Counterfeiting of Ancient Terracotta Figurines. Counterfeits from P.A. Saburov’s Collection

Khodza Elena N.

Counterfeiting of terracotta figurines (especially of the Hellenistic ones) is a phenomenon of unprecedented scale. One of the reasons for this was the success of those figurines in the early 1870s, when they flooded the market after the pillage of the necropolis of Tanagra. The success was due to the fact that they met the aesthetic expectations of the public, which appreciated genre and chamber art as opposed to rhetoric and pathos. Besides, it was technically easy to copy the original figurines, to fill in missing parts, to create pastiches combining the details of several figurines or ancient fragments and those newly made. On the other hand, very high prices (which continued to grow as the finds at the necropolis of Tanagra were running out) and the general corruption of the antiquarian market (which had attracted an huge number of buyers, often incompetent) caused further growth of counterfeiting, inspired not only by ancient monuments, but also by modern works of art.

Keywords: ancient terracottas, tanagras, counterfeits, collections, P.A. Saburov