Strong Interest At Arts Of Asia Sale In Paris

The Sotheby’s Arts of Asia sale ended on a resounding high note with a total of €12.4 million. The Galerie Charpentier was packed throughout the day, and provided a setting for some magnificent bidding battles. By the end of the first session, the sale had already largely exceeded its overall estimate of €3.5-5 million.

According to Caroline Schulten, Head of the Asian Arts Department, "Today's sale proves yet again that collectors recognise our auction house as the best place to make discoveries. We owe this success to our skill in carefully selecting rare works that have not previously come up for auction, with exclusively private European collection provenances."

At this sale, Buddhist art yet again aroused keen enthusiasm with collectors, as witness the remarkable price achieved by a large gilt bronze sculpture of Vairocana the highest price of the day. Estimated at between €300,000 and 500,000, the statuette aroused some impassioned bidding before it was borne off for €3,395,000 ($3,810,921) by a private Asian collector.

Meanwhile, a collection of wooden Buddhist statuettes totalled €525,625 they included a wooden statuette of a reclining Buddha, from the Ming dynasty or earlier, which fetched the amount of €183,000.

The reign of the Yongle Emperor (1403-1424) was in the limelight with three exceptional works, including two in cinnabar lacquer bearing the Emperor's stamp. The first, a magnificent bowl-stand, of which only four similar models are known, almost doubled its estimate, at €543,000. The second, a large dish with a decoration of luxuriant hibiscus flowers covering the entire interior, took bidding all the way up to €353,000 / $394,000.

The sale also featured some magnificent Qianlong period jades from a private German collection, which were much appreciated by the bidders. One of these pieces (brought back in the Twenties by a businessman, who had set up in Beijing in around 1890) included a fine lidded vase in pale rust-highlighted celadon, Qing dynasty, Qianlong period, which fetched €627,000.

Also of note was a rare embroidered silk robe with a green-bronze background from the Qing dynasty, 18th century. Estimated at between €8,000 and €12,000, this fabric with its finely worked gold thread embroidery whetted the appetites of several aesthetes, and was finally knocked down for €267,000.

Last but not least came several works by the Chinese painter Lin Fengmian, all from different private collections in France, most coming up for auction for the first time having been bought directly from the artist in Hong Kong during the Fifties and Sixties.


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