Important Minai Fragment
Ceramic production in Persia burgeoned in the eleventh century, inheriting a tradition of luxury objects rooted in the Islamic world dating back to the ninth century, which had been developed significantly in Fatimid Egypt. The peak of Iranian ceramics in the early thirteenth century might also be explained by the migration of Egyptian ceramicists at the time of the decline of that dynasty, between the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries.
The technical development that allowed for painting under and over the matte glaze contributed greatly to the success of minai – or enamelled – ceramics, where each piece was a precious decorative object. Pieces underwent a complex process of firing, the first time at higher temperatures and a second time at a temperature below 600 degrees, to allow for the fixing of the most fragile pigments, including gold.
The Oriental and European Collection of Mr. Alexander Scott of Philadelphia, PA., The Anderson Galleries, New York, 2nd – 4th March 1922, Lot 352.
Christie’s Interiors, New York, 31st August – 1st September 2010, Lot 464.
Previously in the Private Collection of Mr Alexander Scott (1854-1925), Philadelphia, USA, from at least 1922.
Sold at: The Oriental and European Collection of Mr. Alexander Scott of Philadelphia, PA., The Anderson Galleries, New York, 2nd – 4th March 1922, Lot 352.
In the Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio, USA.
Sold at: Christie’s Interiors, New York, 31st August – 1st September 2010, Lot 464.
With IADAA certificate, this item has been checked against the Interpol database.
Alexander Scott (1824-1925) was a British landscape painter, and the son of noted portraitist for The Illustrated London News, Thomas Dewell Scott. Scott was living in Hawai’i by 1906, and stayed there until 1908. He then lived in Darjeeling, India, for 26 years, and painted a wide range of subjects during his travels: from portraits, such as his 1910 painting of William Goodell, now in the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, to the Himalayas, the Taj Mahal, and Sanchi Tope. His paintings and drawings of India and Kashmir were exhibited by the Fine Art Society, London, in 1889 and again, posthumously, in 1932. Scott married a woman from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and lived there with her for many years.
Scott collected ancient art from all around the world. In 1914, he began corresponding with Dr George Byron Gordon, the director of the University Museum in Philadelphia in regards to selling his collection. Although Scott had originally thought to sell his objects to the Fairmount Park Authorities in Philadelphia, he wanted to keep the collection together. In 1914, the museum purchased the 325 objects comprising Scott’s collection of objects from Tibet and Nepal. According to The Museum Journal, Scott chose items ‘with reference to their artistic merit and to their bearing upon the religious traditions which are embodied in them’.0F Scott continued to make annual trips to India, and was granted the title of Honorary Representative of Oriental Archaeologist at the University Museum of Philadelphia to help him to acquire objects for the museum. By the time of his 1915-1918 expedition to India, Scott was specifically purchasing objects for the museum, rather than his personal collection. He discussed potential sales with Dr Gordon and often sent photographs and descriptions before finalising any purchases, except on occasions where delaying the sale could lead to a missed opportunity. During this time, Scott became friends with the Director General of Archaeology in India, Sir John Marshall, and painted for him while staying at his camp in Taxila. He travelled to excavation sites across Gandhara country, Sanchi, Bhopal, and visited the ancient city of Mattra.
After Scott’s death in 1925, his second wife, Mabel Scott (née Bowbeer) began corresponding with the museum and continued to do so until 1948.