This summer in China has been closed a museum after discovering that most of his collection – 40 thousand works – was made up of fakes. It happened in Jizhou, 150 miles from Beijing, in a small private reality opened in 2010 during the boom of Chinese museum, the Jibaozhai Museum.
The industry of fakes in China addresses the need to fill the many museums born in recent years. It is estimated that every museum has at least one pair of fake copies in its collection, often without knowing it. The owner and curator of the Jibaozhai Museum are now under investigation. A visitor very shrewd noted an incision in simplified Chinese characters on an object dating back more than 5,000 years ago, and this alphabet was introduced only in 1950. But not only that: a vase dated to the Qing Dynasty were decorated with cartoon characters, including a squid smiling.
This is the last – and striking – in a long series. In most cases, the production of counterfeits has so developped its technics that is almost impossible to recognize them, if not with laboratory analysis. From the economic boom, the new wealthy Chinese have started to look at antiques as an investment vehicle and fake companies have profited in abundance to meet the growing demand and low supply .
The museum collections are the most obvious result of a phenomenon that also affects the Chinese international collections of objects. Last year the government announced plans to create a database that will record the works of art, to fight the three types of replicas that are damaging the integrity of the local art market: the false works, the false auctions and false sales. At the moment, the unsuspecting buyers of fake works are not protected by Chinese law and – even more seriously – the auction houses are exempt from ensuring the authenticity of a work.