March 18 saw an ornamental 18th century Tibetan dorge come out surprise top lot at Bonhams' long awaited sale of Indian, Himalayan and southeast Asian art.
The richly gilded ornamental dorge would have graced the altar of an important monastery or personal shrine to remind worshippers that an "indivisible state of being is one's highest potential and ultimate heritage" - according to Robert Thurman and David Weldon's authoritative work on the subject, Sacred Symbols.
It brought $92,000, a 208.3% increase on the item's $30,000 top estimate.
A standing crowned wooden Buddha and a gilt copper representation of the goddess Vasudhara, both from the 13th century, also put in strong performances at the New York sale, bringing $80,500 and $74,500, respectively.
Vasudhara, purveyor of prosperity, certainly lived up to her billing, selling at the top end of her $60,000-80,000 estimate.
Hailing from Tibet, the statuette sits with her right foot cushioned by a plump lotus flower, and is inset with a number of rubies and semi precious stones.
With New York's Asia Week now well underway, investors are looking to gauge the state of the market. Michael Plummer, co-founder of New York art market advisory body, Artvest Partners, explained to newspaper China Daily that the reckless and "feverish" purchasing relating to Asian collectibles had almost completely abated.
He argued that the market had "wised up", adding: "There's a maturity that's entering the market."
For more information on the investment potential of the market, see Paul Fraser Collectibles' free guide to investing in art and photography.
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