Masterpieces of Himalayan bronzes at Christie’s

August 17th, 2008 - 11:05 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Aug 17 (IANS) The Asian Art Week at Christie’s here will bring together 330 works of great quality, rarity, and provenance, with a pre-auction estimate of over $17 million. The Indian and Southeast Asian Art Department of Christie’s will hold the auction of masterpieces from the Zimmerman family collection and masterpieces of Himalayan bronzes on Sep 15. There will be a sale of Indian and Southeast Asian art the next day.

The masterpieces of Himalayan bronzes will feature eight exceptional sculptures from Nepal, Tibet and Kashmir.

Two of the most prominent sculptures come from the Kashmir School in Western Tibet. The first is a large and important gilt bronze figure of ninth or tenth century Avalokiteshvara (estimate: $1,200,000-1,800,000).

This figure is exceptional in its casting, and the intricate detail of jewellery adorning his body exists on only a few examples of gilt bronzes from Tibet.

The second figure is a rare silver inlaid bronze figure of Avalokiteshvara from the tenth century (estimate: $300,000-500,000). With a deep chocolate brown patina, the deity is shown holding a stem of an eight-petal lotus. It is meticulously incised with bands of floral scrolls.

A monumental gilt bronze figure of the Buddha from 14th century Tibet is seated in meditation, with large eyes and smiling lips. The large figure has a powerful presence due to its exceptional size while still retaining a high level of refinement.

A selection from the Manheim collection will lead the sale along with property from various other private collections.

The Manheim collection includes a bronze figure of Shiva Nataraja (estimate: $1,000,000-1,500,000) from Tamil Nadu, dated 975 AD, during the Chola period. This example is particularly rare in that Nataraja’s flaming halo forms an arch, as opposed to a circle.

Another highlight from the Manheim collection is a large grey schist figure of a standing Buddha from second or third century Gandhara, now Afghanistan (estimate: $400,000-600,000). The superbly carved figure is extremely detailed, from the voluminous robes with cascading folds to the strands of hair and curls of the topknot.

Other notable pieces from the collection are a finely carved 13th century south Indian black granite figure of Nandi from the Chola period (estimate: $200,000-300,000) and a large grey schist second or third century figure of Maitreya, from Gandhara (estimate: $150,000-200,000).

The sale also features an exceptional collection of Indian paintings, including a 1750 work by Nainsukh of Guler of Raja Balwant Dev Singh out on a lion hunt (estimate: $80,000-120,000). The whereabouts of this work since it was sold at auction in 1931 in London were unknown until now.

Aside from the Nainsukh painting, the sale offers four folios from the Polier Album, including the 1770-80 Layla and Majnu (estimate: $80,000-120,000).

Christie’s set a world auction record for an Indian painting this March.

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