of Islamic Monumentality:
Integration of Monuments
in their Urban Context: The result of a predisposition to standardize,
- The Exceptions: Commemorative
Polyvalence of Forms:
No specific form for a specific function.
The Importance of the Interior:
The ephemeral nature of matter.
The Predominance of Decoration:
- The amalgamation of forms,
- The repetition of decorative
- The abstraction of decoration
Iran and Central Asia (8-11 century):
Tarik Khana Mosque, Damghan, Iran: (between 750-89): Hypostyle, large
axial nave, heavy cylindrical brick piers support elliptical, pointed
arches; roof, barrel vaults.
Nine-domed Mosque (Masjid-i-Tarikh), Balkh, Afghanistan: (First
half of the 9th century), open pavilion with only a qibla wall, heavy
brick piers and coupled-columns on the side walls; carved stucco decoration
similar to Samarra styles.
Masjid-i-Jami, Nayin, Iran: (10th century)
Hypostyle; heavy cylindrical pillars; carved stucco decoration. Minaret
is a transition between western minarets and later Iranian ones.
Development of Mausolea:
The Samanid Mausoleum in Bukhara, Uzbekistan: (ca. 914)
Built by Nasr ibn Ismail, square canopy tomb; tapering walls; engaged
columns on the corner; very rich decorative program using brick motifs
and patterns. Dome support: ribbed, double-arched squinches.
The Tower Tomb of Gunbad-i-Qabus in Gurgan, Iran: (1006-7)
A ten-sided star plan, a high cylindrical tower (52 m) that ends in a
conical dome. Paradoxically identified as a qasr in the inscription.
Qubba: Literally "dome",
but the word often signified the mausoleum of an amir or a pious man,
which was usually, but not always, a cubical structure covered with a
Mashhad: A complex term
that means either a memorial for a shahid (witness of the greatness of
God, but later exclusively meaning martyr) or a memorial for a true vision,
which mostly involves the Prophet or members of his family.
a textile term borrowed in Persian brick architecture to designate the
woven-like, checker-board quality of brick decoration that appeared in
the ninth century.
Chahar taq: a term referring to the form of the pre-Islamic Zoroastrian
fire temples of Iran; a domed square with an opening on each side and
Dihqans: the landed nobility of pre-Islamic Iran and Central Asia
Sasanians: dynasty which ruled Iran from 226-651; capital was Ctesiphon.
Sogdians: Central Asian people who inhabited and ruled the land
roughly corresponding to the modern country of Uzbekistan up until the
Arab invasion in the 8th century.
Ziyarids: dynasty which ruled part of the Caspian provinces of
Iran from 932 to c. 1075; nominally Islamic but holding to pre-Islamic
Persian traditions and claiming descent from the Sasanians; responsible
for several tomb towers, including Gunbad-i Qabus and Pir-i Alamdar.
Samanids: dynasty which ruled part of former Sogdian territory
from 819-1005; capital was Bukhara; patrons of New Persian literature,
science and architecture.