While mainland China is infamous for its bootleggers and copycats, the problem also extends across the strait to Taiwan’s art world.
Ju Ming, a 79-year-old Taiwanese artist has just won a court case against three individuals who copied no less than 222 of his pieces. According to the ruling from a Shilin district court, the three must pay NT$120.9 million (about 3.98 million USD) in damages to Ju.
Taiwan News reports that the case started with Yeh Jung-chia, an art collector in some financial difficulties who needed to sell off his collection of Ju’s famous taichi sculptures. But, here’s the catch: even though he wanted the money, he didn’t actually want to part with the masterpieces. To solve this dilemma, he colluded with a pair of businessmen to make and sell exact copies of the works.
From 2010 to 2012, they arranged for the sculptures to be copied on the mainland. They then sold these counterfeits in Taiwan and even kept some for themselves, presumably as a reminder of their amazing achievements. They made sure to also forge letters of authenticity and even contacted one artisan who worked with Ju to join their scheme.
A world-renowned sculptor whose pieces are on display all over the world — from Hong Kong to Montreal — the most extensive collection of Ju’s works can be found in the Juming Museum close to New Taipei City.
This isn’t the first instance of people wanting to take advantage of the sculptor’s renowned works. Back in 2014, a group of criminals were busted after copying around fifty of his sculptures.
By Máté Mohos
[Images via Wikimedia Commons]
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