Christie's New York will host a major sale of Buddhist bronzes on September 14, as part of Asian Art Week.
Titled Treasures of the Noble Path: Early Buddhist Art from Japanese Collections, the sale will feature a wealth of statues from China and Korea.
The highlight, a rare Shakyamuni Buddha from circa AD 304-439, is valued at $30,000-40,000. Much of its original gilding has worn away over the millennia.
This rare Shakyamuni Buddha is well over 1,500 years old
Most of the others date to between the 4th and 12th century AD.
Buddhist statues appear in many cultures across Asia.
As Christie’s specialist Tristan Bruck explained: “Buddhism is the common thread that ties all these different cultures together…
“Some of the earliest Buddhist bronzes in China were brought by monks and traders along the Silk Road from India and Central Asia to China.
“They were small, easily portable, could be slipped in to a pocket or saddle bag and set up on a small private shrine for worship…”
As the sculptures moved across the vast Asian continent, individual cultures adapted these figures in their own styles.
Bruck said: “Buddhism eventually made its way to the shores of Japan.
“Each culture interpreted the religion in their own way, and so the study of Buddhist art is in itself a study of the history of Asian art.”
In 2013, a bronze Tibetan Shakyamuni Buddha from the 15th century set a $30m record for a Chinese sculpture at auction.
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