Persian mirror

A 14th or 15th century Persian mirror which sold for £22,000 at Golding Young.

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Featuring fine gold inlaid Persian calligraphy, a central gold arabesques design and floral decoration, the 13in (34cm) long mirror, was described as “extremely finely worked” by one London dealer.

Believed to be from the Ilkhanid or Timurid dynasty, bidding started at £5000 during Golding Young’s Fine Ceramics and Asian Art sale on June 20.

Led by interest from the trade and bidders in mainland Europe, it was hammered down to a UK dealer for £22,000 (plus 28% buyer’s premium including VAT).

Similar to early Chinese bronze mirrors, the flat steel surface would have once been highly polished for use as a looking glass.

The inscription features a poem with one of the lines roughly translated as ‘With a pure heart (like a mirror) you can realise the image of God’.

It had belonged to a collector in the Lincolnshire Wolds who had bought it many years ago.

Following a clear-out during lockdown, it was consigned for auction in Grantham as part of a group of items.

Dynasty tale

Similar if not identical engraved steel mirrors have appeared at specialist sales of Islamic art. In 2008 Christie’s sold an example for £14,500. The Ilkhanid dynasty was established in the southwestern sector of the Mongol empire in what is contemporary Iran in c.1256-1335.

The Timurids (c.1370-1506), founded by Timur (c.1336-1405), is deemed the final ‘great’ dynasty to emerge from the Central Asian steppe.