Different Breed of “Collectors”


antique, archaic, archaistic, art, authentic, calcification, china, chinese, collection, culture, curators, dealer, fake, fraud, genuine, history, hongshan, jade, liangzhu, museum, neolithic, nephrite, private, real, reproduction, scam, surface alteration

Pile of Neolithic Reproductions, Brought to you by Anita Mui

In the previous post, I shared some brief updates on what I was working on. Certainly did not expect to gather material so quickly on one of the topics mentioned previously. I will let you determine which topic I am referring to.

After a lengthy phone call with the moderator/owner/collector, he promised a trial account for me to have a taste of the JB forum. I could have done a Google search on the names, history of these people and JB forum (thus realizing the scandalous history earlier), but I did not wish to cloud my judgement:

– Over the phone, he was quick to introduce two key members of the forum, whom I observed provides the most comments, “studies” and pieces from their personal collection;

– Interestingly, these few always started the “active” topics and conveniently “shared” their own pieces to justify the authenticity, while most of the 30-40 members barely logged in;

– He also said that none of them reads Chinese or Mandarin, or maybe he meant China’s history, which was odd if you are a true Chinese Jade connoisseur;

– Even more bizarre, whenever they share two or more pieces, the general size, carving styles and underlying material are almost always similar;

– Their approach focuses on deciphering genuine and fake surface alterations, which was absolutely ironic, when you look at their collection;

– They basically denounced Christie’s, Sotheby’s and various well-documented museum pieces while revealing a similar looking (“far more superior” in workmanship according to them) piece from their collection yet again;

– Most of their jade pieces embrace “the bigger the better” concept between 20 cm to 90 (almost a metre long weird fish carving) cm.

All the above observations were noted before I found the following critiques on its history:

http://www.chinahistoryforum.com/index.php?/topic/15826-jade-gallery/

http://www.beadcollector.net/cgi-bin/anyboard.cgi?fvp=/openforum/&cmd=iYz&aK=77913&iZz=77913&gV=0&kQz=&aO=1&iWz=0

http://asianart.com/phpforum/index.php?method=detailAll&Id=30334

I shall not comment on these discussions and allow you to arrive at a conclusion on your own.

This phenomenon can easily be explained by simply looking at what’s going out there, and perhaps conclude that (1) this bunch of people are leading experts who belittle Christie’s, Sotheby’s, China Guardian, Beijing Poly, major museums and curators as being clueless about what they are doing; or, (2) the other way around. Note that this statement is by no means absolute as we are fully aware of the pitfalls, even among big auction houses and well-documented private collections, when collecting Antique Chinese Jade – maybe it is a question of how detrimental is the pitfall likely to be?

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