Monday, October 09, 2006

Buddha sculpture goes for $15 mil

A rare bronze sculpture of the Shakyamuni Buddha was sold for $15 million dollars at a recent Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong. The sale price was an auction record for a Chinese work of art, excluding ceramics, and almost doubled pre-sale estimates.

Bloomberg notes that interest has shifted to traditional artworks and away from Chinese contemporary art, a recently fashionable area for collectors.

``China's Old Money has come out in force to buy the antique ceramics and the bronzes,'' said Lawrence Schiller, a film director and art collector, who bid at the auction. ``There are too many Chinese contemporary art pieces in the market, and buyers are wary about paying too much for them.''

The bronze statue of Shakyamuni Buddha was purchased by a businessman from the Chinese mainland who will display the work in a temple or gallery for one year. The question of whether the artwork, which had been in European hands, would be reclaimed by a Chinese buyer was definitely answered.

For anyone seeking a little background perspective on this topic, please see the post on "Tangible invesmtents".