The History of Munju Bosatsu From Heinrich Von Siebold Collection

The imposing statue of the Bosatsu, which was created for a large, previously unknown Buddhist temple in Japan, was manufactured on the basis of the stylistic characteristics about 1830.

Heinrich von Siebold (1852-1908), the second son of the Japanese scholar Philipp Franz von Siebold, brought it about 1880 to Vienna. He came in 1869 in his early years to Japan, where he found a position at the Austro-Hungarian embassy in Tokyo. At that time, Japan was in every sense of upheaval. Many Buddhist temples were closed and fell gradually. Buddhist paintings, sculptures, ritual objects and Others were destroyed or sold cheap. Many foreigners took advantage of the hour. Even Heinrich von Siebold collected with care and expertise, not only in their own interest but also for the emerging Viennese museums. Since the Vienna World Exhibition of 1873, where he worked as an interpreter of the Japanese delegation, he had the best contacts there. Since the market in Japan, he as good as any other, knew there were agreements with other major museums, for ethnographical collections they purchased.

As early as 1883 in Vienna was the first exhibition of his collection, which he would then sell to the Austrian State. After his offer was rejected, he left the state one of the exhibits as a gift. Since the lists and files from this time are not preserved, one can not say precisely whether the statue of the Bodhisattva was found included. What is certain is that it bears the still existing inventory number 3859 of the Oriental Museum, which was from 1875 to 1886 and was subsequently renamed “Austrian Trade Museum. In the inventory of 1892 are inter alia “Three Buddhist sculptures” mentioned, which could include the Bosatsu.

In 1905, a major exhibition of the Viennese collections held in the Museum of Art and Industry, entitled “Exhibition of older Japanese art” takes place, when the statue was displayed at a central location, referred to here only as a “figure of the Buddha.”

In 1943 the figure reached in exchange for a large number of objects in the collection of Anton Exner, who was known in Vienna as an art dealer and expert on Asia, after the relocation of the son Walter Exner to Frankenau, and later to Bad Wildungen. A wider audience, it was shown in 1956 on the occasion of the Buddha-anniversary year in the exhibition in Frankenau “2500 years of Buddha and Buddhism.” From 1964 to 1977 it was part of the permanent exhibition at the Museum of the Asia-Exner Family in Bad Wildungen.

Unforgettable are the two major exhibitions in Darmstadt 1973 “East Asian Art – collection called Exner” – for the first time as “Monju Bosatsu” and 1978 in Krems on the Danube “4000 years of East Asian Art”, where this figure was much admired.

Finally, Mr. Walter Exner had to close the exhibition rooms in Bad Wildungen and break down its collections. In 1984 he sold the statue of Monju to the Viennese art dealer wave.

For the exhibition of 1990 Hidden Impressions, Japonisme in Vienna from 1870 to 1930 at the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK), the former trade museum, the statue of Monju, shown as a loan from the Kunsthaus Zacke, again in a similar ensemble as in 1905.

Finally, we find in Oct. 1994, the statue in the catalog of the auction house Dorotheum, Vienna, offered for sale. The award brought 3.2 million Austrian schillings (about $ 300 000 ), according to press reports of the highest ever offered for a Japanese Buddha statue price. The figure, however, was never picked up, name and address of the alleged buyer was unknown.

At the initiative and through the mediation of Dr. Cornelia Morper, expert in art and antiques from East Asia, Würzburg, and after protracted negotiations could Constantin von Brandenstein-Zeppelin, president of the Siebold Company, the figure from the Vienna art market and repurchase them for as the descendants the family Siebold, for Würzburg and the public receive.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Dan Krueger

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