Art News & Views

India's First Online Auction of Antiquities

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Mumbai. Pundole's had organised a very successful physical auction of the property from the estate of the late Dr. Jamshed J. Bhabha on 12th and 13th October, 2011 in Mumbai and following it India's first online auction of antiquities was powered by Saffronart and the auction was conducted by Collectibles Antiques (India) Private Limited. The official Consultant for the auction was Natesan's antiqarts (Mumbai) Private Limited. The Inaugural Online Auction of Select Indian Antiquities started on December 13, 2011 and closed on December 14, 2011.

A total of 15 lots were put on auction and all the 15 lots were sold with a total value (inclusive of buyer's premium) of Rs 1,19,76,000. 11 lots were sold above higher estimate.

The highest price went to item number 11, Bhudevi, Granite 13th Century, Chola Dynasty Tamil Nadu, Height: 60.6 in (154 cms), which sold for Rs 22,80,000. This Chola sculpture represents "Bhudevi" or mother earth, one of the two Consorts of Lord Vishnu. In this sculpture, Bhudevi, who signifies fertility, is seen standing gracefully in a tribhanga posture. Her conical crown, typical of Goddesses is well-proportioned in relation to her face. Flat necklaces, bracelets and arm bands carved in the typical Chola style adorn her body. Her hips are wrapped in a dhoti, the folds of which cascade down to her ankles in parallel waves. The thin robe clings on to her body. The vestment is held at the waist by an ornate belt tied with a narrow U-shaped loop of the sash that hangs from the waste-girdle. Her right hand is unfortunately missing.

Most ancient sculptures were carved only on the front side. The reason being they occupied niches in ancient architecture thus making the backside invisible. The more important ones used to be carved in the round. On the backside of this sculpture the siraschakra, waist belt, and crown are well carved out.

This graceful sculpture is pleasant and auspicious and an important work due it's age, aesthetics, subject and grand scale.

The next high priced item was lot 6, Padmavathy, Red Sandstone 10th Century, Uttar Pradesh, Height: 34.3 in (87 cms), which was sold for Rs 19,20,000. The sculpture is from the personal collection of Late Col. Raj Kumar Tandan. Padmavathy is the most popular Goddess in Jainism. She is the protecting Goddess of Parsvanatha, the twenty third Tirthankara.

The iconographic depiction of Padmavathy is that of a four armed figure holding specific attributes and seated with her left leg raised in lalitasana. This posture can be seen in this sculpture. Her upper right hand bears a goad whereas her upper left hand holds a noose. Her lower left hand can be seen holding a citron (fruit). The lower right hand which is held in abhaya mudra also holds a rosary between the fingers. She is seated on her vahana, the kukutta-sarpa, a serpent with the head of a rooster. A seven hooded serpent forms a canopy above her head. She is also known as Kamalavati, or the one with a red complexion. It is quite a coincidence that the colour of this stone also happens to be reddish.

This sculpture is large and has a great three-dimensional effect. The face has a reassuring smile. The fingers holding the attributes have been carved in a delicate manner. One can't fail to notice the way in which the toes of the raised foot curve inwards naturally. Two attendants can be seen seated on the floor in obedience on either side. The exceptionally rare subject, great quality, depth and age make this sculpture a very important work from the Central Indian region.

Lot 12, Bhairava was sold for Rs. 8,85,000 and lot number 1, Head of a Bodhisattva was sold for 8,76,000.

The Government of India passed the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act in the early 1970s, to reduce the growing threat of illegal export of antiquities. Though, the Act was misinterpreted and this misinformation let to a slowdown in collecting and exhibiting antiquities within India.

Tags: antique

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art etc. news & views is a monthly magazine published from India in order to promote art and culture. It intends to raise awareness about art all around India and the world. The magazine covers art exhibitions, auction highlights, market trends, art happenings besides Antique, Collectibles, Fashion, Jewellery, Vintage, Furniture, Film, Music and Culture.