Samarqand’s Congregational Mosque of Bibi Khanum as a Representation of Timurid Legitimacy and Rulership
The Bibi Khanum Congregational Mosque is the largest Timurid monument in Samarqand. Commissioned by Timur himself after his military campaign in India in 1399, the architecture of the mosque can be interpreted as a visual representation of Timur’s ambitions to surpass the architectural achievements of the preceding Islamic dynasties. Striving for political legitimacy beyond the legacy of Chinggis Khan, Timur imitated and even exceeded the monumental scale of the architectural ensembles in the Ilkhanid capitals of Tabriz and Sultaniyya. In an attempt to ensure the continuity of the Timurid dynasty, Timur’s successors adopted Yuan iconography and visual vocabulary so as to forge an ancestral and artistic genealogy that directly related the Timurids with the Mongols via the aesthetic legacy of the Ilkhanids and the Yuan. Their cultural production thus secured the continuity of the Timurid royal patrons as just successors of Chinggis Khan.
Copyright (c) 2023 Elena Paskaleva
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