Necropolis of Khiva Khans

After Muhammad Rahim-khan I died he was buried in the khanaka which he had constructed by the Pahlavan-Mahmud mausoleum. That gave rise to the Khiva khans’ necropolis. Muhammad Rahim-khan I’s burial place occupies the central niche opposite to the entrance. When the khanaka became the khan’s mausoleum, the gravestone of khan-historian Abu-l-Ghazi-khan (1603-1664) and probable gravestone of his son Anush-khan were transferred into the mausoleum. A portal pylon bears a marble plate with an epitaph to a courtier Ilbars-khan II (1728-1740). Later, in 1825, the eastern wing was added where Allakuli-khan (1825-1842) was buried. Another Khiva khan Esfendiyar in advance prepared a big family tomb in the korikhana of Pahlavan-Mahmud necropolis, however, was not buried there. He was killed outside the walls of Ichan-Qala in a coup, carried out by Turkmen leader Djunaid-khan, and Khiva mortuary rite determined that the dead body could not cross city walls.

The interiors of the Pahlavan-Mahmud necropolis, as well as the main burial gravestones are decorated with refined majolica. Decorations with blue majolica tiles and intricate compositions of plant and geometrical patterns girihs are recognized masterpieces of Khiva art. The highest level of this work gives reason to suppose that under Muhammad Rahim-khan I special measures had been taken to revive this ancient craft. In the facings of the khanaka and memorial mosque there are tiles with poems, “Flowers of the paintings serve as models for spring: they are memory of Abdullah’s art.” So once again a genius ceramist “Jin” Abdullah reminded us about himself, whom we have known from the ceramic decoration of Kunya-Ark. Epigraphic text in Pahlavan-Mahmud necropolis has preserved the name of the architect Adina-Murad, also the names of Abdullah’s partner ceramicists – Nur-Muhammad and Muhammad-Fano.

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© Marakanda Expedition, 2017 .