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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Bonhams Islamic and Indian Art Sale

Bonhams will be selling an array of important historical pieces, ranging from a spectacular 17th century wood ceiling panel, to rare Islamic manuscripts, Iznik pottery and elaborate jewellery and silverware in its Islamic and Indian Art Sale on 8th October at New Bond Street.

MudéjarOne of the highlights of the sale is a massive Mudéjar style polychrome painted wood ceiling panel from Tunisia, which is expected to reach a sizeable £40,000-60,000. The rare and distinctive ceiling forms a ‘T’ shape: the main part of the ceiling is a rectangular piece that forms the top of the ‘T’, intricately decorated with various floral and arabesque motifs measuring an impressive 600 x 300cm. The smaller section is a square-shaped recessed dome panel, where the central geometric decoration is centres on a beautiful twelve-pointed star.

The distinctive mudéjar style can be seen in this painted ceiling panel, in particular the use of scrolling motifs in red, gold and black, painted within rectangular panels, reminiscent of the splendid mudéjar painted ceiling of the Cathedral at Teruel. The mudéjar aesthetic was practiced by the Muslim craftsmen and became extremely popular in newly Christian Spain and also had a lasting influence on Tunisian culture.

Also featured in the sale is a fine selection of Islamic manuscripts, including a large Qur’an leaf from the ‘Five Suras’ (circa 1350-1420) estimated to fetch a substantial £15,000-20,000. Elsewhere a collection of Iznik pottery, fine silver and metalware and a large collection of stamps, official letters and postcards relating to numerous important Royal figures (estimated £3,000-4,000) are expected to excite bidders with an interest in Islamic and Indian Art.

An important 19th Century emerald and seed-pearl Necklace from the Lahore Treasury, reputedly worn by Maharani Jindan Kaur wife of Ranjit Singh, the Lion of the Punjab (1780–1839) is estimated to sell for £25,000-35,000. The necklace has six polished emerald beads, one later converted to a pendant, each bead gold-mounted and fringed with seed-pearl drop tassels, fastened with a gold clasp. This exquisite piece comes with a fitted cloth covered case, the inside of which is inscribed: “From the Collection of the Court of Lahore formed by HH The Maharajah Runjeet Singh & lastly worn by Her Highness The Late Maharanee Jeddan Kower”

Kristina Sanne, of Bonhams Indian and Islamic Department comments, comments: “This ceiling is a magnificent example of North African and Spanish artistic culture. This richly decorated ceiling would once have adorned a Riad in Tunisia. Remarkably few ceilings on this scale have been preserved, making it an impressive remnant of a largely vanished Islamic tradition. For someone looking to re-create a Moorish look, this would be the talking point of any interior.”