by Amy Page
Ancient Near Eastern art, also called Western Asiatic, is not as well-known as Greek or Roman art, but is a fascinating and very complicated field. the complication is due to the fact that it spans an enormous time frame—from the 8th millennium B.C. (Neolithic period) to 323 B.C. (the death of Alexander the Great)—and an enormous geographical area as well a multitude of civilizations...
"One dark cloud that hangs over the question of forgery in Near Eastern art is lack of knowledge," says Aboutaam. "Mainstream scholars tend to condemn what is not commonly known." He, too, stresses that one must only buy from "reputable and knowledgeable people who go beyond the bounds of research." Torkom Demirjian, owner of Ariadne Galleries, says, "We don't worry about fakes because we do due diligence and have things tested." Scientific testing is good thing for every area of antiquity, but it can be expensive and can also take a long time. But for serious collectors of important pieces, testing has made buying antiquities a great deal safer.
Provenance is always important and particularly with Near Eastern antiquities. "I don't buy any Middle Eastern art unless I can verify its provenance," says Demirjian. "Otherwise," he adds, "it's a can of worms."