By the market’s seemingly only definition, profit, Christie’s Paris auction of sacred images and other antiquities from Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nepal, Thailand and Tibet was a success. By any other definition, its results were more questionable.
a dismembered Buddha from Indonesia sold for 246 per cent more than its estimate at Christie’s Paris auction
Today, Christie’s Paris auction house is offering sacred images and other antiquities from Asia, specifically Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nepal, Thailand and Tibet. Almost none of the 88 objects has a secure and complete collecting history. Numerous objects appear to have “surfaced“, in archaeologists David Gill and Christopher Chippindale’s term, at this auction.
Thus, with regard to almost all of the 88 objects, there does not appear to be sufficient evidence to reassure ethical buyers that they are not taking any risk of handling stolen cultural goods, illicitly exported cultural goods or illicitly imported cultural goods.