Exceptional set of Ottoman woodwork forming two "damask" salons from a private collection in the south of France.
Traditionally, this stuccoed, painted and gilded woodwork adorned the walls of the reception rooms (qa'a) of wealthy Syrian homes during the Mamluk and Ottoman periods. Indeed, in the 17th and 18th centuries, Damascus was an important city, a hub of trade where merchants built opulent residences, both private and public spaces for community gatherings. The wood-panelled rooms, a true mark of status for their owners, had two distinct parts: the 'ataba was the part of the room through which one entered from the courtyard and where one removed one's shoes before entering the tazar, the living room where one stood and sat. These two parts were separated by an arch and had a slight difference in level. The tazar, often referred to as the winter salon, was paneled along all three walls and faced south. Our first room therefore corresponds to the tazar of a reception hall.
Although partly older, the room in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, dated 1119 H/1707 and originating from a Damascene house, is particularly close to our set (inv. 1970.170), as can be seen in the typology of the various woodwork, the cornices and the geometric decoration of the cupboard doors. On the other hand, other elements, in particular the importance given to miniature architectural and landscape paintings, are more reminiscent of the second half of the 18th century. See, for example, the "Damascus" rooms at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (dated 1766-67, M.2014.33), the Cincinnati Art Museum (late 18th century, inv. 1966.443) and the Aga Khan Museum, Toronto (dated 1799-1800, inv. AKM810).
Our second set of wood panelling comes from another equally opulent Ottoman house. This woodwork can be dated to the early 19th century, and finds an equivalent in the "Damascus" room, dated 1816-17, now in the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar.
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Cabinet Pingannaud-David - Romain Pingannaud
Arts de l'Islam et de l'Inde - Islamic & Indian Art
Member of the Compagnie Nationale des Experts (CNE)
Assisted by Aïda El Khiari
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