26/11/2021 News Stories & Press Release, Islamic & Indian Art
Roseberys were delighted to present the final Islamic & Indian Art auction of the year, on the 26th of October. It was an exciting auction, with plenty of pre-sale interest, which was reflected in the number of registered bidders on the day and in the final outstanding results. During the auction many lots far exceeded their top estimates, making it an exciting sale to behold. Many of the highest value lots were sold to bidders in the room, which was a joy to see after a long period of social distancing. Alongside numerous items selling to buyers in the UK, lots also sold around the globe to countries such as Mongolia, Malaysia, Germany, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.
Alice Bailey, Head of the Islamic & Indian Art department commented: ‘The October 26th sale of Antiquities, Islamic and Indian Arts was by far the most successful sale of Islamic and Indian Arts at Roseberys to date and proved that bidders are very much back and keen to secure works with excellent provenance. Amarna-style fragments from the collection of Czech-born photographer Werner Forman (1915-2010) were modestly priced but achieved far over their top estimates, continuing the strong results for this collection. Works from renowned Islamic art dealer Oliver Hoare (1945-2018) proved also to be very popular with bidders, achieving a nearly 100% sold rate and with a 17th-century bezoar stone holder and stone reaching £14,000 hammer. Manuscripts and scribes cases from an Important Private Collection saw the highest results.’
The outstanding highlight of the sale was lot 101, Nur al-Din ‘Abd al-Rahman Jami (d.1492), Tuhfat al-ahrar, signed Sultan Muhammad Khandan, Safavid Persia, 16th century, Persian manuscript on paper. Against a pre-sale estimate of £2,000-£3,000, this impressive manuscript sold for £35,000 to an online buyer based in France. Alice Bailey commented: ‘The top lot of the sale went to a manuscript, a Safavid copy of the Tuhfat al-ahrar signed by Muhammad Khandan, with exquisitely decorated borders and headers. Fierce bidding online and over the telephone secured the lot for an astonishing £35,000, the highlight of the very successful results for all the manuscripts from the Important Private Collection. ’
(Lot 115) A 17th-century Mughal painting is also included in the highlights sold at auction from the Important Private Collection. The lively scene of a camel and rider is framed by Nastaliq inscriptions, one of which is signed by Muhammed Sharif and dated 1028AD/1618-19AD. This work came with an estimate of £3,000- £4,000 and realised the price of £23,750, selling to a phone bidder based in the UK.
Lot 111, Jalal al-Din Rumi (d.1273), Mathnawi, Timurid Central Asia, 15th century, Persian manuscript on paper with provenance from Christie’s London, also achieved a price over its top estimate. Entered onto the market with a pre-sale guided price of £1,500-£2,000, this lot realised a price of £16,000, similarly selling to a buyer based in the UK.
Another highlight manuscript from the Important Private Collection was lot 122. Selling to a London-based telephone bidder for £10,000 against a top estimate of £2,000, was two leaves from a Zoroastrian apocalyptic text, Persia, probably Injuid Shiraz, early 14th century, Persian manuscript on paper. These two leaves came from an untitled and anonymous Zoroastrian apocalyptic text written after the Mongol conquest which narrated the history of the world through the horoscopes of major political and military figures. Three leaves from the same manuscript are now in the Agha Khan Museum, Toronto; two leaves are in the Princeton University library and two further leaves are in the al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait.
Another surprise in the sale was lot 110 which sold to an online bidder in Germany for £11,875, against a top estimate of £1,200. Property from an Important Private Collection, the astonishing Zahir al-Din Faryabi (d.1201), Diwan and Awad al-Din Anwari (d.1189), Diwan, dated 16 Dhu’l Hajj 768 AH/ 13 August 1367 AD, Persian manuscript on paper has 88 leaves. This lot’s impressive provenance from the library of Mehdi Bayani was another factor in the pre-sale interest and value.
Entered onto the market with an estimate of -£1,000-£1,500 was lot 169, a silver filigree bezoar or goa stone case and stone, North India, 18th century, which realised the price of £17,500 at auction, selling to a London based online buyer. This lot came with a significant provenance, from the private collection of Oliver Hoare (1945-2018). Bezoar stone, which is a calcified concretion found in the stomachs of some animals, was prized for its supposed medicinal properties as well as being believed to act as an antidote to poison. The scarcity of bezoar stones by the 17th century led a group of Portuguese Jesuits, working in Goa, to come up with a man-made version. These so-called 'Goa Stones' were a mixture of bezoar as well as other precious objects believed to have curative powers. Until the beginning of the 18th century, when medical authorities began to debunk the belief in these stones, they could sell for more than their weight in gold. The importance and costliness of bezoar stones meant that they were often mounted themselves with gold and silver – often in filigree – or were encased in elaborate filigree boxes, such as the lot sold at Roseberys.
Lot 339, a Timurid turquoise and cobalt-blue glazed pottery niche tile, Central Asia, 14th century, was originally estimated at £6,000-£8,000. With an inner turquoise-glazed cusped cartouche filled with carved dense scrolling vine and arabesque issuing lotus flowers and palmettes, bordered by a cobalt-glazed band filled with similar decoration, the tile measuring 53 x 36.5cm, realised a price of £15,625, going to a telephone bidder in the USA.
Another intriguing highlight within the sale with an interesting story, was lot 374, gilded silver and gem-set Torah holder, Bukhara, Uzbekistan, 19th-20th century. Against an estimate of £3,000-£4,000, this gem-set Torah holder made £11,250, to a South East Asia-based bidder. This Torah holder was made in Uzbekistan for the Jewish community of Bukhara in the late 19th or early 20th century. The gilded silver decoration bears a strong resemblance to the jewellery of the Turkomen tribes of the region.
Lot 307, a rare large Seljuq bronze incense burner in the form of a bird, Northeast Iran, 12th century made £21,250 at auction to a room bidder. The magnificent and rare incense burner that was bequeathed to the present owner from a Private Danish Collection was made in Northeast Iran in the late 12th-early 13th century it is a larger example of a similar bird incense burner in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Incense was widely used in the medieval Islamic world. At receptions and special events, servants would waft the guests with the aromatic smoke emanating from the openwork of the incense burner and sprinkle them with drops of scented water. This bird-shaped incense burner represents a class of metalwork that would have been sold to the wealthy elite. Birds figure prominently in the decorative repertoire of the Seljuq period and were probably associated with good fortune.
The next Islamic & Indian Art auction will take place on 1st April.
Please contact Alice Bailey if you would like any further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Select your interests to receive news and catalogue updates.