The last Asian Arts sale of the season at Sotheby's France ended with a total of almost €5 million, with 85 % sold by lots, and 95 % sold by value. Exciting rediscoveries and provenances, many of them Imperial, appearing on the market for the first time, fetched the highest prices of the sale.
The impressive large gilt-bronze ensemble of Yamantaka Vajrabhairava and Vajravetali achieved the highest price of the sale: €1,149,000 (lot 27). In the 18th century, this impressive couple certainly stood on an exceptional stand of Imperial quality dating from the reign of the Qianlong Emperor. It first appeared on the French market in 1955 when it featured on the cover of a prominent Paris sale catalogue.
The Paris Asian art sale is led by an exciting group of Buddhist art and centres on a magnificent 15th century gilt-bronze group of Yamantaka Vajrabhairava and Vajravetali set on an Imperial throne of Qianlong date. Hidden in a French private collection, this important ensemble was last seen on the French art market in 1955. An important Imperial thangka of a Vajrāmrita Mandala commissioned by Prince Yintao, twelfth son of the Kangxi emperor, between 1740 and 1763, is only the second thangka of this series to appear on the market and was discovered in an Italian collection where it had been passed down in the family from when it was first acquired in the early 1900s. Another imperial commission is an important album of thirty-six views of the Mountain Estate at Rehol, Chengde, by Matteo Ripa. The engravings were commissioned by the Kangxi emperor between 1711 and 1714 and only a handful examples in Western collections are known. This album has an illustrious history having once been owned by Arthur-Auguste Brölemann, a well-known 19th century collector of medieval manuscripts. The December sale further includes a good selection of modern Chinese paintings including works by Lin Fengmian and Qi Baishi from four different private collections formed in the 1950 to 1980s.