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3052Now you see it, now you don't

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  • Jake Benson
    Apr 30 11:19 AM
      Hello everyone,

      The images of the marbled and lacquered boxes I mentioned a couple of
      days ago, on Christies web site have now been removed. However, they
      are likely published in the catalog of the sale. I also noticed that
      the citation for other published examples from the Nasser Khalili
      collection is not clear. So Here's a full citation:

      (Khalili collection Catalog Number XXII) by Khalili, Robinson and
      Stanley. Lacquer of the Islamic Lands. Azimuth Editions 1996 ISBN
      number 1-874780-62-5 , Vol. 1, cat. nos. 174-183

      This two volume set is incredibly expensive, but I have been able to
      obtain it through interlibrary loan at my local public library. Anyone
      else can easily do the same if they would like to see what I am
      referring to.

      catalog # 174 features a penbox with a combed pattern surrounding
      calligraphic and decorative panels. Items 175-176 are covered in very
      tiny, delicate motifs, reminiscent of peacock's tails (NOT the
      "peacock" pattern we know in European marbling, these really look
      something like a fanned peacock's tail, and are made up of tiny little
      drops of color (MILLIMETERS in size), carefully manipulated. they were
      likely applied with a special tool, similar to the one developed by
      Necmeddin Okyay for making his sünbül or "hyacinth" flowers. Perhaps
      he got the idea from looking at similar examples? who knows?

      The remaining penboxes feature a very unusual style of motif, what the
      authors have termed the "fleshy leaf" motif. Yet I wonder if it may be
      an attempt at Paisley or "poti" design in marbling (so, is there a
      possible Indian influence in that?). they are similar, though not
      exactly akin to the mirror-case image that I posted to the group photo

      What I find interesting in some of these examples , is that you can see
      a few dust-spots. On one of the published penboxes, these so called
      "flaws" have actually been enhanced by the artist, who outlined them in
      gold! So, I think it is fair to say this should draw a little bit of
      attention to some of the subjective standards of criticism in marbling.
      What may be perceived as "good marbling" in one context may not be so
      in another, very different one. This is not the first time I have seen
      a so-called "mistake" incorporated into a piece... even in albums and
      bindings for kinds, queens, shahs, and sultans. They apparently didn't
      mind it.


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