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Unique 600-year-old Buddha statue valued at more than $3 million

A remarkable 600-year-old Buddha statue could fetch more than $3 million at auction in Hong Kong next month.
The 15th century sculpture is the star lot of the Bonhams ‘Images of Devotion sale’, which features rare Eastern religious relics dating back more than 1,000 years.

Made from a gilt copper alloy and inlaid with semi-precious stones, the statue depicts Akshobhya, the Buddha of the East.

As the only known example of its kind, the exceptionally rare statue will be offered for sale on October 3 with an estimated value of HK$15,000,000 – 25,000,000 (US$1.9 – 3.2 million).

"This immaculate bronze of Akshobhya points to a special commission – possibly unique in its use of incised and inset techniques to replicate textile patterns," said Edward Wilkinson, Bonhams Global Head of Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art.

"The robe’s hemline features large engraved floral roundels inspired by the luxurious gold-brocaded silks dispatched to prominent Tibetan monasteries as gifts by the late Yuan and early Ming imperial courts.

"The bronze perfectly exemplifies a special period in Tibetan art history when patron and artist strove to achieve greater refinement and elaboration, making it one of the most beautiful Buddha images from Tibet."

The statue is just one of many rare and important artifacts heading for the block in Hong Kong.

Further notable lots will include an even older statue – The Sonnery Kurkihar Buddha – which originates from the Pala Empire of Northeastern India in the 11th century.

Described as "the most important Pala bronze to be auctioned in recent memory", the copper alloy and silver inlaid statue is expected to sell for HK$8 – 12 million (US$1 – 1.5 million).

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