• 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 131

    A LARGE PAPIER-MÂCHÉ PENBOX

    LATE SAFAVID IRAN, EARLY 18TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A LARGE PAPIER-MÂCHÉ PENBOX
    LATE SAFAVID IRAN, EARLY 18TH CENTURY
    Of typical form with rounded ends, the separate cover with decoration of gul-o bulbul on black ground bordered with gold floral sprays, the sides with various types of flowers on black ground, the interior of the cover with a finely painted European landscape, cracklure, minor repairs
    13in. (33cm.) long


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    With the floral decoration that emerges from the lower edges in a series of separate sprays and against a dark ground, the work on this penbox carries much the same aesthetic to the works of the Safavid masters. A similar decorative scheme with comparable layout, colours and choice of motifs, although on a book cover, is found in an example in the Khalili Collection (Nasser D. Khalili, B.W. Robinson and Tim Stanley, Lacquer of the Islamic Lands, London, 1996, no. 61, pp.94-95). Other comparables can also be seen in the Khalili Collection, nos. 58-60 (Khalili et al., op. cit., pp. 92-93). The European landscape of the interior harks back to the style of the 17th century and the work in particular of the school of Muhammad Zaman (fl.1659-1700). By the later 17th century, the Iranian miniature painting style had been reformed into an 'illusionistic painting heavily dependent on European prototypes' (Khalili et al., op. cit., p. 54). The broken tree trunk that appears in the left foreground of both this penbox and one in the Khalili collection, which is signed 'Hajji Muhammad', probably a reference to Muhammad Zaman, has come to be identified as characteristic of his work (Khalili et al., op. cit., p. 56).

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    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 17.5% on the buyer's premium.