The sale was led by a fine Safavid brass astrolabe, signed by Muhammad Khalil, Persia, dated 1672-74 AD which achieved £329,000, doubling the low estimate of £150,000. The top ten lots comprised scientific instruments, decorative works, paintings and calligraphy from Persia, Turkey, India, North Africa and Egypt. The cover lot, a magnificent Ottoman tortoiseshell and mother-of-pearl box, Turkey, circa 1640, sold for over four times its presale low estimate of £70,000, selling to a private collector for £311,000. There was strong participation from both private and institutional buyers hailing from the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, United States and South Asia.
This autumn’s sale of Arts of the Islamic World forms a part of Sotheby’s ‘Indian and Islamic Week’, which will feature three different sales, juxtaposing art from the Islamic world covering over 1500 years with finely painted miniatures and works from the prestigious SVEN GAHLIN COLLECTION, as well as modern and contemporary works from South Asia.
Included in the sale are two rare and important Ottoman tombak sections of armour, including a breast plate (krug) and a shield (kalkan), testifying to the continued connections between Europe and the Ottoman Empire. Both were most likely to have been captured as booty as the Ottomans advanced into Europe, reaching as far as Vienna. Another historically important work of art is a monumental Mamluk Qur’an dating to fourteenth-century Egypt. The production of such large scale manuscripts was popular among successive Mamluk Sultans and viziers in the fourteenth and early fifteenth century, but remained reserved for wealthy elite patrons. Finally, we will be offering the exciting discovery of a leaf from Emperor Akbar’s royal Mughal copy of the Jami’ al-Tawarikh of Rashid al-Din Fazlullah Hamadani, attributed to Bhim Gujarati and Basawan, circa 1596. From a distinguished American private collection, this painting in superb condition has not been seen on the market since the first half of the twentieth century.