A HK$47.5m Kangxi Gilt-Bronze Figure of Amitayus Led Sotheby’s Chinese Art Sale

A series of Chinese art sales in Hong Kong flopped as many top-notch items were bought-in or sold below expected prices. Despite the lukewarm reception from the bidders, an Imperial gilt-bronze figure of Amitayus from the Kangxi period, was sold for HK$47.48m (US$6m), four times its estimate of HK$10m-15m, at Sotheby's Important Chinese Art sale. 

This large and powerfully cast gilt-bronze figure of Amitayus, the Buddha of Infinite Life, encapsulates the distinctive Imperial style created at the Qing court in the early 18th century. This complex synthesis of influences from China, Tibet and Mongolia can be seen in the legacy of Buddhist sculptures created for the temples of the Qing emperors’ summer retreat at Chengde and at the Yonghegong in Beijing and other Buddhist centres.

Cast seated upright in dhyanasana with hands folded in dhyanamudra, the dignified figure rendered adorned with exquisite beaded jewellery with floral settings. The serene expression accentuated with a downcast gaze between an urna and a gentle smile.

The bidding of the figure started at HK$6.5m, followed by a number of subsequent bids that pushed the price up to HK$15m. As the price went steadily up, a gentleman at the back of the room joined in the bidding battle with a new bid of HK$24m. The bidding battle intensified as the gentleman in the room was competing against another room bidder and a telephone client bidding through Kevin Ching, CEO of Sotheby’s Asia.

The gentleman in the room was determined to take home with the Buddhist figure. He offered higher bids without much hesitation, putting pressure to other contestants. The Buddhist figure was hammered down at HK$40m and sold to the gentleman in the room for HK$47.48m after premium, becoming the most expensive lot of the sale.

Top three lots

An Extremely Rare Large Imperial Gilt-bronze Figure of Amitayus
Qing Dynasty, Kangxi Period

Lot no.: 3626
Height: 53.7cm
Estimate: HK$10,000,000 - 15,000,000
Hammer price: HK$40,000,000
Price realised: HK$47,481,000

An Outstanding Huanghuali Couch-bed, Luohan Chuang
Late Ming Dynasty, 16th – 17th Century

Lot no.: 3621
Size: 78.5 x 199 x 95.3cm
Estimate: HK$10,000,000 - 15,000,000
Hammer price: HK$12,000,000
Price realised: HK$14,520,000

A Rare Anhua-decorated Blue and White 'Herbaceous Peony' Bowl
Mark and Period of Xuande

Lot no.: 3608
Diameter: 20.6cm
Estimate: HK$4,000,000 - 6,000,000
Hammer price: HK$4,000,000
Price realised: HK$4,920,000

Auction summary

Auction house: Sotheby’s Hong Kong
Sale: Important Chinese Art
Sale date: 4 October 2018
Lots offered: 98
Sold: 41
Unsold: 57
Sold by lot: 41%
Sale: HK$104,208,500