The sale of The Jongen-Schleiper Collection of Fine Thangkas at Bonhams, London yesterday, May 11, was a rare 'White Glove' event with every one of the 49 lots finding a buyer. In total, the sale made £2,181,250, multiplying its total low estimate by about four times.
The highlight of the collection also achieved the top price. An exceptionally rare complete set of thangkas of the Panchen Lamas of Tashilhunpo, circa 1835, estimated at £200,000 300,000 was sold for £551,000. The set which includes three paintings depicting the First, Fourth and Third Panchen Lamas, was presented with the Fourth Panchen Lama in the honoured central position as they were commissioned during his time.
Other highlights included:
A rare silk thangka of Ratnagni Buddha, 18th century, estimated at £20,000-30,000 that sold for an exceptional £311,000. This thangka is exceptional not only because of the quality of its execution, but also because of the particularly precious nature of the silk material used and the beauty of the calligraphy on the reverse. The painting would have been part of a set devoted to the previous lives of Shakyamuni Buddha. Each painting would have been commissioned by an individual or a family. In this instance, the donor is named Rinchen Ngodrub, who lived in a region of Tibet called Upper Mu.
Two superb rare thangkas of Lamas and the Life of Buddha, 18th century, estimated £40,000 60,000 that sold for £185,000. The Thangkas are very rare in their compositions as the central figures depict a Tibetan teacher or Lama rather than Buddha. An inscription on one of the thangkas identifies the central figure as Drokun Gewa'i Shenyen, a 17th/18th century Drugpa Kagyu Lama from Eastern Tibet.
Asaph Hyman, International Head, Chinese Art commented: "This sale has set a new international standard for later Tibetan thangka paintings. It has been a privilege to offer and research this impressive and diverse collection, which has been much admired by collectors and scholars alike."