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  • Place of origin:

    Bukhara (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1358-1359 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Earthenware, glazed

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery, case WW9

This column once formed part of the magnificent decoration of a mausoleum. The mausoleum was built over the grave of a Mongol ruler called Buyanquli Khan. He was assassinated in 1358 and was buried at Fathabad near Bukhara (Uzbekistan).

The domed mausoleum was completely covered with tilework on both the inside and the outside. This column was attached to the wall on one side of the entrance. A simple moulding separates the shaft, which is cylindrical, from the capital, which has two faces set at a right angle to one another. The decorators have covered the ceramic surfaces with dense and quite small-scale decoration. They carved the decoration deeply and precisely and then coloured it with white, turquoise, blue and black glazes.

The main decoration consists of dense patterns of leafy scrollwork. These are framed by bands which are either plain or set with rows of small quatrefoils. The scrollwork on the shaft of the column is overlaid by looser networks of leafy stems, glazed in contrasting colours. On the upper section of the shaft a third level of decoration separates the scrollwork and bands.

Physical description

Earthenware capital, separated from the fragment of a cylindrical column shaft by a simple moulding. The capital has two faces set at a right angle to one another. The ceramic surfaces are covered with dense and quite small-scale, deeply and precisely carved decoration showing dense patterns of leafy scrollwork, framed by bands which are either plain or set with rows of small quatrefoils. Coloured with white, turquoise, blue and black glazes.

Place of Origin

Bukhara (made)


ca. 1358-1359 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Earthenware, glazed


Width: 34.4 cm

Object history note

Made for the tomb of the Chaghatayid (post-Mongol) ruler Buyanquli Khan, who died in 1358-59.

Descriptive line

Column capital from the tomb of Buyanquli Khan, Uzbekistan (Bukhara), ca. 1358

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Lentz, Thomas, W., Lowry, Glenn, D., Timur and the Princely Vision. Persian Art and Culture in the Fifteenth Century, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, 1989. Catalogue of the exhibition held at the Arthur M. Sacker Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. from April 16- July 6, 1989 and at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from August 13-November 5, 1989. ISBN 0-87474-706-6.
Catalogue no. 7a, p.329, illustration p. 41

Labels and date

Fritware with carved decoration and coloured glazes
CENTRAL ASIA (from Fathabad, near Bukhara); about 1360
567-1900, 586-1899

This column, like the two carved friezes displayed nearby, formed part of the extensive decorations the tomb of Buyan Quli Khan. [Used until 11/2003]
Tiles from the Tomb of Buyanquli Khan
Uzbekistan, Bukhara
About 1358

Carved earthenware under coloured glazes

12 Upper Section of Column and Capital
From left side of doorway
Museum nos. 567-1900, 586-1899 [Jameel Gallery]





Subjects depicted

Scrollwork; Quatrefoils


Islam; Architecture; Ceramics; Earthenware


Middle East Section

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