• Art of the Islamic and Indian  auction at Christies

    Sale 7751

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    6 October 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 217

    A LARGE APPLIQUÉ AND DÉCOUPÉ PANEL WITH A COCKEREL

    OTTOMAN TURKEY, 16TH/17TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A LARGE APPLIQUÉ AND DÉCOUPÉ PANEL WITH A COCKEREL
    OTTOMAN TURKEY, 16TH/17TH CENTURY
    Depicting a fierce cockerel and a captive hawk, their naturalistic plumage applied with different types of feathers onto the body, the cockerel in the foreground before a blossoming tree inhabitated by variously coloured découpé birds with long tails, the chained hawk on a perch heightened with gold playing with its leash, the landscape with two lines of naturalistic découpé flowers, laid down on card between polychrome borders, the margins with gilt découpé medallions and palmettes, the name Muhammad inscribed in a mirrored composition at top, slight staining
    Folio 24½ x 18¼in. (62.2 x 46.2cm.)


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    The fashion for paper-cut collages appears to have begun in the second half of the 16th century where découpé gardens began to be included in precious calligraphic albums. A three dimensional découpé paradise garden now in the Istanbul University Library is inserted in an album containing panels by Shah Mahmud Nishapuri and shows delicate flowers in the style of Kara Memi (Splendors of the Ottoman Sultans, exhibition catalogue, Memphis, 1992, pp. 142-3, inv. no. FY1426).

    A series of compositions with vases of flowers that have been included in a calligraphic album by Mehmed bin Ahmed Sirozi dated 1687 can be compared to our appliqué panel. Our bi-dimensional garden is made with the same colour tones and composed with the same apparent simplicity (Nurhan Atasoy, A Garden for the Sultan, 2002, ill. 87, p. 84). However, in many regards, our panel is more remarkable and finds no direct comparable.

    A late example of paper cut garden, signed Canbazzade Osman and dated 1723, shows a similar use of real feathers. Although used in touches rather than applied on large surfaces, the feathers are used to depict small birds in an exuberant garden creating an overall aspect that is very different to that of the present example (Atasoy, op. cit., ill. 89, p. 84). We can more easily compare this depiction of nature to a 17th century découpé page in a poetry anthology in the British Library which shows lively foxes chasing a gazelle and a perched bird with its prey (Turkish Kunst und Kultur aus osmanischer Zeit, Frankfurt, 1985, cat. 1/106a, p. 121). The extraordinary quality and attention to detail of this collage, which is almost an ornithological depiction, can also be compared to the precision reached by miniature painting as in two album pages with a magpie and a woodpecker in the Topkapi Museum dated 1660-65 (Ivan Stchoukine, La peinture turque d'après les manuscrits illustrés, Vol.II, Paris, 1971, pl. XL-XLI). However, with its use of real feathers and its very large size, this panel definitely surpasses the painted examples.

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