Tiny treasures: 17th-19th Century Indian miniatures part of Bonhams' auction - Firstpost
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Tiny treasures: 17th-19th Century Indian miniatures part of Bonhams' auction


Auction house Bonhams recently announced an auction of Islamic and Indian Art, which will take place in London on 19 April. The 315-lot sale features glassware and ceramics, calligraphy and illustration, carving, bronze, carpets, miniatures and textiles.

The highlights of the auction, however, include 50 miniatures encapsulating a range of Indian painting from 17th to 19th century. The miniatures are part of the celebrated collection of Indian art belonging to New Yorkers, Evelyn and Peter Kraus.

The miniatures depict traditional scenes from India, painted in vibrant gouache and lavishly accented with gold leaf. One of the highlights of this collection is “Maharaja Man Singh Celebrating the Festival of Holi”, estimated at £20,000-30,000.

Maharaja Man Singh Celebrating the festival of Holi, estimated at £20,000-30,000. Image courtesy Bonhams

Maharaja Man Singh Celebrating the festival of Holi, estimated at £20,000-30,000. Image courtesy Bonhams

Another notable work is “A Sikh Ruler and Several Noblemen Entertained by Musicians and Dancers on a Palace Terrace”, estimated at £10,000-15,000. The work, from the tradition of Kangra painting, illustrates a precise yet lyrical narrative of 19th century India in lustrous colours. There is also “Agra Fort, from the East”, attributed to Sita Ram and painted circa 1815. Estimated at £15,000-20,000, it has a more muted colour scheme and shows a view of the red sandstone walls of the eastern gate of the Fort, with people and camels milling around in the foreground.

Agra Fort, from the East, attributed to Sita Ram and painted circa 1815, estimated at £15,000-20,000

Agra Fort, from the East, attributed to Sita Ram and painted circa 1815, estimated at £15,000-20,000

There is also "A royal hunting scene by Parasuram, a follower of Tara, depicting Kunwar Shri Kesri Singhji out hunting wild boar on horseback, riding at a gallop, slashing the boar with his sword, saluki hounds running alongside", estimated at £7,000-10,000 or Rs 6,70,000-9,60,000.

“These works show the incredible range of Indian painting across the centuries, from Mughal works and South Indian depictions of acrobats to scenes from the vibrant world of Hindu mythology,” said Rukmani Kumari Rathore, a specialist in Indian and Islamic Art at Bonhams. “They also represent a spectacular age in the tradition of miniature painting. Their diversity in style and aesthetic shows how Indian artists were developing their technique over the centuries.”

A-ROYAL-HUNTING-SCENE-BY-PARASURAM_Listicle

A royal hunting scene by Parasuram, depicting Kunwar Shri Kesri Singhji out hunting, estimated at £7,000-10,000

Other notable works being auctioned include "a rare Timurid carved marble panel, from Central Asia, mid-15th century; a rare album of calligraphic exercises (Mufradat), from late-13th century Baghdad; a 19th century Ottoman red silk military banner, estimated at £30,000-40,000; and an illuminated Koran, including the Falnama from Timurid or Safavid Persia (15th or 16th century)". Here's a look at some of the other treasures in the collection:

A view of the Dardanelles, signed by Mehmed Pertev
Ottoman Turkey, dated AH 1304/AD 1886-87

A view of the Dardanelles, signed by Mehmed Pertev

A view of the Dardanelles, signed by Mehmed Pertev

Pen and ink and watercolour on paper, with numerous identifying inscriptions in Ottoman Turkish in naskhi script, signed and dated lower left. The phrase Canaq Qal'a Bogazi (i.e. the Dardanelles) appears at lower centre, and other names of villages and fortresses are also given. This type of painting combined a naïve Ottoman style with western topographical depiction.
Estimated price: £2,000-3,000 or Rs 1,90,000-2,90,000

Two images of Mecca and the mosque of the Prophet at Medina, signed by Rafiq al-'Adluni
Ottoman Empire, perhaps Lebanon, dated the end of Ramadan 1321/end of December 1903

Two images of Mecca and the mosque of the Prophet at Medina , signed by Rafiq Al 'Adluni

Two images of Mecca and the mosque of the Prophet at Medina , signed by Rafiq Al 'Adluni

Pen and ink and watercolour with some use of gold on paper. The artist's name, al-'Adluni, perhaps refers to the town of 'Adlun, not far from Saida in Lebanon.
Estimated price: £2,500-3,500 or Rs 2,40,000-3,30,000

Two leaves, one illustrated, from a dispersed manuscript of Firdausi's Shahnama, depicting the enthronement of Shapur
Persia, school of Mu'in Musavvir, mid-17th Century

Illustrated leaf from a dispersed manuscript of Firdausi's Shahnama, depicting the enthronement of Shapur

Illustrated leaf from a dispersed manuscript of Firdausi's Shahnama, depicting the enthronement of Shapur

Estimated price: £4,000-6,000 or Rs 3,80,000-5,70,000

A Minai Pottery Bowl
Persia, 12th/ 13th Century

Minai Pottery Bowl

Minai Pottery Bowl

The inscriptions are possibly a repeat of al-daw(lah), "wealth".
Estimated price: £6,000-8,000 or Rs 5,70,000-7,70,000

A Qur'an
South-East Asia, probably Indonesia, late 19th Century

A Qur'an

A Qur'an

Arabic manuscript on thick lined cream-coloured paper with Dutch watermarks.
Estimated price: £2,000-3,000 or Rs 1,90,000-2,90,000

First Published On : Apr 2, 2016 11:24 IST

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