119-23.

5 The dynasty is also known as Ashtarkhanid (from Astrakhan, their place of origin), or Janid, after Jānī Mohammad Khan, often but erroneously considered the founder of the dynasty: see J. Audrey Burton, “Who Were the First Ashtarkhānid Rulers of Bukhara?,” BSOAS 51 (1988), p. 482-88.

6 He also supposedly raised the height of the shrine building itself and expanded its size, but, as McChesney points out, research at the shrine would need to be undertaken to verify this: Waqf, p. 89-90.

7 Idem, “Central Asia,” p. 191.

8 Waqf, 128.

9 Lisa Golombek and Donald Wilber, The Timurid Architecture of Iran and Turan, Princeton, 1988, cat. no. 96; Bernard O’Kane, Timurid Architecture in Khurasan, Costa Mesa, 1987, cat. no. 32. My ingenious arguments hypothesizing a dâr al-siyâda or dâr al-uffâfor this space can consequently be dismissed. Unfortunately since my account no photographs of this space have been published which would permit further architectural analysis.

10 Bar al-asrâr, India Office Library, London, no. 575, ff. 318b-319a; Waqf, p. 68.

11 Bar al-asrâr, loc. cit.

12 O. von Niedermayer, with contributions by Ernst Diez, Afghanistan, Leipzig, 1924, Pl. 192.

13 Ibid., Pl. 187, and partially on the left in Pl. 189.

14 Bar al-asrâr, ff. 318b-319a.

15 Hâfìẓ Nur Muḥammad, Târikh-i Mazâr-i Sharif (Kabul,1946), p. 94. I owe this reference to Robert McChesney.

16 Sharafnâma-ye shâhi, facsimile and tr. M. A. Salakhetdinova, Moscow, 1983, ff. 68a-b, tr. p.154-5.

17 Audrey Burton, The Bukharans: A Dynastic, Diplomatic, and Commercial History, 1550-1702 (New York, 1997), p. 545.

18 O’Kane, Timurid Architecture, cat. no. 2.

19 Bar al-asrâr, ff. 318b-319a; also discussed in McChesney, Waqf, p. 103-4.

20 For the use of this term see Lisa Golombek, The Timurid Shrine at Gazur Gah, Toronto, 1969, Chapter 4.

21 O’Kane, Timurid Architecture, Pl. 22.4.

22 G. A. Pugachenkova, “‘Ishrat-Khāneh and Ak-Saray, Two Timurid Mausoleums in Samarkand,” Ars Orientalis 5 (1963), Fig. 5.

23 As I argue below for a date closer to the later of the two occupants of the tomb mentioned by Yate, I have named it after her, in the absence of any other decisive evidence.

24 Robert Byron, “Islamic Architecture. K. Tīmūrid. a) General Trends,” in A Survey of Persian Art from Prehistoric Times to the Present, ed. A. U. Pope and P. Ackerman, London and New York, 1939, p. 1136, writes that it appears not to have been painted. The zone of transition may also be similar to another mausoleum that has been attributed to the 17th century: that of Khwaja Bajgahi at Balkh, discussed in G. A. Pugachenkova, “Little Known Monuments of the Balkh Area,” AARP, vol. 13, June 1978, p. 35-6. However, no photographs of its vaulting, the feature that led Pugachenkova to its 17th century dating, have been published.

25 Byron, “Islamic Architecture,” p. 1143.

26 Golombek and Willber, Timurid Architecture, p. 295, write of “a subterranean room containing a tomb,” but the form of the room leaves no doubt that it was built as a crypt. It may not be obvious at first glance from the half plan of R. Sengupta, “The Timurid Mosque at Balkh in Afghanistan and the Development of Mughal Domes in India,” Putātattva 9 (1977-8), p. 57-63, which I reproduce (Fig. 1), that there are three axial entrances. The mihrab which takes up the place of the fourth is missing in Niedermayer, Afghanistan, p. 65, Fig. 7, and only one entrance is shown on the plan in G. A. Pugachenkova, “À l’étude des monuments timourides d’Afghanistan,” Afghanistan 23/3 (1970), p. 35 and its copy in Golombek and Wilber, Timurid Architecture, Fig. 65.

27 p. 64-5.

28 Robert Byron, “The Shrine of Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa at Balkh,” Bulletin of the American Institute for Persian Art and Archaeology 4/1 (1935), p. 12-14, idem, “Islamic Architecture,” p. 1136-7.

29 E. g. John D. Hoag, Islamic Architecture, New York, 1977, p. 272-5; Golombek and Wilber, Timurid Architecture, cat. no. 59; F. Grenet, “Balkh VI. Monuments of Balkh,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, p. 596. Foucher quotes Timurid parallels, after mentioning that no one knew the date of the monument: A. Foucher, La vieille route de l’Inde de Bactres à Taxila, Mémoires de la Délégation Archéologique Française en Afghanistan, 1 (Paris, 1942-7), p. 66-7.

30 According to Robert McChesney, “Pârsâ’iyya,” EI2, p. 272, he was Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa’s patron. He had been an amir in the service of the Timurid Abu Sa‘id: Khwândamir, abib al-seyar, Tehran, 1333/1954, vol. 4, p. 76-7. This allegiance may have been behind the order for his execution given by Soltan Hoseyn Bâyqarâ in 1470 in Badakhshan, although it was also at the instigation of Soltan Hoseyn’s confidants: ibid., vol. 4, p. 157. Later, Soltan Hoseyn is known to have stayed in the chahârbâgh of Mazid Arghun in Balkh: ibid., p. 190.

31 Solṭân Moḥammad b. Darwish Moḥammad, Majma’ al-gharâ’eb, Tashkent, Institut Vostokovedeniia Akademii Nauk, ms. No. 1494, ff. 16a-b, cited by Robert McChesney, “Pârsâ’iyya,” p. 272. I am most grateful to Robert McChesney for sending me his copy of these pages.

32 According to Golombek and Wilber, Timurid Architecture, p. 295, Khwândamir, abib al-seyar, vol. 4, p. 5, refers to the building as a takîya. However, this passage is part of a metaphorical reference to his death within a poetical setting for a chronogram: see also the translation by Wheeler Thackston, Habibu’s-siyar, Tome Three (Sources of Oriental Languages and Literature, 24), Cambridge, Mass., 1994, vol. 2, p. 353.

33 Khwândamir, abib al-seyar, vol. 4, p. 205.

34 Ibid., vol. 4, p. 295.

35 Mo’in al-Din Moḥammad Zamchi Esfezâri, Rouzat al-jannât fi owṣâf madinat Harāt, ed. Sayyed Moḥammad Kâẓem Emâm, Tehran, 1338/1959, vol. 1, p. 219.

36 O’Kane, Timurid Architecture, Cat. no. 25. The main difference in the two is that the shrine of Khwaja Parsa was also a mausoleum, although as mentioned above, it is unknown for whom it was intended.

37 For the type of plan which would permit this, see the Timurid masjed-i Gonbad in Ziyaratgah: O’Kane, Timurid Architecture, Fig. 45.1

38 Captain Peacocke, R.E., Records of Intelligence Party, Afghan Boundary Commission, Simla, 1887, p. 323.

39 Nancy Hatch Dupree, The Road to Balkh, Kabul, 1967, p. 91.

40 “À l’étude,” p. 33.

41 Richard Frye, “Balkh,” EI2, p. 1000, who mentions that it was probably built at the end of the 16th century by ‘Abd al-Mo’men; Z. V. Togan, “The Topography of Balkh down to the Middle of the Seventeenth Century,” Central Asiatic Journal 14 (1970), p. 283.

42 Royal Asiatic Society Library, London, ms. No. 160, f. 126a. I am most grateful to Robert McChesney for alerting me to this passage. In Akhror Mukhtarov, Balkh in the later Middle Ages, tr. R. D. McChesney (Indiana University, Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies, Papers on Central Asia, no. 24), Bloomington, 1993, p. 45 (this and future references to this work use the pagination of the 1980 Dushanbe edition translated by McChesney, as does McChesney’s index), he rejects Monshi’s account and accepts Mir Farid Arghun as the patron, but without giving any reasons. I am again grateful to Professor McChesney for sending me a copy of his translation of Mukhtarov.

43 British Library, London, Or. 6478, ff. 240b-241a. I am most grateful to Audrey Burton for alerting me to this passage. A paraphrase of this passage is to be found in Hâjji Mir Moḥammad Salim, Silsilat al-salaṭin, Bodleian Library, Oxford, ms. no. 269, f. 155a (with thanks again to Robert McChesney for alerting me of this).

44 The same kunya, abo’l-ghazi, is used for ‘Abd al-Mo’men’s father ‘Abd Allah in an (unpublished) foundation inscription inside the Gawkushan madrasa in Bukhara.

45 Byron, “Islamic Architecture,” p. 1143; and his earlier characterisation: ‘The character of the mosaic faience, however, seems to correspond with a slightly later epoch: the patterns are bolder than those of Timurid monuments, and the general colouring is less rich, being confined almost entirely to dark and light blues, much white and occasional touches of black..,” “The Shrine,” p. 14.

46 The examples are discussed in O’Kane, Timurid Architecture, p. 65-6. Underglaze-painted tiles also occur on the face of the Ulugh Beg madrasa in Bukhara, but they may be confidently ascribed to Uzbek restoration.

47 In the fourteenth century a Central Asian atelier was at work near Herat (Bernard O’Kane, “The Tomb of Muḥammad Ġāzī at Fūšanğ,” Annales Islamologiques 21 [1985], p. 113-28), so it is hardly surprising that later one should find closer links with the geographically closer and the now politically united Balkh.

48 For this term, see O’Kane, Timurid Architecture, p. 67-8.

49 T. Pulatov, L. Yu. Mankovskaia, Bukhara: A Museum in the Open, Tashkent, 1991, Pl. 88.

50 The monument was largely destroyed around 1987: Bernard Dupaigne, “Des monuments gravements endommagés,” Les Nouvelles d’Afghanistan, no. 41-2, March 1989, dossier Herat ou l’art meurtri, p. 22.

51 For a possible example see O’Kane, Timurid Architecture, Ghâr-e Darvishân, Cat. No. 60. The inscription is a paraphrase of verses composed by Amir Nezam al-Din Aḥmad Soheyli for the tomb of Kechek Mirza (d.889/1484): see Khwandamir, abib al-seyar, vol. 4, p. 177.

52 For examples see Bernard O’Kane, “The Tiled Minbars of Iran,” Annales Islamologiques 22 (1986), p. 142, nn. 1-2 and Pls. XXXIXa and XLIIIb.

53 Pulatov, Bukhara, Pl. 36.

54 E.g. the Mozaffarid Quran stand of 761/1359 (ill. in Thomas W. Lentz and Glenn D. Lowry, Timur and the Princely Vision, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, 1989, p. 47; the Timurid shrine at Gazurgah: Sonia P. and Hans C. Seherr-Thoss, Design and Color in Islamic Architecture, Washington, D.C., 1968, Pl. 62.

55 V. Bulatova and S. Shishkina, Samarkand, A Museum in the Open, Tashkent, 1986, Pl. 9.

56 McChesney, “Central Asia,” p. 191.

57 Except on the north and south sides where a door, and above it a window, open into the dome chamber. A window was also present on the west side, but has been blocked; its placement on the interior, above the mihrab, has been plastered over. It could be argued that this points to the Uzbek restoration of the Timurid original; it is however more likely that the window was plastered over in the nineteenth century when the interior was repainted.

58 According to McChesney, Waqf, p. 136, four madrasas had been built beside the shrine by the middle of the seventeenth century, of which one or two were still in operation.

59 For a few of many examples see O’Kane, Timurid Architecture, Pls. 2.7, 22.8, 25.1, 33.2, 36.2; for Uzbek examples see Pulatov, Bukhara, Pls. 39, 84, 88, 100, 110, 117.

60 Sengupta, “Timurid Mosque,” p. 57, noted the missing pishṭâq at the rear and that the original had two-story niches at each corner, but thought that the remains of the semidome on the south side (which is clearly not bonded into the wall behind [Fig. 3]) pointed to “half domed arches on the four sides.” The photograph in Foucher, La vieille route, Pl. XXIVa, taken from the southwest, shows the complete dome to be clearly an addition.

61 Golombek and Wilber, Timurid Architecture, Figs. 27, 75, 59, 103, 42, 96, respectively.

62 Mausoleums: in the Mir-i ‘Arab madrasa, Bukhara (G. A. Pugachenkova and L. I. Rempel’, Vydayushchiesya Pamyatniki Arkhitektury Uzbekistana, Tashkent, 1958, Fig. 28); mosques: in the Tilakari madrasa, Samarqand (ibid., Fig. 35), khânaqâhs: Mavluda Yusupova, “L’évolution architecturale des couvents soufis à l’époque timouride et post-timouride,” Cahiers d’Asie Centrale 3-4. (1997) (L’Héritage timouride: Iran – Asie centrale – Inde, XVe-XVIIIe siècles, ed. Maria Szuppe), Fig. 3C.

63 Bernard O’Kane, “The Gunbad-i Jabaliyya at Kirman and the Development of the Domed Octagon in Iran,” in Arab and Islamic Studies in Honor of Marsden Jones, ed. Thabit Abdullah et al., Cairo, 1997, p. 1-12.

64 O’Kane, Timurid Architecture, cat. no. 38.

65 See Ebba Koch, Mughal Architecture: An Outline of Its History and Development (1526-1858), Munich, 1991, Figs. 7-8, 34.

66 The best plans are in Roberto Orazi, “The Mausoleum of Muḥammad Sharīf Ḫān near Ghazni: Architectural Survey with a View to Restoration,” East and West 27 (1977), Figs. 4-6.

67 Pugachenkova, “À l’étude,” p. 37-41; Golombek and Wilber, Timurid Architecture, cat no. 66.

68 For the dates see Orazi, “The Mausoleum,” p. 271 n. 13. The inscription on the tomb of Mohammad Sharif Khân b. Yâr Mohammad al-Ghaznavi is given in Sheykh Mohammad Rezâ, Riyaz al-Alvâh, Kabul, 1967, p. 126; on p. 125 the epitaph of Yâr Moḥammad b. al-amir Yâr Moḥammad al-Ghaznavi dated 966 is given, but the date does not correspond to any in the list given by Orazi.

69 Orazi, “The Mausoleum,” p. 271.

70 Golombek and Wilber, p. 300. The date of 941 for the shrine rebuilding comes from the Waṣilât al-Sharafât, cited in Fikri Saljuqi, Rasâla-ye mazârât-i Harât, avâshi-ye âkhar musammâ be ta’liqât, Kabul, 1967, p. 38. The best reproduction of its interior zone of transition is Mehrdad Shokoohy, “The Monuments at the Kuhandiz of Herat, Afghanistan,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1983/1, Pl. III. For the chronology of Uzbek-Safavid occupation of the town in this period see Maria Szuppe, Entre Timourides, Uzbeks et Safavides: questions d’histoire politique et sociale de Hérat dans la première moitié du XVIe siècle (Cahiers de Studia Iranica 12), Paris, 1992.

71 See for example the Sabz Burj and Nila Gonbad in Delhi: Koch, Mughal Architecture, Figs. 8- 9.

72 Rather than either the light-blue or dark-blue, matching the typical colours of tile-mosaic, as seen in the Zarnegar-khana: colour ill. in Golombek and Wilber Timurid Architecture, Pl. X. Admittedly, great reliability cannot be placed on this as a dating criterion, since we have no definite Timurid buildings from Ghazni or its neighbourhood with which to compare it, and provinciality may have dictated different colour preferences or availabilities.

73 The most complete biographical information on him is to be found in M. E. Subtelny, “Mīrak-i Sayyid Ghiyās and the Timurid Tradition of Landscape Architecture: further Notes to ‘A Medieval Persian Agricultural Manual in Context,’” Studia Iranica 24/l (1995), p. 19-60.

74 Mughal Architecture, p. 46.

75 The most complete collection of these plans is in Günkut Akin, Asya Merkezi Markan Geleneği, Ankara, 1990. For discussions of the Timurid origins of Mughal tombs see Koch, Mughal Architecture, p. 45-6 and Lisa Golombek, ”From Tamerlane to the Taj Mahal,” in Essays in Islamic Art and Architecture in Honor of Kathatina Otto-Dorn, ed. Abbas Daneshvari, Malibu, 1981, p. 43-50.

76 Catherine B. Asher, Architecture of Mughal India (The New Cambridge History of India, I: 4), Cambridge, 1992, p. 33 accepts the conventional dating to Homayun’s reign; Koch, Mughal Architecture, p. 39, suggests that its resemblance to the tomb of Qotb al-Din Mohammad Khan (991/1583) at Vadodara may serve as an indication of its true date.

77 See Masahi Haneda, “Emigration of Iranian Elites to India during the 16th-18th Centuries,” Cahiers d’Asie Centrale 3-4 (1997) (L’Héritage timouride: Iran – Asie centrale – Inde, XVe-XVIIIe siècles, ed. Maria Szuppe), p. 129-43. He notes (p. 138) that comparable studies of travel between the Mughal India and Central Asia have yet to be made, but see now Richard Foltz, “Central Asians in the Administration of Mughal India,” Journal of Asian History 31 (1997), p. 139-54. Evidence that even ideological barriers between neighbouring powers were little in the way of barriers to travel is provided in R. D. McChesney, “‘Barrier of Heterodoxy’?: Rethinking the Ties Between Iran and Central Asia in the 17th Century,” Safavid Persia (Pembroke Persian Papers, vol. 4), ed. Charles Melville, London and Cambridge, 1996, p. 231-67.

78 Yusupova, “L’évolution,” Fig. 3C2.

79 Ed. Mehdi Towhidipur, Tehran, 1337/1958, p. 396-7.

80 Cited in McChesney, Waqf 86n. 36.

81 Idem, “Pārsā’iyya,” EI2, p. 272-3.

82 See n. 24 above. Mukhtarov, Balkh, p. 38 notes that the identity of the legendary Khwaja ‘Akkasha, supposedly a companion of the Prophet, has yet to be satisfactorily resolved.

83 Diez, in Niedermayer, Afghanistan, p. 65, favours a Timurid date, as do Frye, “Balkh,” EI2, p. 1000 and Golombek and Wilber, Timurid Architecture, cat. no. 59. Grenet, “Balk,” p. 596, mentions it in a Timurid context. Mukhtarov, Balkh, p. 92 following an unnoted reference to Pugachenkova, says that it can be dated to the seventeenth century. He mentions elsewhere (p. 39) that one of the tombstones in the building was dated to 1016/1607-8. Foucher, La vieille route, p. 66, does not speculate on the date, although he gives some useful photographs (Pl. XXVa-c) of the building before it was largely destroyed.

84 Golombek and Wilber, Timurid Architecture, p. 297, report that “According to local report, a second monument stood opposite the ruins of what remained in 1966, when visited by Golombek.” This “second monument” is probably to be understood as the destroyed forepart of the original monument. In Golombek and Wilber’s plan, Fig. 67, the west side of the dome chamber is shown as also having been destroyed; however, this wall still standing at the time of my visits in 1972 and 1975.

85 Golombek and Wilber, ibid., claim that “Niedermayer’s plan … shows two axial domes,” but as can be seen from Fig. 15, Niedermayer clearly shows the dotted outlines of a dome in only one part of the building, and refers to the other space in the text as “einen frien Hof” (Niedermayer and Diez, Afghanistan, p. 65). Foucher, La vieille route, Fig. 14, also shows the dotted lines of a dome in only the projecting semi-octagon. Foucher’s sketch plan shows a room to the right of the original entrance, not marked in that of Niedermayer.

86 Ibid., p. 297.

87 The eyvân is clearly visible in Niedermayer, Afghanistan, Pl. 203. It might be objected that the bare brick facing of this partially ruined eyvân might have been concealed originally by the plaster vault of a semidome. But the presence of an arched window at the rear of the eyvân argues against this. It also might be thought that this window suggests that it was necessary to bring light into a dim central interior, but such windows can be frequently found on eyvâns facing courtyards, where they might have been used for structural lightening: for Timurid examples see the shrine at Taybad and the Friday mosques of Ziyaratgah and Ghuriyan (O’Kane, Timurid Architecture, Pls. 25.1, 33.1, 57.2.), and for the continuation of the practice in Uzbek architecture see the lateral eyvâns of the Mir-i ‘Arab madrasa and the entrance eyvân of the Nadir Divan Beg madrasa (Pulatov, Bukhara, Pls. 52, 83).

88 Afghanistan, Pl. 202.

89 O’Kane, Timurid Architecture, Pl. 22.3.

90 E. g. on the exterior of the shrine of Khwaja Aḥmad Yasavi, Turkistan or the Friday mosque of Timur at Samarqand: Lentz and Lowry, Timur, p. 16, 45.

91 Bulatova and Shishkina, Samarqand, Pl. 42.

92 Cited in Mukhtarov, Balkh, p. 69.

93 Best appreciated at a glance in the plan of Bukhara in Klaus Herdeg, Formal Structure in Islamic Architecture of Iran and Turkistan, New York, 1990, p. 59.

94 McChesney, Waqf, p. 132.

95 Idem, “Central Asia, § I, l(iv)(c): Western: History: 16th-19th centuries,” The Dictionary of Art, ed. Jane Turner, London, 1996, p. 191.

96 The waqf was administered by a mutavalli who could, in theory have been a member of the family, but as his share of the net income was split equally with the four madrasa teachers, it does not seem to have been skewered in his favour: ibid., p. 135.

97 Pulatov, Bukhara, Pl. 59.

98 Yate, Northern Afghanistan, p. 280; Dupree, Road, p. 93-4.

99 McChesney, Waqf, p. 270-1.

100 Foucher, La vieille route, p. 66.

101 Maria E. Subtelny, “Art and Politics in Early 16th Century Central Asia,” Central Asiatic Journal 27/1-2 (1983), p. 121-48; Stephen Frederic Dale, “The Legacy of the Timurids,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 3rd series, 8/1 (1988), 51-4.

102 McChesney, Waqf, p. 137, lists a number of these.

103 Of his work on the citadel and walls of Balkh (Robert McChesney, “‘Abd-al-Mo’men b. ‘Abdallāh,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, p. 129) of course nothing remains.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1 – Mazar-i Sharif, tombs to the south of the shrine, exterior
Crédits photo: 1930s, Robert Byron, courtesy the Conway Library, the Courtauld Institute of Art
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 56k
Titre Fig. 2 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Kistan Qara Soltan (second half of the 16th century), east façade
Crédits photo: 1930s, Robert Byron, courtesy the Conway Library, the Courtauld Institute of Art
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 68k
Titre Fig. 3 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Kistan Qara Soltan (second half of the 16th century), southeast façade
Crédits photo: 1930s, E. Schroeder, courtesy Harvard An Museums
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 56k
Titre Fig. 4 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Kistan Qara Soltan (second half of the 16th century), detail of drum
Crédits photo: 1930s, E. Schroeder, courtesy Harvard Art Museums
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 48k
Titre Fig. 5 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Sharifa Soltan, sketch plan
Crédits drawn by Dina Montasser
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 28k
Titre Fig. 6 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Sharif a Soltan (early 17th century): east façade
Crédits photo: 1930s, Robert Byron, courtesy the Conway Library, the Courtauld Institute of Art
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 72k
Titre Fig. 7 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Sharif a Soltan (early 17th century): north façade
Crédits photo: 1930s, E. Schroeder, courtesy Harvard Art Museums
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 40k
Titre Fig. 8 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Sharif a Soltan (early 17th century): interior zone of transition
Crédits photo: 1930s, E. Schroeder, courtesy Harvard Art Museums
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 40k
Titre Fig. 9 – Mazar-i Sharif, tomb of Sharifa Soltan (early 17th century), detail of drum
Crédits photo: 1930s, E. Schroeder, courtesy Harvard Art Museums
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 52k
Titre Fig. 10 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), plan and section (after Sengupta)
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 32k
Titre Fig. 11 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), exterior
Crédits photo: 1930s, E. Schroeder, courtesy Harvard Art Museums
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 36k
Titre Fig. 12 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), exterior, detail of dome
Crédits photo: 1930s, E. Schroeder, courtesy Harvard Art Museums
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 76k
Titre Fig. 13 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), exterior
Crédits photo: 1975, B. O’Kane
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 100k
Titre Fig. 14 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), exterior, detail of foundation inscription
Crédits photo: 1930s, Robert Byron, courtesy the Conway Library, the Courtauld Institute of Art
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 92k
Titre Fig. 15 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), interior of crypt
Crédits photo: 1975, B. O’Kane
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-15.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 56k
Titre Fig. 16 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), interior
Crédits photo: 1975, B. O’Kane
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-16.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 44k
Titre Fig. 17 – Azadan, shrine of Khwaja Abo’l-Walid (c. 1475-1500), interior (now destroyed)
Crédits photo: 1975, B. O’Kane
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-17.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 88k
Titre Fig. 18 – Bukhara, Char Bakr, khânaqâh (970/1562), interior
Crédits photo: 1975, B. O’Kane
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-18.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 36k
Titre Fig. 19 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7): mihrab
Crédits photo: 1975, B. O’Kane
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-19.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 56k
Titre Fig. 20 – Azadan, shrine of Khwaja Abo’l-Walid (c. 1475/1500), mihrab (now destroyed)
Crédits photo: 1975, B. O’Kane
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-20.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 124k
Titre Fig. 21 – Bukhara, Mir-i ‘Arab madrasa (942/1535-6), dado of Mausoleum
Crédits photo B. O’Kane
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-21.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 92k
Titre Fig. 22 – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7): restored elevation
Crédits drawn by Dina Ghaly
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-22.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 36k
Titre Fig. 23 – Ghazni, plan of mausoleum of Mohammad Sharif Khan (second half of the 16th century) (after Orazi)
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-23.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 48k
Titre Fig. 24 – Balkh, shrine of Khwaja ‘Akkasha (c. 1590-8), plan (after Niedermayer)
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-24.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 32k
Titre Fig. 25 – Balkh, shrine of Khwaja ‘Akkasha (c. 1590-8), dome chamber: exterior
Crédits photo: 1930s, Robert Byron, courtesy the Conway Library, the Courtauld Institute of Art
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-25.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 52k
Titre Fig. 26 – Balkh, shrine of Khwaja ‘Akkasha (c. 1590-8), dome chamber: interior
Crédits photo: 1930s, E. Schroeder, courtesy Harvard Art Museums
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-26.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 44k
Titre Fig. 27 – Balkh, madrasa of Sobhan Qoli (begun 1660), entrance portal
Crédits photo: 1930s, E. Schroeder, courtesy Harvard Art Museums
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-27.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 64k
Titre Fig. 28 – Balkh, madrasa of Sobhan Qoli (begun 1660), entrance portal, detail
Crédits photo: 1975, B. O’Kane
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-28.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 44k
Titre Fig. A – Balkh, shrine of Abu Nasr Parsa (1005/1596-7), detail of tile mosaic
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-29.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 68k
Titre Fig. B – Bukhara, entrance of Masjed-e Kalan (920/1514), detail of end of tile mosaic inscription
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-30.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 64k
Titre Fig. C – Bukhara, Char Bakr, khânaqâh (970/1562), detail of tile mosaic
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-31.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 76k
Titre Fig. D – Ghazni, tomb of Mohammad Sharif Khan (second half of the 16th century), detail of zone of transition
URL http://asiecentrale.revues.org/docannexe/image/600/img-32.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 62k
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Bernard O’Kane, « The Uzbek Architecture of Afghanistan », Cahiers d’Asie centrale, 8 | 2000, 123-160.

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Bernard O’Kane, « The Uzbek Architecture of Afghanistan », Cahiers d’Asie centrale [En ligne], 8 | 2000, mis en ligne le 05 février 2010, consulté le 26 mai 2017. URL : http://asiecentrale.revues.org/600

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Auteur

Bernard O’Kane

Université américaine au Caire, Egypte

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