Rare Yongle bronze figure sells for over $1.3 million at Bonhams New York sale

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Rare Yongle bronze figure sells for over $1.3 million at Bonhams New York sale
A fine and rare gilt bronze figure of Shadakshari Lokeshvara, Yige drugma Yongle incised six character mark and of the period. Sold for $1,370,500. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.- A fine and rare gilt bronze figure of Shadakshari Lokeshvara from the Yongle period has sold for $1,370,500 at Bonhams Chinese Art from the Scholar's Studio auction, realizing more than six times its pre-auction estimate. The elegantly posed 15th century figure was produced by the imperial workshops, to be brought to Tibet during one of the multiple missions made from the Chinese capital to the region between 1408-1419. It is a superb example of a Chinese sacred object reflecting Tibetan stylistic influence in 15th century China.

The auction was sold at 85% by lot, achieving $4,665,000. Attendees filled the Madison Avenue gallery, while clients abroad representing more than a dozen countries participated live online and via telephone.

The market for huanghuali furniture continued to be buoyant. An elegant 18th century recessed leg table brought $362,500, more than tripling its pre-auction estimate, while a fine 17th century square table with a carved bamboo motif soared past its pre-auction estimate to sell for $206,500.

A rare and important cast bronze incense burner and cover in the shape of a goose from the Ming dynasty achieved $326,500, quadrupling its pre-auction estimate. The finely cast fowl is a unique example of its type retaining its superbly fashioned lotus-form base. An impressively large gilt and lacquered Bronze Buddha from 17th century achieved $98,000, while a fantastic Tang dynasty pottery figure of an earth spirit tripled its pre-auction estimate to sell for $182,500.

Both classical and 20th century Chinese paintings in the auction also performed well. Once again Qi Baishi (1863-1957) proved to be popular, and his composition of Chicks was the section's top lot, achieving $122,500, more than double its pre-auction estimate. Wu Zouren's (1908-1997) Camels quadrupled its pre-auction estimate to sell for $98,500.

Bonhams landmark achievements in the snuff bottle field continued with the high prices achieved in this sale. An inside painted glass snuff bottle by Ding Erzhong dated 1906 sold for eight times its pre-auction estimate, bringing $80,500, and jade bottles sold consistently high with an inscribed green nephrite bottle selling for $43,000.

"We are very pleased with the excellent price achieved for the rare Yongle bronze. The presence of extraordinary examples representing highly sought-after genres of Chinese art inspired enthusiastic bidders to fill the Bonhams galleries today," said Bruce MacLaren, Bonhams Senior Specialist for Chinese Art at the New York office. “Both the high sell through rate and strong prices achieved reflects the careful selection of objects offered within Bonhams thematic approach to the field of Chinese art in New York.”

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