A rare late Timurid silver and gold inlaid bronze jug (mashrabah) by 'Ala' al-Din ibn Shams al-Din Muhammad Birjandi  Persia, probably Herat, dated AH 915/ AD 1509-10(2)
Lot 97R
A rare late Timurid silver and gold inlaid bronze jug (mashrabah) by 'Ala' al-Din ibn Shams al-Din Muhammad Birjandi
Persia, probably Herat, dated AH 915/ AD 1509-10
(2)
£120,000 - 150,000
US$ 160,000 - 200,000

Amended
Lot Details
A rare late Timurid silver and gold inlaid bronze jug (mashrabah) by 'Ala' al-Din ibn Shams al-Din Muhammad Birjandi  Persia, probably Herat, dated AH 915/ AD 1509-10(2) A rare late Timurid silver and gold inlaid bronze jug (mashrabah) by 'Ala' al-Din ibn Shams al-Din Muhammad Birjandi  Persia, probably Herat, dated AH 915/ AD 1509-10(2)
A rare late Timurid silver and gold inlaid bronze jug (mashrabah) by 'Ala' al-Din ibn Shams al-Din Muhammad Birjandi
Persia, probably Herat, dated AH 915/ AD 1509-10
with bulbous body, the body separated from the neck by a small moulding, the flaring neck with everted rim on a short splayed foot, the body with engraved champleve designs inlaid with gold and silver on a cross-hatched ground, the body and neck with a frieze of escutcheon-shaped pendants filled with split palmettes, the rim with a band of cable motif and trailing vine, the underside with a frieze of palmette interlace centered on an inscription, with replacement gilt metal handle and domed lid
17.3 cm. high(2)

Footnotes

  • Inscriptions: 'the work of 'Alau (sic) al-Din Shams al-Din Muhammad Birjandi in the year 915

    This form of globular jug was a prevalent form of luxury metalwork produced by the Timurids; the shape was perhaps derived from Chinese blue and white porcelain imported into the Timurid court, which in turn may have been inspired by 12th or 13th Century Persian metalware. The shape was also produced in luxury jade items, such as a piece inscribed with the name of the ruler Ulugh Beg, (1420-1449), now in the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon (Thomas W. Lentz and Glenn D. Lowry, Timur and the Princely Vision, exhibition catalogue, Los Angeles and Washington D.C, 1989, fig.46, p.144). The earliest known example of inlaid Timurid vessels, such as the present lot, dates to AH 861/ 1456-7 AD and is now in the Berlin, Museum für Islamische Kunst, I-3606 (Linda Komaroff, The Golden Disk of Heaven: Metalwork of Timurid Iran, California and New York, 1992, pp. 153-5, Cat. 3). Fine examples of gold and silver-inlaid jugs from the same group exist in museums throughout the world, with occasional rare examples coming to the market.

    The intricate gold and silver inlaid design is in a similar decorative language as the Berlin example, although the style had developed by the early 16th century when the current lot was produced. The inscription dates our piece to AH 915/ 1509-10 AD, which is shortly after the end of Timurid rule. However several examples, including the present lot, dated between 1506-10 prove that production of these jugs continued in the same style for a short time after the Timurids ceased their reign.

    During the 14th and 15th Centuries the taste for figural imagery had declined and stylised floral and vegetal motifs became more popular, partly due to the influx of imported Chinese blue and white ware. By the late 15th Century the inlay often formed dense, repetitive designs of interlaced small-scale motifs. These decorative features are paralleled with other Timurid arts which, Komaroff suggests, indicates that this group of jugs were perhaps connected with the royal library at Herat. The linear inlay on a background of black cross hatching is typical of jugs of this type.

    Two other known jugs decorated with similar designs were made by the same artist in the early 16th Century, one of which is also in the Berlin Museum für Islamische Kunst, inv. no. I-6052 (Komaroff 1992, pp. 181-2, Cat. 13). Whilst many other jugs from the same group feature inscriptions on the body, the present lot displays an uninterrupted pattern across the body and neck: it has been suggested that this reflects a move towards the Safavid style, which matches with the date of production very shortly after the end of Timurid rule. The decoration on the foot with the signature to the centre is similar to a jug in Tehran from Khurasan, close in date from 914/1508-9. (p. 115, figs. 39 & 40 in Komaroff.)

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the inscription to the base has possibly been added at a later date and the description should therefore read 'A rare late Timurid silver and gold inlaid bronze jug, Persia, Probably Herat, Late 15th/ early 16th Century.'
Activities
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