Islamic paintings, manuscripts, pottery and Ottoman silver ranging from the 9th to the 19th century are on offer at Christie's London autumn sale of Islamic Art and Manuscripts on October 11. A sale of Oriental Rugs and Carpets two days later includes 19th-century silk carpets from two private European collections in addition to a large 18th-century Indian carpet.
A seated portrait of Muhammad Shah Qajar enthroned, 1844 CE (estimate: GBP250,000-GBP350,000) is signed Ahmad, one of the two principal court painters of that time.
Among the pottery is an exceedingly rare Sumarra luster-painted bowl from the Abbasid period, dating from the 9th century (estimate: GBP50,000-GBP70,000). On this signed bowl, a large and powerful falcon fills the center, painted in a rich deep, reddish-brown luster.
Medieval metalwork includes a late 13th-century/early 14th-century Seljuk white bronze candlestick inlaid with silver (estimate: GBP30,000-40,000); and a Mamluk silver inlaid brass candlestick, period of Al-Nasir Muhammad, 1293-1341 CE (estimate: GBP25,000-GBP35,000). In addition, there is a collection of 19th-century Ottoman silver from Turkey.
Also featured is a crisp white marble capital from Medinat al-Zahra in Southern Spain dating from the second half of the 10th century (estimate: GBP30,000-GBP50,000). Once decorated with colored paint, lines and circles incised on the top of the capital show the workings of how it was originally designed from a solid cube of marble.
The selection of carpets ranging from Turkey through Persia and India to China, from the 16th to 20th centuries to be offered on October 13, includes two private European collections of mid- to late-19th-century silk carpets with Persian examples from Kashan, Tabriz and Heriz as well as Turkish examples from Koum Kapi and Hereke, with estimates from GBP1,500 to GBP80,000. The best is an unusually large Koum Kapi carpet of 10ft x 6ft, attributed to the master weaver Zareh Penyamin (GBP60,000-GBP80,000).
One of the most interesting carpets is a late 16th- or early 17th-century prayer carpet from Isfahan, reportedly in outstanding condition (GBP80,000-GBP120,000). This example has the same inscriptions and is of the same size as the largest known group of Persian prayer carpets found in the Royal Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, and was woven in wool and silver thread on a silk foundation.
Also in the sale is a rare Mughal 18th-century carpet with an off-white background made from cotton with silk details. This was probably made in the Deccan in Central India and measures 26ft x 9ft (GBP100,000-GBP150,000). The coloring of this carpet is exactly the "look" sought by contemporary designers today.