The House of Netjer, a Kemetic Orthodox Temple

[PUBLIC] Kemetic Orthodoxy General Forums => [PUBLIC] All Things Egypt: Ancient & Modern History and Culture => Topic started by: Bestekeni on January 30, 2011, 02:41:37 pm

Title: Do not buy antiquities!
Post by: Bestekeni on January 30, 2011, 02:41:37 pm
I know some posters here enjoy purchasing and collecting antiquities (which I feel is a questionable activity at the best of times, but that is just me).  However, with recent events involving widespread looting and vandalism in Egypt, this is the time to stop. Do not support this desecration of Egypt's heritage just so you can have something shiny and "real".
Title: Re: Do not buy antiquities!
Post by: Bezenwepwy on January 30, 2011, 03:16:24 pm
Or alternatively, those of us who do collect antiquities can continue to be responsible about it by only purchasing items that have good provenance and that are being offered by trusted dealers. Both of which have always been a good idea, but which are even better idea now.
Title: Re: Do not buy antiquities!
Post by: Bestekeni on January 30, 2011, 03:39:10 pm
Egyptologists generally consider any involvement in the antiquities trade to be a breach of professional ethics, and while I'm not a professional, I do abide by the same tenets of historical and cultural preservation and study that can be threatened by the antiquities trade.
Title: Re: Do not buy antiquities!
Post by: Bezenwepwy on January 30, 2011, 04:04:57 pm
You'll be calling me a looter next. Cheers.
Title: Re: Do not buy antiquities!
Post by: Tai'awepwawet on January 30, 2011, 04:19:54 pm
I'm afraid I agree that so long as you know the provenance and get it from a known and respected dealer, there's not as much problem as there might at first seem to be.

The primary problem is in encouraging people to loot and sell on the black market. That's why it's so important to take good care when buying. Many people who do buy artifacts are very careful about their purchases, and so I perfectly support their right to do it.
Title: Re: Do not buy antiquities!
Post by: ubenetsenu on January 30, 2011, 04:51:59 pm
how *do* you know the provenance, though?  if egyptologists aren't the ones signing off on it, then isn't it people who stand to gain from the objects having certificates that say "this was collected in a totes ethical way"?
Title: Re: Do not buy antiquities!
Post by: Tai'awepwawet on January 30, 2011, 05:20:33 pm
Sidenote: "Egyptologists" were not always (and I do mean in the VERY recent past) what we like to think of them as. They were not ethical people who put the furthering of knowledge ahead of personal gain.

Indeed, I would put money on there being some who are *still* that way. They just need to be more careful about their practices so nobody notices.

An Egyptologist signing off on it isn't a guarentee that it wasn't collected for personal gain, especially if the item has been in the market for more than like, a few decades or something.


I don't know jack about collecting, I just want to stand up for the immorality of Egyptologists :P
Title: Re: Do not buy antiquities!
Post by: PetriYinepu on January 30, 2011, 05:44:41 pm
Then again, I'm tempted to say that anything bought from this latest wave of looting would at least be *safe*.  I'm so upset that so much looting and destruction is going on.......
Title: Re: Do not buy antiquities!
Post by: Bezenwepwy on January 30, 2011, 06:00:46 pm
Em hotep, Ubenetsenu

I don't see how this question is something particularly specific to antiquities collecting, in truth! It could be said of basically every facet of a money-driven society where there is always somebody standing to gain.

But to answer your question more specifically in regards to antiquities collecting, many dealers are also collectors. And many of them have an academic interest as well. So ethics are important and certainly of interest to all involved. There are also various professional associations that promote ethical trading and hold their members to a number of standards. Everyone is becoming more and more sensitive to the need for provenance (which has a slightly different meaning to the archeological use of the word) and many of the major auction houses will no longer accept artifacts that don't come with some sort of documentation to prove they were exported from Egypt prior the 1970 UNESCO Convention.

Are there shady dealers out there? Of course there are. And yes, they do give out worthless COA's. But with the increased awareness about provenance and ethics, there are things that collectors can look out for to ensure they are buying responsibly. Good dealers and good collectors look out for each other and there are 'black lists' of sellers to avoid.

Between this and avoiding fakes, antiquities collecting is something best not done carelessly for sure. But at the same time, I do think it is possible and I do not think that those of us who try to be responsible about it should be called questionable, unethical, or otherwise accused of just being in it for something "shiny."

But those modern day egyptians who are doing the looting... they ARE in it for something shiny. Probably gold that they can melt down and sell because they don't give a crap about the cultural or historical significance of the items. They just want/need the money. But that in itself is nothing new.
Title: Re: Do not buy antiquities!
Post by: ubenetsenu on January 30, 2011, 06:12:13 pm
you know what, i'm not an expert on collecting or anything.  but this:

Quote from: Bezenwepwy
But those modern day egyptians who are doing the looting... they ARE in it for something shiny. Probably gold that they can melt down and sell because they don't give a crap about the cultural or historical significance of the items. They just want/need the money. But that in itself is nothing new.


is such a horrible thing to say that i don't even know how to respond.
Title: Re: Do not buy antiquities!
Post by: Tarytenyinepu on January 30, 2011, 06:15:06 pm
On what Petri said there, one has to consider whether antiquities would be better off in the hands of someone who would take good care of them than someone who would not. I personally would rather have a replica than a real item; however, in this situation, I think that if I were to happen across a chance to get an authentic Egyptian item (if it was within my price range to do so) I would purchase it, take it immediately to my University head Archaeological instructor, and have it properly taken care of and returned to a museum (if not otherwise have it shipped back to Cairo). That being said, I don't expect to happen across any such artifacts, but I would rather them be well taken care of or returned to a museum setting than to sit on someone's shelf as a "souvenir" of sorts.

In this situation, I think intention is the important part. If, however, such a purchase feels wrong to you (morally, gut feeling, or otherwise) then I would advise against it. I think that if Netjer wants its treasures in good hands, they will be placed there via random, chance occurrences. It is the responsibility of each person to account for whatever actions they choose to do or not to do and the repercussions thereafter; therefore, I must insist that each person think deeply on such purchases before making them.
Title: Re: Do not buy antiquities!
Post by: Bezenwepwy on January 30, 2011, 06:19:35 pm
I'm sorry that you find the truth so horrible. Please note I didn't say "all egyptians" or anything of the sort. I was really touched to read about those people who actively sought to protect the museums. But there is a long (indeed ancient) history of Egyptians looting Egypt because they are poor and need the money.
Title: Re: Do not buy antiquities!
Post by: Imsetra_Imsety on January 30, 2011, 06:41:55 pm
Em-Hotep-Rh'ekh.

I have been, even at a very early age, fascinated by antiques. What I love the most about them is the fine craftsmanship and the 'history' behind the piece: who built it, who owned it, what parts of the world has it been through?

I grew up in the North-Eastern coast of the US. In-between my home state of Connecticut to Rhode Island to Massachusetts to New York one can find a plethora of antique shops. Most of them very small, selling items manly from our (Us) local history: A 'queen Ann' coffee, um, TEA table that was once owned by the Governor of Hartford in the 1600. Or they might be selling an old iron rack from a farm that existed in New York back in 1840. Trying to find anything that is not from this local area that is antique is very, very difficult. As well, trying to find 'papers' that are documenting the validity of a piece is even harder. Why? Because the pieces were not bought nor stolen. They were handed down through the generations. People begin to no longer like the old in place of the new and these wonderful pieces of history end up in antique shops.  

The only place I have ever been able to find large quantities of ancient artifact for sale (Legally) from The Middle-East to Egypt to Rome to China was in a magazine my father use to get in the mail. He bought many old African masks from this catalog, all came with official papers; and were rather pricey.

Here is their website:

http://www.sadighgallery.com

I personally do not discourage antique collecting: It is a wonderful way for those who really care for history to preserve it. What I do discourage is the BLACK MARKET antiques trade. This is something I do not nor ever will partake in or accept. I feel we need to look at this situation like this: People all around the world want diamonds. For years people bought diamonds not knowing where they were coming from. Than the people found out they were buying something called Blood Diamonds. They found out that they were called Blood Diamonds for the thousands of lives that were killed by rouge diamond collectors in Africa. No one (at least no creditable place) will purchase nor sell Blood Diamonds. Will 'private' citizens who do not want to pay the prices involved for legitimate diamonds go buy Blood Diamonds: of course. The same is for the people out there seeking to acquirer a piece of history, and will go through the wrong channels to acquirer it.    
Title: Re: Do not buy antiquities!
Post by: Qefathethert on January 30, 2011, 07:46:53 pm
Well, I certainly am not in an economic situation to purchase ANYTHING  from antiquity, so no worries there.
But I have to agree with the OP. Now is just too risky that you would get something that was stolen. Besides, I think our energy would be better spent praying for the Egyptian people to get what they need.
Title: Re: Do not buy antiquities!
Post by: Arienihethert on January 30, 2011, 08:02:24 pm
Quote from: Faofeng
one has to consider whether antiquities would be better off in the hands of someone who would take good care of them than someone who would not.


These antiquities were being properly cared for until opportunistic criminals stole them. The same thing would happen at the Louvre or the Metropolitan Museum of Art in similar social/political situations. Criminals steal things everywhere; you can't say "well, that place has thieves, so the people who live there can't take care of their nice things." If that was true, none of us would have the right to have anything. It's not like Egypt is ousting an oppressive regime every day, and suggesting that Egypt can't take care of her antiquities properly because some jerks took advantage of social upheaval is ridiculous. Egyptian laborers--not even Egyptologists, for the most part, and certainly not rich people either--excavated those artifacts with care and delivered them safely to museums. The people of Egypt have been risking their lives to protect their museums. I'd say they have more than earned the rights to their own cultural artifacts.

These antiquities belong to Egypt, and they would not be interesting to these criminals if there was not such a lucrative market for them. Egypt relies heavily on tourism, which is dependent on their control of their cultural artifacts. However much we love the gods of Kemet, however much we love the temples and the land, it does not give us any special rights over those of the Egyptian people who have invested so much in the care of these artifacts over the years. It certainly doesn't give us the right to remove a significant means of supporting themselves.

We are all converts, and beyond that, we have no inherent claim to anything just because we like it so very much. It is a very dangerous colonial attitude that the ignorant natives can't take care of their whatever as well as we can, and I think it is seriously disrespectful of all Egyptians, past and present, to act as if we are fit to judge how worthy the people are of their lawful property.

Buy the antiquities if you want, but please don't use the worst of the Egyptian people as an excuse as to make the best of them suffer.

Senebty,
Arieni
Title: Re: Do not buy antiquities!
Post by: Aashemmuti on January 30, 2011, 08:08:04 pm
I would be concerned about vibrations clinging to any antique piece especially if there might be negative karmic repercussions from the way it was obtained. To me as a music collector it is like the difference between having an original Charley Patton 78 and a cd recording of his music. The 78 is cool to have, but if you are into the MUSIC you can get that from a cd. If I had the chance to buy an antique statue of my Mum from Egypt, it would be groovie and all, but She does not require it for worship or to show Her my devotion. So why take a risk (and plus I can't afford such things either LOL)
Title: Re: Do not buy antiquities!
Post by: Tarytenyinepu on January 30, 2011, 10:17:26 pm
Quote

Buy the antiquities if you want, but please don't use the worst of the Egyptian people as an excuse as to make the best of them suffer.

Senebty,
Arieni


:O *waves hands around* No no no! Arieni, I didn't mean anything of the sort. I *meant* that I think it is better that IF the items are going to be sold off regardless, that someone should take them and return them or take better care of them than regular black-market people who would not do anything to care for them. I'm saying that if they have to be sold (ie, the looters are going to find someone to buy it regardless), shouldn't it be someone who will take good care of it? I'm not saying anyone should suffer, and I AM NOT saying that looting is in any sense okay. I'm saying that if they're going to end up in the hands of someone, they should be in responsible hands and not in irresponsible hands.

In addition, as an Anthropologist I am entirely against colonialism in any sort. I believe my entire message there was completely misconstrued. Plainly: I'd rather have illegal antiquities in the hands of good people who will either return them or at least take care of them than bad people who just want to show it off for the "wow" factor and the flashiness.
Title: Re: Do not buy antiquities!
Post by: Imsetra_Imsety on January 31, 2011, 02:47:44 am
Quote from: Aashemmuti
I would be concerned about vibrations clinging to any antique piece especially if there might be negative karmic repercussions from the way it was obtained.


I have dealt with is in the past actually. Along with my love of ancient Egypt, I do find the culture and art of ancient China even equally fascinating. I especially love the Bronze works and Jade carvings. Trying to find a 'real' antique from China is very difficult. Most of the Chinese antiques one can find in New England are from thrift shops from Beijing when it was seen as 'classy' to travel to China after the War. So of course, most of these items one can find in an antique shop are not 'real' artifacts. There is (imho) a great deal of difference between antiques and artifacts.

In any case, I bought a replica bronze tripod from a small shop in Connecticut. It is very beautiful. Though, once I got it home I began to sense a very negative vibe around it. I went back to the antique shop to see if they had any information about the previous owner of the piece. Apparently, it once held the ashes of an elderly woman from China; though when the family came to the states they spread her ashes before coming here.

This bothered me a bit. So i tried talking to the akhu who was connected to the urn, though I could not get anything out of her. I am rather intrigued by Feng Shui. One old Feng Shui tradition is when acquiring antiques, to rid the piece of its former 'energies' one must place it upon red paper of clothe and sit it in the sun for a full day. I did this; and at first it did seem to work. Though after a week, I felt the energy again. So I did the ritual again, also washing the piece with a salt solution. After this, the energy passed.

However I felt bad for the akhu who once rested inside the urn. So in her honor, I made a small 'Asian Inspired prayer shrine for her. I felt the energy return a few month later (to the shrine, not the urn), and now she is much more happy and content. :)  
Title: Re: Do not buy antiquities!
Post by: Bezenwepwy on January 31, 2011, 04:27:27 am
Quote from: Imsetra_Imsety

The only place I have ever been able to find large quantities of ancient artifact for sale (Legally) from The Middle-East to Egypt to Rome to China was in a magazine my father use to get in the mail. He bought many old African masks from this catalog, all came with official papers; and were rather pricey.

Here is their website:

http://www.sadighgallery.com


Ethically I feel obligated to point out this URL goes to the website of someone who is largely regarded as being the worst of the big scammers in the antiquities market. Avoid at all costs. They are world-renowned for their fakes and worthless COA's. The reason they can publish a catalog is because they have more than one of everything!
Title: Re: Do not buy antiquities!
Post by: Imsetra_Imsety on January 31, 2011, 04:49:03 am
Quote from: Bezenwepwy
Ethically I feel obligated to point out this URL goes to the website of someone who is largely regarded as being the worst of the big scammers in the antiquities market. Avoid at all costs. They are world-renowned for their fakes and worthless COA's. The reason they can publish a catalog is because they have more than one of everything!


Really? I had no idea. Thank you for pointing that out... good thing I never bought anything from there. You know, it always struck me as odd that they had on offer so many things... not to mention the same artifact in catalogs that were years apart from each other. Again, thank you for this; I'm going to look more into this; it is now starting to bother me a bit...

Senabty.
Title: Re: Do not buy antiquities!
Post by: Arienihethert on February 02, 2011, 12:04:24 pm
Quote from: Faofeng
:O *waves hands around* No no no! Arieni, I didn't mean anything of the sort. I *meant* that I think it is better that IF the items are going to be sold off regardless, that someone should take them and return them or take better care of them than regular black-market people who would not do anything to care for them. I'm saying that if they have to be sold (ie, the looters are going to find someone to buy it regardless), shouldn't it be someone who will take good care of it? I'm not saying anyone should suffer, and I AM NOT saying that looting is in any sense okay. I'm saying that if they're going to end up in the hands of someone, they should be in responsible hands and not in irresponsible hands.

In addition, as an Anthropologist I am entirely against colonialism in any sort. I believe my entire message there was completely misconstrued. Plainly: I'd rather have illegal antiquities in the hands of good people who will either return them or at least take care of them than bad people who just want to show it off for the "wow" factor and the flashiness.


First, let me say that my comments were not entirely directed at you, but also at others who had made similar statements. I apologize if you thought I was picking on you; that was not my intention and I am sorry if my wording made it look that way.

I understand what you are saying, but I disagree. It's impossible to control who sells what to whom, or who does what with their purchase. I stand by my opinion that the best way to safeguard antiquities is to economically discourage looters by eliminating the market, legal or illegal, for antiquities. I don't think encouraging well meaning people to hoard artifacts does anything good for anyone but perhaps the person who gets to keep them. Yes, the antiquities might be properly preserved (there's still a chance that they could yet be damaged unintentionally), but out of context and in generally inaccessible, unpublished collections. Stripping these artifacts of their educational value by sequestering them is also detrimental.

I understand your position, but for the reasons I have stated, I respectfully disagree.

Senebty,
Arieni