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A museum in China has been forced to shut its doors — not because of a lack of visitors or funding, but because word got out that the vast majority of its 40,000-piece collection is fake. Woops.
The Jibaozhai Museum, located in Erpu village, Jizhou, was founded in 2007 and opened in 2010 at a cost of 540 million yuan ($88 million). But on a visit, Chinese writer Ma Boyong noticed a series of discrepancies. An article in the Daily Telegraph reports:
Among the most striking errors were artefacts engraved with writing purportedly showing that they dated back more than 4,000 years to the times of China’s Yellow Emperor. However, according to a report in the Shanghai Daily, the writing appeared in simplified Chinese characters that only came into widespread use in the 20th century.
The collection also contained a “Tang Dynasty” five-colour porcelain vase despite the fact that this technique was invented hundreds of years later, during the Ming Dynasty.
Ma blogged about his finds, setting off a scandal that’s led to the museum’s closure; the Jizhou civil affairs bureau has also revoked the institution’s license and placed its managers under investigation.
But it turns out everyone in town’s been wary of the museum from the beginning: the Global Times reports that every one of the village’s 1,500 residents signed a petition protesting its construction, and they say they’ve long suspected Wang Zongquan — who conveniently doubles as the village’s Party chief and the curator of the museum — of buying fake artifacts, misappropriating museum funds, and laundering money.
For their part, museum personnel have attempted to minimize the accusations and damage in a series of hilarious statements. Chief consultant Wei Yingjun said he was “quite positive” that at least 80 of the 40,000 objects in the collection were real, adding that all pieces of “dubious” origin had been “marked very clearly.” (Whew!) He also “promised to sue Mr. Ma, the whistleblowing writer, for blackening the museum’s name,” the Telegraph says.
Wang himself had the best take on it, telling the paper that “even the gods cannot tell whether the exhibits are fake or not.” Except, you know, maybe archeologists can.
“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants—11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data—a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were…
In 1850, when Dr. Robert W. Gibbes commissioned J. T. Zealy to make daguerreotypes of persons held in slavery in and around Columbia, South Carolina, for Harvard Professor Louis Agassiz to use in support of his theory that African people were a separate species, daguerreotypes were at the height of fashion.
Works by Rodolfo Abularach, Mario Bencomo, Denise Carvalho, Pérez Celis, Entes, and Agustín Fernández are on view at the NYC gallery through January 7, 2022.
he ownership of images has a long and nuanced legal history, which has evolved dramatically in recent years as cultural standards and photographic technologies have rapidly advanced
Renty and his daughter Delia. Renty was an enslaved African, kidnapped from the Congo, sold and forced into slave labor on the South Carolina plantation of B.F. Taylor
“Ecosystem X,” an art-based reimagining of life on planet Earth, is the theme of this open call. 10 artists will win $5,000 and one student will receive $5,000 as a scholarship/stipend.
The show, which honors the 50th anniversary of an exhibition history once ignored, continues a series of projects documenting Wilmington’s contemporary art scene.
As a scholar of African American history and photography whose work has focused on the status of violent images in museums and archives, I fully support the validity of Ms. Tamara Lanier’s claim and the amicus brief.
The daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor, Delia, Drana, Alfred, Jack, George Fassena, and Jem remained in an unused storage cabinet until 1975, when it was discovered by an employee of the Peabody Museum.
I am writing in support of the amicus curiae brief submitted by Professor Ariella Aïsha Azoulay of Brown University for the full restitution of the daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor and his daughter Delia, currently held by Harvard University, to their familial descendant, Tamara Lanier.