The clutch of sales at Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonhams squeezed into a March 19-22 schedule played to the perceived strengths of the New York market.
Early Chinese ceramics and bronzes, art by modern masters from the Indian subcontinent and sculpture and thangkas from south-east Asia dominated.
Sotheby’s 11 auctions provided over half of the gross total and the best-selling porcelain lot, a 13in (33cm) blue and white Xuande (1426-35) mark and period ewer based on a Sassanian metal prototype.
Appearing on the market for the first time in a century, it more than trebled hopes at $2.6m (£1.86m).
Christie’s three-sale dispersal of the Japanese ‘Linyushanren’ collection has done much to correct the financial gulf that existed between early ‘Japanese taste’ material and the pomp of the Qing.
In the final auction, a widely exhibited and published Ding bowl with distinctive splashed ‘partridge feather’ decoration took $3.5m (£2.5m).
All three salerooms posted seven-figure sums for Sino-Tibeten bronzes, with Christie’s selling a 21in (53cm) Shakyamuni Buddha c.1400, rare for its combination of both fire gilding and silver inlay, at a triple-estimate $3m (£2.1m).
Bonhams underlined its strong credentials in this category.
It sold a 2ft 2in (68cm) gilt copper alloy figure of Avalokiteshvara (lord of compassion) that – as mentioned in the sculpture’s extraordinary inscription – was made c.1430 by the hand of a master craftsman, Sonam Gyaltsen, on the completion of the Jamchen monastery in central Tibet. Pitched at $1m-1.5m, it sold at $1m (£715,000).
A large 13th or 14th century Shakyamuni Buddha attributed to the lost Khasa Malla kingdom, also made $1.15m (£820,000) as part of the Swiss ‘Maitri’ collection.
Bonhams’ premium-inclusive total of $16.96m was the firm’s best in 10 years of selling during New York Asia Week.
The two top prices of the series were paid for post-war paintings.
A 1968 Zhang Daqian ink and colour scroll made $4.9m (£3.5m) as part of the Chew family collection at Sotheby’s and Tapovan, and a 1972 oil by the Bombay Progressive painter Syed Haider Raza sold at Christie’s for $3.7m (£2.65m).