GĪĀṮ-AL-DĪN ŠĪRĀZĪ, master architect in Khorasan during the reign of the Timurid Šāhroḵ (807-50 /1405-47). Next to nothing is known about him. His name appears together with that of the renowned architect of Šāhroḵ, Qewām-al-Dīn b. Zayn-al-Dīn Šīrāzī (d. 842/1438), in the inscription of the west ayvān of the Ḵargerd madrasa, which was built for the Timurid vizier Pīr Aḥmad Ḵᵛāfī. According to this inscription, dated 846/1422-23, Qewām-al-Dīn died before the building was completed, which was then finished by Ḡīāṯ-al-Dīn. A second foundation inscription on the entrance ayvān gives the date 848/1444, which means that Ḡīāṯ-al-Dīn completed the work some six years later. It is not known whether he worked with Qewām-al-Dīn from the beginning or took over some time after the master had died. The building bears all of the hallmarks of Qewām-al-Dīn’s work (based on surviving monuments): symmetry in plan and elevation, innovative vaulting, and tile work (Gowhar-šād mosque in Mašhad, 819-21/1416-18; the complex of Gowhar-šād in Herat, 820-41/1417-38; possibly the shrine of Ḵᵛāja ʿAbd-Allāh Anṣārī at Gāzorgāh, 829-32/1425-29). It is therefore impossible to determine Ḡīāṯ-al-Dīn’s personal contribution to the madrasa at Ḵargerd. Some scholars (e.g., O’Kane) suggest that he also built the mosque at Tāybād at the grave of Shaikh Zayn-al-Dīn, dated to 848/1444-45, and sponsored by the same patron. However, this shrine may well have been the work of another architect associated with Shiraz, who built the mosque and madrasa of Amīr Fīrūzšāh at Torbat-e Jām (844-46/1440-43). His use of arch-net vaulting is paralleled at Tāybād.
L. Golombek and D. Wilber, The Timurid Architecture of Iran and Turan, Princeton, 1988, pp. 36, 167-68, 322-24.
E. Herzfeld, “Damacus. Studies in Architecture II,” Ars Islamica 10, 1943, pp. 20-22.
B. O’Kane, “the Madrasa al-Ghiyāsòīyya at Khargird,” Iran 14, 1976, pp. 79-92.
Idem, “Taybad, Turbat-i Jam and Timurid Vaulting,” Iran 17, 1979, pp. 87-104.
Originally Published: December 15, 2001
Last Updated: February 9, 2012
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