About this auction
Dec 14 + 15, 2016, 10am-6pm CET, Vernissage: Dec 13, 2016, 5pm CET
Hotel Westminster, 13 Rue de la Paix, 75002 Paris, France
Important Gandhara and Early Buddhist Sculptures from a European Collection
Auctionata is honored to present a unique and exceptionally rare group of approximately 40 early Buddhist sculptures with outstanding provenance. The family’s collection was founded in the 19th century by an art-loving industrialist and very open-minded entrepreneur. --- The family established its exquisite and comprehensive collection in cooperation with an extensive network of private and commercial contacts. The Gandhara lots, including some of most rare and highly coveted depictions of the Buddha, have been anchors of the collection since the 1930s, as proven by the thorough handwritten inventory. The vast majority of the documented artworks were acquired with the assistance of several notable advisors who shared close personal ties with the family. Among them are celebrities from the early 20th century, including former Iranian prime-minister Ebrahim Hakimi, and Spanish-born art dealer Lucas-Moreno, who managed a renowned art gallery in fin-de-siècle Paris.
The vast region of Gandhara most highly regarded for its contributions to ancient culture stretches from the Caspian Sea to the Hindukush mountain range, and down to the Indus River Valley. Today, much of the region is located within the boundaries of northwest Pakistan and the Jalalabad district of modern Afghanistan. Gandharan’s strategic position on the continent has been a catalyst for transcultural cultural influx since ancient times, and it became a prominent hub for trade, religion, and art, revealing Indo-Parthian, Indo-Scythian, Indo-Greek and Hellenistic influences alike. The synthesis of foreign styles with Indian forms is typical of the multi-ethnic character of Gandharan art.
Life-sized representations of the Fasting Buddha, seen here as lot no. 7, are exemplary of Gandharan Buddhist art. Such iconic depictions of the Buddha inhabit a distinct position in Gandharan Buddhist art, similar to the more prominent idealized, anthropomorphic image of Buddha. There remain few images of the Emaciated Buddha, employing uncompromised naturalism in the depictions of the body and face, juxtaposed with the stylized treatment of the garments and calm expression.
Sculptural renditions of the Winged Atlas (lot no. 3) from the ancient region of Gandhara show diverse formal compositions and stand in stark contrast to the Greco-Roman tradition of depicting the Titan holding the heavens in his hands. Gandharan figures of the Atlas are regularly composed in a leisurely seated position. Their function as epistyle figures on architectural friezes, however, underlines their visual support of the superstructure, as is the case with the figure in this auction.
The female deity Hariti (lot no. 8) was largely popular in Gandhara, and appears to be well established by the Indo-Greek and Kushan times. Hariti was often associated with the Greek and Roman personifications of abundance and good fortune.
Images of the future Buddha Maitreya (lot no. 13), whose destiny is reincarnation as an instructor of enlightenment in the next age, became increasingly popular when Buddhist art spread from Gandhara to China. The deeply incised lines of the drapery, hairstyle and jewelry are reminiscent of Hellenistic sculptures in the naturalistic attention to anatomical details, and allude to Greco-Roman imagery.
The Siniﬁcation of Buddhist art by the late ﬁfth and early sixth centuries is based on the gradual transformation of Buddhist artworks into something specifically Chinese, and aesthetically based on native Chinese taste. An example of this distinct Chinese style of robe and facial expression is evident in the magnificent limestone figure of a standing Guanyin of the Northern dynasties of the 5t/6th centuries (lot no. 28).
犍陀罗地区（从里海到兴都库什山脉，直到印度河谷）最受瞩目的是其对古文化的贡献， 今指位于巴基斯坦西北部和现代阿富汗贾拉拉巴德区的的大部分地区。 犍陀罗在大陆的战略地位自古以来一直是跨文化的交际催化剂，它成为各国贸易、宗教和艺术交流的一个突出的枢纽，深受印度-帕提亚帝国、印度-斯基泰、印度-希腊和希腊文化的影响， 异国风格与印度文化形式的融合形成了多元化特征鲜明的犍陀罗艺术。
生育女神鬼子母Harit（第8号拍品）在犍陀罗被广泛信奉，于印度 - 希腊和古山时期呈现成熟，鬼子母经常与希腊和罗马代表充裕和好运的人物结合。
五世纪晚期和六世纪初期的佛教艺术的思想是基于佛教艺术逐渐融入了中国悠久的文化特别元素和以中国本土美学为基础的品味，汉地的特征日渐明显，世俗化意味也进一步融入造像中。如一尊壮丽的石灰岩5世纪/ 6世纪北朝观音立像（第28号拍品）体现 了这种独特的中国式长袍和面部表情尤为明显。