Our Arts d'Asie sale ended on a resounding high note with a total of €12.4 million. Buddhist art aroused keen enthusiasm, as witnessed by the remarkable price achieved by a gilt bronze sculpture of Vairocana, borne off for €3,395,000 (Estimate: €300,000-500,000). The reign of the Yongle Emperor was in the limelight, as an exceptional bowl-stand doubled its estimate to sell for €543,000. The sale also featured some magnificent Qianlong period jades from a private German collection, included a fine lidded vase in pale rust-highlighted celadon, Qing dynasty, Qianlong period, which fetched €627,000 (Estimate: €150,000-250,000). Surprising was the sale of a rare embroidered silk robe with a green-bronze background from the Qing dynasty, 18th century, which sold for €267,000 (Estimate: €8,000-12,000).
Four exceptional early Ming works of art from French and German private collections lead the Paris Asian Arts sale in June. A magnificent carved cinnabar lacquer bowl stand, one of only four examples recorded, and an equally magnificent carved cinnabar lacquer 'hibiscus' dish, both with inscriptions dating them to the Yongle period of the Ming dynasty (1403-1424), represent the Imperial style and artistic achievements that flourished under the Yongle emperor. The group is complemented by a very rare blue and white ewer of the same period boldly painted with luscious peony flowers, one of only few examples to have survived. Acquired in Istanbul in the 16th century, it illustrates the popularity of Yuan and early Ming Chinese blue and white porcelain in the Middle East where many pieces were collected from early on. Also dating from the 15th century is an important large gilt-bronze figure of Vairocana, the supreme Buddha, understood as the generative force of the cosmos responsible for creating and maintaining the forces of the phenomenal world. One of the principal deities of the Five Tathagatas, the Five Buddhas of Wisdom, this figure is likely to have been at the centre of a group of five similarly sized figures made for an important temple. Only one other figure from this group is known in the collection of the Newark Museum.