Christie’s New York Indian & Southeast Asian Art Auction on March 23

Christie’s New York will offer an extensive selection of nearly 200 lots of sculpture, paintings, ritual objects, and works of art from India, Tibet, Nepal and Southeast Asia from the notable collections. on March 23.

Raja Balwant Dev Singh on a Tiger Hunt, Nainsukh of Guler, India, Jasrota, circa 1750, (20 x 42.9 cm.) Estimate: $80,000-120,000. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd 2010

Leading the sale is a bronze figure of Uma, 13th/14th century, South India, Tamilnadu (estimate: $400,000-600,000). This well-cast figure of Uma, the second incarnation of Shakti as Shiva’s wife, is seated in lalitasana on a double-lotus base over a stepped plinth with beaded rims. From her jatamukuta to the datura flowers above her ears and the finely worked striations and fold of her dhoti, this bronze figure is an impressive example of South Indian craftsmanship and a very significant piece of South Indian art history.

From a Private American Collection, the sale presents a highly important mottled red sandstone head of a Jina (estimate: $250,000-350,000), coming from India, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, during the Gupta period of the mid 5th century. The lack of an ushnisha, the domed protuberance at the top of the head, indicates this is a rare example of a head of a Jina, as opposed to of a Buddha, which is more commonly found. Its ovoid face, elongated eyes, crisply carved curls and long earlobes present a highly refined sculptural ideal that would forever define the iconic prototype of an enlightened being in Indian art. This sculpture evokes a spirituality manifested in aesthetic terms.

Another notable highlight is an important gilt bronze figure of Kunzang Akhor (estimate: $600,000-800,000) from 13th century Nepal. This work was commissioned by practitioners of the Bon religion, which descends from the ancient beliefs of Tibet before the arrival of Buddhism in the 8th century. The figure is one of the most significant and largest Bon sculptures of its kind, with strong modeling of the upper body and powerfully executed hands and feet featuring unusual details such as lotus flowers and finger rings.

Additional important sculptures include a bronze figure of Balakrishna (estimate: $150,000-250,000), a depiction of the dancing, Krishna child, a popular image in South India from the 12th century, Chola period; a gilt bronze figure of Tara (estimate: $120,000-180,000) of Tibeto-Chinese origin and from the 15th century; a rare imperial gilt bronze and cloisonné figure of Amitayus (estimate: $100,000-150,000) also Tibeto-Chinese origin and from the 18th century; and a rare Khmer stone figure of Vishnu Resting on the Serpent Shesha (estimate: $35,000-50,000) executed in Baphuon style from the Angkor period, 11th century.