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The loss of cultural and artistic heritage from the potential destruction of historic antiques containing elephant ivory and material from other endangered species is an unfortunate potential byproduct of the unrelated poaching of animals living today.* Immediate action is required to support proposed revisions in regulations put forth by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service allowing exemptions for antiques containing

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In the mid-1500s, European merchant ships, loaded with treasures from Asia, began arriving in the port city of Acapulco. The cargo of Japanese lacquerware, Chinese porcelains and ivory carvings from India and the Philippines was bound for Europe. But along the way, many of the objects found their way to markets in Mexico City. Similar stories played out in port cities from Rio de Janeiro to Boston, transforming the Americas into a nexus of global trade and leaving an indelible impact on local art.

To explore the influence of Asian craftsmanship on the art of the early Americas, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is hosting “Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia.”

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Tuesday, 02 June 2015 16:56

Matchsafe Mysteries Illuminated at Winterthur

Recent efforts to identify elephant tusk ivory in Winterthur Museum’s decorative arts collection led to a modest, unadorned box, which appeared to be made of the material. The box is fastened by...

To continue reading this article about matchsafes, please visit

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Al Farrow’s meticulously crafted sculptures are both haunting and mesmerizing. Using materials such as deconstructed guns, bullets, bone, glass, and steel, Farrow creates ornate religious structures, ritual objects, and reliquaries that are visually striking and emotionally confounding. Through these shockingly beautiful sculptures, Farrow examines the abiding relationships between religion and violence, peace and brutality, the sacred and the unholy.

This unique exploration began after a trip to Italy when Farrow was confronted with a reliquary containing the remains of an ancient Saint. Reliquaries, which are containers that store and display precious relics, were often crafted of or enrobed in opulent materials such as  gold, silver, ivory, enamel, and gems.

Visit to read more about "Al Farrow: Wrath and Reverence," now on view at Forum Gallery in New York.

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Strict new regulations regarding the Endangered Species Act could freeze up the market for antique items containing ivory and other endangered species materials. The ban has been particularly detrimental to collectors, dealers, museums, and musicians -- all of whom often deal with objects containing ivory and other rare materials. While the goal of the ban is to stop the poaching of elephants and rhinoceros for purposes of illicit trade, a considerable number of law-abiding American are being punished in the process.

Last week Representative Steven Daines of Montana and Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee introduced bills H.R. 5052 and S. 2587 in an effort to reverse the recent changes to the Endangered Species Act. Representative Daines and Senator Alexander are confident that a more effective legislative response can be crafted. While the goal of eliminating poaching is laudable, punishing antique professionals and enthusiasts is disastrous.

It is crucial that you support the bills introduced by Representative Daines and Senator Alexander. Please follow the links to contact your state’s Senators and Representatives.



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Texas-based appraiser of Asian art pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court Tuesday to taking part in a conspiracy to smuggle illegal rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory to China.
Ning Qiu could spend more than two years in prison and be fined $150,000 when he is sentenced at a later date.
Authorities say Qiu admitted to helping the boss of the scheme obtain rhino horns and ivory, where they were smuggled to Hong Kong and used to make fake antiques.

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To the chagrin of New York antiques dealers, lawmakers in Albany have voted to outlaw the sale of virtually all items containing more than small amounts of elephant ivory, mammoth ivory or rhinoceros horn. The legislation, which is backed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, will essentially eliminate New York’s central role in a well-established, nationwide trade with an estimated annual value of $500 million.

Lawmakers say the prohibitions are needed to curtail the slaughter of endangered African elephants and rhinos, which they say is fueled by a global black market in poached ivory, some of which has turned up in New York.

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The Wildlife Conservation Society is pleased to learn that Antiques Roadshow on PBS will no longer feature carved ivory tusks on air. In addition, the show has removed past appraisals from the series archive.

“On behalf of WCS and all of the 96 Elephants campaign partners, we commend Antiques Roadshow on their decision to cease appraisals of ivory tusks,” said John Calvelli, Wildlife Conservation Society Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Director of WCS’s 96 Elephants Campaign. “It is vital to the survival of this iconic species that we limit the demand of ivory products. These policies are an important step in assuring these items are not glorified on-air and the assumed monetary value is not a factor. We look forward to working with Antiques Roadshow in the coming months.”

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Wednesday, 14 May 2014 10:55

Antique Dealers Challenge Ivory Regulations

Antique trade groups in the US have proposed reforms to new rules that make it illegal to sell ivory objects that were imported before 1982. Antiques made in the US that contain ivory are also prohibited from being sold. Neither type of object qualifies for the “antique exemption”, which allows the trade of objects more than 100 years old.

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Tuesday, 17 September 2013 17:47

Medieval Works from Germany go on View at the Met

Germany’s Hildesheim Cathedral, which was designated a UNESCO world cultural heritage site in 1985, houses one of the most comprehensive surviving collections of ecclesiastical furnishings and medieval masterpieces in Europe. Built between 1010 and 1020, the church is undergoing major renovations, which has allowed for the exhibition Medieval Treasures from Hildesheim to go on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The show presents 50 medieval treasures – many of which have never been viewed outside Europe – and explores the Hildesheim’s legacy. The first portion of the exhibition focuses on Bishop Bernward of Hildesheim (960-1022), one of leading patrons of the arts during the Middle Ages. The Bishop commissioned many treasures during his time including monumental bronze works, the Golden Madonna, elaborate silver candlesticks and illuminated manuscripts. The life-size woodcarving known as the Ringelheim crucifix, which he commissioned, is one of the earliest surviving three-dimensional sculptures of the Middle Age.

Medieval Treasures from Hildesheim goes on to explore the continuing artistic production of Hildesheim in the high Middle Ages. Works from this period that will be on view at the Met include jeweled crosses, altars adorned with enamel and ivory and gilt-bronze liturgical fans. In the early 13th century Hildesheim became a major center for bronze casting. A monumental bronze baptismal font from this period will be display at the Met; it is one of the most important works to survive from the Middle Ages.  

Medieval Treasures from Hildesheim will be on view at the Met through January 5, 2014.

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