Page 10 - Maitri CollectionAsian Art Bonhams
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           The Maitri Collection’s owner humbly declines being called a ‘collector’, not
           wanting to put on airs about a grand vision or to be mistakenly placed in the
           same category as lauded behemoths like Henry Clay Frick or John Pierpont
           Morgan. But as Dr. Pratapaditya Pal once told him: if he bought more than
           one piece, he’s a collector; and we’re inclined to side with the good doctor.

           He claims there was little greater design than wanting to be surrounded
           by beauty. And while at first glance, his collection may appear to be an
           assortment of mostly Hindu and Buddhist art from the vast landmass
           spanning Iran, India, the Himalayas, Inner Mongolia, and Mainland Southeast
           Asia, a closer inspection and knowledge of the personality that assembled it
           reveals a deeper unity and consistent thread running through.

           Maitri is a Sanskrit term widely applicable throughout all Indic religions that
           means friendliness, good-will, loving kindness, and benevolence-personified.
           The word’s root and derivatives were propelled to prime significance in
           Buddhist scripture, where maitri is regarded as the first of four sublime
           Buddhist virtues (brahmaviharas), alongside compassion, empathetic joy, and
           equanimity. Maitri is also personified at certain times in Indic religions, most
           noticeably in the future Buddha Maitreya.

           To meet our collector is to immediately meet with gentleness and amiability.
           He is charming, quick to smile, and obliging. Meanwhile, to look among
           the kind expressions of his Thai buddhas, or the reassuring gestures of his
           Nepalese deities, the merriment of his dancing Ganeshas, or the sensitivity
           afforded to his painted birds and baby Krishnas, one sees a unifying spirit of
           maitri throughout the collection.

           Perhaps more nourishing than beauty, the greatest gift from collecting
           antiques lies in its own form of self-expression. By choosing to value a
           certain object over a near-infinite amount of possibilities, the collector affirms
           something he or she believes to be important in the world. And each piece
           in The Maitri Collection is ever a reminder to its owner of the principles of
           affability and generosity that he holds dear and that have served him well
           throughout life. Their gathering is a reminder of the friendships he has
           cultivated with the various esteemed dealers who brought these fantastic
           objects to his attention. It has been a great pleasure for us at Bonhams to
           recognize the mirror of the man in his collection and explore the theme of
           maitri in its various manifestations.

           1  Monier Williams Online Sanskrit-English Dictionary (2008 revision); Buswell
           Jr. & Lopez Jr., The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, Princeton, 2013.

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