An Unusual Southeast Asian Standing Buddha, Possibly 19th Century or Earlier
19世紀或更早 東南亞 銅鑄男相菩薩
Standing on a raised plinth holding ritual objects, with a serene and focused expression over the face, a third eye centred above arched eyebrows, ornamented with jewelry, and with a tiered twisted hairdress, evocative of lotus petals
height 39.9" — 101.4 cm.
From the Collection of Robert Stephenson (lots 49-56)
Bob was born in Brantford, Ontario in 1948. After receiving an honours degree in physics, mathematics and chemistry, he pursued a successful career in banking. In 1980, he was transferred from Vancouver to Asia with the Toronto Dominion Bank, and it was there that he fell in love with Asian art. He began collecting Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Korean pieces, and became particularly enamoured with figures of the Buddha, explaining that they gave him a sense of “peace and serenity”. To accommodate his growing collection, Bob began to sell various pieces, and in 1983 he and a friend, Nonny Clemete, established their company Artifacts. When the bank proposed Bob’s relocation to North America in 1984, he opted to trade in his suit and tie for his signature silk-shirt-and-black-pant ensemble, and focused all of his time on collecting and dealing in Asian art. He expanded Artifacts internationally, establishing showrooms in Hong Kong, Brussels, Toronto and Manila, and also opened a factory workshop in Manila where furniture was produced. Bob’s passion for Asian art was enduring, and despite his success in banking, he asserted that “I know I am much happier this way. Maybe I have to work twice as hard, but I am also having twice as much fun doing what I do.” While he amassed an impressive collection throughout his career, perhaps his most prized piece was the Thai Chien Seng Buddha from the 15th or 16th century (lot 54), which can be seen in the portrait of Bob by a renowned Toronto artist.