New Data on the Luster Tiles of ʿAbd al-Samad’s Shrine in Natanz, Iran

In: Muqarnas Online
Anaïs Leone
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This essay offers new data for identifying and reconstructing the original luster tilework decoration of the tomb chamber of the ʿAbd al-Samad shrine in Natanz, central Iran. The decorated complex around the tomb was likely built during the Ilkhanid period. The removal of Ilkhanid-period luster tiles from their original location has left very few buildings with their original decoration. Moreover, the stripping of an important number of monuments led to the arrival of thousands of tiles of unidentified or incomplete provenance in public and private collections. By cross-referencing available information about preserved revetments (e.g., dimensions, inscriptions, provenance, designs) with verifiable data collected at surviving monuments, it is possible to bridge the gap and unite formerly isolated elements. This study formulates new proposals about the luster tilework in the shrine of ʿAbd al-Samad, especially with regard to the complex ensemble of the mihrab. By locating and detailing the different zones of its decorative scheme, the ensemble becomes more coherent as a whole despite its remaining gaps.

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