Tianxiashoucang, a popular television show in Beijing, is known for its exciting approach to identifying genuine and fake art pieces.
The program features famous artist and host Wang Gang, as well as a panel of expert judges. When a porcelain piece is brought out on the show, the judges examine the item to determine whether it is genuine or a forgery. If the panel rules that the item is a fake, Wang Gang will quickly do away with fraudulent piece by destroying it with a hammer.
Tianxiashoucang and Capital Museum, a leading authority for cultural preservation, recently held a joint exhibition to examine a collection of porcelain artifacts. Out of the 300 pieces destroyed by Wang Gang, 30 were selected to compare with the authentic pieces displayed in the museum.
Yao Zheng, a famous art collector and director of the Jade Collecting Committee of China Collectors Association, said that many of the “fake” items destroyed on the television program were actually genuine, with some of them being highly valuable.
Therefore, is Wang Gang a guardian or destroyer of valuable antiques?
Doubt: regrettable that genuine artifacts have been destroyed
A collector standing in front of the remains of the “fake artifacts” carefully examined the leftover pieces and told a journalist that she considered the “fake” pieces to be of high quality.
Another relic evaluation expert Ning Yuxin said “more that 90% of the ‘fakes’ here are genuine and 30% of them are quite valuable.
Yao said he wished the Capital Museum would cancel the exhibition and stop misleading people, and that the program should stop destroying porcelain pieces.
The destroyed porcelain and remaining pieces should be preserved and put through exhaustive evaluation. If necessary, they should hand these pieces over to governmental agencies.
Response: evaluation requires accuracy
According to the program’s producer Han Yong, each episode of Tianxiashoucang includes a panel of three judges who are experts in identifying and appraising cultural relics and they have “never made a single mistake.”
Han has explained that there is a large group of experts operating behind the panel of judges, and represent a host of professional institutes, auction companies and high-end artwork galleries.
When asked whether or not the program was afraid of making mistakes, Han replied by saying: “The items we appraise are not difficult or complicated, and we are completely confident of the results.”
Thought: undermining private collections bad for domestic industry
The former director of the China Cultural Relics Exchange Center of China National Museum, Lei Congyun, told journalists that the voices of regular citizens should not be overlooked.
Lei continued by explaining that damaging the credibility of private porcelain collections not only undermines the industry, but also forces many of these collections to move overseas.
“In recent years I have seen a large outflow of porcelain to markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan.”
Li Jianmin, a researcher with the Institute of Archaeology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said: “We should support private collections by protecting them, not by discrediting and destroying them. If necessary, we should assist private collectors to authenticate and refurbish their porcelain.”
However, the Beijing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage quickly dismissed allegations that the destroyed pieces were genuine after sending its own team of experts to examine the porcelain. The governmental authority expressed gratitude for the public’s involvement in guaranteeing the safety of important cultural relics, and welcomed future public supervision.