Buddhist Tapestry Fetches $1.5 Million at Sotheby’s Asian Art Sale in New York

Qing dynasty Tibetan Thangka (18th century) Photo: Sotheby's

A finely embroidered Buddhist thangka was sold for $1.5 million at Sotheby’s, New York on Wednesday. Estimated to sell for between $80,000 and $120,000, the artwork fetched 15 times the expected price.

The 18th century Qing dynasty thangka hung in an Arizona home for decades. The artwork was bought by the collector Wilton D. Cole and his wife in 1971 and passed down to their children, who were reportedly unaware of the artifact’s value.

Antiques and the Arts Weekly reported that six potential buyers fought to secure the thangka in a protracted bidding war that lasted several minutes. Eventually, a private collector from Asia landed the artwork with a winning bid of $1,510,000.

The sale took place at Sotheby's, New York and attracted strong interest from Chinese buyers. Photo:Christopher Sadowski via The New York Post

The sale took place at Sotheby’s, New York and attracted strong interest from Chinese buyers.
Photo:Christopher Sadowski via The New York Post

The piece was the highest selling work in Sotheby’s Asian art auction titled Images of Enlightenment: Devotional Works of Art & Paintings, and the best performing lot at New York’s Asian art week.

The two day sale, which totaled $$6,930,125, included works from Buddhist and Daoist art from Nepal, Tibet, Kashmir, Mongolia, and China, and generated a very high interest from Chinese collectors.

Other strongly performing lots included Tang dynasty Chinese grey stone head of a bodhisattva, which was hammered down at $670,000; and a 15th century Tibetan bronze Nagaraja figure, witch was sold for $250,000.

In November, a similar thangka broke the world record for Chinese art after it sold for $45 million at Christie’s, Hong Kong.

Related stories:

$45 Million Tapestry Breaks World Record for Chinese Art

Discover The Top Chinese Art Collectors and What They Really Buy

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