WHY THIS BUDDHA IS SMILING

WHY THIS BUDDHA IS SMILING

Sometimes we get a really surprising result at auction – what’s known in the profession as a sleeper – and this was certainly the case at our last Fine Art Sale when a small soapstone figure of a grinning Buddha smashed its original estimate of £80 to £120 by selling for an eye-watering £16,500.

Dating from the 19th century, the 9cm-long figure depicts a reclining Buddha mounted on a hardwood stand and was one of several high-selling Chinese lots at the sale, which took place on 27 February.

The Buddha was hotly contested by bidding on the phone and Internet but was eventually knocked down at over 200 times its estimate to a bidder in Hong Kong.

Several other Chinese lots did exceptionally well in the quarterly catalogue sale, with a Chinese blue and white ‘kylin’ jar being sold for or £2,600, soaring above its price estimate of up to £600, and a Chinese blue and white jar elaborately decorated with a dragon chasing a large pearl exceeded its guide price of £200 to £300 when it sold for £1,100.

The exceptional results that we have seen at this and other recent auctions is testimony to the popularity of Chinese items at the moment.

Published by Thomas Watson on March 09, 2018