Tibetan statue fetches top bids at Swiss auction

Tibetan statue fetches top bids at Swiss auction
Photo: Koller (Detail)
A golden figurine of a Buddhist deity dating back as many as 700 years has sold for more than 3.24 million francs ($3.4 million) at auction in Zurich, far surpassing its estimate.

The fire-gilt copper statuette of the many-armed Pancaraksha goddess was bagged over the telephone by a Chinese bidder for 19 times its estimate, auction house Koller said on Thursday.

The auctioneer said the sale price was among the highest ever for a Tibetan statue.

The statuette, described as being from the Nepalese school, was crafted in the 14th or 15th century.

Koller said the 32-centimetre (almost 13-inch) figurine had attracted the attention of no fewer than nine Chinese buyers and one Briton when it was auctioned off along with other Asian art last month.

The Swiss collector who offered the Tibetan statue for sale also made a tidy sum on a 14th-century bronze from Nepal that raked in more than 600,000 francs, far more than its 90,000 franc reserve.

 At the same auction, where sales totalled 7.5 million francs, an 18th century Indian miniature shot past its 5,000-franc estimate to fetch more than 200,000 francs.

Once a backwater of the international market, Asian art has boomed in popularity.

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