• 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 238



    Price Realised  


    Of rectangular form, the white ground painted under the glaze with two thick vine stems emerging from the lower edge issuing curling tendrils, bold blue and red flowerheads, a delicate vine leaf and a bunch of grapes, two sides reduced
    9¾ x 7¾in. (24.5 x 19.5cm.)

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    Similar branches of prunus to those found here are a relatively common feature in Iznik pottery. They are found, for example, in two large panels in the Mosque of Rüstem Pasha (see Fatih Cimok (ed.), The Book of Rüstem Pasha Tiles, Istanbul, 1999, p. 12) and flanking the entrance to the tomb of Selim II (one panel of which is now in the Louvre (OA3919/2-265)). It is the combination of the prunus branch with vine makes this tile more unusual.

    Tiles with this combination can however be found decorating the walls to the left of a window in the eastern corner of the Takkeci Ibrahim Aga Mosque in Istanbul (Oktay Aslanapa, Türkische Fliesen und Keramik in Anatolien, Istanbul, 1965, Abb. 51 or Walter Denny, Gardens of Paradise, Turkey, 1998, pl.99, p.176). Two other similar tile panels are in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum (41/502, Nurhan Atasoy, Splendors of the Ottoman Sultans, Memphis, 1992, p. 154) and in the Topkapi Palace (Çinili Kök 41/502, Esin Atil (trans.), The Anatolian Civilisations III (exhibition catalogue), Istanbul, 1983, no. E.171, p. 209). The composition of those tiles echo ours precisely, but in the use of the manganese in the grapes and branches and in the red dashes within the vines, the present tile differs.

    Another feature in which our tile varies from the others is in the small prunus flowers. The petals of all of the above are lobed, whereas those of ours are smooth, similar to those used in a different compositional context in a series of tiles of which panels exist in the David Collection, the Collection of Edwin Binney 3rd , the Louvre and the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo (41/1968, Kjeld von Folsach, Art from the World of Islam in the David Collection, Copenhagen, 2001, no. 278, p.193 and Walter B. Denny, Turkish Treasures from the Collection of Edwin Binney, 3rd, exhibition catalogue, Oregon, 1979, no. 9, pp.216-217). These were made for the Mosque of Eyüp, probably under Sultan Murad III towards the end of the 16th century. Another feature shared by those and the present tile is the unusual dark manganese purple which here we for the stems of the prunus branch, and which again is hard to parallel elsewhere.

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