Buddhist Figure from Nepal Sells for $2.49 Million
By Margherita Stancati (WSJ): A 13th-century bronze figure from Nepal sold for around $2.49 million at a Christie’s auction in New York on Tuesday — seven times more than its expected sale price.
The Padmapani was part of a private collection that went under the hammer on Tuesday. Christie’s expected it to sell for up to $350,000. It was bought by an anonymous buyer.
The statuette, which is around 18 inches (45 centimeters) high, is a representation of the Padmapani, one of the many guises of the Buddhist god of compassion, Avalokiteshvara. The Padmapani is typically portrayed with a lotus blossom, here shown on his right shoulder.
This figure stands out for its particularly fine details. It is wearing a tiara and an adorned dhoti, a loose fabric garment traditionally worn by men in South Asia. His right hand is held in a mudra, a ritual hand gesture typical of religious icons in the region. Bronze representations of the Padmapani were common in the Kathmandu Valley, where it was historically one of the most popular deities.
Sales for the collection, which belonged to Doris Wiener, one of the best-known collectors of South Asian art, totaled close to $12.8 million.
Another highlight of the sale was an 11th-century bronze representation of the Somaskanda, a manifestation of the Hindu god Shiva with his wife, the goddess Parvati, and his son Skanda. The figure, which originates from south India, sold for around $1.8 million.
On Wednesday, more works from the region will be going under the hammer in auctions in New York, which is currently hosting Asia Art week. Sotheby’s and Christie’s will be auctioning more works of classical South Asian art, mostly stone and bronze religious figures.
Several works of modern and contemporary art will also be up for grabs at Christie’s. Among them is a painting by the late Indian artist Tyeb Mehta, which is expected to sell for up to $2 million. Mr. Mehta’s works, which stand out for their stylized figures and layered color blocking, have sold for record prices in recent years. In June, one of his paintings, a depiction of a figure reclining on a rickshaw, sold for $3.24 million. That was the second-highest sum ever paid for an Indian painting at an auction, after Syed Haider Raza’s “Saurashtra,” which sold for $3.5 million in 2010.