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Auction on Jahangir portrait, Tipu Sultan bridle
London, Apr 3 (PTI):
Published on 4 Apr. 2011 10:28 PM IST
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A unique six-foot high, life-size portrait of Mughal Emperor Jahangir, an Ottoman gilt bridle of of Tipu Sultan and an inscribed Mughal emerald personal seal will be the highlights of auction here on Tuesday.
The largest known Mughal painting, with an estimated price of upwards of 1 million pounds, will lead Bonham’s sale of works of Indian and Islamic art.
The unique painting of Jahangir, who ruled India from 1605-1627, is attributed to the Mughal artist Abul Hasan, Nadir al-Zaman or “wonder of the age”.
Previously shown in the National Portrait Gallery in an exhibition on the Indian Portrait in 2010, the emperor is shown seated on a gold decorated throne holding a globe, wearing elaborate robes and jewellery.
“This is one of the rarest and most desirable 17th century paintings ever to come to auction. There is no other work of its kind known and its importance cannot be underestimated. The extraordinary detail and complexity of the painting both fascinate and bewitch the viewer,” says Alice Bailey, head of Indian and Islamic Art at Bonhams.
The Ottoman gilt bridle, breast-plate and crupper was taken from the residential quarters of Tipu Sultan (1750-99), Sultan of Mysore (Seringapatam), in the 18th century, and brought to England by Field Marshall Sir Stapleton Cotton.
Made in Turkey of red morocco, the brow-band, head- and cheek-pieces are faced with interlocking rectangular plaques of gilt-brass, each cast with an eight-petalled flowerhead design. It has a pre-sale estimate of 60,000-90,000 pounds.
The bridle was part of a substantial collection of booty taken from Tipu’s stronghold by Lt. Col. Cotton, and together with a breast-plate, was specifically recorded as being Tipu’s personal property.
On the other hand, the inscribed Mughal emerald seal set in a diamond encrusted gold bangle and bearing the name of Major Alexander Hannay, an East India Company officer, is estimated to sell for 40,000-60,000 pounds. The rectangular 18th century emerald is table-cut and was mounted in an enamelled gold bangle in the early 19th century.
Major Hannay was in the service of the East India Company under William Hastings. The inscription on the emerald may possibly be the work of Muhammad Salah Khan, a known seal- engraver working in Faizabad who engraved emeralds for other East India Company officers during the latter part of the 18th century.
“This is a particularly fine example of an inscribed Mughal gem whose history and known provenance adds to its interest. The glorious Victorian setting is in particularly appropriate and sympathetic to the long-standing Mughal tradition of combining gems and enamelling,” says Bailey.

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