The tilework on the sides is of a particularly high order, both in terms of invention and execution. The decagonal panel appears to be made up of at least two different primitve forms forcing the eye to examine every detail of it. Of especial interest is the raised faience mosaic panel, in the centre, made up of geometric shapes set against a complex lattice background. This parallels those on the Darb-e-Imam. They were both probably set in place during the reign of Ouzun Aq-Quiunlu (1467-1478). The last panel shows the full treatment given to a symbol made up of four straight lines so arranged that they form a square in the centre. Close examination of the centre square shows in turn that the decoration there is made up of the names of Allah, Mohammad and Ali, the Son-in-Law of Muhammad. This motif can be found all over the religious architecture of the period and in the author's belief is based on the kufic characters forming the name of God. Here every embellishment is applied to the underlying pattern.
The panels are of immense importance in showing the great level of skill which had been attained under the Aq-Quiunlu period, not only in terms of the complexity of the tile cutting, but also in terms of the use and skillful handling of plane geometry to act as a potent expression of Sufic numerical symbolism.
An interesting sidelight on the philosophical constructs underlying the construction of the mosque is provided by an inscription on the left hand side as you enter this eivan. This incorporates a couplet from the great Iranian Poet Hafez, which specifically refers to those who try to make gold out of dust. This has made me consider the Mosque as an alchemical engine of transformation which is used to assist in the trandformative process within man, just as the clay was turned into tiles to transform the appearance of the mosque. There is more on this available on this site in a section called 'The Alchemy of the Mosque'.
Last Updated: 13 April 2001