The Spring Edition is led by exquisite Islamic and Indian pieces showcasing splendours  of Royal Courts 

Rare 15th century Anatolian ‘Phoenix in Octagon’ rug from a distinguished European  collection highlights Oriental Rugs and Carpets

LONDON Christie’s is delighted to announce the Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds including  Oriental Rugs and Carpets, a live auction at Christie’s King Street, London, on 27 April. The sale features striking examples of manuscripts, paintings, ceramics, metalwork, and carpets. 

Leading the sale is a magnificent group of bejewelled Mughal treasures that showcase the splendours of  the Indian courts. Two further masterpieces include a vividly-illustrated folio that captures the regal  grandeur of a royal court scene, showcasing the pinnacle of Timurid artistic production, and a Qajar oil  painting by the celebrated artist Muhammad Baqir. In addition to these exquisite works, the auction boasts a majestic array of Persian and Indian manuscripts and paintings from private collections, as well as some  impressive examples of Iznik pottery.  

The significance of early eastern carpets that appear in western paintings of the Renaissance and the Old  Masters is explored this auction, with notable examples of ‘Lotto’, ‘Ghirlandaio’ and ‘small-pattern Holbein’  rugs from the 16th and 17th centuries, the highlight of which is an exceptionally rare 15th century Anatolian  ‘Holbein and Phoenix’ rug (illustrated top of page 3) from a distinguished private collection, one of only a  handful of examples to survive in the West. 


The sale boasts an impressive array of Persian manuscripts and paintings from a number of single owner  private collections. One of two masterpieces leading the sale is a Timurid painting, Baysunghur in the  Guise of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, Timurid Herat, first half 15th century. (Estimate £150,000- 200,000), (illustrated on page 1). The painting captures the regal grandeur of a royal court scene, and is  one of the earliest depictions of what later became a popular subject in Persian painting.  

Another highlight is a Zand painting, arguably the best by the artist Muhammad Baqir who was one of the  most celebrated artists active between 1740 and 1800, A Reclining Lady, signed Muhammad Baqir, Zand,  Iran, dated AH 1173/1759-80 AD (estimate £150,000-250,000), (illustrated below left). A pair of Safavid  album pages, one (illustrated below right) with the calligraphy signed Sultan Ali Mashhadi, Timurid Herat,  late 15th or early 16th century Persian poetry on paper, (estimate £30,000-40,000), is also notable. 

Ottoman ceramics are also well represented – in addition to a number of important examples of Iznik pottery, the sale has a small collection of ceramics from Kutahya, a kiln site that gained in popularity after  the decline of Iznik. The highlight of this section is A Lavender Ground Iznik Pottery Jug, Ottoman Turkey,  circa 1570, (illustrated below centre), (estimate £120,000-180,000), a wonderful example of a rare and  visually striking group of Iznik pottery that was made for a short period around 1570, typified by the coloured slip decoration covering the bodies of the vessels. 

Sara Plumbly, Head of Department, Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds comments, ‘The April sale  brings together an exciting and wide range of works of art from across the Islamic and Indian worlds. Of  particular note is a number of private collections across a variety of fields – from Persian and Indian  manuscripts and paintings to Ottoman ceramics. We are particularly excited to offer a very important group  of Mughal jewelled objects as well as a number of Persian paintings from the 15th to the 19th centuries’.


The forthcoming sale includes 96 highly decorative antique Oriental rugs  and carpets, woven in cities, villages or nomadic encampments from all along the silk route. The highlight of the sale (illustrated right) is an extremely rare Anatolian ‘Phoenix In Octagon’ rug woven in the late 15th/early 16th century, Central or Eastern Anatolia. (Estimate £100,000-150,000). One of only 18 examples remaining from the Seljuk and early Ottoman, ‘Animal Carpet’ group, this carpet is unique in that it’s the only  known carpet to survive bearing the mythical figure of the phoenix, imagery which is depicted in early Renaissance paintings, including one of The Annunciation by Jacopo Bellini in Brescia.

Woven Art in Western Paintings from the 15th to 17th centuries 

Carpets and luxury textiles have been symbols of power, status and great wealth for millennia, however due to their use and relative fragility they have not survived in great numbers. As a result, the importance  of classical paintings for our knowledge of early carpets cannot be overstated, as they provide context for  these weavings and allow us a glimpse of how they were traded, used and valued by their wealthy owners.  The great European painters of the 15th – 17th centuries depicted these prized objects in royal, noble or  religious settings. Seen beneath the feet of the Madonna and Child in 15th century frescos, or upon tables,  beds and over balconies in portraiture settings depicting Royal or noble Europeans in the 16th and 17th  centuries. Coined after these great early renaissance masters, the sale includes examples of a ‘Lotto’,  ‘Ghirlandaio’, ‘Small-pattern Holbein’, and ‘Holbein variant’ rugs

 A ‘Ghirlandaio’ rug, West Anatolia, 17th century. (Estimate £50,000-70,000).  (Illustrated below centre) A ‘Holbein’ variant rug central or East Anatolia, late 16th/early 17th century.  (Estimate £80,000-120,000). All three carpets are from the same distinguished European collector and  have not been seen on the market for the last 30 to 40 years. 

Other carpets of note in the sale are two 18th century rugs woven in the Deccan in India. Due to strong  trading ties with the Dutch East India Company, these rugs were traded with Japan where they were highly  prized, and invariably only used in the annual celebration of the traditional Kyoto Festival where they were  honoured by being used to decorate the festival floats (which explains their excellent condition). Both rugs  are consigned by a Japanese collector. One of the earliest Borjalu rugs from the Caucasus to appear on the market for some time, this rug has a powerful and potent design. (Illustrated on page 3), Property from  a Distinguished European Collector; a Borjalu Rug, Kazak region, South Caucasus, early 19th century.  (Estimate £40,000-60,000). 

Louise Broadhurst, Specialist and Christie’s International Head of Rugs and Carpets comments,  This sale has a wide variety of rugs and carpets that will appeal to the discerning collector. The theme of  early eastern carpets that appear in the paintings of the early Renaissance and later Old Masters is a  narrative that helps us contextualise these precious works of art, and appreciate them through the eyes of  our predecessors. A large number of pieces in the sale are consigned from three significant collectors in  the field, with an eye for colour, design and individuality’. 

Estimates start from £1,000 – 1,500 for Islamic works of art, and from £1,500 – 2,000 for Oriental Rugs  and Carpets.  

The Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds including Oriental Rugs and Carpets view and exhibition  opens to the public from Saturday 22 – Wednesday 26 April at Christie’s, King Street, London.