Dazzling exhibition of art from the Islamic world and India at Sotheby’s auction in London

Two pairs of emerald and diamond glasses and a Qur’an written in gold are among the extraordinary high-value pieces that will go under the hammer next week in London.

Sotheby’s Islamic World and Indian Arts Auction features historical artifacts, paintings and manuscripts spanning 10 centuries.

The international auction house said it was the highest value iteration of the semi-annual sale in a decade. Its flagship lot, a 13th-century gold and silver encrusted brass candlestick, is expected to fetch between £ 2-3million ($ 2.3-3.5million), the auction house on calling it “the finest example of Islamic ironwork to appear on the market for over 10 years”.

Recently exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Sotheby’s described the ornament, which was made in northern Iraq around 1275, as “embodying the courtly ceremonies of the time.”

Two pairs of diamond and emerald glasses, called Halo of Light and Gate of Paradise respectively, are meant to captivate bidders. Offered at auction for the first time, the dazzling glasses were commissioned by an unknown prince in 17th-century Mughal India and each sell for between £ 1.5 million and £ 2.5million. The auction house said the artistry used to shape the diamonds was masterful.

“They are undoubtedly a wonder for gemologists and historians, and it is a real pleasure to be able to bring these treasures to light and offer the world the opportunity to marvel at their brilliance and the mystery behind them. creation, ”said Edward Gibbs. , President of Sotheby’s Middle East and India.

A Koran written in gold from 16th century Persia is also available. One of the few complete manuscripts in which the main body of the text was executed entirely in gold script, the sacred book could sell for up to £ 500,000, according to Sotheby’s estimates.

Astronomical enthusiasts can get their hands on some of the Muslim world’s earliest advances in the field with a large brass astrolabe dating from 18th century Morocco and a rare Mughal brass celestial globe engraved with Arabic names of over 1,000. stars.

Sotheby’s Arts of the Islamic World and India sales are held twice a year in April and October and feature high-quality works of art including calligraphy, paintings, ceramics, ironwork, jewelry and furniture produced between the 7th and 19th centuries. The last two auctions have raised a combined total of over £ 20million.

The auction takes place at Sotheby’s in London on October 27, where auctions can take place in person and online.

Update: October 22, 2021, 5:30 p.m.

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