Islamic Works of Art

Arts of the Islamic world cover artefacts from countries in North Africa, Turkey, the Middle East and the Indian sub-Continent.

These works take a variety of forms. They include manuscripts with fine calligraphy; early medieval pottery such as Kashan ware, colourful glazed Isnik pieces or decorative tiles from Safavid dynasty in Iran; metalwares like bronzes from Mamluk Egypt or Timurid Persia; astrolabes which pre-date most of their Western counterparts; and early Silk Road textiles such as Sogdian weavings.


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New record for Islamic art in bumper week of sales

11 April 2011

ISLAMIC art dominated the London sales agenda last week with the first of the two bi-annual series of auctions devoted to this field in the capital.

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Gold dinar sets new high at £3.1m

11 April 2011

THE London Islamic sales week got of to a ‘magic carpet’ start when Morton and Eden held an 81-lot sale devoted to the rarest Islamic coins.

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Muted bidding as Fatimid ewer takes £2.8m hammer

13 October 2008

It proved, as predicted, to be the highest priced item in London Islamic week sales, but the Fatimid rock crystal ewer did not generate quite the fireworks that were expected before it came up for sale at Christie's on October 7.

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Medieval treasure carved from a single piece of rock crystal

15 September 2008

Few objects evoke the richness of medieval Islamic culture as much as the small group of carved rock crystal ewers made for the court of the Fatimid rulers of Cairo in the late 10th and early 11th centuries.

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Ancient key to Mecca shrine sells for £8.2m

14 April 2008

London’s latest series of Islamic auctions, held from April 7-11, produced a series of record-breaking statistics. The result of the week came at Sotheby’s on April 9 when a 14 1/2in (37cm) long iron and copper key to the ka’ba, the holiest place in the Islamic world, sold for £8.2m, establishing a new auction high for any Islamic work of art.

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Gillot’s Islamic gems boost total at Christie’s in Paris

10 March 2008

The 17.9m euro premium-inclusive total generated by Christie’s two-day sale of the ‘hidden’ collection of Charles Gillot in Paris last week may have wildly surpassed the auctioneers’ 5m euro predictions, but the performance of the 476-lot auction nonetheless ran pretty much along predicted lines.

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Fatimid ewer found in Somerset

21 January 2008

Drama at Lawrences of Crewkerne on January 17 when this remarkable silver gilt and rock crystal vessel, left behind its estimate of just £100-200 to sell to a buyer in the room at £220,000 (plus 17.5 per cent buyer’s premium).

Sotheby’s add new slant to Islamic week

01 October 2007

There will be a new slant to this month’s Islamic week of sales in London. In a move presumably aimed to tap into new areas of the lucrative Middle Eastern market, Sotheby’s will inaugurate a sale of Modern and contemporary Arab Iranian Art. The sale will take place on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 24, immediately after their traditional Islamic works of art sale.

Bonhams reveal Dubai ambitions

23 April 2007

Bonhams have joined the push for Middle Eastern business by announcing the opening of a sales office in Dubai with a first auction scheduled for early November.

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£1.5m for bust of lost kingdom’s tragic ruler

23 April 2007

One of the highlights of the recent Islamic sale series in London was this 2ft 4in (74cm) high, mid-19th century signed white marble bust of Maharajah Duleep Singh by John Gibson RA.

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Ownership questions halt beam sale at Christie’s

12 April 2006

As ATG went to press, the best-selling work of art in last week’s series of Islamic sales in London was this impressive 16in (40cm) diameter blue and white Iznik pottery dish, right, offered at Christie’s on April 4.

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Panels share £500,000 provincial record

28 June 2004

THE remarkable sums paid in London for high quality Islamic works of art arrived in the provinces in June.

Heaven on Earth exhibition

26 May 2004

Islamic works of art have not just been wowing collectors in the auction rooms, the museum- and exhibition-going public have also plainly found it a big and topical attraction.

Clive of activity nets £4.1m

05 May 2004

LONDON'S twice-yearly series of Islamic sales can usually be relied upon to produce some dramatic results as the deep-pocketed collectors that dominate this market battle to secure their chosen prizes. The latest Islamic series, featuring sales at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonhams, was no exception, with some huge prices generated at all three houses for tiles, Isnik pottery, daggers and jewelled objects.

£5.4m boost to V&A’s coffers for refurbishment

13 February 2004

ISLAMIC ART: A MAJOR donation hase been given to the Victoria and Albert Museum, to enable it to completely refurbish its Islamic Gallery, home to the famous Ardabil carpet and many other treasures from the Middle East.

It’s business as usual

13 May 2003

FOR more than one reason, one might have expected the latest series of Islamic works of art sales in London to be a downbeat affair. Added to the prevailing economic gloom, this could surely be a sector of the market where the war in Iraq and its aftermath would have a depressive effect on prices.

Islamic sales remain steady in wake of war

08 May 2003

THE war in Iraq does not appear to have had any obvious effect on the latest series of lslamic sales, held in London last week. There was still an international turnout for the three main auctions of Islamic works of art and, in a field usually characterised by selective buying, the selling rates were not especially different, with a take-up in lot terms ranging from just over half the content at Bonhams and Christie’s King Street to just over two thirds at Sotheby’s.

An answer to all prayers

09 May 2002

This unusual looking piece from Ottoman Turkey, pictured right, provided one of the highlights of Bonhams’ Islamic sale on April 24 when it sold for £40,000.

Shining gems of the East

17 April 2002

Glass from Islamic Lands by Stefano Carboni, published by Thames & Hudson in association with The al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait National Museum. ISBN 0500976066. £40 pb

A few stars shine among October’s selective bidding

31 October 2001

Even without the worldwide crises of the last two months, the market for Islamic works of art has always been volatile, subject to price polarisation and a degree of selectiveness.

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