• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7571

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    8 April 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 63

    A PANEL OF EIGHTEEN KASHAN LUSTRE AND COBALT BLUE STAR TILES

    PROBABLY PARTLY FROM THE SHRINE OF 'ABD AL-SAMAD, NATANZ, EARLY 14TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A PANEL OF EIGHTEEN KASHAN LUSTRE AND COBALT BLUE STAR TILES
    PROBABLY PARTLY FROM THE SHRINE OF 'ABD AL-SAMAD, NATANZ, EARLY 14TH CENTURY
    Each eight-pointed star painted in brown lustre with a variety of floral and arabesque designs, some with one or more birds, within a inscription border, the white naskh outlined on a blue ground, the birds' heads and occasional corners restored, mounted together, the interstices painted turquoise to resemble cross-tiles
    Panel 43 x 31¼in. (110 x 80cm.)


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    The tiles with birds all contain inscriptions from the Qur'an. Those with arabesques, with two exceptions which also have verses from the Qur'an, all have verses in Persian. Two of the arabesque and floral tiles with Persian verses also have incomplete dates: "fi shuhur sana sitta" (in the course of the year six) and "fi sana sab" (in the year seven). Fuller details of the individual inscriptions are available on request.

    A very similar panel of tiles from the collection of Theodor Sehmer was sold in these Rooms 27 April 2004, lot 224 (see also Johanna Zick-Nissen (et al), Islamische Keramik, Düsseldorf, 1973, no.132, p.106). A related further example with fewer tiles is in the Victoria and Albert Museum (Linda Komaroff and Stefano Carboni, The Legacy of Ghengis Khan, New York, 2002, fig.120, p.102; Watson, Oliver, Persian Lustre Ware, London, 1985, pl.M - detail only).

    Sheila Blair showed that the shrine of 'Abd al-Samad in Natanz, near Kashan, contained a dado of six rows of star and cross tiles topped by a band of moulded inscribed frieze tiles (Blair, S., The Ilkhanid Shrine Complex at Natanz, Iran, Cambridge, Mass, 1986). The larger frieze tiles suffer, as do the present tiles, from the attention of an iconoclast in times past who has carefully chipped off the heads of each and every bird. The date of the frieze is given as Shawwal 707/March-April 1308 on a tile in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Carbone, Stefano and Masuya, Tomoko, Persian Tiles, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1993, no.20, p.25). Whether all the present tiles came from the shrine in Natanz or, which seems more probable from the inscriptions, just those with the birds, is not certain.

    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

    B.... v. Schlesberg, (as per label on reverse dated Oct/Nov 1942)
    Anon sale, Christie's, 27 April 1993, lot 158.
    Amir Pakzad, Hannover, from whose estate sold in these Rooms 29 April 2003, lot 148 to the present owner


    Exhibited

    Kestner Museum, Hannover, circa 1994 to 2002