A MONUMENTAL LATE SAFAVID CUERDA SECA POTTERY TILE PANEL, PERSIA, 18TH CENTURY
comprising forty-five cuerda-seca pottery tiles decorated in two shades of green, blue, yellow, mauve, brown and black outlines, forming a courtly scene
133 by 232cm.
The tiles each set into place with metal rivets with leather to protect the tiles, abrasion and some chips around some of the tiles, some of tiles with breaks and associated restoration including overpainting, set into wooden frame (missing lower border), with nicks throughout, as viewed.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Bonham's London, 1 May 2003, lot 298.
Ex-collection William Randolph Hurst, CA (1863-1951).
This pottery tile panel is one of the elaborate and colourful cuerda seca designs of the Safavid court. The panel depicts the prophet Joseph and Potiphar's wife – known as Yusuf and Zuleykha – a tale from the Qur’an later retold by Jami.
Cuerda seca (Spanish for ‘dry cord’) developed as a technique alongside tile mosaics in the latter part of the fourteenth century in Central Asia and consisted of complete tiles painted with coloured pigments which were separated from each other to prevent running by an oily substance mixed with manganese, which left a dark lining after firing (see Porter 1995, pp.19-20). The technique continued to be utilised throughout Persia into the seventeenth and early into the eighteenth century. Panels consisting of multiple tiles were typically used for architectural adornment and frequently portray narrative scenes from literature. This present lot in this way resembles inv.no. EA1979.16 from the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, with its forty-eight tiles to the forty-five of the present lot and inv.no. EAX.3135, also from the Ashmolean, a Qajar equivalent of the same scene from the Yusuf and Zuleykha story.