Christie’s is proud to announce details of The Saeed Motamed Collection which will be offered in two parts, with Part I taking place on 22 April 2013 and Part II on 7 October 2013. The sales, comprising over 600 lots, are expected to realise a combined total in the region of £1 million; part of the monies raised will benefit a charitable organisation.
Saeed Motamed (1925 – 2013) started collecting art in 1953 and continued to do so until the late 1980s and early 1990s. The collection displays the depth and breadth of his knowledge of the artistic traditions of Iran, and the rest of the Islamic World. It is an expansive collection of Islamic Art which also spans centuries of the history of pre-Islamic Iran. Saeed Motamed’s pioneering interest for Islamic art and particularly his love for early Islamic glass and Persian lacquer works made him famous throughout Europe and America. Many pieces that once belonged to him are now in museum collections. His methodical and conscientious approach to recording and documenting his acquisitions enables Christie’s to offer this collection with the support of exceptionally detailed provenance.
An elegant Sasanian silver ewer is a fine example of pre-Islamic Iranian art (estimate: £8,000 – 12,000). The ewer is complemented by a number of glass pieces from Iran and Western Asia including a major highlight of the sale, a 13th-century Mamluk enamelled and gilt glass beaker (estimate: £20,000 – 30,000). This is a remarkable lyrical survival from the greatest period of manufacture of Islamic enamelled glass. The three figures of musicians and playful animals decorating this exuberant piece reflect the princely taste of the time.
A fine selection of Islamic illuminated manuscripts includes a Khamsa by Nizami (d.1209 ad) (estimate: £2,000 – 3,000), a rare early 18th century Kashmiri manuscript the Hamla-i Haydari, providing an account of the life of the Prophet Muhammad and the first Caliphs (estimate: £8,000 - 12,000), and a fine Ottoman Qur’an section, signed Hafiz Muhammad al-Wafa and dated 1815-16 AD (estimate: £5,000 - 8,000).
A group of 17th century works of art from India features a fine Mughal carved white jade panel, probably from the period of Shah Jahan, mid-17th century (estimate: £3,000 – 4,000), a rare set of gold-damascened armour plates from mid-17th century Decccan (estimate: £5,000 – 7,000), and a long sword (firangi) - also from mid-17th century Deccan - with an exquisitely decorated steel hilt (estimate; £1,800-2,400). The study of a tulip, probably Tulipa Clusiana, is a highlight of the section of Indian paintings and can probably be attributed to the Master of the Borders. It was painted in Mughal India, possibly in Deccan, also circa mid-17th century (estimate £3,000-4,000).
Persian Safavid and Qajar lacquers feature strongly in The Saeed Motamed Collection and are probably the finest comprehensive selection to come to the market in years. Exceptional examples include a fine Qajar papier-mâché casket which dates to the early 19th century (estimate: £6,000 – 8,000). The casket is finely decorated in gold and polychrome, with a central panel depicting Fath Ali Shah Qajar enthroned and surrounded by three of his sons, his ministers and courtiers. A lacquer mirror case signed by Muhammad Isma’il, one of the greatest lacquer artists of the mid-19th century, is a further highlight of this section (estimate: £8,000-12,000).
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