Islamic artworks go under the hammer at Sotheby’s
Some of the best examples of artwork from the Islamic world, including a portrait of the great Ottoman Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, will go under the hammer at Britain’s famous auction house Sotheby’s on May 1.
The collection titled “Arts of the Islamic World” has 311 pieces that will find new owners in the auction to be held on May 1.
A portrait of Süleyman the Magnificent, which is thought to have been painted by one of the followers of noted Italian painter Gentile Bellini, and probably commissioned by Venetian diplomats visiting the Ottoman palace is valued at around 250,000 - 350,000 British pounds ($323,000 - $452,000).
“Both from a historical and art-historical point of view, the present portrait is a landmark. Not only is it one of the few Western images of an Eastern potentate done by a European artist, but it probably also served as a primary source of inspiration for many later portraits, drawings, prints and medals of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent,” the auction house Sotheby’s says about the painting on its website.
The two earliest known surviving depictions of Sultan Süleyman as a young man include a drawing by Albrecht Durer now in the Musée Bonnat in France, and a copper plate print by the Italian lithography master “A.A” now in the Graphische Samlung Albertina in Austria.
A rare example of an İznik “Golden Horn” dish dating back to the 1530s is the most valuable piece in the collection and it is looking for a buyer for an amount between 300,000 and 500,000 pounds ($387,000 - $645,000).
The last time a similar dish was seen in an auction was 1986, and another example of it is in the collection of the British Museum, according to information from the Sotheby’s.
The auction house’s expert of Middle Eastern and Islamic arts, Alexandra Roy, says the portrait of Süleyman the Magnificent and the İznik pottery were products from around the same time, adding that İznik pottery had its golden age during the reign of the sultan.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Roy said the collection to be auctioned has works from a period that stretched from the 9th century to 19th century and they belonged to collectors from Europe and the Middle East.
An Ottoman painted wood turban stand with a tortoiseshell and ivory-inlaid case from the 18th century is one of the interesting pieces from the collection.
The carefully inscribed gilt lettering on the decorative stand is composed of stanzas from the Ottoman Turkish poet Mahtumi Vahidi – known as Mahtumi.
One stanza by Mahtumi written on the stand reads: “Like the turban, your place is on top of my head.”
The auction will also present numerous Ottoman rifles and swords, paintings describing the coronation of Sultan Selim III and a military caravan from Sultan Murad III and many gems and jewelry pieces.
A rare miniature Quran on vellum from the region of North Africa, Near East or Persia from the 10th century is priced for 70,000 –90,000 pounds ($90,000 - $116,000).
The collection holds many other pieces of artworks from India to Morocco and from Europe to Central Asia.
The auction on May 1 will also be open to bids over the internet.