• 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 15

    AN EARLY ISLAMIC BRONZE EWER

    MESOPOTAMIA, 8TH/9TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    AN EARLY ISLAMIC BRONZE EWER
    MESOPOTAMIA, 8TH/9TH CENTURY
    Of bulbous form rising from a slightly everted foot to a flaring neck, the mouth with two raised bands, with long straight spout, the wavy handle joining the shoulder to the mouth decorated with bird's heads, the thumbpiece in the shape of a pomegranate, the moulded and engraved decoration with blossoming flowers and palmettes between floral lattice, minor encrustation, dents and holes
    11in. (27.9cm.) high


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    A double-spouted ewer attributed to 8th or 9th century Iran sold in these Rooms, 16 October 2001, lot 218, closely relates to the present ewer in the overall shape of its ovoid body, straight spouts and waisted neck. A ewer in the Bumiller collection also datable to the 8th or 9th century displays the same shape on short flat foot; although the spout is lacking, the inclination of its base indicates that it would probably have had a similar spout to that of the present example (Manfred Bumiller, Kleinformate, Bumiller - Collection, vol.7, Balzers, 2002, cat.31, pp.75-6). According to Eva Baer's classifications of early Islamic ewers, the present example falls into the third group, a less homogenous group and of transitional type, displaying features belonging to other groups. Most examples have an ovoid body on a low splayed foot and a bipartite neck as visible here (Eva Baer, Metalwork in Medieval Islamic Art, New York, 1983, pp.87-88, ill.67).

    In style, the decoration of this ewer with its blooming palmettes in low-relief, draws on earlier Sassanian traditions. A bronze ewer offered in these Rooms, 23 April 2002, lot 82 displays a similar vegetal pattern around its body and was attributed to 8th Iraq. A number of Sasanian metal vessels illustrated by Pope, and specifically various elements of the decoration of a silver-gilt ewer in the Hermitage, give the prototype for the floral style found here (Arthur U. Pope, A Survey of Persian Art, Oxford, 1938, pl.222-23).

    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

    In UK collection, since 2000