Bonhams' inaugural Himalayan Art sale in Hong Kong will take place on 29 November. This landmark 'Images of Devotion' auction comprises a diverse selection of 42 lots hailing from across the Himalayas and neighbouring regions; from Pala-period Northeastern India to Ming China. This is a sale of exceptional quality, including masterpieces from highly regarded collections. The total presale estimate stands in excess of HK$115-165 million (US$15-20 million, GB £12-17 million).
Edward Wilkinson, Bonhams Executive Director, Asia and Global Head of Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art said, "This is watershed moment for Himalayan art in Hong Kong and reaffirms Bonhams' commitment to the importance of Asia within the global market. At Bonhams, we take nothing for granted except meeting quality with the highest standards of presentation. It is an honour to be entrusted with such important works of art while launching our Himalayan Art platform in Hong Kong, complementing the top-tier sales in this category we have established in New York. Responses to our extensive pre-sale promotions and previews in Europe, America, and Asia have been extraordinarily positive and we anticipate energetic and global participation from museums and collectors looking to secure some of the best pieces to have been offered at auction for decades."
A twenty-five deity mandala of Marici from Central Tibet, c.1375-1400 (HK$16,000,000-24,000,000). Exhibited widely in 1983, this work is arguably the finest Tibetan painting to have come to auction for more than 20 years.
A 10th-century large gilt copper figure of Avalokiteshvara from Nepal (HK$ 2,000,000-16,000,000). Superior in all aspects of modelling, casting, gilding, and insetting of precious stones, this rare and important bronze has been treasured by a private European collection for more than 25 years and predates most examples of its size and quality.
A silver inlaid brass alloy figure of Virupa, Tibet, 15th century (HK$500,000-700,000).
A consummate example of Tibet's charismatic portrait tradition, this sculpture was exhibited in the Art Council of Great Britain's seminal exhibition, Tantra, at the Hayward Gallery, London in 1971.
A silver inlaid brass alloy figure of Buddha, Kashmir, 8th century (HK$500,000-700,000).
Collected by Lieutenant William Pyt Bennett during the Younghusband Expedition to Tibet in 1903/04, and described in his letters, this bronze is not only a remarkable testament to Tibet's introduction to the modern European world (and vice versa), but also the first recorded example of an Indian Buddhist bronze being housed within Tibetan monasteries.
From the Nyingjei Lam Collection, sold to benefit the Nyingjei Lam Trust's philanthropic projects in developing regions throughout the globe:
A 12th-century silver and copper inlaid copper alloy figure of Bhaisajyaguru (HK$2,400,000-3,800,000). This sculpture is unique among a highly prized group of early Tibetan bronzes believed to pay homage to the long-lost central image of the Mahabodhi temple, which marked the spot where Buddha achieved enlightenment in Northeastern India. It is the only one of its kind known to depict the Buddha of Healing.
Masterpieces from the collection of Tibetan art scholar Ulrich von Schroeder:
A monumental brass alloy figure of Canda Vajrapani (HK$22,000,000-28,000,000)
This is one of the great masterpieces of 13th-century Tibetan sculpture and indeed the most important surviving Tibetan brass sculpture of any period. Depicting a principal protector deity of Buddhism, the level of craftsmanship is exceptional. Standing before it, there is no doubt of the deity's capacity to subdue anything that would seek to harm Buddhism and its practitioners.
A thangka of Marpa receiving the poet-saint Milarepa by the Tenth Karmapa, Choying Dorje (1604-1674) (HK$10,000,000-15,000,000). One of only three paintings known to bear an inscription with his name, to-date this painting is the most important work by the only artist, in the Western sense, from Tibetan antiquity, who lived in exile for 29 years and broke from tradition, expressing himself in painting and sculpture.
A copper alloy composite figure of Vajrapani and Kubera, attributed by inscription to the Tenth Karmapa, Choying Dorje (1604-1674) (HK$13,000,000-18,000,000). One of only seven sculptures known to bear an inscription to Choying Dorje, it is the most important still in private hands, where it has been with Ulrich von Schroeder for more than 20 years. Bearing the hallmarks of its creator's whimsical style and visionary iconography, it is the only example of its subject matter ever made within more than a millennia of Tibetan art history.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Today, the auction house offers more sales than any of its rivals. The main salerooms are in London, New York and Hong Kong. Sales are also held in the UK in Knightsbridge and Edinburgh; in the US, in San Francisco and Los Angeles; in Europe, in Paris and Stuttgart and in Sydney, Australia. Bonhams also 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 forthcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit bonhams.com