Bonhams is celebrating the start of 2013 with the unveiling of Scotland’s largest private collection of pre-Islamic & Islamic art, which has never been seen in public before. The collection will go on view at Bonhams Edinburgh galleries from the 8th to the 13th January.
The collection focuses primarily on items from the Land of Timur, Central Asia, with many of the items originating from an historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Eurasian landmass known as “The Silk Road”. Central Asia is the sophisticated cradle of human culture and history and its art is an integral part of our international cultural heritage. The exhibition, with over 650 items, includes artefacts of pre-Islamic & Islamic origin including ancient ceramics, bronzes, books, goblets, glass, furniture, paintings, textiles, coins and much, much more.
This is an extremely significant exhibition because, although Islamic art is found in collections all over the world and several are available publicly through museums, many private collections are still inaccessible to the public. Islamic art of Central Asia in particular is underrepresented in museums in contrast to the rest of Islamic art. This exhibition hopes to fill this gap by illustrating the importance and splendour of Islamic art from this region.
Miranda Grant, Managing Director of Bonhams Scotland said: “We are delighted to host this important exhibition of Islamic Art, certainly the largest in Scotland, and without doubt significant on an international scale. We consider it an honour for the public to see this fascinating private collection for the first time at our Edinburgh galleries and we look forward to welcoming many visitors during the exhibition.”
The exhibition, with an estimated value of £5 million, contains many ancient and valuable items from pre-Islamic and Islamic culture. Of particular significance is a 16th century signed and dated manuscript of five poems. It’s particularly rare to find a whole book such as this still together since individual pages sell for great sums. Another item of interest is a 12th century miniature bronze sculpture of a dog, valued in its day because the dynasty treasured hunting dogs so highly.
This important exhibition will be open to the public with free admission from the 8th January 2013 until the 13th January, opening times will be 10:00-16:00.
Image (c) Bonhams : This piece of Kufic script is one of a number of Islamic items appearing in the Bonhams collection.