The Forger's tale: An insider's account of corrupting the corpus of Cycladic figures

Tsirogiannis, Christos, Gill, David W. J. ORCID: and Chippindale, Christopher (2022) The Forger's tale: An insider's account of corrupting the corpus of Cycladic figures. International Journal of Cultural Property, 29 (3). pp. 369-385. ISSN 0940-7391

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Many of the known Cycladic figures - the late prehistoric human-shaped sculptures from the Aegean archipelago - came from twentieth-century illicit excavations, especially in the 1960s and 1970s. It is also known that figures were being faked at the time and perhaps also earlier: a few fakes have been identified, whilst other figures are under suspicion. Interviews with a man who faked Cycladic figures in the 1980s and 1990s give us a first insider's autobiographical account of the forging business. This article offers, step-by-step, the method that two forgers developed to create fake figures, to treat them so that they appeared ancient, and to sell them on. The forger has identified a few of these forgeries from photographs of figures; his story is consistent with other information and seems to ring true. By verifying various elements in the forger's testimony - from names of well-known figures in the modern antiquities market to small details and dates - we have been able to evaluate the validity of the narrative; to use it in order to uncover the true paths that fake objects followed into various collections; and to highlight valuable provenance information that no one involved in trading these objects was ever willing to provide.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: cycladic figures,illicit antiquities,forgeries,antiquities market,consequences,cultural studies,anthropology,history,conservation,museology ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300/3316
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of History
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2023 11:30
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2023 15:30
DOI: 10.1017/S0940739122000352


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