Month: July 2014

Infamous Piracy: How the Lucrative Market for Forgeries is Transforming the World of Fine Art

Center for Art Law


By Emma Kleiner

Stories of art forgeries capture the public’s imagination in a singular way: fascination centers upon the art itself and the disbelief that collectors, galleries, and professionals could have been misled by a fraud. Today, the expanding and profitable international art market has a correspondingly lucrative market in art forgery. While there have always been ways for forgeries to enter the art market, today’s forgery market is enlarged by the ease of creating fake masterpieces coupled with the multitude of sites where fakes can be sold—at auction, through galleries, or online. The negative publicity generated by any involvement with fine art forgeries is usually enough to steer away potential buyers or admirers; however, in a small set of cases the hoaxes or forgeries themselves become well-known in their own right and take on an infamy of their own. While no centralized national or international system for analyzing how…

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Art I Love: H’Mong Woman

Deceptively Blonde

Hmong Woman “H’Mong Woman” by Laos artist Vunhuhai (c) 2013 ~ Oil on Canvas

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Chinese Calligraphy, Painting Exhibition Opens in Albania

“Chinese Calligraphy, Painting Exhibition Opens in Albania”

by Wang Siwei via “Xinhua English News


A woman watches a traditional Chinese painting at a Chinese calligraphy and traditional painting exhibition kicked off in Tirana, capital of Albania on July 25, 2014. About 18 artists from China displayed their masterpieces to Albanians during the exhibition, which will last to July 29. (Xinhua/Wang Siwei)


The Ruth E. Aten World Doll Collection: Americas

The Ruth E. Aten World Doll Collection: Americas 

via “Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology”


Caribb1. Nassau, Bahamas. Junkanoo Doll. 9 ½ “Junkanoo is a carnival-like parade that takes place in the Bahamas on December 26th and January 1st annually. The parade grew out of celebrations held by African slaves at Christmas time. Today, groups of paraders known as Junkanooers compete against each other for cash prizes. Groups range in size from 10 to 1000 people. All group members wear elaborate costumes made from strips of colorful crepe paper pasted onto cardboard that has been shaped into a variety of forms. Junkanoo is accompanied by music performed on traditional Junkanoo instruments such as cowbells, foghorns, whistles, conch shells and goatskin Goombay drums, as well as “modern” wind instruments such as trumpets, trombones and tubas.Given by Nina Wood (student). Nina was from Nassau and arranged for a personal tour guide on one our trips to Nassau. My husband, Bob, and I actually got a chance to see a parade. 1996 Junkanoo Doll, Nassau, Bahamas
Caribb2. St Thomas, Bahamas. Bahamas Girl. 2’ Stuffed cloth dolls with long legs, yarn hair with scarf, polka dotted top and flowered skirt. Given by Ruth Aten. 1995 Bahamas Girl, St. Thomas, Bahamas
Caribb3. Matanzas, Cuba. Black Cuban Doll. 10” Stuffed black cloth doll with pearl earrings, blue and white plaid head wrap and dress with yellow rickrack trim and blue ruffles. Given by John McDowell (faculty). 2000 Black Cuban Doll, Matanzas, Cuba
Caribb4. Nassau, Bahamas. Straw Doll. 16” Woven straw doll with orange straw pom-poms on hat, dress and shoes. Doll was purchase in Nassau at the Straw Market. It was a popular souvenir doll. The famous Nassau Straw Market burned down shortly after this doll was purchased. Given by Ruth Aten from a trip to Nassau. 1995 Straw Doll, Nassau, Bahamas
Caribb5. St. Maarten, Bahamas. Bahamas Lady. 12” Painted wood ball head on dowel frame with wood bead arms and stuffed body.  Doll dressed to depict current fashion in St. Maarten with flowered print skirt and head wrap. Given by Ruth Aten from a trip to St. Maarten. 1995 Bahamas Lady, St. Maarten, Bahamas


Organized Crime, Military Linked to Theft of Cambodian Artifacts

Organized Crime, Military Linked to Theft of Cambodian Artifacts

by Robert Carmichael via “VOA News



Over the past 40 years Cambodia’s cultural heritage has been looted on a massive scale, with countless thousands of artifacts taken from hundreds of sites, smuggled out of the country and into museums and private collections around the world. New research indicates that not only was much of this the work of organized networks, but that most pieces have disappeared from public view – probably forever.

Between the start of Cambodia’s civil war in 1970 and the eventual end of hostilities some 30 years later, the country’s 1,000-year-old temples and other historic sites were comprehensively plundered. In one incident in the early 1970s, government soldiers used a military helicopter to airlift artifacts from the 12th century citadel of Banteay Chhmar in the northwest.

At the same complex in 1998 – generals spent a fortnight tearing down and carting away 30 tons of the building. Just one of the six military trucks that went to neighboring Thailand loaded with artifacts was stopped and its contents returned. The rest disappeared, likely sold on the black market.

The Duryodhana statue is one of three returned to Cambodia from the United States in early June, Phnom Penh. (Robert Carmichael/VOA)The Duryodhana statue is one of three returned to Cambodia from the United States in early June, Phnom Penh. (Robert Carmichael/VOA)

For many years, researchers assumed that such brazen, well-organized looting was the exception rather than the norm, and that most of the looting of Cambodia’s heritage was a low-level affair, with local people plundering ancient sites and selling statues, carvings and stone reliefs in haphazard fashion.

But a new study carried out by researchers from the University of Glasgow in Scotland shows that was not the case.

“The organized looting and trafficking of Cambodian antiquities was tied very closely to the Cambodian civil war and to organized crime in the country,” explained Tess Davis, a lawyer and archaeologist, and member of the study team that also included criminologists.

“It began with the war, but it long outlived it, and was actually a very complicated operation, a very organized operation, that brought antiquities directly from looted sites here in the country to the very top collectors, museums and auction houses in the world,” she added.

Davis said the Cambodian and Thai militaries were often involved in looting, as was organized crime. Local people were often forced to work as laborers.

Researchers say that at the end of the chain in Thailand was a Bangkok-based dealer who provided the laundering link between the criminals and the collectors and museums.