The mihrab of the Friday Mosque of Kerman

I found only two objects of note. One was the mihrab-panel in the Friday Mosque Byron, on the 24th of March 1934, is in Kerman. There, he visited also the Jabal-i Sang. In his travelogue, he gives just a short mention of the Friday Mosque of the city, yet, in this short passage, Byron underlines…

The Jabal-i Sang and its lack of decoration

interesting because it is built of stone instead of brick It is the 24th of March 1934 when Byron visits a quite peculiar monument, located nearby Kerman. It is the Jabal-i Sang. As Byron writes in his travelogue, the most interesting feature of this monument is the material used for its construction: stone. “a domed…

The Shrine of the Twelve Imams

The Shrine of the Twelve Imams, for example, has a frieze of Kufic On the 20th of March 1934, Robert Byron visited, together with the Friday Mosque of Yazd and the Vaqt-i Sa’at, the Shrine of the Twelve Imams, located in the same city. Byron’s mention of the monument is very brief: “The Shrine of the…

The hidden decoration of the Vaqt-i Sa’at

The most elaborate of them Robert Byron is impressed by the beauty of the monuments of Yazd. In the entry dated 20th March 1934 of his travelogue, he writes down how unexpected it was for him to encounter such beauty. An extraordinary series of simple, egg-domed mausoleums now lured us across the town—extraordinary in that, being…

The Friday Mosque of Yazd and its decoration

clue after clue yielded treasure It is the 20th of March 1934 when Byron arrives at Yazd. As he recounts in his travelogue, the very same day he reaches the city, he sets off to look for monuments. And the monument that intrigued him the most in the city is the Friday Mosque. In his…

Analysing a foundation inscription: the Luftallah Mosque

no idea that abstract pattern was capable of so profound a splendour “The Shaykh Luftallah mosque is viewed by historians and visitors as one of the most important architectural projects built on Isfahan’s maidan, prominent for its location, scale, design, and ornament”. This is how the long entry Archnet devotes to the Luftallah mosque ends….

Masjid-i Imam and its seven-color technique

pretty, if you like, even magnificent, but not important In mid-March 1934 Byron is back in Isfahan. This time he has certainly more time to go around and carefully visit the most important monuments of the city. It is now, for instance, that he visits properly the Friday Mosque. On the 18th of March 1934,…

Four mihrabs within a mihrab

When I was preparing the article about the Friday Mosque of Shiraz and the Qur’anic inscriptions that are written on its walls, I came across the photo of a quite particular alabaster slab that used to be kept in the mosque. The slab is made of alabaster and its design is that of a two-dimensional mihrab….

Persepolis and Robert Byron

Neither has any art. It was not easy for Byron to go and visit Persepolis: in his book, we curiously read about his exchanges with Herzfeld, the German archaeologist who was conducting excavations and research at the site. Herzfeld did not want to grant Byron any permission to visit and more importantly to take photos of…

Naqsh-i Rustam in Islamic Iran: the construction of an identity

All they ask is attention, and they get it, like a child or Hitler Robert Byron has never shown much interest in pre-Islamic Persian art. Similarly, when he arrived in Naqsh-i Rustam, on the 1st of March 1934, he was not at all impressed by the remains of the Persian civilizations. In his travelogue, he certainly recognizes…