Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Chrysanthemums by Froidure

chrysanthemums by faux froidure, 20c
A still life of chrysanthemums by E. Faux Froidure, watercolor on paper. Dated 1902 and signed by the artist, it is a souvenir from passers by. Still life painting is the only form that I have a hard time to reconcile with. Not that I despise the work, but drawing still objects as if taking pictures of them is something beyond me. Show me the most abstract painting, I am comfortable, but figs or apples on a plate, no.

Dimensions: 95x120 cm.
Estimated value: $12,000

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bohemian Hookah

19c bohemian hookah

Now that we know pot is good for your brain, it is time to set sail to new adventures. Why not start with this beautiful Bohemian hookah of nineteenth century? Extraordinary designs with a silver laden top, it is a typical luxury item of Sultan Abdulmecid (1839-1861) era. Other than it is good for your soul, I can't guarantee anything else.

Height: 45 cm.
Estimated value: $7,000

Monday, April 6, 2009

Ferman of Sultan Mahmud I

ferman of mahmud I, 18c
Dated 1732, this ferman of Sultan Mahmud I can be considered one of the outstanding examples of Ottoman calligraphy. Considering it was written only for the ordinary task of transfer of tax collection rights to Esseyyid İbrahim upon Eyüb Sabri's death (none of them had any historical significance), the amount of work put in it is remarkable, it is like getting your tax return with a document like this.

Written in ruby, gold and black ink in celi divani style, enameled with gold flowers, it really shines.

Dimensions: 128.5x52.5 cm.
Estimated value: $45,000

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Catholic Missions Map

19c map of catholic missions in ottoman empire
Whenever I look at this late nineteenth century (1893) map of Catholic missions (carte ecclesiastique) in Ottoman Empire, I can not help but remember Mary Doria Russell's science fiction book "The Sparrow" with a naughty smile on my face, grinning a grin as they say.

In her award winning book (Best Book by British SF Writers, James Tiptree Jr., Arthur C. Clarke and John W. Campbell awards), Russell tells us about a discovery of an earth-like planet and the race to launch an expedition between various organizations and countries. To our surprise, the first to successfully organize a mission is neither United Nations nor a space faring country but the Catholic Church, the Jesuits to be exact.

As long as they do not pose an imminent threat to the dynasty, the Empire was generally tolerant to religious institutions and many missions flourished throughout the country. I really wish I had a higher resolution image of it.

Dimensions: 100x80 cm.
Estimated value: $1,000