A large Chinese wooden sculpture of a Luohan, Jin-Yuan Dynasty (13th-14th century) and the banknote found inside. Estimate: AUD$40,000-60,000. Sold for: AUD$47,120Photo Mosgreen

SYDNEY.- The Raphy Star Collection of Important Asian Art achieved a new record for a single-owner collection of Asian Art in Sydney last night with a total of over AUD$2 million ($2,009,700). 

The top selling lot, a rare and beautifully carved Chinese polychrome wood sculpture of a Bodhisattva, Song Dynasty, 11th century sold for $396,800 to an international buyer against a pre-auction estimate of $100,000-150,000. 




Lot 92. A rare Chinese polychrome wood sculpture of a Bodhisattva, Song dynasty, 11th century. Estimate $100,000-150,000. Price realised $396,800. Photo Mosgreen

seated in vajrasana (lotus posture) with the head slightly tilted to one side and the eyes downcast, the hair in curls and trusses around the ushnisha, the right hand originally holding a flower, the robe falling across the high lotus pedestal - 47 cm high

Provenance: A.&J.Speelman Ltd., London, 1999

Published: A.&J. Speelman, Oriental Sculpture and Works of Art, London 1999, cat. no. 6, pp. 14-15

Note: see Osvald Siren, Chinese Sculpture from the Fifth to the Fourteenth Century vol. 11, 1998, pl. 417B for a bronze figure in similar style; also pl. 467C & D for two similar stone heads; also see pl. 404 for a head with very similar hair style, Shanxi Province; also, Hugo Musterburg, Sculpture of the Orient, NY 1973, fig. 98; also see Complete Treasures of Chinese Fine Art, vol. 4, 2006, pl. 56, p. 55 for a very similar example in bronze, date late Tang Dynasty; also Cleveland Bulletin 1987, for a similar dry lacquer figure date late Tang Dynasty.

The catalogue cover lot, a very fine and rare Nepalese parcel-gilt bronze figure of Tara, 9th-10th century sold for $322,400 against a pre-auction estimate of $150,000-200,000.  



Lot 66. very fine and rare Nepalese parcel-gilt bronze figure of Tara, 9th-10th century. Estimate $100,000-150,000. Price realised $322,400. Photo Mosgreen

the heavily bejeweled figure standing in tribhanga on a round lotus pedestal with a ring for attachment to a shrine, the right hand in varada mudra, the left in kataka mudra holding the stalk of the lotus (Padma) the flower upon the left shoulder, wearing a transparent robe and a three-leaf crown - 25.4cm high

Provenance: Carlo Cristi, 24/10/2007, invoice number: 18/07

Note: see Hugo Munsterburg Scupture of the Orient, NY, 1972, p. 31 for a very similar Tara in the British Museum

Other highlights included the rare Nepalese bronze standing figure of Avalokitesvara, 10th-11th century which sold for $210,800 (estimate: $100,000-150,0000); an important Indian pink sandstone head of Buddha which sold for $148,800 (estimate: $120,000-150,000) and a large Khmer sandstone figure of Vishnu which sold for $136,400 (estimate: $120,000-150,000). 



Lot 8. A rare Nepalese bronze standing figure of Avalokitesvara, 10th-11th centuryEstimate $100,000-150,000. Price realised $210,800. Photo Mosgreen

finely cast in tribhanga with a sensuous curved body, the hair in a high chignon behind the three-point crown, a mandorla behind the head, very well patinated - 26.5 cm high

ProvenanceCarlo Cristi, 6/7/2006, invoice number: 02-06

Notesee Von Shroeder, Buddhist Sculptures in Tibet, India and Nepal, vol. 1, 2001, cat. no. 159 C, D & E, p. 497; also cat. no. 16Oa, p. 498 for very similar examples



Lot 37. A large Khmer sandstone figure of Vishnu, Baphuon style, 11th century. Estimate $120,000-150,000. Price realised $136,400. Photo Mosgreen

the four-armed deity standing supremely in a long finely detailed sampot with a fishtail sash at the back, secured by a low slung belt, the face with downcast eyes beneath a finely detailed diadem, the hair in a conical chignon - 91.4 cm high

Provenance: William Wolff, New York, 24/3/1989, invoice: 3-1731-89

Note: see Ellen Jessup, Sculpture of Anchor and Ancient Cambodia, Millennium of Glory, cat. no. 65, p. 254; also Jacques Gies, Spiritual Journey: Scared Art from Musée Guimet, Paris, 2004, pl. 70 for similar four-armed figures

Finally, the wooden head of a Luohan and the rare, Ming Dynasty banknote which was discovered hidden inside by Mossgreen specialists as they catalogued the piece, sold for $47,120 (estimate: $40,000-60,000).






Lot 7. A large Chinese wooden head of a Luohan, Jin-Yuan dynasty, 13th-14th century. Estimate $40,000 - $60,000. Price realised $47,120. Photo Mosgreen

the expressive features very well defined, with original textile base attached to the surface, gesso and lacquer absent, consecration material found inside the head cavity, in the form of a rare woodblock printed "bank note", stamped with three official red seals, appears to be dated from the third year of the first Ming emperior Hong Wu, 1368-1398 (dated 1370) reads "Da Ming Tong Xing Bao Chao" (“precious bank note made in Ming dynasty”), "Yi Guan" (about ¥660.8 RMB), the bottom part inscribed "Hu Bu Zou Zhun Ji Zao, Da Ming Bao Chao Yu Tong Qian Tong Xing, Shi Yong Wei Zao Zhe Zhan, Gao Bu Zhe Shang Yin Liang Bai Wu Shi Liang, Reng Gei Fan Ren Cai Chan, Hong Wu, San Nian X Yue X Ri" (Authorized by the Department of Finance, this bank note has the same function as coins, those who use counterfeit bank note will beheaded, the whistle-blower will be rewarded 250 Liang silvers plus all the properties of the criminal. The third year of Hong Wu period.) - 38 cm high

Provenance: A. & J. Speelman Ltd., 1/3/1990, invoice: 1533

Note: similar example please see A & J Speelman, Oriental Art, London, pp.10-11; also see Chinese, Korean and Japanese Sculptures, The Avery Brundage Collection San Franciso, Tokyo, 1974, pl. 142; and Michael Sullivan, The Cave Temples of Maichishan, London, 1969, pl. 80