A museum in Hebei province has been forced to close after authorities discovered it housed over 40,000 fakes which were all bought for less than 2,000 yuan, Bloomberg reports.
The Jibaozhai Museum in Jizhou, curated by local Communist Party leader Wang Zongquan, was founded with a 50 million yuan investment. Local residents revealed to the Beijing News that Wang had bought fake items with the money raised for the museum. Wang’s deceptions started in 2005, when he announced that he was collecting antiques and people flocked from across the country to sell him goods, for prices ranging from 100 yuan to 2,000 yuan.
The museum owner had a reputation that “he would buy everything brought to him,” claimed Wang Lihua.
It wasn’t until a famous writer Ma Boyong posted photos of the museum online that people started to notice the incongruences within each exhibit.
Highlights include a wucai (five-colour) porcelain vase purported to be from the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) when in fact that the artistic technique was invented hundreds of years later in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD). Another giveaway was an item signed by an emperor who reigned between 2696 to 2598 BC – that’s more than 3,000 years before the writing system was even invented.
“Jibaozhai has no qualification to be a museum as its collections are fake and it hasn’t reported to my department for approval”; stated an official, surnamed Li, from the Hebei cultural heritage bureau. Shao Baoming, the deputy curator, insisted that at least half of the exhibits are authentic but admits that most were not verified by experts.
Earlier this year, a conman was caught trying to pass off some delicately re-worked resin and plastic as a 2000 year-old piece of Qin dynasty armour. A concerned prospective buyer called the local newspaper for expert verification. So what was the museum owner’s excuse for not doing his due diligence?
All Wang had to say was, “even the gods cannot tell whether the exhibits are fake or not.”
[Image credit: dedeadmin.com]