A KASHAN MOULDED TURQUOISE, BLUE AND LUSTRE FRIEZE TILE
A KASHAN MOULDED TURQUOISE, BLUE AND LUSTRE FRIEZE TILE
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PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE AMERICAN COLLECTION
A KASHAN MOULDED TURQUOISE, BLUE AND LUSTRE FRIEZE TILE

CENTRAL IRAN, CIRCA 1307-08

Details
A KASHAN MOULDED TURQUOISE, BLUE AND LUSTRE FRIEZE TILE
CENTRAL IRAN, CIRCA 1307-08
Of rectangular form, decorated under the glaze in dark lustre, cobalt-blue and turquoise, with a strong cobalt-blue naskh inscription moulded on a ground of foliate and bird motifs reserved against lustre and highlighted with turquoise, the raised border above similarly decorated, repaired breaks, areas of restoration
15 x 14 ½in. (38.5 x 37cm)
Provenance
Excavated Kashan, 1920s
Engraved
Broken inscription kas nakhuri '... of a person you do not drink ...'
Further Details
Some countries prohibit or restrict the purchase and/or import of Iranian-origin property. Bidders must familiarise themselves with any laws or shipping restrictions that apply to them before bidding on these lots. For example, the USA prohibits dealings in and import of Iranian-origin “works of conventional craftsmanship” (such as carpets, textiles, decorative objects, and scientific instruments) without an appropriate licence. Christie’s has a general OFAC licence which, subject to compliance with certain conditions, would enable a buyer to import this type of lot into the USA. If you intend to use Christie’s licence, please contact us for further information before you bid.

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Lot Essay


The size and decoration of the present lot, with an upper register including a number of paired birds, relates precisely to the tiles from the calligraphic frieze on the shrine of Shaykh 'Abd al-Samad in Natanz. Tiles from that frieze are now in the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Hermitage Museum, the Louvre and the Hetjens Museum in Dusseldorf, among others (for a full list, see Richard Piran McClary, "Recontextualising the Object: using New Technologies to Reconstruct Lost Interiors of Medieval Islamic Buildings', International Journal of Islamic Architecture, volume 7, issue 2, 2018 pp.263-283). The tile in the Metropolitan Museum of Art is dated AH 707 / 1307-08 AD (acc.no. 12.44).

The tiles known to have come from the Natanz shrine have generally been defaced, with the faces of the birds in the upper register having been deliberately chipped away. The fact that the birds in our frieze are intact is therefore particularly interesting. Knowing that this tile was excavated in Kashan, it suggests that tiles of this type may have not only been made for Natanz, but also elsewhere. Alternatively, perhaps this was intended for Natanz but rejected for some reason and remained in Kashan, where these tiles are likely ot have been manufactured.

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