The devotional art in Gianguan Auctions' March 10 sale shows the stylistic differences appreciated during the eras and dynasties.
Of Sui Dynasty, a free-standing, gilt bronze altarpiece with seven branching Buddhas surround a central figure of Buddha Maitreya who sits atop a lotus throne. Similar to pieces in the Boston Museum of Fine Art and the Metropolitan Museum, the dramatic piece is in the style of the Great Tower of Ashoka. Here the central Maitreya is seated in dhyanasana with hands in karanamudra and has the appropriate well formed face with serene gaze. It is flanked on each side with a Bodhisattva and is positioned before a flame shaped aureole. A remarkable example of devotional art that may well have a meditation of its maker, the altarpiece is Lot 82, with a market value that falls between $20,000-$100,000.
A Northern Wei Dynasty Buddhist stele with pointed arch offers a meditation on a standing Buddha flanked by bodhissatvas guarded by dragons. All are backed by a flaming mandorla under an ogee that ascends amidst flying apsara. At the uppermost point is a stupa, the metaphor for housed relics or blessed remains. The Buddhist stele is reminiscent of items in the collection of the Qingzhou Museum that were excavated in 1996 at the Longxing Temple of Qingzhou, in Shandong Province. The 29 pound carving is Lot 184, valued at about $80,000.
Lot 151, a Tang, gilt copper volume of the Pratyutpanna Sutra (Vol. 3). Finely incised in clerical script, the etched sheets are bound by hinges as an album and housed a rectangular box carved with Maitreya on the cover. More than 63-inches long, the 22-inch tall volume is Lot 151, valued at more than $30,000.
Chinese Buddhist art and devotional items make appearances in several different categories, including carved jade, porcelains and paints. For details, please view the full color catalog at www.gianguanauctions.com
Previews are now open and continue through Friday, Mar. 9 (10AM - 7PM EST). The auction starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 10 and will be online at epailive.com and invaluable.com.
Gianguan Auctions, New York’s oldest, locally owned Asian art auction house, is located at 39 W. 56th Street, 3rd floor. For details visit www.gianguanauctions.com