Crystal skulls, imaginative codices, dubious Olmec heads and cute Colima dogs. Fakes and forgeries run rampant in the Mesoamerican art collections of international museums and private individuals. Authors Nancy Kelker and Karen Bruhns examine the phemen in this eye-opening volume. They discuss the most commonly forged classes and styles of artifacts, many of which were being duplicated as early as the 19th century. More important, they describe the system whereby these objects get made, purchased, authenticated, and placed in major museums as well as the complicity of forgers, dealers, curators, and collectors in this system. Unique to this volume are biographies of several of the forgers, who describe their craft and how they are able to effectively fool conisseurs and specialists. An important, accessible introduction to pre-Columbian art fraud for archaeologists, art historians, and museum professionals alike. A parallel volume by the same authors discusses fakes in Andean archaeology.
Nancy L. Kelker is professor of art history at Middle Tennessee State University. She has Ph.D. in pre-Columbian art history from University of Texas, Austin. She has served as pre-Columbian art curator at the San Antonio Museum of Art and as a cultural property consultant on antiquities smuggling cases for the United States and Canadian governments. She has prepared exhibition catalogs and written a variety of research articles on pre-Columbian art. Karen O. Bruhns is director of the Cihuatan/ Las Marias Archaeological Project for the Fundacion Nacional de Arqueologia in El Salvador and an active participant in archaeological projects in the Andes. She has a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and has taught at several universities. She is author of Ancient South America, co-author of Women in Ancient America, and author of over 60 papers and monographs.