Lot 231. An Ottoman tile with cintamani design, Turkey, 17th century, 24 by 24cm. Estimate 12,000 — 15,000 GBP. Photo Sotheby's.

of square form, decorated with cintamani motifs in underglaze cobalt blue with black outlines.

ProvenanceEx-private collection, France, mid-20th century.

NoteThis tile presents a powerfully graphic example of the use of the cintamani design on an Ottoman ceramic. The cintamani motif, comprising three dots, has been associated to a tale in which the ruler Timur "dipped three fingers in the blood of an enemy and pressed them on the door of a mosque to indicate that he was seizing it personally" (J. Train, Oriental Rug Symbols, London, 1997). The word probably derives from the Sanskrit term for "precious jewel", and became an important decorative symbol in the Ottoman period, used on ceramics, textiles, and book illumination. On this tile, the cintamani are stripped to their most elemental form to create a design with an arresting abstract quality.

Sotheby's. Arts of the Islamic World, London, 26 Apr 2017, 10:30 AM