A massive Mudéjar style polychrome painted wood ceiling Panel Tunisia, 17th Century

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Lot 128
A massive Mudéjar style polychrome painted wood ceiling Panel
Tunisia, 17th Century

Sold for £ 24,000 (US$ 30,031) inc. premium
A massive Mudéjar style polychrome painted wood ceiling Panel
Tunisia, 17th Century
the entire ceiling forming a 'T' shape, comprising a main rectangular ceiling panel formed of painted boards supported by joists, the narrow beams painted with alternating cartouches of scrolling split-palmette vines and floral motifs, the wider boards with a variety of decoration consisting of scrolling split-palmette vines, recessed geometric patterns and quatrefoils (see illustration), two further panels forming niches on either side of the ceiling with geometric decoration; and a square-shaped recessed dome panel forming the lower section of the 'T' with two corner bracket attachments, the central geometric decoration centred around a twelve-pointed star formed of small alternating panels of scrolling split-palmettes and dotted contour panels within borders with further scrolling split-palmettes, within a cusped niche, geometric patterns on the outer borders
rectangular ceiling panel approx. 600 x 300 cm.; square dome panel approx. 195 cm. square

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    The Jacques Desenfans Collection.

    Style:
    The main ceiling panel is painted with various floral and arabesque motifs in symmetrical form. The decoration of the square dome panel consists of a series of small painted panels arranged in a geometrical pattern around the theme of a twelve-pointed star.

    Relations between the Spanish Muslims and the Muslims of Tunisia had been close since immigrants began to arrive from Christian Spain after the fall of Seville in 1248AD. But the pressure to convert or be expelled really began to be felt by Spanish Muslims in the early 17th century. Many left for North Africa; in 1609 alone over 80,000 Spanish Muslims went to Tunisia. The wealthy resettled in the urban centres like Tunis, while artisans and poorer families settled in the smaller northern towns. These immigrants brought their customs and trades with them. The mudéjar aesthetic practiced by the Muslim craftsmen, which became so popular in newly Christian Spain, also had a lasting influence on Tunisian culture.

    This distinctive mudéjar style can be seen in this painted ceiling panel, particularly the use of scrolling motifs in red, gold and black, painted within rectangular panels, reminiscent of the splendid mudéjar painted ceiling of the Cathedral at Teruel (see Emilio Rabanaque Martin, El Artesonado de la Catedral de Teruel, Zaragoza 1981). Similar colours and motifs were also found in the more portable textile arts of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada, particularly in carpets and silks, many of which may have been brought by families emigrating from Granada to Tunisia in the 17th century. (see Heather Ecker, Caliphs and Kings. The Art and Influence of Islamic Spain, Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. 2004).

    Conservation and Installation:
    The panels have been professionally treated preserving them from woodworm.

    The ceiling is accompanied by a Radiocarbon Dating Certificate (Ref: RCD-6904 and Gra 39294). The certificate provides a 95% confidence interval that the wood is dated between AD 1670 to AD 1955.

    The paintwork has been cleaned, stabilised and sealed.

    The ceiling requires professional carpenters to assemble and install it in situ. The ceiling is currently in manageable sections. The diagram below illustrates the ceiling in its complete form.

    Prospective purchasers who would like details of further conservation, advice regarding potential installation, or who have queries as to condition should contact the department.
A massive Mudéjar style polychrome painted wood ceiling Panel Tunisia, 17th Century
A massive Mudéjar style polychrome painted wood ceiling Panel Tunisia, 17th Century
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Buyer's Premium Rates
27.5% on the first £2,500 of the hammer price;
25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £2,500 up to and including £300,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £300,000 up to and including £3,000,000;
and 13.9% of the hammer price of any amounts in excess of £3,000,000.

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