• 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 58

    A PROVINCIAL MAMLUK OR TAHIRID CARVED AND POLYCHROME WOOD CABINET

    POSSIBLY YEMEN, DATED RABI' I AH 857(?)/MARCH-APRIL 1453 AD

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A PROVINCIAL MAMLUK OR TAHIRID CARVED AND POLYCHROME WOOD CABINET
    POSSIBLY YEMEN, DATED RABI' I AH 857(?)/MARCH-APRIL 1453 AD
    Of tall rectangular form with square section on four tall faceted feet, with two doors, the top corners with polyhedrons, the front with carved interlace decoration along the side and a Qur'anic inscription running along top and bottom, the decoration painted on cloth applied to the panels, each side with geometric medallions on red ground framed by inscriptions, the front with iron nails along the borders, the doors with geometric designs within cartouches, painted on the interior face with floral roundels bordered with Qur'anic inscriptions, one with a dedicatory inscription partly faded but giving the date, with two shelves, losses, large splits, decoration heavily worn
    51½ x 21¼ x 21¼in. (131 x 54 x 54cm.)


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    The inscription on the door's interior reads mimma 'umora bi-ra[sm] 'ali al-dawari shahr rabi' al-awwal sana 857(?) (One of the things made for 'Ali al-Dawari in the month of Rabi' I, the year 857 (1452-53 AD?))

    The beautifully drawn medallions displayed on this cabinet closely relate to Mamluk architectural ornamentation. The walls of the mosque of Aqsunqur and the madrasa of Sarghitmish in Cairo, each dating from the middle of the 14th century, or a wooden door from the mosque of Barquq, dated 1386, show very similar medallions sometimes bordered with inscriptions (Doris Behrens-Abouseif, Cairo of the Mamluks, London, 2007, p. 189, fig. 143 & p. 199, fig. 159 and Gaston Wiet, Les bois à épigraphes, Cairo, 1936, inv. no. 1624, pl. X). Although the technique of applied painted cloth is uncommon, as is lacquer, the thick black lines of the geometric decoration can be paralleled with that of a series of 14th or 15th Mamluk lacquer boxes, one of which sold in these Rooms, October 17, 1995, lot 269.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 17.5% on the buyer's premium.