Art And Culture

Sotheby’s Art Auction to Cover Middle East History

Sotheby’s Art Auction to Cover Middle East HistorySotheby’s Art Auction to Cover Middle East History

Sotheby’s is staging what it calls its most comprehensive series of exhibitions and sales to cover the history of Middle Eastern art.

The auctions will be held between April 19 and 21 in London.

One of the most expensive works on offer is an extremely rare and finely decorated Qur’an leaf in eastern Kufic script, estimated at between $285,000 and $425,000.

“The Qur’an leaf is definitely the top manuscript of the sale. It’s a single leaf from a Qur’an produced at the end of the 11th, beginning of the 12th century in the stylized eastern Kufic form of script which is very angular, very stylized. It actually looks very modern. To the modern minimalist taste it fits in very well,” Benedict Carter, Sotheby’s director and head of auction sales in the Middle East Department said.

Five sales which range from the contemporary to the ancient will complement a series of talks and lectures by leading scholars from the region. Middle Eastern art was an area in which interest was growing.

“There’s a big interest. In the last ten years, I’d say I’ve seen a boom. A lot of the major museums have reinstalled their Islamic galleries, such as the Metropolitan museum of Art in New York, the Louvre in Paris, and the opening of new museums like the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha in Qatar, so there has been a lot interest,” he said, Reuters reported.

Among the big ticket items in the upcoming ‘Arts of the Islamic World’ sale are an Ottoman tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl, ivory and brass inlaid scribe’s box from late 16th century Turkey, estimated at $285,000 to $425,000.

Also on offer is a collection from a distinguished Egyptian lawyer Octave Borelli Bay (1849-1911), led by a pair of 14th century Mamluk carved wood and ivory inlaid panels from Egypt, which were then mounted as doors in the 19th century (estimated $140,000-$285,000).