Column and capital from the tomb of Buyan Quli Khan
Bukara, circa 1358-59 CE
121.3 x 22.9 x 24.4 cm
Acquisition numbers: #567-1900, #586-1899
Image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum (copyright reserved).
Though the Timurid empire spread over modern Iran, Iraq, parts of Turkey as well as modern Uzbekistan, the use of certain techniques and designs were far more popular in Central Asia, where Timurid rule was most strongly consolidated. For example, the use of glazed tile facade elements in architecture, such as this column and capital from the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, was almost exclusively used in the eastern regions of Timurid control. In the west, local architectural traditions were favored.
This column and capital were originally sited in a mid-14th century mausoleum compound created for Buyan Quli Khan, a noble of Mongol descent. An exact date for this site is not known, but experts speculated that construction most likely commenced shortly before Buyan Quli Khan's death, in about 1358-59.1 The patterns used for the tiles (see detailed view) are inspired equally by the rich brocades favored by Mongol nobles, Chinese lacquer work, as well as Persian metal work and foliage designs used in Persian illustrated manuscripts.