• 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 257



    Price Realised  


    The rifled octagonal barrel of heavily watered steel, low standing back-sight, the brass encrusted steel lock with design of palmettes, the faceted wooden stock almost entirely veneered with ivory panels, the butt with rectangular green-stained ivory cartouches inlaid with copper hexagrams within ivory rectangles, between green-stained segmental lines, a register with ivory-inlaid panels showing a baluster vase emitting a stylized flower, a larger floral composition under the stock, each panel issuing a trefoil, the stock divided by a line of domed brass nails, the button trigger between bands of hexagrams leading to a large ivory-inlaid tulip, with further minute inlaid mosaic bands and hexagram clusters and six-pointed stars, the barrel with a applied plaque bearing an engraved coat of arm composed of a cross moline in a shield below a plumed helmet
    56¾in. (144.2cm.) long

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    A number of guns thought to have been taken from the Ottomans after their rout before Vienna in 1683 display a similar decorative scheme made of inlaid panels and applied silver plaques and studs. One is mentioned in a 1683 inventory of the Armoury of Dresden and another which closely relates to the present example is in the Museum fr Vlkerkunde in Munich, (Im Lichte des Halbmonds, exhibition catalogue, Dresden, 1995, p. 210, cat. 242 and Diplomaten und Wesire, exhibition catalogue, Munich, 1988, p. 48, cat. 18). A similarly inlaid gun with a row of silver studs around the stock, which is possibly a late 17th century feature, is in the Khalili collection has been given a 17th to18th century attribution (J.M.Rogers, Empire of the Sultans, exhibition catalogue, Geneva, 1995, cat.101). Although the precise dating of these guns on the basis of their decoration is difficult as the decoration remains the same until the early 19th century, the quality of the polychrome inlay and that of the beautifully damascened barrel make this gun one of the finest examples of the kind. The long floral spray emitting a tulip decorating the underside of the stock would also help attribute this gun earlier than the majority of similar examples.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    By verbal tradition of the owner, this gun was one of a pair that belonged to Kara Mustapha and was kept in the Austrian Imperial collections until it was offered to the Marshal of France Joachim Murat in 1807. Murat entrusted Cartout d'Olives, a Gnral d'intendance of the Grande Arme, with the gun. It is in his family that it remained until the 1960s.