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Samples of tiles for exterior walls

Samples of tiles for exterior walls

Samples of tiles for exterior walls.
Samarkand antiquities. Bibi Khanim Madrassah. Cathedral Mosque.

These drawings of polychrome ceramic ornaments from the main mosque of the Bibi Khanim ensemble in Samarkand (Uzbekistan) are from the archeological part of Turkestan Album. The album focuses on the Islamic architecture of Samarqand, including monuments from the 14th and 15th centuries during the reign of Timur (Tamerlane) and his successors. Built between 1399 and 1405 from the spoils of Tamerlane’s victorious Indian campaign, the Bibi Khanim ensemble was the site of the main, or Friday mosque in the city, named after Sarai Mulk Khanim, Timur’s eldest wife. The mosque at the center of the ensemble is one of the largest in the world. L.A. Shostak made some watercolor sketches of ceramic elements of mosque facades.

Here we see (clockwise from top): a four-leaf ornament with floral motifs; a hexagonal pattern with floral motifs diverging from the center; a five-pointed star with floral motifs; a ten-pointed star with whorls diverging from the five-pointed star (on the facades of the minarets of the main mosque). In the center is a ceramic tile with kufic letters. Despite the simplicity of the drawings, there is something in them that cannot be seen in photographs of that era.

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