Friday, 12 September 2008

“£100 ewer” expected to make $5,000,000.

A 1,000-year-old carved rock crystal ewer will go on auction at Christie's Islamic art sale next month.

This ewer, one of the only seven known surviving rock crystal ewers, will fetch some 5.3 million dollars, auctioneers estimated.

The piece was produced for the court of the Fatimid rulers of Cairo in the late 10th or early 11th century.

Embellished in enameled gold mounts made in 1854 by a French silversmith, it is the same ewer that came up for auction in Britain last January, expecting to make £220,000, or more than one thousand times its pre-sale estimate.

Experts however discovered the ewer to be an extremely rare one from the Fatimid dynasty though it was catalogued as a "19th century French claret jug" valued at £100-200.

Christie's said the January auction was stopped as such "by agreement," but giving no further details.

The Fatimid dynasty, ruling parts of Northern Africa and the Middle East, became so impoverished that much of its Royal Treasury had to be sold, including the ewers.

The ewer was carved from a single piece of flawless rock crystal which was hollowed out and carved by hand, and was decorated with cheetahs and link-chains.

Christie's is to hold sale of Islamic and Indian art on Oct. 7 in London.

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