Gavel drops at $143K for Chinese gilt-bronze Buddha

HATFIELD, Pa. — A Chinese gilt-bronze seated Buddha statue soared to $143,000 at a multi-estate Asian Discovery Sale held Nov. 17, 2011, by Alderfer Auction & Appraisal.

Buddha Asian art and antiques auctionBy far, the top lot of the sale was this Chinese gilt-bronze Buddha, 20 1/2 inches tall, which sold for $143,000.

The Buddha, which was probably made in the late 19th or early 20th century and measured a substantial  20 1/2 inches tall, was easily the top lot of the nearly 250 items that changed hands. Throughout the day, bids came in from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and other countries, too, including Greece, France, Spain, Italy, Canada and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

“There’s no doubt that Asian antiques are hot right now, and a lot of that has to do with China’s emerging wealthy class,” said Matt Wilcox of Alderfer Auction & Appraisal. “We had an idea the Buddha was something special, and the final price confirmed that.”
About 60 people attended the live auction, while Internet, phone and absentee bidding all were brisk. Online bidding was facilitated by Artfact.com. The sale totaled about $170,000, which means the Buddha alone accounted for a high percentage of the gross.

Following are additional highlights from the sale. All prices quoted include a 13 percent buyer’s premium (for online and credit card bidders) or 10 percent (for cash and check bidders).

Asian art and antiques auction trendThis pair of netsuke sold for $988. Netsuke first emerged in Japan in the 17th century and originally served a practical purpose: They were button-like toggles that secured a cord at the top of a sash to hold a sagemono, or hand-crafted box, used in place of a pocket. Over time, the netsuke themselves became art objects.

Only three other lots topped the $1,000 mark. One was a pair of cinnabar lamps (created from a hand-carved mold and given a Chinese red lacquer finish). They brought $3,300. The others were a beautiful Chinese porcelain vase with fish ($1,320), and one lot consisting of two highly collectible Japanese carved netsuke figures. They went to a determined bidder for $1,044.

Antique Chinese scrollsThis pair of Chinese hand-painted scrolls went to a determined bidder for $735.

Another pair of netsuke flirted with the $1,000 mark before topping out at $988. Netsuke first emerged in Japan in the 17th century and originally served a practical purpose: They were button-like toggles that secured a cord at the top of a sash to hold a sagemono, or hand-crafted box, used in place of a pocket. Over time, the netsuke themselves became art objects.

A pair of foo lions (Chinese guardian lion figurines) coasted to $935; a pair of Chinese hand-painted scrolls garnered $735; a Chinese jade mythological creature, 5 inches tall by 8 1/4 inches long, also hit $735; and a Chinese porcelain tea cup with figural handle rose to $565.

The first lot to be offered — a netsuke bundle of pug dog puppies — commanded $468. The third lot in the sale — a netsuke cluster of frogs — brought  $330. Also, a celadon jade covered urn, 7 inches tall, went for $367; a group of four Chinese snuff bottles changed hands for $339; and a Japanese Satsuma platter, 12 inches by 14 1/2 inches, topped out at $385.

Learn more at Alderfer’s Auction & Appraisal.

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