The FakeBusters -forgeries and fakes of egyptian antiquities-

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Egyptian statue in forgery claim BBC - News, Monday, 20/03/2006


There are only two similar exhibits in the world

Two men have been bailed by police investigating the alleged forgery of a valuable Egyptian statue. The 3,300-year-old Amarna Princess was bought by Bolton Museum nearly three years ago for £440,000 to add to its existing Egyptology collection. The 52cm-high sculpture is believed to be one of the daughters of the Pharaoh Akhenaten and his queen, Nefertiti.

Metropolitan Police Art & Antiques Unit arrested two Bolton men aged 83 and 46 on suspicion of forgery last week. They have been bailed until May pending further inquiries.The statue, which was acquired in September 2003, has been removed from public view.It was bought by the museum form a local family in Bolton, Greater Manchester, who wanted to remain anonymous.

Detectives from London also seized an artefact from the British Museum which had been taken there for an examination by experts.


Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

Most museum collections contain a certain number of forgeries, and the collections of the Kelsey Museum of Archeology are no exception. Over the almost one hundred years of museum collecting history, various objects of dubious authenticity have found their way into the collections.

Forgeries are collected both inadvertently and on purpose by museums. Often, a donated object will be accepted by a museum which has no curator whose expertise lies in that type of material. The piece may appear to be genuine to a non-specialist, and the object enters the collections. Later examination by an expert will prove that the piece can not be original. In other cases, the piece may be accepted as genuine by the experts until subsequent scholarship or scientific testing disproves authenticity. Finally, there are cases where forgeries are of such a convincing construction that they simply fool the experts. Often, forgers are well-educated enough to be familiar with those aspects which popular scholarship attributes to the works of a particular period, and incorporate those aspects into a forgery.

fake Egyptian sculpturefake Egyptian sculpture

This small limestone sculpture is cleanly carved, with dates attributed to the Ptolemaic Period of Egypt (332-30 BC). The Head of a King was purchased by the museum in 1925. However, upon closer examination, the Head of a King has been shown to be a forgery.

In 1992, Visiting Curator Edna R. Russman was able to determine that the piece [Head of a King] was similar to other works she has seen by this particular forger, namely in the facial resemblance between the sculptures in this group of fakes. Additionally, the details of the crown are incorrect, with the inclusion of the uraeus and a snake stretched along the center of the head. This combination of elements would not have occurred in a genuine work. Russman felt that the forgery was produced in the early 1920's, and that it was a very well executed forgery, perhaps assisting the forger in fooling experts for almost seventy years.


Art forgery event at V&A museum - MPS London 22/01/2010

The Metropolitan Police Service's Art and Antiques Unit will tomorrow, (23 January), recreate the workshop of the most diverse art forger known in history, Shaun Greenhalgh, at the V&A.

In a UK first, members of the public can exclusively view a collection of police investigations into fakes and forgeries. The display showcases investigative methods used in detecting and preventing art crime in the V&A's Studio Gallery. It will be open to members of the public from tomorrow until Sunday 7 February.

"The Metropolitan Police Service's Investigation of Fakes and Forgeries" offers a rare insight into how the police investigate crimes against the art market. It is designed to heighten awareness of art crime, educate people about what to look out for and to encourage further reporting of these crimes among professionals, collectors and enthusiasts alike. In total over 100 objects are on display, including forged versions of paintings and sculptures by well known artists, which if real, would be worth in excess of £4 million.

Art forgery has become an increasingly sophisticated type of crime and the display looks at the financial and cultural impact it inflicts on today's society. It explores the policing of art fraud and provides insight into real criminal cases, both historic and contemporary. Criminal networks are increasingly looking for new ways to finance and further their criminal endeavours and experience shows that art fakes and forgeries are one method used for achieving this. This type of crime can cause significant financial loss to collectors and dealers in London and has the potential to even distort the historical study of art and cultural property.

Objects on display include the work of Shaun Greenhalgh, who produced fake "masterpieces" ranging from an Egyptian Amarna princess to Lowry paintings. Officers have reconstructed the workshop shed from which Greenhalgh made many of the items on display, including the Risley Park Lanx, Barbara Hepworth Goose, Thomas Moran paintings and many more that have never been seen outside of the courtroom. Other cases on display include fake Banksy prints, paintings by John Myatt and Robert Thwaites, antiquities by John Andrews and fake and forged silverware by Ashley Russell.

The display itself delves deeper than just the artwork, taking an in-depth look at what defines a fake or a copy, the impact art crime has on modern society, techniques used by police and industry experts to identify fakes and forgeries, and the extreme lengths criminals go to provide a fake provenance.

Detective Sergeant Vernon Rapley, head of the MPS Art and Antiques Unit said: "This display demonstrates that art crime is not just a topic for historic consideration. It reveals a situation very much alive and at the forefront of the Art and Antique Unit's priorities today. We hope that by highlighting some of the new techniques criminals use, we can educate people in what to look out for and encourage greater reporting of these crimes to police."

Specially guided tours of the display will be available daily at 14:45. These will last approximately 30 minutes and will be taken by a member of the Met's Art and Antiques Unit.


Oxan Aslanian, the "Master of Berlin"

Oxan Aslanian was a 20th century forger of Egyptian art. Born in Green in 1887, he emigrated to Syria and Egypt, and then eventually came to Germany, where he opened an antique shop in Berlin. In his work as a forger, he concentrated on the Amarna Period. His extraordinarily high-quality products satisfied the demand of many eminent collections and museums in Europe, which gave him his nickname as the "Master of Berlin." He created some exceptional fakes, which sometimes still deceive experts. Aslanian died at the age of 80 in Munich.


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