Christie’s forthcoming auction, Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds Including Oriental Rugs and Carpets on 28 October displays a rich selection of rare objects, paintings, manuscripts, and carpets from across the Middle East, India, and Europe. The sale draws upon a fascinating Classical Ottoman narrative that illustrates the artistic repertoire at its most exuberant. This is led by six remarkably preserved Venetian portraits of Ottoman Sultans from a previously unknown series LINK, and two paintings from the circle of Jean-Baptiste Vanmour of Ottoman subjects.
This same narrative continues in The Deeg Collection of Oriental carpets, which was formed over four decades from the 1960s and is being offered for the first time at auction. Inspired by his travels through the Middle East and Turkey, Paul Deeg’s love of colour, form, and design, of Anatolian rugs and fragments, in particular, runs like a thread through the collection.
The sale further encompasses a series of works that highlight the reciprocal influences between the arts of Europe and the Middle East such as an intricately engraved Veneto Saracenic bucket, an extremely rare Almohad, or Nasrid Andalusian brass vase, and bone-inlaid pyxis. These are offered alongside a selection of early Iranian metalwork led by an early 13th century silver-inlaid ewer.
Other carpet highlights from various owners include two 17th century ‘Lotto’ rugs, a small medallion Ushak and a highly unusual 17th century Ottoman kilim. Amongst the fine Qajar Persian weavings is a striking green-ground Heriz carpet and a lustrous cerulean-blue silk Heriz prayer rug of exceptional quality.
Highlights Of The Sale
AN IMPORTANT SILVER AND COPPER INLAID BRASS EWER PROBABLY KHORASAN, NORTH EAST IRAN, CIRCA 1200-1220
The form of this ewer, with its slightly less attenuated body, shallowly rounded ribs, and slightly shorter neck and spout, could point to a slightly earlier version of the design than most.
The present ewer, with its vertical flutes, is one of a rarer group, whose influence appeared much more obviously in Western Iran and further west, as the taste for inlaid metalwork spread in that direction. The most elaborate comparable example to our ewer is one in the Louvre Museum, Paris (inv.no.OA 5548). Though lacking a handle, it is otherwise very similar in form and decorative arrangement to the present example, which maintains the majority of its silver inlay at a height of 13⅞in. (35.3cm.)
Estimate £300,000-500,000 | US$420,000-690,000 | €350,000-580,000
A NASRID OR ALMOHAD BONE-INLAID PYXIS SPAIN, 12/13TH CENTURY
This octagonal pyxis belongs to a small group that has generally been attributed to Nasrid al-Andalus (1230-1492). It is decorated in a particularly intricate technique of micromosaic known as taracea (which derives from tarsi’, the Arabic word for incrustation), in which tiny geometric tesserae of different-colored woods and ivory or bone were assembled to create kaleidoscopic patterns.
They were principally overlaid rather than inlaid. The use of these pyxes is unknown. Similar metal containers are generally thought to have been used as inkwells and a number of ivory examples for aromatics. Whatever the contents, the meticulous and refined workmanship would suggest that the contents were valuable and deserving of the beautiful presentation. 5in. (12.8cm.) high; 5in. (12.8cm) diam.
Estimate £300,000-500,000 | US$420,000-690,000 | €350,000-580,000
A RARE BABA NAKKAŞ IZNIK BLUE AND WHITE JAR OTTOMAN TURKEY, CIRCA 1520
This spectacular Iznik jar belongs to a group probably produced in the second decade of the sixteenth century, under the reign of Selim I (r.1512-20). It is decorated in a style that owes much to the so-called Baba Nakkaş’ style with its Rumi-Hayati motifs that developed from the Abraham of Kutahya style.
The white ground is decorated in shades of blue with a band of meandering tendrils issuing complex floral terminals, a lobed band below, a meandering floral tendril on the blue ground above, and a similar band around the mouth – 10¼in. (25.8cm.) high.
Estimate £100,000-150,000 | US$140,000-210,000 | €120,000-180,000
From Left to right
A ‘BIRD’ USHAK RUG SELENDI OR WEST ANATOLIA, EARLY 17TH CENTURY
Since 1978 in the same German collection, the rug is complete in length and width, with uneven wear.
Estimate £30,000-40,000 | US$42,000-55,000 | €36,000-47,000
A SILK HERIZ PRAYER RUG NORTHWEST PERSIA, THIRD QUARTER 19TH CENTURY
The cerulean-blue field is particularly attractive with its slender vertical columns with decorative capitals, flame-like palmettes, and flourishing arabesques in the mihrab. Estimate £10,000-15,000 | US$14,000-21,000 | €12,000-18,000
A ‘LOTTO’ RUG PROBABLY USHAK, WEST ANATOLIA, LATE 16TH/EARLY 17TH CENTURY
It is extremely rare to find the ragged palmette and vine border design set upon an indigo ground within the known group of ‘Lotto’ rugs. Estimate £25,000-35,000 | US$35,000-48,000 | €30,000-41,000
A DOUBLE NICHE MEDALLION USHAK RUG WEST ANATOLIA, LATE 16TH CENTURY
This rug represents a double niche Ushak rug, with a cloud band border. What sets this particular iteration apart from the aforementioned rugs in the ‘Cloudband’ group is the way in which the weaver has attempted to execute full corner resolutions within the border.
Rather than the usual abrupt severance of the motif at the point where it is required to turn, here the weaver has successfully positioned the cloud band at each corner on the diagonal so that each of the extended arms forms an ‘L’ shape that gracefully continues the design around the border without interruption. This is a rarely seen feature on Ottoman Anatolian rugs of this period.
The inclusion of hanging motifs is a cause of some debate with some suggesting they represent the lamp found in the mihrab of a mosque, while others suggest that they are amulets, used to alter the “perfection” of the carpet and to ward off the evil eye.
Estimate £35,000-55,000 | US$49,000-76,000 | €41,000-64,000
AN IMPRESSIVE KASHMIR DURBAR CARPET NORTH INDIA, LATE 19TH CENTURY
The weaving tradition of these extraordinary carpets derives from early Mughal court carpet production. Thought to date from the reign of the Mughal Emperor Akbar (r.1556 -1605) this tradition had continued through to his grandson, Shah Jahan (r.1628-1658). The court workshops were commissioned to produce large Durbar or ‘Audience’ carpets which were displayed longitudinally before the throne in the palaces of the Emperor.
Our example measures 344 x 741 cm. Until around 1630, designs were based upon earlier Persian models but after this point artists were encouraged to develop a greater ‘Indian’ style.
By the beginning of the 19th century, much of the Indian carpet industry had become almost obsolete, but the inclusion of several Indian pile carpets in London’s Great Exhibition of 1851 sparked its revival, and private workshops sprang up across India.
There was a heightened demand from the new mercantile classes in Victorian England and by 1890 the taste had become so fashionable that Queen Victoria built a State Durbar Room at Osborne House.
While the present carpet was not part of the decoration of Osborne House or Windsor Castle, we can assume that it had been commissioned for a similarly impressive setting according to the repeated embroidered lettering on the underside, ‘The State Dining Room’.
Estimate £25,000-35,000 | US$35,000-48,000 | €30,000-41,000