The Masjid of Mir Imad, also known as Masjid-i Maydan, is located in the old city of Kashan, Iran, near the northeastern end of the bazaar and just south of Maydan-i Fayz. It is named after one of its most important patrons, 'Imad al-Din Mahmud Shirvani, who is named along with the reigning member of the Qara Qoyonlu, Khwaja Jahanshah, in inscriptions dated 1462-1463/868 AH and 1463-1464/869 AH. The mosque's other popular name, Masjid-i Maydan, comes from a large public square on which the mosque originally sat, now replaced by the smaller, modern Maydan-i Fayz.
The date of the mosque's original construction is not known, but the oldest inscription associated with the mosque is a prayer niche bearing the date 1226/623 AH. If a building did exist at this time (and the prayer niche does not represent an example of reuse1), it was evidently renovated, for no other inscriptions or stylistic elements in the mosque indicate a building of the pre-Mongol era. The remaining inscriptions throughout the building indicate that it was founded in its current form in the fifteenth/ninth century AH under the patronage of 'Imad al-Din as mentioned above, and that renovations were made during the Safavid and Qajar periods thereafter.2
During the era of 'Imad al-Din, the mosque was built as part of a larger assemblage of public buildings situated around a paved square, known then as Maydan-i Sang. The mosque occupied its southern end. A khanqah, hospital, madrasa, caravanserai, and clock tower also adjoined the square, though none of these remains today. Today, the mosque's portal (dated to the eighteenth/twelfth century AH) opens onto a landing at the top of a pedestrian stair-street that descends to the shop-lined roundabout known as Maydan-i Fayz. Just outside the mosque's entrance, one of the primary arteries of the grand bazaar of Kashan intersects the landing at the top of the stairs, creating a bustling commercial space adjoining the mosque.
The mosque's portal, on it northwestern side, takes the form of an arched iwan covered with a muqarnas vault ending in two niches, each at an angle from the iwan opening. The niche on the right opens onto a small room whose function is obscure and may be the result of an architectural change made to that part of the building. The niche on the left leads onto a domed vestibule that in turn opens onto an iwan on the northwestern side of a central courtyard. Directly opposite this iwan is another iwan of similar height. The other two sides also have central iwans of larger proportions. The iwan on the northeastern side is broader and is adorned with sober but elegant ceiling decorations. The qibla iwan opposite this on the southwestern side of the mosque is the taller but narrower. It leads onto a domed sanctuary with a mihrab. To the right of the mihrab, in the western corner of the mosque, is a covered prayer hall three aisles wide and three bays deep, with a larger central aisle.
Golombek and Wilber, 391.
A list of inscriptions is given in Ganjnāmah.
Golombek, Lisa, and Donald Wilber. The Timurid Architecture of Iran and Turan. 1: 390-392. 2 vols. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998.