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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Single-Owner Collection of Isfahani Textiles to Sell at Bonhams

A stunning collection of Safavid textiles, the glory of 17th and 18th Century Isfahan, a city where conspicuous consumption was a social obligation, features in Bonhams Islamic and Indian Art Sale on April 15 in London.

A small scrap of silk textile, no bigger than a hand towel, decorated with a series of repeated silver parrots perched on leafy branches amidst orange peonies and blue carnations on gold coloured ground, is expected to sell for £15,000 to £20,000 such is its rarity and beauty.

European travellers who were resourceful enough to reach Isfahan created by Shah Abbas I in 1598 were astonished by the rich dress of the inhabitants. Conspicuous consumption was a social obligation demanded by the Shah. This was a shrewd move to develop expensive tastes in his subjects thus reviving Persia’s brilliant history in textile design, famous through the Eastern and Roman worlds.

There were a constant round of court festivities with extravagant parties held in palace gardens affording opportunities to display magnificent clothes.

The collection of Safavid textiles at Bonhams comes from a single owner collection and is estimated to reach a total of £250,000.

Head of Islamic and Indian Art at Bonhams, Kristina Sanne, comments: “It is a privilege to hold these sumptuous fabrics in one’s hands. They provided an endless palette for their wearers to create visions of loveliness that rival and exceed anything we see today in the fashion capitals of the world.”