Arts of the Islamic World & India including Fine Rugs and Carpets
Live Auction: 27 October 2021 • 1:00 PM BST • London

Arts of the Islamic World & India including Fine Rugs and Carpets 27 October 2021 • 1:00 PM BST • London

A rts of the Islamic World & India, which takes place in London on 27 October, celebrates the achievements of artists and craftsmen from the Islamic world over 1000 years, offering a broad array of high quality works of art.

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Exhibition Times

Friday 22 October09.00-16.30 BST
Saturday 23 October12.00-17.00 BST
Sunday 24 October12.00-17.00 BST
Monday 25 October09.00-16.30 BST
Tuesday 26 October09.00-16.30 BST

Highlights include a magnificent silver and gold brass candlestick attributed to Mosul circa 1275, two unique Mughal spectacles set with emerald and diamond lenses respectively, created in the seventeenth century, a richly decorated Qur’an juz’ from the thirteenth century as well as an important Safavid silk and metal thread ‘Polonaise’ rug with a distinguished provenance.

Further notable works include the largest known Iznik pottery ‘grape’ dish from circa 1530, an oil portrait of Roxelana, Suleyman the Magnificent’s renowned wife, and scientific instruments, including an astrolabe signed by Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Battuti and a Mughal engraved brass celestial globe from the famed Lahore workshop of the seventeenth century.

Auction Highlights

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William Dalrymple on the Mughal Emerald and Diamond Spectacles

Surpassing the imagination, the following two pairs of spectacles, set with emerald and diamond lenses, were originally conceived from gemstones that would have weighed over 300 and 200 carats respectively. The origin of the emeralds can be traced all the way to the Muzo mines of Colombia, whereas the diamond lenses most probably came from the famous Golconda mines of Southern India.

These represent not only a technical feat in their cleavage, but also extraordinary boldness and invention, one which is also rooted in tradition. These two extraordinary pairs of spectacles, have never before appeared on the market but have been the focus of a multitude of scholarly research. The following catalogue note will draw on information gleaned from detailed scientific and historical analyses to understand their conception and production.

Anatomy of an Artwork
An exceptional gold and silver-inlaid brass candlestick, probably Mosul, circa 1275

Estimate: 2,000,000 - 3,000,000 GBP

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  • Candle and significance in rituals Created with Sketch.
  • Facets and size Created with Sketch.
  • Inscriptions Created with Sketch.
  • Courtiers Created with Sketch.
  • Candle and significance in rituals

    One can tell that this was prestigious object by its generous use of silver inlay heightened by details in gold, and by its courtly iconography, but also in the inherent status of candles in this period. Beeswax candles were expensive items eight centuries ago in both the Middle East and Europe and played an important role in courtly ceremonies.

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  • Facets and size

    The present candlestick is one of the largest and most imposing examples of a distinct family of facetted candlesticks produced in the Jazira in the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, and the fine condition of its silver and gold inlays make it a sumptuously radiant object.

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  • Inscriptions

    The candlestick is covered with benedictory inscriptions wishing perpetual glory, a safe life, increasing prosperity and perfect good-fortune, dominant command, generosity, agreeable wealth, safe good-fortune and increasing prosperity. Note the anthropomorphic nature in which the script was written.

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  • Courtiers

    It is one of very few with large-scale figural decoration, and the only one to have a continuous frieze around the body. The frieze provides scope for a parade of soldiers and courtiers, twenty-seven around its body, its neck and shoulder with eleven standing courtiers, and its socket with nine seated musicians, including two who play a tambourine suggesting strongly that this was a courtly commission.

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A Selection of Fine Rugs and Carpets

The selection of rugs and carpets is led by lot 262, an Important early 17th Century Safavid Silk and Metal Thread 'Polonaise' rug, formerly in the Collections of Judge Elbert Gary, one of the founders of US Steel, and then of John D Rockefeller; gifted by his son Winthrop Rockefeller to the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts Foundation in 1978, this rug is being offered for sale for the first time since the Judge Gary sale in 1928, sold to benefit the AMFA Acquisitions Fund.

Also included are 18 rugs (lots 264-281) from the collection of Naim Attallah CBE (1931 – 2021). Chief Executive of Asprey, racehorse-owner, film and theatre impresario, parfumier and chocolatemaker, and (for which he is perhaps best remembered) publisher and magazine proprietor, and as described in the Guardian in 2000 a "legendary adorer of beautiful women", Attallah was appointed CBE in 2017 for services to literature and the arts. Amongst Attallah’s many collecting passions, rugs was one of the most dear to him; mainly purchased in the early 1970’s, they decorated the walls, beds and floors of his Mayfair apartment and include a fragmentary ‘Dragon and Phoenix’ carpet and a rare ‘C-gul’ Turkman carpet.

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Paintings from India: Divine and Courtly Pursuits

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