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PBA Galleries transports armchair explorers

PBA Galleries to transport armchair explorers to exotic lands March 19

PBA Galleries transports armchair explorers
Plates of ancient Buddhist cave paintings discovered by Aurel Stein during his expedition to Serindia 1906-08. PBA Galleries image

BERKELEY, Calif. – On Thursday, March 19, PBA Galleries will conduct an auction centered on the art and archaeology of Asia with additional items related to world travel and exploration. The sale will include a significant gathering of material, primarily from a private California collection, with over 300 lots featuring rare and important works on archaeological discoveries along the Silk Road in central Asia by Aurel Stein and others; important collections of painting and artwork of East Asia; and accounts of travel and exploration from the Middle East to the eastern shores of Asia. Also, travels through the rest of the world, with much on the torrid zones of Africa, temperate regions of Europe and frozen Arctic climes. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

Aurel Stein’s magnus opus, Serindia, is the full scholarly report of the 1906-08 expedition to central Asia and westernmost China. The complete first edition consists of five volumes including a volume of 175 plates in addition to the 185 plates contained in the three text volumes. The fifth volume is a box of 96 folding maps showing portions of Chinese Turkestan and Kansu from surveys made during Stein’s exploration (estimate: $15,000-$25,000).

The Thousand Buddhas, is an excellent presentation of the cave paintings Stein recovered on the same expedition (above). The ancient paintings found in the cave temples of Tun-huang on the western frontier of China are represented in 33 plates, 12 of which are in color (estimate: $10,000-$15,000).

Two additional featured lots pertain to the Silk Road and the German exploration of the area. Chotscho contains important and a stunning array of plates capturing the artifacts, cave paintings, sculptures and other archaeological materials discovered and gathered during the second and third German Turfan expeditions. Albert von Le Coq shipped to Germany over 360 kilograms (or 305 cases) of artifacts, wall-carvings and precious icons, which were subsequently destroyed by a British bombing raid during World War II (estimate: $8,000-$12,000).

Altbuddhistische Kultstätten in Chinesisch-Turkistan. Bericht über archäologische Arbeiten von 1906 bis 1907 bei Kuca Qarashar und in der Oase Turfan is the important account of Albert Grünwedel’s expedition to Central Asia, the third such German expedition to Turfan in 1905-07 (estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

PBA Galleries transports armchair explorers
Maps of the Mediterranean from Henri Michelot and Laurent Bémond’s ‘Nouvelle Carte des Côtes de l’Ocean.’ PBA Galleries image

Other highlights of the auction include: Nouvelle Carte des Côtes de l’Ocean..., by Henri Michelot and Laurent Bémond, 1715-1723, with 14 double-page engraved maps and charts, largely dedicated to the Mediterranean (estimate: $7,000-$10,000); James Bruce’s Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile is one of the key accounts of the exploration of Africa, being his narrative of a solo journey into the heart of Abyssinia (estimate: $4,000-$6,000); Adam Olearius’ account of his travels as ambassador of the Duke of Holstein to Muscovy, Persia, India and the Far East, with an important series of maps (estimate: $8,000-$12,000); and the first American edition of Henry M. Stanley’s In Darkest Africa, in three-quarter morocco and vellum and signed by the author (estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

PBA Galleries transports armchair explorers

The sale will begin at 11 a.m. Pacific Time.

For more information, contact PBA Galleries at 415-989-2665 or

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PBA Galleries transports armchair explorers