Faking Ancient Mesoamerica

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $23.44
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 28%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (5) from $23.44   
  • New (1) from $29.10   
  • Used (4) from $23.44   


Crystal skulls, imaginative codices, dubious Olmec heads and cute Colima dogs. Fakes and forgeries run rampant in the Mesoamerican art collections of international museums and private individuals. Authors Nancy Kelker and Karen Bruhns examine the phenomenon in this eye-opening volume. They discuss the most commonly forged classes and styles of artifacts, many of which were being duplicated as early as the 19th century. More important, they describe the system whereby these objects get made, purchased, authenticated, and placed in major museums as well as the complicity of forgers, dealers, curators, and collectors in this system. Unique to this volume are biographies of several of the forgers, who describe their craft and how they are able to effectively fool connoisseurs and specialists. An important, accessible introduction to pre-Columbian art fraud for archaeologists, art historians, and museum professionals alike. A parallel volume by the same authors discusses fakes in Andean archaeology.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Enlightening but frightening, entertaining yet scholarly, this book will give collectors and curators of unprovenienced Mesoamerican art pause for thought. Kelker and Bruhns have done Pre-Columbian art history and archaeology a salutary service in identifying dupes and duplicities that have perverted our understanding of the true achievements of prehispanic artists."
-Norman Hammond, Boston University

(Reviewed with Faking the Ancient Andes)

"Both books make an interesting case for how the influx of forged and unprovenanced artifacts into the public and academic world can affect one's understanding of the past. The tone of the books can at times be distracting, but the issues addressed and their complexities are explored effectively. Summing Up: Recommended."

-J. J. Borowicz, CHOICE

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598741490
  • Publisher: Left Coast Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 932,394
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy L. Kelker is professor of art history at Middle Tennessee State University. She has Ph.D. in pre-Columbian art history from University of Texas, Austin. She has served as pre-Columbian art curator at the San Antonio Museum of Art and as a cultural property consultant on antiquities smuggling cases for the United States and Canadian governments. She has prepared exhibition catalogs and written a variety of research articles on pre-Columbian art. Karen O. Bruhns is director of the Cihuatán/ Las Marías Archaeological Project for the Fundación Nacional de Arqueología in El Salvador and an active participant in archaeological projects in the Andes. She has a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and has taught at several universities. She is author of Ancient South America, co-author of Women in Ancient America, and author of over 60 papers and monographs.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Illustrations and Credits 6

Acknowledgments 9

Introduction 11

1 The Secret Lies of Fakes 15

2 Forgery Is Not New 31

3 The Nine Lives of Fakes 45

4 A Rogues' Gallery oh Forgers, Fakers, and Facilitators 59

5 Escaping De Landa's Bonfire of the Vanities 81

6 Between a Rock and a Hard Fake 111

7 Feat of Clay 129

8 The Lapidary's Lament 161

9 Skullduggery 191

10 Wooden Men, Golden Gods, and Tales on the Wall 203

Epilogue: A Word to the Wise 219

Notes 225

References 229

Index 245

About the Authors 256

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)