A covetable piece: Ottoman settee

This truly fabulous settee, inlaid with bone and mother-of-pearl, reflects the detailed carvings of windowpanes found in Arabic countries

Ottoman by name and nature (an ottoman is also a kind of padded bench), this settee dates from the mid 20th century though the craft and style is such that you would be forgiven for thinking it is much older.

The latticework on the back is known as mashrabiyah and has been associated with intricate, usually street-facing, windows in Arabic homes since the middle ages. You'll mostly see this type of carved windowpane in the Mashriq, the name given to the eastern region of Arabic countries such as Iraq and Egypt. They give the inhabitants the privacy to look out on to the street without being seen. 

No privacy is needed when it comes to this fantastically intricate seat. It's a piece to show off. The artistry gives it a lightness that counters the darkness of the wood which, together with the bone and mother-of-pearl inlay, gives you brown furniture with an exotic twist.

Ottoman mother-of-pearl and bone-inlaid settee, estimate £2,000-£4,000. It will be sold at Christie's Around the World auction on 28th April. To see the full e-catalogue, click here


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