Fine Southeast Asian Arts Inaugural Auction at Bonhams Hong Kong

Ritual + Culture
Fine Southeast Asian Arts
29 Mar 2018
Hong Kong, Admiralty

Hong Kong – Ritual + Culture is a newly conceived sale that will present an original insight into the cultural and societal significance of the arts in the Southeast Asian region. Coinciding with Art Basel in Hong Kong, the sale will take place at Bonhams Hong Kong on 29 March 2018, offering a range of classical and pre-modern works of art with 20th and 21st century modern and contemporary art in a cross-category format that spans periods and perspectives on art and ritual and cultural life unseen in any other previous auction sales of Asian art.

Ritual + Culture is jointly realised by Edward Wilkinson, Global Head of the Indian, Himalayan, and Southeast Asian Art Department at Bonhams and Wang Zineng of the art advisory Art Agenda, S.E.A. located in Singapore and specialising in modern Asian art. In this pioneering collaboration, leading specialist expertise is brought together to examine the manifestations of ritual and cultural life in Southeast Asia.

Offering a carefully selected collection of works that span the 3rd Century A.D. to 2017, Ritual + Culture will provide a new perspective for understanding continuities and diversity in Southeast Asian art.

Highlights from the sale include:

Dong Son Drum, Vietnam (circa 3rd century AD); estimated at HKD400,000 - 600,000
One of the most recognisable artefacts of pre-modern Southeast Asian art, the 3rd Century A.D. Dong Son Drum – originating in Vietnam but distributed to and found in other parts of the Southeast Asian region – reflects the entire spectrum of life and belief in one of the world's most sophisticated pre-modern civilizations. In form and structure, it represents the pinnacle of aesthetic beauty.

Space Dynamics (1978) by Fadjar Sidik (Indonesian, 1930-2004); estimated at HKD50,000 - 70,000
Much of modern abstract art in Southeast Asia interprets organic forms in nature. A selection of works by Ahmad Sadali, Nashar and Fadjar Sidik – whose Space Dynamics (1978) marks the iconoclastic Indonesian artist's debut at auction in Hong Kong – will illustrate how abstract Southeast Asian modern art commands a unique tradition, a tradition that represents not a typical modernist break from the past, but instead continues a meaningful dialogue with pre-modern aesthetic and philosophical viewpoints.

A lacquer gilt copper alloy figure of Buddha under Muchalinda (Thailand, second quarter of the 19th century); estimated at HKD250,000-350,000
Representing a pivotal moment in the life story of the Buddha, the seven-headed naga raises the Buddha on the coils of his body and protects his head from the torrential rain and rising flood waters. This allowed the Buddha to continue to meditate uninterrupted on his quest to reach enlightenment.

Appetite (2008), Ronald Ventura (Filipino, b.1973); estimated at HKD1,200,000 - 1,600,000
Contemporary art comes into view with a collection of works that are exemplary of the rich visual and oral narrative traditions in Southeast Asian arts. Ronald Ventura's Appetite (2008) is a landmark early work of the leading contemporary Southeast Asian artist at auction. It intimates to the subconscious presence of mythic and religious narratives in modern life that sometimes manifests, and is not easily understood because of its cultural specificities.

The Holy Tree (1962), Arie Smit (Dutch-Indonesian, 1916-2016); estimated at HKD450,000-600,000
A comprehension of the ritual and cultural life in Southeast Asia aids in understanding many aspects of its contemporary societies. The veneration of nature in the region reflects its richness of biodiversity, and in turn reflects how economies in Southeast Asia almost all bear agrarian foundations. It is little wonder therefore that deep, sacred meanings are tied with trees, not least how it is an expression of the cycle of life with its stages of growth, death and rebirth. This is perfectly illustrated in Arie Smit's The Holy Tree, a rare to market 1962 painting that stands as the perfect expression of the artist who has dedicated his entire life to documenting landscape and ritual life and the landscape of Bali, the island of the gods.


Preview dates:

Hong Kong
March 23-29, 2018
Bonhams Hong Kong, Suite 2001, One Pacific Place, Admiralty

Ritual + Culture – Fine Southeast Asian Art
Bonhams Hong Kong, Suite 2001, One Pacific Place, Admiralty, Hong Kong
Thursday 29 March at 4pm
Specialist: Edward Wilkinson, Global Head of the Indian, Himalayan, and Southeast Asian Art Department, Bonhams

For further information and images call Louise Oram on +852 6892 1171 (Hong Kong), or email louiseorampr@gmail.com or press@bonhams.com.

About Bonhams
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest and most renowned auctioneers of fine art and antiques, motor cars and jewellery. The main salerooms are in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, with sales also held in Knightsbridge, Edinburgh, Paris, San Francisco and Sydney. With a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 22 countries, Bonhams offers 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.

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  1. Edward Wilkinson
    Hong Kong
    Hong Kong
    Work +852 2918 4321

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