Buddha Sculpture Sells for $14.3 million at Christie’s

Featured above is a lately exposed wooden sculpture of Dainichi Nyorai or Buddha carrying religious objects sealed in its torso for almost 800 years. It got sold for $14.3 million (€9.07 million) during Christie’s auction, thereby breaking the earlier record set by a Rakuchu Rakugai screen that fetched $1.76 million in 1990. Enjoying the presence in the sphere of Japanese work of art by making a world record, the figurine is accredited to Unkei, measured as one of the two best sculptors of the early Kamakura period in 1190s, when Buddhist art was actively practiced.

It was sold off on 18 March 2008 by Mitsukoshi Ltd. You would be surprised to know that the presale estimate was $1.5-2 million. Made of Cyprus wood, the Buddha is clad in generous attire and is positioned in a lotus position with a tiara and trinkets, and hair in a topknot.

Its whereabouts were unknown until now when it was sold to a dealer of Buddhist art most recently. The identity of the buyer is not to be disclosed. The knowledge of the owner considering Buddha statue to be hollow underwent an X-ray at Tokyo National Museum and it was identified that it carries three memorial items, representing Buddhist cipher viz. a wood pagoda, a crystal pagoda and a crystal ball on a bronze stand.

Buddha Sculpture

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