THE MOST REMARKABLE GRAVE IN ISLAMIC HISTORY;
A SCULPTURE OF DOG ON GRAVE OF AN ARCHITECT.
Some things are unbelievable but as they exist, so record of them is essential too. This is more particular with narrations of Islamic architecture, and related to not only Emperors and Queens, but also more so with the greatest Islamic architects of history. Our reference is to the Shrine of Gazar Gah in Herat, now Afghanistan, and the Shrine of Hazrat Abdullah Ansari, the great Sufi of Afghanistan. And the grave of Qawamuddin Mimar, of Emperor Shah Rukh and Queen Gohar Shad.
Noticed by travelers from centuries, and mentioned in their travelogues, the grave has confused many. Some thought of it as a marble sculpture of a tiger. Legend has it that it is that of a dog. And so beautifully carved that it out do sculptures of lions in Islamic history. Yates mention same in his history book. Ferrier mentions same too, later in the years. Even guide books like ‘Lonely Planet’ stress same. What is the background of same?
Abdullah Ansari the great saint of Herat was icon of many Emperors and Queens. Emperor Shah Rukh was a great follower of the Saint, and wanted an exceptional construction on his shrine. So, he requested Qavam ud din to do the same:
“The architect Qavam al-Din Shirazi had traveled from his hometown of Shiraz to the northern parts of Iran. Some of his work during this period includes the madrasa for Shah Rukh at Herat, the congregational mosque for Gawhar Shad at Mashhad, and the madrasa Ghiyathiyah at Khargird. By the time he was commissioned by Shah Rukh to build the shrine, he had developed his own architectural style that integrated Iranian, Turanian, and his own personal stylistic elements.”
Some buildings fell down in history, but some still survive in full. Shrine was damaged by flood and it was repaired in 1499, by architect Zain ud din. However, the name of the architect Qavam ud din is on one of the gateways itself. As the architect was a great admirer of the Saint, he requested his burial to be in front of the shrine, and requested that the statue of a dog be built on the grave, so that on the judgement day, he would be recognized as a dog of the Saint. And so, it was done, although he died much later after completing same in 1425, that was in the year 1438. In any case variations in years are there at various sources. It does not deter us from our fantasy of the architects grave with a dog statue on it.