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These Asian outings were characterised by a healthy interest across the board, but Christie’s had the highest grossing sale totals in each category and boasted million-dollar works in both their Fine Chinese and Japanese and Korean auctions.

However, literally standing a head and shoulders above all other entries in Sotheby’s (20/12% buyer’s premium) 204-lot Indian and Southeast Asian Art outing on March 24 was this striking life-size Gandharan grey schist Buddha dating to the 2nd/3rd century AD.

The monumental 5ft 2in (1.58m) high figure was not only notable for its size but also for its quality, condition and provenance. Unlike most Gandharan figurative sculpture, the Buddha’s serene and beautiful face with its downcast eyes, bow-shaped lips and high arched eyebrows had largely survived intact and, unusually, he had one remaining arm and hand in which he held the looped end of his heavily undercut draped robe.

Consigned from a private Italian collection, it was contested by two European privates, two US privates and an American dealer, but sold on the telephone to an anonymous buyer who tendered $650,000 (£359,115) for ownership. “Most people felt it required a museum space [to display it properly] and a lot of private collectors were looking to purchase it to donate it to a museum,” said Sotheby’s Indian and Southeast Asian specialist Robin Dean. Overall, 62 per cent of entries sold to the tune of $2,61m (£1.44m).

Exchange rate £1 = $1.81