Enamelled Silver Tray with landscape portrait(s) painting

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GregHodgson1
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Enamelled Silver Tray with landscape portrait(s) painting

Postby GregHodgson1 » Fri Jan 07, 2022 8:59 am

This piece has been in a cabinet since 1983 when I bought it. It appears to be anywhere from 1920 to 1960 (corrections welcome). The marks I assume are silver and 800 finesse (corrections welcome). It weighs a whopping 1184 grams and is 35 cms by 25 cms.

The front is enamelled resembling a Persian rug with a painting in the centre of what appears to be a teacher and student. The centre painting is lovely and is 12 cms by 10 cms. Not a lot of space to work with but they have done an amazing job considering. There is some writing at the bottom which I am assuming is Farsi and what appears to be initials - perhaps the artist? I would welcome a translation.

The reverse of the tray is also enamelled in blue. From the research I have carried out this may have had a set of enamelled cups to accompany the tray and perhaps a tea or coffee pot. I have seen many examples in etched silver but only one with enamelling which in my opinion was quite plain and had no additional centre painting.

As always I appreciate this forum. I will now spend a leisurely couple of hours giving it a light clean before putting it back.

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AG2012
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Re: Enamelled Silver Tray with landscape portrait(s) painting

Postby AG2012 » Fri Jan 07, 2022 9:39 am

Hi,
It is Persian (Iran).
The number 84 (digit 4 differs from Arabic usage and typical for Farsi) indicating the fineness (.840) has been discussed here; sometimes wrongly associated with Russian 84 Zolotnik, a myth based on very short Russian rule of a part of Persia.
Fortunately, there is full inscription in Farsi here; all you need is to find an educated Farsi speaker and ask him to translate the text.
(Do not be disappointed if the first Iranian proves to be ignorant; my bad experience with both Ottoman Turkish and old Chinese - only educated people were capable of understanding the text).
Regards

GregHodgson1
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Re: Enamelled Silver Tray with landscape portrait(s) painting

Postby GregHodgson1 » Fri Jan 07, 2022 11:53 am

I saw there was a lot of discussion about the Russian finesse here and the conclusion was it was not connected in any way. I asked a friend who left Iran just after the Shah was overthrown to decipher the text but he could not read it and he is a fluent speaker. You are probably right in that I need an academic as I would like to know the symbolism behind the picture and objects. I purchased it Baghdad, Iraq so it had not travelled far when I acquired it. Many thanks for taking the time to respond.

Damon
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Re: Enamelled Silver Tray with landscape portrait(s) painting

Postby Damon » Mon Feb 21, 2022 4:00 pm

Helo Greg

What an interesting tray.

The painting technqiue is mina kari (meena kari) میناکاری which is a type of fired, painted enamel. Isfahan is a major centre for this art form.

The image is likely inspired by the Gulistan by Saadi

These two excerpts are from the Encyclopedi Iranica at https://iranicaonline.org/articles/golestan-e-sadi

"GOLESTĀN-E SAʿDI, probably the single most influential work of prose in the Persian tradition, completed in 656/1258 by Mošarref-al-Din Moṣleḥ, known as Shaikh Saʿdi of Shiraz ."

"That same evening, Saʿdi encounters another friend in a garden, where they stay the night. Preparing to return to town the next morning, the companion begins gathering rose petals to take back as souvenirs, whereupon Saʿdi comments that ephemeral things make unsuitable objects of affection (a line Victor Hugo later borrowed for Les Orientales). Saʿdi promises instead to compose a roseate book whose leaves would never fall to the tyranny of the autumn winds"

I don't understand the Persian text nor am I absolutely certain about the inspiration for the image but this may help you as you make enquiries

Damon

GregHodgson1
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Re: Enamelled Silver Tray with landscape portrait(s) painting

Postby GregHodgson1 » Sun Mar 20, 2022 9:37 am

Damon. How interesting that article was. Thank you for referencing it. Perhaps there is an English translation of the poem I could get hold of? I will investigate. I purchased the tray in an antique shop in Baghdad just off Rasheed Street. Looking back they had some great pieces. I bought a small sweet dish and a pepper or spice shaker in the form of an egg on three feet with flower engraving. Thanks again for your input.

Damon
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Re: Enamelled Silver Tray with landscape portrait(s) painting

Postby Damon » Sun Mar 20, 2022 7:52 pm

Greg

There is a free to download English translation at http://classics.mit.edu/Sadi/gulistan.2.i.html

Otherwise there are a number of English translations and parallel Persian/English editions

The most recent may be The Gulistan (Rose garden) of Sa'di- a bilingual English and Persian edition by Wheeler Thackston, now retired professor of Persian and Arabic at Harvard

Hope this is of interest

Damon


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