Christie’s Autumn Auction: Art of Islamic and Indian Worlds

In a grand revelation, Christie’s recently announced its bi-annual Autumn sale, featuring the exquisite Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds, including Rugs and Carpets.

This live auction event is scheduled to take place at Christie’s King Street, London, on the 26th of October. The sale encompasses a meticulously curated selection of artistry, ranging from carpets, ceramics, manuscripts, textiles, and works on paper to metalwork, all hailing from the rich tapestry of the Islamic world.

Christie's Autumn Auction: Art of Islamic and Indian Worlds

A Diverse Showcase of Islamic Artistic Heritage

The showcased objects in this sale span an impressive timeline, from the 9th century to the 20th century. These treasures represent a diverse array of artistic traditions and emanate from a geographical expanse stretching from Spain to Central Asia. This diverse collection underscores the global reach, profound influence, and enduring legacy of Islamic culture. It also pays tribute to the unwavering dedication to craftsmanship that continues to captivate collectors worldwide.

Christie's Autumn Auction: Art of Islamic and Indian Worlds

Highlights of the Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

  • A Majestic Khorassan Bronze Incense Burner: This awe-inspiring piece from 12th century North East Iran embodies a lion, symbolizing power and authority. Estimated at £400,000-600,000, it is a testament to the exquisite craftsmanship of the era.
  • An Iznik Pottery Dish: Dating back to the late 16th century Ottoman Turkey, this dish is an exceptional exemplar of Iznik ceramics. With an estimated value of £70,000-100,000, it reflects the pinnacle of ceramic artistry during its time.
  • A Rare Mongol ‘Cloth of Gold’ Silk and Metal Thread Lampas Panel: Hailing from 13th century Central Asia, this textile masterpiece is estimated at £30,000-50,000. Its utilization of gold threads and lampas technique makes it a rare and precious find.
  • A Gilt-Copper (Tombak) Helmet: From the late 16th or early 17th century Ottoman Empire, this helmet, with an estimated value of £150,000-200,000, embodies the splendour of royal and ceremonial occasions. It stands as one of the few surviving examples of such high-quality tombak ceremonial helmets.
  • A Sword (Tulwar) and Scabbard from Tipu Sultan’s Armoury: These swords, dating back to 1796-97 India, are estimated at £1,500,000-2,000,000. With an impeccable provenance, these swords carry a historic legacy tied to British power in India.
Christie's Autumn Auction: Art of Islamic and Indian Worlds

Supporting a Noble Cause

The proceeds from the sale of Tipu Sultan’s swords will be directed towards the restoration of the Port Eliot Estate.

A spokesperson for the Port Eliot Estate comments, ‘These swords, previously belonging to Tipu Sultan have been passed down through the Eliot family since they were presented to Charles, 1st Marquess Cornwallis and 2nd Earl Cornwallis KG PC (1738-1805) in the late 18th century. The proceeds from the sale will be used for repairs to the Port Eliot estate. It is hoped this restoration will safeguard the future of the house for the next generation and for the public to continue to enjoy this magnificent Cornish estate for many years to come’.

Christie's Autumn Auction: Art of Islamic and Indian Worlds

Sara Plumbly, Head of Department, Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds comments, ‘It is a real pleasure to bring to the market this exceptional sword, a weapon of spectacular craftsmanship that was clearly seen as one of the most important of Tipu’s swords after the fall of Seringapatam.

It is one of a group of three related swords – the others having been presented to equally significant figures at the time, Edward, 1st Earl of Powys and Governor of Madras from 1798-1803, and King George III. The rest of the sale includes a number of important works of art from across the Islamic and Indian Worlds. Amongst others, highlights include an Ottoman tombak helmet of spectacular craftsmanship and a Mughal painting of Grooms shoeing a horse by the Imperial artist Mukhlis.’

Exploring the World of Rugs and Carpets

This sale also boasts an extensive collection of over eighty rare and collectable rugs and carpets, originating from various regions, including East Turkestan, Istanbul, the Caucasus, and central Anatolia.

Leading the rugs and carpets collection is the Baron Edmond de Rothschild Royal Safavid red-ground ‘palmette and bird’ carpet, with an estimated value of £2,000,000–3,000,000. Dating from the third quarter of the 16th century, it is a testament to the ‘Golden Age’ of Safavid carpet weaving.

Christie's Autumn Auction: Art of Islamic and Indian Worlds

The sale also features contrasting pieces, such as a visually striking central Anatolian village rug from the 17th century and a Silk Yarkand carpet, reflecting a blend of Chinese silk and Turkoman influences. A unique Qajar Pictorial Bakhtiari Khan Carpet, from West Persia and dating to the early 20th century, offers a glimpse into European influences in Persia at the turn of the century.

Closing Thoughts

Louise Broadhurst, International Head of Rugs and Carpets comments, ‘Christie’s is honoured to offer the magnificent masterpiece of Safavid weaving that has graced the collections of some of the greatest patrons and collectors that include Baron Edmond de Rothschild and Gordon P. Getty. With so few examples remaining in private hands of this quality it is a rare opportunity to appreciate such a superbly preserved icon of Safavid art, first-hand. The sale showcases further extraordinary examples of carpet weaving from an unpublished early 16th century ‘Lotto’ rug to the cherished 17th-century central Anatolian rug of the American connoisseur James F. Ballard, and more recent 19th-century carpets perfect for today’s interior decorators.’

The public is invited to view the Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds, including Rugs and Carpets, from the 21st to the 25th of October at Christie’s, King Street, London. Don’t miss this remarkable opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Islamic and Indian artistry.

Images: Christie’s

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