Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Turning a Blind Eye

There has been over the past few days a whole series of posts on Looting Matters on the investigation in Geneva of the stock of Japanese antiquity dealer Noryioshi Horiuchi. Following so quickly upon the revelations about certain items bought by a national museum in Spain, David Gill asks:
Has the time come for dealers to move away from simple searches on the Art Loss Register (ALR) and other databases? Instead, should they adopt a more rigorous ethical position and insist on properly documented collecting histories that can be traced back to the period before the 1970 UNESCO Convention? Dealers and auction-houses could ignore the issue. But those involved in the trade also need to remember the adverse publicity that can be generated by turning a blind eye.
I would add "collectors" to that. It is they who decide what will sell, and what not. If they would show more concern for the hygeine of their collections than they do, dealers would have a hard time finding a market for illegally excavated items. It is widespread indiscriminate collectin which is behind the commercial sucess of looting. These collectors are the real looters of the archaeological record.

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