• 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 228

    A TORTOISESHELL AND MOTHER-OF-PEARL INLAID WOODEN SCRIBE'S CABINET

    OTTOMAN TURKEY, LATE 16TH/EARLY 17TH CENTURY AND LATER

    Price Realised  

    A TORTOISESHELL AND MOTHER-OF-PEARL INLAID WOODEN SCRIBE'S CABINET
    OTTOMAN TURKEY, LATE 16TH/EARLY 17TH CENTURY AND LATER
    Of rectangular form on short bracket feet, the top inlaid with a geometric design of mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell centered around a large decagon surrounded by bands of bone or ivory-inlaid hexagrams, the sides similarly inlaid with decoration of interlocking dodecagons surrounded by zigzag bands, the front with a fitted drawer above a chequered panel, panels possibly associated and reassembled in the 19th century, areas of restoration
    12 7/8 x 24 x 14¼in. (22.5 x 60.5 x 36.4cm.)


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    This scribe's cabinet can be paralleled with the lavish doors of the Pavilion of Sultan Murad III dated circa 1579. They display two long inlaid panels with similar compositions of polygons framed by bands of zigzags, inlaid with a same combination of tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl and ivory (David J. Roxburgh, Turks, exhibition catalogue, London, 2005, cat.376, p.374). The earliest appearance of tortoiseshell in Ottoman art appears to be on a bookbinding dated circa 1560 and is widely used after the third quarter of the 16th century (Esin Atil, The Age of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, exhibition catalogue, Washington, 1987, cat.49a). The combination of tortoiseshell with mother-of-pearl becomes extremely popular by 1600. A similar scribe's cabinet on bracket feet is in the Louvre (L'Art du livre arabe, exhibition catalogue, Paris, 2002, cat.53, p.82) and a further example was sold in these Rooms, 21 June 2000, lot 87.

    Special Notice

    Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.
    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.