Impressive Ottoman Silver Cooling Vessel (Karlik) Bearing the Tughra of Sultan Abdulaziz (r. 1861-1876) and the Khedival Crest

Turkey - Reign of Sultan Abdulaziz (r. 1861-1876) - Height: 38 cm - Weight: 4360 gr

The round body, lid and handle of the silver karlik bear the tughra of the Ottoman sultan Abdulaziz, decorated with hinged lid surmounted by bud-finial, fitted with cylindrical ice container inside. The Khedival crest is applied on the body and the lid, indicating that the piece was probably a diplomatic gift from the Ottoman palace to the Khedive of Egypt. This crest is found on a handful of documented pieces used by the members of the Khedive’s family.

This type of vessel, in precious metal, would have been used for cooling sherbet, a cold refreshing fruit drink, served at social gatherings in the Ottoman world. It is a rare and impressive example of 19th century Ottoman palatial metalwork. For a comparable Ottoman silver cooling vessel please see Garo Kürkman’s Ottoman Silver Marks, Istanbul, 1996, p. 236.

Provenance: Private Italian Collection

Impressive Ottoman Silver Cooling Vessel (Karlik) Bearing the Tughra of Sultan Abdulaziz (r. 1861-1876) and the Khedival Crestmagnifing glass

Impressive Ottoman Tombak Ewer (Zemzemlik)

Turkey - First half of the 18th Century - Height: 35 cm

Of baluster form on a slightly splayed, fluted foot, with a tall fluted body, neck and domed stopper, the serpentine spout also fluted. The best Ottoman metalwork relies on form for its impact, and this rare zamzam-ewer is no exception. The diagonal raised ribs create contrast with the plain background. It belongs to a small group of containers used for storing the holy zamzam water, brought home from Mecca by pilgrims. Similar pieces of Ottoman tombakart have been published in the exhibition catalogues Ab-i Hayat, 2010, p.151 and Sultan III. Selim Han, 2009, p. 243.

Tombak is the name given to Ottoman mercury-gilded copper wares. Copper is not inert, and food vessels were gilded and tinned so they would not react with the contents. In Islam the use of solid gold (and silk) by men is prohibited, and such plating also circumvented this law.

Similar flutes, this time vertical, can be seen on a silver candlestick in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, Istanbul, which came from the Mausoleum of Sultan Ahmed III (r. 1703-1730). Please see The Anatolian Civilisations III - Seljuk/Ottoman, Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul, 1983, Pl. E. 358.

tombak coffee-pot with similar aesthetic is in the Collection of Nasser D. Khalili in London. The coffe-pot bears an inscription which states that it belongs to Princess Fatma Sultan, the daugther of Sultan Ahmed III (r. 1703-1730) Empire of the Sultans – Ottoman Art from the Collection of Nasser D. Khalili, London, 1995, p. 179; pl. 120. A third related example is a fluted tombak jug, with an inscription on the body stating that it was endowed to the tomb of Prince Mehmed son of Abdulhamid I, dated 1195 AH / 1780-1, in the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, Istanbul. Please see the exhibition catalogue The Anatolian Civilisations III - Seljuk/Ottoman, Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul, 1983, Pl. E. 287.

Provenance: Private UK Collection

Impressive Ottoman Tombak Ewer (Zemzemlik)magnifing glass

PAIR OF OTTOMAN SILVER COVERED BOWLS DEDICATED TO SULTAN ABDULHAMID II’S DAUGHTER PRINCESS NAIME SULTAN

Turkey, Stamped with the tughra of Sultan Abdulhamid II (r. 1876-1908), Dated: 1306 AH / 1891 AD, Height: 16 cm., Weight: 626 gr. (each)

Of spherical form, the lid and base forming two halves, with leaves and rose flower finial to lid. Inscription incised on the body and the cover:

Devletlû İsmetlû Naime Sultân Efendi Hazretlerinin, Sene (1)309 (Her Royal Highness Naime Sultan Efendi’s Property, Year 1891).
A silver rosewater-sprinkler also with the tughra of Abdulhamid II, similarly dedicated to an Ottoman Princess, is published by Garo Kürkman in Ottoman Silver Marks, Istanbul, 1996, p. 207. The torus moulding around the mouth and foot is particularly elegant. These bowls are beautiful examples of the so-called “plain tradition” in Ottoman art.

Princess Naime Sultan (1876-1944)

Naime Sultan was Sultan Abdulhamid II’s daughter. She was
born twenty-six days before his enthronement, in 1876. She was educated by court tutors. Khidive Abbas Hilmi Pasha wanted to marry her but was rejected due to political reasons. On 17 March 1898 she married Mehmed Kemaleddin Pasha, in the Yildiz Palace, in Istanbul. She divorced Mehmed Kemaleddin Pasha in 1904. Later in 1907, she married Celaleddin Pasha. In 1924, she was deported by the republican government with the other members of the Ottoman royal family. She lived the rest of her life in Albania and died there in 1944.

Provenance: Private French Collection

PAIR OF OTTOMAN SILVER COVERED BOWLS DEDICATED TO SULTAN ABDULHAMID II’S DAUGHTER PRINCESS NAIME SULTANmagnifing glass

Impressive Ottoman Tombak Zamzam Ewer (Zemzemlik)

Turkey - 18th century - Height: 36.5 cm

Of baluster form on a slightly splayed, bevelled foot, with a tall waisted neck and domed stopper with chain attached to body, the serpentine spout also with a small stopper and chain, the handle designed as a stylised split palmette, the body and lid engraved with stylised floral sprays. The zamzam-ewer (zamzamiyyah) in hand is a remarkable and very rare example of tombak workmanship, displaying the introduction of Europeanized local decorative vocabulary to Ottoman metalwork in the 18th century. These were used for storing the holy zamzam water, brought home from Mecca by pilgrims. Similar pieces of Ottoman tombak art have been published in the exhibition catalogues Ab-i Hayat, 2010, p.151 and Sultan III. Selim Han, 2009, p.243. Expertly gilded brass and copper wares are called “tombak”. The earliest examples of Ottoman metalworking are military equipment. Mamluk influence is apparent in 15th-century forms and styles of decoration. The style called “Classical Ottoman” takes shape during the early 16th century. Of special importance during the 16th and 17th centuries are harmoniously-proportioned candlesticks that have austerely-styled forms and are lacking in embellishment but contemporary with them are interesting examples of works whose surfaces are entirely covered with rumi-palmette compositions, braided friezes, delicate saz leaves, and floral motifs. As for the present piece, not infrequently one comes across a tombak ewer that has such a extraordinary design. Military equipment such as helmets, chamfrons, and shields manufactured at the Topkapi Sarayi armory were stamped with a seal resembling the brand of the Kayl clan, of which the Ottomans were originally a member. Pots and pans used in the great kitchens of the Ottoman palace frequently contain inscriptions indicating who they belong to. Objects bequeathed to mosques and tombs also bear mostly tughra-like dedicatory inscriptions. Both in terms of its design and condition, the present piece is an outstanding example of Ottoman tombak art. This magnificent tombak ewer illustrates the taste for the baroque and rococo in Turkey during the second half of the eighteenth century as influenced from European models. Ottoman interest in European art and culture flourished under the reign of Ahmed III (r.1703-30), with his promotion of embassies to Europe for scholarship dedicated to art, and the subsequent use of similar models in Istanbul. A particular testament to such development is visible in the sebil and çeşme of the Nuruosmaniye complex, completed by Osman III in 1755. A very similar tombak ewer is illustrated in: Kayaoglu, I. Gundag, Tombak, Istanbul, 1992, p.26, described as: ‘Mecca-Water Ewer’. Tombak is the name of the application of gold with mercury-alloy on a metal surface, usually on silver, bronze, brass or copper. The application of gold with mercury-alloy on the surface of the work was a highly complicated and difficult process. Tombak arms and armour including shields, helmets, weapons, maces as well as belt buckles, flasks, spear finials, stirrups, bowls, ewers, basins, dishes, forks, knives, spoons, cups, waterpipe bottles, trays, clocks, lanterns were produced. 

Provenance: Private American Collection

Impressive Ottoman Tombak Zamzam Ewer (Zemzemlik)magnifing glass

Rare Veneto-Saracenic Bucket

Venice or the Middle East - Circa 1600 - Heigth: 14.3 cm - Diameter: 28.3 cm

The body is decorated overall with elaborate repeating foliate motifs. The handle is decorated with two dragon's heads. Scholarly debate over the group of metalwork known as “Veneto-Saracenic” wares has seen them be attributed to both Venice and the Middle East. In some, the artist Mahmud al-Kurdi presents a particularly interesting and enigmatic figure in this debate, his signature appearing both in Arabic (or Persian) and transliterated Roman script. Although a small number of signed works are securely attributed to the master himself, there remain many more works which could possibly be ascribed to him. The bucket in hand belongs to a group of rare, Veneto-saracenic metalwork which are very finely executed, manifesting plural influences and speak of the extensive trade network between Renaissance Europe and the Islamic worlds during the 16th century. For further discussion on Veneto-saracenic pieces please see; S. Auld, Renaissance Venice, Islam and Mahmud the Kurd: A metalworking enigma, London, 2004.

Provenance: Private UK collection

Rare Veneto-Saracenic Bucketmagnifing glass

MONUMENTAL SAFAVID ENGRAVED BRASS TORCH-STAND

Persia, Circa 1560, Height: 47 cm., Later date: 18 January 1578 (Recorded in Armenian inscription incised around the rim), Owner’s name: Marut’s son Matheos (Recorded in Armenian inscription incised around the rim)

Of faceted columnar form on flaring foot with upper cylindrical band, the main band with very elegant interlaced arabesques and flowering vine around a meandering cusped band of poetry in elegant nasta’liq script, a similar band of nasta’liq around the mouth between meandering vine and arabesque bands, multiple interlaced arabesque and linked palmette bands around the foot, all on a cross-hatched, nielloed ground.

Poems

Two texts have been written on the torch-stand. The first, located on the upper part in nasta’liq script, is a poem consisting of four lines, from poet Katebi Torshizi (Please see: Assadullah Souren Melikian-Chirvani, Victoria and Albert Museum Catalogue – Islamic Metalwork from the Iranian World – 8th-18th Centuries, London, 1982, p. 315):

“On the night when your moon-like face became the light of our solitude The candle melted down, unable to bear our companionship. The moment you tear off the mask from your moon-like face,
There rises the sun of our good fortune.”

The second poem, located in the middle zigzag band around the body and the base, is from poet Ahli Torshizi (Please see: Assadullah Souren Melikian-Chirvani, Victoria and Albert Museum Catalogue – Islamic Metalwork from the Iranian World – 8th-18th Centuries, London, 1982, p. 327):

“The lamp of those who have heart, I see, is brightened by your face
I see, all those who have a soul turn towards you
You, O purpose of the World’s existence (Prophet Muhammad), may not one hair fall from your head,
For I see the whole World equal to a thread of a single hair from your head.”

A comparable but smaller Safavid brass torch stand with similar decorative layout with arabesques and bands of the same poem around the neck and base in sharp nasta’liq, is in the Hermitage Museum, in St. Petersburg. Please see: Mikhail Piotrovsky’s On Islamic Art – The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, 2001, p. 32. Comparison should also be borne with an example from the Wildenstein Collection, sold by Christie’s 14-15 December 2005, lot: 381.

This is a truly rare and remarkable example of Safavid metalwork. It is the largest recorded Safavid torch-stand, surpassing all its published counterparts in major museums.

Provenance: Private German Collection

MONUMENTAL SAFAVID ENGRAVED BRASS TORCH-STANDmagnifing glass

IMPORTANT PAIR OF OTTOMAN GOLD-DAMASCENED STEEL CALLIGRAPHER’S SCISSORS MADE FOR THE SECRETARY OF THE GRAND-VIZIER

Turkey, Dated: 1276 AH / 1859 AD, Length: 27.7 cm

Inscriptions:

Mektûbî-i Sadr-i âlî Ser-halîfesi Hâtemî Efendi Hazretleri Sene 1276

“His Excellency Hatemî Efendi, Chief Clerk to the Secretary to the Grand-Vizier, year 1276 (1859)”.

The present scissors are exceptional due to their inscription which gives the name of its owner as well as the date. Profusely decorated in gold with foliate interlace, bears two lines of inscription: Mektûbî-i Sadr-i âlî Ser-halîfesi Hâtemî Efendi Hazretleri Sene 1276, ‘His Excellency Hatemî Efendi, Chief Clerk to the Secretary to the Grand-Vizier, the year 1276 (1859)’. For similar Ottoman scissors produced for the members of the Ottoman elite, please see the exhibition catalogue Empire of the Sultans – Ottoman Art from the Collection of Nasser D. Khalili, The Nour House, 1995, p. 247 and p. 263. For a fine example in the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum, Istanbul, see Filiz Çağman & Şule Aksoy, Osmanlı Sanatında Hat, Istanbul, 1998, p. 32

Karakethüdâzâde Hâtemî Bey 

The owner of this scissors Hâtemî Efendi was from the famous Karakethüdâzâde family. He worked
for the Ottoman palace as clerk and secretary to the Grand-vizier. The date of his death is unknown. Hâtemî Bey had a daughter, Nafia Hanım, who married Mehmed Şazi Bey from an aristocratic Ottoman family: Gazimihalzade. Nafia Hanım’s son was Dr Gazimihalzade Halid Şazi Bey, the founder of modern dentistry in Turkey.

Provenance: Private UK Collection

IMPORTANT PAIR OF OTTOMAN GOLD-DAMASCENED STEEL CALLIGRAPHER’S SCISSORS MADE FOR THE SECRETARY OF THE GRAND-VIZIERmagnifing glass

AN OTTOMAN SILVER PENCASE (DIVID) BEARING THE TUGHRA OF SULTAN MAHMUD I (R. 1730-1754), SIGNED ISMAIL B. MEHMED

Turkey, Reign of Sultan Mahmud I (r. 1730-1754), Length: 30 cm

The present pen-case is a rare, signed example of mid-18th century Ottoman metalwork. The artist Ismail b. Mehmed is recorded and his works documented. For the signature of the artist please see Kürkman, 1996, p. 106. The names of the seven sleepers (ashab al-kahf: Yamliha – Makthalina – Mislina – Marnush – Dabarnush – Shazanush – Kafashtatayyush – Kitmir) which is believed to have a talismanic value, is incised inside the lid. This inscription is beautifully composed, forming a star of Solomon (muhr-i Sulayman) motif in the center. For similar compositions of the names of the seven sleepers applied on Ottomans silver pen-cases please see; Kürkman, 1996, p. 82. Stylistically it is similar to some published silver pen-cases from the period of Ahmed III (r.1703-30), illustrated in Kürkman ,1996, pp.152-5. The form, comprising a long rectangular holder for the reed pens and cubic-form inkwell diverges from the older pen-box design covered with a concave lid.

Provenance: Private UK Collection

AN OTTOMAN SILVER PENCASE (DIVID) BEARING THE TUGHRA OF SULTAN MAHMUD I (R. 1730-1754), SIGNED ISMAIL B. MEHMEDmagnifing glass

OTTOMAN SILVER INCENSE-BURNER STAMPED WITH THE TUGHRA OF SULTAN SELIM III (R. 1789-1807)

Turkey, Reign of Sultan Selim III (r. 1789-1807), Heigth: 13.8 cm

Of bulbous form, the covered body of the burner sits on a circular dish. The cover, body and dish all stamped with the tughra of Sultan Selim III. The dome-shaped cover is decorated with openwork decoration.

It is a beautiful example of late 18th, early 19th century Ottoman metalwork which display graceful simplicity. An incense-burner of similar form, sitting on a circular dish is found in the Turkish and Islamic Art Museum, Istanbul. An almost identical incense-burner bearing the tughra of Sultan Mustafa IV (r. 1807-1808) is published in Garo Kürkman’s Ottoman Silver Marks, Istanbul, 1996, p. 182

OTTOMAN SILVER INCENSE-BURNER STAMPED WITH THE TUGHRA OF SULTAN SELIM III (R. 1789-1807)magnifing glass

Rare Mamluk Tinned-copper Dish Bearing The Blazon Of Sultan Al-Muayyad Shaikh

Egypt or Syria - Reign of Sultan al-Muayyad Shaikh (1412-1421) - Diameter: 38 cm

The central calligraphic blazon engraved with the name and titles of Mamluk Sultan al-Muayyad Shaikh, surrounded by four cartouches with thuluth inscriptions, interrupted by four medallions framed by bands of rumi motifs, zigzags and issuing arabesques, outer large band containing intertwining cartouches containing stylized leaves and rumi. The blazon reads: ‘Izz li Mawlāna al-Sultān al-Malik al-Muayyad Abū al-Nasr Shaikh (Glory be on our Lord the Sultan, the King, al-Muayyad Abu al-Nasr Shaikh). The four times repeated inscription in the cartouches reads: ‘Umila min Tātār al-qalīl (Produced by the humble Tatar) Sultan al-Muayyad (r. 1415-21) commissioned the last great Mamluk mosque complex in Cairo. The historian Maqrizi reports that the sultan built this mosque on the site of a prison where he had been incarcerated, having vowed to do so, should he survive (please see Doris Behrens-Abouseif’s Cairo of the Mamluks, London, 2007, pp. 239 & 241). Very little Mamluk metalwork from the period between circa 1400, and the reign of Sultan Qaytbay (r. 1468-96) is known. The present dish with its three line epigraphic blazon of Sultan al-Muayyad Shaikh, providing dating criteria, appears to be a unique survival. The engraving is particularly fine. For a similar three line epigraphic blazon from the reign of Sultan Qaytbay please see Gaston Wiet, Catalogue General du Musee Arabe du Caire – Objets en Cuivre, IFAO, Cairo, 1932, pl. 33. 

Provenance: Private UK Collection

Rare Mamluk Tinned-copper Dish Bearing The Blazon Of Sultan Al-Muayyad Shaikhmagnifing glass

SOLD

Ottoman Silver Coffee-pot Stamped With The Tughra Of Sultan Abdulaziz

Turkey - Reign of Sultan Abdulaziz (r. 1861-1876) - Height: 20.5 cm

Of bulbous form, richly decorated with so-called “basket-weaving motifs” worked with the repoussé technique. The foot and the cover are left simple and the handle consists of two intertwined rococo “c” curves. The body has been stamped with the tughra of Sultan Abdulaziz. It is a beautiful example of 19th century Ottoman metalwork which belongs to a small group of eclectic works displaying a graceful unity of Western and local decorative elements.

Provenance: Private Italian Collection

Ottoman Silver Coffee-pot Stamped With The Tughra Of Sultan Abdulazizmagnifing glass

SOLD

Rare Ottoman Lady's Silver Ewer And Basin Stamped With The Tughra Of Sultan Abdulhamid II

Turkey - Reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II (R. 1876-1909) - Ewer height: 26.8 cm - Basin diameter: 27.7 cm - Set height: 34.1 cm

Of elegant melon fluted baluster form with high curving tubular spout, s-scroll handle linking neck and belly with cast curved leaf design, upper handle with hinge to domed cover with pointed finial, the basin of wide flaring fluted form, the central aperture closed by a pierced support for the ewer, fully marked with the tughra of Sultan Abdülhamid II. Silver ewer and basins were highly in demand in Ottoman houses where they were part of daily life, used by members of the household and guests to wash hands and ablution. The present ewer and basin is a rare and unusual example of its kind since it is noticeably smaller than standard silver ewer and basins which usually measure 50 cm. plus in height. This is probably because it was produced on special order for the use of a lady or a child. 

Provenance: Private French Collection

Rare Ottoman Lady's Silver Ewer And Basin Stamped With The Tughra Of Sultan Abdulhamid IImagnifing glass

SOLD

Rare Ottoman Silver Zamzam Bottle (Zemzemlik) Stamped With The Tughra Of Sultan Abdülmecid

Turkey - Reign of Sultan Abdülmecid (r. 1839-1861) - Height: 41 cm

Of bulbous form, richly decorated with so-called “basket-weave motifs” in repoussé technique. The body and the lid stamped with the tughra of the Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid. Water from the spring of Zamzam was brought back from the Hajj (pilgrimage) for relatives and friends. The water is believed to have prophylactic qualities. It was used for other purposes too: Qur’ans were sometimes copied with ink made from it because of its protective powers. The containers used for bringing the water back were called zamzamiyya. Please see exhibition catalogue Hajj – Journey to the Heart of Islam, London, 2012, p. 72. The present bottle is richly decorated: its lid is designed in the form of a rose bud. Zamzambottles of similar form from the Topkapi Palace Museum collections have been published in the exhibition catalogue Surre-i Humayun, 2008, pp. 208, 209. This bottle is exceptional for its rich use of basket-weave motifs. 

Provenance: Private Italian Collection

Rare Ottoman Silver Zamzam Bottle (Zemzemlik) Stamped With The Tughra Of Sultan Abdülmecidmagnifing glass

SOLD

An Ottoman Silver Mastic-holder Stamped With The Tughra Of Sultan Mahmud II (R. 1808-1839)

Turkey - The reign of Sultan Mahmud II (r. 1808-1839) - Heigth: 11.8 cm

The reign of Sultan Mahmud II (r. 1808-1839)
Heigth: 11.8 cm

Of bulbous form, richly decorated with whirling spring flowers worked with the repoussé technique. The foot consists of six curved leaves and the holder on the dome-shaped cover is in the shape of a rose bud. The cover, body and foot all have been stamped with the tughra of Sultan Mahmud II. It is a beautiful example of 19th century Ottoman metalwork which belongs to a small group of eclectic works displaying a graceful unity of Western and local decorative elements.

Provenance: UK Private Collection

An Ottoman Silver Mastic-holder Stamped With The Tughra Of Sultan Mahmud II (R. 1808-1839)magnifing glass

SOLD

Impressive Greek Repoussé Silver Bowl

Dated: 1744 - Diameter: 12 cm

The border inscription in Greek:
Η ΚΟΥΠΑ ΗΝΕ ΤΟΥ ΠΑΝΟΥ ΣΗΑΡΚΑ ΚΕ ΗΝΕ ΔΟΥΛΕΜΕΝΙ ΗΠΟ ΧΗΡΟΣ ΤΟΥ ΔΙΜΟΥ Π(ΑΠΑ)ΚΟΣΤΑ ΑΠΟ ΧΟΡΗΟΝ ΚΑΛΑΡΙΤΕΣ †1744

Translation of the border inscription:
The cup belongs to Panos Siarkas and it is handcrafted by Dimos Papacostas from Kalarrytes village †1744.

The present bowl is a rare example of Greek metalwork, providing the name of the owner, artist and date of production. As stated in the inscription running around the border, it was owned Panos Siarkas, made by Dimos Papacostas from Kalarrytes, in 1744. Kalarrytes is in Epirus, 56 kilometers south east of Ioannina. In the center of the bowl is a roundel with St. George and the dragon. This image has an important place in Orthodox Christian iconography. The narrative episode of Saint George and the dragon took place in "Silene", in Libya. The town had a small lake with a dragon living in it. To appease the dragon, the people of Silene fed it two sheep every day. When they ran out of sheep they started feeding it their children, chosen by lottery. One time the lot fell on the king's daughter. 32 The king told the people they could have all his gold and silver and half of his kingdom if his daughter were spared but the people refused. The daughter was sent out to the lake, to be fed to the dragon. Saint George by chance rode past the lake. The princess tried to send him away, but he vowed to remain. The dragon emerged from the lake while they were conversing. Saint George made the Sign of the Cross and charged it on horseback, seriously wounding it with his lance. He then called to the princess to throw him her girdle, and he put it around the dragon's neck. When she did so, the dragon followed the girl. The princess and Saint George led the dragon back to the city of Silene, where it terrified the populace. Saint George offered to kill the dragon if they consented to become christian and be baptised. Fifteen thousand men including the king of Silene converted to Christianity. The bowl’s interior is decorated with symbols which have iconographic meanings. Diacephalous, the double-headed eagle is the symbol of the Roman and later the Byzantine Empire. Eagle is a symbol of hope and strength, representing salvation. The stag is a symbol of piety, devotion and of God taking care of mankind. Wolf is the symbol of pagan Rome's founding, the culture in which Jesus lived and preached. Dragon and serpent represent sin and death. The birds represent the Phoenix. This is a mythical bird which at death bursts into flames and rises from its own ashes. It is a symbol of the Resurrection and life immortal. Two ladies holding lilies; the lily is a symbol of Easter and immortality. The lily bulb decays in the ground, yet from it new life is released. Lastly the partridge represets the Church and truth. The present bowl, with its extremely rich iconographic backround, is a rare and important example of 18th century Greek metalwork.

Provenance: Private Belgian Collection

Impressive Greek Repoussé Silver Bowlmagnifing glass

SOLD

An Ottoman Silver Greek Patriarch’s Ceremonial Staff With Silver-gilt Dragon Head Finial

Turkey - 19th Century - Stamped with the tughra of Sultan Abdülmecid (r. 1839-1861) - Height: 165 cm

The present staff is a rare example of Ottoman ecclesiastic metalwork. It is a Greek patriarch’s staff with silver-gilt dragon-head finial, the faceted shaft divided into four sections with raised bosses, the top section with an engraved Greek inscription. The serpents’ eyes are masterfully decorated with purple stones, possibly rubies.

The crosier is the symbol of the governing office of the patriarch. The Eastern orthodox crosier, as can be seen in the present example, has a finial comprising a pair of sculptured serpents or dragons curled back to face each other, with a small cross between them. The symbolism is of the bronze serpents made by Moses in, in the Old Testament, Numbers 21:8-9.

Following the conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed II and his forces in 1453, the city came under Islamic rule after over eight hundred years of Byzantine, Orthodox dominance. The establishment of Constantinople as the seat of the Ottoman Empire held a deep resonance for its new Islamic conquerors, who quickly erected their own spiritual visual language so that Istanbul is now dominated by the minarets of Sinan and its multitude of striking mosques. Relics of its former Byzantine era remain, as throughout Ottoman rule, non-Muslim communities were free to practise their religion and held a certain religious juristic and administrative autonomy, being placed under a special 'protected' status (dhimmi). This silver staff is symbolic of the fusion between Byzantine and Ottoman traditions, and the new aesthetic which formed after the Ottoman conquest. A similar staff, with the characteristic double-headed snakes (a symbolic reference to the wisdom associated with the patriarch’s pastoral leadership) is in the State Historical-Culture Museum Preserve, Moscow Kremlin (inv. no. DK-1536, illustrated in Shifman and Walton, 2002, pp.174-5, no.26).

Provenance: Private UK Collection

An Ottoman Silver Greek Patriarch’s Ceremonial Staff With Silver-gilt Dragon Head Finialmagnifing glass

SOLD

Silver Ever And Basin With The Tughra Of Sultan Abdulhamid II

Turkey - 19th Century - Reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II - Height: 44 cm

Stamped with the tughra of Sultan Abdulhamid II this set consists of the ever, the basin and the soap holder which serves as a base for the ever. Ever and basins were used for washing hands during ceremonial gatherings and feasts.

It is a beautiful example of 19th century Ottoman metalwork which belongs to a small group of eclectic works displaying a graceful unity of Western and local decorative elements.

Silver Ever And Basin With The Tughra Of Sultan Abdulhamid IImagnifing glass

SOLD

Silver Tray With The Tughra Of Sultan Abdulhamid II

Turkey - Reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II (r. 1874-1909) - Dimensions: 63 x 42 cm.

Provenance: Private UK Collection

 

Silver Tray With The Tughra Of Sultan Abdulhamid IImagnifing glass

SOLD

Rare Ottoman Courtly Inkwell, Owned By Head Of The Imperial Chancery Muhammad Khalifa

Turkey - Height 4.8 cm - Diameter 3.9 cm

The present inkwell is an extraordinary example of Ottoman metalwork. The inscriptions on the piece tell us that it was produced in 1708, for the head of the Ottoman imperial chancery Muhammad Khalifa. The inkwell bears an Arabic saying by Ali b. Abi Talib, praising the art of calligraphy. Besides these, the inkwell bears two poems in Turkish. It is a remarkable example of early 18th century Ottoman metalwork.

The dedication in Arabic at the bottom, in naskh script:

Sāhib al-hādha al-muhbāra ser-zumra-i khulafā al-kuttāb Muhammad Khalῑfa li-ma‘dan al-kuttāb Sana 1120

(The owner of this inkwell is the chief of khalifas of scribes Muhammad Khalifa to the heart of scribes)

The Arabic inscription inside the lid, in naskh script:

“Qāla ‘alayh al-salām al-farῑza ba‘d al-…. Wa ba‘d al-maktūbun. Wa qāla ‘Ali karram Allāhu wajhahu ‘alaikum bi husn al-khatt fa innahu min mafātih al-rizq”

(The Prophet said “the duty, following the … and following the written”. And ‘Ali, may God be pleased with him, said “Practise calligraphy since it is one of the keys of livelihood”)

The poem in Ottoman Turkish at the bottom, in naskh script:

“Dil-i mahzûmu bir kez küşâd etsen olmaz mı
Dutalım düşmenin oldum müdârâ kılsan olmaz mı
Lutf ü ihsân ü mürüvvet cümle kâmilden gelür
Her mazarrat kim gelür alemde câhilden gelür”



It’s alright, isn’t it, if you relieve my heavy heart just this once?
Let’s suppose I’ve made myself your worst enemy.
It’s still alright, isn’t it, if you feign friendship.
Favour, benevolence, generosity – all come from the accomplished master;
While all evil in the world comes from the plain ignorant.

The poem in Ottoman Turkish on the exterior of the inkwell, in naskh script:

“Zihî zîbâ hoş muhbere-i âlâ
Kim verir ehl-i dile seyri cilâ
Gûyâ bir dilber-i pâkîzedir
Seyr iden küttâbı eyler mübtelâ
Tarz-ı Şa‘bândır bu râ‘nâ tarz-ı pâk
Zâhir olursa İbn-i Şa‘bândır sezâ – Fi Üsküdar”



What a beautiful inkwell, better than any other!
So fine that gazing at it gives a shine to men of taste.
As though it were a beguiling beauty free of fault,
Every scribe who sees it falls head over heels in love.
How elegantly it was made – free of imperfections. This is how Sha‘ban works!
If this is indeed his work, then call it Sha‘ban’s progeny (İbn-i Şa‘ban), most fittingly.
In (the district of) Üsküdar (in Istanbul).

Rumi

Rumi is recorded as a master silversmith who produced the earliest signed and dated Ottoman silver inkwells and pencases. He was active during the reigns of Sultan Ahmed II (r. 1691-1695), Sultan Mustafa II (r. 1695-1703) and Sultan Ahmed III (r. 1703-1730).

The only comparable inkwell known to us is in the Mesud Hakgüden Collection in Istanbul. Signed by the same artist, Rumi, and dated 1113 AH / 1701 AD. See: Garo Kürkman, Osmanlı Gümüş Damgaları, Istanbul, 1996, p. 80, 81. 

Provenance: Private UK collection

Rare Ottoman Courtly Inkwell, Owned By Head Of The Imperial Chancery Muhammad Khalifamagnifing glass

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An Ottoman Silver Coffee-pot Stamped With The Tughra Of Sultan Mehmed V Reshad

Turkey - Height: 8.1 cm Length: 25 cm

Of conical form, the foot is slightly larger than the diameter of the rim, the cover is attached to the body with hinges. The handle is carved ebony. The cover and body have been stamped with the tughra of Sultan Mehmed V Reshad.

It is a beautiful example of early 20th century Ottoman metalwork which belongs to a small group of silver objects used in the daily life of the Ottoman elite. A comparable Ottoman silver coffeepot from the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum in Istanbul is published in Istanbul – The City and the Sultan, 2007, p. 64.

Provenance: Private UK collection

An Ottoman Silver Coffee-pot Stamped With The Tughra Of Sultan Mehmed V Reshadmagnifing glass

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ELABORATE GREEK REPOUSSÉ SILVER BOWL

Greece, 18th Century, Diameter: 12 cm., Weight: 150 gr.

In phiala form. The present bowl is a rare example of Greek metalwork. In the center of the bowl is a roundel with a stag. This image has an important place in Orthodox Christian iconography. The stag is a symbol of piety, devotion and of God taking care of mankind.

The bowl’s interior is decorated with symbols which have iconographic meanings. Diacephalous, the double- headed eagle is the symbol of the Roman and later the Byzantine Empire. The eagle is a symbol of hope and strength, representing salvation. The wolf is the symbol of pagan Rome’s founding, the culture in which Jesus lived and preached. Dragon represents sin and death. The birds are phoenixes, mythical birds which at death bursts into flames and rises from its own ashes. They are a symbol of the Resurrection and life immortal. Lastly the stork represents the Church and truth. In this case the stork killing a snake symbolizes the victory of God’s kingdom and the Church over sin and unrightousness. A comparable silver bowl from
the 18th century is in the Sadberk Hanım Museum, Istanbul. Please see: A Treasured Memory
– Ecclisiastic Silver from Late Ottoman Istanbul in the Sevgi Gönül Collection
, Sadberk Hanım Museum, Istanbul, 2006, p. 63. This bowl, with its extremely rich iconographic backround, is a rare and important example of 18th century Greek ecclesiastic silverware.

Provenance: Private French Collection

ELABORATE GREEK REPOUSSÉ SILVER BOWLmagnifing glass

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FINE GREEK SILVER-GILT REPOUSSÉ BOWL

Greece, 18th Century, Diameter: 12 cm., Weight: 150 gr.

In phiala form. The present bowl is a beautiful example of Greek metalwork. In the center of the bowl is a roundel with a cherub. Cherubs first appear in the Bible in the Garden of Eden, to guard the way to the Tree of life. The words cherub and cherubim appear many other times in the holy scriptures, referring to the cherubim of beaten gold on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant, and images on the curtains of the tabernacle, and in Solomon’s temple, including two cherubim made of olive wood overlaid with gold that were ten cubits high. Cherubim have an important place in Christian liturgy and Byzantine/Armenian iconography. The bowl’s interior is decorated with eight symbols, located under arches, which have iconographic meanings. The eagle is a symbol of hope and strength, representing salvation. The stag is a symbol of piety, devotion and of God taking care of mankind. The wolf is the symbol of pagan Rome’s founding, the culture in which Jesus lived and preached. The dragon represents sin and death. The birds represent the Phoenix, a mythical bird which at death bursts into flames and rises from its own ashes. It is a symbol of the Resurrection and life immortal. The lion represents St. Mark. Lastly the partridge represets the Church and truth. A comparable silver bowl from the 18th century is in the Sadberk Hanım Museum, Istanbul. Please see: A Treasured Memory – Ecclisiastic Silver from Late Ottoman Istanbul in the Sevgi Gönül Collection, Sadberk Hanım Museum, Istanbul, 2006, p. 63. This bowl, with its extremely rich iconographic backround, is a rare and important example of 18th century Greek metalwork.

Provenance: Private French Collection

FINE GREEK SILVER-GILT REPOUSSÉ BOWLmagnifing glass

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