Faking the Ancient Andes

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Overview

Nasca pots, Quimbaya figurines, Moche porn figures, stone shamans. Fakes and forgeries run rampant in the Andean art collections of international museums and private individuals. Authors Karen Bruhns and Nancy Kelker 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. This is 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 Mesoamerican archaeology.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a lively and engaging book that takes on a theme that many people wish to ignore. The reality is that forgeries of antiquities are found throughout the legal and illicit marketplace, in private collections, and in museum collections. Fakes and are even illustrated in our textbooks. The authors have brought together an impressive array of first hand evidence showing how the ever-growing number of forgeries has not only distorted the unethical antiquities market, but is also distorting our view of history. This is an important book that should be read by anyone concerned with our cultural heritage." -Charles Stanish, Director, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA

"Faking the Ancient Andes…is a call for anyone associated with ancient art to refrain from actively encouraging the wholesale destruction of the world's artistic heritage. What does it matter to the average museum visitor that much of what is on display is less than genuine? Everyone who looks the other way is contributing to the pollution of scholarship and distortions of history and science… It is a pity that so many of these forgeries are taken seriously. Bruhns and Kelker do a good job of explaining why. There is tremendous pressure and incentive throughout the museum industry to pass off these fakes as genuine. Faking the Ancient Andes will appeal to readers…because the authors come down firmly on the side of science."

-Carol Hayman, Skeptical Inquirer

(Reviewed with Faking Ancient Mesoamerica)

"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

 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598743951
  • Publisher: Left Coast Press
  • Publication date: 1/15/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,305,835
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

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.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.
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Table of Contents

Illustrations and Credits 6

Acknowledgments 9

Introduction 11

1 Imagined Histories: The Problem of Fakes 19

2 Artisans, Ateliers, and Their Faux Works 33

3 All That Glitters Is Not Old 57

4 All Slipped Up and Everywhere to Go 83

5 Clay-Mates, Or Imagination Run Riot 107

6 Hard Cheese for Hard Rocks 125

7 Pocket Candy: Lapidary Arts and Objets De Vertu in the Andes 137

8 Woodcarvers, Weavers, and Fake Mummies? 159

9 Phoenicians and Dinosaurs: The Squirrelly Side of Forgery 179

Epilogue: Money, Money! 187

Notes 193

References 201

Index 215

About the Authors 224

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