A Journey from Beijing to Istanbul in 10 Objects

Launch Slideshow

Sotheby's is delighted to offer an online auction of fabulous works, which span the ancient and fabled trade routes from the Far East to Europe. From textiles, rugs and carpets from the Caucasus, Anatolia and Persia to striking Russian paintings and Indian miniatures, the auction traces the journey from Beijing to Istanbul. Click ahead to discover 10 highlights from the sale.

Beijing to Istanbul: Paintings & Works of Art Online
21 November - 5 December

A Journey from Beijing to Istanbul in 10 Objects

  • A Kangxi turquoise-glazed vase with silver lid, China for the export market, 17th century. Estimate £8,000–12,000.
    This beautiful turquoise vase demonstrates not only the richness of Chinese glaze manufacture, but also the extent of production for the export market. Combined with a silver lid and mount around the neck, incised with floral motifs, these details attest to the way in which such objects were re-used and transformed to suit new requirements.

  • A Qingbai Lobed Ewer, Song Dynasty. Estimate £3,000–5,000.
    This lobed ewer is a classic example of wares produced in the Song dynasty (960-1279). Covered overall in a transparent bluish glaze described as qingbai or yingqing (shadow blue) in Chinese, the subdued monochromatic glaze accentuates the elegant shape of the vessel which drew inspiration from natural forms.

  • A Shakhrisyabz Susani, Uzbekistan, mid-19th century.
    Estimate £18,000–22,000.
    In Uzbekistan a susani was part of bridal dowry and was a demonstration of a future bride's needlework skills. They are a fascinating and beautiful example of the talent these women possessed. This present work is an extremely intricate embroidery with highly accomplished scrolling foliate design. The delicateness used with the wide array of rich organic colour is magnificent; a truly lovely example of Shakhrisyabz design, in very good condition.

  • A seated sheikh or scholar, Deccan, 17th century. Estimate £3,000–4,000.
    Portraits of scholars and academics were popular during the Deccan court. This work shows the direct influence of Persian miniature painting on that of India, reflected in the artist's rendition of the pose and robes.

  • Krishna and Radha in a garden at dusk, India, Kishangarh, 19th century. Estimate £4,000–5,000.
    This work depicts Krishna and Radha in a tender moment outdoors in a garden backed by green foliage. Radha is gently pulling on her lover's sash whilst holding two lotus buds. This extremely fine painting shows the virtuosity of the artist on a miniature scale. The romantic scene and the rich, fecund landscape encapsulate the essence of Kishangarh style.

  • A Zilu kilim, Central Persia, mid-20th century. Estimate £2,000–3,000.
    Initially intended for summer retreats in the Middle East; Zilu kilims are perfectly constructed for warmer temperatures due to their robust cotton weave, which is cool underfoot. These carpets have further merit due to their colours being inverted on the reverse. This example is particularly striking through its bright and cheerful choice of turquoise and coral palette. A bright, exuberant, carpet which is ready to use.

  • Merab Abramishvili, Flower Gossiper. Estimate £8,000–12,000.
    The artist's signature technique of tempera over gesso and linen was inspired in part by his study of medieval Georgian frescoes and is what lends his work its characteristic soft, muted palette. Building up layers of transparent washes, Abramashvili achieves a highly decorative surface and a delicacy entirely suited to his depictions of nature, wild animals and mythological scenes which seem to come straight from the Garden of Eden.

  • A. Abraamyan, Picking Tobacco, 1961. Estimate £3,000–5,000.
    Tobacco has been cultivated in Armenia for more than three centuries and the country was one of the most important tobacco-producing regions of the Soviet Union. Abraamyan was at the peak of his career in the early 1960s and his use of flat planes of colour in rich, saturated hues shows the influence of Martiros Saryan, Armenia's most celebrated artist.

  • An Ottoman tombak incense burner, Turkey, 17th-18th century.
    Estimate £10,000–15,000.
    It is rare to find this form of incense burner in gilt-copper (known as 'tombak'). Much prized by the Ottomans, tombak was composed of one part of gold to six parts of mercury which were brushed onto a copper surface. As the object was fired, the mercury would evaporate into the air, creating a very dangerous working environment. As such, tombak objects are considered to be very precious. A notable example is in the Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul, which carries an inscription explaining the beneficial effects that incense can have on the mind.

  • Frederick Arthur Bridgman, Cheval à la Fontaine.
    Estimate £15,000–20,000.
    Born in Alabama, Bridgman arrived in Paris from America in 1866 and entered Jean-Léon Gérôme's studio at the École des Beaux-Arts the following year. Under Gérôme's tutelage, he developed his skills and became increasingly interested in Orientalist scenes. His first trips to Algeria and Egypt in 1872 provided a lasting inspiration for his artistic production.


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