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Designer Antiquities: A Current Trend in the Not so Honest Antiquities Trade

Author(s): Karen Bruhns

Year: 2017

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The fine art of creating new or composite styles of (supposed) antiquities has a long and ignoble history, beginning, as far as we know for the Americas, in the 16th century. It appeared again, full steam ahead, with "Tlatelolco Ware" in the late 19th century. Today, with increasing legal controls of antiquities importation and vending, this art has arisen again. Pieces claiming to be one thing while actually being entirely new stylistic creations, given the names of popular, but little known ancient cultures or even entirely made up, exotic, names, are appearing regularly at European and North American galleries. Since so many art historians are determined to be ostriches as far as forgeries are concerned--indeed, their employment often depends on it-- these utterly faux creations have begun to enter what passes as legitimate studies of precolumbian art to the detriment of everyone, save, of course, the dealers.

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Designer Antiquities: A Current Trend in the Not so Honest Antiquities Trade. Karen Bruhns. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430099)


Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 13202

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America