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Easily surpassing its estimate of $2500-3500, this Sino-Tibetan gilt-bronze of a serene Amitayus sold for $690,000 (£518,000) at Neal Auction Gallery in New Orleans.

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Numerous bidders contested the gem-set figure that, although undated, was probably made in the imperial workshops during the reign of the Kangxi emperor (1662-1722). The estimate was just $2500-3500 at the auction on November 18.

Kangxi, a devout Buddhist later in his life, lavished patronage on Buddhist institutions with the figure of Amitayus particularly favoured as the god of long-life.

At a substantial 16½in (42cm), this well-preserved bronze is the same size as another sold for a similar sum at Christie’s Hong Kong in December 2010. Another Kangxi bronze of Amitayus will be offered as part of the Rockefeller sale with an estimate of $400,000-600,000.