|Aisha Bibi Mausoleum|
the restored mausoleum of Aisha Bibi
|Town or city||Aisha Bibi|
The Aisha-Bibi (Kazakh: Айша бибі) is an 11th or 12th-century mausoleum for a noble woman located in the village of Aisha Bibi, 18 km (11 mi) west of Taraz, Kazakhstan on the Silk Road. It is locally famous as a monument to love and faithfulness.
According to legend, the mausoleum was built by a Karakhanid Dynasty ruler for his beautiful fiancée Aisha-Bibi, a daughter of Sufi poet Khakim-Ata. Matching the legend, the mausoleum looks light, well-proportioned, and delicate. The mausoleum's architectural forms and decoration are reminiscent of fine lace. The whole building is covered with carved terracotta tiles using 60 different floral geometric patterns and stylized calligraphy. Aisha Bibi is a direct stylistic descendant of Samanid Mausoleum in Bukhara. Both use the same stylistic conventions of Pre-Mongol Central Asian architecture. These two mausoleums rank among the few surviving examples of pre-Mongol architecture in Central Asia.
Aisha Bibi is part of a larger complex. Ten meters away is a second mausoleum called Babaji Khatun ("wise queen"), and across the road is a sacred limestone cavern. Together with a garden area and parking lot they form the national monument. The complex is sited on a ridge overlooking the Taraz oasis from the west.
The entire mausoleum is covered with terracotta panels which help to create the illusion of masslessness typical in Islamic architecture. The terracotta decoration also uses light and shadow rather than color, a pre-Mongol style. Functionally, this type of decoration scatters the light so the viewer is not blinded as he might be from a smooth light colored wall in full sun. The Columns on the corner are shaped after wooden columns used extensively in Soghdian pre-Islamic architecture. There is a band of calligraphy at the point of constriction in each column. In general they describe the beauty of Aisha Bibi and of love in general. One of the old distichs reads: "Autumn... Clouds... The Earth is beautiful".
Sauran clay was usd to make the bricks in both the original and restored Aisha Bibi.
There was just an hour to go for 16-year-old beauty Aisha-bibi to meet with her lover. But a tragedy cut the life of the girl… She had estimated herself worthy to marry the Emir of Taraz, and left her home Otrar with her nurse. At the end of their voyage, the two women stopped at the edge of the Talas River to refresh themselves. It is there that bit by a snake, Aysha lost her life. The Emir, informed at the same time of the mission of the young woman and her fine tragedy, came in haste to collect its last sigh and ordered the construction of this tomb. Today nobody can say what color her eyes were. Nobody remembers her voice, habits, and warmth of her hands. But we know the main thing about her: she loved and was beloved.
Legend of Aisha Bibi
There are 28 variations of the legend of Aisha-Bibi. According to the most popular version, Aisha-Bibi was the daughter of the well-known 11th century scholar and poet Khakim-Ata Suleiman Bakyrgani. After her father's death, Aisha was brought up by Sheikh Aikhodzha (Zangi-Ata). When the governor of Taraz Karakhan Mukhammed (for whom Karakhan Mausoleum in Taraz was built) asked for the young beauty's hand, her stepfather rejected the suitor, because Karakhan was not a descendant of the prophet (sayyid), as Aisha was. She then outwitted her hard-hearted stepfather by pretending to lead an army for jihad against the idolaters (Kara-Khitans). Secretly however, she rode towards Taraz. Unfortunately, Karakhan never met his young bride; she died of snakebite at Assa River. Mourning the death of the girl, Karakhan erected the mausoleum of fairytale beauty at this place. A friend and fellow traveler of Aisha named Babadzhi-Khatun became the custodian of the grave. When she died, she was buried within 20 steps from Aisha, and a mausoleum was erected over her grave as well. All legends follow the same general plot: A girl disobeys her parents out of love for her a noble in Taraz and dies by entering a body of water near the city. The legend emphasizes the belief in Central Asia of obedience to elders as the highest value.
The site has been venerated since the Middle Ages. Local women from the Taraz Oasis still pray for children and a happy family. It is customary for newlyweds in Taraz to have their union blessed by the dead lovers. Their ritual reenacts the myth. After the ceremony the wedding party retraces Karakhan's journey from Taraz to the site of his fiancée's death. The journey begins at Karakhan Mausoleum in Taraz and ends at the Aisha Bibi, at each location the bride and groom venerate the dead lovers and ask for their blessing.
Russian archeologist V. V. Bartold was the first scientist to record the and study the ruins in 1893. The Soviet Union built a protective glass shell to preserve the monument (c 1960) and used it for the education of students in Taraz and tourism. In 2002, the Republic of Kazakhstan paid Nishan Rameto to restore the Aisha Bibi and built the park infrastructure around it. It is a national monument and is listed by UNESCO.
Detail of Squinch
- Kervan 2002
- Kervan, 2002
- Lebedev, 2002
- Lebedev, 2002.
- keravan, 2005
- "Aisha-Bibi Mausoleum". Oriental Express Central Asia. Archived from the original on 24 June 2006. Retrieved 2006.
- Kervan, Monique (2002), "Un monument baroque dans les steppes du Kazakhstan : Le tombeau d'Örkina Khatun, princesse Chaghatay?", Arts Asiatiques 57: 5–32, ISSN 0004-3958
- Lebedev, Vyacheslav (2002-11-07). "Monument to Young Bride" (№ 172 (25619)). Retrieved 2006.
- Shuptar, Vitaliy. "Welcome to Kazakhstan: Aisha-Bibi and Babaja-Khatun Mausoleums". Avalon Historico-Geographical Society. Retrieved 2006.
- "History & Ethnography". Samdol Travel Company. Retrieved 2006.
- Knobloch, Edgar (2001). Monuments of Central Asia: A Guide to the Archaeology, Art and Architecture of Turkestan. I.B. Tauris. p. 246. ISBN 1-86064-590-9.