Ottoman Art, A Rare Ottoman Gourd Attributed to Master Ben Elhaj, Algeria, 2nd Half of 19th Century

Identification Number: 122


This very rare Engraved, Painted and Lacquered Ottoman Gourd Depicting an Ottoman City & Harbour, Probably of The City of Istanbul, Attributed to the Algerian Wood Engraver Master Hamouda Ben Elhaj, Algeria, Second half of the 19th Century.
The natural gourd very densely engraved with scenes depicting an imaginary view of a large Ottoman coastal city or harbour, most probably of the Ottoman capital, the city of Istanbul. These views usually depict various Ottoman buildings of Islamic style and architecture with clear crescents on top of domes and minarets, large mosques, waterways and ships including steam engine ships which started to be more common in the latter half of the 19th century and that proves that our present lot belongs to that era.
Engraved works of art depicting the daily life of the Ottoman world such as views, scenes, maps, places, important cities of the Ottoman world were executed on various natural and sustainable materials such as ostrich egg shells, dried gourds and reed. An example of that is the work of Master Hasan Fahmi from Egypt who has done various pieces on ostrich eggs. His works were sold in various auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Christies. Other examples include those that were made in Algeria and were made on reed by the well-known Master Hamouda Ben Elhaj that made his pieces win various European awards in the 19th Century. We believe that our lot has the same style, technique and quality of his work as that of the piece shown in our next lot 123 that is signed by Elhaj himself. Some of the European awards that he was granted were engraved and documented on the piece itself.
For a similar Ottoman engraved pained and lacquered gourd that was made in 17th century please see Die Karlsruher Turkenbeute by Himer Verlag Munchen, lot 260 p.298-299.

Condition: Excellent.

Dimensions: 26 cm high.
Top 28.5 cm across.
Body 34 cm across.