An archaeologist's tracking of the (primarily) Southern Hemisphere illicit antiquities trade.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Updates on Two Ongoing Cases...
In regards to the Kapoor and Koh Ker statue cases that I originally assisted in tracking or exposing, here are some excellent updates recently reported. Once my doctorate is finished, I will return to more regular and weighty posts where possible, as well as new topics as they arise!
-Regarding Cambodia vs. Sotheby's, the case now seems to be locked in a legal battle between Sotheby's lawyers and the US District attorney. Sotheby's is still prohibited from moving or selling the piece, and the fight will resume on the 12th April. My colleague Jason Felch reports for the LA times here, and Chasing Aphrodite has a great summary here.
-Regarding the Kapoor case, the global network of his contacts and charitable (tax deductible?) "gifts" is slowly being revealed (see Chasing Aphrodite again here). I predict that as more investigations occur, more antiquities trafficked from outside Tamil Nadu and beyond will be revealed. Does this include the alleged smuggling of Buddhist statuary and antiquities out of Afghanistan, and might they have ended up in galleries such as this one, investigated by Australian authorities once before?
Particularly interesting to me is the presence of antiquities (in the LACMA collection and elsewhere?) gifted by Kapoor's brother Ramesh via his independent Kapoor Galleries. I personally visited this gallery as well in 2010 and can attest that it is smaller is size/scope than Art of the Past and allegedly trades more in historic pieces and paintings. Is Subhash Kapoor merely trying to foist blame onto his innocent siblings and daughter (here), or are they more connected than we realize?
Currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute and National Museum of Natural History. Research interests include Southeast Asian archaeology, bioarchaeology, human osteology, quantifying the antiquities trade, and the use of educational games as teaching tools.