A black stone figure of Lokanatha (Avalokiteshvara) offered in Christie's "Himalayan, Indian and South East Asian Art" sale on 15 March has just broken the record of the most expensive Indian Buddhist portraits. Being on the catalogue cover, the figure reaches a realized price of US$24 million (around HK$190 million).
This figure comes from the Nothern India, Pala period in the 12th century. It was casted in the size as a real person with a height of 147 cm from a complete piece of black stone. It was first acquired in 1922 for the Boston Museum by Dr. Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy (1977-1947), and later being resold to an European private collector. After a long wait of 4 decades, the figure has now shown up in the market.
The seated Buddhist deity represented is Lokanatha , revering as the embodiment of compassion. She has arrived at the threshold of enlightenment or nirvana but held back out of compassion to help those less fortunate in reaching the goal. As depicted, Lokanatha naturally leans her body slightly to the left, with a lotus flower blossoming in her hand.
In summary, 42 lots of the total 54 lots of the sale are sold (selling rate: 80%), fetching the auction house a total sales of over US$26 million. The second and the third expensive lots of the sale are a bronze figure of Buddha Amitabha and a bronze figure of Parvati respectively.
A Large and Important Black Stone Figure of Lokanatha Avalokiteshvara
NORTHEASTERN INDIA, PALA PERIOD, 12TH CENTURY
Lot No.: 233
Height: 147.4 cm
A Gilt Bronze Figure of Buddha Amitabha
MONGOLIA, ZANABAZAR SCHOOL, 17TH/18TH CENTURY
Lot No.: 229
Height: 21.5 cm
A Bronze Figure of Parvati
SOUTH INDIA, TAMIL NADU, CHOLA PERIOD, 12TH CENTURY
Lot No.: 240
Height: 49.5 cm
Auction House: Christie's New York
Sale: Himalayan, Indian and South East Asian Art
Sale No.: 14483
Total Sales: US$26,139,750
Average Price per Sold Lot: US$622,375
Selling Rate: 78%
(prices include buyer's premium, unless otherwise stated)