ZURICH - For its Asian Art Auctions from 6th to 7th May 2014, Koller Auctions is focusing on the Chinese market. An exclusive selection of Buddhist figures and several treasures from the Forbidden City are sure to generate interest.

China - Himalaya
Fine Chinese art from European private collections is particularly coveted by Chinese collectors.
Over the past 20 years, the value of flawless objects has increased substantially. Therefore, many Europeans are putting their collections up for sale once again. From a Swiss private collection, e.g. stems a 15th/16th century Nepalese priest’s crown. The gilt crown is opulently inlaid with gemstones. The Buddhist priest wearing this so-called “Mukuta” (crown) for special rituals took on the role of the Boddhisattva. The crown was last offered for sale by Koller in 1998, and is nowvalued at CHF 50 000 to 80 000.


A magnificent gilt copper crown of a tantric priest with rich stone inlays, Nepal, 15th-16th century. Height 33 cm. Inscription in the back. The two wings at the sides are replaced. Estimate CHF 50 000 / 80 000 (€ 41 670 / 66 670). Photo Koller

Swiss private collection. Purchased at Koller Zurich, June 1998, sale A107, lot 21. 

A further highlight is the Sino-Tibetan figure of the eleven-headed Avalokiteshsvara from the 18th century. With its many arms and heads, this partial-gilt bronze figure embodies ‘compassion’ in an impressive manner. It is estimated at CHF 130 000 to 180 000. From a German private collection stems a 14th/15th century statue of a four-armed Goddess from a Nepalese school in Tibet, estimated at CHF 250 000 to 300 000.


A large partly gilt bronze figure of the eleven headed Avalokiteshvara. Tibeto-chinese, 18th century. Height 42 cm. Sealed. Estimate CHF 130,000 / 180,000 (€ 108,320 / 149,990). Photo Koller

Ex Dr. Paul Erni collection, Basel. Purchased in 1981 (invoice lost). 

Another highlights include:


A gilt copper figure of Dharmadhatu Vagishvara Manjushri with his consort, Nepal, dated 1690, height 22.5 cm. Consecration plate lost. Estimate CHF 30,000 / 50,000  (€ 24,990 / 41,660)Photo Koller

Swiss private collection. 


A fine black ground tanka of Vajrabhairava Yamantaka, Tibet, 17th-18th century. 63x45.5 cm. Framed under glass. Estimate CHF 8,000 / 12,000 (€ 6,660 / 9,990)Photo Koller


A fine thanka of the Paradise of Tara, Eastern Tibet, 19th century. 71x50 cm. Estimate CHF 8,000 / 12,000  (€ 6,660 / 9,990)Photo Koller

From the Imperial Palace
The auction of several lots related to the Chinese Imperial Palace is highly anticipated. Especially appealing to Chinese collectors are three small red lacquer vases with jade inscribed with poems by the Qianlong Emperor in gold writing. The vases were part of a collection in Western Switzerland and are being offered for CHF 20 000 to 30 000. A carpet from the Forbidden City and a pillow from the Chinese Imperial Palace are likewise of “imperial” interest.


Three carved red lacquer wall vases with inlaid jade plaques and Imperial poems. China, Qianlong period. Height 17.8 -19 cm. Poems of the Qianlong Emperor in gilt lishu script. (3). Estimate CHF 20,000 / 30,000 (€ 16,660 / 24,990)Photo Koller

Old Swiss private collection. 


An Imperial silk rug with inscription. China, ca. 1880, 307x248 cm. Inscription: Qian qing gong bei yong. Some wear. Minor restorations. Estimate CHF 15,000 / 25,000 (€ 12,490 / 20,830)Photo Koller

Qian qing gong (Palace of heavenly purity) is the largest hall of the inner court of the Forbidden City where the living quarters were.This carpet has been made for this particular hall. 

Another highlights includes: 


A rare pair of painted clay figures of female attendants. China, Song dynasty, height 75 cm. Minor damages due to age. Estimate CHF 40,000 / 60,000 (€ 33,330 / 49,990)Photo Koller

This type of colourful clay figures are typical for Shanxi province. Similar pieces dating back to the Song dynasty can be seen at Jinci Temple in Taiyuan. 
German private collection, purchased from Carole Davenport, N.Y. in 1998.


A very rare bronze covered vessel on twelve feet, possibly an inkstone. China, probably Southern dynasties, diameter 27 cm. Knob replaced. Estimate CHF 6,000 / 9,000 (€ 4,990 / 7,490)Photo Koller

A very similar piece made of clay is in the collection of the National Museum Korea. It's dated 6th/7th century, coming from Baekje kingdom. According to them, however, the origins of this form lie in China, Southern dynasties. As a matter of fact the National Museum of China in Beijing has a celadon glazed piece without lid from this period and a white glazed ceramic piece without lid dating back to the Tang dynasty. 
Swiss private collection, purchased in 1981 from Bärenburg collection, Lenzburg. The seller at the time suggested it to be a ritual vessel for baking flatbread.


A dark patinated bronze lobed vase with dragon handles and maskarons. China, Ming dynasty, height 51.5 cm. Zhengde mark at the base. Estimate CHF 10,000 / 15,000 (€ 8,330 / 12,490)Photo Koller


A cloisonné censer with chilong handles standing on three elephant heads. China, Jingtai mark, 1rst half 16th century. Width 10.5 cm. Estimate CHF 25,000 / 35,000 (€ 20,830 / 29,160)Photo Koller


A pair of magnificent phoenix vases and cover. China, Jiaqing period, height 68 cm. (2). Estimate CHF 18,000 / 25,000 (€ 14,990 / 20,830)Photo Koller


A small painted enamel vase from the Imperial Workshops. China, Qianlong mark and of the period, height 9.6 cm. Estimate CHF 70,000 / 90,000 (€ 58,330 / 74,990)Photo Koller


A spinach green jade Mughal style peony bowl. China, 18th century. Width 16.2 cm. Estimate CHF 15,000 / 25,000 (€ 12,490 / 20,830)Photo Koller


A soapstone carving of a seated Luohan on a oval base. China, 17th centurt. Height 9.8 cm. Signature: Wei Rufen zhi. Very minor chips. Estimate CHF 10,000 / 15,000 (€ 8,330 / 12,490)Photo Koller

Old Swiss private collection. 


A large qiangjin tianqi lobed box and cover with five clawed dragons. China, Qianlong period, diameter 45 cm, height 12 cm. Interior with nine fitted black and gold lacqer painted trays. Minor chips. Estimate CHF 30,000 / 50,000 (€ 24,990 / 41,660)Photo Koller

For the same design see a octogonal box at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. 


A fine painted pottery prancing horse. China, Tang dynasty, height 35.5. Minor restorations. Estimate CHF 28,000 / 35,000 (€ 23,330 / 29,160)Photo Koller

Oxford Thermoluminescence test. 


A pair of blue and white baluster vases with flower design. China, underglaze blue Guangxu six character mark and of the period, height 39 cm. (2). Estimate CHF 30,000 / 50,000 (€ 24,990 / 41,660)Photo Koller

Japan and South-East Asia
One of the highlights from Japan is an extremely life-like bronze statue of a wise man in a storm, from the Miyao workshop (Meiji period). The statue is about half a meter high and is estimated at CHF 15 000 to 25 000.


A very lively bronze figure of a sage struggling against the wind. Japan, Meiji period, height 49.5 cm (without base). Signed: Miyao zô. Wood base with gilt lacquer decoration. Estimate CHF 15,000 / 25,000 (€ 12,490 / 20,830)Photo Koller

South-East Asia and India are represented with many beautiful sculptures, e.g. a 2nd/3rd century Gandhara figure made of shale, about 80 cm high, estimated at CHF 35 000 to 50 000.


A grey schist fragment of a Bodhisattva with halo. Gandhara, 2nd-3rd century. Height 79 cm. Slightly weathered. Estimate CHF 35,000 / 50,000 (€ 29,160 / 41,660)Photo Koller

Ex Dr. Paul Erni collection, Basel. Purchased at Cesa Atrium Zurich in 1974 (invoice lost). 

Another highlight:


A fine bronze figure of the seated Buddha. Thailand, 15th century. Height 85 cm. Estimate CHF 40,000 / 60,000 (€ 33,330 / 49,990)Photo Koller


A partly openwork buff sandstone stele of Uma Maheshvara. Central India, 11th century. Height 64 cm. Estimate CHF 30,000 / 50,000 (€ 24,990 / 41,660)Photo Koller

German private collection.