A rare and important gilt-bronze figure of Cudapanthaka, Sino-Tibetan, 15th and 16th Century, 51 cm. Estimate: 350 000-500 000 €. Photo: Sotheby's

PARIS.- A tour through the highlights of the Asian Art sale on 16th December at Sotheby’s in Paris gives an insight into the diversity and creativity of Asia in all its forms.

Key among the works in the auction are two exceptional gilt bronze figures from a Private European Collection. Originally part of a group of sixteen similar figures, evenly positioned east and west of the Buddha Shakyamuni in a sanctuary, they have companion pieces in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and Munich’s Staatliches Museum für Völkerkunde. The series depicts the Luohans or Arhats meaning “the dignified ones” in Sanskrit, and their respective names – Ajita and Cudapanthaka (lot 78 and 79, estimate: €350,000-500,000 each) – and their original position in relation to the Buddha is incised on their bases. Until now five other sculptures belonging to the same group have surfaced meaning these two new discoveries in Paris bring the total of identified pieces to seven, the whereabouts of the other nine being still unknown.

Chinese porcelain also features prominently in the sale including four major examples of Imperial Ming porcelain. A Yongle (1403-1424) blue and white bouquet dish is joined by an exceptional blue and white porcelain ewer from the same reign (lot 32, estimate: €80,000- 120,000) , in addition to rare mark and period blue and white tankard (lot 33, estimate: €150,000-200,000) from the reign of Xuande (1426-1435), and an underglazed blue and yellow ground ‘gardenia’ dish from the period of Zhengde (1506-1521)(lot 36, estimate: €100,000-150,000). This last piece comes from the collection of a renowned German ambassador to the Far East during the first quarter of the 20th century.

Finally there are some fine examples of Qing ceramics, primarily a large famille rose Qianlong period Amitayus (lot 196, estimate: €60,000-80,000) and a blue and white porcelain moonflask from the same prestigious reign (lot 199, estimate: €80,000-120,000).

The final aspect of Chinese art in this sale covers works of art and jade carving. Of particular interest are a number of items from the scholar’s studio such as a delicate gold splashed brush-rest with a Qianlong reign mark (lot 75, estimate: €3,000-5,000), some examples of intricately carved rhinoceros horn libation cups (lots 23, estimate: €40,000-60,000 and 77,estimate: €70,000-90,000) and a carved bamboo vase decorated with four boys climbing to reach the rim, dating of the Qianlong reign (1736-1795) (lot 15, estimate: €30,000-40,000)

The jade section of the sale features an 18th century carved white jade ruyi sceptre (lot 210, estimate: €60,000-80,000), a spinach green with white inclusions carved plaques inscribed with Qianlong imperial poems (lot 211, estimate: €100,000-150,000).

Arts from beyond the borders of China also play a key role in this sale, with works from Vietnam – including an interesting group of ‘bleu de hué’ porcelains made for the Imperial court of Vietnam and at large from the collection of Prince Baolong –and Japan – with some fine Meiji metalworks (lot 359 estimate: €20,000-30,000) and a fine complete set of the series of 36 views of Mount Fuji by Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858).

Saturday 11 December 10am-6pm
Monday 13 December 10am-6pm
Tuesday 14 December 10am-6pm
Wednesday 15 December 10am-6pm

* Estimates do not include buyer's premium *


A rare and important gilt-bronze figure of Cudapanthaka, Sino-Tibetan, 15th and 16th Century, 51 cm. Estimate: 350 000-500 000 €. Photo: Sotheby's.