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Bonhams New York achieves world record price for 16th century Tibetan painting
A copper alloy figure of Avalokiteshvara. Central Tibet, circa 12th century. Sold for US$ 569,000 inc. premium. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.- Bonhams set a world record price for 16th century Tibetan painting on March 17 with the sale of a Thirty-Two-Deity Guhyasamaja mandala for $929,000 in the Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian auction. The striking mandala from the Ngor monastery was painted circa 1520-1533, and depicts a lineage that is called the 'early' or 'old' lineage according to Jamgon Ameshab Kunga Sonam (1597-1660). It is particularly notable for its finely detailed scrollwork.

Hundreds of bidders from 25 countries participated in the sale, adding to the excitement generated by the packed saleroom. New buyers joined established clients in the high-energy bidding, fed by international interest coming through on the telephones and live online. The sale was an impressive 82% sold by lot and an outstanding 97% sold by value.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of the March 17th sale. It’s gratifying to see the market respond to quality work, and I was delighted the auction attracted such broad participation,” remarked Edward Wilkinson, Bonhams Consulting Specialist in Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art.

Himalayan art dominated the sale’s top lots. A 12th century copper alloy sculpture of Avalokiteshvara from Central Tibet reached $569,000, while an early 15th century Tibetan Buddha reached $461,000. In addition to the world record-setting Thirty-Two-Deity mandala, a Chakrasamvara mandala from 18th century Tibet sold for more than six times its estimate, reaching $461,000.

Nepalese highlights included a gilt copper figure of Yogambara from the 13th century that realized $785,000, and a 10th century representation of Devi that brought $209,000.

Fine examples from the ancient region of Gandhara were also in high demand. A 3rd/4th century Bodhisattva Shakyamuni achieved $389,000, and a winged Atlas figure from the same period brought $245,000.

“We are delighted and proud to have brought such outstanding works of art to Asia Week,” noted Dessa Goddard, Vice President and Director of Asian Art, Bonhams North America. “Bonhams New York has demonstrated a commitment to this field and continues to enjoy strong results and support from the global collecting community.”

Bonhams next sale of Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asia Art will take place in September 2014 at the Madison Avenue saleroom.

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