• 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 28

    A SILVER AND COPPER-INLAID BRONZE EWER

    KHORASSAN, NORTH EAST IRAN, FIRST HALF 13TH CENTURY AND LATER

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A SILVER AND COPPER-INLAID BRONZE EWER
    KHORASSAN, NORTH EAST IRAN, FIRST HALF 13TH CENTURY AND LATER
    Of faceted drum shape rising from a cusped flat foot to a very slightly rounded shoulder, with a tall straight neck and a rising faceted spout, the straight handle joining the upper body to the neck, the spout decorated with ten roundels with the signs of the zodiac, the two signs associated with water, Pisces and Aquarius on the spout, a line of animated kufic above on dense scrolls, the shoulder with two rowing boats with seated figures and ferrymen navigating amongst mythical beasts, some devouring fish and birds, a band of interlocking medallions with deers, hares and felines below, the body with floral medallions, a incribed line above and a band of chasing animals below, the body and shoulder engraved in the 12th century style
    15¾in. (40cm.) high


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    The inscription around the neck reads al-'izz al-da'im al-a... wa al-baqa' li sahibihi (Eternal glory... and long life to its owner).

    This ewer belongs to a group of ewers with cylindrical, faceted or fluted body, flat slightly rising upward shoulder and raised spout projecting from a narrow cylindrical neck which is exemplified by a ewer in the Metropolitan Museum, datable between 1180 and 1210 and attributable to Herat, Afghanistan (Eva Baer, Metalwork in Medieval Islamic Art, New York, 1983, p.99-100). The Metropolitan example is decorated with the twelve signs of the Zodiac. Although the body of the present ewer has been very substantially reworked, the neck is decorated with a fine depiction of the Zodiac; ten signs are shown in two rows of circular medallions around the neck and Pisces and Aquarius, associated with water, are placed along each side of the spout. The earliest dated work of art with a depiction of an astrological cycle is a mirror in the Islamic Art Museum in Cairo dated 1153. However, with its neatly drawn signs and quadrupeds seen in profile, the medallions on our ewer resemble those on a fragmentary ewer in the Metropolitan Museum, and would thus contribute to give the ewer a later date, possibly 13th century (Stefano Carboni, Following the Stars, Images of the Zodiacs in Islamic Art, New York, 1997, cat.5, p.16).

    The depictions of Aries, rid by Mars, and that of Aquarius, traditionally depicted with Saturn, visible in our ewer show slight variations from the known cycle exemplified by the ewer in the Metropolitan Museum and that in the Tblisi Museum made in Herat and dated 1181-2 AD (ibid, p.24, not illustrated). The presence of these minor changes in the iconography may also support a 13th century dating for this ewer.

    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.


    Provenance

    UK collection, since 1980s


    Saleroom Notice

    Please note that the estimates in the catalogue should read
    GBP10,000-15,000