A grey schist bust of Buddha
Gandhara region, 2nd3rd century
46 cm. high, mounted
Estimate £35,000–45,000

The Dani and Anna Ghigo Collection

Romain Pingannaud introduces a collection of Eastern art, to be sold at Christie’s this May

The core of the expansive collection of Dani and Anna Ghigo is formed by the Southeast Asian sculpture, which comprises more than 150 pieces and spans centuries of Thai and Khmer history. It includes the best examples of Buddhist art from that region, extending to Indian and Himalayan works of art. It is the first time in decades that such a collection is offered in London.

The collection of Dani and Anna Ghigo will be offered over two days. Part I on the 11 May will feature the curated selection of Southeast Asian, Himalayan and Indian sculpture whilst Part II on 12 May will offer European furniture and tapestries, carpets, and Chinese and Japanese art.

A bronze figure of the seated Buddha, Thailand, Ayutthaya period, 17th century. Estimate £20,000–30,000
A bronze figure of the seated Buddha, Thailand, Ayutthaya period, 17th century. Estimate: £20,000–30,000

Discovering the collection for the first time in our warehouse in Acton, I was impressed by the vast number of pieces, which, though diverse, formed a perfectly cohesive group. From the twenty or so exquisite Tibetan gilt bronzes to the large and very attractive Gandhara bust of the Buddha, my eyes were feasting on the art.

What I had never realized before was the exquisite beauty of some of the Thai works. What an experience to find yourself in front of so many mediaeval bronze heads of the Buddha, warmly casting their eyes upon you from the warehouse shelves, with their serene gaze, mysterious smile and the glowing shine of their bronze surface. It reminded me of the well-known series Sea of Buddhas by the contemporary Japanese artist Sugimoto.

As well as being a fantastic opportunity to study Southeast Asian sculpture, this collection gives new and seasoned collectors alike the opportunity to acquire fine pieces with excellent provenance.