On Sunday on the last day of May on a rainy Melbourne day 67 years of very private but deliberate collecting went under the hammer when the reclusive 91 year old Mark Lissauer entrusted Leonard Joel with the dispersal of his entire collection of Oceanic, Tribal and Asian artefacts.
With well over 800 lots on offer attendees at the auction could be forgiven for thinking that they had entered a treasure laden room from the colonial period but in reality what they enjoyed was the result of passionate and educated collecting that found its base in Melbourne. The auction was carefully curated by Chiara Curcio and divided in to six distinct collecting regions; Himalayan & Southeast Asian, Japanese, Indian & Islamic, Chinese, Indonesian & Malaysian and Oceanic & Tribal defined both the catalogue and the story of Mark Lissauer’s collecting.
Here we highlight an auction result from each region.
Himalayan & Southeast Asian:
lot 1016, a striking silver and brass Phurba realised more than six times its estimate to sell for $3,904 (IBP). Of the Japanese items on offer and although only modestly priced, lot 1221 an elegant bronze figure of a Noh actor, sold for $610 (IBP).
Indian & Islamic:
lot 1263, a 19th century bronze Sri Lankan reliquary stupa sold for more than eight times above its estimate for $3,416 (IBP).
lot 1487, a beautifully embroidered Suzhou realised more than three times its estimate to sell for $4,636 (IBP).
Indonesian & Malaysian:
lot 1572, a rather haunting Kalimantan Dayak ancestor figure sold for five times its estimate for $2,928 (IBP).
The Oceanic & Tribal section:
the last offering within the catalogue, was eagerly attended by avid tribal collectors keen to secure the Lissauer provenance. Lot 1674, a Mendi Southern Highlands fighting shield enjoyed one of the most spirited bidding moments when it sold for more than ten times its estimate for $4,148 (IBP). The striking triangular motifs with well preserved red and white painting made it one of the more desirable lots of the auction. And late in the sale, lot 1844, a strikingly simple 19th century Maori Patu Onewa in basalt realised $6,710 (IBP) or double its low estimate.