• Art of the Islamic and Indian  auction at Christies

    Sale 7843

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    13 April 2010, London, King Street

  • Lot 75

    A TIMURID GOLD DAMASCENED STEEL KNEE GUARD

    EAST IRAN, SECOND HALF 15TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A TIMURID GOLD DAMASCENED STEEL KNEE GUARD
    EAST IRAN, SECOND HALF 15TH CENTURY
    Of convex oval form surrounded with mail and incorporating a thigh guard consisting of seven vertical panels of overlapping plates, the mail with a small boss of oval form with an engraved inscription, the knee guard with repoussé rosette towards the centre formed around a small hole, two repoussé bands around this, the knee guard and thigh plates with remains of gold damscening comprising elegant leafy scrolls, losses to damscening
    22 x 16 7/8in. (55.9 x 42.9cm.) when laid flat


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    As with the chamfrons discussed in the note to lot 64, so the form of knee and thigh guards did not vary substantially between the Mamluk, Ottoman, Turkman and even Timurid dynasties. There are however differences in the decoration with that on the present example being closest to that of the coat made in the name of Ibrahim Sultan, now in the Furusiyya Art Foundation, thus indicating a Timurid provenance (Bashir Mohamed, The Arts of the Muslim Knight, Milan, 2007, no.289, pp.300-301). This probability is further enhanced when comparing it to later Timurid miniatures. Michael Gorelik's study of the depiction of armour in Persian miniatures not only shows this precise form of leg guard being used in the late Timurid period, but also a majority of knee-guards that have protrusions out of the centre of them, which are almost unknown in knee-guards from elsewhere (Michael Gorelik, "Oriental Armour of the Near and Middle East from the eighth to the fifteenth centuries as shown in works of art", in Robert Elgood (ed.), Islamic Arms and Armour, London, 1979, p.62-63). One figure among those depicted, fig.198, even clearly shows a radiating rosette as part of the knee guard, exactly as seen here.

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