No image available: imagining Termez

All the same, I should like to have seen the ruins of Termez Byron’s plan was to cross the Oxus river. The river, known by the Latin name Oxus, is also called the Amu Darya and is one of the major rivers of Central Asia. Byron has thus far traveled around Afghanistan and Iran, keeping…

The Square Kufic of the Pir-i Bakran Shrine

After years running this blog, I realized I have not devoted even one single article to a Square Kufic inscription. Which sounds weird, considering the name of this blog. In any case, the time has come. A reader, JJ (I don’t know the full name, thus, let’s call him/her JJ), sent me a couple of…

Mullah Hassan-i Kashan Shrine and square Kufic

is remarkable for a domed stalactite ceiling It is the 12th April 1934 and Byron’s just paid a visit to the tomb tower of Chelabi Oghlu. After that, he reports his visit to the Shrine of Mullah Hassan-i Kashan. What Byron writes about it is only that the most interesting feature of this monument is the…

The inscriptions of the Friday Mosque of Na’in in context

one of the oldest in Persia Byron, after having been in Yazd, on his way back to Isfahan stops in Na’in and Ardestan, in both cities he visits the Friday mosques. He records both his visits under the entry dated 31st March 1934. The first Friday Mosque he describes is the one in Na’in: “I…

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…

Double two-dimensional mihrab from Art Institute Chicago

I was thinking about writing something for the opening of the galleries of Islamic art at the Art Institute Chicago. While browsing the collection owned by the museum, I found a peculiar tile, decorated with a double-arched two-dimensional mihrab, and of course decorated with wonderful cursive inscriptions (accession number 1917.221).

Jamila’s gravestone – update

This is the update to my previous post: “Redating and relocalising a tombstone from Wikipedia“ After a few days from the first post about Jamila’s gravestone, I am really happy to say that I got some new information. And I must admit that Wikipedia proved to be right, or at least ‘not completely wrong’.