6th century Buddha figure valued at up to $1.2m

A 6th century limestone figure of Buddha is expected to make $800,000-1.2m at Sotheby's.

The lot is set to top the Images of Enlightenment: Devotional Works of Art and Paintings sale in New York on September 16.

Limestone buddha Sothebys
The limestone Buddha was produced during the 6th century AD

The piece was created in the upper Huanghe region of China at the time of the Eastern Wei dynasty (534-550 AD).

Buddhism arrived in China in the 1st century AD, but only exploded in popularity during the 4th century. Around this time vast numbers of temples and monasteries were built.

Sotheby's explains: "It is extremely rare to find a sculpture of the Buddha with this restrained beatific smile incarnating the bliss of enlightenment, which was rendered in stone for only a very short period and can be deemed the most moving and alluring and thus most desirable expression of a Buddha image.

"It is also extremely rare to find a stele of this large size and exquisite craftsmanship."

A Chinese sandstone figure of Avalokiteshvara dating to the end of the 6th century carries an identical estimate of $800,000-1.2m.

The figure is a key bodhisattva who stands for compassion.

The auction house comments: "This majestic, solemn Avalokiteshvara figure embodies the classic features of Northern Qi Buddhist sculpture."

Please sign up to our free newsletter to receive exciting news about antiques auctions.

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock