Understanding the Misunderstandings Pt 1 – Buddhist swastika

Even if you are not new to “the auction game,” antique collecting can throw you a curve ball now and again.  While browsing lots or even looking at your own property, you may have thought, “I wonder what this design element means?” or “Should I in fact bid on this lot?”  Michaan’s Auctions Specialists and staff make it their business to keep you informed on making smart moves at auction as well as with your property.  Our staff members have shared some prime examples of understanding the misunderstandings relevant to their departments.

Asian Art Business Manager Kim Jee:
“One of the most commonly misunderstood symbols in Asian works of art is the Buddhist swastika.  It bears a resemblance to the Nazi Hakenreuz, but upon closer inspection, the Buddhist representation is a clockwise mirror image of the symbol of the Nazi regime.  In fact, the Buddhist symbol was created first and is associated with well being and good fortune.  In Asian works of art, it can often be seen imprinted upon an image of Buddha, as a repeating symbol on decorative borders, on altar cloths, banners and as a decorative element on clothing.”

A Blanc-de-Chine Buddha - the swastika is front and center on his chest

A Blanc-de-Chine Buddha – the swastika is front and center on his chest

Please visit Michaan’s Auctions appraisal event every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Main Gallery located at 2751 Todd Street, Alameda, CA 94501.  This free service is a wonderful opportunity to not only find out information on up to five pieces, but to potentially find out if you are sitting on a treasure!

By Laura A. Baker