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New world record for Tibetan sculpture at Bonhams Images of Devotion Sale in Hong Kong
Figure of Canda Vajrapani achieved HK$49,260,000, a new world record price for a Tibetan sculpture. Photo: Bonhams.

HONG KONG.- An imposing brass Figure of Canda Vajrapani from the collection of Ulrich von Schroeder set a new world record price for a Tibetan sculpture at auction when it sold for HK$ 49,260,000 (US$ 6,351,479) at Bonhams Images of Devotion Sale in Hong Kong on 29 November. After a nine- minute bidding battle in a packed auction room, the figure was sold to an Asian collector. In total, the sale made more than HK$ 110,000,000 (US$ 14,182,275).

At more than a metre tall, the monumental Figure of Canda Vajrapani (in English, ‘fierce holder of the thunderbolt’) is one of the great masterpieces of 13th-century Tibetan sculpture and the most important surviving Tibetan brass sculpture of any period. It had an estimate of HK$ 22,000,000-28,000,000 (US$2,800,000-3,600,000).

Another masterpiece from Schroeder’s collection, a copper Composite Figure of Vajrapani and Kubera by the Tenth Karmapa Choying Dorje (1604-1674), sold for HK$ 15,060,000 (US$1,940,000) against an estimate of HK$ 13,000,000-18,000,000 (US$1,700,000-2,300,000). This key work, which bears the hallmarks of Choying Dorje’s whimsical style and visionary iconography, has been in the von Schroeder collection for more than 20 years.

Commenting on the sale, Bonhams Global Head of Indian, Himalayan Art & Southeast Asian Art, Edward Wilkinson, said, “Ulrich von Schroeder is rightly regarded as the pre-eminent scholar in the field of Tibetan sculpture. This opportunity to acquire pieces from his personal collection led to intense competition in the saleroom and on the telephone and online. The stunning price paid for the figure of Canda Vajrapani reflects both its high importance as a work of art and von Schroeder’s great standing among collectors.”

Other highlights included:

• A large gilt copper figure of Avalokiteshvara, Nepal, Thakuri period, 10th century estimated at HK$12,000,000-16,000,000 (US$ 1,500,000-2,060,000) which sold for HK$ 15,666,000 (2,020,000) to a collector in the US.

• A gilt copper alloy shrine to Vajrabhairava, Tibet, 18th century estimated at HK$ 800,000-1,200,000 (US$ 100,000-150,000) which sold for HK$ 4,020,000 (US$520,000)

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