The price of cultural heritage – 天价文物和贱价文化 – English

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The successive evolution of technology from the neolithic has resulted in a large number of ancient artifacts and a wealth of cultural heritage, but in the chaos of time, much of it has been lost. But the paradox is that, over the last twenty years, these artifacts have seen a large-scale, magnificent resurrection, subverting the usual pattern for the history of ancient artifacts and technology.

The digging up of ancient artifacts in China can be divided into three phases. First, after the second Reform and Opening movement in 1993, launching a new wave of urban construction, massive urban expansion encroached on the countryside, many tracts of land were turned up, brining numerous ancient artifacts to light. Second, the development of higways and digging up of old forests meant excavation of more ancient artifacts. Third, in recent years, with new rural constructions, the widespread implementation of the forest contracting system, farmers planting trees in the mountains and digging pits, ancient artifacts have come back to light. Twenty years later, almost every inch of land in China has been turned over, and artifacts buried 2 to 8 meters under the ground have all been dug out, and forced to see the sun of the greedy 21st century.

Black market traffic of ancient artifacts support this massive unearthing. Rural dealers purchase them from farmers at a low price, then sell them to the City collectors. From there, they flow out to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and overseas, and are finally bought back by Chinese collectors for hundreds of millions. This black market in heritage goods is one of the largest sources of private capital growth.

Given their unique nature, the value of historical artifacts is already higher than gold, and they have the potential to reach that of diamonds. They are more profitable than drugs, and have become China’s largest source of private wealth creation. It has been estimated that the current total value of historical artifacts reaches 12 trillion Yuan, nearly half of the Shanghai or Shenzhen stock market capitalisation of 26 trillion. So far, by 2010, the auction price of cultural artifacts had already reached the hundreds of millions, with over 10,000 different pieces. In 2011, the record for highest price of a single artifact was broken at 420 million. That year, the Chinese ancient artifact market entered the ‘hundred million’ era, and became a money black hole for rare objects.

在古器物大爆炸的同时,各种丑闻层出不穷。2009年,一件清代镂空粉彩瓶,在伦敦被某浙商以5.5亿高价拍下,制造了华夏器物拍卖史的奇迹,但该瓶子除了工艺比较精良以外,没有多少玩味之处,器型、色彩、纹饰,都散发出乾隆时代的艳俗气味。在我看来,该器的实际价值,顶多只是其成交价的一成而已。

另一丑闻发生于今年3月纽约亚洲古董拍卖会。一只普通的民国斗彩瓷罐,估价仅为8000-12000人民币,居然被数位中国文物贩子追拍到1.2亿,酿成国际拍卖市场近年来的最大乌龙。全球古器物藏家都在掩口而笑。第三件丑闻发生于今年3月的天津文交所。一幅二流画家的水墨画《黄河咆哮》,被天真的股民炒到1.8亿的市值,令艺术史家目瞪口呆。

接踵而至的丑闻,露出中国古器物市场的三种弊端:第一,艺术智商低下,不具备起码的艺术鉴赏力;第二,缺乏古器物鉴别能力,无法对古器物的真伪作出正确评判;第三,鉴于上述两种缺失,贩藏者只能以赌徒的身份参与,押宝心理支配了整个交易过程,

这种文物市场的博彩化,是古器物收藏及其文明传承的最大误区。古器物市场正在转型为超级卡西诺,成为资本赌徒冒险的乐园。这是中国股市命运的戏剧性重演。赌场效应摧毁了古器物收藏和流通的基本逻辑。它只能制造一大堆超级赌徒,而无法培育器物文化的热爱者、鉴赏者与保护者,更不能将其转换为推动文化复兴的良性动力。

尽管文物的市价被越抬越高,形成巨大的财经泡沫,而器物藏贩者的文化水准,却在一路狂跌,而中国文化的地位,从未变得如此摇摇欲坠。中国最大的文物藏家和文化象征——故宫,近年来多次书写反面传奇,展示其文化败退的严重迹象。如果说安保系统的漏洞百出,还只是管理能力的问题,那么在表扬信和致歉信中所出现的错别字和病句,已被民众视为文化素质低下的典型症候。而垄断公共文化资源,将其变成少数人的敛财工具,更揭示出文化所面对的真正敌人,其实就是侵吞和垄断文物的官僚权力。2011年故宫的演剧表明,腐烂早已没有边界,修缮得金碧辉煌的传统文化地标,散发出浓烈的臭气。

一方面是文物价格的惊天哄抬,另一方面是总体文化价值的崩盘,这种对比形成了尖锐的讽喻。中国历史上从未出现过如此诡异的场景。文物市场和紫禁城的故事向我们证实,作为公共资源的历史文化遗产,被肆意侵吞、炒作、瓜分、消耗、贬损和荼毒。似乎没有任何官员为此负责,也没有推动文化制度矫正的迹象。而在文物价格泡沫的深处,官场完成了行贿等级和技巧的全面升级。当古文化沦为牟取暴利的工具之时,华夏文明正在从古老历史的悬崖上坠落。全体民众都听见了它痛苦的尖叫。

Source: Author’s blog. Date: 13 June 2011. Editor: Cheng Shicai.



Source : 21ccom

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February 11, 2016 @ 06:47:35Current Revision
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<p>The successive evolution of technology from the neolithic has resulted in a large number of ancient artifacts and a wealth of cultural heritage, but in the chaos of time, much of it has been lost. But the paradox is that, over the last twenty years, these artifacts have seen a large-scale, magnificent resurrection, subverting the usual pattern for the history of ancient artifacts and technology. </p> <p>The successive evolution of technology from the neolithic has resulted in a large number of ancient artifacts and a wealth of cultural heritage, but in the chaos of time, much of it has been lost. But the paradox is that, over the last twenty years, these artifacts have seen a large-scale, magnificent resurrection, subverting the usual pattern for the history of ancient artifacts and technology. </p>
<p>The digging up of ancient artifacts in China can be divided into three phases. First, after the second Reform and Opening movement in 1993, launching a new wave of urban construction, massive urban expansion encroached on the countryside, many tracts of land were turned up, brining numerous ancient artifacts to light. Second, the development of higways and digging up of old forests meant excavation of more ancient artifacts. Third, in recent years, with new rural constructions, the widespread implementation of the forest contracting system, farmers planting trees in the mountains and digging pits, ancient artifacts have come back to light. Twenty years later, almost every inch of land in China has been turned over, and artifacts buried 2 to 8 meters under the ground have all been dug out, and forced to see the sun of the greedy 21st century. </p> <p>The digging up of ancient artifacts in China can be divided into three phases. First, after the second Reform and Opening movement in 1993, launching a new wave of urban construction, massive urban expansion encroached on the countryside, many tracts of land were turned up, brining numerous ancient artifacts to light. Second, the development of higways and digging up of old forests meant excavation of more ancient artifacts. Third, in recent years, with new rural constructions, the widespread implementation of the forest contracting system, farmers planting trees in the mountains and digging pits, ancient artifacts have come back to light. Twenty years later, almost every inch of land in China has been turned over, and artifacts buried 2 to 8 meters under the ground have all been dug out, and forced to see the sun of the greedy 21st century. </p>
<p>Black market traffic of ancient artifacts support this massive unearthing. Rural dealers purchase them from farmers at a low price, then sell them to the City collectors. From there, they flow out to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and overseas, and are finally bought back by Chinese collectors for hundreds of millions. This black market in heritage goods is one of the largest sources of private capital growth. </p> <p>Black market traffic of ancient artifacts support this massive unearthing. Rural dealers purchase them from farmers at a low price, then sell them to the City collectors. From there, they flow out to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and overseas, and are finally bought back by Chinese collectors for hundreds of millions. This black market in heritage goods is one of the largest sources of private capital growth. </p>
<p>Given their unique nature, the value of historical artifacts is already higher than gold, and they have the potential to reach that of diamonds. They are more profitable than drugs, and have become China's largest source of private wealth creation. It has been estimated that the current total value of historical artifacts reaches 12 trillion Yuan, nearly half of the Shanghai or Shenzhen stock market capitalisation of 26 trillion. So far, by 2010, the auction price of cultural artifacts had already reached the hundreds of millions, with over 10,000 different pieces. In 2011, the record for highest price of a single artifact was broken at 420 million. That year, the Chinese ancient artifact market entered the 'hundred million' era, and became a money black hole for rare objects. </p> <p>Given their unique nature, the value of historical artifacts is already higher than gold, and they have the potential to reach that of diamonds. They are more profitable than drugs, and have become China's largest source of private wealth creation. It has been estimated that the current total value of historical artifacts reaches 12 trillion Yuan, nearly half of the Shanghai or Shenzhen stock market capitalisation of 26 trillion. So far, by 2010, the auction price of cultural artifacts had already reached the hundreds of millions, with over 10,000 different pieces. In 2011, the record for highest price of a single artifact was broken at 420 million. That year, the Chinese ancient artifact market entered the 'hundred million' era, and became a money black hole for rare objects. </p>
<p>在古器物大爆炸的同时,各种丑闻层出不穷。2009年,一件清代镂空粉彩瓶,在伦敦被某浙商以5.5亿高价拍下,制造了华夏器物拍卖史的奇迹,但该瓶子除了工艺比较精良以外,没有多少玩味之处,器型、色彩、纹饰,都散发出乾隆时代的艳俗气味。在我看来,该器的实际价值,顶多只是其成交价的一成而已。</p>  
<p>另一丑闻发生于今年3月纽约亚洲古董拍卖会。一只普通的民国斗彩瓷罐,估价仅为8000- 12000人民币,居然被数位中国文物贩子追拍到1.2亿,酿成国际拍卖市场近年来的最大乌龙。全球古器物藏家都在掩口而笑。第三件丑闻发生于今年3月的天津文交所。一幅二流画家的水墨画《黄河咆哮》,被天真的股民炒到1.8亿的市值,令艺术史家目瞪口呆。</p>  
<p>接踵而至的丑闻,露出中国古器物市场的三种弊端:第一,艺术智商低下,不具备起码的艺术鉴赏力;第二,缺乏古器物鉴别能力,无法对古器物的真伪作出正确评判;第三,鉴于上述两种缺失,贩藏者只能以赌徒的身份参与,押宝心理支配了整个交易过程,</p>  
<p>这种文物市场的博彩化,是古器物收藏及其文明传承的最大误区。古器物市场正在转型为超级卡西诺,成为资本赌徒冒险的乐园。这是中国股市命运的戏剧性重演。赌场效应摧毁了古器物收藏和流通的基本逻辑。它只能制造一大堆超级赌徒,而无法培育器物文化的热爱者、鉴赏者与保护者,更不能将其转换为推动文化复兴的良性动力。</p>  
  <p>As the market for cultural artifacts exploded, there have been a whole range of scandals. In 2009, in London, a decorated bottle from the Qing Dynasty was sold to a rich Zhejiang merchant for 550 million. This was a miracle scene in the history of Ancient Chinese artifact auction history. However, the bottle, apart from displaying remarkable craftsmanship, did not have any particular points of interest, the type, colours, decoration, all exuded the gaudy smells of the Qianlong era. In my opinion, the value of this object was only one percent of the price it went for. </p>
  <p>Another scandal occured this year in March, at an Asian antique auction in New York. A common coloured jar from the Chinese Republic, valued at 8000 - 12000 Yuan, was unexpectedly chased up by Chinese antique dealers, and reached the price of 120 million, and became the prominent black dragon of international art auctions in recent years. International artifact collectors all showed a secret smile. The third scandal happened in March this year at the Tianjin cultural fair. A second-rate ink painting called 'Yellow River roaring' was bought by naive investors for 180 millions, to the great astonishment of art historians. </p>
<p>尽管文物的市价被越抬越高,形成巨大的财经泡沫,而器物藏贩者的文化水准,却在一路狂跌,而中国文化的地位,从未变得如此摇摇欲坠。中国最大的文物藏家和文化象征——故宫,近年来多次书写反面传奇,展示其文化败退的严重迹象。如果说安保系统的漏洞百出,还只是管理能力的问题,那么在表扬信和致歉信中所出现的错别字和病句,已被民众视为文化素质低下的典型症候。而垄断公共文化资源,将其变成少数人的敛财工具,更揭示出文化所面对的真正敌人,其实就是侵吞和垄断文物的官僚权力。2011年故宫的演剧表明,腐烂早已没有边界,修缮得金碧辉煌的传统文化地标,散发出浓烈的臭气。</p> <p>One after the other, these scandals exposed the shortcomings of the Chinese ancient artifact market. First, the low wisdom of the art market, they don't have the most basic understanding; second, the inability to identify ancient artifacts, or make a correct judgement on their authenticity; three, in light of the above two, collectors can only take part as a gamble, and the entire transaction is dominated by the psychology of gambling. </p>
<p>一方面是文物价格的惊天哄抬,另一方面是总体文化价值的崩盘,这种对比形成了尖锐的讽喻。中国历史上从未出现过如此诡异的场景。文物市场和紫禁城的故事向我们证实,作为公共资源的历史文化遗产,被肆意侵吞、炒作、瓜分、消耗、贬损和荼毒。似乎没有任何官员为此负责,也没有推动文化制度矫正的迹象。而在文物价格泡沫的深处,官场完成了行贿等级和技巧的全面升级。当古文化沦为牟取暴利的工具之时,华夏文明正在从古老历史的悬崖上坠落。全体民众都听见了它痛苦的尖叫。</p>  
  <p>This gaming of the market is the biggest wrong happening in the collection of ancient artifacts and heritage. The ancient artifacts market is transforming into a super casino, and becomes a giant amusement park for gamblers. This is a dramatic repetition of the fate of the Chinese stock market. The casino effect destroys the basic logic behind the collection and circulation of ancient artifacts. It can only lead to the emergence of super-gamblers, it cannot cultivate lovers, connoisseurs and protectors of culture, and even less can it convert them into promoters of a cultural revival.</p>
  <p>Although the price of cultural relics goes higher and higher, forming a gigantic bubble, the cultural level of collectors is crashing, and the status of Chinese culture has never been so shaky. China's largest collection of artifacts and cultural symbol - the Forbidden City - has been the object of many negative comments in recent years, showing signs of its retreat. If we only talk about the loopholes in its security system, this is no more than a management problem, and the many typos and errors in the letters of commendation and apology have long been assessed by the public as a sign of low cultural quality. But turning a monopoly on public cultural resources into a money-making scheme for the minority reveals the real enemies of culture, which is misappropriation and monopoly of bureaucratic power over cultural relics. In the 2011 show 'Forbidden City', corruption was already shown as without limit, and the magnificent repairs of traditional cultural landmarks were clearly showing its odor. </p>
  <p>On the one hand, we see the price of cultural artifacts racing up, on the other hand, we see overall cultural values collapse, this contrast forms a sharp allegory. In Chinese history, there has never been such a strange scene. The stories of the cultural artifacts market and the Forbidden City have confirmed to us that historical productions forming a common resource have been embezzled, gambled on, divided, consumed, wasted and poisoned. There seems to be no official responsible for this, and there is no sign that a system of protection is coming forward. But in the depths of the cultural artifact price bubble, officials have thoroughly improved their skills and levels of bribery. When ancient culture perishes to become a tool of profit, Chinese civilisation is falling off the cliff of ancient history. Everybody can hear its scream of pain. </p>
<p>Source: Author's blog. Date: 13 June 2011. Editor: Cheng Shicai. </p> <p>Source: Author's blog. Date: 13 June 2011. Editor: Cheng Shicai. </p>

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