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Success for a Wei Dynasty Buddha and an 18th-Century Snuffbox

On 18 October 2021, by Sophie Reyssat

The Buddha head, sculpted during the Wei dynasty, took first place, ahead of an 18th-century snuffbox.

Success for a Wei Dynasty Buddha and an 18th-Century Snuffbox

China, Wei period (386-557 C.E.), limestone Head of Buddha, half-open eyes, Threefold Way at neck, number "15830", height 40 cm/15.75 in.
Result: €112,500

This Buddha, achieving a result of €112,500 ($130,400), dates from the Wei dynasty (386-557 C.E.) at a time when vast sanctuary caves were carved out in Yungang, and subsequently in Longmen, to accommodate Buddhist sculptures and paintings. The philosophy, likely introduced into China at the beginning of the Christian era, made its way from India along the Silk route, gradually establishing itself through its egalitarian values, welcomed in the turbulent times that ensued after the fall of the Han dynasty. By adopting it as the state religion, the Wei dynasty contributed to the spread of Buddhism, then still competing with Taoism.

Another sculptural head distinguished itself at €19,375 ($22,500): the one reminiscent of a Dan mask from Ivory Coast. In a royal style, called "Go Ge", it still retains its particularly elaborate headdress (23 x 41 cm/9 x 16.5 in). But the real surprise came from a snuffbox crafted ca. 1750 by a metalsmith who left us only his initials: "LB". With a high estimate of €5,000 ($5,800), it rocketed to €51,250 ($59,400), due to its quality and the modernity of its trompe l'oeil style, the charming object imitating a wicker basket of cherries (4.5 x 6.5 x 5 cm/1.75 x 2.5 x 2 in).

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