| 22 April 2024, Monday |

Rare Chinese Buddha statue up for auction at Bonhams in Paris

A priceless Chinese Buddha statue that was discovered in a French family house and was formerly considered to be lost is scheduled to be auctioned off on June 13 in Paris and is predicted to bring in 1 million euros ($1.1 million).

The item is an extremely rare wood figure, a religious sculpture representing the Buddhist Bodhisattva Guanyin, made in the 12th–13th century under the Jin dynasty, according to auction house Bonhams.

Over a metre high, the piece was last sold in the 1930s to a family in Boulogne, a suburb near Paris. The family wishes to remain anonymous.

Large sculptures such as the one to be sold were originally made for Buddhist temples.

The head of Bonhams Chinese art Caroline Schulten said the family was unaware of its value until they called her up for an estimate.

“It was passed down in the family to the present generation, and it had been sitting in a private home,” she said.

“What has happened since then (the last sale) is that it has lost the fingers of the one hand…because they were clearly there when it was sold in 1932. So in between, I was told there were children playing football around it, so things happened, quite clearly,” Schulten added.

Bonhams auction house says there are likely only a handful of such pieces left in the world, which are mostly in museums.

“This is one of the few that has survived, so it’s quite possible that there are more pieces from this group that are still around in France or maybe in Belgium or Switzerland. And it’s quite exciting to think that maybe the sale of this figure or the publicity around it will generate more people looking at home and realising that ‘We’ve got a figure like that’,” said Schulten.

  • Reuters