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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Tibetan Buddha showpiece of Sotheby's Asian spring sale

February 22, 2008

February 20th, 2008
By Uma Nair

New York, Feb 20 (IANS) A historic gilt copper Buddha Vajrasana
(seated Buddha) from Tibet belonging to the 14/15th century, estimated
at $1.5 to $ 2.5 million, will be the highlight of Sotheby's spring
sale of Indian and southeast Asian art. The sale, which also includes
miniatures, will be held in New York March 19 and will feature several
works of exceptional quality and provenance.

The sale boasts of a variety of works, featuring Himalayan, Indian and
southeast Asian paintings. The 156 paintings, including 38 miniatures,
will be on display at the Sotheby's beginning March 13.

The sale is expected to rake in nearly $8.5 million. The sculpture is
one of the largest and the most important early Tibetan gilt bronze
figures of Sakyamuni Buddha outside Tibet.

The statue is in pristine condition with a seamless covering of
mercury gilding over the meticulously cast figure and a separate
pedestal. The face and the neck are painted with powdered gold and
pigments in accordance with Tibetan ritual practices.

The iconographic form in which Buddha is seated with his right hand in
the earth-touching position or the "bhumisparsha mudra" recalls a
momentous episode from his spiritual biography in which he triumphs
over "Mara" (negative force) just before his enlightenment.

A 13th century Vajrasattva (the one with the diamond mind), made of
gilt, copper and semi-precious stones, sourced from Tibet, will also
be on sale from a private European collection at an estimated

The "Vajrasattva", Adamantine Being, is regarded as an archetypal
Buddha who remains a "bodhisattva" (the enlightened being) for the
benefit of sentient beings and is supplicated in rites of
purification. In this exceptionally fine and rare sculpture,
Vajrasattva appears strong and youthful, yet with a compassionate gaze
and his regal status is evident in his crown and jewellery.

Another highlight of the sale is a grey sandstone torso of the Khmer
male deity, Baphuon, from the first half of the 11th century with a
slender waist and broad hips.

The figure is clad in a vertically striated sampot (lower body wrap)
bound with a plain belt, overlapping folds of a stylised pocket on his
left thigh and a fish tail bow tied below his back. Measuring over 30
inches, the piece is being offered from a private collection and is
estimated to fetch nearly $600,000.

The sale will offer selection of 38 miniatures, highlighted by an
illustration from the Sunder Shringar that depicts Radha and Krishna
lying on a bed from a private German collection. It is dated 1780 AD
and is estimated to go under the hammer at an estimated $20,000.
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