Published: April 3, 2018
HONG KONG — At Sotheby’s Hong Kong on April 3, a new auction record was established for two sets of Buddhist Sutra manuscripts from the Ming dynasty. The most important Buddhist manuscript ever to have appeared at auction, the Imperial Wisdom Sutras sold for $30,428,852. The previous world auction record was held by an anonymous (Ming dynasty) collection of Buddhist Sutras, which was sold for $1.8 million at Sotheby’s in March 2015.
This outstanding historical relic is a legacy of the Golden Age of the Ming dynasty, made by imperial order of the Ming emperor Xuande in the first part of the Fifteenth Century.
Preserved in pristine condition, the set of Sutras is the only surviving example outside of the National Palace Museum, Taipei. Originally recorded in a Kyoto aristocratic collection in 1917, they remained out of sight until the ground-breaking Ming exhibition at the British Museum in 2014. Buddhist Sutras are canonical scriptures that render the teachings of the Buddha, which were taken over from India and copied. Their copying and propagation was considered a meritorious practice, and when such deeds were performed by an emperor, the resulting works were inevitably of the highest standard in terms of the materials used and the artists and craftsmen employed. The Sutras comprise ten extraordinarily high-quality albums of the Prajnaparamita Sutra [Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom], handwritten and illustrated in gold ink on indigo-colored paper that has been treated on the upper side to obtain a shiny black, lacquer-like surface.
Overall, the firm’s spring 2018 Hong Kong auction series concluded with a grand total of $466.5 million, against a presale estimate of $353/495 million and with a combined sell-through rate of 89 percent.
For information, Phone: +852 2524 8121 or www.sothebys.com.
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