Auction - Part II of the Stuart Cary Welche Collection: Arts of INdia

Vasudhara Mandala

On May 31, Sotheby’s will auction Part II of the Stuart Cary Welch Collection: Arts of India.

This follows the outstanding total of £20.9 million achieved last month for Part I of the Stuart CSary Welch Collection Arts of the Islamic World which established an auction record for any Islamic work of art and set a record for any single auction of Islamic Art.

A celebrated connoisseur and collector, Stuart Cary Welch's career as a lecturer at Harvard (1960-1995) was complemented by his role as curator of Islamic and Indian Art at Harvard Art Museums spanning over forty years. The 204 -lot sale will comprise many dramatic and exquisite works of great rarity, including Rajput, Deccani, later Mughal, Company School and Himalayan paintings, drawings and works of art, as well as a wide range of more affordable drawings, sketches and decorative arts from the 13th to the 20th century.

Headlining the auction will be an exquisite Vasudhara Mandala, the earliest recorded Nepalese paubha that contains a date within its dedicatory inscription, and was painted in 1365 by Jasaraja Jirili. While nothing is known of the artist mentioned in the inscription, his work remains one of the finest and most important of the relatively small corpus of early Buddhist and indu paintings from the Kathmandu valley. The overall format is typical for Newar painting with the inclusion of ritual scenes and portraits of the painting's donors below. The Buddhist goddess Vasudhara is worshipped in Nepal as bestower of prosperity, and is depicted at the centre of the painting holding emblems of wealth and abundance and symbols of the Buddhist faith.

This example was painted during the reign of the Nepalese Malla king Jayarjunadeva (r.1361-1382) and remains a document to the artistry that made Newar artists famed and sought-after throughout the Himalayan region, and as far afield as the Chinese imperial courts of the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties.

Another auction highlights will be a Monumental Portrait of a Monkey, Mewar, Udaipur, circa 1700.

This large, imposing and very finely painted portrait of a monkey is a rare and important work. The monkey is clearly a pet - the red rope harnesses the animal to a metal ring, and the portrait is highly unusual in the context of Mewar painting.