The world’s largest fine arts auction house Christie’s will launch its spring auction of Islamic and Middle Eastern works of art on Wednesday at its headquarters in London. The spring auction and another held in the autumn are the two largest auctions for Islamic and Middle Eastern artworks organised yearly by the house in London.
In this auction, the house, which is internationally renowned for selling antique oriental carpets, will display 189 rugs and carpets of various shapes, types, sources and designs. Estimates of their value range from £3000 to £1.5 million. The most distinguished exhibits of this auction are three rare carpets from the private collection of wealthy heiress and socialite Alice de Rothschild (1847 – 1922), a descendent of the British branch of the Rothschild banking dynasty.
The three pieces belong to a group of carpets known as Kirman ‘Vase’ carpets made famous by weavers in the Iranian city of Kirman over a hundred years during the Safavid period.
Christie’s experts valued the first carpet at between £1 million and £1.5 million, the second at between £400,000 and £600,000 and the third at between £250,000 and £350,000.
In a visit that Asharq Al-Awsat made to Christie’s salesrooms in London which are located on King Street, the head of the Islamic Art Department Sarah Plumbly said “The current auction includes 200 different pieces”. Plumbly reviewed some Indian and Persian manuscripts and miniatures which are considered a strong part of the auction. The auction also includes large collections of Islamic artefacts, from pottery to weapons, equipment, jewellery and other items.