• 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 215

    HILYEH MADE FOR THE GOVERNOR OF EGYPT 'ALI BEY (D. 1773 AD)

    SIGNED SULAYMAN AL-NA'ILI, OTTOMAN SYRIA OR EGYPT, DATED SHA'BAN AH 1185/NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 1771 AD

    Price Realised  

    HILYEH MADE FOR THE GOVERNOR OF EGYPT 'ALI BEY (D. 1773 AD)
    SIGNED SULAYMAN AL-NA'ILI, OTTOMAN SYRIA OR EGYPT, DATED SHA'BAN AH 1185/NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 1771 AD
    Arabic and Turkish manuscript on paper laid down on wood, of rectangular form with cusped drilled finial surrounded by two half palmettes, the text with the bismallah in black muhaqqaq within gold floral sprays above, a panel of 11ll. of black naskh with gold rosette verse markers in the centre flanked by two vertical cartouches with black thuluth, 2ll. of black thuluth below, a cartouche with the signature and date along the bottom with 2ll. of naskh, each panel withing gold borders, some with floral illumination, areas of flaking
    26 1/8 x 10½in. (66.3 x 26.5cm.)


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    The inscription with the signature indicates that Sulayman al-Na'ili wrote this hilyeh for the Qa'im maqam of Egypt 'Ali Bey. 'Ali Bey was a Mamluk who rebelled against the Ottomans and ruled over Egypt between 1760 and 1773 AD.

    The hilyeh is a description of the Prophet Muhammad, rendered in calligraphic format. Credit for the layout of the classic hilyeh goes to the famous Ottoman calligrapher Hafiz 'Uthman. The layout is usually with the bismallah above, followed by the description and with the names of the four Rightly Guided Caliphs in roundels. It was often an examination piece for budding calligraphers, submitted by the pupil to master (Nabil Safwat, The Art of the Pen, Oxford, 1996, pp. 46-49).

    Special Notice

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