Chinese embroidered Qing thangka smashes estimate

A Chinese Qing dynasty (1644-1912) embroidered thangka, depicting Buddhist deities Chakrasamvara and Vajravarahi, has sold for $1.5m.

The lot smashed an estimate of $120,000 by 1,150% in Sotheby's September 16 Images of Enlightenment sale.

Chinese thangka Sothebys
The thangka was produced in the 18th century

Sotheby's comments: "This finely embroidered silk-floss thangka depicts the yidams or meditational deities Chakrasamvara and his consort Vajravarahi, the principal deities of the Anuttarayoga or Highest Yoga Tantra, joined in ecstatic union.

"The precision and meticulous detailing of the thangka reflects the spectacular skill of the artisans and ateliers associated with the Qing Imperial court, located in the textile workshops in the region of Suzhou in Eastern China."

A grey stone head of a Bodhisattva, produced in China during the Tang dynasty (618-907), was another highlight, realising $670,000.

It beat its estimate of $500,000 by 34%.

The lot bears similarities to other Buddha heads from the Longmen cave complex in Henan province. It was from here that this distinctly Chinese envisioning of Buddha spread across the country.

The sale took place as part of Asian Art Week in New York. Other auctions this week have featured a 15th century Tibetan statue, a 16th century Tibetan bronze and a Chinese Yongzheng era celadon vase.

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