Some internal views of some Nazca vessels. Peru. Circa: 4-6th century.
A recent conversation with a collector reminded me how important my job is. I have always took on the stance that buying at auction houses and estate sales was not a glamorous activity. Just look carefully at the attendees at the auction houses, and you most likely see a lot of people hungry to get into action; and I tell you, they are not friendly looking. They may smile, but inside, there’s something going there that I don’t even want to talk about.
But on the other side, my collector-friend reminded me, we are quite privilege to be in this buying-selling business. We have the chance to preserve a culture’s artifacts. At first, I didn’t quite get it; I mean, buying and selling is just a transaction, right? What she meant I think, is that we antique buyers have a unique responsibility to carefully identify a cultural piece, and to make sure that it does not go to waste or in ruins; e.g to be left behind, throw away, without trying to find out its origin, history, real name, function, or usage.
That conversation gave me something to think about…. I’m not just a buyer anymore… there’s more to it.
Photo: Nazca Polychrome Round Vessel of Fisherman, circa pre-6th century