An Iranian overglaze-painted gilded and relief-molded tile from the interior walls of
dating to the late 13th century (Ilkhanid period) and measuring
21x28 centimeters will be on auction in Sotheby’s in New York
on June 9th.
According to an expert with Iran’s Cultural Heritage and
Tourism Organization (ICHTO), Nemat Gorgani, if the piece was
looted from the country, based on the 1970 convention, Iran can
halt its auction and call for its repatriation by providing the
necessary documents; if not and in case the tile was result of
foreign excavations before the Islamic Republic, to take the
heritage back, Iran can take part in the auction and bid on the
Preliminary checks suggest the auctioned piece was not on
Iran’s list of looted objects, said another expert of the
The decoration combines minai and lajvardina techniques, molded
in relief and painted in numerous colors against a turquoise
ground; its background is decorated in gesso relief and is
outline-painted with scrolling split- palmettes, with a similar
motif in the raised border above.
It displays a scene from the Shahnama (the Book of Kings),
depicting Bahram Gur, riding on horseback, and wearing high
boots, cloak decorated with arabesques, and round cap, an
attendant figure facing him at left, a dog between them.
Based on a Sotheby’s catalogue, the tile probably comes from
the interior wall decoration of Takht-e Soleyman, once the
summer royal palace of the Mongol ruler Abakha (r. 1265–82) in
The item, the price of which is estimated between 5000 to 8000
dollars, has been introduced as belonging to Charles Dikran
Kelekian, an American collector, and before that to Eloise
Spaeth (1902-1998), a historian and art scholar.
Takht-e Soleyman, located near Takab, in northwestern Iran, is
one of the country’s significant historical heritage inscribed
on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage, where remains of life from
the first millennium B.C. to the 11th century Hejira are found.