'Magnificent' Islamic art auction at Christie's could achieve $15.8m

Christie's Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds sale, on Thursday 6 October, celebrates the magnificence of works of art dating from the 7th century through to the 20th century - from Europe in the west to South East Asia in the east.

The auction comprises a strong array of metalwork; beautiful works on paper in the form of manuscripts, Qur'ans, calligraphy and Indian and Persian album pages; Persian and Iznik pottery with excellent provenance from small private collections; textiles featuring a group of 13th and 14th century embroideries from central Asia and examples of glass, rock crystal and ivory.

Featuring over 450 lots, the breadth and depth of this dynamic sale will excite the vibrant market for this category which saw international bidding last spring from across the Middle East to Tokyo and California.

The auction is expected to realise in excess of £10m ($15.8m).

Islamic bronze deer sculpture
Islamic bronze deer sculpture

The sale is led by a highly important recently discovered and previously unknown 8th century Umayyad sculpture of a deer in bronze with copper inlay, from Iran (estimate: £2,000,000-3,000,000).

Of notable proportions, measuring 13⅝ in. (34.7cm.) high x 1115/16 in (30.3cm) long, it is a very early example of Islamic art which pre-dates all bronze animals previously sold in Islamic Art auctions.

Offered from a private Arab collection the closest comparable is a deer in the Hermitage museum. The other most significant piece of metalwork is a late 11th century/ early 12th century silver vessel from western Iran which was made for Najm al-Dawla Khumar Tegin, Amir al-Hajj who supervised the pilgrimage to Mecca from Baghdad.

A remarkable survival, this extraordinary engraved and nielloed silver bowl traces a historic journey (estimate: £700,000-1,000,000).


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