Tuesday 29 May 2012

Collectables from America for China

I sent a comment to a post on Peter Tompa's blog ("We Buy Chinese Antiques"), but he is taking some time to post it and reply. Perhaps the lobboblogger is waiting for his paymasters to rouse themselves so he can ask them what they want him to write...

The American dugup dealers' lobbyist seems worried about the prospect of an organization called "Oriental Heritage" purchasing antiques (not quite the same thing as dugups of course) in the United States and send them to the new markets in China. He says the activities of this firm "underscore the utter foolishness of the State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Cultural Heritage Center’s effort to secure US import restrictions on [illegally exported] Chinese cultural goods" because they "appear to have in fact done little more than help redirect the trade in Chinese art back to China itself". How terrible, slanty-eyed yellow people buying slanty-eyed-yellow-people-heritage bought from under the noses of US collectors. Obviously Lobboblogger Mr T. thinks the Americans should get uncontested first choice of the lot.

 Of course a Tompa blog would not be a Tompa blog without the hint of an anti-American (anti-collector, its the same to him) conspiracy. The firm has a "prominent advertisement in the Washington Post", which informs readers that the firm is “backed up by major investment groups in China” and “has access to tens of millions of dollars of funds instantly”. He sees this as a back-door means by which the Chinese are trying to get their cultural property off the US market and "repatriated".

So who is this institution for which Tompa makes such far-reaching and alarmist claims? Although coineys stress their "research" abilities, it seems this is more of a myth than a reality. I recommend that before Peter Tompa gets himself and others hot under the collar about Oriental Heritage, Inc., he looks at a site called "Fictitious Business Name Statement": File No. 2012-011510 which gives the registered address of this "corporation" (a warehouse on an industrial estate San Diego, CA., 92127) and the name of the person registering it. Hua Zhang is the Principal (and President) of Oriental Heritage, Inc, which has ONE employee. The website is hosted at IP, along with a whole load of other odd businesses, including a Peruvian travel agency and 'Call male Strippers'. My guess is a firm which claims it can instantly get tens of millions of dollars of funds but is actually run from a white tin shed is probably not all that Lobboblogger Tompa represents it as. By the way they also trade Rhino horn and Ivory carvings.

I see no reasons why Eastern Asian antiquities in the US market (there are rather a lot of them)  should NOT be snapped up by the East Asian market. On the other hand, I asked Lobboblogger Tompa, fighting for US "collectors' rights" whether he thinks that in order to protect the interests of US collectors, the US should not impose an export licensing system to keep the best cultural property (of various types) within the US market, and not see it all siphoned off to outside markets of countries with expanding economies at a time when the US economic growth is not looking so great.  That's the question he has yet to answer. What will he write on behalf of his paymasters, the antiquity dealers opposed on principle to export controls on goods like antiquities? 

Does Peter Tompa utilising Oriental Heritage Inc as a bogeyman when stitching together two entirely different matters  evidence the "foolishness' of the State Department, or somebody else's? 


Cultural Property Observer said...

Come now. Waiting for paymasters to rouse themselves? I wish I was being paid to write my blog! Actually, if anyone is more likely to be paid for blogging, I would assume it would be you given the time you devote to this effort. As for me, I actually have more to do than monitor comments to my blog every moment.

Your race baiting is wrong headed too. We are talking about the actual impact of import restrictions on Americans and that alone.

Finally, as for Oriental Heritage, perhaps you should contact them directly before you claim they are a fraud. The fact that the company has one employee and operates out of a warehouse may suggest nothing more than a very lean operation which presumably relies on contractors for help rather than paid employees. I quoted what they state; furthermore if you look at the prices they say they have paid for some individual objects, they are significant.

In any event, there are other better known companies like China Guardian doing the same thing. And no, I don’t think foreigners should be punished by export controls because of the stupidity of our State Department in granting import restrictions on Chinese cultural goods.

Paul Barford said...

You are, are you not, a PAID lobbyist, your blogging clearly is part of your lobbying, ergo...

"have more to do than monitor comments to my blog every moment" indeed so do I yet you saw fit to criticise my "lack of courtesy" that on my blog two weeks ago I did not immediately post your recent comment; just returning the "favour".

So I see you never got an answer from your paymasters about the export licence question.

" We are talking about the actual impact of import restrictions on Americans and that alone"
I beg to differ, you are quite clearly talking about stuff LEAVING the US (for China) not coming in.

"furthermore if you look at the prices they say they have paid for some individual objects, they are significant"
Where's that then? I missed that. Was it in the "rhino horn" section?

Surely export controls on cultural property leaving the US is not "punishing foreigners" as much as protecting the interests of American collectors and museums. In the same way as countries like teh UK have such export controls to keep what is considered important cultural property IN the country (or at least give institutions n the UK to have a second chance at acquiring something which will otherwise be exported).
that has nothing to do with any "stupidity of our State Department" or our Foreign Office, it is a matter of safeguarding the cultural life of our nation.

Otherwise why would anyone in the US care that a load of snuff bottles, lacquer boxes, scrolls and Ming vases heads out of the US market to the Chinese one?

I note Hua Zhang is not a bit interested in buying old coins.

Cultural Property Observer said...

Is this a new form of commenting on your blog? You just respond without actually posting the comments themselves?

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