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Objects exemplifying 1,400 years of the traditions of the Muslim world to be auctioned at Sotheby's
An exceptional diamond-set and enamelled gold tray and casket (pandan), North India, 18th Century. Est. £200,000 – £300,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

LONDON.- On 9 October 2013, Sotheby’s London will offer exquisite objects exemplifying the broad artistic traditions of the Muslim world in two dedicated auctions, 'Arts of the Islamic World' and 'Art of Imperial India'. A total of 281 exceptional objects including works relating to Tipu Sultan, property from the collection of Xavier Guerrand-Hermès, and rare paintings, ceramics, metalwork, and weapons, will be presented for sale - providing fascinating insights into Muslim history and culture, encompassing almost 1,400 years of every kind of decorative art produced in lands under Islamic patronage from Spain to India.

Benedict Carter, Director, Head of Auction Sales Middle East, said: “This season’s auctions will include works of museum quality, rarity and beauty spanning nearly 1,400 years, some of which are among only a handful left in existence. With this diversity we have already attracted a great deal of international interest. Sotheby’s will also be introducing its first-ever sale of ‘Art of Imperial India’ this autumn , following the success of previous sales of Indian Art including the record sales of Stuart Cary Welch’s collection in April and May 2011”

“Arts of the Islamic World”
Auction Highlights
9 OCTOBER 2013, 10AM
Four Young Scholars in Discussion, signed by Muhammad Murad Samarqandi, Persia, Safavid, Bukhara, early 17th century (est.£400,000-600,000)

This illustrated leaf represents one of only a handful of works attributable to the remarkable and enigmatic artist, Muhammad Murad Samarqandi. While other examples of his work are held in the collections of the Louvre, Paris, and the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, this is the only recorded album page by Samarqandi in which the artist is responsible for both the border and the main image. It is arguably the most impressive and complete example of his known works.

A Portrait of Rustam Khan Zand, signed by Muhammad Sadiq, Persia, Zand, Shiraz, circa 1779 (est. £300,000-500,000)
This unusual and rare portrait of Rustam Khan Zand, of the Zand dynasty, is an exemplary portrayal of the classic Persian ideal of youthful masculine beauty. The painting effectively displays the artist Muhammad Sadiq’s revolutionary style, to which his students strictly adhered, and which influenced the extensive canon of royal Qajar portraiture. Rustam Khan Zand was the grandson of Karim Khan Zand’s half-brother Zaki, who ruled Iran for a year in 1779.

The Fall of Constantinople, Italy, probably Venice, late 15/early 16th Century (est. £180,000-220,000)
This is an extremely rare and important late fifteenth or early sixteenth century Italian oil painting of the ancient city of Constantinople. It is probably the earliest known depiction of the pivotal moment in the history of the Ottoman Empire and Christian Europe when the city was captured by the Ottoman army of the 21 year old Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror. The composition also includes all the major monuments of the Byzantine city, most importantly the Hagia Sophia Church and the Hippodrome in the centre, with the Aqueduct of Valens in the background.

Leading the works of art featured in the sale is an important early 13thcentury brass silver-inlaid Mosul jug (pictured right) decorated with the astrological signs of the zodiac and estimated at £300,000-400,000. Further highlights include a fine Persian seventeenth century Safavid watered-steel dagger inscribed with the name of Shah Suleyman Safavi (Suleyman III), (r.1666-94) (est. £60,000-80,000).

The sale will also open with 42 lots from the esteemed Collection of Xavier Guerrand-Hermès. The works, including rare ceramics, metal ware and miniatures will be sold to benefit the Guerrand-Hermès Foundation for Peace. Established in 1996 with an aim to effect change in the world, the foundation conducts research in order to change perceptions, promotes inter-religious dialogue for peace and seeks innovative solutions to problems of poverty and injustice. A further 132 lots from the collection will be offered at Sotheby’s Paris on 18 November 2013.

“Art of Imperial India”
Auction Highlights
9 OCTOBER 2013, 2PM
Eleven lots relating to Tipu Sultan, ‘Tiger of Mysore’

The Arts of Imperial India auction will comprise 11 works relating to Tipu Sultan (1750–1799), including weaponry, prints, watercolours and portraits. Highlights include a Tipu Sultan sword fitted with a captured English blade, taken as booty during the storming of the fortress of Seringapatam by the British in May 1799. Decorated with Tipu’s personal emblem, the ‘bubri’, or tiger-stripe motif, it is estimated at est. £80,000-120,000. A further highlight is an 11-bore silver-mounted flintlock duck gun from the personal armoury of Tipu Sultan, signed Sayyid Ma’sum, Patam, dated Mawludi year 1218 (1789-90), est. £80,000-100,000.

Jewelled treasures from the courts of India
An exceptional diamond-set and enamelled gold tray and casket (pandan), North India, 18th Century, (est. £200,000 – £300,000)

This extremely rare enamelled and bejewelled gold pandan box, set on a tray with eight smaller boxes, displays the wealth and taste at the Mughal court for the most lavish objects. These were used not only for personal ornamentation, but served an important diplomatic purpose, to impress and reinforce the power of their Empire. Covered with bright green enamel and set throughout with diamonds in the kundan technique, the creator of the present box and tray has conceived a masterful combination of the highest order. The diamonds are carefully faceted to bring out the maximum brilliance of each stone. Whereas jewelled examples of this quality exist, it is incredibly rare to find this shape.

A gem-set gold dagger and scabbard, Mughal, circa 1700, (est. £80,000-120,000)
Swords and daggers formed an important part of the Royal Mughal treasuries; they were considered as precious as the finest jewels, and the craftsmen who fashioned them were regarded with the same esteem as the greatest artists. This dagger, overlaid with gold and set with rubies, emeralds and turquoise, embodies the prestige accorded to such weapons and the message of power that they conveyed as presentation pieces.

The Adoration of Rama and Sita, Pahari, Kangra or Mandi, circa 1830-40, est. £100,000-150,000

One of the most remarkable of late Pahari paintings, this monumental work depicts Rama and Sita enthroned, adored by gods, semi-divine beings, ascetics and mortals. A very elaborate composition, executed with great skill and extremely fine detail, it was probably executed as a private commission by a patron, perhaps to mark the occasion of the coronation of a prince.

The Rich Man and Lazarus: a Mughal drawing after an engraving by Jan Sadeler of Jacopo Bassan’s painting Indian, early 17th century, est. £10,000-15,000
The copying of European prints by Mughal artists was a popular trend in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and it was actively patronised by Mughal emperors and other patrons. This particular drawing, after an engraving by Jan Sadeler of Jacopo Bassano’s painting, depicts the story of the rich man (called Dives) and Lazarus from the Gospel of St. Luke, chapter 16, verses 19-31. It was no doubt among the numerous prints of Biblical subjects taken to India by Jesuit missionaries and other European travellers, diplomats and merchants in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century.

A portrait of a nobleman with a dog, attributable to a follower of Farrukh Beg, possibly Muhammad Ali, Mughal, early 17th century, £60,000-80,000
This is an important and rare painting close in style to the work of the well-known Perso-Mughal-Deccani artist Farrukh Beg, and is possibly by the artist Muhammad Ali, a close follower of Farrukh Beg who was active at the Mughal court in the early years of the seventeenth century. The composition of a princely youth standing or seated in front of blossoming trees was a popular one in Persian and Mughal painting of this period.

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