Friday, June 25, 2010

Do Fakes Poison the Market for Looted Antiquities?

A very sobering new article on tomb looting in China, making it clear that a combination of strengthening demand both domestic and international, combined with a culture of official corruption, is devastating China's archaeological sites. As Saddam did in Iraq, the response to increasing looting has been the imposition of the death penalty, but as in Iraq, Draconian measures do not deter effectively if they are not applied systematically.

Nor, apparently, does the flooding of the market with fakes, pace Charles Stanish:

    China's surging interest in antiques is fueled by popular TV shows. On one, the host smashes the piece in front of startled owners if he decides it is fake. Wu blames such shows for raising prices — and false hopes.