• 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 38

    A KASHAN LUSTRE, COBALT-BLUE AND TURQUOISE MOULDED INSCRIPTION TILE

    CENTRAL IRAN, 13TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A KASHAN LUSTRE, COBALT-BLUE AND TURQUOISE MOULDED INSCRIPTION TILE
    CENTRAL IRAN, 13TH CENTURY
    Of square form, the main register with spiralling turquoise tendrils issuing bold leaves on a lustre ground with further small scrolls, flowerheads and perching birds, all around a moulded cobalt-blue naskh inscription, the upper register with repeating inverted palmettes issuing leafy swags above, lower band of stylised kufic interspersed with loose scrolls, repaired break
    14 x 13 3/8in. (35.5 x 34cm.)


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    The inscription comprises part of Qur'an XLVIII, sura al-fath, v.18.

    A number of frieze tiles of similar decoration and size from various public and private collections are published in Pope (A Survey of Persian Art, Oxford, 1938, Vol. V, pl. 724-5). They each display a large band with a moulded inscription, very often in thuluth script, on a dense luster ground with a smaller register above equally moulded and lustre painted with foliage. They were originally displayed along the walls of palaces or pious foundations such as in the Mausoleum of 'Abd al-Samad in Natanz, of which the tile frieze is dated AH 707/1307-08 AD.

    A square tile inscribed with verses of the Shahnama formerly in the Godman collection and now in the British Museum is of identical size and displays very similar decorative features (Arthur U. Pope, op. cit, pl. 725, A). The upper register is moulded with curving split palmettes encompassing a heart-shaped motif and the lustre painted ground shows similar birds on a foliage with identical rosettes with hatched pistils. Although the origin of the Godman tile is unknown, it is very likely that our tile comes from the same building.

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