A Magnificent Late Qajar Inscribed & Heavily Decorated With Courtly Scenes Chased & Engraved Silver Set Of Four Pieces Tea Set, Made & Marked At The Work Shop Of The Silver Master Eamal Jaffar (عمل جعفر), Isfahan, Iran, Late 19th Or Early 20th Century.

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A Magnificent Late Qajar Inscribed & Heavily Decorated With Courtly Scenes Chased & Engraved Silver Set Of Four Pieces Tea Set, Made & Marked At The Work Shop Of The Silver Master Eamal Jaffar (عمل جعفر), Isfahan, Iran, Late 19th Or Early 20th Century.

In the late 19th-early 20th centuries and during the late Qajar and early Pahlavi Dynasties, very high quality, high grade silver and considerable quantities of fine Iranian silverware were mainly offered for sale by the Master and retailer Eamal Jaffar (عمل جعفر)
For in the late 19th and early 20th centuries there were mainly four famous centres in the production of Persian silverware such as Shiraz, Kermanshah, Tabriz and Isfahan.

The retailer Eamal Jaffar (عمل جعفر) is thought to have had a very well known workshop that carried out his name in Isfahan, that workshop is believed to be responsible in making and commissioning Fine Persian Silverware that were made at the workshop of the Master and retailer of fine Iranian silverware Eamal Jaffar (عمل جعفر), in the magical, glorious, great city of Isfahan which was a very important centre for art and culture. Isfahan also had hosted and nourished the making of various types of arts, and it was also well-known for its important historical and Islamic monuments and what was used to be the ancient capital city of the Safavid dynasty during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Isfahan was considered and for many centuries to be the main link and a very important commercial centre between the eastern and western worlds.

Eamal Jaffar (عمل جعفر) is thought to be one of the most sort after, famous and very reliable by both the elite and wealthy in the Iranian society such as the royal family, official ministers, merchants etc. and he also was very sort after by the foreign communities that used to live, work or visit Iran such as members of the foreign embassies in Iran, all were trying to get fine silverware and silver works of art that were made at the workshop of Jaffar (عمل جعفر).

Jaffar (عمل جعفر) was famous in offering masterpieces and more likely he was very active in the late 19th century and at the first three decades of the 20th century.
Also there was a huge demand by the western art markets for Iranian silverware and to fulfil the mounting demand of Persian silver by western customers who had loved to posses fine pieces of Iranian metalmark. Jaffar Jaffar’s good reputation and expertise had been reflected on the many orders that were offered to Jaffar workshop (عمل جعفر).

The most popular theory and the consensus opinion about how Jaffar used to work is by collecting orders from various customers and afterwards he used to commission the making of those masterpieces by the most talented of Isfahani silversmiths and engravers in Isfahan, for that reason the majority of fine pieces of Eamal Jaffar (عمل جعفر) was exported outside Iran and can mainly be found in Europe such as France the United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands etc. and the United States of America.
Also its worth maintaining here that many of fine Persian silverware that was imported to the western markets in the late 19th early 20th centuries and to comply with European local rules and regulations of selling foreign silverware have some sort of silver import essay marks stamped on them.

Unfortunately there is not much available as references or literature to cover the life, history and work of the workshop of Eamal Jaffar (عمل جعفر).
There are only hypotheses and some data that was passed down via people who new Jaffer (word of mouth) also some information that had been circulating among the main collectors and the surviving Iranian silversmiths, engravers and their families but what is available from data about his work can mainly be seen through his amazing legacy that he had left behind and by his masterpieces of Persian silverware that bears his trademark and name, the main pieces can mainly be found in the western world collections and by other patriotic collectors who are trying to pick up the pieces and gather his extraordinary works of art, now there are few Museums, Iranian individual, middle astern nationals and other westerners who are very busy trying to get hold of Eamal Jaffar (عمل جعفر) pieces, such pieces are occasionally offered for sale in major auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Christies etc.
Objects that were offered for sell by major auction houses bearing the brand or mark Eamal Jaffar (عمل جعفر) were normally describing the name and the purpose of the object including the physical description and only the makers name as Eamal Jaffar (عمل جعفر), but sadly without any references or literature!?

Jaffar (عمل جعفر) silverware is usually made of extremely highly quality standards, very priced and sort after and was decorated with lavish eastern and oriental ornamentations, such as the use of various geometrical designs, scenes from nature including vegetation- floral and animals, also scenes from famous Islamic monuments and mosques, religious scenes, Quran verses, Iranian poem such as the famous peon of Hafez and others, the usage of various types of beautiful Arabic and Persian scripts such as the Nastaliq script, hunting scenes, scenes that reflects various human activities such as war, love, marriage and sporting events, biblical scenes and tragedy, scenes that are depicted from ancient Persian monuments such as Persepolis, scenes that are taken from the Persian Shahnamehs and The epic of the Persian Kings (an illustrated edition of both mythical and historical events written over one thousand years ago by Abolqasem Ferdowsi), courtly and village scenes depicted from various eras of both the Persian and Islamic history, also scenes from much recent Iranian history such as the Safavid, Zand and the Qajar dynasties, also objects that were commissioned for other faiths such as the Zoroastrian, Jewish and Christian communities for many of the artisans who were working in the silversmith industry in Iran were of Armenian origins (especially in the town of Tabriz where fine Persian Nielloed silver were made) and from other sects or faiths and orders were made to satisfy the demand that was coming from various directions.
Eamal Jaffar (عمل جعفر) silverware brand and stamped mark was done in Farsi or Arabic languages.
Some consider Eamal Jaffar (عمل جعفر) as a master, a silversmith and engraver of high quality Irainian silverware, others consider Eamal Jaffar (عمل جعفر) as an Iranian individual who had worked as a silver retailer of fine Persian silverware.
In other word Jaffar was offering his pieces that bear his trademark Eamal Jaffar (عمل جعفر) but those pieces could not have been originally made by him personally but was more likely had been made by other craftsmen, probably he used to determine the shape and requested designs and the type of decoration used in making the object by the silversmiths and engravers who used to take orders from him. (The same principle applies to the workshop of Marteen or Martin).

Eamal Jaffar (عمل جعفر) is thought to be one of the most famous if not the best well-known retailer of fine Persian silverware alongside the workshops of Shiraz and the work of the master Mahmoud Shirazi in the Late 19th Or Early 20th Century in Iran and during both the Qajar And Pahlavi Dynasties in Iran for his fame has crossed the Iranian borders to reach the western art markets.
Many orders for Eamal Jaffar (عمل جعفر) works of art had helped him to achieve his goal by establishing his famous silver workshop in Isfahan where he had employed the best silversmiths in the city, he also commissioned the most talented metal engravers in Isfahan to do certain jobs for him such as the master Sayed Shirazi (سيد شيرازي) who had believed to be migrated from the Iranian city of Shiraz to work for Eamal Jaffar (عمل جعفر) workshop in Isfahan.
Eamal Jaffar (عمل جعفر) was very famous for his fine engravings executed on the surfaces of his fine silver pieces but he also used artists to copy the repoussed silver work of Shiraz, therefore he had used many masters from Shiraz such as Sayed Shirazi (سيد شيرازي), in other pieces he had used a combination of both techniques the repoussed silver alongside with engraved areas used in the making of the same piece (basically two artists have had worked and collaborated on the same piece).
Combining both the Shirazi repoussed silver technique with the engraving technique of silver is clearly used in our magnificent tray presented in this lot that shows various courtly scenes of various rulers and sultans also almost each cartouche is inscribed with the story that it is representing, such as Shah Suleiman, Shah Abbas, Shah Ahmed, Sultan Shah, famous individuals such as the poet Hafez etc.
The other three pieces were only engraved.
Other famous Iranian silver engravers that might have also worked for Jaffar (عمل جعفر) , is probably the Master Ebraheem Daeizadeh (أبراهيم دائي زادة) who thought to be one of the best metal engravers in Isfahan also his brother Abdullah Daeizadeh (عبد الله دائي زادة) who also might have worked for Jaffar.

Condition: very good, minor wear and tear.

Tray 50cm diam. across, height 3cm.
Teapot 22cm wide at largest point between spout and handle, height 18cm, base 9.5cm.
Sugar bowl 19cm wide at largest point between the two handles, height 13cm, base 8cm.
Milk jug 14cm wide at largest point between spout and handle, height 10cm.


Sotheby’s Auction House at Paris on the 26th of June 2013 (Orfèvrerie Européenne, Boites En Or Et Objets De Vitrine).
Please see lot No. 112, the pair of Iranian glass flasks and cover with pierced silver mounts, Qajar Art, Iran, 19th century, marked by Eamal Jaffer (عمل جعفر)

Millon Auction House, Paris, Art D’Orient & Orientalisme, May 2017, Please see sold lot No. 118, A silver Flask made by Jaffar.

Ahlers & Ogletree Auction, 2nd January 2016 lot No. 0107
  • Identification Number: 329

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