Author Topic: 1,300-year-old Buddhist temple stone sold for £500,000  (Read 13091 times)

WisdomBeing

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1,300-year-old Buddhist temple stone sold for £500,000
« on: April 26, 2013, 02:10:43 AM »
Just sharing this cool story about the Buddhist temple stone!It is so amazing that it is only one left of seven in the world, and I wonder who bought it. I hope it was a museum which will make this stone available to the public so more people can have access to such a monument (which was a doorstep, can you believe it!! Typical!) It is so important to preserve as much of historical relics as possible as so much have been lost over the years from greed, selfishness or simply ignorance or lack of care.


1,300-year-old Buddhist temple stone used by family as a doorstep sells for £500,000 at auction after BBC's Antiques Roadshow and Sotheby's turned it away
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2313725/1-300-year-old-Buddhist-temple-stone-used-family-doorstep-sells-500-000-auction-BBCs-Antiques-Roadshow-Sotherbys-turned-away.html

  • Ancient temple one tonne stone step one of only seven left in existence
  • Relic had been brought back from Sri Lanka by a tea planter in the 1950s
  • It had been used as a doorstep by the owners, who called it the 'pebble'
  • Seller Bronwen Hickmott now 'plans to go shopping' with the money
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By AMANDA WILLIAMS
PUBLISHED: 20:26 GMT, 23 April 2013 | UPDATED: 06:50 GMT, 24 April 2013
 
An ancient Buddhist artefact discovered being used as a doorstep and valued at £30,000 has been sold for more than £500,000. The granite relic was given to Bronwen Hickmott’s parents by a tea planter who returned to Britain from Sri Lanka in the 1950s. Mrs Hickmott inherited the 2.4m-long (8ft) stone from her mother and father and began using it as a doorstep at her home in Exeter, Devon - affectionately calling it 'the pebble'.


Ancient: This 1,300-year-old Buddhist temple step has been sold for more than £500,000 at auction

But an expert who spotted the one tonne stone in a photograph later confirmed it was actually a Buddhist temple step - up to 1,300 years old.

It was put up for auction with a pre-sale estimate of £30,000 to £50,000 but sold yesterday for ten times as much - £553,250.

Mrs Hickmott said she was 'over the moon' at the sale, and that rival auction house Sotheby’s had previously shown no interest in helping her research the origin of what she called ‘The Pebble’.

And she told how she was also turned down by producers of BBC1’s Antiques Roadshow.

She likened the response of Sotheby’s and the BBC producers to that of shop staff in hit film Pretty Woman who famously refuse to serve Julia Roberts - and miss out on a fortune when she goes on a spending spree.

Mrs Hickmott said: 'They have had a Pretty Woman moment. It was a big mistake. I bet they are kicking themselves now.'

She added: 'We are over the moon. We did not have a clue what ‘The Pebble’ would sell for.

'It was very exciting and as the amount increased we were left speechless and holding our breath.

'I have loved ‘The Pebble’ virtually all my life. I always knew it was something special - but never knew how special.


Relic: Despite once adorning a Sri Lankan temple the intricately carved step had been marking the end of a concrete path outside a bungalow in Sussex

'A few years back when I was trying to research what it was, Sotheby’s turned it down.

'I also tried the Antiques Roadshow but the producers said they knew nothing about it.'

It was not until Sam Tuke, from the Exeter branch of Bonhams, showed the step to the auction house’s art experts in London that its origin was identified.

Mrs Hickmott said: 'That is the first time we realised what we had got in the garden but we never expected it to make anywhere near as much money.

'We shall be sharing the proceeds with our family - our brothers and sisters and children.

'But for now we are celebrating in London. I am going shopping tomorrow.'

The museum piece from the Anuradhapura period, between 400BC to 1017AD, is decorated with carvings of lions, horses, elephants and birds.

It is said to symbolise the four stages life - growth, energy, power and forbearance.

Bonhams spokesman Julian Roup said: 'There was a huge amount of interest so it wasn’t that much of a shock, though we didn’t expect it to sell ten times the estimate.

'The Hickmotts are absolutely delighted. To say that they were astonished is something of an understatement.'
Sri Lanka’s ancient city of Anuradhapura is now a Unesco world heritage site.

It is just one of seven temple steps from the ancient Sri Lankan city of Anuradhapura left in existance today.
The popularity of ancient Eastern art has greatly increased in recent years and the step is expected to sell for a £30,000 to £50,000 when it goes on sale at an auction.

The city of Anuradhapura is the greatest monastic city of the ancient world that dates from the middle of the 5th century BC. It is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

THE ANCIENT CITY WHERE THE STONE CAME FROM

The city has been awarded a UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

It lies 205 km north of the capital Colombo, on the banks of the historic Malvathu Oya.

It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and one of the country's eight World Heritage Sites.

The sacred city was established around a cutting from the 'tree of enlightenment', the Buddha's fig tree.

It was brought there in the 3rd century B.C. by Sanghamitta, the founder of an order of Buddhist nuns.

Anuradhapura, a Ceylonese political and religious capital that flourished for 1,300 years, was abandoned after an invasion in 993.

It was left hidden in dense jungle but now its palaces, monasteries and monuments, is now accessible to visitors once again.

Source: UNESCO





Kate Walker - a wannabe wisdom Being

Big Uncle

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Re: 1,300-year-old Buddhist temple stone sold for £500,000
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2013, 08:07:21 AM »
Wow! The carving is spectacular. I am not sure if you guys realize that Buddhist and Hindu culture seems to encourage the growth of the arts and the development of esthetics. I like this effect that Buddhism has on the people. Well, come to think about it, it is not really just Buddhism or Hinduism but apparent in all religions and cultures that does not restrict the freedom of religious and secular expression. I appreciate and like this aspect of Buddhism and I think Buddhism has one of the most spectacular and creative expression of divine beings, particularly those of the Tantric pantheon. The multi-armed and multi-faced deities simply inspire faith in those that behold them.

WisdomBeing

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Re: 1,300-year-old Buddhist temple stone sold for £500,000
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2013, 10:33:22 AM »
I think that religious art has been popular since the beginning of religion as an easy way for the average person up to the advanced practitioner to learn about, revere or hold the tenets of each faith. Symbolism within religious art has long been a convenient method to convey the teachings of each religion as well as the more direct method of relating stories and parables. Tibetan Buddhism especially is very iconographic specific, with each Buddha representing the aspects and path to enlightenment.

Even without the religious interest, Buddhist art and sculptures have become popular because of their exotic aesthetic and become purely decorative pieces.  Fortunately, because of the generally more relaxed attitude regarding the sacredness of such images, people the world over have a much wider access to the images. So many people in the west have buddha images in their homes just because they like the look of them, and by people placing such holy images in their homes, their homes are blessed. The seeds of dharma are planted, however unwittingly, and will ripen any time in the future.
Kate Walker - a wannabe wisdom Being

Tenzin Malgyur

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Re: 1,300-year-old Buddhist temple stone sold for £500,000
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2013, 01:50:42 PM »
This is definitely a very beautiful piece of stone carving. Can't imagine the effort and time the artist have put into this. I am so curious though. Just how did a piece of such a holy temple end up in the hands of the tea planter who then brought it to Britain. How about the rest of the six pieces, are their whereabouts known? It would be very good if these pieces are returned to the original site so that people everywhere could make a pilgrimage trip there.

Benny

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Re: 1,300-year-old Buddhist temple stone sold for £500,000
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2013, 04:38:01 PM »
Thank you Wisdom Being for sharing this discovery , what a magnificent stone carving. Sad to know that it was not appreciated for its religious significance but rather than a mere piece of artefact or souvenir from some exotic land . Can't imagine the anguish and sadness the Sri Lankan people who worshipped at the temple to see it torn down and sold off piece meal to "tourist" or colonist .   

fruven

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Re: 1,300-year-old Buddhist temple stone sold for £500,000
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2013, 03:24:40 AM »
It is amazing art collectors are willing to pay huge amount of money for ancient arts. They placed so much value on artifacts from the past. To them the value comes from rarity of the objects. For most of us commoners we don't placed much value on them. Even if we receive such items we may put it away as decorative items for home decor or gave them away because without much knowledge it doesn't bring any economic value for a household. We are more concerned with earning a living for our immediate needs.

bambi

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Re: 1,300-year-old Buddhist temple stone sold for £500,000
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2013, 02:06:28 PM »
Wow! To be paid that much for a piece of ancient artifact and not knowing the value and the meaning of the stone was just amazing! I need to go thru my junks and see if I have any old stuff that has any Buddhist iconography.  ;D
Its sad though, to know that there is only 1 piece left and I am also curious to know who had bought it. I do hope that the person who bought it will take good care of it and be passed on for generations. Better still if it is displayed in a museum.

pgdharma

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Re: 1,300-year-old Buddhist temple stone sold for £500,000
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2013, 04:07:53 PM »
Wow, this is such a beautiful and intricate piece of stone carving and is the only remaining piece left. I am just wondering what happened to the rest of the six pieces. It is amazing that art collectors can pay such an enormous price for this piece of artifacts. I hope that the rest of the missing pieces can be found and placed in a museum.

icy

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Re: 1,300-year-old Buddhist temple stone sold for £500,000
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2013, 08:47:49 AM »
I will not be surprised there are more than just one of its kind which could have been smuggled out of the country and sold at a fantastic price.  In which case no matter where they are eventually they will surface if these sacred and holy artifacts are meant for sharing to the rest of the world.  These artifacts may have beneficial information to share and we could learn from history.

Jessie Fong

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Re: 1,300-year-old Buddhist temple stone sold for £500,000
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2013, 12:32:46 PM »
This is a beautiful piece of art. What a waste that it was not appreciated for so long. I am sure you with this price paid for this piece, more of such pieces will sooner or later surface. They may also be just lying around in someone's garden, forgotten and unappreciated.

rossoneri

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Re: 1,300-year-old Buddhist temple stone sold for £500,000
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2013, 05:55:17 PM »
For some it is just a doorstep lying on the ground with people stepping on it every single day. As for others this an ancient piece of art which is from a holy temple 1,500 years ago, which in fact it is. Is good thing that this piece finally been found or recognized by someone. If not it is such a waste for an piece of art like this would be just lying down on as a doorstep. I don't really get it, even it is not a piece from 1,500 years ago i will definitely will not have it as a doorstep. Such a waste as a piece of art.

WisdomBeing

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Re: 1,300-year-old Buddhist temple stone sold for £500,000
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2013, 05:51:34 AM »
One man's meat is another man's poison. i vaguely remember in one episode of the Antiques Roadshow, there was a case where a family used a Chinese looking bowl as a place to store their shoes.  The whole family had been just throwing their shoes into this bowl for years. Then the matriarch decided to get the bowl valued out of idle interest and in the end it was worth a few million because it was a real antique!!

There must be loads of valuable antiques lying around people's homes - which is the premise of the Antiques Roadshow (though they rejected this particular 'doorstep'! Biiiiig mistake!)

Kate Walker - a wannabe wisdom Being

Manjushri

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Re: 1,300-year-old Buddhist temple stone sold for £500,000
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2013, 02:40:45 PM »
Who knew that a slab of stone belonging to a temple could rake in half a million! Goes to show the value people are placing on antiques. As with any other object, you could either see it as gold or copper. There is always two sides to a coin... for some, it may be trash and treated as a doorstep but for some, the price they pay for it does not matter, just so as long as they have it in their possession.

But what an intricately carved piece of art done more than a thousand years ago. Wow. I wonder what tools they used then to carve it.