Lot 99. A rare 'imitation lustre' slip-painted pottery bowl, Central Asia, 10th Century, 21.7 cm. diam. Estimate £15,000 - 20,000 (€18,000 - 23,000). Photo: Bonhams.
of shallow rounded form on a short foot with everted rim, decorated in ochre and manganese on a cream ground with a stylised reed instrument and pomegranate motif, the interstices with hatched design overlaid with palmette motifs, the border with a band of inscription in kufic, the rim with an undulating design, the exterior with a series of roundels on a ground of abstract vegetal interlac
Note: Inscriptions: al-'ilm ashraf al-a[hsab wa al-muru]wah ashbak [al-ansab], 'Knowledge is the most noble of [all] values and chivalry the most intricate quality of one's heritage'.
The dish features a painted design which resembles the Chinese sheng, a reed instrument consisting of vertical pipes which was used in China and Central Asia. It is known to have been used by the Uighurs of Xinjiang, a Turkic people whose Empire reached Persia at the beginning of the 9th Century AD. A depiction of a sheng can be found on a 9th Century silver ewer from Central Asia, illustrated in V.P. Darkevich, Decorative Metal of the East, 8th-13th centuries, Academy of Sciences Archaeological Institute, Moscow, 1976, p.77 & pl.7. For an illustration of a sheng see J.A. Van Aalst, Chinese Music, New York, 1964, p.81.
For a comparable bowl of red clay decorated in imitation lustre attributed to Tashkent see Jangar Ya. Ilyasov, 'Exotic Images: On a New Group of Glazed Pottery of the 10th and 11th Century' in Journal of the David Collection, vol. 4, Copenhagen, 2014, p. 82, fig. 65.