Unique Asian and Oceanic collection goes under the hammer

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 28th May, 2015

More than 850 lots of oceanic and Asian works of art belonging to 92-year-old Mark Lissauer will go under the hammer from 11am Sunday May 31 at Leonard Joel 333 Malvern Road, South Yarra.

Lissauer has dedicated almost his entire adult life to collecting and researching niche ethnographic material – reflected in this magnificent and unusual collection, regarded in Australia as one of a kind.

A veteran traveller of more than 40 countries – and fluent in five languages – he acquired his first tribal artefact in 1948 while on a business trip to New Guinea.

This sparked an affinity for the importance the local tribes attributed to their ancestral roots and its subsequent personification in their indigenous arts.

Accumulated over 65 years, the Mark Lissauer collection is a rare combination of two diverse categories – Asian works of art and oceanic and tribal artefacts – and serves as a veritable road map of the regions he visited and the tribes he encountered.

Over the years, Lissauer documented the acquisition of some 35,000 items, several thousand of which he has sold to important international private collections including the Rockefeller and British Museums, and the Musée National des Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie (now incorporated into the Louvre Museum).

The auction is divided into several categories – Himalayan and Southeast Asian Works of Art, Japanese Works of Art, Indian and Islamic Works of Art, Chinese Works of Art, Indonesian and Malaysian Works of Art, and Oceanic and Tribal Works of Art.

Each section has its own attractions – the Himalayan including a silver and brass phurba, a Tibetan silver and honan jade ceremonial cup, an elaborate silver mandala, an elaborate Tibetan lady’s head dress and a heavily gilded 16th century boy caryatid.

The Japanese section includes a 19th century ancestor shrine, framed painted scroll and lacquered paulownia wood hibachi.

A bronze ceremonial bhuta body mask is a feature of the Indian section, along with a large brass ceremonial boar’s head from Karnataka and a figure of Bala Krishna Kaliya.

China has an elaborately carved ivory fan as a major drawcard, a large Suzhou embroidery and a range of important porcelain vases and bowls.


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