Auctions of art from India and the Islamic world are among my favorites. So many objects are exquisitely made, bursting with color and historically compelling. These regions will lead at London auction houses next week as painting, calligraphy, pottery, metalwork, glass, ornate weapons, textiles, jewelry and coins go under the hammer.
Morton & Eden, in association with Sotheby’s, will hold a 164-lot sale of Islamic coins on Monday. The auction will be headed by a gold dinar dating back to 708 A.D. that is expected to fetch £800,000-£1 million. The coin is believed to have been struck from gold produced from the Mine of the Commander of the Faithful, a legendary site northwest of Mecca. In April of last year, a gold coin from the same mine was sold for £3.72 million, the highest price ever paid for a coin at a European auction. “The sale attracted tremendous interest,” says specialist Tom Eden.
BonhamsThis Indian miniature of the Maharaja of Jodhpur in discussion with a prince on a palace terrace (circa 1840) is estimated at £3,000-£4,000.Bonhams will follow on Tuesday with a general sale that includes delightful 16th- and 17th-century Iznik pottery from Turkey and 17th- and 19th-century Indian miniatures. “The Turkish and Indian markets are extremely strong,” says Bonhams specialist Alice Bailey. An Iznik dish from circa 1750, decorated with cobalt-blue peonies, is expected to fetch £50,000-£70,000; and an Indian miniature from circa 1840 featuring the Maharaja of Jodhpur talking to a prince on a palace terrace, both dressed in fiery orange robes, a more moderate £3,000-£4,000.