Arts of the Islamic World and India

Arts of the Islamic World and India

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 46. A rare Safavid silk tomb cover, Persia, dated 1110 AH/1698-99 AD.

A rare Safavid silk tomb cover, Persia, dated 1110 AH/1698-99 AD

Auction Closed

April 24, 03:45 PM GMT


150,000 - 200,000 GBP

Lot Details


of rectangular form, woven in crimson-red, yellow, green, black and cream with alternating calligraphic panels framed by minor bands of calligraphy bearing the date 1110 AH

77 by 276cm.

Please note that there may be restrictions on the import of property of Iranian origin into the USA and some or all member countries of the Gulf Co-operation Council. Any buyers planning to import property of Iranian origin into any of these countries should satisfy themselves of the relevant import regime. Sotheby's will not assist buyers with the shipment of such items into the USA or the GCC. In addition, FedEx and US courier services will no longer carry Iranian-origin goods to any location. Any shipment services would need to be provided by a Fine Art shipping company.

Christie's, London, 8 April 2008, lot 190


Repetitions of:

ya Imam Husayn madhlum shahid

Bismillah , bearing the date 1110 AH

Qur'an, surah al-fath (XLVIII), v. 1

Qur'an, surah al-saff (LXI), v. 13 (part)

The Safavids produced high quality textiles in silk such as the present lot which was intended as a tomb cover or hanging tribute for a Shi’a shrine. A further tomb cover was sold in these rooms, 1 April 2009, lot 115, and other examples are held in museum collections including the Philadelphia Museum of Art (inv. no.1922.22.90), the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha (inv. no.TE 27.98, Thompson 2004, pp.46-49, no.10) and the Musée Historique des Tissues, Lyon (Welch 1979, pp.154-5, no.64).

The weaver of this tomb cover displays a masterful control of calligraphy and colour to produce elegantly drawn inscriptions in shades of crimson punctuated by contrasting panels in green and black. In relation to the Lyon example, Welch notes that the importance of the surah al-Fath inscription is two-fold. Its contents are fitting for the context of a shrine given that the verse refers to both spiritual and physical victory. The formulation of the verse also allows the weaver to achieve their full calligraphic potential by creating a symmetrical composition in which the fatahna and fath frame the composition (Welch, op.cit. p.154).