Ayyam Auctions Announces Art and Antiques of the Islamic World: The Ottoman Levant Between the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries Sale

On October 17 Ayyam Auctions will present Art and Antiques of the Islamic World: The Ottoman Levant Between the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. As the inaugural event of a new series of public sales, this forthcoming auction will offer over 50 lots of masterworks with a special emphasis on artifacts from the Ottoman Empire. The first of its kind to be held in the United Arab Emirates, this forthcoming auction is expected to add a new component to Dubai’s competitive art market.

Mosque Kashkul, Damascus, Late 19th Century. H38 X W70 cm. Estimate: US$ 12,000 – 15,000

This landmark sale has been organized with the assistance of Damascus-based Islamic antiques’ specialist Maysa Harwil. With over twenty years of experience in the field, Harwil has contributed her vast knowledge of Islamic art collectibles to the compiling of superb examples of Ottoman craftsmanship. Of the dozens of works that have been secured for the sale Harwil observes:

“These items demonstrate the richness of what life, society and the imagination were during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries in the Eastern Mediterranean. From the intricate detailing of mother-of-pearl to the cutting and setting of precious stones and the fashioning of copper and steel work, each tradition and technique was passed down through the ages and can still be found among a select number of masters throughout the region today.”

Highlights of the Auction:
Offering an extensive selection of Ottoman decorative arts, this sale will showcase furniture, manuscripts, arms and armors, glassware, jewelry and textiles, including a number of rare objects.

Among several ornately decorated Qur’ans is an 1832 example from Turkey that was handwritten by Ahmad Al Shekry, a scholar of Mohamad al Helmy. With gilded bordering and floral form verse markers throughout, its first double pages are adorned with scrawling floral and foliage designs in green, blue and red. This exquisite manuscript is enclosed in leather binding with a flap that is detailed in thick gold.

A Lebanese metal-thread prayer rug that is in splendid condition maintains an equally impressive level of mastery with pink, yellow and gold pure silk weaving in the Zou’ style. Forming a depiction of a Mihrab with two minarets in the background, its main image also contains three golden lanterns that are suspended from the center and flanked by an intricate floral design.

A shimmering Georgian inspired estate bracelet catches the eye with 103 grams of 18 carat gold and 18-carats of Dutch rose cute diamonds that are only available in the fine antique market. With a 2.25-carat center stone, this over 20-carat piece is a remarkable testament to the opulent tastes of the Ottoman Empire.

Several examples of Damascene inlaid furniture reflect the excruciating attention to detail that characterized this world-renowned form. A large walnut inlaid wardrobe from 19th century Syria that was crafted by leading artisans of the Sar Sar family captures the refined beauty of the Levantine tradition, as every inch is encrusted with sea mother-of-pearl.

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