In 2017 at ROADSHOW’s St. Louis event, Asian Arts appraiser Robert Waterhouse was approached by a guest named Ellen, who brought in a broken sculpture that was worth far more than might immediately meet the eye. Ellen said she purchased the figure — which Waterhouse identified as an early-15th-century Chinese bodhisattva — at a garage sale for $75 to $100, but Waterhouse estimated the figure to have an auction value of $100,000 to $125,000. In a recent interview with ROADSHOW, Waterhouse describes the intricate details of the bodhisattva, clarified details only discovered later, reveals its even more impressive present-day value, and explains why it was so difficult to date the sculpture in the moment on set back in 2017.
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