Friday, 9 September 2011

Swiss Exhibitition Features World-Class Archeological Forgeries

stewarth99 has sent me the link to this article Matthias Schulz, 'Swiss Exhibit Features World-Class Forgeries', Der Spiegel 09/02/2011 (translated from the German by Christopher Sultan):
A current exhibition in Neuchâtel, Switzerland features the most outrageous frauds from the world of archaeology, from fake skulls to dragons made from the remains of sting rays. [...] The show at the Laténium archeology museum includes busts of pharaohs produced in the winding alleys of Cairo, imitation Etruscan vases and gilded druid sickles, all made with the intention to deceive. "L'âge du Faux" ("The Age of Forgeries") brings one into a shadowy world of criminal artists, dealers in stolen goods and scientists so filled with ambition that they quickly allowed themselves to be fooled. [...] Hundreds of forged artifacts and works of art lie hidden in the cabinets of museums in Europe and the United States. The list of fakes is long, and in most cases curators have managed to conceal their embarrassing mistakes.
There is mention here of the Quai Branly crystal skull (probably made in Idar-Oberstein, about 1890), Piltdown Man, the Saitaphernes tiara (made in Odessa by the Jewish goldsmith Israel Rouchomovsky around 1890).

Says one dealer: "The number of forgeries on the art market is constantly increasing, while their nimble-fingered creators almost always remain in the dark."

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