1. Jewellery and weaponry unite
Runjeet Singh holds his exhibition of arms and armour in St James’s from October 22-29 alongside Indian jewellery dealer Sue Ollemans.
“Sue and I are specialists of two areas that are closely related. Indian and Islamic arms and armour are often richly bejewelled, and it could be argued that they are often more jewellery than weaponry,” says Singh.
He features this 19th century shamshir, top, from Lucknow priced at £16,000. The hilt is engraved and applied with decorative enamel of a blue poppy and birds with the pommel and the quillons in the shape of rams’ heads. Original patterning is still visible on the surface of the blade.
In her selection of ancient jewels, Ollemans includes an 18th century Indian jade huqqa mouthpiece set with spinels and emeralds (also top), available for £22,000. The trompe l’oeuil carving to the jade gives the illusion that there is no central pipe, adding an element of magic to the piece.
2. Brutish encounter
Among the works on offer at the Rita Dixit exhibition of Gods and Gardens: Divinity, Magic and Faith (also at 8 Duke Street from October 20-30 alongside Kapoor Galleries) is this gouache and gold on paper which deals with non-consensual, violent sex.
Titled The Brutish Encounter, it was painted in Mewar, Udaipur, c.1660, illustrating the Rasikapriya (Handbook of the Connoisseur, 1591) by Sanskrit scholar and Hindi poet Keshavdas, in which the speaker reprimands the man for being an ignorant lover.
Formerly in the Royal Collection, Bikaner, the 12 x 10in (31 x 24.5cm) picture is available for £15,000.
3. Magical beasts
Alongside classical Indian and south-east Asian art, Kalu Ram (c.1945-2010) is the focus of an exhibition staged by Joost van den Bergh. A Tantric painter from Jaipur active from the early 1960s, he created complex colour studies of intertwining animals and human figures as well as fantasy paintings.
The show comprises a selection of his later works such as his Menagerie of Magical Beasts, done in gouache on paper. Prices range from £350-3500. The show runs across both stagings of Asian Art London, opening on October 22.
4. Lord of the dance
Francesca Galloway stages an exhibition of Indian and Islamic paintings and works of art at her Dover Street gallery from October 22-31 with the items also available via an online catalogue and short videos.
Among the offerings is this 10 x 14in (26 x 35cm) miniature of Jagat Singh II (1734-51) enjoying a dance performance, which was painted in Udaipur, c.1740.
Prices at the show range from £5000-50,000.
5. Celebrating Krishna's exploits
New York’s Kapoor Galleries stages its exhibition Gods/Goddesses at 8 Duke Street from October 20-30.
The show features a selection of Indian and Himalayan art, such as this leaf from a Nepalese Bhagavata Purana, c.1775-80. It is unusually large for a Nepalese work at 14 x 20in (36.5 x 52cm) – a size distinct to this series relating the exploits of Krishna. Around 100 folios sharing this red border are known, including two in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Kapoor’s scene shows Krishna wedding his first and chief consort Rukmani, who he kidnapped to save from an unwanted marriage to the evil Shishupala.
It is offered for £30,000.
6. Safavid silk
Kensington Church Street dealership JAN Fine Art stages an exhibition of Safavid textiles from October 22-31. It includes this 17th century crimson silk brocade panel, 13 x 11in (34 x 27cm) offered for £1500.
7. 'Very clever artist'
Grosvenor Gallery offers a series of works by Horace van Ruith (1839-1923) in its Indian Modern & 20th Century Art exhibition, which runs in St James’s Bury Street from October 22-31. Priced from £10,000-40,000, they include this c.1880 gouache on paper Untitled (Village Girl at Reservoir), 21 x 15in (53 x 37cm).
Van Ruith visited Bombay in the early 1880s and established a studio there. His paintings generally portray local people in their daily lives. Following his return to London where he exhibited, the Duke of Connaught wrote to his mother Queen Victoria: “No man understands the peculiar characteristics of Indian life better than he does and he is a very clever artist.”
8. Epirus textile speciality
By the 18th century, the northern Greek state of Epirus had long been under the control of the Ottomans and was the leading textile supplier in the Balkans. As well as providing court dress and uniforms, it produced pieces to suit Greek, Turkish and Latin markets.
This linen bridal pillow cover, c.1750-1800, is embroidered with silk and metal thread with a bride and groom standing in a flower garden surrounded by birds and animals. Two similar covers are housed in the Benaki Museum in Athens.
Priced in the region of £25,000, it is among the works featured in Oliver Forge and Brendan Lynch’s show Court Art from India, Persia and Turkey in St James’s Georgian House from October 22-30.
9. Tibetan trident
Two 17th century iron, silver and gilt ceremonial trident heads or mdung rtse-ssum from Tibet feature in Peter Finer’s exhibition Arms & Armour of Asia. The show runs at Finer’s Duke Street gallery during both stagings of Asian Art London (October 22-November 7).
Traditionally a weapon associated with the Hindu god Shiva, the trident was also adopted by Buddhism for deities associated with Shiva such as Vajrabhairava. The three points symbolise Buddha, dharma and sangha (the monastic community) in Mahayana Buddhism, or the ‘three roots’, of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism.
An almost identical ritual trisula (that would have been fitted to a red sandalwood haft) is in the collection of the Musée Guimet, Paris.
These examples are offered for a price in the region of £60,000-80,000 for the pair.