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Bolton Museum statue of Amarna Princess a fake?

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 1:04 pm    Post subject: Bolton Museum statue of Amarna Princess a fake? Reply with quote

We had a discussion about this statue a while ago (with picture of the statue):

This statue is now thought to be a fake.

BBC has an article about the issue:

The 3,300-year-old Amarna Princess was bought by Bolton Museum nearly three years ago for £440,000 to add to its existing Egyptology collection.

The 52cm-high sculpture is believed to be one of the daughters of the Pharaoh Akhenaten and his queen, Nefertiti.

Metropolitan Police Art & Antiques Unit arrested two Bolton men aged 83 and 46 on suspicion of forgery last week.

They have been bailed until May pending further inquiries.

The statue, which was acquired in September 2003, has been removed from public view.

It was bought by the museum form a local family in Bolton, Greater Manchester, who wanted to remain anonymous.

Detectives from London also seized an artefact from the British Museum which had been taken there for an examination by experts.

I wonder what artefact was seized from the British Museum?

Another article I saw made it sound much more definite that the statue is a fake.
Math and Art: http://mathematicsaroundus.blogspot.com/
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fake statues unmasked with X-rays
20 March 2006
NewScientist.com news service

FRAUDSTERS beware: fake statues can now be unmasked using X-rays. The technique can also reveal information about how metal and ceramic artefacts were made, without harming them.

At present, distinguishing between genuine porcelain antiques and fakes means drilling into samples to test them (New Scientist, 26 September 2005, p 21). Museums and collectors are reluctant to do this as it risks damaging the pieces, says Franco Rustichelli, a materials scientist at the Polytechnic University of the Marche in Ancona, Italy. Conventional X-ray images can reveal the different materials inside an object, but do not provide much information about antiques made from a single substance, he says.

To get around these problems, Rustichelli and his colleagues used hard X-ray diffraction, in which high-energy X-rays are bounced off the crystals inside an object. The patterns that these rebounding X-rays create when they interfere with each other reveals information about the material's structure.

The team has tested two solid bronze statuettes: an Egyptian figure dating from between 1070 BC and 343 BC, and an Etruscan figure from between 400 BC and 300 BC (Measurement Science and Technology, vol 17, p L1). Variations in diffraction patterns revealed differences in the casting processes used to build them.

The technique can also be used to date artefacts, by comparing their diffraction patterns with those in a database of known artefacts. Such a database could also help reveal fakes.

From issue 2543 of New Scientist magazine, 20 March 2006, page 27

I found this a very interesting article.
Anneke, maybe this fake Amarna staue was also unmasked with X-rays.
I think that with this new system more fake artifacts will be discovered.

This story made my thinking about the tomb of The Three Foreign Wives of Thutmose III. In my book about this tomb they discuss also several artifacts who are modern imitations.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Bolton statue strikes me as quite an odd piece to have been faked. If I remember correctly this was aquired by a local collecter in the 19th century - before Amarna artwork was very recognisable to the general public. I think it would have been a bit of a gamble for the forger to produce something not particularly fashionable/desirable at that particular point in time.

You can understand the speculation about the Mansoor pieces because they conveniently started to turn up once interest had been aroused by the Nefertiti bust/Thutmose workshop. But the Bolton piece? All I can think is that perhaps it's a very recent copy of a real statue that's been specifically produced with flogging it to the museum in mind so the family can hang on to the real thing.Question Laughing
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More news about the fake Amarna statue

The Times March 27, 2006
The ancient Egypt statue from Bolton (circa 2003)

Inspected by the British Museum and sold through Christie’s, the Amarna Princess was one of only three known examples of the period. The reason for the knock-down price? Its mysterious owners wanted the piece to remain in Bolton.

But a police inquiry now suggests that the alabaster sculpture has less to do with Ancient Egypt and more to do with Bolton circa 2003.

Scotland Yard’s Arts and Antiques squad began an investigation two weeks ago when the British Museum reported the arrival of a suspicious Syrian relief. Curators who had been asked to inspect the relief for a private client observed that it had come from a similar source to the Amarna Princess. Police seized the relief and two other objects in London and impounded the Princess.

The Amarna Princess, described as being a representation of the half-sister of King Tutankhamun, had impressed the British Museum and Bolton Museum because of its detailed provenance. The anonymous vendor claimed that his great-grandfather had bought it at the auction of the property of the Earl of Egremont in 1892.

A copy of the Silverton Park auction catalogue obtained by The Times contains very few details of any matching statues. It promised “costly, rare and valuable antique furniture”, and had three lots that could have been the Amarna Princess. The sale included a draped figure of a female, five marble statuettes and eight Egyptian figures. None mentions that the statue had no head or arms.

This seems to have been convincing enough for Bolton Council, which obtained a grant of £360,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund as well as £75,000 from the National Art Collections Fund and £2,500 from the Friends of Bolton Museum and Art Gallery.

On the link that I provided you can read the article
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