Sotheby's to auction Islamic artifacts produced by Muslim and Jewish craftsmen

Amer Sultan in London , Sunday 8 Apr 2012

Sotheby’s is planning an international auction of rare Islamic arts 24-26 April, including jewelry pieces where Jewish and Muslim artisans collaborated

Artuqid Bowl (Coronation Basin) [photo: Sotheby

“The auction will take place in London between 24-26 April and comprise 290 lots,” Sotheby's of London said in a press release. The auctioneer added that some of art on sale reflects the unique relation between Jews and Muslims in historical perspective.

“This sale presents an opportunity for collectors and institutions to acquire rare and exquisite Islamic works of art, many of historical significance and distinguished provenance,” Benedict Carter, the deputy director of Sotheby’s Middle East Department, said.

The sale features a rare group of 18th-19th century Moroccan gold jewellery that provides a fascinating insight into a blending of cultures at a time when collaboration between Jews and Muslims in Morocco was at its zenith.

This collaboration is reflected in the skilled work of Jewish goldsmiths, who adapted stylistic elements from a number of Berber and Arab designs.

The collection, according to Sotheby's, belongs to the Tazi family, one of the leading families of Tangier. Many pieces were royal gifts, set with diamonds, emeralds, rubies and pearls, highly cherished for their beauty as well as symbolic value.

Experts say the items are distinguished by their execution entirely in gold, unlike the more common silver jewellery of Morocco.

The auction will also put on sale some rare and historic Islamic manuscripts. An illustrated volume of leaves from Shahnameh of Shah Ismail II will be offered for sale. Sotheby's experts say this imperial manuscript epitomizes the grandeur and accomplishment of the Qazvini School at its zenith and is particularly significant within the history of Persian painting.

Sotheby's added that the manuscript was exhibited at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and at a later date more than half its pages were purchased by Edmond de Rothschild.

Other leaves from the same manuscript are in the collection of Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan, the Reza Abbasi Museum inTehran, and the Art and History Collections Trust in England.

Sales will also include distinguished Islamic art works including magnificent examples of weaponry, rare and important manuscripts, fine ceramic wares, and fine tapestries and rugs.

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