Treasure trove of Asian art discovered under the stairs of Scots house


Bonham’s auctioneer Katherine Wright was captivated by this Buddha figure

MORE than 100 gold and bronze statues have been found under the stairs and in the wardrobe of a Scots house.

The haul, worth more than 150,000, was discovered by experts from auction house Bonhams.

The 122 rare Asian items included statues of Buddha, bronze dragons, various ancient deities and Ming vases, with some dating back to the 15th century.

Antique specialists discovered the treasurer after receiving a call from a widow in Morningside in Edinburgh.

The mystery seller had initially only contacted the auction house to sell a censer – or incense burner – which made 10,000.

But then she decided to invite the team to check out a few more items which was when the treasure trove of statues was found.

Her husband had gathered the collection over 40 years and stowed the statues under the stairs and in the wardrobe.

The prized collection is one of the largest Edinburgh experts have ever come across

The find was described by the head of Asian art at Bonhams as

“the biggest collection I have ever come across.”

Ian Glennie, head of Asian art, said:

“We went to the house and there were a few pieces on the table. We asked if there was anything else and she said we could take a look under the stairs.

“It was full of beautiful items, just like an Aladdin’s cave, and they must have taken a lifetime to collect.

“Then we looked in a six-compartment wardrobe that too was stuffed full of Buddhas and deities.

“It is rare to see a couple of these together, so to find 122 stunning items was amazing. If we’d found two I would have been quite excited.

“I’ve been working in this job for 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like it. “

He added:

“We’re happy to visit any properties in Edinburgh if anyone feels like they have anything to show us. “

The lot sold for more than 158,000 at auction on Wednesday with a large bronze white Tara – a Buddhist deity – raising 18,000 alone.

The collection included many rare items including a 16-armed Buddha and a

“complete’ Buddha with the bottom still intact.

Asha Edwards, Asian specialist, said:

“Usually you find that these pieces are hollow, but this one is sealed.

“These Buddhas contain prayers or perhaps the ashes or bones of a monk or saint, or the ashes of a book. “

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