Sotheby’s to auction a painting of the wife of Sultan Suleiman I, Hürrem

Sotheby’s will celebrate the achievements of artists and artisans from the Islamic world with a new auction on October 27. As part of the “Arts of the Islamic World and India” auction, an oil portrait of Hürrem Sultan, wife of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I who was also known as Roxelana in the West, will be presented under the hammer.

Hürrem Sultan’s painting dates from the late 16th-early 17th century. “We are delighted to have this painting of Roxelana who was the wife of Suleiman I, also known as Suleiman the Magnificent. She started as a concubine in her harem and rose through the ranks to become one of the most powerful women in the court, so she is incredibly inspiring, ”Sotheby’s Deputy Director Alexandra Yasmina Roy told the agency. Anadolu (AA).

Sultan Suleyman I, who remained in power for 46 years, was one of the greatest sultans who ever ruled the Ottoman Empire. He was known as “the lawgiver” in the east for his righteous administration of a huge empire that stretched as far as the Persian Gulf. Hailing from present-day Western Ukraine, Hürrem Sultan entered the harem of Sultan Suleiman I and quickly became his favorite. Sultan Suleiman broke conventions by marrying her and they had four children.

An oil portrait of Hürrem Sultan from the “Arts of the Islamic World and India” auction, Sotheby’s, London, Great Britain, October 22, 2021. (Photo AA)

She was influential not only as a wife, but was also central to helping him rule the empire. While Suleiman was on campaign, she wrote to him and kept him posted on developments in the capital. She was also one of the main patrons of architecture and charitable foundations, especially in Jerusalem. Roy said the painting was estimated to be between 100,000 and 250,000 pounds ($ 137,000 to $ 343,000). She also spoke about a pair of auction items that had never been available on the market before.

The objects in question are two extraordinary pairs of 17th century Mughal glasses – one with emerald lenses and the other with diamond lenses.

They were originally made from gemstones that would have weighed over 300 and 200 carats, respectively. Their origins go back to the Muzo mines in Colombia.

“These are the most famous emerald mines of the 17th century,” Roy said.

Mughal performances from the “Arts of the Islamic World and India” auction, Sotheby's, London, Great Britain, October 22, 2021. (Photo AA)

Iznik pottery from the 'Arts of the Islamic World and India' auction, Sotheby's, London, UK, October 22, 2021. (Photo AA)

The diamond glasses most likely came from the famous Golconda mines in southern India.

“It’s inconceivable today to do something like that,” Roy said. “To me, they are invaluable in a certain sense.”

Nonetheless, she said they are estimated to be between £ 1.5million and £ 2.5million ($ 2million to $ 3.4million) each.

Other highlights include a silver and gilded brass candlestick attributed to Mosul dating from around 1275; a richly decorated 13th century section of the Koran; a large Polish carpet in Safavid silk and metal thread; the largest known Iznik pottery “grape” dish dating from around 1530 as well as scientific instruments, including an astrolabe signed by Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Battuti and a 17th century Mughal engraved brass celestial globe.

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