Sotheby’s just sent out this report from its Art of the Islamic World sale in London which made £4.74m. One third of that total came from the sale of the Rothschild Bucket, a item previously thought to be a modern replica. Here’s Sotheby’s on the sale:
A Mamluk Glass Bucket dating from the 14th Century was sold at Sotheby’s this morning for £1,553,250, almost double the pre-sale estimate of £600,000 – 800,000. The bucket had been in the collection of the Rothschild family for over 100 years having been purchased by Baron Alphonse de Rothschild at a Paris auction in 1893. It was one of the last of its kind remaining in private hands.
Two telephone bidders competed for the highly colourful bucket (or finger bowl) which would have been passed around at the beginning or end of a meal for guests to rinse their fingers. The inscription appearing around the vessel reads “I am a toy for the fingers shaped as (in the form of) a vessel. I contain cool water.” Only four other buckets of this type are known to exist and three of them are in major museum collections in Cairo, Lisbon and Kassel in Germany. The whereabouts of the final bucket is unknown.