A Hermeneutic Approach to the Tomb Tower of Sheikh Safi al-Din Ardabili’s Shrine Ensemble and Khānqāh

| October 26, 2016 | 0 Comments

Hasti Safavi

SOAS – University of London – UK

BA and MA in History of Art and Archaeology




Sheikh Safi al-Din Ardabili’s Shrine Ensemble and Khānqāh are considered one of the most exquisite artworks of the Islamic world and the Safavid Dynasty. The Shrine had both a fundamental role in the development of Safavid architecture and was also the spiritual and temporal heart of the Safavid Empire. This work discusses the architecture and decoration of the shrine’s tomb tower (Allah Allah Dome), both through a descriptive approach and an interpretative approach, through the application of hermeneutics. Although the shrine’s architecture and decorations have been previously studied, this is the first time that a hermeneutic approach, as opposed to a descriptive one, has been applied, thus making this work unique.

Keywords: Sheikh Safi al-Din Ardabili, tomb tower, Khānqāh, Allah Allah Dome, Islamic art, Safavid art, hermeneutic, Islamic calligraphy, tilework. .




The Shrine Ensemble and Khānqāh of Sheikh Safi al-Din Ardabili is considered one of the most exquisite artworks of the Islamic civilisation and Safavid Dynasty. It is both a symbol of the Safavid Empire and paradigm of Iranian architecture, as it includes many different art forms, such as tilework, silver and gold work, muqarnas, inscriptions, tazhib and brickwork. The Shrine had both a fundamental role in the development of Safavid architecture and was also the spiritual and temporal heart of the Safavid Empire. What is important in regards to the Shrine of Sheikh Safi al-Din in Ardabil, as Hillenbrand argues, is that the art produced by the Early Safavids are “displayed side by side and medium to medium, to create an ensemble in which, for once, the decorative arts can be seen in context, enhancing each other and almost bandying themes across the space of the shrine.”۱

In this article, the hermeneutic approach, based on Sufism and philosophy of Islamic art, has been employed in order to discuss the architecture and decoration of Sheikh Safi al-Din’s tomb tower. Through the employment of the hermeneutic approach, the different elements of architecture and of decoration, which have been specifically chosen for each location, have been placed in the hermeneutic circle, and their interplay has been analysed, in order to unveil the deeper levels of meaning, which are embodied in the shrine.

It is important to note that in order to facilitate this research, I have conducted fieldwork on two separate occasions in Ardabil – Iran, in the summer and winter of 2012, studying and documenting the architecture and decoration of the Shrine, during which, I took over 2000 photographs of the different sections of the Shrine complex, and had extensive meetings with scholars working in Ardabil on the Sheikh Safi al-Din’s Shrine complex. I have personally taken all the photographs included in this work.


Prophet Muhammad’s Hadīth, which states “God is beautiful, and loves beauty”, is an affirmation of the importance of art within Islam, as it provides the primary means for artistic expression. In contrast to other religions, the decorative art philosophy in Islamic art is related to Islamic ideology and spirituality. As Nasr states “Islamic art is based upon a knowledge which is itself of a spiritual nature, a knowledge referred to by traditional masters of Islamic art as hikmah or wisdom … the hikmah upon which Islamic art is based is none other than the sapiential aspect of Islamic spirituality itself.”۲ The use of different decorative art forms in the Shrine of Sheikh Safi al-Din is a portrayal of one of the names of God in Islam, al-Thānī, which means Divine Artisan. With the use of different decorative materials and following Islamic spirituality, the artists created a spiritual environment.

One of the most important attributes of the Safavid Dynasty was the formation of a strong cultural and religious society; “where the production of art was directly connected to the religious, cultural, political and historical events of the time. The Safavids tendency towards culture and religion created a bond between art and religion.”۳ which resulted in a proliferation of art and architecture in Iran, which is the highest form of Islamic-Iranian art and architecture including the production of Sheikh Safi al-Din’s shrine in Ardabil alongside the Shah Square in Isfahan and the many other great Safavid monuments. The decorative arts that were used to adorn the Shrine of Sheikh Safi al-Din can be divided into two distinct categories, the calligraphic inscriptions and the non-calligraphic decorations, including: mu’arraq tiles, brickwork that is a combination of brick and tiles, plasterwork, muqarnas and tazhib decoration, woodwork, stonework, metalwork and enamelwork.

Within Islamic art, calligraphy is perceived as the noblest art form due to its association with the Holy Qur’an. The use of calligraphic inscriptions in Sheikh Safi al-Din’s shrine is a testament to the artists unique approach to calligraphy, as they have incorporated various styles of the written word with different decorative material; and as Qadi Ahmad states, “Calligraphy is the geometry of the Spirit.”۴ As it “provides the external dress for the Word of God in the visible world but this art remains wedded to the world of the spirit.”۵ The calligraphic inscriptions of Sheikh Safi al-Din’s Shrine are a product of a number of calligraphers such as, Mir Emad al-Hassani Qazvini, Muhammad Isma’il Afashar, Alireza al-Abbasi Tabrizi and Mir Asad Allah bin Agha Mir Ghavam al-Din Roze Khan. The passages that were used by the calligraphers were based on the location it would be inscribed on, in order to accentuate the fundamental purpose of the shrine.

The calligraphic inscriptions of the shrine consist of different styles of calligraphy, which portray various topics, such as Qur’anic verses, prayers, ahadīth (pl. hadīth), Persian poetry, Sheikh Safi al-Din’s lineage and artists’ names. The different styles of calligraphy include thuluth, nasta’līq, riqāʻ, naskh, kufic and geometric kufic also known as bannā’ī kufic.

In Christian decorative arts, images and paintings depicting religious imagery play a significant role, not only in setting the tone of the architecture, but also in narrating a story, which sets the mood and theme of the building, and the images are often derived from the text of the bible. We can refer to the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling’s artwork, as an example, which has the overall theme of salvation, and many of its scenes are derived from the Book of Genesis. The text, in Islamic art also plays a similar function in architecture and decorative arts, though this function is actualised through calligraphy and inscriptions rather than paintings, and is used to set the tone, mood, and context of the site. The Qur’an itself is the manifestation of the speech of God, which takes the written from of the word in the context of the Qur’an, and it is further transferred and manifested into the physical world by being inscribed on architectural monuments, thus adding a further element of sanctity to the monument. As an early example we can refer to the Dome of the Rock, in which there are numerous instances of Qur’anic inscriptions that deal with the Islamic view of Jesus as a Messenger of God and not the Son of God, which are used because of the context of the Dome, which was the Muslim, Christian, Jewish relations in Jerusalem.

In the Bible, it says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, as the Word was God” (John 1:1) and in the Qur’an, God tells Prophet Muhammad “Recite: and your Lord is the most Generous, Who taught by the pen” (۹۶:۳-۴) whilst in another chapter of the Holy Qur’an it states “NUN. By the pen and what they inscribe” (۶۸:۱), meaning God swore on this pen and what it has written, portraying the importance of the written word in both Islam and Christianity. As Nasr states “Islamic calligraphy is the visual embodiment of the crystallization of the spiritual realities (al-haqā’iq) contained in the Islamic revelation.”۶, which follows the principles of Islamic philosophy and Sufism.

Within Islamic philosophy, the World is divided into three planes of Existence: the mental Existence, the objective Existence, and, most importantly, the words’ Existence. In comparison, within Islamic Sufism, the World we live in is a manifestation of God’s name, and according to Islam, there are ninety-nine names for God. One of God’s names is Al Musawwar, which means ‘Image Creator’; therefore, art and calligraphy are manifestations of this name of God. The calligrapher also represents the name of God Al Khāliq, meaning The Creator’, as he is the one who writes the holy words of God and presents it to society. What is important to note is that all the Qur’anic calligraphic inscriptions of the Shrine of Sheikh Safi al-Din start from the direction of the Qibla and begin with ‘In the Name of God’ in Arabic. It is important to note that all the calligraphic inscriptions of Sheikh Safi al-Din’s monument had a purpose as they convey different meanings based on the location of the inscription.

The Tomb Tower is the Sheikh’s burial site, making it the complex’s focal point. Aside from a decorative point of view, the Allah, Allah inscription on the Tomb Tower is of great significance both in terms of implementation and its origin, which as previously mentioned, is the dhikr of Sheikh Safi al-Din.

Tomb Tower of Sheikh Safi al-Din Ardabili (Allah Allah Dome)

The tomb of Sheikh Safi al-Din is located at the southern side of the main courtyard and southwest side of Dār al-Huffāz. The tomb is covered with a cylindrical tower and a dome, with the height being 17.5 meters and a 22 meters circumference, which stands on a stone plinth with a 1.5 meter height. The cylindrical tower is made of a combination of brick and tile, also known as hazarbaf design. According to Islamic spiritual art, the dome is what connects the earth and the Divine World with one another; as the base of the monument is a metaphor for earth, and the dome a metaphor for the Divine World. In other words, humanity’s belonging to the earth is portrayed through the basic shape of the monument, which is a symbol of perseverance, and the association to the sky is illustrated through the circular dome, which is a symbol of annihilation in the Divine World. The exterior of the tower is decorated with turquoise blue glazed tiles on red brick with the name of God in Arabic, ‘Allah’ written 132 times in geometric or bannā’ī kufic calligraphy (figure 1). Each ‘Allah’ inscribed on the wall is written vertically and horizontally, and is one meter long so that it would be seen from a far distance, and, thus, it is famously known as the ‘Allah Allah Dome’. This style of calligraphic inscription was mostly done in Ilkhanid and Timurid religious architecture. The builder of this structure is known through a small medallion attached to the drum (figure 2), which states “the servant, the faqir, the hopeful toward forgiveness of the Eternal Lord (‘afu al-samad), ‘Awz bin [inside circle] Muhammad al-Maraghi”۷

The use of kufic calligraphy for the inscription of the word ‘Allah’ is important as kufic writing is said to have been created by Imam Ali8 (the first Shi’a Imam), and, therefore, its usage is a confirmation of the spiritual connection of Sheikh Safi al-Din’s Sufi Order with Imam Ali. The reason why the word ‘Allah’ has been inscribed on the exterior wall of the Tomb Tower of Sheikh Safi al-Din has different reasons. The word ‘Allah’ is God’s unique name, and according to Islamic Sufism all other names and attributes of God manifest from this word. Consequently, ‘Allah’ is the most holy word used in the Qur’an, which has been repeated 3,027 times, and, therefore, it is the main dhikr of the Safaviyya Sufi Order. The horizontal representation of the word ‘Allah’ in turquoise blue glazed tiles on the tower wall is a symbol of multiplicity, whilst the vertical representation is the symbol of Unity. This represents the idea of ‘Unity in multiplicity and multiplicity in Unity’, which describes the relationship between God and world and world with God. Furthermore, within Islamic spiritual art, vertical representation is a symbol of the beauty aspect of God, which is complimentary to horizontal representation which is a symbol of God’s glory. The use of turquoise and ultramarine in Islamic art is a symbol of the Divine World and inner peace, which is accompanied with the use of turquoise tiles on red brick, which are symbols of earth and the Divine World.

Between the drum and the body of the tower, there is a two-lined band of inscription, the top line in gold kufic calligraphy and the bottom line in white thuluth calligraphy, on a background adorned with light blue floral motif tile mosaics on an ultramarine surface (figure 3). The inscription band has a width of 95 cm, which is set between two bands with a width of 30 cm, decorated with three leaf palms and flower buds. The inscriptions on the exterior of the tower deal with the Oneness of God and other attributes that arise from this. The calligraphic inscription is from the Qur’an, stating:

In the Name of God, Allah bears witness that there is no god but He, and (so do) the angels and those possessed of knowledge, maintaining His creation with justice; there is no god but He, the Mighty, the Wise. Surely the (true) religion with Allah is Islam, and those to whom the Book had been given did not show opposition but after knowledge had come to them, out of envy among themselves; and whoever disbelieves in the communication of Allah then surely Allah is quick in reckoning. (3: 18 – ۱۹) 

These two verses of Chapter 3, ‘Āli-Imrān (The Family of Imrān) are famously known as verses that deal with the Unity of God, justice, prophecy, Day of Judgement and leadership. These verses were inscribed between the drum and the body of the tower to emphasise the spiritual meaning of Unity, by focusing on ‘there is no God but He’ and His Justice and All Knowingness. Furthermore the gold kufic and white thuluth calligraphy were positioned on the tower in order to be seen by pilgrims according to the Islamic world-view principles.

The calligraphic inscription continues with verse 65 of Chapter 40, Al-Ghāfir (The Forgiver), verse 102 and 103 of Chapter 6, Al-An’ām (The Cattle) and verse 19 of Chapter 42, Al-Shūrā (The Council):

He is the Living, there is no god but He, therefore call on Him, being sincere to Him in obedience; (all) praise is due to Allah, the lord of the worlds. (40: 65)

In this verse, there is further emphasis on the Unity of God as it also contains “there is no God but He”. It deals with the Unity of Divine Essence, Unity of Divine Attributes and Unity of Divine Acts. Therefore, in continuation of the verse discussed above, this verse emphasises the Eternal Living of God, and, in reference to His servants, He has focused on those who are sincere to Him in their obedience. Consequently, from an Islamic artistic approach, the artist has presented a very deep Islamic philosophical principle at the transition point between the body of the tower and the drum.

“That is Allah, your Lord, there is no God but He; the Creator of all things, therefore serve Him. And He has charge of all things. Vision comprehends Him not, and He comprehends (all) vision; and He is the Knower of subtleties, the Aware.” (۶: ۱۰۲-۱۰۳) This verse also refers to the Unity of God, and discusses how He is Omniscient. It focuses on the Lordship aspect of God, and, in return, has invited humanity to worship Him, as He is the creator of the world. This refers to the move from multiplicity to Unity, and, is therefore, written on the body of the tower before its transition into the dome, which is symbolic of the Divine and Unity World.

“Allah is Benignant to His servants; He gives sustenance to whom He pleases; and He is the Strong, the Mighty.” (۴۲: ۱۹) This verse refers to how God the Almighty aids His creation and nothing can prevent Him from giving material and spiritual aid to His followers, as He is Powerful. By inscribing this verse, the artist is displaying God’s Merciful and Benevolent nature in an artistic and intricate manner.

On top of the calligraphic inscription, where the drum is formed is a narrow band of geometric turquoise tiles which act as a transition to the dome. The drum itself is decorated with geometric and diamond shaped turquoise tiles (figure 4).

The Qibla portal, famously known as Qibla Qapūsī (figure 5), is framed by “a narrow band of tile mosaic in blue, white and brown and has a series of hexagonal epigraphic medallions braided into the frame.”۹ The portal is also framed with dark blue mu’arraq tiles with white thuluth inscription below and blue kufic inscription above. The colours used in the mu’arraq tiles create a heavenly atmosphere where the pilgrim could feel a sense of serenity. The use of positive and negative space in the decoration is a symbolic representation of one’s body and soul, which are connected and dependent on one another. Furthermore, the reason for the use of white thuluth inscription is to illustrate the victory of light over darkness, which is portrayed through increasing the use of whitespace on a dark background. The white thuluth inscriptions consist of verses 79, 162 – ۱۶۳ of Chapter 6, Al-An’ām (The Cattle) and verse 80 of Chapter 17, Al-‘Isrā’ (The Israelites), whilst the blue kufic inscription consists of verse 95 of Chapter 4, Al-Nisā’ (The Women) (figure 6). These verses deal with the Unity of God and how Prophet Muhammad’s teachings are also based on Prophet Ibrahim’s teachings. The inscription of these verses on the portal entrance of Sheikh Safi al-Din’s tomb is to stress to the pilgrim that the subject of worship is solely God.

Above the Qibla Qapūsī portal door there is a rectangular tablet in mu’arraq tiles, which is decorated with white thuluth and yellow-gold kufic calligraphy (figure 7). A part of verse 19 of Chapter 47, Muhammad of the Qur’an is written at the top is inscribed in white thuluth “So know that there is no God save Allah” and the second part in yellow-gold kufic “and ask forgiveness for thy sin”.  Similar to the other inscriptions of Qibla Qapūsī, this verse deals with the singularity of God. The Islamic belief in the Unity of God is repeated across the Tomb Tower of Sheikh Safi al-Din to emphasise the understanding and acceptance of this belief by the pilgrim with not only his mind, but also with his spirit.

There are other thuluth and kufic inscriptions adorning the Qibla Qapūsī, an example being the two lined white thuluth epigraphy at the top and yellow-gold kufic epigraphy at the bottom which cover the segment above the meshed metal window. The thuluth and kufic Qur’anic calligraphy of verses 62, 63 and part of 64 of Chapter 10, Yūnus are adorned with turquoise and yellow arabesque (figure 8).

“Now surely the friends of Allah – they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve. Those who believe and guarded (against evil). They shall have good news in this world’s life and in the hereafter.” (۱۰: ۶۲-۶۳) These verses describe that those who follow Divine values and commands will have no fear or sorrow is this life or the next. These people are those who have a deep belief in God, which affects their everyday deeds. It can be said that this verse has been used to denote the nature of Sheikh Safi al-Din’s life in this world and the next, and the life of his followers. Consequently, Sheikh Safi al-Din is one of the ‘friends of Allah’ and the attributes of such a person has been inscribed on the Qibla Qapūsī to illustrate the characteristics of a true practicing believer.            

Underneath the above inscription, there are two rectangular tablets decorating the inner arch of Qibla Qapūsī, inscribed with the names of Allah, Muhammad and Ali in yellow-brown thuluth calligraphy on a dark blue background. The word ‘Allah’ is referring the Unity of God, and ‘Muhammad’ is referring to the prophecy of Prophet Muhammad, whilst ‘Ali’ is referring to the leadership of Imam Ali whom all Sufi orders begin their lineage with. The inscription of these names on the inner arch of Qibla Qapūsī is a reference to the founding roots of Sheikh Safi al-Din’s Sufi Order and how it leads back to Prophet Muhammad.

There are 8 hexagonal medallions decorating the borders of Qibla Qapūsī; with 3 medallions on the left border, 3 medallions on the right border, and 2 medallions on the top border framing the Qibla Qapūsī. The ahadīth that have been inscribed on the medallions are based on religious values, prayer, remembrance of God and humanistic values of Prophet Muhammad, in kufic calligraphy.

The inscription on the right medallion on the top border of Qibla Qapūsī (figure 9) is based on a hadīth from Prophet Muhammad “Prophet Muhammad said: prayer is worship.” The left medallion (figure 10) is inscribed with verse 25 of Chapter 10, Yūnus from the Qur’an “And Allah invites to the abode of peace and guides whom He pleases into the right path.” (۱۰: ۲۵) These two medallions are philosophically symmetrical with one another, as in the left medallion the artist has chosen the Arabic word Duʻā’ which is also used in the above Qur’anic verse, with the difference that in this instance it is written on behalf of the Prophet. In the right medallion the word Du‘a is from the Worshipped i.e. Allah, and in the second medallion from the worshipper i.e. Prophet Muhammad. Recitation and prayer were the fundamental aspects of the Safaviyya Sufi Order, as Sheikh Safi al-Din believed that in order for a Sufi disciple to have the capacity of learning from the Sufi pīr he must first chant the remembrance of God (dhikr).

The mu’arraq tile medallions on the right border of the Qibla Qapūsī are also inscribed in kufic. The medallion on the top (figure 11) is a hadīth from the Prophet saying “God, appoint me as a spiritual person in life, and let me die as a spiritual person and resurrect me as a spiritual person [on the Day of Judgment].” The second medallion (figure 12) is chosen wisely by the artist as it states “the best recitation is saying: there is no deity but Allah”, which corresponds with the first medallion and is based on Sufi doctrine. The third medallion (figure 13) is also a hadīth from Prophet Muhammad inviting people to do charity work, which is one of the most important attributes of a Sufi.

The inscriptions on the mu’arraq tile medallions decorating the left border of the Qibla Qapūsī include hadīth and Qur’anic verses. The inscription on the top medallion (figure 14) states, “nothing is more important than prayer to Allah”, whilst the middle medallion (figure 15) is inscribed with a part of verse 30 of Chapter 41, Fuşşilat (Explained in Detail) “receive good news of the garden which you were promised” (۴۱: ۳۰). The third medallion (figure 16) also states “Almighty God said: religion is an act of good deed, so follow it.” The inscriptions on these medallions address the importance of prayer in Islam, which correspond with the Qibla wall on which they are installed. 

The Tomb Tower has an octagonal shape from the inside, even though it has a cylindrical body. What remains today of the decoration inside the Tomb Tower of Sheikh Safi al-Din are arabesque blue, white and ultramarine tilework on the pillar of the western wall. This is an example of the exquisite green, gold, ultramarine, turquoise and eggshell mu’arraq tilework that once covered the inner walls of the tower. The ceiling of the Tomb Tower is decorated with paintings on canvas and ornamental plasterwork in white, with the apex decorated with an elaborate sunburst.  At the transition point inside the tower, where the cylindrical body of the tower and the drum meet, there is a thuluth band of calligraphy of verses 1- 5 of Chapter 4, Al-Fatĥ (The Victory) of the Qur’an, which is adorned with floral motif plasterwork (figure 17).

Surely We have given to you a clear victory. That Allah may forgive your community their past faults and those to follow and complete His favour to you and keep you on a right way. And that Allah might help you with a mighty help. He is Who sent down tranquillity into the hearts of the believers that they might have more of faith added to their faith – and Allah’s are the host of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is Knowing, Wise. That He may cause the believing men and the believing women to enter gardens beneath which rivers flow to abide therein and remove from them their evil; and that is grand achievement with Allah. (48: 1-5)

The inscription of these verses at the transition point of the body and the drum is a symbol of the connecting point of heaven and earth with one another, and is a referral to mystical victory and one’s dominance over one’s soul (nafs). The portrayal of these verses on the interior of Sheikh Safi al-Din’s tomb can also be seen as a metaphor for the mystic’s spiritual level and his success at promoting God’s commands and Prophet Muhammad’s teachings.


The Shrine Ensemble and Khānqāh of Sheikh Safi al-Din Ardabili , which have been protected since 1932 under Iranian legislation, became part of the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010.  The Shrine Ensemble of Sheikh Safi al-Din, a prototype of later Khānqāh and shrines that embodies the most important characteristics of Safavid architecture, is one of the most important sites in Iranian and Islamic history, both from an architectural and decorative perspective, and from a historical, religious, spiritual and political one.

Scant attention has been paid to the Shrine of Sheikh Safi al-Din in western academia, while other Safavid and Islamic monuments have been the subjects of vigorous research. As such, this article, which is the result of fieldwork conducted over two trips to Ardabil, is a step forward to better understanding and exploring the different dimensions of the Shrine Ensemble and Khānqāh of Sheikh Safi al-Din. The Sheikh Safi al-Din shrine complex is one of the finest examples of Safavid and Iranian architecture and decoration.

Due to the spiritual nature of the site, which to this day is revered and visited by many from Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and the Kurdistan of Iraq, I have discussed the theoretical significance and meaning of the calligraphic inscriptions, which are comprised from the names of Allah, Qur’anic verses and ahadīth, using the hermeneutic approach, based on philosophy of Islamic art and Sufism. This has been done in order to gain a better understanding of the spirit of the monument, and to bring to life the calligraphic inscriptions for those readers and visitors who are not able to divulge its meaning due to the language barrier; for the calligraphic inscriptions as discussed in detail before, in many ways play the same function as mural paintings in Christian architecture and aim at setting the mood of the site.

 As the Shrine complex is immense in size and it would not have been possible to discuss in detail the complex as a whole, the Allah Allah Dome was chosen for further discussion as a part of the Shrine that best embody the nature of the complex as a whole, and, in many ways, form the heart of the complex. On the exterior of the Allah Allah Dome, under which the body of Sheikh Safi al-Din is buried, Allah is written 132 times in geometric or bannā’ī kufic calligraphy, and it is the artistic physical manifestation of the Sheikh’s eternal invocation or dhikr, which was Allah, Allah. Furthermore, the calligraphic inscriptions of the Tomb Tower emphasise the fundamental Islamic beliefs of the Sufis. 

The complexity of the Shrine complex is such, that there are many areas, such as the Chīnīkhāna or Porcelain Room and the Dār al-Huffāz, which can be the subject of further academic research.




  1. Ahmad, Qadi (1959) Calligraphers and Painters: A Treatise by Qadi Ahmad, Son of Mir-Munshi. 2. Translated from Persian by Vladimir Minorsky. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution, Freer Gallery of Art.
  2. Browne, Edward G (1924) A Literary History of Persia Volume IV Modern Times (1500-1924). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  3. Hillenbrand, Robert (1999) Islamic Art and Architecture. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd.
  4. Nasr, Seyyed Hossein (1987) Islamic Art and Spirituality. Albany: State University of New York Press (SUNY).
  5. Rizvi, Kishwar (2011) The Safavid Dynastic Shrine: Architecture, Religion and Power in Early Modern Iran. London: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd.
  6. Shaiestefar, Mahnaz and Malake Golmaghani Zade Asl (2002) ‘Katibe haie Namaie Biroonie Bogh’e Sheikh Safi al-Din Ardabili’. In Vol. 37 (Winter) Majaleie Pazhooheshie Daneshgahe Shiraz, pp. 83-103.


Figure 1 – Allah Allah Dome

Figure 2 – Allah Allah Dome Builder

Figure 3 – Two Lined Band of Inscription Between the Body of the Tower and the Drum

Figure 4 – Dome

Figure 5 – Qibla Qapūsī

Figure 6 – Qibla Qapūsī Portal

Figure 7 – Tablet above the Qibla Qapūsī Portal Door

Figure 8 – Above the Meshed Metal Window of Qibla Qapūsī

Figure 9 – Right Medallion on the Top Border of Qibla Qapūsī



Figure 10 – Left Medallion on the Top Border of Qibla Qapūsī

Figure 11 – Top Medallion on the Right Border of Qibla Qapūsī


Figure 12 – Middle Medallion on the Right Border of Qibla Qapūsī


Figure 13 – Bottom Medallion on the Right Border of Qibla Qapūsī

Figure 14 – Top Medallion on the Left Border of Qibla Qapūsī


Figure 15 – Middle Medallion on the Left Border of Qibla Qapūsī

Figure 16 – Bottom Medallion on the Left Border of Qibla Qapūsī

Figure 17 – Ceiling of the Tomb Tower


۱ Robert Hillenbrand, Islamic Art and Architecture (London: Thames and Hudson Ltd, 1999), 236.

۲ Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Islamic Art and Spirituality (Albany: State University of New York Press (SUNY), 1987), 8.

۳ Mahnaz Shaiestefar and Malake Golmaghani Zade Asl, “Katibe haie Namaie Biroonie Bogh’e Sheikh Safi al-Din Ardabili”, Majaleie Pazhooheshie Daneshgahe Shiraz 37, Winter (2002): 89-90.

۴ Qadi Ahmad, Calligraphers and Painters: A Treatise by Qadi Ahmad, Son of Mir-Munshi (Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution, Freer Gallery of Art, 1959), 21, quoted in Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Islamic Art and Spirituality (Albany: State University of New York Press (SUNY), 1987), 18.

۵ Nasr, Islamic Art, 18.

۶ Nasr, Islamic Art, 18.

۷ Kishwar Rizvi, The Safavid Dynastic Shrine: Architecture, Religion and Power in Early Modern Iran (London: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd, 2011), 48.

۸ Nasr, Islamic Art, 24.

۹ Rizvi, Safavid Dynastic Shrine, 48.

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