Thursday, 5 October 2017

Getty Silver: Attempted (but Failed) Recontextualization: Worth the Effort?

There is a long and involved dissection of what we know of some metal objects in the getty in the latest issue of the International Journal of Cultural Property (Justin Walsh, A Silver Service and a Gold Coin IJCP 2017, 24:253–294) doi:10.1017/S0940739117000169).
Abstract: The published history of a set of silver and gold objects acquired by the J. Paul Getty Museum in 1975 contains an unusual reference to a gold coin, supposedly found with the set but not purchased by the museum. The coin, which is both rare and well dated, ostensibly offers a date and location for the ancient deposition of the silver service. Almost five years of research into the stories of the Getty objects and the coin has revealed important information about these particular items, but it also offers a cautionary example for scholars who might hope to reconstruct the find-spot of antiquities that are likely to have been looted.
One of the conclusions:
we have learned how little we can trust the stories put forward by dealers, even when the objects in question are accompanied by legitimate export documents. It also hints at what was previously known about networks of dealers who worked together to try to move objects into collections, now showing that this might have happened irrespective of whether the objects were actually related to each other. This will be an important subject for future researchers to consider further as they examine the trafficking of illicit antiquities and the possible invention of false relationships to create desire among collectors. Finally, this example shows that even the presence of legitimate export documentation is not clear proof of a licit origin. In this sense, a failed recontextualization is valuable mostly for showing what we still have to learn about what we do not know.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.