Auctions | April 4, 2018

New Auction Record for a Buddhist Manuscript at Sotheby’s

Sutra Close Up copy.jpgHong Kong - Today at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, a new auction record was established for two sets of Buddhist Sutra Manuscripts from the Ming Dynasty. The most important Buddhist manuscript ever to have appeared at auction, the Imperial Wisdom Sutras sold for HK$238,807,500 / US$30,428,852. This outstanding historical relic is a legacy of the Golden Age of the Ming dynasty, made by imperial order of the Ming Emperor Xuande in the first part of the 15th century. Preserved in pristine condition, the set of Sutras is the only surviving example outside of the National Palace Museum, Taipei. Originally recorded in a Kyoto aristocratic collection in 1917, they remained out of sight until the ground-breaking Ming exhibition at the British Museum in 2014. Buddhist Sutras are canonical scriptures that render the teachings of the Buddha, which were taken over from India and copied. Their copying and propagation was considered a meritorious practice, and when such deeds were performed by an emperor, the resulting works were inevitably of the highest standard in terms of the materials used and the artists and craftsmen employed. Full details here. 

A magnificent enamelled pink-ground ‘falangcai’ bowl, without question the finest example of its type and the only example of its design ever recorded, also achieved the exceptional price of HK$238,807,500 / US$30,428,852. Unseen on the market for over 30 years, the bowl is unique, though it has a ‘brother’ in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, which is painted with different flowers but using the exact same colour ground. Full details here. 

Making its auction debut after a hundred years, a highly important rediscovered handscroll, Ten Auspicious Landscapes of Taishan, the greatest masterpiece of the renowned imperial court painter Qian Weicheng drew over 100 separate bids during a 40 minute bidding battle, pushing the final sale price to HK$146,794,000 / US$18,704,491. Presented in ten sections, the scroll depicts ten spectacular views of Mount Tiantai in Zhejiang province and is also inscribed with ten poems written by the Qianlong Emperor. Full details here 

*The previous world auction record was held by “Anonymous (Ming Dynasty) COLLECTION OF BUDDHIST SUTRAS”, which was sold for HK$14,026,000 at Sotheby’s New York’s Fine Classical Chinese Patingins & Calligraphy Sale on 19 Mach 2015.