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    Sale 7571

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    8 April 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 70

    A LARGE KHORASSAN SILVER AND COPPER INLAID BRONZE EWER

    NORTH EAST IRAN, 12TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A LARGE KHORASSAN SILVER AND COPPER INLAID BRONZE EWER
    NORTH EAST IRAN, 12TH CENTURY
    With spherical body and stepped shoulder supporting a tubular neck with high rising curving covered trough spout, a simple handle linking the mouth and body, on short waisted foot, the body with a very bold copper-inlaid band of foliated kufic, four roundels on the shoulder flanking the silver-inlaid signature, further smaller engraved benedictory inscriptions running around the inner shoulder, the neck with panels of scrolling vine within inscription borders, the mouth rim terminating in two birds' heads, meandering vine on the handle above copper inlaid and drilled circles, base missing, very slight
    loss of inlay
    13in. (33.1cm.) high


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    On the front of the shoulder a silver inlaid inscription reads amal-e Abi Nasr (The work of Abi Nasr).

    The main copper-inlaid inscription reads, with slight errors: b'il-yumn wa al-baraka wa al-salama wa al-surur (With good-fortune and blessing and peace and joy). The fine band around the collar contains further benedictory inscriptions.

    This ewer is very similar in form and decorative layout to a magnificent example in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (M. Abu'l-Faraj al-'Ush, "A Bronze Ewer with a high Spout in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Analagous Pieces", in Richard Ettinghausen (ed.), Islamic Art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1972, pp.187-198). The most obvious difference is that in the Metropolitan Museum example the main inscription around the body is raised proud of the body while in the present one it is flush, but inlaid in copper. The article introduced a third example in the National Museum of Damascus which divided the main inscription with large roundels, but had a very similar band of inscription both in style and content running around the collar. The New York ewer is signed in a similar place to ours. Although it is difficult to read, the maker's name appears to read Al-Qasir; it cannot be read as Abi Nasr, at least in the photograph. The Damscus ewer is signed Hassan under the foot.

    There are large numbers of very similar features, particularly int he treatment of the handle, and spout, the lettering of the inscription and many of the the minor motifs. All three must come from the same school. Al-'Ush notes a similar but much less elaborate example in the Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin, and lists some more examples that are less closely related, while further ewers similar to the Berlin one one have come onto the market. Ours, with its very powerful inscription and massive proportions has all the characteristics of the very best examples of the group.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    Anon sale, Sotheby's 13 April 2000, lot 64