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Medieval Islamic glass bowl fetches $2.2 million

Post Time:Apr 03,2009Classify:Industry NewsView:246

A 650-year-old decorated glass bucket from Syria or Egypt sold for 1.55 million pounds at auction on Wednesday, around double the pre-sale estimate and 20 times what the same item fetched in 2000.

The Mamluk Glass Bucket dating from the middle of the 14th century was the top lot at Sotheby's Arts of the Islamic World sale in London, which raised 4.75 million pounds overall, below expectations of between 6.3 and 8.8 million.

The last time the bucket was sold nine years ago it raised 75,000 pounds at Christie's when it was believed to have been made in France in the second half of the 19th century.

Experts have since agreed that it is significantly older and from the Islamic world, and would have been used as a finger bowl passed around at the beginning or end of a meal for guests to rinse their hands.

Only four other similar buckets are known to exist and three of them are in major museum collections. The whereabouts of the final bucket is unknown, Sotheby's said.

At Sotheby's rival Christie's, the Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds auction raised 2.46 million pounds on Tuesday.

Despite the price paid for the medieval glass vessel at Sotheby's, it fell well short of recent Islamic auction highlights.

In October, a 1,000-year-old carved rock crystal ewer fetched 3.2 million pounds, and in April last year a 12th century key to the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest site in Islam, sold for 9.2 million pounds, then a record for an Islamic work of art at auction.

Source: ReutersAuthor: shangyi

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