Thursday, 1 July 2010

More "Antiquity Dealers" give Police a Runaround?

One of the big pieces of news recently has been the recent arrests in Macedonia:
Macedonian police say they have arrested 48 people, including local politicians and archaeologists, in a nationwide crackdown on the illegal antiquities trade. Spokesman Ivo Kotevski says the operation started early Thursday in eight towns, and about 100 artifacts dating from prehistoric to Ottoman times have been seized. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

These archaeologists if guilty of what is apparently alleged will presumably be those that collectors say are "all right really", but just have to hide their views before their "more radical" colleagues (more "radical" being the ones that do not condone looting I guess).

Most of the news coming out is just duplicating the same generalisations from last week. I think though if the photos that are circulating are the actual objects seized, this is going to be a difficult case. The pottery looks looted enough (well, most of it, some of that looks a bit odd, but I am no Thracologist), but the other stuff... The photos of the icons are fuzzy, but aren't they in fact tourist copies? Are they the actual objects seized, or decoration?

The same goes for the metal objects, they look just like the typical Bulgarian fake factory "antiquities" with the same dodgy un-earthy "patinas". Patina out of a bottle if you ask me. The figure in the foreground with the big cat skin apron and contorted position is presumably supposed be pharaonic Egyptian. There is a twee but deformed under-age boozing cupid but probably not podgy enough to tempt the boy-loving pervs that seem to like this stuff when of dubious provenance. The less said about the pottery dildo, the better. There's that ghastly badly-proportioned jug, as for the horse figurine, pure IKEA. The things these foreign collectors buy, Ugh ! If the photos show the items seized by the police in these raids, this really does not seem to be the sort of material anyone will be going to jail for looting. Though they could usefully be locked up for bad taste.

Vignette: nasty-looking collectables destined for the nasty-looking foreign market. (Photo AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski.

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