Very popular sculptures

The Asian art auction last weekend realised a very pleasing 2.4 million Euro with a result of over 100 % in terms of value. Tibetan, Sinotibetan and Chinese sculpture were highly sought after; Chinese bidders were once again particularly active, whilst the Kolodotschko collection of netsuke repeated its success with Part IV. Altogether the renewed increase in interest for Japanese art was noticeable – justifying Lempertz' dedication to Japanese art.

At the top of an abundance of important bronze sculptures from the 12th to 19th centuries stood a figure of Buddha Amitayus from the 15th/16th century. Fire gilt and inlaid with turquoises, the Buddha of Infinite Life was seated on a double lotus throne. The sculpture generated a lot of interest and a bidding war amongst international telephones and from the room, eventually going to a private collector in Hong Kong for 155,000 (lot 81, 30/40,000).

A Sinotibetan bronze sculpture from the 17th/18th century, valued at 20/30,000, was of unusually high quality, and a further highlight of the auction. The figure portrayed one of the 16 arhats, seated at Royal Ease on two cushions and a carpet, decorated with flowering tendrils, pines and lingzhi. The 18.5 cm sculpture was from the collection of the late Dr. Ludwig Lutz (1899 – 1981), and no less than ten telephone lines fought for the work, eventually selling to a Chinese buyer (lot 94). A further gilt bronze figure, this time of Shadakshari Avalokiteschvara, from the 18th century, also rose in price. Estimated at 20/25,000, a dealer from Taiwan pushed it up to 72,000 (lot 00). A 13th century, 25.5 cm high bronze figure of Vajrapani went to a German collector for 69,500 (lot 73, 35/38,000), whilst a 15th/16th century Tibetan bronze of Chemchog Heruka jumped from 10/15,000 to 52,000 (lot 84).

A significant success was also seen for a 19th century Sinotibetan thangka of Vaishravana, estimated at 3/5.000, and selling to a Swiss dealer for 39,700 (lot 67).

The significant sculpture on offer included a late Ming dynasty Buddha of gilt bronze, seated in meditation with both hands in the meditation gesture, with a bidder from China prevailing only at 57,000 (lot 157, 20/30,000). A 73.5 cm high, Ming dynasty seated figure of Guandi, made of wood, painted and lacquered, far exceeded its estimate to reach 65,700 against determined under-bidders (lot 170, 8/10,000).

Included amongst the contemporary paintings were two abstract oils by Su Xiaobai painted in 2000, which sold to a Chinese collector in Europe for 22,300 and 23,600 (lots 257/258, 20/25,.000).

One of the highlights of the porcelain was a six-character Qianlong mark and period blue and white dish with an iron-red dragon from a German private collection, which sold for 21,700 (lot 527, 20,000). The Chinese decorative arts included some fine cloisonné pieces (from 12,000 to 21,000, lot 299), with some from an old Berlin private collection, and a few significant increases: a 5.6 cm light grey jade finial from the Yuan/Ming dynasty shot up from 3/5,000 to 41,000 (lot 321), and a helmet and part of an armour from the 16th century reaching 33,500 (lot 296, 4/6,000).


The success story of the auction of the Kolodotschko collection of netsuke was continued with a further 300 examples in Part IV. Presented as before in an individual catalogue, the total estimate was surpassed yet again. The total expectation has been exceeded by well over 50% – thus consolidating Lempertz' position as the worldwide leader in the auction of netsuke.

The netsuke in the regular catalogue also sold well, with one surprise in the form of a 19th century mask group, which was fought over by international telephone bidders. Estimated at 500/600, the piece went to the British trade for 12,400 (lot 960). The paintings were led by a lacquer work by Morita Shiryû with the character 'En' (circle), which changed hands for 12,400 (lot 1072, 10/12,000). A large Shibayama lidded vessel of silver, lacquer enamel and inlays from the late 19th century jumped from 3/5,000 to 9,300 (lot 1195).