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A rare Chinese monochrome blue porcelain ewer with Ottoman gem-set tombak mounts, Ming dynasty, late 16th century, and Turkey, 16th-17th century. Photo Sotheby's

the pear shaped ceramic body with deep blue glaze and arched strap handle, the tombak spout and rim set with turquoise and colourful stones, including orange chalcedony; 21.5cm. height. Estimation 80,000 — 120,000 GBP

This elegant ewer combines a late-Ming ceramic body with gem-set Ottoman tombak mounts creating a refined impression, underlying the cosmopolitan nature of the Ottoman court through its combination of artistic influences. Four comparable ewers are in the Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul (see R. Krahl, Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, no.1642). The spout with dragonhead terminal on the present example is particularly notable and it is interesting to compare it with another ewer of similar form, with a deep rich blue glaze and related spout terminal in the Topkapi Palace Museum, inv. no. TKS 15/2696.

Although the present example is missing its cover, it may be suggested that this article was also of Ottoman make and would have resembled the jewelled cover on a Ming dynasty ewer also in the Topkapi Sarayi Museum, Istanbul, inv. no. 15/2944 (D. Roxburgh, Ed.; Turks: A journey of a thousand years, 600-1600, London, Royal Academy of Arts, 2005, p.359, no.348).

Over ten thousand Chinese ceramics ranging from the late Song to the Qing period ended up in the Topkapi palace treasury. The present ewer attests to this admiration for Chinese ceramics by the Ottoman court, as well as the special care taken to preserve and restore such artworks through the addition of Ottoman mounts.

Sotheby's. Arts of the Islamic World, London | 09 avr. 2014 - www.sothebys.com