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An Ongoing Problem – Indian and Southeast Asian Antiquities with Iffy Provenance – UPDATED WITH SALE RESULTS

February 25, 2013
Lot 212.

Lot 212. A terracotta head of a bodhisattva
Gandhara, 3rd/4th century, 11 in. (28 cm.) high
Estimate: $40,000-60,000. This lot sold for a hammer price of $60,000 ($75,000 with the buyer’s premium).
Provenance
The Dharma Collection, Israel, acquired from Spink & Sons, Ltd., London, June 1995

The upcoming Indian and Southeast Asian art auctions in New York contain numerous beautiful works and numerous works without a pre-1970 provenance. The lack of that pre-1970 provenance is a problem especially if wish to abide by the antiquities acquisition guidelines established the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD). As the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported:

guidelines established by the Association of Art Museum Directors … stipulate that museums generally should avoid buying antiquities unless they were documented as being outside their likely country of origin before 1970, the date of an international UNESCO convention aimed at halting the looting of antiquities, or were legally exported thereafter.

Here are a selection of works from Christie’s sale on March 19, 2013 that lack a pre-1970 provenance, but the sale contains many more – and the sale catalogue does not state if the works were legally exported from the country of origin after the implementation of that UNESCO accord.   This is a recurring problem – as noted in a previous blog, 70% of the top ten stone sculptures in Christie’s September 2012 sale also lacked a pre-1970 provenance. Will this affect the sale  of these works? We’ll see.

Lot 202.

Lot 202. A gray schist figure of Buddha
Gandhara, 2nd/3rd century, 32¾ in. (83.2 cm.) high
Estimate: $60,000-80,000. This lot sold for a hammer price of $100,000 ($123,750 with the buyer’s premium).
Provenance
New York Market, 1990s
Private Collection, Monaco, acquired from Christie’s Amsterdam, 10 Dec 2002, lot 4

Lot 209.

Lot 209. A rare green schist relief of Buddha and a royal donor
Gandhara, 2nd/3rd century, 42 in. (106.8 cm.) high
Estimate: $150,000-250,000. This lot sold for a hammer price of $150,000 ($183,750 with the buyer’s premium).
Provenance
Private Collection, Japan, 1990

Lot 245.

Lot 245. A red sandstone stele of Vishnu
India, Uttar Pradesh, Post-Gupta period, 7th/8th century, 29¼ in. (74.3 cm.) high
Estimate: $100,000-150,000. Bidding on this lot stopped at $55,000 and it failed to sell.
Provenance
Collection of Dr. Alston and Eivor Callahan, Alabama, acquired from Spink & Son, Ltd., London 17 January 1986
Collection of Dr. Mike and Mrs. Teresa Callahan, Alabama, acquired by inheritance

Lot 260.

Lot 260. A red sandstone figure of an apsara
India, Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh, 10th/11th century, 27 in. (68.6 cm.) high
Estimate: $200,000-300,000. Bidding on this lot stopped at $130,000 and it failed to sell.
Provenance
Collection of José Ramon Pons Oliveras, Barcelona, since early 1970s

Lot 263.

Lot 263. A marble figure of Ambika
India, Rajasthan, 12th century, 39 in. (99.1 cm.) high
Estimate: $40,000-60,000. Bidding on this lot stopped at $38,000 and it failed to sell.
Provenance
Private Collection, Hong Kong, acquired Sotheby’s New York, 23 March 2000, lot 127
In France, acquired Christie’s New York, 16 September 2008 sale, lot 383

Lot 264.

Lot 264. A buff sandstone figure of Parshvanatha
India, Madhya Pradesh, 10th century,24½ in. (62.3 cm.) high
Estimate: $80,000-100,000. Bidding on this lot stopped at $65,000 and it failed to sell.
Provenance
Sotheby’s London, 12 October 1989, lot 97

Lot 336.

Lot 336. An important and large gilt bronze figure of a bodhisattva
Tibet, 9th/10th century, 43¼ in. (110 cm.) high
Estimate on Request Bidding opened at $1.5 million and this lot sold for a hammer price of $2.4 million ($2,811,750 with the buyer’s premium).
Provenance
Private collection, Europe, acquired in London, 9 January 1987

Lot 347.
Lot 347.A black stone stele of Buddha
Northeastern India, Pala period, circa 11th century, 28 in. (71 cm.) high
Estimate: $50,000-70,000. This lot sold for a hammer price of $45,000 ($56,250 with the buyer’s premium).
Provenance
Private collection, Europe, acquired in London, 15 December 1993

Lot 350.

Lot 350. A black stone stele of Vaishravana
Tibet, 14th Century, 12 in. (30.5 cm.) high
Estimate: $80,000-120,000. Bidding on this lot stopped at $65,000 and it failed to sell.
Provenance
Private collection, Europe, acquired in New York, 27 November 1991

Lot 414. A sandstone male torso Khmer, Angkor period, Pre-Rup style, 10th century, 15 in. (38 cm.) high  Estimate: $8,000-12,000 Provenance Private collection, New York, acquired in Bangkok, 4 December 1973

Lot 414. A sandstone male torso
Khmer, Angkor period, Pre-Rup style, 10th century, 15 in. (38 cm.) high
Estimate: $8,000-12,000. This lot sold for a hammer price of $8,000 ($10,000 with the buyer’s premium).
Provenance
Private collection, New York, acquired in Bangkok, 4 December 1973

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