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A Sino-Tibetan gilt-bronze figure of Maitreya with a Yongle mark, which sold for $330,000 ($402,600 with buyer's premium) at Concept Art Gallery.

Sino-Tibetan gilt bronze Bodhisattva on Lotus Base tops $400K at Concept Art Gallery

PITTSBURGH — Concept Art Gallery enjoyed a sensational result in its June 8 sale. Estimated at $300-$600, a Sino-Tibetan gilt bronze bodhisattva hammered for $330,000 ($402,600 with buyer’s premium). Complete sale results are available at LiveAuctioneers.

The buyer will be hoping they have bought one of the celebrated series of bronzes cast in the imperial foundries during the reign of the Yongle emperor (1403-1424). The third ruler of the Ming dynasty maintained a very close affinity to Tibetan Buddhism and throughout his reign, and numerous Buddhist images made in Beijing were sent as gifts to high-ranking lamas and dignitaries. The remoteness of the Tibetan plateau, combined with the reverence in which these images were held, meant many pieces survived largely untouched prior to the Communist invasion of Tibet.

The subject of this piece, seated in dhayanasana on a double lotus throne, is Manjushri, the bodhisattva associated with the wisdom of Buddha who wields a sword to cut down ignorance and duality. It has a six-character Yongle mark inscribed just above the pedestal, and is engraved to the base with the protective visvavajra symbol.

Helping to fire interest in the piece was its provenance. It came for sale from the estate of Paul G. Benedum, Jr. (1931-2023), the son of Paul G. and Willeen Ludwig Benedum and the great-nephew of the legendary Pittsburgh oil man, Michael L. Benedum (1869-1959), who left a fortune exceeding $100 million.

The buyer’s premium was 22 percent.