The structural study of Ghaffarieh Dome tile-workings in Maragheh Town based on laboratory studies

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Parvin Soleimani; Reza Vahidzadeh;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 62, Number 4, p.240-245 (2017)


The history of using tiles in Persian architecture dates back to the eleventh century. In the beginning, tiles were made of bricks and mounted with plaster. Thereafter, however, tiles were replaced with mosaics to decorate buildings. The technique of applying mosaics began in the thirteenth century and reached its summit during the Ilkhanid and Timurid periods between the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries. One of the most outstanding buildings in which mosaics were widely used is Ghaffarieh Dome, a fourteenth-century building in Maragheh, Eastern Azerbaijan. The Dome is especially noteworthy for its unique mosaic workings. Therefore, a thorough examination of the mosaics used in the Dome may pave the way for closer studies of the Ilkhanid mosaics (tile-workings) in Iran. Since there is little information on the material aspects of mosaics used in the Ghaffarieh Dome, the body and glaze of the mosaics were examined through instrumental analyses. In order to interpret the results of the analyses, they were compared with existing data about similar mosaics of Islamic lands. The presence of pyroxene (aluminum diopside) in some of the mosaic bodies revealed that the firing temperature limit in the kiln was not, most likely, uniform. Two kinds of glazes, alkaline and lead-based, were used to produce black and turquoise colors.