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  • Ottoman Empire collectibles: the story of their auction success
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • Ottoman Empire collectibles: the

Ottoman Empire collectibles: the story of their auction success

International auctioneer Sotheby's will be holding a sale of Ottoman Art in London on April 24 entitled "An Eye for Opulence: Art of the Ottoman Empire." The auction focuses on pieces from the Turkish empire which lasted from 1290-1923.

The sale will run as part of "Turkish and Islamic Week: Classical to Contemporary," and should demonstrate the growing participation of Eastern collectors in the global collectors' markets.

Ottoman Empire collectibles are especially fascinating to collectors for their unique range of absorbed influences. This was largely due to the Empire's location between East and West which resulted in the inclusion of Chinese, European and Persian features.

As a result, Ottoman collectibles have their own distinctive and coherent artistic language which emerged through a range of decorative arts.

Ottoman silverware 410.jpg
An Ottoman silver-gilt tankard and cover

Take, for instance, the Ottoman silverware which emerged from the Empire's expansion into Eastern Europe and its subsequent access to the silver mines of the Balkans between the 14th and 16th centuries.

Such artefacts from the 16th century include the Ottoman silver-gilt tankard and cover pictured above. Believed to originate in either Turkey or the Balkans, the piece sold for £285,600 in London in 2004 - and would undoubtedly be worth even more today.

Elsewhere, the titles, dishes and other ceramic objects made at Iznik in north-western Anatolia are considered to be among the greatest achievements in Ottoman art - and also very important and significant in the development of world ceramics.

Examples appearing for sale in London include this Iznik Polychrome dish, which dates to circa 1580. As you can see from the photograph, the plate depicts a Peacock. It is estimated to sell for £30,000 - 50,000.

Art of the Ottoman Empire plate410.jpg
The Iznik Polychrome dish, estimated to sell for £30,000 - 50,000 

Ottoman decorative arts are also especially coveted. Especially those of the later Ottoman period which absorbed the influence of the Rococo, or "Late Baroque", movement of the 18th century with its floral and elegant anti-symmetrical styles.

This signalled an increasingly open attitude among Ottoman craftsmen to all things European which continued into the 19th century. No wonder Sotheby's sale is called "An Eye for Opulence".

As the Ottoman Empire's open-minded embracing of world cultures continues to beguile new generations of collectors, expect buyers around the world to increasingly embrace Ottoman collectibles - and push up their values at future auctions.


  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • Ottoman Empire collectibles: the