Little is known about this tomb, which is located in the city of Kashi in the Xinjiang Province, to the east of the People's Park. It was most likely built in the late Ming or early Qing Dynasty, when the tradition of building mausoleums to honor the deceased was introduced by the rising Islamic clans in Xinjiang and northwest China.
In the absence of scholarly work, most of the information gathered on this tomb is based on interviews conducted with locals. Residents of Kashi believe that the tomb was built in the seventeenth century by a ruler from Aksu, but left empty after he was buried elsewhere. The name "aq", meaning white, is attributed to the fact that the tomb does not contain a sarcophagus.
The tomb follows Central Asian tradition of funerary architecture, which was adopted in Xinjiang, and resembles many other tombs and mausoleums that were built in the region in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The front elevation is a pishtaq with an arched recess, flanked by panels carved with shallow arched niches and framed by engaged minarets. A ribbed vault, formed by the upward curving of the three facets that form the portal niche, crowns the entryway. Each facet has two arched niches; the upper niches are pierced with windows, while the central lower niche serves as the entrance. Like the Mausoleum of the Kings at Hami, the pishtaq is adorned with blue and white tiles with geometric motifs, while the sides of the square tomb are left unadorned in exposed brick, except for a decorative brick band that runs halfway up the walls. The dome covering the square burial chamber was also once tiled and is topped by an octagonal lantern similar to those seen at the Small Green Mosque (Apak Khoja Mausoleum Complex) and Aitika Mosque.
Qiu, Yulan. Ancient Chinese Architecture: Islamic Buildings, edited by Sun Dazhang, 126, 166, 169. Vienna: Springer-Verlag, 2003.
Ak Mazar (Variant)
White Tomb (Variant)
Aq Complex (Variant)
17th c./11th c. AH
East of people's park, Kashi, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region