islamic tile art

British Museum helps return stolen artefact to Uzbekistan
17 July 2017: The British Museum has helped to recover an important medieval Islamic artefact that surfaced in a London gallery after it was stolen from a monument in Uzbekistan.

The enormous calligraphic glazed tile – half a metre in height – had disappeared in 2014. Thieves left a gaping hole after they removed it from the magnificent entrance facade of a 12th-century monument, just over 12 miles (20km) from Bukhara, the Unesco world heritage site on the ancient Silk Road route.

Part of a high-relief turquoise glazed inscription, the tile was thought to have been lost forever until it surfaced in a Mayfair gallery, where it was being offered for sale.

The theft was not officially reported, but an Oxford scholar who had recently returned from the historic site spotted it in a catalogue published by the Simon Ray gallery.

Ray, who had bought it in good faith, immediately contacted the British Museum, which describes the tile’s recovery as “dramatic”.

The museum will this week stage an official handover to the Uzbek embassy in London.
(via World News | The Guardian)

Shah-i-Zinda (Uzbek: Shohizinda; Persian: شاه زنده‎‎, meaning “The Living King”) is a necropolis in the north-eastern part of Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Ensemble includes mausoleums and other ritual buildings of 9-14th and 19th centuries.

Mausoleum of Shirin Beg Agha, sister of Timur, at the Shah-i Zinda necropolis in Samarqand.  The exterior decoration of this tomb includes inscriptions attributed to Socrates, including: “In truth the people of this world are like birds rejoicing.”