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A RARE SAFAVID BRASS TORCHSTAND (SHAMDAN)
A RARE SAFAVID BRASS TORCHSTAND (SHAMDAN)

SAFAVID IRAN, LAST QUARTER 16TH CENTURY

Details
A RARE SAFAVID BRASS TORCHSTAND (SHAMDAN)
SAFAVID IRAN, LAST QUARTER 16TH CENTURY
Rising from wide trumpet foot through faceted shaft with double pronounced collar and flaring rim, the shaft with a main register of elegant arabesque issuing from large palmettes and with split-leaf terminals, bordered by minor bands of interlacing floral scroll, the foot and mouth each with a band of nasta'liq cartouches bordered by similar bands of floral vine and minor bands of smaller palmettes, the decoration all reserved against a ground of original red, black and green pigment, original pigment well preserved, later owner's inscriptions to the side and the rim, small repairs to foot
11in. (27.7cm.) high

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Andrew Butler-Wheelhouse
Andrew Butler-Wheelhouse

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Lot Essay

Inscription: Around the base, the first two distichs of an ode by Katebi Torhizi. Around the neck, a variation on a distich of Daqiqi and a hemistich by the same poet. Owner's inscription, sahebuhu dara khan ibn mahmud nakh[ja]vani, 'Its owner is Dara Khan ibn Mahmud Nakhjavani' and sahibuhu mashhadi muhammad 'ali, 'Its owner Mashhadi Muhammad 'Ali'


This Safavid shamdan is rare for the amount of coloured composition that remains in the decoration. Most of the examples to come to the market, have completely lost their colour, giving them a very different aesthetic. Here we are given a rare insight into how such pieces were originally intended to look. In his discussion of the metalwork of the Safavid period in the Victoria and Albert Museum, a number of the pieces listed by Melikian are noted as having black composition or traces thereof. Very few are mentioned as having colour. He mentions traces of red composition on one candlestick as "an early feature on middle Safavid bronze or brass wares". That candlestick he dates to the 1580s or 90s (Assadullah Souren Melikian-Chirvani, Islamic Metalwork from the Iranian World, London, 1982, p.267). A Safavid ewer and basin that retained much of its composition recently sold at Sotheby's, 6 October 2010, lot 199.

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