The Amir Burunduk Mausoleum is located within the Shah-i Zindah funerary complex; mausolea built between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries that form a string of spectacular tilework down the southern slope of the Afrasiyab hill, north of Samarkand.
Popularly identified as the tomb of Timur's general, Amir Burunduk, no epigraphic or literary evidence confirms this attribution. This square domed chamber adjoins the southern structure of the Tuman Aqa complex. A pishtaq, of which only the northern half still stands, faces the Shah-i Zindah corridor. The portal retains carved terracotta revetment from the late fourteenth century. The decoration of the remaining fragment of the pishtaq, however, dates from the early fifteenth century.
The interior walls are articulated with three arches above a dado of hexagonal underglaze painted tiles; the central arches are structurally formed as a shallow niche, flanked by blind arches formed from plaster, set in plaster rectangular frames. The central niche of the southern wall originally opened for access.
The zone of transition consists of an octagonal course with muqarnas squinches, and a sixteen-sided collar below the dome. The interior of the conical dome is decorated with plaster moldings in a geometrical eight-pointed star design. A sixteen-sided exterior drum wraps the interior zone of transition, and would have supported an outer dome which, it is believed, was never built.
The cruciform crypt containing nine graves was uncovered in 1925. The brick structure, possibly of re-used pre-Mongol bricks, provides the foundations for the mausoleum above.
Brandenburg, Dietrich. 1972. Samarkand: Studien zur Islamischen Baukunst in Uzbekistan (Zentralasien). Berlin: Bruno Hessling Verlag, 71-72.
Lisa Golombek and Donald Wilber. 1988. The Timurid Architecture of Iran and Turan. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 241-242.