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How much is my Buddha statue worth?

Buddhism is one of the largest religions in the world. This religion is based on the teachings and principles of Buddha. The status of Buddha is likened to a god; those who followed him highly revered him.

Whether you are a Buddhist or not, collecting symbols and statues associated with the Buddhist religion is quite widespread. 

The Buddha statues become symbol of peace, inner happiness, self-realization, and harmony. Therefore, these are more than just artistic pieces but also religious artifacts.

The facial structure, the poses, and the position of the Buddha that is used for making sculptures or statues are critical in its overall symbolization.

Whether you want to invest in them for decorative or religious purposes, it is important to know the value of these art pieces in the market. Each artwork is different. It takes trained eye to be able to assess the difference in each.

Buddha statues comes in all price ranges. From souvenirs worth nothing to record selling $14.3 million

Who Collects Ancient Buddha Art?

There are many avid collectors of Buddha sculptures, statues, and other art forms. Most are drawn by the religious component of these objects. However, there are also a few others who are interested with its rich history. Most Buddhist art pieces are over 2,000 years old; therefore, it provides a glimpse into the evolution of Buddha’s teachings over the years. The diversity of Buddhist deities have also resulted in providing several avenues for appreciation and study.

Those who develop an interest in Buddha (no matter what type of art piece) are also the ones with appreciation for iconography, ideology, and other universal themes.

The Value of Ancient Buddha Statues

The history of Buddhism started in India about 2,500 years ago. Therefore, its popularity extends far beyond those who practice this religion. Any artifacts or art forms associated with it are also held of high value. 

In 2016 a france auction house sold three Buddha sculptures from the 15th-century Ming dynasty for than 6.2 million euros

Aside from the aesthetic and artistic appeal, the value of Buddha is also evaluated for its meaning and symbolism. Before you buy or sell one, it is important to know the meaning and value of a particular Buddha statue based on their gesture and image. There are different gestures, also known as mudra, that are depicted by antique Buddha sculptures or statues. These are as follows:

  • Dhyan or Meditation
  • Namaskara or Greetings
  • Abhaya or No Fear
  • Bhumisparsa or Calling on earth to witness the truth
  • Vitarka – Teaching
  • Karana – Banishing negativity
  • Varada – Compassion and sincerity

What is the Quality?

Quality is an essential component when evaluating Buddhist art. There are a number of factors that determine quality for a Buddhist art. These factors could be anything from the stylistic modeling for the sculpture or statue, skill of the artist, and the rarity of the object.

Sculptures comes in many different styles and some people prefer different styles, but the quality is an essential factor when determine the value of the sculpture.

So, what makes great quality? It is factors like rarity, material used, how skilled were the artist and stylistic modelling

People are buying Buddhist art since they exhibit skilled craftsmanship. The quality, as with any type of antique, can be a significant factor that would impact the price of an item.

Does it have provenance?

An antique item that has a well-documented provenance is going to be valued higher than a similar work with no recorded history or provenance. A documented provenance can also verify the authenticity of the object. Hence, it will further support the object’s value and enable you to sell it for a price that reflects its actual market value. 

In addition, it is also important to understand the laws and protocols associated with the sales of ancient works. Buddhist arts are bounded by international laws so you need to make sure that the item in your possession is not prohibited to be sold outside of its country of origin.

How About the Overall Condition?

Condition is of key importance when collecting art. It has a direct impact on value and should therefore be considered when buying or selling art. Given that most Buddhist art pieces are antique, some might not be in top condition, realistically speaking. If you have an item that has been restored, it is important to consult a specialist to determine how much of the value of the work was preserved in the process.

Authenticity and Signature

There are plenty of replicas of Buddha statues and sculptures out there. When these replicas are made, they are created with the help of published references. Therefore, the front and back of the statues or sculptures are copied but not all the details. An expert in antique Buddhist art can decipher the authentic art piece versus one that is a replica only. 

The design components from the original artwork also contains signature from the artist. Therefore, a professional appraiser will look for any signature from the artist to determine its authenticity. In the absence of the signature, it will be difficult to guarantee the item’s value. However, the signature can cause an item’s value to significantly double, or triple depending on the other factors that are linked to its value.

Which means...

Always take good closeup photos of the back and at the bottom of the sculptures. The appraiser will look for inscriptions and other interesting marks that can tell the date of when it was created. 

High quality images of the hands and feets are also important as these are very hard to model and therefore a good tell if the statue is a replica og genuine

How to Value Ancient Buddha Statues and Sculptures

Valuing antique items such as ancient Buddha statues and sculptures is always a challenge, even for expert appraisers. Several factors are taken into account to determine its market value. To begin with, the historical period from which the art piece has originated from, the style, and the culture have a direct impact on its valuation. 

As already mentioned above, the provenance and quality, along with any presence of signature from the artist, can significantly increase the value of the antique piece. If there is any form of documentation associated with the art piece, they can be a significant addition in your effort to authenticate its value.

Appraisal for Buddha Art

There is a universal appeal and demand for Buddhist art. Therefore, it is not surprising to find collectors who are seeking them. If you own one and wish to make money off of it, it is important to determine the value of your antique piece.

Mearto has experienced and professional appraisers who can help you with appraising these antique items or any types of antique Asian artworks. Make sure you provide proper documentation for the antique items to support the authenticity and rarity of the object.

If you get a high valuation on your buddhist sculpture, it is important to bring it in to a local appraiser or an auction house so an exact value can be set.

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Would You Like to Sell Your Buddha statue?

Mearto offers two opportunities to sell your Buddha statue based on its current fair market value:

Customers with Buddha statue expected to sell for $5,000 or more can take advantage of our complimentary Consignment Concierge service. We will contact leading auction houses on your behalf, collect offers and help you negotiate the terms of a consignment agreement. There is no additional fee or commission for this service.

For customers with Buddha statue valued between $50 and $5,000, Mearto offers an exclusive Marketplace, which is accessed by a number of art, antiques and collectibles dealers around the world. If there is interest in your item, you will be contacted directly with offers through our platform. In the event of a successful sale, Mearto takes a 7% transaction fee.

To learn more about options for selling your Buddha statue through Mearto, please click here.


Lindsey Bourret is the Managing Director at Mearto. In addition to overseeing the daily operations of the business, she also enjoys sharing her extensive knowledge of the fine art and antiques market with our customers through our website, blog, e-newsletter and social media accounts.

Not just Buddha statues...

Mearto evaluates many different items.