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Country Group: The Himalayas (Tibet, Nepal, Mongolia and Other)

Item id: 431

This is a special find: it is an early 19thC Tibetan Buddha made of Gold. I bought his a while back from a collector who had gotten it in Mongolia some years ago: it was sealed inside an old wooden Gau Box. It looked different than any of the small gilded bronze tibetan or Mongolian Buddhas I had ever seen; while it is gilded, what is underneath the gilding looked like another color of gold. Late one night I was studying it and couldn't resist and I did what I almost never do: broke open the Gau Box (it was permanently sealed). The piece turned out to be remarkably heavy, and to have the correct look to the underside to be made of high karat gold. About six months ago I came accross an closely related example that looks to have come from the same worksop in the Christie's Amsterdam Catalogue for Novermber 1997: I have included a photo of that Bodhisattva, as well as the description. Mine actually looks a bit finer, plus (unlike the Christie's example) it has not been cleaned. While I do not know the final auction price for that one, my price for this one (while not cheap)is less than half of the estimate of that one. I have seen a few S.E. Asian gold Buddhas, but never one like this from Tibet. He weighs (very approximately) 7/10 of an ounce, and stands almost 1 and 7/8 inches tall. I received an email from one knowledgable person who believed that this may actually be from Nepal, and may be as early as 15'16th century.

Price Range

$0 - $250
$251 - $800
$801 - $1700
$1701 - 3000
$3001 and up
18th - 19th
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