Wednesday 22 April 2020

Christie's, What Kind of Toolmarks are These?

A knowledge of the techniques and effects of ancient technology is a great help in determining the authenticity of something represented on the antiquities market as an ancient object, yet is something dealers pay scant attention to, and obviously expect their clients too to not have any curiosity (knowledge or concern) of. So the big auction houses sell items with the scantiest of descriptions and a single photo, worse than many ebay sellers who provide more than one, but in both cases  it is "sold as seen" with no detailed verbal description (or warranty) of what is being sold.

Christies have: LOT401 ANCIENT ART FROM THE JAMES AND MARILYNN ALSDORF COLLECTION, AN EGYPTIAN BASALT PORTRAIT BUST OF A WOMANMIDDLE KINGDOM, 13TH DYNASTY, 1773-1650 B.C. EstimateUSD 8,000 - USD 12,000.... Collection history going back to a diplomatic bag "acquired while on diplomatic post in Cairo, 1950-1953:. But Christie's a propos the vague description + narrativisation: What kind of oddly smoothly-facetted  toolmarks are visible on the forehead and wig of this? And the left eye and left ear? What is it we are looking at, what actually is it that you are selling? Actually.

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