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…

Khatun Mausoleum

The brick is rosy buff, like the hills Byron, on the 17th of February 1934, keeps going around Shiraz and recording “more curious than beautiful” monuments. After the Friday Mosque and the Madrasa-i Khan, he visits the Khatun Mausoleum. As already happened with the Madrasa-i Khan, also the Khatun Mausoleum apparently is hardly taken into…

Madrasa-i Khan: the place (probably) only Byron photographed

ruined, a state which improves its eighteenth-century tilework Byron did not like Shiraz: on the 17th of February 1934, after visiting the Friday Mosque of the city, our dear traveler goes to the Madrasa-i Khan. This monument is “curious rather than important”, as Byron defined Shirazi monuments as a whole in the same entry that…

Friday Mosque of Shiraz and its Qur’anic inscriptions

It is not a happy combination On the 17th of February 1934, Byron visits Shiraz and its monuments. In particular, he records the Friday Mosque of the city, also known as Masjid-i ‘Atiq. As often, Byron is not at all enthusiast of the building, particularly of its decoration. As a whole, Shiraz does not make…

The monuments of Isfahan from Byron’s car

So much it meant to have escaped from Teheran After having described the Friday Mosque of Isfahan, it seems that Byron wants to continue with his hopping-on-an-off and sightseeing the most important monuments of Isfahan. It is always the evening of the 11th of February 1934, and as he did for the Maidan-i Imam, he drives…