Sten Krook, the legal specialist, developed a passion for beautiful objects including bronze figurines from Asia at an early age, when he often accompanied his mother – Xenia Krook – on her travels. They shared an interest in exploring foreign countries and collecting Oriental arts and crafts. During the period 1930–80, they travelled repeatedly to China, India, Nepal, Hong Kong and Thailand, as well as visiting many countries in Europe.
Xenia Krook was born in Denmark in 1892 to a family with a passion for archaeology – which would also influence Sten Krook's interest as a collector. The intricacy of the craftsmanship and the visual quality were the guiding concepts in Xenia and Sten's collection. The items are a fascinating mix of religious figurines from different centuries – between the 1400s and 1800s – made of different materials from a variety of countries including China, Tibet, Nepal, India and Japan.
The 50 or so Oriental objects represent a selection that reflects the enquiring minds, inquisitiveness and sense of quality of two generations. The collection provides us with a wonderful opportunity to study authentic items linked to the development of Buddhist art. Numerous perspectives and approaches are applied; the figurines open doors to a host of interesting areas and issues in the fields of culture, religion, history and anthropology.
The first depictions of Buddha/Siddhartha are to be found in North-Western India and Pakistan around 100 AD, i.e. 600 years after his death. The style was heavily influenced by Greek and Roman art – due to Alexander the Great's eastern campaign – but also references the traditions of Indian sculpture. Several centuries later, the image of Buddha has taken on its classic design, with his hands in various symbolic positions ("mudra"), which vary depending on the type of Buddha represented. Buddha is most commonly shown sitting in meditation ("dhyana") on a lotus flower. The function of the Buddha figure was to help the viewer visualise the path to enlightenment. Buddhist art spread with the missionary monks, and took on regional peculiarities depending on the local traditions of craftsmanship and the availability of suitable material. The plentiful access to wood in Japan resulted in the production of a great many fantastic Buddhas in lacquer. Correspondingly, areas such as Tibet and Nepal – where wood was scarce – produced religious figures made of different metals including bronze. Within the Buddhist canon there are many other male and female religious figures, such as Bodhisattvas, Taras and Lamas. These holy figures can be identified by studying the iconography, i.e. the symbolism behind decorations and body positions.
Fine Art & Antiques
Viewing 28 May-8 June
Auction 9-12 June
12 June Oriental Ceramics & Works of Art
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