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    Sale 7571

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    8 April 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 204

    A SAFAVID SILK TOMB COVER

    IRAN, 17TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A SAFAVID SILK TOMB COVER
    IRAN, 17TH CENTURY
    Of rectangular form, the chocolate brown silk ground woven with a bold yellow with a reciprocal star and cross design, each star containing the words Ya Imam Husayn in elegant calligraphy, and each cross with a regular foliate design, minor areas of wear particularly around the edges, and small areas of localised staining
    91¾ x 27¾in. (233 x 70.4cm.)


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    The inscription here of Ya Imam Husayn may indicate, as in the case of the Safavid tomb cover of lot 190, that this panel was made for the shrine of Husayn, the third Imam, in Karbala.

    The star and cross design goes back in the repertoire of Persian decorative motifs, particularly that of ceramic tiles, to the early 13th century where panels covered the walls of buildings. Indeed, one such panel, of lajvardina tiles from the North Octagon of the Takht-i Sulayman (circa 1270 AD), indicates that the floral crosses here may have consciously copied the Ilkhanid models as they are very similar in composition (see Linda Komaroff and Stefano Carboni (eds.), The Legacy of Genghis Khan. Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia, 1256-1353, New York, 2002, Figs. 204 and 205, pp.175-76). Calligraphic stars are also found combined with seperate floral motifs on a contemporaneous silk textile, attributed either to Turkey or Iran, 17th century (Sotheby's, 17 October 1984, lot 280).

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