The Lie Became Great: The Forgery of Ancient near Eastern Cultures. (Reviews of Books)

By Albenda, Pauline | The Journal of the American Oriental Society, January-March 2002 | Go to article overview

The Lie Became Great: The Forgery of Ancient near Eastern Cultures. (Reviews of Books)


Albenda, Pauline, The Journal of the American Oriental Society


The Lie Became Great: The Forgery of Ancient Near Eastern Cultures. By OSCAR WHITE MUSCARELLA. Groningen: STYX PUBLICATIONS, 2000. Pp. viii + 540, illus. HFI 250, $100.

This book is Muscarella's latest contribution to the research of forgeries that, according to the author, a field archaeologist who is affiliated with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, have sabotaged the study of our history (p. 22). The book is notable for its revelations concerning the forgery problem, specifically the obvious and possible forgeries of ancient Near Eastern objects. Beyond the listing of forgeries and unexcavated objects, a goal of the present study is to articulate the relationship between scholarship and commerce that facilitates the success of the forgers. The book is divided into two sections: "Introduction and Polemic: The Forgery Culture," and "Catalogue." Footnotes, descriptions, and discussions of the illustrated and non-illustrated objects, as well as bibliography and abbreviations, furnish the sources and documentation that are required to substantiate the information regarding the respective objects, sometimes in support of the author's views and conclusions.

In his introduction, Muscarella states that to understand the forgery problem, one must understand the forgery culture and the collection culture. According to the author, both cultures share the same environments and personnel (p. 1). He asserts that the forgery culture is stratified and multi-faceted, and the systematic rules may be summarized in one sentence: "use all appropriate strategies to impede discussion and exposure of both the policies to acquire plundered art and the existence of forgeries" (p. 2). What follows is an extensive report on the two cultures, a product of the author's ("excavator's") investigation based on personal knowledge and experience. The report is presented as a series of anecdotes citing specific occurrences, but without naming the individuals, museums, or other institutions involved. The anecdotes demonstrate the range of the activities of the forgery culture, showing that museum staff and scholars constitute a large component. The reader must of course trust the veracity of the anecdotal events that oftentimes disclose the tactics used to support the forgery and collection cultures; further on in the text, however, individuals are singled out in connection with publications of artifacts ("forgeries") purchased and published as genuine (e.g., A. U. Pope, P. Amiet, R. Ghirshman). Here, bibliographical references are given; in addition, the reader is presented with detailed information in the notes. The range of information and published citations seems thorough and reinforces the extensive knowledge and investigative abilities that one attributes to the author.

Another component of the forgery culture is what Muscarella describes as "bazaar archaeological methodology," the acceptance of a dealer's claim that an object came from a named site. This leads to a forgery of provenience (history or proof of origin); it is the scholar, however, who creates the fiction of false provenience and assertions about authenticity of unexcavated objects by publishing or exhibiting them as genuine (p. 15). Furthermore, unexcavated objects published with forged proveniences may be accompanied by false historical, archaeological, or art-historical conclusions; the author lists illustrative examples. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Lie Became Great: The Forgery of Ancient near Eastern Cultures. (Reviews of Books)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.