Dec 11, 2014


The World of Chinese online magazine has a very interesting article by Ginger Huang, posted August 3, 2014, "The Antique Hustle," that describes how prevalent the forging of Chinese art is in China. She says that the place to buy these in Beijing is Shilihe Antique Plaza, just south of Panjiayuan, China's "CBD of antiques" (just south of Guomao). She also describes how so-called scholarly experts, who work in museums and research institutes are too far removed from the world of the antiques trade to be able to spot fakes and so having authentication from these people is no guarantee of authenticity. The article describes how before 1949 experts were university trained, but because of the Cultural Revolution, that lasted through the opening up of China to the West in 1978, people were forbidden to study historical relics and the younger generation of scholars lacks the continuity of learning from their elders. Furthermore, since the late 1980s, counterfeiting has gotten very sophisticated and harder to detect. A recent scandal that came to light, recounted in the article, made the headlines with the title"Forbidden Palace Experts No Rivals for Henan Peasants." Forgers, often peasants, specialize in different types of fakes. Some, for example, grind up ancient Han dynasty bricks to produce fake pieces that fool the scientific tests. The bottom line: BUYER BEWARE AND CONSIDER PROVENANCE* BEFORE PURCHASING CHINESE ART.

*Take heed that although papers might indicate a piece to have been owned by someone's relative or friend for many decades, before the prevalence of production of these recent fakes, these documents too are often forged. That is why pieces coming out of older foreign collections with undisputed chain of ownership records command the highest prices these days.