There are also objects the authenticity of which cannot be decided with the available possibilities of access and technical means.In addition, some examples of early Tibetan art raise the question of the limits of authenticity itself. Achim Bayer has convincingly demonstrated that the statue cannot be more than one hundred years old. Contrary to some speculations (based apparently on the presence of the swastika), it is highly unlikely that it was acquired by the Schäfer expedition in 1939.1578, even though the woodblocks of the Hongwu Southern Canon were destroyed 172 years earlier, in 1406. 1403 – 1424) decided to engrave a new set of woodblocks in the same format as the one destroyed.This set was later called the Yongle Southern Canon because it was engraved in the Yongle period (1403 – 1424), in the “southern capital,” Nanjing.In addition to the combined notions of remoteness and ancientness, the statue hinted at a mysterious technical superiority, with the tools to chisel metal of this hardness supposedly unknown in those archaic times.While the material of the statue had been identified by a team of geologists and planetologists as being of meteoric origin, stemming from a meteor that went down in the Mongolian-Sibirian borderlands, the statue can stylistically be identified as a typical twentieth-century imitation of Tibetan art.At the same time, this event raises questions about the processes of authentification and falsification in the contemporary assessment of antique Asian art.Questions of Authenticity Buddhist art from Gandhara and Tibet It is well known in the scholarly community that today the market in Gandharan art is flooded with pieces of doubtful authenticity, but the degree to which this is the case is contested.
One of them is the Hongwu nanzang (洪武南藏, Hongwu Southern Canon).Given the complexity of the issues involved in revealing such objects, this fact is deplorable and results in the frequent publication of problematic pieces.In my panel contribution I will present a selected group of objects of doubtful authenticity challenging common suppositions concerning their upcoming, their artistic quality, and the reliability of technical analyses to prove the authenticity of an object.Yet, despite the lack of any credible connection to Schäfer, blogs with titles like “Nazi-found Buddhist statue” or “Ancient statue the Nazis stole,” dominate the web, overshadowing the findings of serious research.In an effort to advance the research of scholars such as Achim Bayer, this paper will argue that this statue depicts a historical person of the 20th century.