Tile from a Squinch

Object Name: Tile from a squinch

Date: second half 14th century

Geography: Attributed to present-day Uzbekistan, Samarqand

Culture: Islamic

Medium: Stonepaste; carved and glazed

Dimensions: H. 11 5/8 in. (29.5 cm)
W. 8 5/8 in. 21.9 cm)
D. 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Tiles

Credit Line: The Grinnell Collection, Bequest of William Milne Grinnell, 1920

Accession Number: 20.120.189


This intricately carved tile exhibits a distinctive curving arched shape that identifies it as a muqarnas element. A muqarnas is a stalactite‑like form that often adorns the interior curves of domes, niches, and portals of Islamic buildings. The precise origin of this tile remains unknown, although it is similar to tiles used at the Shah‑i Zinda funerary complex in Samarqand.