Safavid lacquer binding achieves 169% increase on estimate

A fine Safavid lacquer binding headlined Christie's Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds sale on October 10, achieving an impressive £134,500 ($212,124) over a £30,000-50,000 ($46,00-75,000) valuation - up 169%.

The binding was made in Iran, likely Qazvin, in the mid to late 16th century and features a hunting scene. It would have been created by painting in watercolours on to lacquered leather before applying further layers of lacquer.

Safavid lacquer binding
The binding features mother of pearl highlights

The quality of the binding indicates that the piece originates from a royal atelier (artist's workshop), and is of a standard rarely seen at auction.

A gemset and enamelled gold sword (khanda) hilt was another highlight, selling for an impressive £122,500 ($195,020) over an estimate of £60,000-80,000 ($91,000-120,000), representing an increase of 50%.

Mughal jewelled khanda
The hilt is studded with diamonds

Crafted in Mughal India in the late 17th to early 18th century, the hilt features depictions of animal and floral motifs. Jewelled khanda are extremely rare, and were created exclusively for royalty.

The Tyranny of a Teacher is Better than the Love of a Father, a painting by Mahmud Muzahhib (c 1500-1560), made an identical sum of £122,500 ($195,020).

Considered the greatest artist of his generation in the court of Bukara, Uzbekistan, Muzahhib was a prolific painter of miniatures and illuminated manuscripts.

The Sultan Awakens the Drunken Judge at Dawn, from the same manuscript, sold for £181,875 ($278,451) against an estimate of £50,000-70,000 ($76,200-106,680) at Christie's earlier this year.

The auction took place as part of the Islamic Art Week sales in London, which have achieved a number of high profile results, including a gold pandan box that hammered for $1m.

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