Re: The Repair Question; Fakes

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Posted by Steve Price on April 20, 1999 at 09:04:12:

In Reply to: Re: The Repair Question posted by Robert Torchia on April 20, 1999 at 07:59:15:

Dear Robert,

Fakery has become more of a concern to rug collectors than it was in the past, but I'd still guess that the number of fake antique rugs (I'm not talking about misrepresentations, but about things intentionally made to be fakes) is wll under 1% of what's on the market. In African art, probably something like 99% of what's offered for sale is fake.

I think the biggest reason is that it's so easy to create a piece of fairly simple wood sculpture (which would include practically all African figures and masks), then bury it in the back yard for a week to age it.

Incidentally, there is a kind of encrusted surface over which African art collectors wax rhapsodic, this supposedly being a sure sign that the item is very old and had sacrificial this and that poured onto it for many years. To see identical encrustation, look at any object in the monkey cages at a zoo. My guess is that it takes less than a month, perhaps less than a week, for this to form.

Another trick used to create wonderfully encrusted and distressed surfaces is to have someone chew some nuts and spit them onto the surface, then let the chickens work on it for a few days.

At least making rugs takes some skilled labor!

Steve Price

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