Historical tiles that graced an impressive grand mosque

Devotion to religion can be found all over the Sultanate even in the most remote of places. While different items have different meaning and significance a lot of these items that showcased faith can be found in places of worship. The same can be said for the historically significant Great Mosque of Qalhat located in South Sharqiyah. At this archaeological site, some tiles of Kashan which survived years of changes still speak today of the glorious, religious past. The ancient city of Qalhat, known as the Twin of Hormuz, was the main port of northern Oman from the 7th-9th c AH/ 13th -15th c CE and the Great Mosque was its most famous edifice.
According to the National Museum of Oman, the mosque was built around 699 AH/ 1300 CE by Bibi Maryam, the wife of Bahauddin Ayaz, King of Hormuz and Ruler of Qalhat. The museum explains how the Arab geographer Ibn Battuta visited Qalhat during his travels in the 8th c AH/14th c CE and wrote a vivid description of the Great Mosque shortly after its completion: Qalhat has fine bazaar and an exceedingly beautiful mosque, the walls of which are decorated with elaborate tile work. It occupies a lofty position overlooking the town and harbour.
The Great Mosque was destroyed by Portuguese insurgents circa 913-914 AH /1508 CE. Surviving elements of its decoration, discovered during preliminary archaeological excavations of the mosque site in 1430-33 AH/2008-11CE, are displayed at the National Museum of Oman in Muscat.
The museum goes on to explain — during the Mongo II — Khanid Period (Circa 668-710 AH/ 1270-1310 CE) the potters of Kashan in central Persia (Iran) were renowned for the making of luxurious glazed tiles for wall decoration. The tiles were typically arranged in friezes or in star and cross mosaic panels. Three decorative styles were produced, featuring lustre painting and dark blue or turquoise glazes.
This is how Ibn Battuta described the features of the Great Mosque — “and several fragments of tiles imported from Kashan(Iran) were indeed discovered during the preliminary excavations.” Ibn Battuta referred to the tiles as kashani tiles.
The fragments, according to the museum, were found in the prayer hall near the mihrab, and outside near the minaret, where the main gate was possibly located, points out the museum. The tiles were made in Iran, of which we only have the fragments now were opaque, turquoise-glazed ‘Lajvardina’ tiles that were found on the surface of the mosque area. The tiles featured moulded naskhi-style calligraphy under a raised band with interlacing arabesque patterns and were arranged in inscriptional friezes, explains the museum.