Buying Buddhist Statues

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There is a large range of buddhist statues for sale on Ebay and the opportunity to pick up items at great value. With the chance of bargains also comes the chance to waste money on non-genuine items, items that are incorrectly titled, and reproduction items that are listed as rare or antique.

Examples:

  1. Many items are listed as coming from Tibet when in fact they come from other parts of China, India and other Asian countries. There is nothing wrong with non-Tibetan items per se, but take care in paying for an item that is listed as Tibetan when it is not. Most items come from China, Nepal, India, Thailand - few are genuine Tibetan items.
  2. Beware of items listed as "Gilt." many of us regard te term "Gilt" as meaning an item covered or adorned with a thin-layer of gold. Statues are often listed as "Gilt" but are simply painted with a gold-coloured substance. It is not always easy to tell the difference but the accuracy of the plating (its detail) is a good starting point. Those items that are sprayed with a gold coloured substance often lack the definition or detail. Price is also a guide. Lastly, do a search on the item title and see how many times it is listed. Check the gilding of all the identical items listed to see if defects are replicated (eg smudging, chipping on the gold coloured areas is a sure sign of mass production).
  3. Claims of "Rare", "Ancient" and "Antique" should not be taken ta face value. Do a search on the item's title and see how many times the exact same "rare" piece is offered for sale! Also look at the seller's record - see if there is any negative feedback based on the authenticity of the sellers statues. Run through some of the sellers sales and see if the same "rare" type statue has been sold before.
  4. Many statues are incorrectly named/titled. If you know the name of the Buddha or Bodhisattva that you want, but don't know what the statue should look like please do some research before bidding. For example if you want to purchase a statue of Chenrezig, do a Google Search and/or a Google Image search on Chenrezig to see what the statue should look like. Otherwise you may buy a statue titled "Chenrezig" and get one that is "Manjushri" for example.

I am happy to offer an opinion to any potential buyers. Good luck, I hope you find a bargain!

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