Location or Findspot (Modern-Day Country): Iran
Description: Sultan Uljaytu (Öljeitü) was one of the greatest Ilkhanid patrons (r. 1304–16). He commissioned 30-volume paper manuscripts of the Qur'an and continued his predecessor's grand contextual history of the Mongols, the Compendium of Chronicles. He added a new mihrab to the Great Mosque at Isfahan, and he continued building the new Ilkhanid capital city at Sultaniyya ("Imperial" in Persian) begun by his father. The largest structure in the new walled citadel was Uljaytu's own octagonal brick mausoleum (1307–13), which has eight minarets and one of the largest domes in the Islamicate world. The double-shell oval dome measures 50 meters tall and 25 meters in diameter. A double-shell dome can be built up to a more impressive exterior height without increasing its weight; it also improves interior acoustics and insulation. The interior becomes lighter as it moves upward, from massive piers at ground level to an accessible gallery level of arches supporting the dome. Despite Uljaytu's ambitions for Sultaniyya, building ceased after his death.
Relevant Textbook Chapter(s): 9
Repository and Online Resources: • Sultaniyya is a UNESCO World Heritage site. • See one of Uljaytu's Qur'ans at the British Library. • Listen to an illustrated lecture by Sheila Blair, "Grandeur and Gold: Qur'an Codices for Sultan Uljaytu and the Ilkhanid Court"
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons; Flickr; Navid Jamali
Tags: Works in textbook, Islamicate, Western Asian, Access to the sacred, Artistic production, Ideology, Status and identity, Arabic, Burial and tombs