The final Asian Art auction of the year in Paris re-established Sotheby’s position as leader in this field in France. It exceeded its low estimate of €3.3 million by far, achieving €12,207,726, with 94.4% of lots sold by value.
The top lot was an exceptional gilt-bronze statue of Shyama Tara attributed to the Zanabazar workshop and held in a French private collection since 1954. This object, very rare at auction, was heavily contested by several Asian buyers before being acquired for €3,457,500 against a pre-sale estimate of €200,000-300,000. New-to-the-market jade and precious stones from French and European collections also caught the attention of the sale room. This interest was demonstrated by the sale of a Qing Dynasty pale celadon jade teapot, which sold for €661,500 against an estimate of €20,000-30,000. Another highlight was a 9-lot private Swiss collection composed of a set of Buddhist wooden statuettes created in the early Ming dynasty. Enthusiasm for the group drove bidding to a final hammer price of €911,000 surpassing the pre-sale estimate of €65,000-88,000.
Sotheby's Paris Asian Art sale will present a wonderful selection of fine works of art from China, Tibet and Japan, most of them of French provenance. One of the sale highlights is a very rare and important gilt-bronze figure of Shyama Tara, Mongolia, Zanabazar, dated to the late 17th-century. The figure is a very rare example of Zanabazar studio works. Other examples of this type are only known in museums.
The sale will also offer a selection of exquisite huanghuali furniture and modern Chinese paintings from a European Private collection, amongst which are a fine pair of Huanghuali Yokeback armchairs, sichutou guanmaoyi, dated to the 17th century and a group of four paintings by Qi Baishi (1864-1957) including “Pumpkins”.
The sale also features a fine group of jade carvings formerly in the collection of Charles Burrard Reboul (1825-1886) which have been passed down through the family where they have remained until today. Among them is a wonderful pale celadon and russet jade figure of a dragon striding through clouds, a rare 18th-century example of a dragon carved in the round. From the collection of the 19th-century French artist Alfred Forgeron (1842-1910) comes a rare small white-jade washer carved in form of a plum blossom resting on a carved and stained ivory stand. This exquisite object is a true scholar's object, possibly made for the pleasure of the Qianlong emperor who was fond of miniature works of art which adorned his private quarters.