16th century Ottoman panel smashes estimate

A 16th century Ottoman voided catma panel smashed its estimate at Sotheby’s Islamic art sale in London last night.

The lot is made from velvet and silk and was originally part of a robe worn by a member of the imperial court.  

Ottoman panel Sothebys

This design is well over 1,000 years old 

It realised £1m ($1.3m) against a valuation of £300,000 ($384,930), a very strong result.

So why such a leap in value?

The answer lies in the pattern.

This design is known as the cintamani, which is defined as a combination of a wavy line and three circles. The configuration may change, but the elements are fixed.

The cintamani is believed to date back well over 1,000 years and was used by various civilisations in the region, most notably the Timurids under Tamerlane (1336-1405).

This is one of the largest fragments of fabric from the Ottoman Empire (1299-1922) to display this pattern.

The vast majority of other significant examples are held by museums, making this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for collectors.

A 1,000-year-old Moorish astrolabe, the oldest ever produced in Spain, realised £608,750 ($781,087).

Astrolabe Moorish Sothebys

This astrolabe was made by astronomer Muhammad ibn al-Saffar

Muslim astronomers were light years ahead of everyone else during the medieval period.

Their work would inform European scientists during the Enlightenment (17th to 19th century).

This piece is signed Muhammad ibn al-Saffar, one of the great masters of the astrolabe. This is one of only three of his works to have survived over the centuries.

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