Tibetan Masterpiece Highlight Bonhams Southeast Asian Art Sale

Gilt copper figure of Chakrasmvara. Estimated at $400,000-600,000. Image courtesy of Bonhams

Gilt copper figure of Chakrasmvara. Estimated at $400,000-600,000. Image courtesy of Bonhams


High expectations for Tibetan masterpiece at Bonhams Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art Sale

A silver and copper inlaid copper alloy figure of Gayadhara Tibet, circa 15th century. Estimated at $100,000-150,000. Image courtesy of Bonhams

NEW YORK, NY. – Tibetan masterpieces will be the focus of Bonhams next auction of Southeast Asian Art.  After a successful auction of Himalayan masterpieces in March,  Bonhams  is again set to auction important works from the Himalayan. On September 14, 2015,  Bonhams Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art sale will be held in New York. Over 123 lots will be presented at the auction that is estimated at US$ 23 million. Included in the sale are fine Himalayan bronzes, Tibetan thangkas, Indian miniatures  and Indian stone.

A major highlight of the Bonhams Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art sale is a magnificent gilt-copper alloy figure of Chakrasamvara made in 15th-century Tibet. Estimated at between $400,000 – 600,000, this  masterpiece of Tibetan sculpture  expresses one of the most important transcendental ideals in Buddhist art – the supreme bliss of enlightenment attained through the perfect union of wisdom and compassion.

This Bonhams art sale shows the important relationship between  art and spiritualism. That fact is reflected  in another major highlight of the  art sale, a silver and copper inlaid copper alloy figure of Gayadhara from Tibet, circa 15th century. Estimated between  $100,000 – 150,000, this is one of the rare portraits of the Indian pandita, Gayadhara, an important Indian guru crucial to one of the most significant schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

A remarkable Tibetan copper alloy figure of Tara,  Pala style, from the 12th century is expected to capture collectors attention when it comes on the auction block.  Created during a time of prolific cultural exchange between the Pala monastic universities of Bengal & Bihar and Central Tibet, known as the Chidar, or ‘Later Diffusion of the Faith’, this gemlike bronze exemplifies the convergence of art and spiritualism. This exceptional example of early Tibetan sculpture which draws inspiration from Eastern Indian Pala bronzes is estimated at $150,000 – 250,000.

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An exquisite Tibetan thangka depicting Arhat Pindola Bhadravajra, one of Buddha’s four original disciples, is expected to make record price at  the auction. From the collection of the late Tibetan scholar Lobsang P. Lhalungpa,  the piece is  just one in a  group of Tibetan thangkas from the collection that will be sold at the Bonhams Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art sale.  Another is a thangka from an arhat series: Pindola bharadvaja, Eastern Tibet, Palpung style, 18th century that is also expected to make record auction price at the auction. It is estimated between  $20,000 – 30,000.

Excellent provenance and the importance of the works, which illustrate a convergence of between art and spirituality, are expected to help this auction achieve  record price. All attention is on the Tibetan masterpiece that are the major highlights of this Bonhams Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art Sale.

Edward Wilkinson, Consultant at the Indian, Himalayan & South East Asian department at Bonhams, envisages   record auction prices  at the auction. Besides the Himalayan masterpieces, Wilkinson is hopeful that the broad international appeal  of  Buddhist art will pave the path to a great auction. He notes:

At the core of this auction are a group of extremely important masterpieces of Himalayan painting and sculpture that are fresh to the market. Supported by a diverse and rare group of works from across the South Asian region, the sale taps into a particularly buoyant market. Buddhist art in particular is enjoying broad international appeal and the market for this genre has risen dramatically over the past five years.

A section within the sale, according to Bonhams, will be devoted to raising funds for Nepal following the recent devastating earthquakes.  ‘The Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust and Save the Children (both registered charities) will receive an equal share of the full hammer sale proceeds from this section and a donation from Bonhams’ the auction house notes. As a leading auctioneer of Himalayan art and a committed supporter of Nepalese culture, this is Bonhams  contribution to a community devastated by disasters.

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