The Antiques Trade Gazette Award for Outstanding Indian/Islamic Work of Art from an Auction House and the Apollo Award for Outstanding Indian/Islamic Work of Art from a Dealer each have three finalists.
This silver-inlaid cast bronze candlestick (pictured above) belongs to an enigmatic group of similar pieces thought be from mid-14th century western Iran or Fars. A similar example in the Louvre Museum, inscribed with the name of Ahmad Shah al-Naqqash, a famous Baghdadi calligrapher who moved to Shiraz in 1360, provides the approximate dating for the group.
This example, in a Middle Eastern collection since 1988, is 10in (25cm) high and is profusely decorated with paired birds and geometric floral designs with an Arabic and Persian inscription around the lower rim. Retaining almost all of its silver inlay, it will carry an estimate of £300,000-500,000 at Christie’s sale on October 28.
As referenced in an inscription to the opening folio, this Siddi manuscript was produced for the Nawab of Sachin, Ibrahim Muhammed Yakut Khan I Bahadur (r. 1802-1853). Dating to the first half of the 19th century it is rare testimony to the royal manuscript and artistic production of the Sachin state in southern India that founded on June 6, 1791. Although most of the subjects were Hindu, the state was ruled by Sunni Muslims of the Siddi dynasty. The manuscript, written in Persian and Urdu, features 29 illustrations including a portrait of Ibrahim Muhammad Yakut Khan I. It will carry an estimate of £800-12,000 at Rosebery’s sale on October 22.
This 9in (23cm) Mughal enamelled and gem-set gold flask (surahi) dates from the late 17th or early 18th century. Striking for its use of over 600 emeralds offset against a white enamel ground, it is closely related to the booty seized by Nader Shah from the Mughal treasury in 1739. Formerly owned by a Nizam of Hyderabad, it was gifted to the family of the current owners in the 1930s and comes for sale at Sotheby's with a guide of £500,000-800,000 on October 27.
The code for fashionable noble dress in northern India under the Mughals and their successors included the wearing of highly-decorated daggers. Animal headed daggers became popular early in the 17th century and were reserved for nobles of the highest rank. Though originally jadeite was the most popular material, more diverse materials became popular later, as is evident on this 19th century khanjar and scabbard offered by dealer Peter Finer. Possibly made in Jaipur, it features champlevé enamelling and stone incrustation in the kundun technique using cabochon garnets, emeralds and rock crystals. It has a provenance to a private collection in the US.
Oliver Forge and Brendan Lynch
This large Qajar steel vase bottle is unusual in that it displays an elaborate combination of techniques: the chased surface is also inlaid with gold and overlaid in silver. In shape and style of decoration it harks back to the Safavid period, the pear-shaped form having precedents in pottery and the chamfered foliate panels on the neck in architecture.
Forging of steel is a long tradition in Iran, where it was employed at first to produce weapons and was perfected during the Timurid and Safavid periods. By the Qajar period of the 19th century it survived in court arms and fashionable court objets d’art.
Mayfair dealership Forge & Lynch offering this example, which is almost identical bottle it sold to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 2018. This example was in a private collection from 2007-20 and before that was in the London art trade from the 1980s.
The decorative schema of this 19th century shield places it within a group produced in Ahmedabad in Gujarat, India. Within a floral border and repeating foliate pattern are various red-painted scenes on a black ground. In one, European men, recognisable from their pith helmets, hide in the brush and stalk a pair of tigers. In another, a fight is already underway, with one man held in the jaws of the animal. To the reverse are patterns of gold concentric circles on a red ground. A similar example is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art which makes reference to other examples within its cataloguing. However, there is no other known example with such hunting scenes. It is offered by dealer Runjeet Singh.
More information about the event can be found on the Asian Art in London website.