NEW YORK — Bonhams March 18 Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art sale brought nearly $1.7 million, with all three of the top lots hailing from the Southeast Asian Sculpture & Works of Art section. The top lot was a massive ornamental dorje from 18th century Tibet which sold for over four times its pre-sale low estimate. The richly gilded, 14-inch dorje brought an impressive $92,500, and would have graced the altar of an important monastery or a high-ranking lama's personal shrine.
Following the dorje was a standing crowned wooden Buddha from Pagan period Burma (13th/14th century) that would have adorned one of the cities numerous brick temples. The Buddha sold for $80,500 - twice its pre-sale low estimate, while a 13th century Nepalese gilt copper figure of Vasudhara sold for $74,500.
Other Tibetan pieces with exceptional results included a circa 13th century gilt copper alloy figure of Hayagriva and Vajravarahi that doubled its pre-sale low estimate to sell for $62,500, while a striking mounted Neolithic nephrite ax in a 16th century Tibetan ritual gilt bronze mount brought $43,750.
Notable results from other sections of the sale included a silver Indian three-piece tea service in the form of three francolins by Oomersee Mawjee, circa 1870. The distinctive set, combining traditional Indian and Edwardian esthetics brought $47,500, more than tripling its pre-sale low estimate. From Gandhara, an intricate emaciated Buddha from the 2nd/3rd century also sold for $47,500, easily surpassing its pre-sale high estimate of $30,000.
"The results of the day demonstrated that buyers are cautious and pursuing works of top quality. We were thrilled to see continuing strong demand for Southeast Asian and Himalayan material, with many new buyers entering the market," said Bonhams Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Consultant Edward Wilkinson.
Asia week at Bonhams continues with Fine Japanese Works of Art on March 19, and Fine Chinese Paintings & Calligraphy as well as The Xi'an Incident: The Papers of Hyland "Bud" Lyon on March 20. Bonhams next auction of Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art will take place September 10 in New York.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com