Lot 1040. A rare large limestone figure of a seated lady feeding a bird, Tang dynasty (618-907); h. 49.5 cm . Estimate: 100,000 - 200,000 HKD. Lot sold: 882,000 HKD. (C) 2021 Sotheby's
Note: The present lot was once in the collection of Julius Eberhardt (1936-2012), an Austrian architect and avid collector of ancient Chinese works of art. Julius Eberhardt had been fascinated by the art and culture of ancient China since the time of his studies. But he returned to this interest only late in life, after a trip to the Far East. Being particularly intrigued by the early dynasties of China's past, he assembled at the end of the 20th century a significant collection ranging from the Neolithic (from the 4th millennium BC) to the Tang (618-907).
Aware of the paucity of similar material in his native Austria, Julius Eberhardt set up a private museum in Vienna, making the collection available to scholars and researchers. The Museum, generously appointed, exquisitely and sensitively laid out, and accompanied by a small library, offered a congenial environment to enjoy and study these objects. It was the first major private collection of ancient Chinese art to be assembled and made public in Austria. Part of his endeavour to make his collection available to the public was his commissioning of a bi-lingual catalogue which was published in 1999, with a first addendum in 2004, and a second one being planned at the time of his death (Regina Krahl, Sammlung Julius Eberhardt. Fruhe chinesische Kunst/Collection Julius Eberhardt. Early Chinese Art, 2 vols, Hong Kong, n.d.  and 2004). Like the Museum, the books were produced to a very high standard, thanks to his long time advisors Lothar and the late Christina Wesemann.
Three related stone sculptures depicting standing figures of two ladies and a groom are illustrated in Annette L. Juliano, Bronze, Clay and Stone: Chinese Art in the C. C. Wang Family Collection, London, 1988, nos 72-74.