29th Sep, 2022 13:00

DAY 1 - TWO-DAY AUCTION - Fine Chinese Art / 中國藝術集珍 / Buddhism & Hinduism

 
  Lot 230
 

230

A MONUMENTAL STONE HEAD OF BUDDHA, MON-DVARAVATI PERIOD

Sold for €9,750

including Buyer's Premium


Lot details

Chao Phraya and Mae Klang river basins of central Thailand, 8th - 9th century. Superbly carved with a serene expression marked by heavy lidded downcast eyes below ridged and elegantly arched brows, further with a wide nose and prominent full lips, flanked by long pendulous earlobes, the hair arranged in snail shell curls over a high ushnisha. The stone appears to be a black granite with white quartz inclusions.

Provenance: From an old and prominent Flemish private collection, acquired before 2000 and thence by descent in the same family.
Condition: Good condition, commensurate with age. Extensive wear, losses, weathering and erosion, minor nicks and cracks.

Weight: 24.4 kg (incl. stand)
Dimensions: Height 38 cm (excl. stand)

The Mon polity of Dvaravati was one of the earliest and most important societies in mainland Southeast Asia. Based around the Chao Phraya and Mae Klang river basins of central Thailand, the Dvaravati polity was known from early Chinese textual sources, as well as being mentioned in a single local inscription that dates to roughly AD 550-650. Due to the large numbers of Buddhist sculptures associated with the culture, it is most likely that the rulers were patrons of the Buddhist faith. The images of Buddha are heavily influenced by contemporary Indian sculptural styles, including the Gupta style based around the site of Sarnath. The facial features of the Mon Dvaravati Buddhist images, however, display arched, joined eyebrows which are unlike those found in India, and which are therefore characteristic of the Mon Dvaravati style. Compared to earlier and later Thai kingdoms, Dvaravati was relatively geographically and economically isolated, which contributed to the distinct qualities of its sculpture, such as the aforementioned eyebrows, the broad, almost squared face, and the full, prominent lips. Additionally, the local stone was tough and difficult to work with, leading artists to prefer thick, strong features over softness and subtlety. Their style was bold, self-assured, recognizable, and highly influential on subsequent Thai sculpture and artistic production throughout Southeast Asia.

Auction result comparison:
Type: Closely related
Auction: Christie’s New York, 12 September 2012, lot 620
Price: USD 31,250 or approx. EUR 39,500 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing
Description: A black stone head of Buddha, Thailand, Mon Dvaravati period, 8th/9th century
Expert remark: Note the smaller size (26.7 cm).

Auction result comparison:
Type: Closely related
Auction: Christie’s New York, 23 March 2022, lot 463
Price: USD 44,100 or approx. EUR 43,000 converted at the time of writing
Description: A rare stone head of Buddha, Thailand, Mon Dvaravati style, 8th-9th century
Expert remark: Note the smaller size (23.5 cm).

 

Chao Phraya and Mae Klang river basins of central Thailand, 8th - 9th century. Superbly carved with a serene expression marked by heavy lidded downcast eyes below ridged and elegantly arched brows, further with a wide nose and prominent full lips, flanked by long pendulous earlobes, the hair arranged in snail shell curls over a high ushnisha. The stone appears to be a black granite with white quartz inclusions.

Provenance: From an old and prominent Flemish private collection, acquired before 2000 and thence by descent in the same family.
Condition: Good condition, commensurate with age. Extensive wear, losses, weathering and erosion, minor nicks and cracks.

Weight: 24.4 kg (incl. stand)
Dimensions: Height 38 cm (excl. stand)

The Mon polity of Dvaravati was one of the earliest and most important societies in mainland Southeast Asia. Based around the Chao Phraya and Mae Klang river basins of central Thailand, the Dvaravati polity was known from early Chinese textual sources, as well as being mentioned in a single local inscription that dates to roughly AD 550-650. Due to the large numbers of Buddhist sculptures associated with the culture, it is most likely that the rulers were patrons of the Buddhist faith. The images of Buddha are heavily influenced by contemporary Indian sculptural styles, including the Gupta style based around the site of Sarnath. The facial features of the Mon Dvaravati Buddhist images, however, display arched, joined eyebrows which are unlike those found in India, and which are therefore characteristic of the Mon Dvaravati style. Compared to earlier and later Thai kingdoms, Dvaravati was relatively geographically and economically isolated, which contributed to the distinct qualities of its sculpture, such as the aforementioned eyebrows, the broad, almost squared face, and the full, prominent lips. Additionally, the local stone was tough and difficult to work with, leading artists to prefer thick, strong features over softness and subtlety. Their style was bold, self-assured, recognizable, and highly influential on subsequent Thai sculpture and artistic production throughout Southeast Asia.

Auction result comparison:
Type: Closely related
Auction: Christie’s New York, 12 September 2012, lot 620
Price: USD 31,250 or approx. EUR 39,500 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing
Description: A black stone head of Buddha, Thailand, Mon Dvaravati period, 8th/9th century
Expert remark: Note the smaller size (26.7 cm).

Auction result comparison:
Type: Closely related
Auction: Christie’s New York, 23 March 2022, lot 463
Price: USD 44,100 or approx. EUR 43,000 converted at the time of writing
Description: A rare stone head of Buddha, Thailand, Mon Dvaravati style, 8th-9th century
Expert remark: Note the smaller size (23.5 cm).

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