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Lot details

Expert’s note: This type of decoration was referred to as Chini Kana, a term meaning ‘China room’, and applied to wall niches in temples and other structures into which bottles, vases and various vessels were placed. Motifs such as this one may originally have had a connection with the ‘waters of fertility’ and hence with good fortune and abundance, but it seems likely that by the seventeenth century they were appreciated more for their elegance and sophisticated design. The present panel displays the Mughal fascination with naturalistic renditions of flora and fauna. Equally, the fluidity of the work demonstrates the strength of the Indian stone carving tradition.

North India, 17th-18th century. Depicting a pair of peacocks facing a vessel issuing floral sprays, carved in high relief within a rectangular reserve, to the right flanked by a smaller reserve with a meandering vine and a finely carved column decorated with a foliate design.

Provenance: From an English private collection, by repute purchased from Christie’s in London during the 1980s or 1990s.
Condition: Excellent condition, commensurate with age. Some wear, weathering and erosion, encrustations, minor losses. Few smaller cracks, nicks and surface scratches, remnants of ancient pigment and varnish.

Dimensions: Size 89.6 x 60.2 cm

Literature comparison:
Compare a related Mughal red sandstone panel with floral design, dated to the late 17th century, in the collection of the Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore, accession number 1993-01751.

Auction result comparison:
Type: Related
Auction: Christie’s London, 23 September 2005, lot 81
Price: GBP 8,400 or approx. EUR 15,000 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing
Description: A fine Mughal red sandstone Chini Kana panel, North India, 17th century


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