NEW YORK – Tibetan sculpture took centre stage during two Asia Week sales at Bonhams New York – Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art on 13 March and Portraits of the Masters on 14 March. The two sales brought in a combined US$10,694,375 with robust bidding both in the room and across the globe for gilded Tibetan sculptures of Buddhist deities.
Edward Wilkinson, Executive Director of Bonhams Asia and Global Head of Indian, Himalayan, and Southeast Asian Art notes, "In previews and in the room our impressive offering of Tibetan sculpture saw intense interest, resulting in excellent sell-through rates and a superior average lot value for our consignors." He continues "This success confirms a rise in interest over the last 20 years for the historical figures of Buddhism paralleled with the increasing depth of the global market."
Offered in the Portraits of the Masters sale and leading both sales, a group of six Sakya lamdre lineage masters, dating to 15th-century Tibet realised US$728,000 against an estimate of US$120,000. Their every aspect points to the set having been a high commission, depicting the masters of a core teaching in Tibetan Buddhism, which houses the potential to achieve enlightenment in a single lifetime. It is reasonable to assume that this sculptural set would have been commissioned by a major Sakya monastery, such as Ngor, Sakya, or Shalu.
Despite challenging weather conditions in New York, the saleroom was packed on Tuesday night for the Portraits of the Masters auction, which was clearly regarded as a landmark opportunity Himalayan art collectors. Buyers were discerning and competed for the collection of 108 rare and unusual masterpieces. The sale total was US$6,760,125 with 87% sold. Notably, Jigten Sumgon Rinchen Pel Tibet, previously attributed to the 18th century and correctly identified by Bonhams to the 13th century, brought US$463,500 against a high estimate of US$250,000.
Highlights from the Portraits of the Master sale include:
· A large gilt copper alloy figure of the Fourth Druk Desi of Bhutan, Tenzin-Rabgye (-Bhutan, late 17th/18th century) nearly tripled its high estimate of US$150,000 achieving US$391,5000
· A gilt copper alloy figure of the Fifth Karmapa, Deshin Shekpa (Tibet, 15th/16th century) sold for $343,500 against a high estimate of $200,000
At Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art, the cover lot, a gilt figure of Tara from Tibet, circa 15th century, sold for US$485,750, against a high estimate of $120,000. This is certainly one of the most attractive sculptures of the goddess Tara made in the Himalayas or China. Few examples of the Indian Pala style as it was reproduced in Tibet remain as faithful to the spirit of sensuality in Indian art as this. A particularly fine Indian sculpture would have served as the model from which the present lot drew inspiration. In this White form, Tara (Sitatara) appears for the specific purpose of bestowing longevity.
With a sales total of US$3,934,250, heavy competition was seen for the following lots:
· A gilt copper alloy figure of Vajravarahi (Densatil, 14th century) -brought $487,500 against a high estimate of $300,000
· A large iridescent copper alloy figure of Parshvanatha from central or western India, circa 15th century achieved $125,000
· An illustration to the Shagri Ramayan, Style II from the Pahai hills of Northwestern India, circa 1690, brought $118,750 against a high estimate of $30,000
For more information, high-resolution images, and events, contact Lorraine Rubio at (917) 206-1609 or email@example.com (U.S.) or firstname.lastname@example.org (U.K.).
ABOUT ASIA WEEK NEW YORK
The collaboration of prominent international Asian art specialists, auction, and numerous museums and Asian cultural institutions, Asia Week New York is a 10-day celebration filled with a non-stop schedule of simultaneous gallery open houses, Asian art auctions as well as numerous museum exhibitions, lectures and special events. Participants from Belgium, England, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, and the United States unveil an extraordinary array of treasures from China, India, the Himalayas, Southeast Asia, Tibet, Nepal, Japan and Korea. Asia Week New York Association, Inc. is a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade membership organisation registered with the state of New York. For more information visit www.asiaweekny.com.
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