A beautiful and important Zangid 12th century marble basin brought £193,250 to Bonhams' Islamic and Indian Art sale yesterday (April 24, 2012).
The carved marble basin is thought to have been a prominent item displayed in a mosque during the Zangid dynasty.
The inscriptions around the rim of the piece contain references to drinking extracted from the Qur'an, suggesting it would have been placed on a pedestal and filled with water.
The Zangids were of Turkic descent and the rulers of Syria and Jazira from AD 1127-1250. The intricate carvings and inscriptions are said to be characteristic of the style that developed under their dynasty.
A similar, yet later item from the Ayyubid dynasty was sold at Christie's in 2008 for £169,250.
The other notable lots in the auction all comprised superb examples of Iznik ceramics.
The town of Iznik in Turkey was a renowned centre for simple pottery before the Ottoman court was established in Istanbul. The Ottomans greatly valued Chinese blue and white porcelain, prompting the Iznik potters to reflect this in their designs.
A large grape dish circa 1570 made £63,650 at the auction. Only a small group of Iznik ceramics were decorated on the underneath with mythical creatures, with this example one of only three to have a harpie design.
The auction is one of two sales of Islamic art this week, with Sotheby's holding its own specialised auction today (April 25, 2012). Paul Fraser Collectibles will be bringing you the results of this sale in the new few days; however you can read our preview of the sale here.