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    Sale 7571

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    8 April 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 100

    A LARGE KASHAN LUSTRE POTTERY BOWL

    CENTRAL IRAN, LATE 13TH OR FIRST HALF 14TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A LARGE KASHAN LUSTRE POTTERY BOWL
    CENTRAL IRAN, LATE 13TH OR FIRST HALF 14TH CENTURY
    Rising from short vertical foot through conical sides to slightly inverted vertical band and flat projecting rim, the inside with decoration reserved against a rich lustre ground depicting a moon-faced figure sitting in a garden before a river surrounded by a band of pendant palmettes followed by a band of scrolling foliage, the rim with a row of circular motifs, the exterior with a calligraphic band above a larger band of stylised palmette motifs, repaired breaks, minor areas of restoration
    10 7/8in. (27.9cm.) diam.


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    The inscription on the exterior reads: al-'izz al-da'im wa al-iqbal al-za'id wa al-nasr al-ghalib wa al-r'ay al-thaqib wa al-farr al-qa'im wa al-jadd al-sa'id wa al-dawla wa al-sa'ada wa al-salama (Perpetual Glory and Increasing Prosperity and Triumphant Victory and Prudent Advice and Perpetual Magnificence and Rising Good-fortune and Wealth and Happiness and Well-being).

    This is an unusually clear depiction of a Mongol in a pottery vessel. In the 13th century figures are a very frequent subject for the interior of pottery vessels, both bowls and dishes, but in the 14th century they become increasingly rare. Figures are found on a number of contemporaneous tiles, such as one dated 689/1290-1 that was exhibited in America (Linda Komaroff and Stefano Carboni, The Legacy of Genghis Khan, New York, 2002, fig.40, p.44). A tile in the British Museum depicting two Mongol figures is dated 739/1338 (Oliver Watson, Persian Lustre Ware, London, 1985, pl.122, p.144). One intriguing question is who this bowl depicts. In miniatures of the period, very few people are depicted nimbate. In the Great Mongol Shahnama the only two figures who are almost always so shown are Bahram Gur and Iskandar (Komaroff and Carboni, op.cit, fig.51, p.53 and fig.182, p.155 for example). In pottery however many more figures are depicted this way, with haloed figures appearing for example even as attendants depicted on tiles (Komaroff and Carboni, op.cit, fig.109, p.98). The present figure is very clearly engaged in a specific activity, possibly fishing; it very much has the spacing and dynamism of the earlier narrative lustre and mina'i bowls, and one cannot but think that he is a specific figure from Iranian legend or history.

    The form of this bowl is one that was particularly popular in the larger "Sultanabad" wares. A fine example in the al-Sabah Collection, though substantially smaller than the present bowl, is of exactly the same shape and depicts a standing Mongol figure.

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