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Five tiles from the shrine of Imamzadeh Yahia, Veramin, Iran
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Five tiles from the shrine of Imamzadeh Yahia, Veramin, Iran

H 660 1262 A.D.

Details
Five tiles from the shrine of Imamzadeh Yahia, Veramin, Iran
H 660 1262 A.D.
Panel of four star tiles and one cross tile mounted on a wooden frame, frit ware, white slip painted with gold lustre, with designs in white reserved against a lustre ground, two of the star tiles with radial designs of palmettes issuing from the centre, the interstices filled with spiralling motifs, the other two star tiles with a symetrical curling floral and foliate designs, the interstices filled with similar spiralling motifs, the central cross tile with paired half palmettes issuing further paired half palmettes, filling the arms of the cross, each tile with a border of white ground with Qur'anic inscription in lustre (two tiles lacking one point each, replaced with parts from other similar tiles)
each tile aproximately 31 cm. across, the entire panel 62 cm. across
Special Notice

Christie's charge a premium to the buyer on the final bid price of each lot sold at the following rates: 23.8% of the final bid price of each lot sold up to and including €150,000 and 14.28% of any amount in excess of €150,000. Buyers' premium is calculated on the basis of each lot individually.

Lot Essay

Text:
On the cross tile- Qur'an I (al-Fataha), Qur'an CXII (al-Ikhlas) and Qur'an CXIV (al-Nas); on the star tiles, clockwise from top right- Qur'an I (al-Fataha) and Qur'an CXII (al-Ikhlas); Qur'an I (al-Fataha) and Qur'an CXII (al-Ikhlas); Qur'an III:26, dated Muharram 661/November 1262; Qur'an XVIII (al-Kahf): 25-29

The interior of the Imamzadeh Yahya, a small but exquisite shrine in Veramin in Northern Iran, was once covered in tiles such as this. The crisp drawing of the lustre-painted decoration makes them amongst the finest to come from any pre-Mongol monument in Iran.

Most of these tiles are now in private collections or in museums and have been widely published. The British Museum has a large collection, several of them dated (V. Porter, Islamic Tiles, London, 1995, pl. 19, p. 35.) and the Victoria and Albert Museum also has some (A. Lane, A Guide to the Collection of Tiles, London, 1960, pl.3A and in O. Watson, Persian Lustre Ware, London, 1985, pl.K.). Some tiles are also in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (S. Carboni and T. Masuya, Persian Tiles, New York, 1993, pl. 10a-c, p. 15). The spectacular mihrab from this shrine is in the late Doris Duke's Hawaii mansion (S. Littlefield, Doris Duke's Shangri La, Honolulu, 2002, p. 19).
Two similar tiles (fragments) of the J.W.N. van Achterbergh collection are on loan in the study collection of the Princessehof, Leeuwarden.
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