Hong Kong sees growing popularity in Himalayan art

According Sotheby, one of the world's largest auction house, there were 3 auctions with more than 60 pieces of Himalayan art held in 2016, making a total sale of $4.8 million (about HK$38 million), compared to only only 1 similar auction in 2012, with total sale of only $1.8 million (about HK$14.5million).

Much of Himalayan art are paintings and sculptures composed of unique symbols and patterns from Buddhism, Hinduism and various tribal cultures.

"There's  growing interest  in Himalayan art in  Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China. But the largest growth is here in Hong Kong," said Fabio Rossi, the owner of Rossi & Rossi gallery.

Founded in London, Rossi and Rossi has handled a lot of antiques and art from the Himalayan region, specifically from Tibet, Nepal, and Kashmir over  the past decades.

Rossi brought over 30 pieces of Himalayan classical art and early textiles to Fine Art Asia this year. Those  include a bronze statue of Avalokitèshvara, a bodhisattva from Nepal in 13th-14th century, valued at about $3 million U.S. dollars (about HK$23.4 million).

Fine Art Asia, a leading international annual art fair in Asia, features Himalayan art from more than seven top international galleries this year.

Gan Ting, 30,  graduated from art school and is now works for an art investment company.

Gan loves Tibetan culture and art work, especially thangka, a form of Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton, silk appliqué, or human skin.

"I like to look into different parts and details of thangka so I can get different meanings from them," said Gan.

The price of thangka increased significantly these years, from a few thousands to a hundred thousands US dollars, Gan told us.

"For example, I saw a  big piece of thangka selling for around $1.8 million U.S. dollars(about HK$14 million) and even a small piece costs $25,000 U.S. dollars (about HK$195,000)," said Gan, "they are too expensive for most people."

Rossi said finding a good piece of Himalayan art is always challenging to the market. The scarce of such art will be one of the reasons that maintains its worth.

A distemper on cloth of a depiction of a Buddhist deity, Vajrabhairava (left), made in 18th Century Nepal, and other himalayan art displayed at Fine Art Fair Hong Kong.
A pair of wooden manuscript covers from 13th - 14th century Nepal.
Bronze figures of standing Maitreya from the Qing Dynasty.

《The Young Reporter》

The Young Reporter (TYR) is an English news publication produced by international journalism students at Hong Kong Baptist University. It started as a printed magazine in 1969. Today, TYR is produced across different platforms.

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