Jim Enote: Buyer beware as auction house offers 'Zuni' masks

Jim Enote, the director of the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center at Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico, on the auction of Zuni and Hopi cultural items in France:
After carefully examining thousands of “ceremonial” objects including Zuni masks held in museums and private collections throughout the world our museum staff and Zuni religious leaders confirmed that a substantial number of objects labeled as ceremonial are actually fakes or misidentified as ceremonial. If the shameless business of dealing in looted antiquities and the bad karma that goes with it isn’t enough, let me say to the auctioneers and possible purchasers of the 71 Hopi and Zuni masks to be auctioned by Neret-Minet in Paris, it’s buyer beware because the only way to absolutely authenticate a Zuni ceremonial object is to seek truth at the source by having Zuni experts, the people of the source community themselves, physically inspect the object. But that is unlikely in the case of a private auction overseas. So a carrier and potential buyer can only be assured of one thing, they may have a fake.

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Jim Enote: Zuni Museum Director Responds to the Auctioning of Hopi and Zuni Masks in Paris (Indian Country Today 3/13)

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