• 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 124

    A SAFAVID SILVER INLAID BRASS "MAGIC" BOWL

    IRAN, EARLY 17TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A SAFAVID SILVER INLAID BRASS "MAGIC" BOWL
    IRAN, EARLY 17TH CENTURY
    Of thin brass hammered to a shallow circular shape with everted rim and short vertical foot, the interior with central raised boss surrounded by a concentric nasta'liq inscription and two registers of quatrefoil and long cartouches containing dense naskh inscription, the exterior with 12 angular cartouches engraved against a ground of naskh containing the signs of the zodiac against a ground of floral arabesques, between two inscription bands, slightly rubbed
    8 11/16in. (22cm.) diam.


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    The inscriptions include quotations from the Qur'an, call to God to bless Muhammad and the Twelve Imams, nada 'ali quatrain and talismanic inscriptions. The quality of decoration on this "magic" bowl is extremely high, partly obscured by a thin coating of dark lacquer which conceals how much of the original remains. Of particular note is the silver inlay outlining the zodiac panels and flanking the inscription bands on the exterior which is extremely rare to find in Safavid art after the battle of Chaldiran. A relatively reliable sequence of development of these bowls can be built up using dated examples. The present bowl is very similar to one in these Rooms 10 October 2006, lot 28 which was inscribed "Started on the 12 Ramadan [1020], finished on 10 Rabi' I, 1021" (18 November 1611-11 May 1612), and another, included here on 16 October 2001, lot 324, which was inscribed "beginning 27 Ramadan 1019 and finishing 17 Rabi' II 1020 (13 June 1610-29 June 1611).
    For a discussion of Safavid brass magic bowls please see Emily Savage-Smith, "Safavid Magic Bowls", in Jon Thompson and Sheila Canby (eds.), The Hunt for Paradise, New York and Milan, 2003, pp.240-247.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.