'Today's results show once again that Asian clients are always present in Paris for objects with ancient provenance that have been selected with care and come fresh to the market with attractive estimates' was the conclusion drawn by Caroline Schulten, Head of the Asian Art Department, after Sotheby's
two-session sale of Asian art in Paris on June 12.
As at the corresponding Asian sale in June 2012, the top bid went to a Qing Dynasty, Yuhuchunping copper-red decorated porcelain vase, with the Yonghzheng hallmark, that fetched 961,500/$1,279,824 (lot 70, est. 30,000-40,000)*.
A rare Song Dynasty yellow jade carving of a mythical creature from the former collection of Professor Klaus J. Mueller (1923-2010) posted the sale's secondhighest price of 781,500/$1,040,231 (lot 97, est. 12,000-15,000).
Other jades were keenly contested during both sessions. A part-gilded Qianlong celadon jade Bodhisattva (1736-95) embellished with gold jewels, wearing a crown incrusted with pietradura, took 253,500/$337,426 (lot 64, est. 30,000-40,000); a jade book with sandalwood covers of the same period hit a triple-estimate 361,500/$481,182 (lot 182, est. 80,000-120,000); and an exquisite Praying Mantis in white jade obtained 61,500/$81,861 (lot 113, est. 12,000-15,000).
Works from the Buddhist world were also in high demand, with a rare Ming Dynasty gilt-bronze figure of Avalokitesvara with the Xuande hallmark (1426-35) soaring to 289,500/$385,345 (lot 18, est. 80,000-120,000). From a major ensemble of giltbronze figures collected in the 1930s and consigned from a Danish private collection, a rare, late 17th century Nepalese figure of Avalokitesvara Padmapani led the way on 217,500/$289,508 (lot 157, est. 80,000-120,000).
Buddhist paintings are also creating more and more saleroom interest. A superb array of thangkas from the collection of the Belgian Sinophile Willem van Heusden (1913-2009) provoked fierce bidding, with an 18th century depiction of Tsongkapa more than doubling top-estimate on 27,500/$36,604 (lot 152, est. 8,000-12,000).
An 18th century Qing Dynasty thangka depicting a young monk, from a private French collection, raced to 133,500/$177,698 (lot 234, 50,000-70,000).
Finally, the Literati highlight was a superbly carved Qianlong ivory brushpot that powered its way to 181,500/$241,589 (lot 77, est. 50,000-70,000).