WHAT is believed to be the first ever selling exhibition of Mongolian sculpture of the 17th and 18th centuries is staged by Mayfair Himalayan arts specialists Rossi & Rossi at Barbara Mathes Gallery on the third floor of the Fuller Building, 41 East 57th Street, New York from March 28 to April 4.
Treasures from Mongolia: Buddhist Sculpture from the School of Zanabazar comprises 26 gilded pieces, all formerly in a private collection and unpublished, certainly never before exhibited. Prices range from $25,000 to more than $150,000.
All the sculptures, which were made for both private devotion and for monasteries, are in fine condition. They range in height from just six inches (15cm) to over 20in (51cm) and in mood from peaceful Buddhas to wrathful gods like the robustly sculpted Vajrapani, protector of the faith.
There has been a growing interest in Mongolian art since the 1995/6 American touring exhibition Mongolia: The Legacy of Chinggis Khan which was put together by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.
The 17th and 18th centuries were a period of cultural reinvention in East Asia, much inspired by Mongol ideas.
Zanabazar (1625-1723) was a direct descendant of Genghis (or Chinggis as the scholars now prefer) Khan. The war gene seems to have passed him by for he was a monk, artist and engineer. He became religious ruler of Mongolia and contributed much to the development of the arts in the country.
It is rare for artists to be identified in Buddhist art and Zanabazar was one of the greatest.
Highly skilful in bronze casting his long career was instrumental in a cultural movement that swept Mongolia, Tibet and the Manchu court of China.
All the sculptures in Rossi & Rossi’s show are from the Zanabazar school.
A catalogue is available at $75 (£40).
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