When is a fake a FAKE?

The antique collection has always been a ‘spot a fake’ game and has become even more so.

I used to think one can spot a fake by the quality or lack of it, style, patina and usage-related wear. Of these usage related wear is a reasonable indicator, especially when used along with style attributes. Invariably I look at the bottom for wear and the patina of the bottom portion.

Here is an example. Bought it online.

Fake Jina

Reasonable topic. Tirthankara and it is possibly from Western India. And it may be dated to the 15th century. Casting may not be crisp.

After receiving it checked the bottom. The bottom of the lFake Jina bottomegs is worn smooth. That is good. But the patina of the inner portion did not look right. A bit too shiny for the age. See the highlighted portion. That shine does not gel with the wear and breakage. I was not so sure about publishing it as original and kept on delaying the posting.

Then it started. One after another I came across three similar examples, from different sources (Canada, USA and The Netherlands) listed online. One of them even had inscriptions. They all of the same height (18 cm) and surprisingly the basic wear pattern is the same. See the photos.

It appears these were cast using the sand-casting technique, deploying a pattern (original?) which had the wear. Nothing against sand casting and not all bronzes are made using the lost wax method. It is the intent.

If I were to define fake as an object made to be sold as something it is not, then these examples would meet the criteria. The casting with the wear is meant to mislead the purchaser.

All is not lost. The lack of crispness, see the pedestal, still helps us to spot fakes. For now.


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