India to send some Buddha relics to Mongolia for display

New Delhi: Making an exception to its personal regulations, India is all set to ship some relics of Gautam Buddha to Mongolia subsequent week which, officers say, will reinforce the rustic’s place because the flagbearer of Buddhism and counter the rising affect of China with its comfortable energy.

This comes after the Mongolian govt reached out to India. A delegation, led via Union cupboard minister Kiren Rijiju, is anticipated to go back and forth to Mongolia round June 16 at hand over the relics for show right through the Mongolian Buddha purnima celebrations.

Over 53% of the inhabitants of Mongolia apply Buddhism. Exposition of Buddha’s relics in every different’s nations is a very powerful element of Buddhist ties. The remaining time Buddha’s relics have been despatched abroad used to be in 2013 to Sri Lanka, ET has learnt. The relics integrated bone fragments excavated in Kapilavastu. The request used to be made via the previous president of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa to former Indian Top Minister Manmohan Singh.

In April, a proper request via the Mongolian govt used to be forwarded to the tradition ministry via the Ministry of Exterior Affairs, East Asia, soliciting for that Lord Buddha’s relics be made to be had for show at Gandantegchinlen, the principle Buddhist monastery in Mongolia at the instance of buddha purnima which falls on June 14.

The ministry had in Might given in- concept acclaim for the exposition of 4 items of holy Buddha relics for show on the monastery, via stress-free the situation of ‘AA’ class of Buddha relics, as a distinct case.

The ministry had determined to ship an advance group to the monastery to test the safety preparations. The group had officers from the ministry, World Buddhist Confederation that used to be based in 2013 and objectives to offer a platform for the worldwide Buddhist group, and the Nationwide Museum.

As according to the tradition ministry’s tips in 2014 on setting up global exhibitions, antiquities and artwork treasures categorized as ‘AA’ don’t seem to be to be despatched to international nations. In 2017, the nationwide museum used to be tasked with categorising Buddha’s relics. A committee of mavens with officers from the ASI, govt and area mavens from reputed establishments had given the ‘AA’ class to Buddha’s relics, which is why they weren’t despatched any place until now, even though there were requests from nations together with Sri Lanka, Thailand and South Korea.

Constrained via geography and sandwiched between China and Russia, Mongolia has continuously appeared as much as India as its religious neighbour and has continuously walked the tightrope with China on one aspect and non secular grasp Dalai Lama at the different.

No Indian PM had visited Mongolia till 2015 when PM Narendra Modi visited the rustic. Remaining 12 months marked the 66tth anniversary of diplomatic ties between India and Mongolia, right through which either side resumed bodily interactions at top ranges adopted via a seek advice from via Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, Minister of State for Exterior Affairs to Mongolia in November remaining 12 months.

Mavens stated Sino-Indian geopolitical competition over the Buddhist legacy isn’t new however with China’s rising aggression, East Asia is important to India. Each India and China were making strides to extend their affect on this area.

On Buddha Poornima, PM Modi visited Lumbini, changing into the primary Indian PM to take action. A couple of months in the past, he inaugurated the Kushinagar World Airport in japanese Uttar Pradesh to facilitate Buddhist pilgrims to achieve Mahaparinirvana Temple, the place Lord Buddha attained nirvana.

Indra Narain Singh, a professor who specialises in Buddhist research on the Delhi college, stated the Indian govt used to be following a twin technique of showcasing its energy because the “nervecentre” of Buddhism to counter China’s affect, and likewise making efforts to draw extra Buddhist vacationers to its spots.

“Relics of Buddha have remarkable significance in Buddhism as a result of they’re essentially the most sacred for the temple. By means of doing this, India is not only development ties with East Asian nations, however sending out a message to the arena about its cultural energy, and talent to fulfil commitments with allies via respecting and supporting their religion.”

The Taliban Take Aim at Buddhist Heritage

Afghanistan’s new rulers are looting the past—again.
Immediately after storming to power in Afghanistan last August, the Taliban renewed their assault on the country’s rich pre-Islamic heritage by looting archeological treasures in Bamiyan province, in Afghanistan’s central highlands. They zeroed in on the site of the giant Buddhas that, in the Taliban’s first incarnation two decades ago, became an international symbol of the group’s depravity as it declared the 1,400-year-old statues “idolatrous” before proceeding to dynamite them.

One of the men behind one of history’s most heinous cultural crimes was Mullah Abdullah Sarhadi, now the Taliban’s de facto governor of Bamiyan province. Since the Taliban’s return, he has been overseeing the plunder of protected Buddhist antiquities, according to archaeologists and experts with knowledge of destructive activity. He is also implicated in the massacre of Hazaras, who regard Bamiyan as their homeland, dating back to the last time the Taliban ruled, from 1996-2001.

“The looting and destruction, and the construction of some new commercial buildings at the cultural heritage sites began in the days after the Taliban takeover” on Aug. 15 of last year, said Ali Folladwand, a Hazara activist now living in exile who launched a global campaign with the Twitter hashtag #SaveBamiyanHistoricalHeritage.

“We want UNESCO, and other organizations and the countries that really care about world heritage sites to press the Taliban in any way possible to save the cultural heritage of Bamiyan,” Folladwand said. “At the very least, the world should prevent more destruction.”

The Taliban aren’t just blowing up Buddhas and robbing caves. They are assaulting the Hazara people, Shiites who account for about 10 percent of Afghanistan’s population of an estimated 38 million and regard themselves as guardians of the region’s heritage.

Thousands of Hazaras were killed in Bamiyan and elsewhere in the country after the Taliban took power after the civil war in 1996, and many say that a “genocide” dating back to the late 19th century under King Abdur Rahman Khan continues. Folladwand, who was studying medicine until last August and now lives in exile, said the destruction of Bamiyan’s heritage is part of the Taliban’s “cultural cleansing” policy toward Hazaras, who they regard as apostate. In recent years, Hazaras have been killed in their homes, schools, and mosques, though since the Taliban retook control those atrocities have been increasingly claimed by their rival terrorist group, the local Islamic State branch known as Islamic State-Khorasan.

“The physical destruction of heritage gives the Taliban the power to reject the Hazara, classify them as unimportant and erase them for the future generations,” Folladwand said.

Once the Taliban were back in power, they went straight back to dismantling and looting the historic sites. Locals said that Sarhadi brought in non-Afghans to do much of the excavation and looting. The Art Newspaper reported that at least two sites around the giant Buddha niches were excavated, including some caves that had never been opened before. It is impossible to know what they might have held and what, if anything, was taken. Taliban spokesmen didn’t respond to requests for comment, though some sources said Sarhadi had been ordered by Taliban officials in Kabul to cease the unilateral excavation.

The Taliban are simply going back to the scene of the crime. A former UNESCO official, who spoke on condition that he not be identified for the safety of family still in Afghanistan, said Taliban figures involved in the 2001 destruction of the Buddhas, known as Salsal and Shahmama, also looted many artifacts while outside demolition experts prepared the Buddhas for destruction.

“They looted and sold many of the treasures and artifacts of Bamiyan on the black market, and now [Sarhadi] is back to complete his mission,” the former UNESCO official said. “They have started excavating very specific areas around the historical sites of Bamiyan.”

Cambodia finds 12th century artifacts

The Department of Conservation and Archaeology of the National Authority of Preah Vihear unearthed a metal artifact dating back to the 12th century.

The news of the discovery was announced on the afternoon of May 22. The artifact was said to e some from of metal pot and was unearthed near the small temple at the foot of the temple of Preah Vihear in the second protected area.

Kong Puthikar, Director General of the National Authority of Preah Vihear, said that the artifacts were unearthed by the professionals on May 20. The artifacts were a body of a metal vase measuring 12 cm high. There were also inscriptions, which linguists identified as a letter in the late 12th century during the reign of Jayavarman VII.

The artifact is an offering to the god Pheay Sachyakuru. The discovery of the metal instrument is an important data in the study of the school in the area of ​​the temple of Preah Vihear, also to be stored and displayed in the Museum of Natural Nature Samdech Techo Hun Sen Preah Vihear.

Tibetan monks told to take blame for statue demolitions

Authorities reportedly said that a 99-foot-tall Buddha statue in Drago was too high.

Authorities in western China’s Sichuan province are forcing Tibetan monks to take the blame for the destruction of sacred statues torn down by China, ordering them to sign affidavits claiming responsibility, RFA has learned.

The move follows widespread condemnation of the demolitions in Drago (in Chinese, Luhuo) county in the Kardze (Gandzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture that were reported by RFA’s Tibetan Service in January.

“After reports of these demolitions in Drago county reached the international community, the Chinese government is now accusing Tibetan monks in Drago of destroying the Buddhist statues, and is coercing them into signing documents to take the blame,” a Tibetan living in exile said, citing contacts in the region.

“But due to tight restrictions in the area right now, it is difficult to gather information on what punishment the monks will receive if they refuse to sign these documents,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect his contacts.

“Most of the local Tibetans and monks who were arrested for sharing news of the Buddha statues’ destruction have now been released, but they are constantly being harassed and are closely watched by the Chinese authorities,” the source added.

A 99-foot-tall Buddha statue that stood in Drago was targeted for demolition in December by officials who said it had been built too high. Monks from a local monastery and other Tibetan residents were forced to witness the destruction, an action experts called part of an ongoing campaign to eradicate Tibet’s distinct national culture and religion.

Destroyed along with the statue were 45 traditional prayer wheels set up for use by Tibetan pilgrims and other worshippers, sources said. Drago county chief Wang Dongsheng, director of the demolition, had earlier overseen a campaign of destruction at Sichuan’s sprawling Larung Gar Buddhist Academy.

Eleven monks from a nearby monastery were then arrested by Chinese authorities on suspicion of sending news and photos of the statue’s destruction, first reported exclusively by RFA, to contacts outside the region.

Using commercial satellite imagery, RFA later verified the destruction at the same time of a three-story statue of Maitreya Buddha, believed by Tibetan Buddhists to be a Buddha appearing in a future age, at Gaden Namgyal Ling monastery in Drago.

Communications clampdowns and other security measures meanwhile remain in place in Drago county, said Pema Gyal, a researcher at London-based Tibet Watch. “Chinese authorities continue to impose restrictions on Drago county, and those released from prison are kept under scrutiny all the time,” Gyal said.

A £105,000 Chinese vase found among the bric-a-brac

This rare doucai porcelain vase, with Qianlong marks and probably of period, provided a classic tale of discovery in the saga of the Chinese boom.

The 8in (20cm) tall vase was spotted by Hannam’s (23% buyer’s premium) junior specialist David Parry among brica- brac during a routine valuation.

As with all the best tales, the owner, whose father bought it in Hong Kong in the 1980s, had no idea of its worth.

A near-identical mid-18th century vase is illustrated in the 1993 Taiwan publication Yeh Pei- Lang, Gems of the Doucai.

Accordingly, auctioneer Harry Hannam pitched it at £10,000-15,000 at the May 3 sale in Selborne, Hampshire.

Four phone bidders from Asia competed but it was a UK private buyer in the room who, literally, jumped for joy when he won the bidding battle at £105,000.

Explained: Historical significance of Lumbini, the birthplace of The Buddha

Lumbini, located across the border from Gorakhpur in Rupandehi district of Nepal’s Lumbini province, is believed to be the birthplace of the Shakya prince Siddhartha Gautam, who became The Buddha after attaining Enlightenment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba together laid the foundation stone for the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage in Lumbini, Nepal, birthplace of The Buddha, on the occasion of Buddha Jayanti on Monday (May 16).
Lumbini Garden

Lumbini, located across the border from Gorakhpur in Rupandehi district of Nepal’s Lumbini province, is believed to be the birthplace of the Shakya prince Siddhartha Gautam, who became The Buddha after attaining Enlightenment. The Lumbini complex contains a number of holy sites, including the famous Mayadevi temple, which is dedicated to The Buddha’s mother. Adjacent to the temple is a sacred pond in which Mayadevi is believed to have taken a ritual bath before giving birth to Siddhartha.

Lumbini Garden is described in Buddhist literature as a Pradimoksha-vana (sin-free forest), containing groves of sal trees, beautiful flowers, birds, and natural landscapes. It was built by Anjana, king of the Koliya clan, for his queen Rupadevi or Rummindei, pronounced “Lumindei” in the Magadhi language, hence the name Lumbini, according to some historians. (Others believe the name was given by the emperor Ashoka later.)

The Koliya were bound by matrimonial alliance with the Shakya clan of Kapilavastu, and jointly managed the garden. Mayadevi, who was the daughter of king Anjana, was married to the Shakya king Suddhodana.

According to Buddhist literature, Lumbini was located on an ancient trade route passing through Kapilavastu (present location uncertain), Kushinagar (in modern-day Uttar Pradesh), and Vaishali, Pataliputra, Nalanda, and Rajgriha (all in today’s Bihar). There were shops, eating places, and resthouses for both the elite and common people along the route.
Siddhartha’s birth

According to Buddhist legend, Mayadevi was passing through a grove of sal trees in Lumbini on her way to Devdaha from Kapilavastu, when she began to experience labour pains. The baby is said to have emerged from her armpit, and announced that this would be his last birth and that he would not be reincarnated.

The birth of the Shakya prince Siddhartha Gautam is dated to 563 BC (480 BC according to some traditions). He is believed to have died aged 80 in 483 BC (or 400 BC). In 249 BC, the emperor Ashoka erected a pillar marking the place where the Buddha was said to have been born.

Buddhist tradition has it that the ascetic seer Asita visited Kapilavastu during the birth celebrations of Siddhartha. Upon seeing the child, Asita announced that he would either become a great king or a great religious teacher.

Siddhartha’s father Suddhodana wanted him to become a king and shielded him from sorrow, unhappiness, and any experience of death. The prince was brought up in the royal palace amid every worldly comfort and luxury. However, he grew increasingly dissatisfied, and on one occasion saw an old man, a sick person, a corpse, and an ascetic, which moved him deeply.

One night soon afterward, when Siddhartha was 29, he went out of the palace, leaving behind his wife and newborn son, and accompanied only by his faithful charioteer Channa and horse Kanthaka, to live the life of a wandering ascetic. This event is known in Buddhist tradition as the Great Renunciation.

At age 35, Siddhartha Gautama began to meditate under a Bodhi tree on the outskirts of the town of Gaya, situated in the realm of Bimbisara, the king of Magadha. On the 49th day of continuous meditation, he is said to have achieved Enlightenment and understood the cause of suffering in the world. Siddhartha became The Buddha, the Enlightened One.

Bodh Gaya is today one of the four great Buddhist pilgrimages, the others being Lumbini, where The Buddha was born, Sarnath near Varanasi, where he gave his first sermon, and Kushinagar, where he died (or attained Mahaparinirvana). The Buddha was greatly attached to Lumbini and visited the site, along with Kapilavastu, on several occasions during his lifetime, according to the Mahaparinibbana Sutta. While on his deathbed, he is said to have advised his followers to visit Lumbini, along with the other three holy sites.
Historical site

Cultural deposits dating to the 6th century BC have been discovered at Lumbini. The Chinese monks Faxian (Fa-Hien) and Xuanzang (Huien Tsang) visited the site in the 5th and 7th centuries AD respectively, and their accounts were used by antiquarians in the 19th century in an effort to locate Lumbini.

The 3rd century BC was a watershed moment in the history of Lumbini and Buddhism. After witnessing the massacre in the war of Kalinga, the emperor Ashoka converted to Buddhism and committed himself to promoting the spread of the religion. He visited Lumbini, and in 249 BC, built a large temple-like structure over the birthplace of Buddha and erected a sandstone pillar containing inscriptions to memorialise his pilgrimage.

A portion of the pillar survives today, with 4 metres below the ground and 6 metres above. Descriptions of travellers suggest the original pillar was several metres taller, with an inverted lotus capital and an animal image on top, according to historians.

The inscription on the pillar, in the Brahmi script of the language Pali, says Ashoka prayed at the birth site of The Buddha, and that pilgrims would be exempt from all religious taxes. In 1312, the Khasa-Malla king Ripu Malla engraved the Buddhist mantra, ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ and his name on the pillar. However, Lumbini was forgotten for many centuries, until it was rediscovered in 1896, and excavations were conducted at the site.

Discover Ancient Indian center of a once-great Buddhist civilization

By Aaron Joshua Spray

The ancient Buddhist city of Taxila was one of the most important cities of the Subcontinent and was lost for thousands of years.

Located in what is today Pakistan, Taxila was an important city of ancient India and the center of a once-great Buddhist civilization. Today it is regarded as one of the subcontinent’s treasures. Pakistan is a country few visit – often because of a poor safety reputation. But it is a country of contrasts and those who do visit are quick to fall in love with the stunning South Asian country.Pakistan boasts fantastic food, ancient history, and some of the world’s tallest and most difficult to ascend mountains. If one is going to Pakistan, then one of the most dramatic and eye-widening attractions that can be seen in the country is the massive Gadani ship-breaking yard.

History And Importance Of Taxila

Taxila is in northern Pakistan around 30 km (20 miles) north of the capital of Islamabad just off the famous Grand Trunk Road. The city was an important Buddhist center between the 5th century BC and the 6th Century AD. In its day it was a major junction connecting South Asia with Central Asia.

Name: Taxila or Takshashila (“City of Cut Stone” or “Taká¹£a Rock”)
Flourished: Between the 5th century BC And The 6th Century AD

Taxila was founded around 1,000 BC with some ruins dating back to the time of the Persian Achaemenid Empire (the empire that invaded Greece and fought the 300 Spartans).

The Achaemenid Empire was followed in Taxila by the Mauryan Empire, Indo-Greek, Indo-Scythian, and Kushan Empire periods. These and other empires vied for control of the city due to its important position on great ancient trade routes.

Strategic: Taxila Occupied A Strategic Location

But all good times come to an end at some point. The city lost importance when the trade routes collapsed or were rerouted and it was finally destroyed by the nomadic Hunas in the 5th century (around the time of the fall of the Western Roman Empire).

The long lost city was only rediscovered by the famous archaeologist Sir Alexander Cunningham mid-19th century. In the early 19th century, it was not known where Taxila that a number of ancient Indian texts were mentioned, and a number of sites were considered. The lost city of Taxila, however, was not identified until 1863-64.

Taxila was among the first sites to be granted World Heritage status in 1980 and is today one of the top-ranked tourist destinations in Pakistan.

Visiting Taxila Today

When visiting the site, plan to spend time discovering the Taxila Museum as well. Browse a great collection of Gandharn Art (a blend of Greek and Buddhist art). See a rare collection of utensils, jewelry, toys, and pottery and learn about the daily life of the people of ancient Taxila now long gone.

Visitors: Taxila is Visited by Around 1 Million People A Year

To get to the site, one can easily hire a taxi from Rawalpindi or Islamabad – although it may be better to hire a local taxi from Taxila who is familiar with the sites. One option is to take a taxi to the museum and then get a local taxi from there.

The ruins and structures of the massive network of archeological sites are spread over a vast area of around 25 km2 in and around the modern town of Taxila. That being said, most of the main buildings and sites by close to the museum building. Most of the sites are easily accessed by road and are well marked.

Taxila is located in Pakistan and everyone going to the country will need to plan ahead and get a visa before flying. Most Western passport holders (including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom) only require an electronic travel authorization (ETA) before traveling to Pakistan for tourism.

Visa: Need To Get An Electonic Travel Authorization (ETA) Before Travel

It should also be noted that as of April 18, 2022, the U.S. Department of State categorizes Pakistan as Level 3 – “Reconsider Your Need To Travel.”

Antiques: Celadon is a pottery for the ages

If there are two classes of goods that dominate the decorative market here in the desert, they would be art glass and studio pottery. Both are midcentury staples and both add shape and color to any decor. Yet while most of our pottery comes from small domestic makers, there are some types with deep roots in other cultures. One of those is celadon, an Asian-based technique that usually (but not always) results in a distinctive pale green glaze. Celadon has a fascinating history and an increasing number of enthusiasts outside the far east. It deserves a visit.

Originated in China centuries ago, celadon pottery in its traditional shade is created when just the right amount of iron oxide is added to the glaze and then fired at high temperature. Too much and the glaze darkens to olive and even black; too little and the glaze turns blue. Neither are necessarily bad outcomes and indeed sometimes reflect the desires of the maker, but celadon’s original green hue and its close resemblance to the color of jade was much of its early attraction. From China, where higher-ups in the imperial court were great enthusiasts, celadon established itself throughout southeast Asia and gained fans in such countries as Japan, Korea and Thailand.

Apart from its green color, celadon glaze is also prone to “crazing,” which is actually a defect but fortuitous in that it leaves the glaze with a distinctive network of fine cracks that doesn’t affect the integrity of the underlying vessel.

This “crackle glaze” adds a patina of age to celadon pottery much in the way that old varnish denotes age in antique oil paintings. Connoisseurs of celadon can not only judge the vintage of an old piece but also its heritage. Chinese celadons have evolved over the centuries in style and color. Those made for export were usually green while certain pieces in brown or off-white were kept for domestic buyers. Designs and ornamentation were kept relatively simple, allowing the glaze to serve as the stand-out feature of the piece.

Japan’s production of celadon followed China’s by some ten centuries. Its adoption was slow — in part due to the high breakage rate of celadon during firing and also because a key ingredient of the glaze was not widely available in Japan.

While some Japanese celedon can be elegant, most was made in utilitarian forms such as sake bowls, cups and plates. Decorative and ceremonial pieces were often fired to produce a blue or bluish-white color. In the last 200 years, a number of prominent Japanese artists have specialized in celadon, some becoming international rock stars among collectors.

Elsewhere, such countries as Korea, Thailand and Vietnam have incorporated celadon into their cultural aesthetics, each with their own unique twists. Korean techniques have evolved steadily over the last thousand years, interrupted only by Mongol invasions during the 13th century. Their pieces are often highly ornamented with layers of clay adding depth and complexity to the forms. Celadon from other regions in southeast Asia is equally distinctive.

Thus, whether by era, color or culture, there are many avenues for celadon collectors to explore and many pieces to be had at very affordable prices. If you’re looking for just the right piece in that distinctive sea-foam green, celadon is a good place to start.

Mike Rivkin and his wife, Linda, are longtime residents of Rancho Mirage.

US$2.7 million Chinese archaic bronze jar tops Asia Week New York

Christie’s Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Sale delivered glittering results.

Amongst 351 lots offered in two parts, 294 were sold – a US$31 million dollars sale total and 83.7 per cent sale rate was achieved – far exceeding expectations.

The most valuable lot was a bronze jar from ancient China fetched US$2.7 million dollars with buyer’s premium. Alongside the bronzeware, a 900-year-old Guanyin sculpture and 17th century huanghuali table each sold for more than US$2 million dollars, and were the sale’s second and third most expensive lots.

The archaic bronze jar was hammered at US$2,250,000 dollars

Lot 719 │ Inlaid Bronze Facted Jar, Fanghu

Created during Warring States period (4th-3rd century BCE)
Height: 43 cm

Kaikodo, New York, before 1996

Estimate: US$400,000 – 600,000

Hammer Price: US$2,250,000

Sold: US$2,760,000

The auctioneer started the bidding at US$300,000 dollars, and dropped the hammer at US$2.2 million dollars – more than 5 times its low estimate. In the end, it fetched US$2.7 million dollars, with buyer’s premium.

The four-sided vessel is set with loose rings suspending loose ring handles on opposite sides, and is decorated on each side with elaborate pictorial scenes arranged in horizontal registers. The flat, raised bronze motifs of the scenes are silhouetted against a sunken background bearing extensive remains of an inlaid paste. The bronze of the raised motifs has a brownish-red and green patina.

Ancient Chinese bronzewares were decorated with different creatures – such as taoties (mythological creatures), dragons, phoenixes and owls. Patterns were later based on human activities – reflecting the people’s living conditions of the period and are precious visual historical materials.

This present bronze jar has two group of carvings portraying scenes of feasting, hunting and fighting on land and sea.

The first group of motifs portraying scenes of feasting, hunting and land and naval battles

First group – with layers from top to bottom:

A sun and moon are found on the upper right and left, while various food utensils are found in the room. The characters on the first section hold wine vessels, and those on the second section raise their glasses to greet them.

Musicians play stone chimes (bianqing), chime bells (bianzhong) and drums.

A line of eight female dancers dressed in robes.

Hunters wielding bows and arrows or spears – some in carriages and on foot – are chasing animals such as deer, rabbits, tigers and wild boars.

At the Palace’s Grand Hall, there are two birds on either side of the roof. Guards are standing on patrol outside, while two people exchange a disc inside. Below the Palace is a row of four horses with reins and stablemen, and a row of four hunted and bleeding tigers are found further below.

The lowest single-story building has a cauldron inside – possibly a kitchen.

Know one’s snuff: Chinese snuff bottles are among the highlights of Asia Week New York

A collection of Chinese snuff bottles offered in two sessions stands out among an intriguing selection of Asia Week New York auctions and dealer shows.
Picture of Anne Crane

This enamelled glass Qianlong mark and period snuff bottle made at the Imperial Palace workshops is a highlight from the Rachelle R Holden collection of snuff bottles to be offered by Christie’s. The 2in (5cm) high bottle, which has a Qianlong four-character incised seal mark, is decorated with a shaped panel of two birds perched in flowering branches to one side and a butterfly amid flowers to the other. It will be offered on March 24 and has an estimate of $400,000-600,000.

Image: Christie’s Images Ltd 2022


You have 2 more free articles remaining
Subscribe for full access

In the auction, art and antiques calendar March in the Big Apple is a month when the spotlight traditionally falls on Asian art.

It is the time of year when the main international firms hold the first of their biannual New York Asian auction series and, since 2009, it has been the time when specialist dealers in this field collectively stage a series of selling exhibitions in the galleries around Manhattan.

It all falls under the umbrella of Asia Week New York (AWNY), an annual celebration of Asian art encompassing auctions and dealers’ shows alongside exhibitions in museums.

For this year’s AWNY, running from March 16-25, six auction firms are taking part: Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams, Doyle, Heritage and iGavel. There are 26 participating dealers, with more present in person than last year when covid meant many dealers opted for a virtual presence.

Over the next five pages we give a taste of what will be on offer in the auction rooms and dealers’ galleries and, as always, much more information can be found on the AWNY website.

Among Heritage’s highlights is this pair of 18th century, Chinese Imperial Qing dynasty carved zitan lanterns measuring 2ft 2in x 13¾in (66 x 35cm). They have a provenance to a private collection in New York and are estimated at $50,000-70,000.

Image: Heritage auctions (

Heritage has an Asian art auction in Dallas on March 22 and will be previewing highlights from the sale in New York from March 16-21.

One of the highlights of Doyle’s March 21 auction will be this large 19½in (49.5cm) celadon Dragon charger with a Yongzheng seal mark and of the period. The central medallion features a dragon among clouds while the underside is moulded with overlapping lotus petals. The charger, which comes with a labelled Japanese wooden collector’s box, has a provenance to the collection of an American Civilian Educational Coordinator stationed in Japan, 1948-51, and then by descent. The estimate is $80,000-120,000.

Doyle is holding a live auction of Asian Works of Art in New York on March 21 as well as a timed auction titled Asian Works of Art: Session II which closes on March 25.
A huanghuali trestle-leg table

One of the highlights of Christie’s March 24-25 sale of Chinese ceramics and works of art is this 17th century huanghuali trestle-leg table. It has a single plank top measuring 10ft 2in (3.1m) set over beaded aprons and spandrels carved with elephant heads, and is raised on legs with outswept feet joined by an openwork panel carved with chilong. The estimate is $800,000-1.2m.

Image: Christie’s Images 2022

Christie’s auction schedule for Asia Week New York comprises a mix of live and online, various owner and single-owner sales across a wide range of Asian art categories, ancient and contemporary.

Offered in two sessions – one online from March 15-29, the other live on March 24 – will be Rivers and Mountains Far from the World: Important Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Rachelle R Holden Collection.

The sales take their title from the scholarly catalogue published in 1994 by the late collector who purchased her first snuff bottle in 1974. The two sales between them offer over 220 bottles made from a variety of materials: glass, porcelain, hardstones and enamelled metal.

A highlight of the collection is a Qianlong mark and period famille rose enamelled glass bottle from the Imperial Palace workshops which has an estimate of $400,000-600,000.

Christie’s auction of Japanese and Korean Art on March 22 will include 20 lots of Buddhist paintings from the collection of David and Nayda Utterberg, while the March 23 South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art sale features works from the collection of Mahinder and Sharad Tak, long-time patrons of the arts.
The Banyan Tree by Bhupen Khakhar

Among the paintings from the Mahinder and Sharad Tak collection to feature in Christie’s South Asian, Modern and Contemporary Art auction on March 23 is this monumental oil on canvas The Banyan Tree by Bhupen Khakhar (1934-2003). The square
canvas measuring 5ft 9in x 5ft 9in (1.75m x 1.75m), incorporating a series of vignettes within a hilly landscape, was painted in 1994 and acquired direct from the artist. It is signed and dated in Gujarati lower right and further titled and signed The Banyan Tree/Bhupen Khakhar on the reverse and has an estimate of $1.8m-2.5m

Image: Christie’s Images Ltd 2022

Works on offer from the latter collection include paintings by Bhupen Khakhar, Manjit Bawa, Arpita Singh and Sayed Haider Raza as well as works by Maqbool Fida Husain, Rameshwar Broota, Jogen Chowdhury and Jagdish Swaminathan, all close friends of the collectors.

Bonhams’ programme of auctions for Asia Week New York includes live and online-only sales ranging across Chinese works of art including the Richard Milhender export furniture collection; Japanese and Korean art; a single-owner sale of Chinese paintings and calligraphy; Indian, Himalayan and south-east Asian art and Burmese silver.
Goddess Tara

A 13th century Nepalese gilt-copper figure of the goddess Tara to be offered by Bonhams on March 22 estimated at $500,000-700,000.

The auction house’s headline lot is a gilt copper alloy figure of the Buddhist saviour goddess Tara from Nepal dating from the early Malla period (13th century) which will feature in the March 22 sale of Indian, Himalayan and south-east Asian Art.

The figure has come from the collection of Michael Henss, a noted Himalayan art scholar, and retains remnants of cold gold and blue pigment to the face and hair indicating its prior worship in Tibet. The estimate is $500,000-700,000.
Woman Holding a Flower picture

Woman Holding a Flower, a 4ft 3½in x 2ft 3in (1.3m x 69cm) hanging scroll from 1948 by Zhang Daqian (1899-1983), one of the highlights from the Rev Richard Fabian collection of Chinese paintings and calligraphy to be offered by Bonhams on March 21. It has an estimate of $800,000-$1.2m.

On March 21 Bonhams will offer the fourth instalment of paintings and calligraphic works from the collection of the Rev Richard Fabian. Founder and rector of San Francisco’s ecumenical St Gregory Nyssen Episcopal church, he first discovered Chinese paintings while majoring in Chinese art at Yale University in the 1960s and spent over three decades forming a panoramic collection spanning the 200-year development of modern Chinese paintings. Part 5 of the Fabian collection will be offered as an online sale from March 14-24.
Burmese silver betel box

Burmese silver betel box decorated with Buddhist scenes of the Sama Jataka dated 1909, estimated at $40,000-60,000 in Bonhams’ online sale of the Noble silver collection.

The online component of Bonhams’ Asia Week sales also includes the March 14-24 sale of the Noble Silver Collection: Treasures from the Burmese Silver Age – works produced by Burmese master silversmiths between the mid-19th and early 20th century.

Burmese silver catered largely to a domestic market producing objects designed for traditional south-east Asian customs such as betel culture and temple offerings including a silver betel box dated 1909 from lower Burma (Myanmar).
Archaic bronze ritual vessel

Another of the highlights from Sotheby’s March 22 sale of works from the Dr Wou Kiuan collection is this archaic bronze ritual vessel (fangyi) from the late Shang dynasty, Anyang, 12th century BC. The form and design represent Chinese bronze art at its height when the Anyang style had reached its mature phase. Only a small number of fangyi with related decoration have been recorded with others in institutions such as the Shanghai Museum and the British Museum. The estimate is $400,000-600,000.

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s Asia Week auctions will feature the first of a series of four single-owner sales from the Dr Wou Kiuan collection to be held globally through 2022.

It spans 4000 years of Chinese culture and art history featuring more than 1000 works including pottery, porcelain, jades, bronzes, paintings and calligraphy and is estimated to achieve over $40m.

Wou Kiuan, the son of Wou Lien-Pai, a prominent politician instrumental in the reformation of China in the Republic period, settled in London after his retirement devoting his time to the study of Chinese archaeology and art. From the mid-1950s to 1960s he built up a collection representing every category of Chinese art. In 1968 he created a private gallery in his home titled the Wou Lien Pai Museum in honour of his father.
Cinnabar lacquer dish

A 14th century cinnabar lacquer dish carved with hisbiscus flowers that will feature in Sotheby’s March 22 sale of works from The Dr Wou Kiuan Collection Part I. The depiction of the flowers includes a naturalistic detail seldom captured in artistic renderings of the motif: all three blooms show a tiny five-pointed floret protruding from the petal tips representing the stigma. The estimate is $100,000-150,000.

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

This first sale from the collection takes place in New York on March 22 under the title A Journey through China’s History: The Dr Wou Kiuan Collection Part I.

Among its highlights will be the 14th century carved cinnabar lacquer ‘hibiscus’ dish shown here. Dating from the peak period of Chinese lacquer craftsmanship, the late Yuan/early Ming dynasty, its decoration is unusual in being limited to three blooms among foliage, a design more typically seen on much smaller pieces.

Sotheby’s Asia Week schedule also includes a live auction of Modern and Contemporary South Asian art on March 21 and an online auction, China/5000 years, running from March 16-29.