- Special Pages
Benedict Carter, Deputy Director and Specialist in Islamic Art at Sotheby’s, explains to media representatives some of the exhibits to be auctioned in London on October 3, at Katara yesterday. LEFT: Visitors looking at some of the exhibits. Shaival Dalal
BY RAYNALD C RIVERA
DOHA: Forty-five of over 280 rare pieces to go under the hammer at Sotheby’s Arts of the Islamic World auction next month are showcased at a two-day exhibition at Katara Gallery, Building 22 which opens to the public today.
Finely crafted gold, silver, ceramic lustre, manuscripts, miniatures and textiles produced between the seventh to the 19th century across the Muslim world are featured at the travelling expo leading to an auction in London on October 3 where 288 lots will go on sale.
Benedict Carter, Deputy Director and Specialist of Sotheby’s Middle East Department, said the spectacular collection span the depth and breadth of Islamic culture and geography, adding there has been huge demand for Islamic art pieces of such rarity.
Headlining the exhibition is a large and highly important 10th/11th century Fatimid white-ground lustre pottery jar, from Egypt.
Valued between $471,000 to $784,000; this exquisite jar belongs to a small group of surviving Fatimid lustre jars, which exemplify the magnificence of the lustre pottery technique which reached its height in the eleventh century, reflecting the power and patronage of the Fatimid Empire.
Another interesting piece is early Islamic silver-gilt and nielloed parcel-gilt cup with Kufic inscription, from Persia, dated 11th/12th century, carrying the same estimate of $471,000 to $784,000 as the Fatimid pottery jar.
This cup not only presents an extremely rare example of early Persian silverware, but it also displays a variety of decorative techniques, rendering it of both art-historical and academic importance.
On of the oldest in the collection is a rare pair of silk lampas trousers from central Asia which depicts the quality and splendour of Sogdian silk cloth production of the seventh and eighth centuries.
The decorative ornamentation is linked to early Sasanian archetypes conveying the traditional associations of power and wealth and widely adopted at the many cosmopolitan trading- and production-centres along the Silk Road. It is displayed along with two finely woven textile fragments containing elaborate figures.
Highlighting the manuscript section of the exhibition is a rare Quran leaf in late Hijazi script.
This late 7th-early 8th century east or Arabian peninsula leaf is written in a transitional script that lies between Hijazi and Kufic, and demonstrates a crucial phase in the development of Quranic scripts in the earliest period of the Islamic era.
Among the other highlights of the expo include a 14th century central Asian decorative gold cup, a magnificent 18th century Mughal gem-set jade-hilted dagger from India, a large oil painting depicting how Makkah looked like in the mid-19th century, and a number of pottery pieces from the collection of famous Chicago-based collector Harvey B Plotnick.