Timurid, 14th-15th century CE
Materials and technique
Carved and glazed terracotta
Panel 56 x 39 cm
Timurid tilework from the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries is some of the finest Islamic tilework ever created. This tile panel could have once been affixed to the exterior façade of a mosque or mausoleum, a large group of which can be found in the Shah-i Zinda complex at Samarqand, one of the great Timurid capitals. Timur (r. 1370-1405 CE), a Barlas Turk who founded the Timurid dynasty, was a fierce ruler, but he and his successors were also grand patrons of the arts. The brilliant turquoise vaults and elaborately patterned façades of Timurid buildings are a familiar site in cities such as Samarqand. Along with the use of muqarnas, builders used a range of other techniques such as banna’i (glazed brick patterns), carved and glazed terracotta, tile mosaic, cuerda seca (dry cord), underglaze painted relief moulding, and even lustre, all revealing the virtuoso talents of these craftsmen.
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