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A fine and rare large gilt-bronze figure of Buddha Shakyamuni, Tibet, late 14th or early 15th Century. 65 cm, 25 1/2 in. Estimate: 200,000 – 300,000€. Photo: Art Digital Studio / Sotheby’s France.


A rare Imperial jade musical chime dating to the Qianlong Period (1736-95), one of the highlights of the sale (est. €180,000-220,000 / $250,000-306,000). Art Digital Studio / Sotheby’s France.


A fine and rare Imperial carved agate 'LIngzhi' washer, Four-character Qianlong seal mark and periodArt Digital Studio / Sotheby’s France.

PARIS.- Almost 400 works of art from China, Tibet, Nepal and Japan will be offered in the Sotheby's Asian Art Sale in Paris on June 10th 2014. Many of the pieces come from private European collections and have never been offered on the market before. They comprise fine Chinese ceramics, jades and scholar's objects as well as Tibetan and Nepalese religious paintings and sculpture, and Japanese lacquerwork.

Former collection of the “Red Baron".
Asian works of art formerly in the collection of Baron Antoine Allard (1907 - 1981). The sale is led by a selection of objects formerly in the collection of Baron Antoine Allard, heir to a financial empire, great traveller and co-founder of Oxfam Belgium. He was renowned for his philanthropic activities and dedicated efforts on behalf of world peace, with his political commitment earning him the nickname ‘The Red Baron.’ A keen collector of art and traveller, Antoine Allard fell in love with China on his numerous travels to Asia. It is on a trip to China in 1961, as a member of the entourage of Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, that he acquired a rare Imperial jade musical chime dating to the Qianlong Period (1736-95), one of the highlights of the sale (est. €180,000-220,000 / $250,000-306,000). Originally the stone was part of a set of 16 jade musical stones that were used in rituals and ceremonies at the Qing court. Suspended from a wooden frame, their tones varied according to their size and thickness. Few such large jade musical chimes are known in private collections and a complete set is in the Palace Museum in Beijing.





Rare pierre sonore en jade vert épinard, bianqing,  Marque et Époque Qianlong, datée de la 29eme année du règne de l'empereur Qianlong, 1764Photo: Sotheby's


de forme angulaire aux bords droits, très finement peinte à l'or sur chaque face de deux dragons sinueux affrontés autour de la perle enfammée, les côtés décorés de nuages en volutes et cartouches abritant la date Qianlong ershijiu nian zhi, correspondant à 1764, et la tonalité beiyizi (2); 48 cm, 18 7/8  in. Estimation 180,000 — 220,000 EUR 


Provenance: Acquired in China during a visit with Queen Elisabeth of Belgium in 1961.
Thence in the family by descent.

Sonorous stones were made in sets of sixteen and suspended from an elaborated carved and gilt wooden frame. The pitch varied according to the thickness and size of each stone. Together with similarly suspended sets of sixteen gilt-bronze bells, music produced from sonorous stones formed an integral part of court rituals under the Qianlong Emperor. See a complete set of sixteen sonorous stones also dated to 1764 and of similar gilt dragon and cloud decoration in the collection of the Palace Museum Beijing, published in Evelyn S. Rawski and Jessica Rawson (Eds.), China. The Three Emperors 1662-1795, London, 2005, fig. 31. Compare also another spinach jade musical stone dated to the 29th year of the Qianlong reign (1764) was included in the China Institute in America exhibition Chinese Jade through the Centuries, New York, 1968, no. 66. One of the largest musical stone from the set dated 1764 was sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 8th and 9th November 1982, lot 362.

Treasures of the Buddhist World
Among the selection of Buddhist art is a fine and rare large gilt-bronze figure of Buddha (est. €200,000-300,000 / $270,000-417,000). Made in Tibet in the late 14th or early 15th century it is exceptional for it considerable size and weight. Seated in meditation, his right hand points towards the ground, a gesture that evokes a specific episode from his life when he was attacked when in meditation and repelled his attackers with a single glance. He then touched the ground to show his unshakable determination to stay where he was. The gilt-bronze figure was brought back from China by a French military doctor in the 1920s and has remained in the family since.





Importante statue de Bouddha Shakyamuni en bronze doré, Tibet, XIVE-XVE siècle. Photo: Sotheby's

assis en vajrasana, sa main gauche en avakasha mudra et sa main droite prenant la terre à témoin en bhumisparsa mudra, le visage aux yeux baissés illuminé d'un doux sourire esquissé de ses fines lèvres délicatement ourlées, les cheveux densément bouclés relevés en un haut chignon surmonté de l'ushnisha et orné d'un joyau cintamani, simplement vêtu d'une robe diaphane ornée d'élégants motifs incisés moulant son torse, entièrement recouvert d'une riche patine de temple dorée à l'exception de sa chevelure, formé de quatre parties se rejoignant au cou, du poignet gauche et du haut du bras droit, socle en bois (4); 65 cm, 25 1/2  in. Estimation 200,000 — 300,000 EUR 


This important Tibetan gilt bronze depicts the historical Buddha Shakyamuni reaching forward with his right hand calling the earth to witness his triumph over the assaults and temptations of the demon Mara, just prior to his fabled realisation of enlightenment. The Buddha is modelled in the classic early Tibetan style drawing on eastern Indian artistic traditions. The meditative and compassionate countenance with pronounced eyes and lips, the authoritative poise enhanced by broad shoulders and swelling chest are features reminiscent of Pala period sculpture of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, such as bronzes found at Kurkihar and Fatehpur, Bihar, compare examples illustrated in Ullrich von Schroeder, Indo-Tibetan Bronzes, Hong Kong, 1981, pp. 286-7, pls. 71A-C. For a Tibetan example dated circa 1300 in this adapted eastern Indian style and now in the Shalu monastery, Tibet, see Ullrich von Schroeder, Buddhist Sculptures in Tibet, Hong Kong, 2001, Vol. II, p. 1190, pl. 322B. Other sculptures in this style are more frequently seen in plain or inlaid copper alloy rather than fire-gilt copper like the present example, thus enhancing the rarity of this imposing early Tibetan Buddha.

Literati Objects
The sale also features a fine selection of scholar's objects made in various materials. Among the highlighs is a rare Imperial washer finely carved of orange-hued agate (est. €20,000-30,000 / $27,800-41,700). Carved in the shape of an auspicious lingzhi mushroom nestled among gnarled branches it is incised with the seal mark of the Qianlong emperor on the base suggesting that this piece was in the personal collection of the Qianlong emperor. It was collected by the Marshal Berthier, Prince of Wagram, a close ally and advisor to Napoleon, and was passed down in the family.





Rare rince-pinceaux impérial en agate, Marque et Époque QianlongPhoto: Sotheby's

'extérieur sculpté en haut-relief de branchages ajourés entrelacés chargés de lingzhi, les tiges formant l'anse et le pied, marque en cachet à quatre caractères incisée et étiquette à la base, la pièrre d'une jolie couleur uniforme; 10 cm, 3 7/8  in. Estimation 20,000 — 30,000 EUR 


Among the many jade pieces in the Sotheby’s Asian Art sale is an exquisite white jade teapot carved in the form of a phoenix (est. €20,000-30,000 /$27,247-40,871). Rare for the pureness and even white colour of the stone it was collected by a senior civil servant posted in Indochina in the 1920s. Another highlight is a finely carved and reticulated jade plaque set into a gilt-metal tiered box chased with a delicate design of meandering lotus scrolls (est. €10,000-15,000 /$13,623-20,435). Brought back from China in the late 19th century, it was made under the Qianlong emperor who was known to be passionate about ancient jades and as well as precious playthings and containers such as this box



Rare théière couverte en jade blanc, début du XXe sièclePhoto: Sotheby's

en forme de phénix stylisé, la tête formant le bec verseur, l'anse évoquant la queue de l'oiseau mythique, sculpté de motifs géométriques archaïsants en relief, un anneau mobile sous la tête du phénix, la prise du couvercle en petit dragon chilong enroulé sur lui-même, les pattes de l'oiseau finement sculptées formant le pied, la pierre d'une jolie teinte uniforme, socle en bois (3); 15 cm, 5 7/8  in. Estimation 20,000 — 30,000 EUR 

Provenance: Acquired in Saigon between 1913 and 1929.


Also dating to the reign of the Qianlong emperor or slightly after is a superb pair of zitan-veneer screens each featuring four panels embellished with hardstones each depicting flowers of the four seasons (est. €50,000-70,000 / $69,500-97,500). Poems composed by the Qianlong emperor complete each panel praising the individual flowers and seasons. The screens were acquired in Hong Kong in 1955 by Henri Crombé, a Belgian banker, and have remained in the family since.

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Rare paire de paravents en zitan sculpté et panneaux en laque incrustés, Dynastie Qing, XVIIIe-XIXe sièclePhoto: Sotheby's

chaque paravent à quatre feuilles, chaque feuille laquée bleu à décor incrusté de jade et autres pierres dures multicolores formant des branches fleuries accompagnées d'un poème impérial, la partie basse ornée d'un cartouche rectangulaire incrusté de motifs géométriques archaïsants en jade céladon et jade vert épinard, le revers agrémenté de branches chargées de fruits finement peintes en laque rouge et or sur fond noir, la partie basse sculptée en relief de motifs géométriques archaïsants (2); chaque feuille 171,5 x 41,5 cm, 67 1/2  x 16 3/8  in. Estimation 50,000 — 70,000 EUR 

Provenance: Acquired in Hong Kong in the 1950s.
Thence in the family by descent.


A Rare pair of four-panel imperially inscribed and embellished lacquer and zitan screens, Qing dynasty, 18th-19th century.

Poetry Collection by His Majesty, Third Collection

Poem on Tea Blossoms by His Majesty 

Though it’s spring when the flagged spears
have extended their leaves,
Only with the ice and snow of autumn do 
their buds burst forth in bloom.
How very shameful, the east wind for
it pays them absolutely no heed,
And the human world only knows
how to judge their tender leaves.