Asia is home to some of the world’s oldest civilizations and also to the most exhilarating artistic finds. Asian art has been appreciated all over the world, as it offers intriguing insight into the traditions and vibrant history of Asia’s many cultures.
Asian Art is known to depict light and darkness as two sides of the same coin and as belonging to each other, and thus illuminate new ways of looking at this beautiful world. The arts of Asia are as diverse as the continent itself and encompass a whole universe of astounding variety and art lovers find themselves not knowing what is going to appear on the market next. Asian art consists of so many regional styles and periods that it literally collapses under its own weight.
Paintings have long been one of the most admired forms of art. From the magnificent cave paintings from thousands of years ago to the misty landscapes painted by the later artists, Asian art has long sought to express both harmony with nature and inner peace.
The interest in Asian art is said to be at its peak now. Some art lovers are of the opinion that the increased art poaching on the international scene seems to have inspired an urgency that says “buy while you can.” In the West, where the mention of Picasso could fetch millions of dollars, great pieces of Asian art were literally a steal; however, now they are lining up as competition too.
The international Asian Art Fair in Manhattan is a big hit with the Americans and Europeans. Founded in the year 1996, this fair brings together the world’s leading dealers in Indian, Himalayan, Tibetan, Near Eastern, South East Asian and Far Eastern spectacular works of art, and the pieces range from the earliest to the contemporary.
Christie’s, which is a leading fine arts auction house and art business, has seen an increase in sales of Asian art. With its main salesroom being in London, it has offices throughout the world.
Christie’s is reported to have created a record by selling Asian art worth $310.7 million at the spring sales in Hong Kong this week, confirming the reputation of the region as being one of the most promising in a thriving international market.
This was said to be Christie’s highest ever for an Asian sales series. It is also a 58 percent increase from last year. These auctions featured several record results in different categories of artwork, especially with a strong showing of Chinese and Asian contemporary art. “The results of our Hong Kong spring sales highlight the importance of Asia for Christie’s and the potential that this region offers,” said Edward Dolman, CEO of Christie’s International.
A diptych painting by the top Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi Mask Series 1996 No. 6 was sold for $9.7 million, setting a new high for Asian contemporary artwork.
Prices for Chinese contemporary art are at its peak now and this is attributed to the massive rise in demand in Europe and the United States. Almost no price is too high for art pieces that are of impeccable provenance and exceptional quality.
India, like China also has a rich artistic heritage and has been an inspiration for Asian artists for hundreds of years. From the ethereal Buddhist monastery paintings of the 4th Century A.D. to the world-famous miniatures painted for the Mogul Court, over a period of time, Indian artists have developed their own inimitable style of depicting, nature, society and man. The bejeweled maharajahs and the veiled women of Indian art depict a highly-developed culture which combined a joyous celebration of the sensual.
In April, a London auction house has offered a collection containing the “personal dagger” of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, which is estimated at 500000 pounds sterling. This dagger has delicate inscriptions in gold, including “the dagger of the king of kings.” The dagger images Shah Jahan’s love for rare precious stones and fine workmanship but it also reflects his potential for being the greatest warrior.
The huge demand for Asian art is because the West is more aware now, of its intricacy and beauty, and looks at collecting Asian art because of stories concealed in its silence. It is the education one can get from each piece, to learn about the society and the era it represented. Asia’s art is the key to unlocking the secrets of different cultures that are totally different from those of the West and in this era of non-stop activity, opens the doors to a gentler and more contemplative side of life.