• 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 231



    Price Realised  


    Composed of twelve square tiles, the surface decorated in cobalt- blue, turquoise, green, brown and bole red with an overall design of columns of alternating circular and ogival medallions each outlined in red, the circular medallions containing a design of tulips and carnations issuing from a central rosette reserved against blue ground and the ogival medallions with a central tulip flanked by hyacinth sprays, dividing by branches bearing serrated vine leaves and issuing tendrils with bunches of grapes, repaired breaks and significant areas of repainting, mounted and framed
    29½ x 38½in. (74.5 x 97.8cm.)

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    Only two other tiles with this design are known. One is in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (http://www.gardnermuseum.org/collection/tile_c7w3.asp) and the other is said to be in the Art Club, Providence, Rhode Island.

    Although it has no exact parallels, the ogival lattice of this tile panel is similar in visual impact to a slightly earlier one on the interior of the Mosque of Rüstem Pasha, circa 1560 (Walter Denny, Gardens of Paradise. 16th Century Turkish Ceramic Tile Decoration, Turkey, 1998, pl. 10, pp. 36-37). The oval medallions, each framing a single bold red tulip create a similar powerful effect in each. The main difference comes that the medallions in the Rüstem Pasha example are framed with cloud bands whilst those in the present are alternated with circular medallions and undulating vine.

    Ottoman art is no stranger to the ogival lattice. It is perhaps most commonly encountered in kemha weaving. Indeed in that medium, similar lattices with large tulip decoration are found. See for example, Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise W. Mackie and Hülya Tezcan, Ipek. The Crescent and the Rose. Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets, London, 2001, pp. 276-77. Other motifs from the present tile panel can also be echoed in Ottoman textiles. The fleshy serrated vine leaves with seven main points find a parallel in a velvet in the Freer Gallery of Art , dated circa 1600 (Yanni Petsopoulos (ed.), Tulips, Arabesques and Turbans, London, 1982, no. 132, p. 140). Similarly the circular medallions containing tulips and carnations issuing from a central rosette are found in a kemha of the second half of the 16th century in the Musée de la Mode et du Textile, Union Centrale des Art Décoratifs, Paris (inv. no. 18312, Atasoy et al, op. cit., 2001, p. 185).

    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.


    Sotheby's, 13 April 1988, lot 348