Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

This is a broad, catch-all category of works that fit best here and not elsewhere. If you haven't found it someplace else, you might want to look here.

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Thu Oct 13, 2022 12:09 am

The Mystery Conman: The Murky Business of Counterfeit Antiques
directed by Sonje Storm
DW Documentary
Jan 13, 2017

Fake art sits unnoticed in galleries around the world. A talented fraudster has been playing the art market and ripping off collectors for years. Who is the mystery conman? Discover more in THE MYSTERY CONMAN - THE MURKY BUSINESS OF COUNTERFEIT ANTIQUES.

Museum curators and art collectors want to sweep the topic of counterfeiting under the carpet. But archaeologist Stefan Lehmann is on the hunt for the elusive figure whose counterfeit antiques are in some of the world's biggest collections.

Around 40 fakes have been discovered and Lehmann believes this is just the tip of the iceberg. Alongside antique dealer Christoph Leon, Lehmann follows the forgery trail through Europe and to the US.

____

DW Documentary gives you knowledge beyond the headlines. Watch top documentaries from German broadcasters and international production companies. Meet intriguing people, travel to distant lands, get a look behind the complexities of daily life and build a deeper understanding of current affairs and global events. Subscribe and explore the world around you with DW Documentary.



Transcript

[Music]

0:07
69

0:17
well John's husband is this auction

0:20
houses usually care only about what goes

0:22
over the counter what makes money

0:24
animals genuine and fake goods go over

0:27
the counter there is no difference

0:32
the man is rather ethical principles

0:34
overboard as long as it sells anyone

0:38
happy

0:38
[Music]

1:04
ninety-five million dollar

1:13
[Music]

1:20
these bronze heads are from auction

1:23
houses galleries and art dealers they

1:26
all have one thing in common

1:29
archaeologist Stefan Lehmann reckons

1:31
they're fakes the work of a mystery

1:34
super forger known in German art circles

1:37
as the Spanish master no one knows who

1:40
he is but Lehman is on his trail sponsor

1:44
masters nota nom the Spanish master is a

1:48
makeshift name nobody knows exactly what

1:52
it's supposed to mean or where it comes

1:53
from I've heard the expression used in

1:56
the art trade in general my recently met

2:00
an archaeologist who claimed to have

2:01
coined the expression because he knows a

2:04
forger from Spain when I asked him for

2:07
his name he said oh I can't think of it

2:09
right now

2:11
Lehman describes these portraits of

2:14
ancient rulers to the forger Augustus

2:18
Caesar

2:20
Alexander the Great all the sculptures

2:24
have a common attribute an emotional

2:27
facial expression which is actually not

2:29
typical of classical antiquity they're

2:33
always bronze heads which are an

2:35
especially high demand among art

2:37
collectors this one was put up for

2:44
auction at Barnum's this is one of the

2:46
heads that was offered in New York by

2:48
Robin Symes in the December auction

2:50
it's about jewel this was acquired

2:54
conventionally over the counter in her

2:55
New York antique shop if you take

2:59
Aladdin of all born this one was put up

3:03
for auction in Munich this one's been

3:06
sold several times it's already got

3:09
quite a history today it's in the

3:10
possession of a foundation in Geneva in

3:12
a museum as far as I know this one is in

3:15
Geneva - lemon is a professor at Martin

3:19
Luther University and Haller from his

3:22
office the Berlin born expert researches

3:24
the art market and find so many heads he

3:27
considers dubious that he has to shake

3:29
his own load this one still on offer

3:32
approximately 250 AD price upon request

3:36
of course higher self na'far his claw

3:41
[Music]

3:45
what up close the price well it starts

3:48
at about a million my name you won

4:00
as an art dealer for 40 years Christophe

4:04
Leon sold many major pieces of ancient

4:07
art to international museums he made a

4:10
decision that's unusual for an art

4:12
dealer he wants to talk about his

4:14
observations in the ancient art trade he

4:18
shows us the catalogue of an

4:19
international auction house that sold

4:21
off a collection this in the past only a

4:25
few pieces of genuine let's go through

4:27
and quickly this one is so fake it

4:30
stinks look it's so blurred a sculptor

4:32
in antiquity would never have done that

4:34
you can forget it depends if it Kissin

4:40
kind o ancient sculpture ever looked

4:42
like that with these eyes these big

4:44
bulgy eyes

4:45
this one's ridiculous you can tell by

4:48
the hair the hair always gives the game

4:49
away the vases are okay we won't waste

4:52
our time on them this is so fake it

4:54
stinks this one's impossible it's all

4:57
rubbish this one here - none of them are

5:01
antiquities here's another one with a

5:06
male member bulging through the cloth

5:08
that was never done in ancient times

5:12
this is this antique Azizah it's always

5:15
always to sneak a mouse button it's just

5:17
a list oh it all got sold the few

5:20
genuine works and all the forgeries

5:23
$47,000 eighty-three thousand fifty nine

5:25
thousand that's big money and de casa

5:29
hey does a Kadima get ahead in

5:32
everybody keeps tight-lipped and says

5:34
nothing no one goes and says careful my

5:36
friend what you have here is a disaster

5:38
you wasted your money Leon says up to

5:42
50% of all antiques sold at auction are

5:45
fakes

5:45
it's an incredible figure

5:47
[Music]

5:50
high above Manhattan the experienced

5:54
American archaeologist Oscar white

5:56
muscarella watches the art trade he

6:00
worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

6:02
as a curator for many years and is a

6:05
renowned expert he's considered the good

6:08
conscience of archaeology because he

6:10
doesn't mince his words you could say

6:13
he's a kind of whistleblower why one of

6:19
my mentors here Sherlock Holmes I have

6:22
learned that both deals are flexible son

6:26
thinks the watching house is because

6:27
they're forgeries I talked to a deal

6:31
about this once and he smiled and what

6:33
they're doing you see instead of selling

6:35
it to a customer from their own shop

6:37
they don't want to salvage it we don't

6:39
want her soul for interest and a lot of

6:40
dealers don't one don't want to sell

6:42
avoid it they put it up for auction

6:43
under a false name or they'll say from

6:47
an old collection ministers the the

6:49
provenance from an old family collection

6:52
or from an old collection or from mr. X

6:55
and these are dealers were selling the

6:59
forgery and auction and not being

7:02
personally involved in who buys it you

7:04
see in America because it has so many

7:06
museums is a prime target but the sale

7:10
of forgeries yes

7:13
[Music]

7:16
New York may seem far away but the

7:20
international trade has made its way to

7:22
provincial eastern Germany to a Stefan

7:25
layman experienced personally this

7:28
bronze bust of Alexander the Great was

7:31
presented at the vinkor man museum in

7:33
Stendhal in saxony-anhalt in the year

7:35
2000

7:36
later it emerged that the bust had

7:39
belonged to the London art dealer Robin

7:41
Symes Stefan Lehmann attributes the bus

7:45
to the Spanish master whose style he

7:47
recognizes in it the special appearance

7:49
of the edges where it was supposedly

7:51
broken in ancient times and evenly

7:54
spread patina the face completely

7:57
preserved as if by magic Lehman went

8:00
public with the news that the museum was

8:02
displaying the bust without clear

8:04
details of its provenance it's what all

8:07
happening younger cooked I was there and

8:09
I took a look at it and to me it was

8:12
crying out that it was a forgery

8:14
I was quite astonished so I bought the

8:17
catalogue and I found that even less

8:18
convincing I mean there are many

8:23
forgeries and even the best of us can

8:25
fall for a fake that's completely best

8:27
in Keisel fool there's nothing more to

8:29
say

8:31
so I published a lecture which I gave

8:33
here in Hara in the form of a museum

8:36
booklet and expressed my own view that

8:39
in my opinion it's out of the question

8:41
that the piece under consideration is

8:44
from the ancient world an organ or an

8:48
antique is over nightfall and Tom unti

8:51
cables ancient bronze bust of Alexander

8:53
the Great or a well-made forgery by

8:55
international art dealer mafia ten years

8:58
ago this sculpture was considered a

9:00
sensation displayed at the vinkle minh

9:02
museum allegedly on loan from a private

9:04
collector but the accusations that it's

9:06
a fake go back a long way but not before

9:10
time I still have the same opinion as

9:11
stated in an academic publication that

9:13
we are dealing with the forgery or the

9:16
Winkelman society however accused him of

9:18
libel and sued was this simply a

9:20
scholarly dispute or an archaeological

9:23
scandal to avoid a lengthy trial a

9:25
mediator was hired

9:27
but meanwhile the purported bronze

9:29
sensation has been missing since the

9:32
exhibition 10 years ago

9:34
Osmund indeed I should speak for

9:36
scientists to go down the legal route in

9:39
Sumy that was a new departure I must say

9:44
and in a certain way it's a form of

9:47
violence your focus of this Avista

9:52
thoughtful goodbye it a foul Spectre

9:54
certain vital there was also the

9:56
intention the lawyer for the plaintiff

9:57
told me the aim was to get me removed

9:59
from my post eventually the trial ended

10:03
at the Berlin Regional Court with a

10:06
settlement the details of which both

10:08
parties have agreed to keep secret but

10:11
instead of shutting Lehman up the trial

10:13
spurred him on to carry out more

10:15
research forgeries are an unpopular

10:18
topic in archeological circles Lehman is

10:21
one of the few archaeologists to address

10:23
it publicly and word has got around

10:26
today he's looking at a new case a Swiss

10:30
collector who wishes to remain anonymous

10:32
bought a bronze head in New York but

10:35
then started having doubts about whether

10:37
it was genuine usually Lehman looks for

10:41
bronze heads at art fairs and in museums

10:44
galleries and auction catalogues now for

10:48
the first time a possible work by the

10:50
Spanish master is on his very own desk

10:54
it's a portrait of Augustus Caesar it's

10:57
a stroke of luck for Lehman and his

10:59
colleague Henry clue who's also an

11:01
archaeologist the Swiss collector says

11:05
Lehman could have sold the head on and

11:07
is now risking the loss of a good

11:09
million euros

11:17
impressive piece if the head turns out

11:20
to be a forgery it will be immediately

11:22
worthless this phones thereby endure

11:31
it's certainly very impressive you look

11:34
at it and the first thing you say is

11:37
it's a wonderful head it's also

11:40
spectacular because there are very few

11:42
bronze heads of Augustus that also

11:44
increases its value

11:54
prices for works of ancient art have

11:57
risen rapidly in recent years many

12:00
people looking for a safe investment by

12:02
works of art Stephan Lehmann believes

12:05
the stock markets and the trade in

12:06
antiquities are linked it's actually all

12:12
iron navaja de mons is the likely

12:15
outcome of course it's something you can

12:17
easily explain with the new era after

12:19
1989 when there was a whole new market

12:23
of billionaires oil billionaires stores

12:28
in this big idea of between meter they

12:30
got the other key bells and harmful the

12:33
stock markets went crazy people learned

12:36
quick money and now there are very many

12:38
people with almost inconceivable amounts

12:41
of money and one of the investments

12:45
recommended by banks is antiques

12:48
paintings and works of ancient art what

12:51
do you belong Tiki don't classify us

12:54
from Iceland the Spanish master and his

12:56
circle tried to help by meeting market

12:58
demand with forgery Simba Dolph Sabbath

13:01
reading that explains why four trees are

13:04
made you see and for jeewa sold all over

13:08
the place uh and because they have their

13:11
dead there's a market for it because

13:13
museums and collectors buy it

13:15
we're talking money money money is the

13:19
underlining factor and the reason this

13:22
is done because only rich people have

13:24
the money to pay for it and these rich

13:27
people take get further advantage by

13:29
donating it taking a tax deduction she

13:32
ain't getting prestige

13:33
and this goes on and on and on as we're

13:36
sitting here it exists at this very

13:37
moment

13:43
so the trade in antiquities is obviously

13:46
a wash with forgeries according to Oskar

13:48
muscarella surprisingly many experts in

13:52
German museums and universities know

13:54
about it - but it's frowned upon - right

13:57
expert opinions for the art trade

13:59
because of concerns that in addition to

14:01
forgeries there's a lot of looted art on

14:04
the market Marco's Harrogate who heads

14:12
one of the sections of Berlin's Pergamon

14:14
museum has bought his staff from writing

14:16
expert opinions on antiquities for the

14:19
art trade let's get doctor ions RTD

14:24
indigent is on the one hand you have

14:26
those who say we have to document

14:27
illegally exported works or academia so

14:30
that the knowledge does not get lost

14:34
designed on the other hand you have

14:36
those who say that my writing expert

14:38
opinions you raise the value of a work

14:42
of art and make it even more profitable

14:45
and that is also my personal opinion who

14:48
does this let's stop by the position of

14:51
us all I decided that we could not and

14:53
should not write any more evaluations

14:56
because the experts are the ones who

14:58
assess an item and give it its value

15:00
with their assessment often via team

15:03
Christophe Leon was an art dealer for

15:06
many years and has a doctorate in

15:08
archaeology we joined him on his way to

15:10
France a museum there is allegedly

15:15
exhibiting several heads of dubious

15:17
provenance including some works

15:19
ascribable to the spanish master

15:25
[Music]

15:30
Leon has known the archaeologists

15:33
Stephan Lehmann from Haller for many

15:35
years whenever works from antiquity show

15:38
up that appear suspicious they exchange

15:41
views and information Leon says the

15:44
market for forgeries has been booming

15:46
for several years now as an art dealer

15:49
he personally experienced the

15:51
developments on the art market for 40

15:53
years

15:58
ah dese nuts in home that I spent four

16:03
years at Baron University until 1970 and

16:06
an Borowski one of the biggest dealers

16:09
in antiquities at the time asked me to

16:12
join him in Basel we worked together for

16:15
a year and a half and then I set up my

16:17
own business I've been an art dealer

16:18
ever since but I never really left

16:20
academia me fellows

16:33
happened by mine over the years I've

16:35
always tried to stay within certain

16:37
rules of the game I did not do all the

16:41
things people around me were doing back

16:42
then because I knew it would backfire

16:46
sooner or later because I'm no saint but

16:51
I put limits on myself from the word go

16:53
because I came from a different side I

16:55
came from academia

16:57
[Music]

17:02
[Music]

17:07
meanwhile in Halle Stephen Lehmann

17:10
continues to examine the bronze head

17:12
from the New York art market

17:18
his research has also exposed the market

17:21
strategies adopted by the alleged forger

17:27
first responders from Isis the Spanish

17:30
masters forgery workshop naturally

17:32
thinks about images it can produce for

17:34
the market the via told in the ranking

17:37
of archaeological objects bronze

17:40
sculptures are number one there's

17:44
something very special and we can expect

17:46
them to attract great attention here's a

17:50
grumpy expression rather than the ideal

17:53
one we imagine for Augustus you can tell

17:58
that the artist is playing with emotions

17:59
a little bit but it's a fantastic piece

18:03
the fish

18:10
Stephane Lehmann also heads the

18:13
Archaeological Museum belonging to the

18:15
University in Halle its storerooms

18:17
contain a collection of plaster casts of

18:20
original artworks from classical

18:22
antiquity these correspond exactly to

18:25
the genuine antique portraits

18:27
whenever Lemmon examines a suspected

18:29
forgery he always compares this with an

18:32
original as in the case of this portrait

18:34
of Augustus Caesar archaeologists call

18:38
this method stylistic analysis

18:40
it's a centuries-old approach used to

18:43
identify genuine works of art simply by

18:46
looking at them it takes years of

18:48
experience a wealth of knowledge and

18:51
intuition

18:57
is in the of each other's you can see

19:01
here how an official portrait of

19:03
Augustus looks these eyes aren't very

19:06
arched they just have a slight curve and

19:10
there's the long nose in the mouth which

19:13
is oriented toward the vertical axis

19:15
then this calm facial expression this

19:18
very calm expression with only slightly

19:20
raised contours only very light modeling

19:23
which transports a very calm

19:25
timeless face sight losses is East

19:29
Formica

19:39
and then we have a serrated edge at the

19:41
bottom hardly man at all but allegedly

19:45
torn off with great force

19:57
you tired when you look at the details

19:59
you have doubts about whether it really

20:01
is a fake Cobalts 5 her bouzouki file

20:05
shows like this is a perfect come on

20:07
it's perfectly done masterly so to speak

20:15
my stylish Stefan Lehmann really does

20:24
think the head is a fake but to make

20:27
sure his verdict is right he has to get

20:30
the head examined again by scientific

20:33
means

20:36
[Music]

20:42
the Fraunhofer Institute in foot

20:45
specializes in testing materials

20:48
normally the scientists here test

20:50
industrial products and research

20:52
prototypes an alleged forgery by the

20:55
Spanish master is a first for them art

20:59
evaluator hard Marat wants to have the

21:02
bronze head scanned it's the first time

21:05
anyone has tried to analyze a suspect

21:08
sculpture head in this way we've already

21:16
conducted a range of tests and to round

21:20
it off we'd like a CT scan of the inside

21:24
of the head what exactly are you hoping

21:28
to be able to see with the CT scan you

21:33
can spot casting defects repair marks

21:35
and what I'm really looking for is the

21:37
holes left behind by the spacers use

21:41
English

21:47
Mona is hoping to see inside the head

21:50
into the material it's made of to find

21:53
out the method used to produce it

21:55
I reckon he's alright they're looking

21:58
good and stable well Gladys is set up

22:05
for his CT scan

22:09
now Miller and the Fraunhofer Institute

22:11
physicists are ready to examine the head

22:14
Mira is a materials scientist and

22:17
evaluates works of art made of metal

22:19
porcelain or fabrics this time it's

22:22
bronze purported to be from ancient

22:24
times the first of the pictures pops up

22:27
on the screen from Kevin who's even

22:34
brighter there you have your spacer

22:38
looks quite funny that's good too

22:52
but there appears to be a serious

22:55
problem this is very strong radiation we

23:01
can hardly recognize any sharp material

23:03
structure you get the feeling that there

23:08
are definitely some cavities in the

23:09
material but you can't define precisely

23:11
how deep they are we simply didn't have

23:14
strong enough radiation energy to

23:16
penetrate this head properly so all

23:21
Gustus will have to have his head

23:23
examined again back in Halle Stefan

23:27
Lehmann has fresh news a fellow academic

23:30
has brought to his attention a number of

23:32
suspect bronze sculptures in France

23:36
God's Word in capsule engine was he owns

23:42
it funk like in moves on as regards the

23:45
heads in the Museum in the South of

23:47
France in Mahjong

23:48
a private museum belonging to an

23:50
Englishman who made a lot of money loved

23:53
art he collected and then built a Museum

23:56
of antiquity in the South of France and

24:00
suddenly and this really surprised me

24:03
several ancient Roman bronze heads

24:06
showed up here one of them has long hair

24:09
that's highly suspect then there's this

24:14
head with short hair that was unknown to

24:16
me yes it's very strange and then called

24:21
stiff and then we have a head that is

24:23
certainly supposed to have been part of

24:24
a bust or a statue as you can tell from

24:27
the broken edge the person is wearing a

24:30
full beard and striking mustache I am

24:36
slark so all at once we have one known

24:40
in addition to two three four five of

24:43
these life-sized or slightly larger than

24:45
life-size heads made of bronze what

24:49
you're obviously supposed to come from

24:51
statues here in normal that's who come

24:59
meanwhile Christophe Leon has arrived in

25:01
the South of France he wants to take a

25:04
look himself at the Museum Stephane

25:06
Lehmann told him about

[Narrator] In his view, what some of his counterparts in the art trade do, is up to them. But when purported works from antiquity, that are considered highly suspicious by academics, make their way into museums -- that's going too far!

[Christoph Leon, Art Dealer] You can already identify the Museum's problem areas on the Internet, because the exhibits are very well depicted, well photographed, well presented. But there's a golden rule in archaeology. The key is forensics. In other words, you have to examine things yourself. And then, when you've looked at a piece, and determined that it's genuine, you have to be honest enough to admit that you got it right.

Mougins, France

We have to start fighting to keep museums free of forgeries. Museums are standard works. Imagine if Art History were suddenly studied on the basis of forgeries!

[Narrator] He's taking a look at the heads in the Museum. He wants to make up his own mind first before he makes his assessment known.

[Christoph Leon, Art Dealer] This is completely wrong way. Way off the mark. These locks of hair, like snakes. No! It's quite possible that this is a forgery by the Spanish master. I would definitely examine it with that in mind. Then I might be convinced. But, as I've said, one of the features of the Spanish master is that he tries to create ancient heads, but never quite succeeds. Ultimately, these heads portray a different zeitgeist, a different spirit. you can see it. No head of hair was ever portrayed like that in antiquity. Didn't happen. This head is strange, too. I don't trust it. It's not an ancient style, portraying someone like that. There's no such thing -- an ancient face with eyes rolled upward. And ultimately, things were sold to him that had already graced the depots of various antiquities dealers for years. And then things like that came along. That's definitely a fake. A head like that is not from antiquity. I have my doubts about this, too. And things come along, and you get carried away, and you want to have them. But, that's obviously what happens when you put together a big collection under pressure. And there are many objects here. The Museum's full. Like I said, all Museums have erroneous purchases in their basements. Lots of them. This museum, too. But they should sort through them, and only exhibit the real ones.

[Narrator] Stefan Lehmann is writing a book about the works of art he ascribes to the Spanish master. He has pictures of 32 bronze sculptures on his desk. He says the oldest items date from the 1970s.

[Stefan Lehmann, Archaeologist] The Spanish master's workshop divides the labor, I assume, but I could be wrong. There could be more. But I suspect that there are one, or two, or three people who think. "What are we going to do next?" This here is an exceptional piece -- a bronze portrait of a black African woman. Do we even have the idea. "Let's do something like that, now"? They have to make the molds, cast the metal, and then ruin it all, make damage marks, create a fontina, make it look ancient. Well, that requires a lot of skill. Here we have two bronze sculptures. One is the head of a lady dated to the late Hellenistic period, or the second century, depending on academic opinion. And this one is a purported goddess -- a bust -- that was placed in a round shield at Tondo, as it's called. They're all part of the ancient art collection in Basel, and are on show there.

Basel, Switzerland

[Music]

[Narrator] The Museum of ancient art in Basel is the only Museum in Switzerland to exhibit exclusively classical antiques. The two sculptures Stephan Lehmann believes to be highly suspicious, stood here, considered stars of the exhibition. Museum Director Andrea Bignasca has sent one of them to the workshop to have it examined once again by conservators.

[Music] The museum received the sculptures as part of a private legacy gift from the Ludwig Collection in Aachen. Stephan Lehmann thinks the sculpture is the work of the Spanish master.

[Andrea Bignasca, Basel Museum of Ancient Art] I have to say, this all surprised me. We didn't know that Lehmann was conducting such investigations, and that he had included our two bronze sculptures from the Ludwig Collection.

[Narrator] Their former owners Peter and Irene Ludwig, collected art and acquired this bronze sculpture on the art market. But the Museum has no information about exactly where it comes from. The idea of classical works with no known origin, or provenance, making their way into public museums via the art market, is something Stefan Lehmann deplores.

[Andrea Bignasca, Basel Museum of Ancient Art] Herr Lehmann is a classical archeologist. He's a professor at a university. He's a curator at the Archaeological Museum. But he's no specialist in bronze statues, although he seems to think so. What I don't like in this case is this broadside on me personally, on the Museum, on my colleagues. So far, there's absolutely no proof. So, I'm sticking to the version that these objects are original, classical, works of art.

[Stefan Lehmann, Archaeologist] Yes, of course, the museums are never amused -- obviously -- when important artifacts that are shown in their main chamber are cast into doubt. It always leads immediately to personal differences. That's normal. You can't avoid that entirely. But I think the question of whether they are original sculptures, or modern forgeries, is so important, that we have to be above these trifles.  

[Narrator] Back at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Institute, preparations are underway for a second scan of the Swiss collector's Augustus. After the failure of the first attempt to get a CT scan, Material Scientist Harold Miller is now getting the bronze head x-rayed again in Europe's most powerful linear accelerator. Until now, no Museum collector was prepared to hand over a suspected forgery for such an examination. So no work ascribed to the Master has yet been proved fake by these scientific methods.

[Music]

The scientists have to leave the hall, because of the extremely high radiation from the linear accelerator. The examination is focused on the metal alloy in the bronze sculpture. Is it really from antiquity? Does it have the same characteristics as a bronze statue made 2,000 years ago? one suspicion is that the forgers melt down ancient coins to cast new heads -- a clever approach.

[Man] What is this device?

[Harold Muller, Materials Scientist] It's a Perkin Elmer Detector, with 200 micrometer pixel pitch. We believe, because of a range of material characteristics that correspond with antiquity, that this sculpture is made of genuine ancient material. There is ancient material available for things like this, and it would not be an entirely new idea to use, or to have used, old material for forgeries.

[Narrator] This time, the process works. Muller looks at the cross-sectional images of the head, and he notices that the patina on the head is only on the outside surface. That's strange.

[Harold Muller, Materials Scientist] You can see that that this material has a different density from the material around it, which has a different alloy composition. We've carried out metallographic tests, meaning on a cross-section of the material, and the outer crust, and determined, for one thing, that the corrosion, which looks very bad to the naked eye, is only on the surface. That leads us to the conclusion that this artefact was created in modern times, and designed to look very old.

[Narrator] Scientific methods have proved the bronze sculpture of Augustus to be a fake.

[Markus Hilgert, Museum of the Ancient Near East] I didn't think that the authorities are reluctant to regulate the art market, because a strong art market is viewed as in the interests of the German economy, maybe without exactly knowing what is going on today. I think we've learned a lot in the last few months. To start with, this trade, because it is so profitable, attracts those who try to make a profit from forged artifacts. So we have to be on our guard. Especially when we take note of how imprecisely many objects are described when they are offered up for sale. e If you want to import Ukrainian sausage to the EU, you need an import license, certification, a list of ingredients, and chemical analyses. Cultural artifacts, archaeological artifacts, can be imported just like that, without all the documentation and certification. So we have to assume that a corresponding proportion of forgeries is on the market, as much as 40 to 50 percent. Halle, Germany

[Music]

[Narrator] As an archaeologist at the University, Stephan Lehmann can avail himself of his academic freedom to evaluate items from the art trade. Today he has reason to be satisfied. His new book, about suspect and forged bronze heads, has been published, with the results of the new tests at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Institute, which give him certainty.

[Stefan Lehmann, Archaeologist] Ladies and gentlemen, dear students, I'm happy to welcome you here at our book presentation at their Martin Luther University in Hara. In my opinion, scholarship must respond clearly and effectively to these challenges. Only then can we defend the basis of our subject against this money-grabbing attack.

[Narrator] And this is how he presents the results of his latest investigations into the museum in France.

[Stefan Lehmann, Archaeologist] In Mougins, a small town where Picasso spent his retirement near Nice, a British multi-millionaire has established a private museum which is home to a number of heads which he acquired and exhibited. But which can hardly be described as classical works of art, in my opinion.

New York, USA

[Narrator] But while Stefan Lehmann presents the results of his research, another bronze head, which he describes in his book as highly suspicious, shows up in the US. It's presented as a loan from an anonymous private collector. And it's this bronze head of Alexander the Great which Lehmann attributes to the workshop of the Spanish master.

[Music]

It's no isolated case. Archaeologist Oscar Muscarella has observed that museums in the U.S. have often exhibited dubious works of art.

[Oscar White Muscarella, Former Curator, Metropolitan Museum of Art] When the prominent collector decides to make a donation to a Museum, in 99% of the times and perhaps a 100%, but I'll be generous. In 99% of the time, the Curator and Director will accept it ipso facto. Why? Because they want this collector to give more things, and also make financial contributions. In very few cases, and if a Curator does recognize that one or two objects are a forgery, they'll keep them in the basement. In very few rare cases kept in the basement. In most cases it's on exhibit from the collection of "So and So donated." You see, and the donor's family get the prestige of the situation. And you have this all over America.

[Narrator] The bronze sculpture is being exhibited without any details of provenance. Christoph Leon , an old hand in the art trade, also comes to the conclusion that the head is the work of the Spanish master.

[Christoph Leon, Art Dealer] And now it's showed up in the Metropolitan, where it's being exhibited as a loan. Being shown there certainly won't be bad for its market value. I expect the head to show up at an auction again in the not-too-distant future. For sure it'll show up again.

[Narrator] And what about the Spanish master's identity and whereabouts? We're still in the dark about them. Stefan Lehmann suspects that what he's uncovered so far is only the tip of the iceberg, and that there are many forgeries on show in museums around the world.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34843
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Thu Oct 13, 2022 8:22 am

Fake Beauty: The Artistry Of Forgery
Perspective
Oct 30, 2021

A look at fraud and falsehood in the world of art, and what can be said about prominent figures who provide pictures of their beauty.



Transcript

0:06
paper was light gold in medieval times
0:12
[Music] i want tobacco sugar
0:20
[Music] that everything we thought we knew about the world
0:26
might turn out to be completely wrong [Music]
0:35
what is beauty we see it in people in landscapes in
0:42
experiences but what exactly is it
0:49
in this series we explore beauty our instinct for beauty is older than we
0:56
are it seems it existed tens of thousands of years before we even had language
1:06
we go back in time to discover the first works of art ever created
1:11
then trace beauty's evolution through to the present day
1:17
we travel the length and breadth of the world to discover different cultural attitudes to beauty
1:31
[Music] and we find out about the future when robots and artificial intelligence will
1:38
determine our aesthetic tastes we investigate the value of beauty
1:45
the power of beauty and the other side of beauty how to make it
1:52
and how to fake it my name's dominic frisbie and i'm a writer from england
1:57
and i've been asked to make a television series in which we rediscover our sense
2:03
of beauty
2:11
my journey begins here
2:21
[Music]
2:29
[Music]
2:47
[Music]
2:54
this is london and i'm standing just next to the institute of contemporary
2:59
arts just over here we have the national portrait gallery beyond the british
3:04
museum in this direction the tate gallery over here the victoria and albert museum
3:10
this is the art capital of the world but have you ever wondered of all the
3:17
art that's bought and sold and on display not just here but all over the world how much is genuine
3:24
according to one study as much as 50 percent is forged
3:30
you've heard about fake news today's programme is about fake beauty
3:45
history is full of fraud and forgery and for some reason human beings have always
3:50
delighted in tales of tricksters and con men there's something about them that
3:55
captures the imagination we like it when somebody beats the system and gets one over on the pompous
4:02
and powerful the more powerful and the more evil the tricked the more we like the trickster
4:09
and so we travel to holland to tell the story of perhaps the greatest trickster
4:15
of the lot [Music]
4:24
this is the municipal cemetery of devonta a quiet dutch town about an hour's drive
4:30
from amsterdam and here at this almost anonymous looking tombstone lie
4:38
the ashes of perhaps the most notorious forger who ever lived this is the man
4:45
who duped the nazis
4:56
[Music]
5:06
was born into a middle class family in 1889 his love of art came at an early age but
5:12
his father didn't approve and so van meehan took to painting on the quiet
5:18
when his father caught him he would make him repeat i know nothing i am nothing i
5:24
am capable of nothing his teacher at school imbued him with a
5:29
love of dutch artist vermeer his teacher loathed brash contemporary
5:34
impressionist styles and taught vanmeharen to paint in the style of the dutch golden age
5:42
after school his father insisted he study architecture which van meeheren did
5:47
but he also took art classes on the side
5:58
[Music]
6:07
this boathouse here in delft where he studied is one of the buildings he designed and he used to love racing
6:13
boats here on the canals but he never finished his course instead shortly after marrying his first
6:20
wife who he met at this very boathouse he went to art school full time
6:27
he left with all sorts of awards in 1917 he had his first public showing
6:33
and by the 1920s had become a popular and respected painter [Music]
6:46
then came the bad reviews dutch art critics were more interested in cubism surrealism and other movements
6:53
of the time one critic said van meeren's talent was limited to copying others
6:59
another said he has every virtue except originality
7:04
van mehren wrote a series of angry articles in retaliation and a kind of rage grew inside of him at the failure
7:12
of the art world to recognize his genius he set out to prove that he could not
7:17
only equal but surpass the dutch masters and with this in mind in 1932 now with
7:23
his second wife he moved to the south of france
7:30
is more or less the prototype of forgio he started out of revenge
7:37
as a young guy he he made great portraits of of people and people liked
7:43
his work but the critics said well mr fermachen your work is good but it's
7:49
it's not that good so he thought so i'm not that good i will show you that i'm better than you
7:55
think for five years he studied the dutch greats not only their works but their
8:00
techniques and their lives vermeer from here in delft in holland
8:06
was the ideal candidate not only was his work scarce and valuable there was a period from his
8:13
life from which no work remained it was believed he was in italy at the
8:18
time so van meeran set out to create vermeer's religious italian period his
8:26
first offering was the supper at a mouse [Music]
8:37
when van mejeren's vermeer was first displayed in holland it took the dutch art community
8:43
by storm dr abraham bradius perhaps the most pompous critic of the day a man for
8:48
whom van mehren may have had considerable distaste gushed he said it is a wonderful moment
8:55
in life to discover this hitherto unknown painting he declared it a masterpiece he said in no other painting
9:03
by the great master do we find such sentiment
9:09
a storm of excitement in this hitherto undiscovered masterpiece followed and in
9:14
1937 dirk hanema director of museum boyman's purchased the separate mouse
9:20
for the equivalent of about five million dollars [Music]
9:27
van mehren used the money to buy a lavish estate in nice where he painted some of his greatest forgeries
9:35
at the onset of war he moved back to holland and by the early 1940s he was worth a fortune he used his money to buy
9:42
property after property by the canals in some of the most exclusive districts of
9:48
amsterdam but he was also drinking heavily he'd acquired a taste for sleeping pills
9:54
and the quality of his work was declining
10:00
von migran forged vermeer and he did so by finding a blind spot
10:05
in a theory by an art critic named abraham british
10:12
who had for his entire life theorized that there had been a
10:17
religious period in vermeer's work and no work had ever been found that
10:22
substantiated this claim so von migran made work that fit the theory that
10:28
british had espoused and british authenticated it because he
10:34
was so delighted to find proof of what he had always believed
10:39
the work was abominable looked absolutely nothing like anything you would imagine a vermeer to look like
10:48
but despite its dubious quality as it had been authenticated by a so-called expert the supper at a mouse became an
10:55
accepted part of the vermeer collection and thus was the door opened for further
11:00
forgeries from vermeer's italian religious period one of these christ with the adulteress
11:08
would enter the history books
11:14
hermann goring notoriously ruthless after hitler the most powerful man in nazi germany he was
11:22
also a passionate collector of art and his collection most of it plundered was
11:29
enormous a german art dealer approached goring and said he had a contact in holland who
11:35
might be able to get him a vermeer not only a vermeer one from his religious
11:41
italian period goring jumped at the idea and eventually traded 137 of his own works of art for
11:49
this vermeer which became his most prized possession he displayed it he
11:55
showcased it he even declared it the crown jewel in his collection
12:04
hello hey arthur hello hi tell me about the techniques that um van metron used to to imitate
12:13
vermeer tell me about the methods he used he experimented for a long time he took months and months and he kept
12:20
experimenting with a mixture of bakelites which was an early plastic 1920s plastic
12:25
and uh an oil paint yeah penguins and oil and he
12:30
mixed this and he tried again and again to see what happened and this would get if you would bake it in an oven you get
12:36
a special oven made and he would bake it off and see what happened and and in the
12:42
end he got this result he wanted this old looking painting and it was you know he hit it right so would he paint it
12:47
with this old paint or would he paint it first and then put it through this process to make it to aging he painted it with this big light mix
12:54
and then you know it was heated to you know extensively and then uh it it it cracked
13:02
in the way he wanted it to crack and he rolled it up to get even more cracks and then he rubbed in ink so
13:09
it would look like it was dust of ages and ages okay and he used all these techniques to just
13:15
get it to look really old and people believed him and this was years practicing this technique i would think
13:21
i thought it was more like months and months almost a year and he used the right
13:27
colors he knew he had to use a type of yellow and a type of blue that was very
13:33
convincing for mirror color okay [Music]
14:00
after goring was tried at nuremberg he was sentenced to death an american soldier smuggled him some
14:07
cyanide with which he committed suicide the day before he was supposed to be executed
14:13
on that same day another soldier said to him by the way your vermeer
14:19
it was fake
14:24
at the end of the war goring's jewel was discovered hidden behind some panels in his home
14:31
the painting was traced back to the german dealer who gave them van meeheren's name
14:40
[Music]
14:52
suddenly vlan mehran found himself on trial for being a nazi collaborator and
14:58
a plunderer of dutch cultural property he was faced with the sentence of death
15:05
i painted the picture he said it isn't of amir it's a van mehren
15:11
nobody believed him to prove his innocence van mehren offered the court a proposition
15:18
he would forge a vermeer in front of a panel of experts and witnesses the court agreed and over the next six
15:25
weeks van mehren painted his final vermeer jesus among the doctors
15:31
and he did it while he was drunk and high that was the only way he could work he
15:37
said [Music]
15:58
[Music]
16:05
when you make a forgery you have to copy the lines of
16:12
of the the authentic masters but if you copy it
16:18
line by line people see it it has to be more fluent and a lot of foragers drink
16:23
to make more fluent lines so some of the forges when they start to
16:28
work their first drink a few beers take a few pills and then they go do what they want to do
16:37
experts said it was of such a high quality that van mehren couldn't possibly be lying and the charge was
16:43
dropped [Music]
17:20
he was sentenced to a year in prison if i die in jail he said they will
17:26
forget my paintings will become vermeers once more i didn't do it for the money i did it
17:33
for the art but the day before his incarceration was to begin he died of a heart attack he
17:40
was 58 and here on his tombstone is written his name
17:46
and the years he lived nothing more was he a hero
17:52
was he a villain was he a victim it's left blank
18:07
the forger adds real value in to the world by getting caught not because he or she
18:12
necessarily wants to but when that happens does so very often in terms of
18:19
calling into question all of the mechanisms of authority that tend to be
18:25
taken for granted the forger is in a sense a great artist by virtue of the act of forgery but only
18:33
when the forger gets caught only when the forger ultimately fails to do what
18:39
he or she set out to do does the forger ascend to a higher plane
18:48
during the course of his trial van maheren said something rather profound yesterday this painting was worth
18:55
millions of gilders and experts and art lovers would come from all over the world and pay money to see it
19:03
today it is worth nothing and nobody would cross the street to see it for
19:09
free yet the picture hasn't changed what has
19:30
[Music]
19:36
after the war formation became quite famous he died but formation before
19:41
becoming a forger had made his own style his own work so some people wanted to collect
19:49
the original formations but the only one who could authenticate
19:55
these pieces was the son of confirmation and he thought when i'm the only one who can authenticate the
20:02
pieces of my dead why don't i forge some of those pieces [Laughter]
20:08
so formation was forced by his own son
20:13
like father like so the greatest forges are almost always
20:18
skilled artists who feel somehow rejected by the art world perhaps
20:24
they're masters of a style that isn't in fashion but for whatever reason their work goes unnoticed unappreciated a
20:32
critic deems it inconsequential they don't get the recognition they feel
20:38
they deserve and they have a point to prove excluded by the very world they want to
20:43
be a part of they're going to get their own back
20:48
when an artist gets caught having made a forgery very often the excuse is that the art
20:55
world has been too harsh and somehow has not allowed that artist to do what he or
21:02
she believes is great work and that may be true
21:09
though if you look in many cases at the sheer amount of work that these
21:17
artists make under other names and the sheer amount of money that they make at it you have to question whether that is
21:23
the case so art forgery like any sort of crime or
21:29
in fact like any sort of activity inherently has many different motivations that vary from person to
21:35
person and even within an individual
21:45
[Music]
22:07
art crime is almost as orbit art itself before the the paint was dry on within
22:14
the the pyramids in egypt um looters already were entering to steal
22:19
and forgery we know that for example in 200 bc when the romans started to collect
22:26
greek art like faces and statues the mark was fluted with fakes
22:34
and at the time people had no not much knowledge or technical
22:39
skills to to distinguish fakes and authentic pieces
22:44
but they didn't care that much at the time we know from cicero that he was more interested in how these pieces
22:50
looked in his house than whether they were fake or real so
22:56
it started forgery started around 200 300 bc
23:01
so that's quite a long time ago the motivation is almost always
23:06
financial in ancient rome ancient greek statues became extremely popular and to satisfy
23:14
demand some romans took to forging them in ancient rome you find
23:19
many copies of ancient greek statuary and our instinct today is to look at the
23:25
roman copies as being lesser as somehow being as if they were forgeries but that
23:31
to me doesn't seem right because the romans were not looking at the greek originals as being
23:37
original in some sort of a privileged sense what really mattered was the design
23:42
and therefore the roman copy was for the romans often superior because it could
23:48
take the greek design and could perfect it for the roman environment for
23:53
whatever garden the statuary would be placed in and moreover could make it more perfect it could improve upon the
24:01
condition of the original and so when we look at a roman copy it really is important i
24:08
think that we not look at it entirely from our own context of seeing
24:15
these works as somehow being copies fakes or forgeries but rather that we
24:21
appreciate that the design is what mattered and therefore that we try to appreciate the design as instantiated in
24:27
these copies in the dark ages in medieval times there
24:33
was an extremely brisk trade in religious relics many of which were of
24:38
dubious provenance during the dark ages the middle ages
24:44
there was not much interest for art people had other things on their minds the plague was there was not much money
24:50
around so art collecting was not a real issue at the time but people collected relics
24:57
like bones from saints and um some
25:03
saints there were so many bones attached to some of these saints that these people must have had two or
25:09
three bodies during their lifetime so there were a lot of fakes around of course during the renaissance many
25:15
painters took on apprentices and actually taught them to paint in their own style the master would then sell
25:22
these works as payment for his teaching this was considered tribute and not
25:27
forgery and indeed the distinction between what is tribute what is homage
25:32
what is pastiche and what is outright forgery is often rather blurred
25:39
traditionally we tend to think of a forgery as a form
25:44
of fraud that is to say that it is distinct from homage where an homage is generally
25:52
speaking done in public where it is explicitly a copy or a
25:59
version of an original therefore a forgery always has a
26:05
subversive quality to it it has a quality of questioning the original
26:12
which runs much more deep i believe than an homage can do
26:17
because an homage simply can bring out qualities in the original and relationships between the original and
26:23
the copyist or the artist who has undertaken the homage the forgery can
26:28
bring out all sorts of latent qualities that have to do with how we received the
26:34
original and how we relate to it today in italy the renaissance had created a
26:41
new prosperous middle class and they wanted art ancient roman statues became
26:47
extremely popular but there were only so many genuine ancient roman statues that
26:53
could be unearthed supply had to meet demand by alternative means
26:59
we go to the renaissance and that's a very special period first of all
27:05
art collecting became a real business popes kings merchants started to collect art
27:11
there was money there was great art so there was money and what was more
27:19
important some artists for the first time in history
27:24
became famous before the renaissance it was not about the artist it was about the piece of art
27:32
most of those art was religious and those pieces were inspired by god and
27:38
dedicated to god so it was not about the artist they didn't even
27:44
sign those works of art but in a renaissance we see that some of these artists become
27:50
pop stars michelangelo and other people they start to become famous people wanted their
27:56
work so this mix of a lot of money around and artists who
28:03
become famous people that's the perfect mix for forgeries
28:10
however it seems that even some of the renaissance rock stars themselves might
28:16
have started out as forgers [Music]
28:23
once upon a time right behind me here in the heart of london stood the largest
28:28
palace in the whole of europe the palace of whitehall but unfortunately in 1698 it burned down
28:35
and among the many items destroyed in the fire was a little-known statue by a young michelangelo called the sleeping
28:43
cupid when michelangelo was just 21 his patron lorenzo de medici died his hometown of
28:50
florence was in political turmoil and the young struggling artist found himself strapped for cash
28:58
and at the time ancient roman statues were selling rather well so the young michelangelo thought he would sculpt one
29:06
in the ancient style and when he came to sell it he was told bury it in the ground
29:12
treat it so it looks old send it to rome there they'll think it's an antique and you'll get more money for it so that's
29:20
just what michelangelo did one of the most interesting stories
29:25
about forges during the renaissance is michelangelo the greatest of all
29:33
we know that in the time of of michelangelo people wanted
29:39
authentic roman statues they didn't like his work that much of michelangelo so
29:44
they they said we want authentic roman pieces so what did michelangelo do
29:50
he forged roman statues he made them he put them well in acidic ground to give
29:56
them appearance of great age and then he sold them as authentic roman
30:01
statues so can you imagine that somebody somewhere in the world
30:06
is looking at a roman statue of what he thinks is a roman statue worth 10 000 euros which in reality is a michelangelo
30:15
being worth tens of millions so sometimes a forgery can be worth more
30:22
than an authentic piece michelangelo had a kind of agent in rome
30:27
called baldassare del milanese and del milanese found a buyer for the sculpture
30:33
a cardinal no less one cardinal riario who paid the princely sum of 200 duckets
30:40
but michelangelo didn't know any of that he just took his cut and forgot about it
30:46
two years later michelangelo went to rome looking for a patron he'd been recommended to visit cardinal riario and
30:53
he took with him his letter of recommendation the cardinal showed michelangelo his collection rather proudly and there
31:01
right in the middle of it was the sleeping cupid i sculpted that said michelangelo and
31:07
the scam was rumbled that's when it was discovered that
31:12
michelangelo had only been paid 30 ducats the dealer had pocketed the other
31:17
170 the cardinal demanded his money back but not from michelangelo
31:24
the fact that michelangelo had been able to mimic so brilliantly the ancients had
31:29
impressed the cardinal and he would become michelangelo's patron
31:35
skill was considered more important than originality in those days when ideas
31:40
were just part of the collective and michelangelo's career took off first
31:46
he sculpted bacchus then pieta within three years david was commissioned and within 10 he was standing on a
31:53
scaffolding brush in hand with his arm outstretched towards the ceiling of the
31:58
sistine chapel where he painted his iconic work del milanese meanwhile had to give the
32:05
cardinal a refund but when michelangelo's career took off he sold the sculpture for even more money as a
32:12
genuine michelangelo how many more michelangelo's are there
32:17
out there masquerading as ancient roman statues quite a few i suspect
32:24
michelangelo was an art forger when people would loan him
32:30
works by past masters he often liked the drawings so much that he would not only
32:37
copy them for his own education but he would keep them for himself and he would give back the copies that
32:43
he had made passing them off as if they were the originals and so today
32:48
we don't know which of these works are his as opposed to the masters who he
32:55
claimed they had been made by and as a result anything that we look at
33:01
from that period could be in fact michelangelo and
33:07
therefore we need to look at all work from that period a little bit more closely
33:14
thinking not only about our appreciation for who made it based on
33:20
what name is on it but also what hand was responsible for it
33:26
and that makes us i think more attentive to all artwork
33:32
most forgers fall into their habit they don't set out to be forge as it just happens by some accident of fortune
33:40
often the need to earn a living perhaps they find themselves painting reproductions imitating copying and they
33:46
discover they're rather good at it when the money starts coming in it's
33:52
very hard to turn down that money's nice and that's when they're trapped
34:00
i believe that fakes are the great art of our age that forgeries are the masterpieces of our
34:07
time not because of their inherent qualities in terms of the
34:12
paintings or the sculptures in their own right but because of the act of forgery
34:19
and the effect that it has when a forger is exposed on
34:24
how we look at that work and how we look at ourselves to me
34:29
art is ultimately most interesting in our time
34:34
where it provokes anxiety about ourselves about our society makes us
34:40
look at our world and scrutinize ourselves a little bit more closely
34:46
and when a forgery is exposed that's exactly what happens
34:52
while artwork in a museum say an expressionist masterpiece or
34:58
say a work of pop art may in some way suggest various ways in which
35:06
our society is unsettled or unsettling may illustrate that fact the forgery
35:13
actually is working with the unsettling qualities
35:19
as the very material of the fakery that is to say that the
35:25
forger is using us as the real material of the masterpiece
35:32
and is using us also as the audience of it so that when we
35:38
see that we've been bamboozled what we find are all the ways in which
35:45
by way of our deception we were not attentive enough we were not paying attention
35:52
to phenomena or to attributes of our society that we should have been
35:58
and these attributes may range from the degree to which we tend to invest
36:05
too much of a sense of value in authority
36:11
to the degree to which we may think of authenticity as being a very simple sort
36:18
of operation all of this is up for re-examination when the forger is at work and that to
36:25
me is why forgers deserve our begrudging respect
36:31
and so to switzerland to meet one of the foremost companies in art analysis and
36:36
verification to discuss art forgery today
36:47
art forgery is much more widespread than most collectors would expect since 209
36:55
since i'm in this industry we've seen a massive international forgery scandal
37:02
every year and every time auction houses the big
37:07
galleries the art dealers would tell you that's the last time that was a one-off
37:12
that's bad luck it won't happen again but in fact every year you have a new forgery scandal so
37:20
i think it's pretty widespread sgs is in the business of inspection and
37:27
verification it acts as a kind of quality control for traded goods
37:33
anything from chemicals to agricultural produce making sure they meet certain
37:38
standards more recently it has got into the business of art
37:43
and that's because there is more fake art trading hands than perhaps ever before
37:54
there are three main reasons why we find so many forgeries on the market
38:00
today the first reason is the value of art if an artwork is worth tens or hundreds
38:07
of millions of dollars of course for the forger it's very tempting because by working just a few days or a few weeks
38:14
you can make a big sum of money a very good salary as a painter by doing fakes
38:20
the second reason is that many people buy art nowadays as a form
38:27
of investment and these people probably don't have the same level of
38:33
knowledge and education than collectors had in the past and
38:38
these people are probably much easier to cheat on than
38:43
a very educated collector the third reason is that
38:48
modern contemporary art forms like abstract art
38:54
may be perceived as easier to forge or to copy when you compare an abstract
39:00
composition to a complicated old master painting by
39:05
guardi or caneletto or tiapolo of course
39:11
it's more tempting for a forger to copy an abstract composition because it's simpler it looks simpler
39:18
[Music] sgs analyzes up to 400 artworks every
39:25
year and as many as 80 percent of them turn out to be fakes forgeries or
39:30
misattributions this female nude signed by french
39:35
painter of the early 20th century falvest movement albert marquet was sold
39:41
with a certificate dating the painting to 1912
39:52
[Music]
39:59
when the owner wanted to renew the certificate the albert marquez authentication committee refused
40:07
[Music]
40:13
[Music] sgs began their examination using
40:20
techniques which included spectroscopy infrared reflectography
40:25
x-ray radiography and pigment analysis
40:35
[Music]
40:52
[Music]
41:03
another composition was found underneath upside down
41:09
[Music]
41:20
a tractor with farmers during the harvest season [Music]
41:37
attractive enough but notice the tyres on the tractor tires such as these weren't used until
41:44
the 1930s or 1940s
41:52
thus the terminus post quem the earliest possible date for the canvas is then
41:59
there is no way the market on top could have been painted in nineteen twelve
42:06
thanks to infrared reflectography and extra radiography we found out
42:11
an underneath composition this this painting
42:17
representing a totally different subject representing attractor
42:22
attractor with the harvest scene and
42:27
the details that we can see in the infrared reflectography allows to demonstrate
42:35
that the characteristic of this starter are not compatible with a model from 1912.
42:43
[Music] this painting of a doge was believed to be of the 16th century venetian school
42:50
but was it a genuine 16th century work or a later copy
43:08
[Music] the painting had been heavily restored and ultraviolet light was used to
43:14
determine which parts were original and which parts restored
43:20
[Music]
43:27
[Music]
43:43
[Music]
43:55
[Music]
44:06
once this was established the original parts were examined and pigments were discovered which weren't used until the
44:12
19th century making that the terminus post-queen this was no 16th century work
44:21
[Music] one of the most interesting and recent
44:27
cases we have had here at sgs art services was brought to us by madame
44:33
manuela de kirkov she bought a painting made by her grandfather renegade
44:40
and it has a piezage and it's dated from 1953. when the painting arrived
44:48
very evidently we could see paint losses that revealed very bright colors
44:55
that were contrasting with the current composition that we see in pistache the analysis that we performed on paisage
45:03
were able to uncover underlying composition
45:09
[Music]
45:28
when i received the x-ray from sjs i discovered a cubist
45:35
landscape with two figures and it was a surprise and suddenly studying
45:41
more this x-ray i suddenly remember that there was
45:47
somewhere into my archives of pictures of renegade who was painting a cubist
45:53
painting [Music]
46:06
it was possible to compare with photographs from the archive and have an exact match of the painting
46:13
that was underneath it was also authored by renegade from his cubist period
46:19
that he then later reused this canvas in the 50s to make the composition that
46:26
we see today there is no technology presently available that would enable us
46:31
to separate these two paintings however it's unlikely juliet would have wanted
46:36
that to happen he probably
46:43
painted over many cubist paintings while the cubist paintings there are
46:48
also many many possibilities
46:54
because the flat surface or because he was not liking his cubist
46:59
period anymore [Music]
47:04
for whatever reason juliet chose to paint over his previous efforts perhaps
47:10
we should respect that decision and leave these paintings covered how many more covered works are there
47:18
the answer to that we will likely never know nor will we ever know just how big the
47:24
fake art market is not all forgeries get detected despite best efforts to safeguard against
47:31
misattribution and scams the spate of scandals which have rocked
47:36
the art world in recent years with prized paintings being declared near worthless fakes means there is
47:43
insecurity fear and paranoia amongst museums collectors and auction houses
47:49
alike fake works masquerading as originals continue to litter the market
47:55
we will never know just how many are fake forgery is deceit and the aim of a
48:03
forger is not to be found out [Music]
48:15
the value of fake art on the market is probably impossible to
48:22
determine exactly what i can say is that
48:27
in the massive forgery scandals we've seen the international forgery scandal we've
48:33
seen in the last years they have caused millions of dollars of
48:38
damage to collectors auction houses art dealers
48:44
the estimates of forgeries on the market range between 20 and 30 percent
48:51
so that means that almost all museum collections or private collections are full of eggs
49:01
just as methods of detection improve and evolve so do the forges themselves then
49:07
always be one step ahead and the higher valuations in the art market go the
49:12
greater the length to which forges and their agents will go to get a piece of this extraordinarily lucrative action
49:20
particularly if the aspiring artist that is the forger considers himself overlooked and wants to get his own back
49:28
there will be forgery for as long as there is a market for art
49:34
perhaps in the future attitudes towards originality will change and ideas will
49:40
once again be considered part of the collective just as they were before the renaissance and the skills of
49:47
craftsmanship will be ascribed greater value
49:52
art itself is a reproduction of life perhaps art by its very nature
50:00
is therefore false [Music]
51:12
some years ago i decided that i wanted to be immortal as so many artists want to be but
51:18
i've never really been any good at painting or drawing so i couldn't take the usual means so instead what i
51:25
did was i applied for a copyright on my mind with the idea that i could continue to
51:31
think after my own death by licensing my mind to an artificial
51:38
intelligence and i don't know right now what to think of that because i'm still alive but
51:44
maybe after i'm dead and i am able to think about it i'll have a better idea
51:49
of what it means to be alive and what it means in terms of the degree to which we
51:55
are what we think as opposed to the embodied selves that we think of
52:01
ourselves as being when we think of ourselves as being alive
52:30
you
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34843
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Thu Oct 13, 2022 9:11 am

Forger and the Con Man - The John Myatt Story
directed by Bosie Vincent
Narrator Eric Myers
Sep 15, 2021



Transcript

it's the most important question in the worldwide art market is it genuine
0:08
or is it fake when a forgery is passed off as the real thing there are fortunes to be made
0:15
and lost for nearly a decade two englishmen did
0:20
just that
0:27
[Music]
0:42
fall of 1995 out of the blue a woman telephoned scotland yard with
0:47
information about her former partner it wasn't the first time in my career
0:52
that one received such a call from the woman scorned here was somebody who was
0:58
clearly very upset at the breakup of her relationship who had in her words a considerable
1:04
amount of evidence to show that her husband as she referred to him had been involved in considerable
1:11
criminal activity in the art market and have been orchestrating a major fraud
1:16
[Music] dick ellis and another detective in the art and antique squad met the woman at
1:22
her local police station on october 5th 1995. her name was bathsheba gadsmith
1:30
the two of us went and interviewed her first of all upstairs in the police station
1:36
the bizarre story she told police uncovered a fraud that had been going on for eight years
1:43
but good smith had more damning evidence than the two detectives could have dreamt of and then she said i've got
1:50
quite a lot of exhibits for you she invited jonathan and i to go round
1:55
to a street uh in hampstead where in fact her car was parked
2:01
and out of the boot of that car she then produced several inliner full of papers
2:08
it was like an aladdin alliance cave without those bin liners
2:14
we would have had very little evidence to go on the trash bags contained photographs
2:20
catalogs and bills of sale it wasn't certain what it all meant
2:25
but as scotland yard detectives began sifting through the material one thing became clear
2:31
somewhere in these trash bags was the key to one of the most extraordinary and audacious scams the art world had ever
2:38
seen and this was the man behind it an
2:43
englishman called john drew we very quickly formed an idea of john
2:48
drew that he was an extremely intelligent and
2:53
deep thinking fraudsmen
2:59
this story goes back to the late 1970s when london was the center of a thriving
3:04
music industry soho was a magnet to anyone who thought they had the talent for writing a hit
3:10
song one of them was a former art student and budding composer called john mayat
3:19
was taken on by a record company and was quite successful he had a hit single called silly games
3:26
everything seemed to be going well then one day the man who ran the business arrived at work with a problem
3:35
my boss at gto records had been out to dinner with marcus seif
3:40
and this marcus thief actually owned the whole mark suspenses
3:46
he came back the next day he said oh god you know i've seen these fantastic paintings by this uh this artist called raul doofy
3:53
this marcus sephie's paid ninety thousand for this one and sixty thousand for those so they're brilliant i wish i got something like that i just happened
3:59
to hear it and i said well i could do that dick why don't you just let me do them a couple of goofies so we
4:05
went out and the art shops got anything but duffy on it that's nice and that's nice quite like that
4:11
he said well they've got to be bigger than marcus sees
4:16
so i said well you know 250 each then looking back on them i mean they were
4:21
not very good but they were good enough he paid me 500 pounds for the paintings and then he went out and spent 600
4:27
pounds each on the frames and they hung them up as you went in and you saw these
4:32
gigantic doofies over the fireplace of course marcus and lady steve come back you know walking through the door and
4:38
it's like my doof is bigger than you do for his and no one had said anything about it you know and dick was sort of excited because
4:45
really i mean he could have easily spent 200 000 pounds on these paintings but in fact he got them for 500 quid plus the frame
4:54
john maya had been to art school but this was the start of a new career
5:00
he set himself up in business as a legitimate forger of the modern masters i just thought i can do this to genuine
5:06
fakes it's a good idea it was not long before he received a telephone call from a man who would
5:12
change his life the first phone call john drew ever made to me was exactly the same as the first
5:17
phone call that anybody else would hello i've seen your advert in private eye are you interested in a familiar with an
5:22
artist called matisse well of course i was yes i'd be interested in a painting by mati
5:30
a few days later he drove to his local railway station and caught a train to london to deliver his fake matisse to
5:36
his new client [Music] he said i'll be standing at the top of
5:42
the platform whatever it would be at houston station and i said well you'll recognize me because i'll be the man carrying a
5:47
painting the very first time we met we went to a little coffee shop in houston and he
5:54
gave me a check and i went home
5:59
[Music] at the time maya was making a living as a part-time art teacher his marriage had
6:06
broken up and he was taking care of two small children you know when a thing like that's happened the mums just walked off you
6:13
really do close up into a very tight unit it's just the three of you
6:18
and bedtime stories romping around pillow fights and all that it was great i mean looking back on it i loved it
6:29
working at home painting his genuine fakes suited the single father drew became a lucrative client and mayat
6:37
grew to like him i thought he was very different from anybody else i'd met before he was something else all together he was kind
6:43
of mysterious and intriguing and
6:49
exciting every few weeks mayat would take the train to london to deliver another of
6:56
his genuine fakes to his seemingly wealthy and influential buyer
7:02
john maya was soon taking the subway out to the affluent london suburb where professor drew lived
7:08
i say the fifth time i'd met him we were driving off to his house and there i'd meet his wife
7:15
and then occasionally um we drop off somewhere in hampstead and pick up the two children from school so
7:21
by the sixth time i was seeing john i was actually meeting his family as well two years passed during which drew
7:28
bought a dozen paintings from maya then just when maya thought the relationship with his patron was finally
7:34
over drew had a surprising request
7:39
at the end of the painting number 12 when i was 13 he said to me well what would you like to do
7:46
it was unheard of for a customer to uh you know to do that so i said well i've always liked cubist paintings i love
7:51
cubism um maybe i'll just do something like that okay in your own time you know very nice
7:57
off you go same money uh so i flipped through an art book and i found a drawing cubist drawing
8:03
i thought well i'll turn this into a painting i know how to do this on the dining room table that night i am as
8:09
they say knocked up a small cubism by albert glaze a couple of weeks later maybe sooner the
8:16
phone rang and he said um john you know that painting by albert glaze that you you did for me i said yes john he said
8:22
well i've just taken that into christie's and sotheby's and they think it's worth 25 000 pounds
8:28
[Music] are you interested in you know going hard with me and having
8:33
12 000 pounds gosh and
8:38
you know that's when i made my big mistake really because i mean i didn't even stop and think about it
8:46
and i just thought you know twelve thousand pounds as far as i was concerned was just the answer to so many problems you know
8:53
we could the three of us could really um do with that so um
8:58
so i said yeah do it yes like it or not john maya had allowed himself to be
9:04
trapped by john drew jonah came over as a
9:10
very likable um man who seemed to have been suckered into this by john drew
9:17
at a vulnerable time in his life mine's just a mark maya was the tool maya was nothing more than a hammer
9:23
um you know to pound the nail i think john mayer was probably being groomed from the first order that john drew made
9:28
of him from his country retreat john maya had now embarked on a life of crime
9:36
giacometti was next it was an obvious choice giacometti had been one of john maya's
9:42
favorite painters since art school he used rapid movements of a pencil almost like a skeleton
9:50
he wrote in his book that as he worked the figure would sort of elongate and get bigger and get taller and taller
9:55
sort of so it would stretch out a bit more the giacomettis were i would say
10:01
second rate maybe even third rate fakes yet they got out there
10:09
but the success of the scam depended only in part on the quality of john maya's paintings
10:16
john drew had mastered a different kind of fake and one which a gullible art market found much more impressive
10:23
he began changing the archives in some of london's biggest galleries and museums
10:29
how he did this was brilliant in its simplicity in the museum archives he would find a
10:34
catalog belonging to a gallery that had gone out of business this was the starting point for his
10:40
cunning fraud well we found out that his research must have consisted on taking out
10:46
catalogues from the archives and cutting and pasting
10:53
and creating a collage catalogue and putting that back in to
10:58
what was now a corrupted archive these doctored catalogues consisted of
11:04
photographs of genuine paintings and also photographs of fake paintings so when any would-be art historian went
11:12
to those archives to check out a painting new on the market lo and behold there was everything there to suggest
11:18
that this was something which had been around as they were being told in the providence
11:23
the painting's history or providence as it is called was now impeccable
11:29
it appeared to all the world that the fake painting by maya had been part of an earlier exhibition or sale
11:36
and therefore indisputably genuine but at the same time as vandalizing the
11:42
tate's archive drew was presenting himself as a patron of the arts
11:47
he managed to persuade the most eminent people working at the tate that he was a serious art connoisseur
11:54
he was so in love with this idea of meeting all these posh and wealthy and establishment people
12:00
and having one over on them that that in a way the money was
12:08
the second most important thing it was the doing of it that i learned from working with john being the professor
12:14
the mixing with all these people and knowing that you knew something that they didn't
12:21
i think you could say a typical con man's relationship to the tate gallery to get to where he wanted to be
12:28
um he needed to if you like have a certain amount of influence with the tate gallery and then to be able to
12:36
bring that influence to bear in backing whatever he said about works of art to
12:42
give him some credibility in the art market but drew's attempts to ingratiate
12:47
himself to the tate horrified the forger john maya i've done some not very good
12:52
paintings by a minor french artist from the 1950s 96 called bisiere
12:58
john had taken it into his head to present them to the tape gallery so so he said would you come down as
13:05
you'd love to see this he said what do you come down as a consultant art historian and you know so i kind of put my suit
13:10
and tie on and went down and attended the meeting
13:18
they came up from where it was they had white gloves on i mean you really had to laugh
13:24
it was just so unreal
13:30
this one guy i think he was a deputy head of it he said come down with me um mr martin i'll show you where we're
13:36
going to hang these so we went from this lovely boardroom into the gallery itself
13:43
and he said no we're going to have one this side there and you know i thought
13:49
what can you say that's a very good very good choice after the only time i really got furious
13:55
with john drew i really do like to thought you know do you want to get caught what are you doing the worrying thing from my point
14:03
of view was that there was no oil paint on it it was all emulsion paint it was a house painting
14:08
and there i was sitting in the boardroom of the bloody tape gallery with two paintings which had just been painted in
14:14
emulsion paint and they were saying we've just got to take these down to conservation to have a look and i thought oh right
14:20
you know why does he do this drew's tactics took great nerve and there was method in his madness
14:27
you might consider this as an odd move to do on on behalf on a fraudsman's
14:33
side but it's not it's actually quite a clever thing to do because if he can get the busier hung up
14:39
in the tate it's literally 100 provenance that you've got a genuine vision
14:44
and that's what he was trying to do we walked along the middle bank and found some public that's where i had a
14:51
crack at him the only time i really did have a go at him because i just felt you know you're on a different planet here
14:56
this is just stupid i think he made an impression on him he said well what am i going to do then you know what how am i
15:01
i don't know what you're going to do but what you are going to do is going to get those paintings out of there
15:07
john drew came up with an extraordinary way out of the predicament he would retrieve the forged paintings
15:13
by giving the tate a huge donation came up with something that was a problem with the paintings so he gave
15:19
him 25 000 pounds instead and he got the paintings out
15:31
i got them back and i burnt them i was so relieved to go back and put them on the bonfire
15:40
i'd love to have them now i must say those are the pains that nearly made it into the taste
15:50
john maya and john drew continued conning the art world selling forgery after forgery into a seemingly
15:57
insatiable market maya could hardly believe he was getting away with it
16:02
after all mayat was only using household water-based paint mixed with petroleum jelly
16:08
meanwhile john drew was cleverly doctoring maya's canvases to make them look older and more authentic
16:16
he would then change the stretches at the back was the first thing he didn't usually put old stretches on then he would also use um furnish
16:24
attacks which he would treat with salt and so that would um that would corrode them so they looked you know nice and
16:30
rusty around the edge perhaps a bag of dust out of the hoover
16:36
on the back of the thing you know that hoover it all off so there was dust in the crevices
16:43
just a bit of coffee or tea on the front just just to take the you know the edge off it
16:49
the technique seemed to be working and maya's paintings were selling well little did they know that someone was on
16:56
to them in 1991 a painting came up for sale at
17:02
sotheby's the prestigious auction house in london
17:07
the picture of a standing figure was apparently by alberto giacometti one of the most influential artists of the 20th
17:14
century maya had spent the previous four years trying to perfect his giacometti
17:19
forgeries it might sell for three hundred thousand dollars
17:33
but across the english channel in paris there were doubts about the authenticity of maya's giacometti
17:40
american mary lisa palmer lives and works in the french capital she is one of the world's leading
17:46
authorities on giacometti in november 1991 she received a copy of
17:51
an auction catalog and her suspicions were immediately aroused it was wrong there was something
17:57
wrong man he could have done but it's a head of a man so a head of a man and a female nude is sort of exchanged you
18:03
know and of course the signature was a bit thick and a bit too well applied
18:11
mary lisa palmer immediately flew to london she examined the picture at sotheby's and told the experts there
18:17
what she thought well i told them that unfortunately that i thought that the painting was incorrect and um
18:23
i asked them if they could give me an x-ray of the back and they said but miss palmer
18:30
other people who know the work of giacometti think it's fine and on top of it the
18:35
provenance that is given in our auction catalog you will find the proof of the pudding in the tate archives
18:44
problem was that according to the sotheby's catalogue the authenticity of the giacometti was impeccable
18:50
its providence was listed in detail
18:55
undeterred mary lisa palmer went straight to the tate gallery as sotheby's promised she found a
19:02
photograph of the dubious giacometti in the tate gallery archive but she came to a different conclusion
19:08
if the painting was fake so too was the provenance.
Fake provenance is used to help authenticate a fake work of art. -- Provenances: Real, Fake, and Questionable, International Journal of Cultural Property, by Cambridge University Press

what i discovered that day was that um
19:15
someone was tampering with the archives this was extremely extremely dangerous
19:21
for the art world among the many artists that mayat was
19:27
now forging was ben nicholson a british artist producing abstract paintings
19:33
after the second world war i said to john drew ben nicholson would be a good choice because from his point
19:38
of view from from the providence point of view he was english so you didn't have to
19:44
worry about prominencing things abroad maya set to work trying to master the
19:50
seemingly simple process of producing a ben nicholson
19:55
i tend to sort of stick with him from about 1950 to 1960 and during that period he was kind of
20:01
playing with a limited number of shapes which were based on jugs goblets mugs and things
20:07
when i was passing these off as fakes i wasn't doing them as well as i am today in fact the things i'm doing today the nicholsons are much much better i
20:13
struggled quite a lot early days and it was really just a learning curve for me [Music]
20:19
john maya began turning out nicholson's while john drew put the new information
20:24
about the artist to good use it's very good i mean he's quite a handy carpenter that he used to make the frames in the
20:29
same way that nicholson made his friend he got me to actually do the ben nicholson signature on the wooden
20:34
stretch of the back of the canvas it worked maya's fakes passed the ultimate test
20:41
[Music] the chilling thing i think was that that these paintings would be shown to
20:46
in ben nicholson's case i mean ben nicholson's son-in-law who had been a senior figure in a very important british gallery
20:52
was saying oh yes and authenticating these paintings as john maya was churning out the fakes
20:59
at home unknown to him john drew had made contact with the police
21:04
but about something quite different and much more sinister
21:12
we met at the battersea heliport where this character came in by helicopter and it was john drew
21:18
and he had his two children and of course the pilot and co-pilot was helicopter had hired for the day just to impress
21:24
the detectives from scotland yard and he came through this long story of hell he was a professor with a stat of the other
21:29
and how he came across these mafioso trying to sell stolen paintings and so forth
21:34
from the start charlie hill had his doubts about the man who was offering himself as a police informant on the
21:40
italian mafia especially when drew invited him to a restaurant that charlie hill understood
21:46
to be a hub of mafia activity in retrospect what john drew was up to
21:52
became perfectly clear to the scotland yard detective
21:58
he realized that he was about to be revealed as a con man and a fraudster and he wanted to get himself
22:04
[Music] a coup as a police informant so he could use that as a line of defense
22:14
there were plenty of other people who were taken in by john drew and art experts who fell for john maya's fakes
22:21
[Music] in 1994 a man called clive bellman walked into the gallery of a private art
22:28
dealer peter nahum [Music] nahum had spent years working for
22:34
sotheby's auction house he now had a substantial reputation as a dealer specializing in 19th and 20th century
22:40
painting when clive bellman came to us we were in the middle of the deepest
22:46
recessions in the art trade and he explained a few things we had we'd never met him before he'd explain that the
22:52
reason he was selling these pictures which belonged to his neighbor which was a private collection was that
22:58
he had owned a couple of jewelry shops et cetera and goldbust now we feel great sympathy for people
23:04
who have lost their businesses to take him on face value you'd have been perfectly happy with it
23:09
i'm very sensitive to shifty people and clive bellman did not appear to be shifty to me
23:16
the painting bellman was trying to sell was by graham sutherland the providence from an italian monastery
23:22
i didn't like the painting at all i thought it was dreadful but christie's had just sold
23:28
a group of these paintings with the same provenance from the same monastery
23:34
for a great deal of money little did peter nahum know that the
23:40
painting was a fake by john mayat the providence is forged by john drew one of
23:45
the solvents that we got a beautiful graham southern crucifixion and
23:51
john mayer just did the same crucifixion but with a different colour and instead
23:56
of having yellows there was reds both of them graeme southern colours
24:02
the specific red that southand used beautiful little jewel of a painting
24:10
john maya finally decided he had had enough he called up one day from a telephone i
24:15
said john i can't do this anymore and dan went the phone and i remember
24:22
that's that that's that my fork spoon in line
24:30
as the relationship between the two men deteriorated what neither john drew nor john maya
24:35
knew was that their forgery scam was about to be rumbled
24:41
when clive bellman paid his next visit to peter nahum he arrived at the gallery with a painting by ben nicholson
24:48
it came with full provenance labels on the back a catalogue uh
24:54
in which it was exhibited at the rudy scene or one of these non-existent galleries some gallery in the 1950s
25:01
it came with a certificate from the ben nicholson expert who was the ex-director of the tape
25:07
gallery i decided to buy it with somebody else a friend of mine
25:14
this picture wasn't a great ben nicholson but it was quite colorful we thought it was absolutely genuine we did
25:19
not think it was good enough to offer to our clients but we thought it was the sort of picture
25:25
that clients of sothebys and christie's because it was colorful would pay
25:31
good money for so we bought it as a purely commercial transaction
25:37
we are now at the point where we have bought two pictures two mayats drew pictures
25:43
and we believe them both to be genuine one is waiting for seven christie's one's been sold
25:49
in sotheby's some while later nahum was offered a second ben nicholson by a man claiming
25:56
to be raising money for a charity representing the victims of the auschwitz concentration camp my partner
26:02
on the other ben dawson and i are looking at this ben nicholson beautifully signed on the back
26:08
in ben nicholson's handwriting in pencil exactly as he does it has all the
26:13
paperwork a catalogue with it illustrated in from the 1950s
26:18
and we're looking at the picture and the scales start falling from our eyes
26:24
because there are labels gallery labels on the back profiles labels and we think
26:30
this ben nicholson has exactly the same provenance and gallery labels
26:37
as the previous one we had now what are the chances of that
26:43
and then we said this doesn't this is a bit of a worry
26:49
so then we look at the signature beautifully written once
26:55
you realize the handwriting starts falling apart brilliant but you realize not quite good
27:01
enough i had put the whole scam together
27:09
and i put all the documentation together and i called in the police
27:15
the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle came with the dramatic visit to the police of john drew's estranged partner
27:22
with the contents of the trash bags now under police examination the eight years of fraud and fakes was
27:28
about to come to an end in the bin liners
27:33
the most prevalent thing was negatives hundreds of negatives
27:40
of a number of different artists [Music]
27:45
the first stop for the police as they began to unravel the extent of the fraud was once again the tate gallery
27:52
in paris mary lisa palmer had been waiting four years for this moment finally finally
27:59
we arranged that we go to london with all our of our documents which weighed quite a few pounds
28:08
within a week palmer was sitting in scotland yard telling detectives which paintings were genuine and which were
28:15
not the trash bags also gave police the name
28:20
of john mayat as the forger early in september 1995 they raided his
28:27
home it was six o'clock in the morning when jonathan searle and a team of officers
28:34
from scotland yard arrive at john maya's home deep in the english countryside i was in bed i opened the bedroom window
28:40
and looked down at the path and there they all were i think he was half expecting a call from police he knew it
28:46
would come down the line some day or another and when they said this is scotland yard arts and antique squad we have a search
28:53
warrant for these premises yep i just sort of went
28:58
click that's it you know everything else is in the past now this is a whole new thing from now on awful terrible he put
29:04
up his hands at once and he wanted to uh come alongside and they came in and uh i remember
29:12
saying well you know have a look around and funnily enough there was a drawing of sam on the wall
29:18
as soon as i walked into the kitchen i saw a drawing on the um by the fridge
29:25
which you've got telephone numbers written on it i knew ah this this man can draw if he can draw he's probably a
29:31
good enough artist then i looked up the stairs and i saw a giant over there
29:40
and i showed them all over the house they took paintings and they took books
29:46
and they took i got a giacometti up on the wall they took that sam came downstairs and said dad there
29:52
were all these people i said oh don't worry they're building inspectors you know the house is freezing cold and they're going to put a central heating
29:57
in or something um so i said you just get on and do what you do i've got to stand outside and wait for the school
30:03
bus so i got sam on the bus and came in and
30:08
they didn't make too much mess they took filing cabinets and all the rest of it and they said well you have to come off across the police station
30:14
stafford we took all the paintings that we found
30:20
and there were a number of other bits and pieces and we took them back to stafford police station and we did an
30:26
interview in the caution there yes i do know john drew and yes i have
30:32
painted some paintings for him john maya knew the game was up especially when confronted with a
30:38
particularly incriminating piece of evidence they confiscated my briefcase and in this briefcase they got this
30:44
letter and this was a letter i'd written to john drew saying uh i think it's best that we stop doing
30:51
what we're doing because you know fed up with it and he said what's this letter
30:58
you're you're fed you don't want to work with john drew anymore what's this what do you mean you don't want to work
31:03
and i said well um i was kind of spluttering and thinking god are they saying all these things be you know it's being taped all the time
31:12
so they went on and they started telling me what they thought mr drew had been up to
31:17
and and what they thought i'd been up to and it became pretty clear that they knew more about me than i did or and
31:24
more about him than he did they knew everything pretty much police decided it was time to pull in
31:31
john drew within days they raided his house in a wealthy town 20 miles from london john
31:37
true was very polite courteous the surprising thing to me
31:43
was the amount of evidence that um he had still got in his possession
31:49
incriminating evidence in terms of the seals which we had seen on various documents he'd created we
31:55
found the seals typewriters that he used even on the table in the living room
32:01
were sets of documents that he was in the process of actually preparing a huge amount of documentary evidence
32:08
material objects had been preserved drew was taken to the local police
32:14
station where he denied everything at the end of it he
32:19
invited us all out for a drink on the grounds of how nice we'd been and pleasant
32:25
the four-month trial ended in london in february 1999. drew conducted his own defense
32:32
it had its moments of sheer fast when i i mean i would turn around to him and say i know you're guilty you know you're
32:38
guilty they know you're guilty everybody knows you're guilty so why don't you just plead and the judge would say mr maya would you please answer mr drew's
32:44
question i couldn't see the point we were going to get found guilty
32:50
all right and um we were guilty we were probably going to go to prison
32:56
um the best thing to do was just you know straighten up your shoulders get your thumbs in line with the seam of
33:02
your trousers and just take it on the chin there's nothing else to do john maya pleaded guilty and was
33:08
sentenced to one year in prison john drew maintained his innocence
33:15
throughout but he was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison
33:24
years after leaving jail john maya had an exhibition in london's mayfair the
33:29
home of the art establishment where his fakes had deceived so many for so long
33:34
i've got a show in central london the heart of enemy territory what am i going to do
33:41
we had a dealer walking around here earlier on and he was obviously a dealer you know the pinstripe suit and almost not quite the tiki bow but everything
33:47
that cashmere coat and so forth and he walked around with his hands behind his back you know
33:52
he just went out and he looked at the little matisse down there he said jolly good mates
33:58
very nice of the 200 or so maya fakes only 72 have ever been found
34:06
john maya though has no intention of letting on now which paintings are genuine and which are my fakes
34:14
they're out there and um they will blossom and flourishes leaves on a tree
34:20
um why not if anybody came back to me with one that i'd done and after 20 years i honestly
34:26
wouldn't know for certain but i thought i had i would always say no i haven't seen this you know if you come to me with one and
34:32
say did you paint this 20 years ago and i said yes all that's happened is that you've lost a fortune
34:37
so what's the point what is the point
34:43
[Music]
34:55
[Music]
35:09
you
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34843
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Fri Oct 14, 2022 12:12 am

Fake or Fortune
Flemish Old Master
Sep 13, 2022

Fiona and Philip visit a church in Port Glasgow to investigate whether a mysterious work depicting Christ after the crucifixion could be a lost masterpiece by one of the great painters of Northern Renaissance art.

Art historian Ian Macdonald thought there was something special about the painting, but he died in 2021. Now his widow Marjorie is taking up the case with the aid of the Fake or Fortune? team. Can they find the answers Ian was looking for?



Transcript


0:00
at 42 million the art world where paintings change hands for fortunes
0:06
so thank you very much but for every known masterpiece there may be another still waiting to be discovered my god
0:13
there's a lot of state with this one international art dealer philip mould and i have teamed up to hunt for lost
0:18
works by great artists we use old fashioned detective work and
0:24
state-of-the-art science to get to the truth science can enable us to see beyond the
0:29
human eye i don't believe it every case is packed with surprise and intrigue it's like a
0:36
challenge who am i but not every painting is quite what it seems that's the sort of thing you might
0:43
associate with a faked painting it's a journey that can end in joy it is indeed
0:48
by john constable oh really wonderful or bitter disappointment the work is not by
0:54
henry moore so sorry in this episode we're investigating a
0:59
who done it with a difference whoever designed it
1:04
did so with a master's eye can we find out who painted this dramatic image of christ
1:10
and help one woman in her quest to prove her late husband was right ian certainly felt it was a very
1:17
important work and that there was a story to be told about it i'm with him it's a journey that takes us from
1:23
scotland to belgium and the beguiling world of flemish art that was once the
1:28
most prolific in europe it's just magnificent isn't it in one of our
1:35
toughest investigations yet we'll discover just how difficult it can be to identify the artists behind flemish old
1:42
masters this is highest quality and we still don't know the name my goodness this is all making me feel
1:48
slightly worried can we solve the mystery of who created this epic work of art are you any closer
1:55
to finding out who painted it no [Music]
2:06
london the national gallery one of the world's great treasure houses of art
2:12
it would be quite something wouldn't it if we investigated a painting that ended up hanging on these hallowed walls
2:20
well it's not impossible i mean there's even a raphael hanging here that was found in an obscure back corridor
2:29
although justly famous for its italian masterpieces the gallery also holds an
2:34
impressive collection of old masters from northern europe
2:40
referred to as the northern renaissance this stupendous altarpiece is one of its
2:46
jewels [Music] it's very elaborate isn't it and there's so many
2:51
figures crammed in there so why have you brought me to look at this
2:56
because we have a rather interesting email from a viewer have a reason
3:01
uh you've invited viewers to submit paintings which might be a suitable subject for investigation we would be
3:07
grateful if you would consider the lamentation to be such a subject the painting is in the church of john the
3:12
baptist port glasgow the work is recognized and accepted as an antwerp mannerist but no certain identification
3:18
of the painting was made the antwerp mannerists were a group of artists working in the southern
3:24
netherlands in the early 16th century and jan de beer the artist behind this
3:29
picture was amongst the most prominent so the painting referred to in this email then
3:35
could be at least 500 years old and that is the problem when it comes to
3:41
this school of art a lot of the artists were anonymous we just don't know their names
3:48
so as a result we're still in many senses feeling our way this i think is going to take us to the
3:54
low countries on which subject i don't think i've ever heard you speak
3:59
i don't think you ever will how could a centuries-old work from the
4:06
low countries have ended up in scotland on the banks of the river clyde and crucially who painted it
4:13
we've traveled to port glasgow to the church of saint john the baptist
4:18
does this bring back a few memories philip the walk to church on a sunday morning it does i used to go to a church
4:24
very like this every sunday evening as an altar boy been to confession lately
4:30
[Music]
4:40
gosh it's so rare in a catholic church in britain to find an old master of this impact of
4:47
this quality the way the arms of christ just stretch across the painting there's real drama
4:53
in there was a viewer named ian mcdonald who originally contacted us about the
4:59
painting sadly ian died in 2021
5:05
but we've arranged to meet his widow marjorie and the church caretaker jean sweeney
5:12
hello hi marjorie jean nice to see you nice to see you we're just admiring this
5:18
magnificent painting this is obviously christ just brought down from the cross
5:24
philip tell us a bit more about what we're looking at but it's a really powerful expression of
5:30
grief this is the lowest moment in the passion of christ he's been crucified his body is
5:37
there on the ground his mother swooning behind this is the cathartic moment the
5:43
resurrection has yet to come [Music] and how long have you known this picture
5:49
gene well i've known it from up as a child about 10 so you've been looking at it
5:56
all those years yeah and do you like it no [Laughter] no absolutely not when i was growing up
6:03
it was a scary thing to look at a dead man just lying there gosh
6:08
and where does it normally hang normally hangs at the back of the church um just in the left-hand side that's a
6:16
gloomy spot for us isn't it yeah definitely all the congregation looking forward and ignoring it do you have any
6:22
idea when this painting came to the church no i've got no idea how it got here but the inscription on the frame
6:28
says it was the rheodors 1854 to 1895
6:34
herrera dos is a piece of religious decoration in the form of a hanging painting or sculpture positioned behind
6:41
the altar so the inscription tells us the work once hung above the most sacred part of
6:46
the church its potential importance did not go unnoticed by marjorie's husband
6:52
ian what does it mean to you margie well part of what it means to me is what my
6:57
late husband felt about it he was an art history lecturer and he was asked to investigate it
7:04
he did quite a bit of work but never managed to find out who painted it did he get any sense of where it might
7:11
have come from what his provenance was he felt that it was a flemish work possibly 16th century which makes
7:18
absolute sense i mean neverlandish painting of the 16th century was a very fertile time
7:27
if this painting comes from the 1500s then it has its roots in the low countries during the flemish golden age
7:35
when cultural and economic activity flourished in flanders the dutch-speaking region of modern-day
7:41
belgium the port city of antwerp was the commercial center of western europe
7:46
where artists flocked to make a name for themselves ornate religious art was celebrated and
7:53
emperors monarchs and wealthy merchants paid huge sums to commission works to adorn europe's great churches and
8:00
cathedrals could this intriguing oil painting be a lost work by one of the great masters of
8:07
northern europe or is it a much lesser work what about value philip i mean it's
8:12
tricky at this very early stage but can you put a value on this well i'm glad you said tricky at this really
8:19
early stage because it is we haven't got a name to it yet however we could be talking up to a hundred
8:24
thousand pounds but there's always a butt without an artist's name
8:31
we may be talking little more than a tenth of that so
8:37
gene if it does turn out to be up to a hundred thousand pounds what do you think the church will do with it i would
8:42
like to think they were to sell it nobody notices that nobody misses it and what about you
8:48
audrey well ian certainly wasn't particularly interested in money but he felt it was a very important work and
8:55
that there was a story to be told about it i'm with him the quality and the
9:00
power of it is such that if we can place it in time if we can give it an artist's name
9:06
some more of its mystery it's a leo i think will work upon us indeed
9:12
[Music] ian first began his quest to find out
9:18
the truth about this painting 30 years ago since his death margie's been keen to
9:23
carry on his work [Music] margie we're here because of ian of
9:29
course your late husband and his quest to find out more about the painting so tell me a bit about him
9:34
well he was an art history lecturer which is how i got to know him he loved to share his knowledge
9:41
how did the painting come to his attention then well his late brother-in-law bishop john mohn was the
9:47
bishop of paisley he asked ian if he would investigate it did he keep any documentation any
9:53
correspondence relating to the research that he was doing yes there's quite a thick file of all the letters and
9:59
photographs he also tried to identify how it had come here because of course that's the other big mystery isn't it
10:05
yes [Music] after several painstaking years ian was
10:11
unable to solve this whodunnit reluctantly he abandoned his research
10:16
it was only while watching fake or fortune that his hopes were reignited he was always so impressed with the way
10:23
you did things the way you x-rayed things you analyzed paint and things he could never have done
10:29
and so he thought well there's an opportunity possibly to identify the artist and here we are yeah
10:36
i'm so sorry that ian is not here to take part in this this journey that we're about to embark
10:42
on this painting that he cared so much about yes he would have relished the opportunity to debate about it and find
10:48
out how he had come here were you carrying on his quest for him yes that's true but in a way i feel a
10:55
bit of an impostor because he was the one that did all the work and in fact
11:00
i'm the fake fake or fortunate definitely not you're carrying it on in his memory and
11:06
hopefully we'll find the answers he wanted well thank you and i hope you do find the answers
11:14
we have a huge challenge ahead of us but we're determined to continue ian's quest
11:21
to kick off our investigation i've sent the picture to the kelvin center for conservation and cultural heritage
11:27
research at the university of glasgow before we make a start on the scientific
11:32
analysis i want to take a closer look
11:37
this is very much the sort of painting you would have encountered as you crossed europe
11:43
in the 16th century in a catholic church and i think it's terribly important to
11:48
get a sense of how one might have seen it in the darkness
11:53
of a church interior the only light being stained glass just filtering
11:59
through the windows or possibly flickering candles this is
12:05
an image designed to move you
12:13
what is clear is that this picture has been beautifully designed
12:19
you start in the left hand corner with the figure of john looking in
12:25
and then your eye bobs along the top and then you slip right down to the bottom left
12:34
and then up the eye goes again it whirls around whoever designed it
12:40
did so with a master's eye but as you get closer and begin to start
12:46
picking it apart i'm beginning to feel different messages different sort of
12:52
stylistic accents look at mary magdalene i mean one of the first things i note
12:59
is her dress which incidentally is beautifully painted more delicately as it happens than a lot
13:07
of the other areas in the picture and to my mind is much more suggestive
13:13
of italian painting of the south and in contrast look at the figure of
13:19
john in the far left hand corner the painting is much more opaque more solid
13:25
it feels almost as if this artist is looking in one direction and then another
13:31
whoever painted this picture was familiar with early neverlandish painting of the
13:38
1500s but it also feels to me like an artist who's seen the great masters of italy
13:45
the likes of raphael and others and has fused them together
13:56
while philip gets to know the port glasgow picture i'm following up on the leads left by marjorie's late husband
14:02
ian so this is ian's file with all sorts of correspondence in it
14:08
not much in the way of provenance lewis but there is one note that he's written here early parish priest in port glasgow was
14:15
a fleming by which he means was from flanders in belgium
14:20
so that's something to look into rather helpfully ian's drawn up a list of seven potential names for the
14:26
painting most of which i've never heard of let alone know how to pronounce we've got ambrosius franken hieronymus franken
14:33
france franken i assume they're all related martin devos
14:38
france flores someone called the flemish raphael and then jan massisma says
14:47
seven names could one of them have painted the port glasgow picture
14:56
at the gallery in london we're taking a closer look at the contenders
15:02
so here's our painting in port glasgow and ian has left us a list of seven
15:07
potential suspects in this ecclesiastical whodunit so let's start with the first one
15:13
the man known as the flemish raphael turns out to be this artist michiel coxy
15:18
apparently very famous in his time coxy is a real name to country with he was the first flemish artist to go to italy
15:26
and establish a career there he immersed himself in the works of michelangelo and
15:31
raphael and he brought this style back to the netherlands hence his name the flemish raphael next up
15:39
nyan masseys i usually associate masses with non-religious subject matter
15:45
but let's just keep him in the mix okay then we have this man franz flores
15:50
another big name and another one of those artists who went to italy when he returned to antwerp he became a
15:56
huge success and i've looked into him as well and he trained many of the next generation of flemish painters including
16:03
the next candidate on our list martin devos he was a protege of franz flores then we have
16:10
the franken brothers they sound a bit like a band don't they franz hieronymous
16:15
and ambrosius no portrait for him i'm afraid i mean they were a massive dynasty a sort of family firm which
16:22
wasn't rare at that date definitely wants to keep in the mix okay so we've got our lineup of seven
16:27
suspects and all we need to do now is try and work out which one of these it could be but we've got to be careful
16:34
here because we're dealing with artists who ran workshops picture
16:39
making factories in which many assistants and pupils could be working on the same painting
16:45
we've got to make sure that we're dealing with the work of a master rather than one of his minions
16:55
in order to understand whether the painting was the work of many hands or one i'm traveling to the belgian city of
17:01
antwerp in the 1500s it was a thriving commercial center for the production of
17:06
art the city had many workshops where painters came together under the
17:11
direction of a master the most famous master of them all was peter paul rubens
17:19
today his workshop has been carefully preserved hi natasha hello
17:25
i've arranged to meet natasha peters an expert on painters and their workshops
17:31
so in this where rubens lived yes so actually the house was divided into his living
17:36
quarters and his workshop and so it could pop from one to the other very easily
17:42
this place was once a creative powerhouse of flemish art
17:48
so this is a gallery now natasha but originally this was reuben's workshop or one of them yes well actually it's the
17:54
only workshop left in antwerp and originally there would have been hundreds of workshops so this is quite
18:00
special quite exceptional and had you come in here in the 17th century you would have found it filled with life
18:06
with apprentices with journeyman and everybody was working on paintings in various stages of completion and
18:12
apprentices were drawing making copies etc so filled with life the artist workshop was a slick
18:19
operation at the helm the master painter not just a highly skilled artist but a
18:26
businessman who ran his studio like a picture production line
18:31
assistants were employed to prepare panels and grind pigments with oil to
18:37
keep a steady stream of paint flowing young apprentices would learn their
18:43
craft by sketching plaster casts and copying works
18:48
they would be trained in the master's style to increase production the master
18:54
employed journeymen freelance painters who were paid by the day and travelled from workshop to workshop
19:03
journeyman are very valuable assets to any workshop and that's also the secret
19:08
of antwerp success it's people working together one day for one painter the
19:13
next day for another painter so that's really why they could arrive at this huge production and why antwerp's
19:19
paintings were shipped all over the world there's one unfinished work of art on
19:25
display that provides a rare glimpse into the way a master and his workshop collaborated
19:30
could the port glasgow picture have been made in the same way
19:36
looking at this painting then for example how much of this would have been journeyman and how much ribbons well
19:41
rubens thought up the composition worked it out in a very sketchy stage with the
19:47
contours but because of course it's not finished we can see that the background is already filled in
19:53
by another hand and it might well have been that rubens would not finish this painting himself
19:59
but would leave the work to uh his assistant wow so how much of his paintings did rubens
20:05
actually do then well rubens was a very involved master he was an artist but he was also a businessman he was in england
20:12
for months in spain so he went all over europe and the workshop turned out
20:17
paintings just as if the master was there so i must ask so if we look at rubens today
20:23
it's quite possible that he did the odd brushstroke and that was it or he designed it and then went off on a
20:30
mission and so the workshop turned out paintings as usual in his absence yes in his absence we are
20:37
still not entirely sure how many paintings he actually made in his lifetime and so that notion of that lone
20:44
single master signing off his works does not apply here so
20:50
when it comes to the picture that we're investigating then and obviously what we do on faker forge is we try and attribute it to one artist
20:58
do you think we'll be able to do that no
21:03
no no i don't think so no
21:08
natasha's skepticism shows just how hard we'll have to work to have any chance of identifying the artist who came up with
21:15
the port glasgow picture [Music] back in glasgow at the kelvin center a
21:23
team of experts have been carrying out a series of forensic tests on the painting
21:28
it's interesting that this head is actually a lot healer a lot more see-through
21:35
imaging techniques allow us to see beneath the surface layers of the paint
21:40
right down to the original under-drawing any evidence of changes known in the
21:45
business as pentamenti could indicate the hand of a master
21:50
what we're able to now make out are some significant alterations some changes of
21:57
direction midway look here the knees of christ they're unquestionably
22:04
different from the original lines they've been altered but if we look in the top left
22:10
there's something even more dramatic that's the head of john originally
22:16
john was in profile you can see by that strong dark line that goes down his forehead his eyes were tilted upwards
22:24
but now that's altered the artist has angled john's head slightly towards us
22:31
and instead of the eyes glancing upwards he's gazing into a sort of foreground middle
22:38
distance i mean why has the artist done this well it's quite likely
22:44
that in the process of putting the painting together they felt it's not quite working we need
22:50
a bit more emotional connection who knows but what it does show us
22:56
is that the artist is thinking as they're going along there's some sort of creative process
23:03
this isn't what you'd expect from some copyist or from some student or apprentice i think we're
23:09
dealing with someone who really knows what they're doing it looks like there's a serious artist
23:16
behind the port glasgow picture but who could it be i'm heading to edinburgh in search of
23:22
some expert help i need to follow up on the list of potential candidates that ian identified
23:28
so i've come to the national galleries of scotland i'm meeting senior curator of northern
23:35
european art dr tico zeiford tika hello listen thank you very much
23:40
for helping us out thank you pleasure can he help narrow down our search from the lineup of seven suspects
23:48
i've got a list of names which i just want to run past you and see if any of these strike you as
23:56
possible artists i would probably rule out the franken brothers straight away
24:01
we're talking about a seriously big picture the frankens mostly are smaller they tend to have more crowded
24:08
multi-figure compositions um martin de foss doesn't sound likely
24:14
either i think some of what i said about um the frankens applies to him as well
24:20
he wouldn't be one of my prime candidates i think franz flores and jan massey's this is
24:27
closer to this definitely also in terms of the italianate aspect of the picture
24:33
and then what about the flemish raphael michael coxy he was actually the first
24:39
fleming who worked in italy for a considerable time so in terms of
24:45
absorbing the italianate element he's the artist of all those names uh which i
24:52
would put top on my list one of the things that strikes me going through ian's research is just
24:58
how difficult it's been to try and put any name to this painting why is it so difficult
25:04
not very many of the works are signed this is of course very much different from what artists did later on where you
25:11
always find the signature somewhere have a look at this here for example fiona this is a super painting we have no clue
25:18
who the painter is if you look at how he painted leaves and things it looks like
25:24
embroidery so he was labeled the master of the embroidered foliage so no one
25:29
knows the name of this artist so the art world has come up with this fictitious name just to be able to describe him in
25:35
some way this is highest quality and we still don't know the name my goodness this is all making me feel
25:41
slightly worried about what we're going to do about our picture and then what about how the painting
25:48
could have got from flanders to scotland looking at ian's notes he talks about
25:54
the painting being in port glasgow from 1854 and then he mentions early parish
25:59
priest in port glasgow was a fleming i mean that is all we've got so
26:05
any ideas as to when it it's likely to have come to scotland well early could
26:11
be very early there are close relations between scotland and flanders from the
26:16
15th century onwards but it could also be close to when it sort of the church
26:22
opened and they wanted to give something to the church wow so that's a huge period of time that we have to
26:29
investigate yes i'm afraid so
26:34
with almost 500 years of provenance to consider and no obvious signature the
26:40
scale of the challenge facing us is daunting back in london at the gallery we're taking a closer look at the artists who
26:47
are still in contention so here is ian's list of seven potential suspects
26:52
and tico has ruled out four of them [Music] so that leaves us with three michiel
26:59
coxy jan masseys and franz flores i've got my doubts about yamasays why
27:06
well have a look at this it's called a merry company carousing peasants this is typical of the type of painting that he
27:13
was doing in fact he's been credited with being a pioneer of secular painting in the low
27:19
countries and certainly when you look at our painting it's nothing like it they're having a
27:25
very jolly time and of course this is a heavily religious subject isn't it i think mercedes is definitely off the
27:30
list okay so then we're left with michiel coxy and franz flores
27:36
so i've done some digging into coxy now it turns out he moved in very
27:42
elevated circles he was a favorite of the holy roman emperor he was caught painted to philip ii of spain who
27:49
singled him out to paint frescoes in the vatican in rome and then there's franz flores now he was
27:55
a big player as well he was hugely successful led this very extravagant lifestyle he had a big influence on the
28:01
northern renaissance and he had a large workshop in antwerp as well so we have
28:07
two really very significant names to consider now at work in antwerp in the 16th century
28:19
back at the kelvin center i'm keen to see if another scientific technique can help us date the wooden panel that the
28:25
port glasgow picture is painted on dendrochronology is the process of
28:30
dating wood by measuring the tree rings counting the rings will tell us how old
28:36
the tree is but measuring the distance between them creates a pattern in time
28:41
which can be used to identify not only when the tree was growing but crucially the likely date it was cut down
28:49
looking at a cross-section of the poor glasgow picture through a microscope reveals the bubble-like structures that
28:55
make up the rings measuring these could reveal the earliest possible date the
29:01
panel was made ian tyres is one of the world's leading authorities on denver chronology
29:08
can he put a date to our picture how confident can we be at dating a
29:14
painting by looking at the available tree rings these boards have got 150 or 200 rings
29:21
in them most likely we can date this to within a decade or two in effect each of
29:26
these boards has a fingerprint in it that's a fingerprint in time and place that's a rather remarkable thought what
29:32
about these battles on the back this bracing these are unfortunately a later
29:37
addition to the panel there's no original back left on the panel itself and it's been planed down and this
29:44
cradle has been put on the back in order to strengthen it at some point ouch so all of that information that could have
29:51
helped us stamps labels what have you they've just disappeared into the
29:57
into the into the ether they've disappeared into the bin in the in the wood yard yes thankfully
30:02
dendrochronology can salvage some of the clues lost in restoration and tell us
30:07
more than just the date of the panel there's many layers of information to come out of this does it date does it
30:13
tell us where and does it tell us which trees all material that we would find
30:19
extremely useful and valuable well let's hope that it does produce some answers
30:26
while we wait and see if the port glasgow picture can be dated i've come to the archives of the archdiocese of
30:32
glasgow to follow up on the lead ian left that an early parish priest was a fleming a native of flanders
30:39
can the archives provide any evidence to show he was right i've got here the scottish catholic
30:46
directory which is a list of all the parishes and their clergy and on page 91 here is our church port glasgow st
30:52
john's and it mentions the first priest a reverend john carolyn
30:58
now he's actually from ireland he's not flemish so the the connection to flanders that ian
31:04
margie's husband's been talking about it's not him and then i've looked through
31:10
all the priests that have been at st john the baptist and none of them are from flanders so
31:15
i can't find anything to substantiate ian's theory there i'm wondering if it's a red herring
31:21
there's another lead in the form of the inscription on the frame it says that the painting was the
31:26
raridos in the church from 1854 until 1895.
31:31
meaning it hung behind the altar could it have been a gift to mark the founding of the church
31:39
in the directory it details the opening of the church in 1854 on the 22nd of october of course 1854 is the date on
31:46
our painting it says the church was so densely crowded that numbers were obliged to retire for want of room it
31:52
also mentions a rather intriguing name and mrs colonel hutchison and it says the catholics resident here
31:59
have much reason to be grateful to this excellent lady for the great interest she has taken in their new church and it
32:05
turns out her first name was isabella and in the catholic archive there is this rather sweet little portrait of her
32:12
so digging a bit deeper i can see that she was born in 1780 in fort glasgow and
32:18
she was the daughter of a merchant and the widow of a man called george hutchison
32:23
now the place i found more information about george hutchison is here the center for the study of the
32:29
legacies of british slavery so george hutchison was a late lieutenant colonel in the
32:35
service of the honorable east india company which was a huge trading company that made much of its money off the back
32:40
of slavery so isabella got some of her money from him and she used that money
32:47
for it says here erecting completing and furnishing the residence for the sisters of mercy at lorriston gardens that's a
32:54
convent in edinburgh so the money came from a very dark place
33:01
and she used some of it for the catholic church and this convo in particular
33:06
so i think that's something worth looking into
33:12
i've asked marjorie to join me at the sisters of mercy convent in edinburgh to find out more about isabella hutchison
33:19
did she donate the port glasgow picture to the church one of the many questions about
33:25
your painting margaret is how did it come to be in glasgow in port glasgow to be specific yes indeed indeed so it
33:31
might have something to do with this woman ah this is isabella hutchison we know that she was very wealthy
33:38
we know that she was a benefactor to the catholic church she also
33:44
came from port glasgow and was at the church saint john the baptist oh when it
33:49
opened in 1854 oh my goodness and there's more because the catholic directory states that she
33:56
paid for the furnishings in the church as well as the altar
34:01
right an entry in the catholic directory says
34:06
the altar tabernacle chalice and ciborium and all the altar linens and furnishings together with vestments all
34:13
of which are very elegant and costly were presented by her
34:18
but if she paid for the altar did she also pay for the order piece could be
34:24
could be it's not proof it's quite convincing yes it is and having spoken with the sisters here at the convent i
34:31
mean they think given her relations with the catholic church and how much he gave the catholic
34:36
church that it is quite likely that she the painting to the church as well are you
34:42
any closer to finding out who painted it no but we are working on it so i hope to
34:47
find out very soon but at this precise moment i cannot give you a name i'm afraid it's a difficult one
34:53
it certainly is our provenance trail hasn't got us any
34:58
further in establishing who painted the poor glasgow picture but now we know isabella hutchison most likely donated
35:05
it to the church
35:11
back at the kelvin center it's the moment we've been waiting for ian tires has sequenced the tree rings
35:18
and we have a result it's a huge piece of information marjorie's late husband ian longed to
35:25
know i've asked marjorie to join me we're about to find out whether we can
35:31
date the port glasgow picture so marjorie i know one of the things
35:36
that ian was interested in and wanted to do was apply technology to coming up with
35:42
answers for this picture yes indeed if he didn't have that facility obviously
35:48
in the early 90s and he wasn't he wasn't involved with any lab or anything like that to be fair in the 90s the
35:55
technology we're talking about wasn't as sophisticated as it is now and dendrochronology has come on leaps and
36:02
bounds same what have you found the last ring in the panel is 1574. oh
36:10
goodness how specific can you be on this so that means these trees are still growing in 1574 and therefore the panel must be
36:17
after 1574. that is truly amazing so now we know the date the tree was most
36:24
likely failed and the earliest possible year the panel could have been made and
36:30
mostly panels are used what within 10 years yes the general understanding we have is
36:36
that they are used fresh and very quickly do you think ian would have found that useful oh definitely to get such
36:43
precision would have absolutely amazed him he'd be delighted absolutely delighted
36:50
this is the most revealing clue in our investigation yet the date of the panel means that the
36:56
port glasgow picture could not have been painted before 1574
37:01
ruling out france flores who died in 1570 there's only one potential master left
37:08
in our ecclesiastical whodunit and what a name he was michiel coxy known as the
37:13
flemish raphael to get to know the artist better we're on our way to cox's homeland of belgium
37:20
to see one of europe's most famous artworks in saint barvo's cathedral in ghent
37:28
wow spectacular isn't it it really is
37:33
awe-inspiring we've come to see a masterpiece michiel
37:38
coxy knew well this mystical painting has emerged after
37:45
10 years of restoration just magnificent isn't it
37:51
the adoration of the mystic lamb also known as the ghent altarpiece was
37:56
created by brothers hubert and jan van eyck 600 years ago
38:01
during its long life it has been much copied and coveted as an object of
38:07
desire and it's had quite a life it's been stolen more than once hasn't it stolen
38:13
by napoleon by the nazis it nearly burnt it was recovered by the americans after the war when it
38:20
was found in a salt mine i mean this is a painting with form but what i want you to have a look at is
38:26
this right what do you make of it um what i presume
38:33
this is that isn't it not quite this painting was so admired and desired
38:39
that people wanted their own gentle piece so a hundred years after it was painted philip ii of spain commissioned
38:46
this copy and the artist was coxy oh right the artist who we have
38:53
in our sights as the painter of our work
38:59
the commission to copy this masterpiece for the king was one of coxy's most prestigious
39:05
but he was far more than a mere copyist famous in his own lifetime coxy was
39:12
hailed as one of the great artists of the low countries and his influence on religious art was profound
39:19
his altarpieces were greatly admired and in brussels the royal institute for
39:24
cultural heritage have given us a rare opportunity to compare one by coxy with
39:30
the port glasgow picture conservators here restore the ghent altarpiece and helen dubois and natalie
39:37
le care have offered to tell me more about this authentic work can we find any similarities between
39:44
this and the port glasgow picture that might prove they are by the same artist
39:50
hello helen hello nicely hello hello thank you so much for giving us the time to show us
39:57
this magnificent picture so what can you tell us about its history well this painting
40:03
is a triptych painted by michael coxy it was painted for the church of the
40:09
sablong which is in the center of brussels i mean can you
40:15
at first glance see any similarities the colors are quite striking and there's
40:20
some similarities you have this kind of ochre tone purplish tones which we call also these colors we call shenzhen which
40:27
is different tones combined with each other can you see any other comparisons
40:33
well you can see in both cases that the faces the postures go back to more
40:39
italian examples you can see these painters are both inspired by raphael
40:44
also there's clearly a reference to roman or greek ancient sculptures
40:50
it's like the static coming to life in a funny sort of way yes very much it's very dynamic composition full of emotion
40:57
you see movements people falling backwards there's a lot of action in here your
41:03
picture is is full of emotions very intense as well in this period you can see that the
41:08
flemish artists have not quite understood really the italian of the renaissance sense of
41:14
composition the action is there but it's fixed in time it's just not really quite
41:20
flowing as it does in italian paintings stylistic similarities between the two
41:26
are promising but we have seen evidence that the artist who created the port glasgow
41:32
picture changed things as they went along is there anything similar in the coxy
41:37
painting so nicely have you found any
41:42
similar changes of mind in the painting you've now got to know so well yeah there are a lot of changes
41:49
look at his foot here for example he changed his mind and replaced the
41:54
composition almost as if he's trying to sort of rebalance the figure that's a proof of the creation process of the
42:01
painter well i mean something very similar has happened in our picture of john i mean it's not a foot it's a face
42:09
so both these painters coxy and the one who did ours
42:14
are searching they're never quite satisfied the similarities between this known work
42:21
by michiel coxy and the poor glasgow picture are compelling but these works have something else in common
42:29
both were painted in the aftermath of one of the most devastating periods in western art history
42:37
from the 1520s the reformation swept through europe
42:42
in this religious revolution protestants rebelled against what they believed was a corrupt catholic church
42:50
the result was a series of violent attacks on places of worship countless religious paintings and
42:56
statues were destroyed in what's known as the great iconoclasm
43:03
but in the decades that followed there was a catholic revival and with it a
43:08
huge demand to redecorate empty churches with new religious art to replace what
43:14
had been lost artists like michiel coxy were back in business
43:21
oliver kick is an expert in this fascinating period of art history can he
43:26
find any clues that could support the theory that coxy painted the port glasgow picture
43:33
this is coming straight after a period of religious turmoil with the iconoclasm
43:39
there was huge destruction of altarpieces and works of art in churches leaving lots of empty spaces but leaving
43:46
also lots of opportunities for the catholic painters who came afterwards so they had lots of commissions coming
43:52
in to replace all these destroyed altar pieces i mean presumably it was a great time to be a painter yes these painters
44:00
were working at breakneck speed to produce huge quantities of art to refurnish those churches where were
44:07
these ideas for the composition have come from then do you think what they would often refer
44:13
to is first of all antique sculpture or classical sculpture and then they would also use sources such as workshop
44:20
drawings and then prints they took certain sources and recombined them one
44:26
print for example would be a print after tintoretto where we see that he uses
44:32
exactly the same for shortening of the head of christ there might have been a scrapbook of images from the past lots
44:40
of ideas and then a group of people under the work of a master
44:45
putting paintings like this together exactly it was also an opportunity for artists to look back at previous
44:52
generations and oliver can see similarities between the port glasgow picture and this much earlier order
45:00
piece by a master called bernard van one striking
45:05
comparison is also to be made with a lamentation painted by the painter bernard van orle who was
45:11
working mostly in the 1520s 1530s okay so you're painting a a really
45:18
interesting picture here in response to need after all the destruction
45:23
workshops plundering the past with images and other inspirations putting together
45:29
art this is really tantalizing to me it's
45:35
clear that whoever painted the port glasgow picture was inspired by this painting by bernard van orle
45:45
back in london we're getting together with marjorie to share our latest discoveries
45:52
well margie you've been very patient with us while we've been looking through ian's list of suspects
45:57
and of course this is what we're talking about the port glasgow painting take a look at this
46:03
now this is a triptych by an artist called bernard van orle it's in a church in bruges a triptych of course is a a
46:10
painting in three parts forming an altarpiece or a rare dose like the port glasgow picture yes of course marjorie i
46:18
want you to cast your eyes to the bottom right ah yes a lamentation a lamentation of
46:25
christ but look even closer in comparison to the port glasgow picture oh my goodness my goodness yes
46:33
very similar pause slightly different composition well the more time you spend
46:38
analyzing it the more i think you come up with similarities and if you look at
46:44
the way that the figure of christ is sitting live yes it's almost a mirror
46:50
image and also notice the attitude of the head and the foreshortening
46:56
so the question is did bernard van older who painted this paint the poor glasgow picture yes
47:02
no because bernard van oli died in 1541 and we know that this was painted after
47:08
1574 oh yes thanks to the dendrochronology exactly but this is where it gets exciting because bernard
47:16
van olli and here he is was a master artist with his own workshop full of
47:22
apprentices and pupils and one of them was michiel coxy my
47:27
goodness he looks like quite a guy so he would have seen the work by bernard van
47:32
orle well of course because i mean the risk of stating the obvious this is before the days of internet and
47:39
catalogue resonate and for michiel to be familiar with this
47:44
painting he would almost certainly have had to come into some sort of physical presence with
47:50
it and it strikes me that the coincidence is too great to ignore
47:55
it's not hard and fast evidence but it's certainly compelling and we'll just have to see if the
48:00
experts agree yes let's hope that they do thanks to this early 16th century work
48:07
by his former master we've narrowed our search down to one suspect the flemish
48:13
raphael mikhiel coxy but have we done enough to convince the
48:18
experts back in antwerp i've come to a renowned center for art historical research the
48:25
ruben yanum where i've arranged to meet the leading expert on coxy professor kunrot yonkera hi there hi nice meeting
48:33
you nice to meet you his opinion will be decisive
48:40
kuhn has agreed to share his initial thoughts before he considers our evidence
48:45
does he buy our theory that the port glasgow painter was inspired by bernard van oorley
48:52
one thing that struck me is the similarity of this christ figure to the very unusual figure in the bernard van
48:58
orli painting what 50 or so years earlier is it possible that whoever came
49:04
up with the idea for this picture was connected to or familiar with van allen
49:09
in some way yeah i think so i think certainly you see ideas from bernard van
49:14
ordle literally sampled in this panel the whole composition is being traced
49:20
you see some minor changes in some figures like the saint john but hardly and the
49:25
fact that christ has his knees up in this position was that unusual well it's something that you don't see that often
49:31
in 16th century painting this was introduced by vanoli and so there's this direct line between
49:39
the painter who painted your panel and this early 16th century important
49:46
master it is a piece of what must have been an enormous altarpiece it was cut down oh
49:52
right you think this is this is just a part of the original i think so because the figures are not fully on it which is
49:59
very exceptional so it must have been cut down and it was made at the end of the 16th
50:04
century on the eve of barack that's the period when they start to experiment and sample
50:11
everything that had been tried out in the 16th century and that people like rubens were
50:18
eventually able to build their career on and so this is i think
50:24
a quite exceptional example of such a late 16th century
50:30
panel while retires to consider our evidence
50:36
back in london we're taking stock i think we've built as strong a case as
50:42
we can for this painting particularly given the complexity of this period of art history
50:48
imaging technology has shown us pentimenti some significant alterations the sign that a
50:56
must creative hand is at work dendrochronology tree ring analysis has
51:02
established that the port glasgow picture could not have been painted before 1574.
51:08
and this brings into focus an artist michiel coxy whose stylistic traits
51:14
we've seen in belgium also the painting seems inspired by
51:20
coxy's master bernard van ollie this investigation has certainly had its
51:26
challenges the way the artist workshop operated in the 16th century with its many
51:32
assistants apprentices journeyman it was doubtful certainly at
51:37
the beginning whether we'd ever be able to name a potential master the provenance was initially promising
51:43
we managed to establish that a wealthy benefactor isabella hutchison paid for the church's altar and its furnishings
51:50
which we assume included the painting that's where the trail went cold
51:56
with the help of many experts both here and in belgium we've managed to work our way through ian's list of suspects and
52:03
all the evidence seems to point to one name michiel coxy
52:08
court painter to philip ii of spain [Music] after several weeks we have a decision
52:18
kuhn has consulted with his colleagues and dr tiko zeifert from the national galleries of scotland is joining us to
52:24
deliver their verdict have we done enough to prove that the
52:30
port glasgow picture is a lost masterpiece by michiel coxy
52:37
marjorie is joining us at the gallery to hear the verdict hi marjorie hello good to see you
52:44
marjorie good to be here so this is the day oh are you looking forward to it oh it's so
52:50
exciting dying to know about it in terms of evaluation if if we can give it
52:56
the name that we've been trying to coxy then we could be talking in terms
53:03
of about a hundred thousand pounds it's an impressive picture yes ian would
53:09
certainly agree with you on that what do you think ian would say if he was here now he would be delighted that
53:15
so much interest had been expressed in it it's lovely to be doing this in
53:20
memory of him well we've given it our best shot [Music]
53:26
tico has joined us and we're about to find out if we can put the name michiel coxy to the port glasgow picture so
53:34
you've reached a decision yes are you ready to hear it margie yes as ready as i'll ever be
53:41
i've discussed the research with kuhn in belgium and kuhn's opinion is and i agree with
53:48
him that this painting is not by mario coxy
53:53
oh that's a shame i'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news
53:59
what makes you think it's not by michiel coxy well coon's feeling was that the way it
54:06
is painted is not as refined as we would expect him
54:11
in his prime and i think the style it is painted feels a tad later and not mecha
54:18
coxy however there is also good news feels very strongly that the
54:25
painter of this picture here must have had intimate knowledge of machia coxy's
54:31
workshop and the way he worked and it must be a painter that towards
54:36
the end of michiel's life was in the circle of the artist and the prime
54:43
candidate would be his son rafael was he a significant artist in his own
54:49
right or just another person in the workshop he was the oldest son of maria coxy and he
54:56
worked with him he collaborated with him so they sometimes even worked on the same picture we know that
55:04
raphael would have had this intimate knowledge which we we feel was necessary
55:10
to paint this i feel really positive about what you
55:16
just said i mean we had that whole thicket of possibilities did we not and we we've managed to narrow it down to a
55:23
likely name and place and date i think you've done a brilliant
55:29
job frankly at this point in art history with the structure of workshops and
55:34
everything um to find an artist who was responsible from start to finish
55:40
this is the exception rather than the rule so to narrow it down in the way we've been able to i think is actually a
55:48
success so where do you think this leaves us in terms of how we put a value on this picture it's
55:53
such an opaque period of art history that that even just to to give it
55:59
as closely as you have to these key figures i think still makes it a very desirable
56:06
painting i can see museums being interested i can see collectors being interested
56:13
in terms of valuation not probably a hundred thousand pounds probably sixty seventy thousand pounds oh my
56:21
goodness and i'm sure the bishop will be interested to hear that i'm sure he will
56:30
ian macdonald started investigating the port glasgow picture 30 years ago
56:35
thanks to the clues he left us we can now say it was painted by someone in miquel coxy circle most likely coxy's
56:43
son raphael named after the italian painter coxy admired so much
56:50
ian would be very impressed with all the research that's been done it certainly proved that it was late 16th century
56:57
flemish which is what he thought that it was an important work which has also been agreed
57:04
yeah he would be he would be very satisfied with that but he would have relished the discussion
57:09
and that's i think what is missing on the whole that that would have been that would have been his great joy
57:18
now we've finished the work ian began the painting will return home to saint john the baptist church in port glasgow
57:25
where it will go back on the wall for parishioners to enjoy [Music]
57:32
if you think you have an undiscovered masterpiece or other precious object contact us at
57:38
dot co dot uk slash fake or fortune [Music]
57:54
[Music]
58:01
[Applause]
58:13
you
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34843
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Fri Oct 21, 2022 9:34 pm

Part 1 of 2

Pre-Islamic Arabia, Epigraphy, and Arabic
Dr. Ahmad Al-Jallad
Sképsislamica
Mar 8, 2021

What is pre-Islamic Arabia and how can we know about it? How did pre-modern scholars approach the subject and what were their goals? How has the discovery of new inscriptions advanced our knowledge of pre-Islamic Arabia, the Qur'an, early-Islam, and the Arabic language? Why did people make inscriptions? How do we know an inscription is actually going back to a particular date? What methodology is applied to determine the pronunciation of certain words in bilingual inscriptions and how important have such inscriptions been for the study of Arabic and other N.E languages? And much more! The professor also discusses some of his findings and the exciting stories behind them.



Transcript

0:00
welcome to bottled petrichor a podcast dedicated to discussing key topics in
0:05
islamic history and thought in addition to a short lecture at the start of most episodes we ask our guest experts questions
0:12
submitted by listeners and allow them to share their thoughts in a safe environment please visit our twitter page
0:18
for feedback and question submission forms thank you and i hope you enjoy i am honored today to have professor
0:24
ahmad al-jalad hello professor how are you i'm well and how about you i'm doing well professor thank you for
0:30
asking i just wanted to say again that i'm super thrilled to have you on today because in addition to being this
0:35
incredibly prolific academic you also have this super engaging and interesting twitter page
0:42
which you know a lot of people including myself have benefited from and have enjoyed a lot and so i'm confident that
0:47
you know of course i'm going to enjoy this conversation i'm confident that my my audience will also appreciate the stuff that we talk
0:52
about today as well so kind of before we start i wanted to ask do you mind telling us a bit about
0:59
yourself your research your interests kind of what really got you interested in the study of you know inscriptions
1:06
uh thank you yes it's really a pleasure to be here with you and to talk to you about these subjects that interest me um i
1:14
i would consider myself an epigraphist and a linguist but i'm interested in uh inscriptions uh basically any kind
1:21
of inscription that i can get my hands on but my research focuses on ancient arabian
1:26
inscriptions that is inscriptions produced in the pre-islamic period and we'll talk about exactly what we mean by
1:32
pre-islamic later the pre-islamic period in um in arabia in adjacent areas and in
1:39
the alphabets in both indigenous alphabets of arabia and other uh writing traditions that arabians may
1:45
have employed and because i'm interested in everything that i can get out of these inscriptions uh i have to be much sometimes much more
1:52
than just well i shouldn't say just but much more than an epigraphist someone interested in the
1:57
uh uh and the scientific study of these inscriptions themselves they're right the letter shapes and the language but i
2:03
have to for example sometimes go down uh dabble in history and religious studies and social history and
2:11
various other fields and um and so i have very uh broad interests and i
2:17
would like to learn as much as i can about everything to do with these artifacts understood thank
2:23
you so much for that and i think i think we should get right into it and you had mentioned you know we're going to talk a bit about
2:28
pre-islamic arabia but we could just start that what is pre-islamic arabia and how can we know
2:34
about it uh how did pre-modern scholars kind of approach the subject and what were some of their goals right
2:39
so uh my interest began um my research interest began a long time ago in the um
2:46
study of this comparative grammar of the semitic languages i was interested in how the semitic languages evolved and
2:53
developed over time and one of the things that attracted me to the subject is that we were working in prehistory when people compare
3:00
when scientists compare the grammars of semitic languages they're trying to understand something uh something about the
3:06
development of language before there was necessarily a writing tradition associated with it before there was a written language so that's
3:12
prehistoric and prehistory or the distant past in that way is always uh
3:17
appealed to me the um the unknown and i like to uh imagine that we can um
3:24
learn something about uh uh such unknown things through the careful study of
3:29
evidence now pre-islam pre-islam if we look at the um if we look at history as presented in
3:35
muslim sources pre-islam is the uh is really that final frontier that that great unknown
3:42
uh most of what uh most of what we had traditionally
3:48
knowledge we had about pre-islamic arabia from traditional sources came in the form of folklore of
3:54
storytelling people gathering accounts by individuals who were relating
3:59
information based on previous generations right and we'll talk a little bit about how those methods worked um
4:05
and so when i started studying uh in more depth the semitic languages i came
4:11
across what was probably the most poorly understood corpus of semitic languages and that was the
4:17
uh the epigraphic uh material from ancient north and central arabia and
4:23
these were traditionally called ancient north arabian and what intrigued me about this material was that well
4:29
it was so poorly understood and this this was in the uh mid-200 you know 2008 2007 2008 2009 in this
4:35
period uh there wasn't we couldn't really say very much um with confidence about
4:41
the languages that these inscriptions inscribed and even in fact many of these alphabets were not
4:47
uh uh completely deciphered so even when we uh so that just basically looked like a
4:53
huge puzzle just calling to be uh investigated and studied and uh and so
4:58
it drew me uh i was drawn to the field because of that and at that time as well there was no there were no textbooks there was no
5:05
real uh corpus available so i was fortunate enough to build a relationship with michael mcdonald my uh my dear
5:12
friend and mentor and teacher on the subject and uh and study with him one-on-one
5:18
uh what we could know about this epigraphic corpus now what's intriguing about this
5:25
material these raw conscriptions is that they come from pre-islamic
5:30
arabia that is they're from the pure they're from the arabian peninsula and adjacent areas before the rise of
5:35
islam but unlike the material that informed our traditional narratives our traditional
5:43
ideas about pre-islamic arabia these texts were produced by
5:49
inhabitants from that time period and from those places they are eyewitnesses they're eyewitness accounts you can say
5:56
and so they're entirely different kind of evidence and once i became familiar with this kind of evidence and started working on it i
6:02
realized that they were that we were in fact talking about two different kinds two different pre-islamic arabias
6:08
come two completely different timelines you have the pre-islamic arabia that we
6:13
know from muslim sources which we call the jahiliyyah the age of ignorance
6:19
and that pre-islamic arabia concerns primarily the events and the the uh political
6:25
and cultural landscape of the peninsula in any real detail only a few centuries before the rise of islam
6:31
whereas the pre-islamic arabia that we could know from inscriptions and from archaeology
6:37
would stretch back thousands of years right and all the way and extend all the way to the rise of
6:43
islam and what was interesting is that the two pre-islamic arabias weren't always compatible there were overlaps
6:50
but we often got a very different image of pre-islamic arabia based on these
6:55
documentary sources eyewitnesses like the inscriptions when we compare them to the accounts
7:01
that um that we find in muslim sources and so i i uh and so there was this huge
7:08
opportunity to learn about this place that in the popular imagination we feel like we knew so much about
7:14
right the pre-islamic arabian ideas about pre-islamic arabia serve a really big uh serve as an
7:20
interpretive or an exegetical tool in um in muslim literature and so
7:26
uh and so there's this idea that we know quite a bit about how things were in the jahiliyyah that you know the arabian
7:31
peninsula was uh much more iso rather isolated that the arabians were barbaric and uh and
7:38
lacking writing and and all of these sort of topoi uh and that um
7:44
well that picture just looks completely different than what we see in the documentary sources where we
7:49
where we have uh civilizations ancient civilizations going back to the bronze age
7:54
uh we have writing uh copious amounts of writing all over the peninsula extensive contacts with the with the
8:02
rest of the near east and indeed uh at least pre-islamic south arabia should probably be considered
8:07
uh one of the maybe the third pole of civilization in the in the ancient near east so uh
8:13
so that working with those two timelines in mind um i became very interested in trying to
8:21
uh contribute to our writing of the history of pre-islamic arabia based on documentary sources
8:27
based on archaeology epigraphy and things that we can and material that we can scrutinize
8:33
from from that time period so then that begs the question what do we
8:38
what do we consider of the the sources that uh that were compiled by muslim scholars in
8:44
the uh in the middle ages right i mean they have a lot of accounts of pre-islamic arabia
8:49
what was that material uh one of the projects that i i sort of toy with an idea that i toy
8:55
with is the uh and hopefully i'll get to writing one day i mean i have some notes is a commentary of uh even
9:05
um based on the uh epigraphic and archaeological sources so the kitable islam is a book by
9:13
evil 9th century writer on the religion of pre-islamic arabia
9:19
on the different idols and the different uh religious practices cultic practices
9:25
associated with the idols before the rise of islam and the image we get there is
9:31
so different than what we actually see in the epigraphic record so for example if it kelby documents the worship of
9:38
idols all across arabia at for example douma jandal he documents the worship of a deity
9:43
called what now these are real deities of course what this fountain is is obviously
9:48
mentioned in the quran but uh when we look at the epigraphic map we see that what's worship was in
9:55
fact all the way on the other side of the peninsula in south arabia and by the it was the
10:00
the chief deity of the mineans and what's more uh the polytheism in south arabia
10:07
basically died off uh in the fourth century at least as a uh state-sponsored religion and uh
10:13
there's no evidence uh for what actually being worshipped by uh that far north or in in do with agenda
10:21
and it's not an argument from the absence of evidence not at all because you have thousands and thousands of texts that do
10:28
metagender from the middle of the first millennium bce until the rise of islam
10:34
and in fact there's no uh worship of what there ever documented in the
10:39
inscriptions and in fact the only religious information we have from dhuma to gender in the sixth century is a christian
10:46
arabic inscription so quite a quite a different image so why then does do the sources like muslim
10:55
sources of this sort look so different than what we can see in the uh the epigraphy in archaeology and i think
11:00
it's because we are when we look at the way that was written we're we're treating we're mistreating it um
11:07
or i should say mystery maybe so but we are not um uh we're not understanding it for what it is
11:14
see muslim writers when they were collecting information about the jahiliyyah they were i think um one could better
11:21
compare them to to folklorists they were interested in collecting folklore stories about a mythical age really
11:29
and their methodologies was their methodology was just that they would ask individuals who had um
11:36
for example some kind of ancestral connection to the arabian peninsula about um about uh
11:43
uh you know the happenings of the jahiliyyah and about the you know things like polytheism of course polytheism becomes a
11:50
a sort of uh uh a top person in the jahili and so uh even kelby is actually just
11:56
asking informants so do you tell me stories you know about the jahilia tell me about these gods and or these practices and he gathers
12:04
all of these folk tales into a book and presents them now it would be a mistake for us to
12:10
simply read that book and assume that we are dealing with documentary history the way we would if for example we excavated
12:16
a temple in arabia and read its inscriptions they're not comparable and so uh the event
12:23
is actually going around and collecting folklore in that way and and they're they're when when
12:29
scholars become interested in things like this uh they become interested in folklore they that that will uh
12:36
in a way contribute to the generation of stories so there was no doubt that people of this
12:41
time period knew that the jaahiliya was a place of interest and that scholars
12:46
were going around and uh and asking questions about it so arabians are people with some kind of ancestral tie to the arabian peninsula
12:52
would certainly um uh be aware that they were going to be asked questions about it and you know they'll respond with uh
13:00
in ways that they think would be interesting or entertaining to the people asking we're not dealing with um
13:07
uh i i we're not dealing with any scholarly framework as we would think of it today and uh and i think the closest analog to
13:14
this is um uh for example if you compare the kind of research done on on
13:20
on you know supernatural things like like bigfoot if you go out to the pacific northwest you have a lot of
13:27
bigfoot research being done which comes down to mostly asking people about bigfoot
13:32
encounters asking people about their experiences or or asking about the experiences of their uh
13:37
of people they know or their or their ancestors uh asking people about bigger encounters
13:43
and asking people to to explain these stories within the local landscape and uh
13:48
and that is the way that um that basically sums up how we know about these kinds of folkloric creatures and
13:54
that is sort of what uh pre-islamic arabia or the jahiliya let's say the pre-islamic
13:59
arabia of medieval sources looks like right and and so
14:04
the inscriptions in the archaeology available to us now give us for the first time the opportunity to step away
14:11
from that mythological framework and and interrogate or or ask questions of
14:17
of uh of this period um um based on uh evidence that we can be sure
14:24
dates to the period in question right and we can see that this isn't the first
14:30
time you see in uh in history where such a thing was possible this was always uh more or less possible and i think the
14:38
the characterization of muslim scholarship on the jahilia as um a scholarship of folklore or
14:43
collections of folklore uh is is further supported by the fact that
14:49
all the materials needed for a um an epigraphy or or a discipline an
14:56
epigraphic science to have emerged in the islamic period all the materials all the things needed were there uh for example the um
15:06
who was one of the great [Music] let's say polymaths of the abbas
15:12
period he he wrote um a description of the arabian peninsula and he was interested in pre-islamic
15:19
arabia of course and in one of his uh one of the volumes of ezeklill he has a script chart okay very interesting
15:26
a script chart which is which lists the ancient musnad alphabet now this was the
15:32
alphabet used in pre-islamic south arabia and he gives the shapes and we we know this through copies of course so the
15:38
shapes are a little bit altered but we can still make out what they originally were and they're pretty accurate so it gives the
15:43
shapes of the muslin letters and then he gives the arabic letter equivalents
15:49
and he's right i mean they understood they still knew the script of the alphabets in ancient south arabia in
15:54
this period and they had all of the inscriptions around them they had all the monuments they could see them
16:00
and what's fascinating is that there never there was never an attempt to write the history of pre-islamic
16:06
arabia informed by all of these monuments that were around them which they could
16:11
if they made the effort read in fact sure the language of these inscriptions was quite
16:17
different from from classical arabic but they had uh i mean with the local
16:22
dialects even hemorrhagic continued to be spoken in pockets of the period and with knowledge of the alphabet they
16:28
would have certainly been able to to decipher its language and they would have been able to use
16:33
these artifacts in the writing of pre-islamic arabian history but they didn't and i think the way to understand why
16:40
they didn't do that is because they were interested they were more interested in the storytelling and the
16:46
folkloric aspect of pre-islamic arabia then they were in actually trying to write some kind of
16:51
positivist history based on evidence and documents
16:58
in that period so it took until the 19th century until these texts were um let's say
17:06
became what became until europeans became aware of these texts and then they were deciphered and
17:12
the voices of pre-islamic arabia were heard once again so thank you so much
17:18
for that and so we're kind of talking about this stuff and so it probably makes more sense to just ask
17:24
what was then the priest on the caribbean landscape like in terms of language religion and empire you know
17:29
what were the types of languages spoken were people generally bilingual and how
17:34
mutually intelligible were the different languages in the region and you know did people have names for these different languages
17:41
uh very very good questions yes so when we look at um
17:46
when we look at muslim period sources and this may have been the case even up to the 7th century this is
17:52
and this is why such sources look this way there were basically two main languages in arabia you had
17:58
a hemiaritic or the language of ancient south arabia and then you had um arabic the rest of
18:06
arabia was arabic in arabic that was very that was characterized by
18:11
the language the performance register of the the pre-islamic poems right which uh i do think by the way are
18:18
uh authentic or pre-islamic we could talk about that later but uh but nevertheless that that language
18:23
there was being used all across the arabian peninsula except for certain places where people spoke
18:29
a kind of corrupted version of this language or some version that isn't to be relied upon but
18:35
when we push back in time uh what's fascinating is that we'll see that arabia was uh
18:41
it could be characterized by hyperlinguistic diversity um you the earliest
18:48
texts uh date to the they come from south arabia
18:53
and may date to the uh well uh beginning of the first millennium bce or
18:59
the end of the second millennium bce and uh but these texts
19:05
are um the alphabet itself the entire concept of the alphabet actually comes from the north so it had to make
19:12
its way down to south arabia sometime in the second millennium and as it made its way down it's
19:17
reasonable hypothesized that the script these the south that this uh south arabian scripture we think of the
19:24
south arabian script we can simply call the arabian alphabet or the south semitic script diffused all across the peninsula and so
19:32
we have uh in the in central and north arabia basically every oasis
19:38
every major oasis has its own uh writing tradition its own type of its
19:43
own variant of the south semitic script this indigenous alphabet of arabia not related to the arabic script as we
19:48
know it so it has its own uh writing tradition uh its own language and then the deserts
19:56
as well between these places are filled with inscriptions uh some of these inscriptions are produced in
20:02
alphabets that have been deciphered and their language can be understood and some of them are produced inscriptions in in alphabets that are
20:09
deciphered but their language is completely completely unintelligible meaning that these inscriptions reflect languages
20:15
that are no longer extant that have gone extinct that were spoken in arabia and have disappeared and there
20:21
just simply isn't enough texts to work out a decipherment of the language yet and um
20:26
and there are other cases where the scripts themselves are are not deciphered so for example um
20:32
there the ancient inscriptions of oman many of these are painted but some are carved on rock
20:37
the alphabet is not deciphered we can't read the text uh at all at all there are some alphabets that are
20:43
partially deciphered meaning that we can read some text and we can but we can't read others and so uh and
20:48
that this situation we don't know how old this situation is when you're looking at a rock inscription um carved in a mysterious alphabet that
20:55
hasn't been deciphered this text could come from 400 a d 400
21:00
ce or 400 a.d or it can come from 1000 bc right it is impossible to know at this
21:05
moment uh you have to take a case by case basis but it's impossible to know just by looking at the text
21:11
so we see this we also see a lot of linguistic diversity what is missing and what is absolutely
21:16
fascinating when we look at all this uh linguistic diversity throughout the throughout the arabian peninsula up into the sixth century
21:23
nothing that looks like or nothing that is identical to let's say nothing that is identical to
21:30
the language of the pre-islamic poems and uh and and of course um uh
21:37
nothing identical to what we see collected later um and and and uh standardized well we
21:43
wouldn't want to say standardized but sort of formalized as classical arabic has appeared
21:48
in writing there's lots of arabic lots of different dialects of arabic but nothing that looks so much like
21:54
the language of the poems in classical arabic yet right from all over the peninsula and you have lots of tribal groups so
22:00
the main tribe we think of the great tribes of arabia um that are mentioned in islamic sources
22:05
for example you know kinder and modar
22:11
and uh you know we can go on these groups do exist but they are
22:17
rather late they are not the most ancient tribal groups they are they are if we look at the entire
22:23
chronology of of ancient arabia they appear on the scene rather late the uh there are many uh
22:30
tribal groups and uh uh that that are tested that we had no idea about except
22:36
from the inscriptions um what's also interesting is that you have tribal groups that are mentioned in the bible
22:42
um as arabian that also appear in the uh inscriptions of arabia so for example masa
22:47
or um um and you can go on there there are several groups well kaido
22:54
hasn't been attested yet there's been a hypothesis hypothesis about uh reading of a single inscription that may
22:59
attest qaeda but it's unclear but nevertheless these groups are attested throughout north arabia
23:06
um the inscriptions also attest uh the existence and and and give us an
23:11
insight into the uh extinct arabs the lost arabs groups like famous
23:17
which were real groups real tribal groups um they actually are not uh samud is a bit more
23:23
ancient ad seems to have thrived in northern arabia and the area of jordan their their capital uh iran
23:30
or their their center maybe maybe their cultural center was iram um which is modern day wadiram we know
23:36
this from the inscriptions uh uh so we have access to the language of the language of them would we know
23:42
where they work chronologically in time and in place um and northwest arabia and the southern
23:48
levant um and we know what kind of alphabets they used uh so it's so so absolutely fascinating in that
23:54
respect uh and all of this uh we we we can follow this all the way up
24:00
to the uh uh up to the sixth century indeed and so we have a a beautiful
24:05
it's not complete of course there are a lot of holes but um there the from the early let's say from
24:10
the late early first millennium bce until the 6th century which was previously one could consider pre
24:19
in terms of a periodization prehistoric arabia right there weren't neces there weren't
24:24
examples of writing um there there weren't there weren't uh anything to make that period you couldn't study that period through
24:31
right local writings um in fact today that is completely um that
24:36
is completely in the light of history maybe a dim light of history because the inscriptions are not always clear but there's uh but certainly it's
24:43
certainly a historical period now absolutely fascinating thank you for that professor and just before we move
24:48
on to the next question you had mentioned something about the authenticity of pre-islamic poetry i was wondering if
24:54
you'd kind of talk more about that and i i don't know really when skepticism emerged about
24:59
really the reliability or the authenticity of pre-islamic poetry maybe
25:05
hussein or something but i was wanting to kind of talk about it and tell us why there is a
25:11
skepticism towards it and why you believe that it is actually authentic well i think um uh i think in this uh
25:19
this particular question thank you for the questions it's a very it's one that's very interesting to me i think we
25:25
shouldn't um we should be very precise in how we talk about this material and by
25:30
uh and when we use the term authentic we don't me we can't mean that every syllable is faithfully transmitted uh from
25:38
whatever point of origin it had in pre-islam but at the same time it wouldn't mean that if something wasn't famous
25:44
faithfully transmitted the entire uh corpus should be thrown out now there was skepticism uh tom
25:50
hussein's famous skepticism on uh the language of the pre-islamic poems he said they were incredibly uniform and
25:57
don't reflect um don't reflect the diversity of tribal dialects that were
26:02
that were in use in that time period so that looked like they were later forgeries uh it's you know it's it's an
26:09
interesting argument the thing that the the thing that allows that opens this material up for um for that discussion is the fact
26:15
that they're transmitted i mean we don't have these texts we don't have copies of these texts from the pre-islamic period they're
26:21
transmitted orally and collected later now that's not necessarily a problem i mean that's the the same story of the
26:27
vedas for example that that were transmitted orally for centuries right um with the uh but with the um with the
26:34
case of the pre-islamic poems i think what and of course we're not speaking we can't we can't talk
26:40
uh about every single line but we'll say the basic just the the the the the core material of
26:47
this these poems i think reflects a uh uh pre-islamic uh
26:52
providence because they are uh they seem to reflect the same cultural background that we get
26:59
in the pre-islamic inscriptions so the uh stopping and weeping at graves uh the
27:05
same kind of vocabulary the the cultic the ritual mourning all of this is almost exactly what we find
27:12
in ritual mourning texts in for example saphiric uh primarily in sapphire which is a
27:18
corpus of ancient arabian inscriptions that comes from the the the the cereal jordanian basalt
27:23
desert right almost entire very very similar very similar vocabulary
27:28
um very similar cultural themes um but what's more uh so there's a there there are aspects
27:34
of the uh pre-islamic poems that i think uh if you that
27:40
that if they were created if they were forgeries at a later period in time they wouldn't have been able to um get
27:47
these metaphors right so so there are certain metaphors used in the in the pre-islamic poems that
27:55
reveal a knowledge of uh cultural practices in pre-islamic arabia that were not known in the seventh or eighth
28:01
century for example at least as far as we know they weren't known by later commentators who would have been accused of forging these
28:07
things um and have only come to light in um in modern times through um epigraphic and archaeological uh
28:14
research and for example let's consider this uh nice line by um
28:20
by labid where he is talking about the landscapes he's describing how torrents lay bare
28:26
uh the marks of the tent and the landscapes right and this image is is compared to what he uses what he
28:31
calls usually translated as writing and he calls it like the zuber the pens of which renew its content
28:38
right and and almost almost in all cases these um this image was thought to be the uh one
28:44
of um pens with ink writing on uh a document right uh
28:50
painting in us in a way but that is not necessarily a good metaphor for
28:55
the way torrents carve the landscape because they don't just go over it they actually remove dirt and lay bare and open things up
29:02
but the term zubor if we look at it from ancient south arabia zubar was a term for a for the day-to-day documents that uh
29:09
so that they used for administration and for personal letters and things of this sort these were sticks
29:15
um uh uh small sticks or pieces of bark from palm trees and they would um
29:22
write on these documents their day-to-day uh things and you wouldn't write on this
29:28
with ink in fact you would use a sharp stylus and you would carve on these sticks when they were
29:33
still wet you would carve your text so all of a sudden we see that metaphor takes on a completely different
29:40
light makes much more sense when we when we think about what zubar was in its pre-islamic south arabian context
29:46
you see and so things like that little metaphors of that sort i think suggest that some lines versus
29:54
or perhaps entire chunks of these texts uh go back to a period where these metaphors were widely understood
30:01
and and that would have been the pre-islamic period now uh you know a lot of this material is of
30:06
course traditional as well so when we say labids we don't necessarily mean that
30:14
you know all of this is the original creation of the mind of labid of course this is traditional literature
30:20
so think of labed as a bard he's he's remixing and compiling uh uh
30:26
material that was was widely known it could have been even much more ancient than that period as well so we have
30:32
references to uh the supernatural fate for example which is all over the uh
30:38
uh um uh all over the pre-islamic inscriptions especially in sapphireic and you get it in levite with all
30:44
very similar metaphors a metaphor of fate shooting arrows or or or at the at the living at her
30:50
victims fate being of course uh uh death same metaphors seen in the pre-islamic inscription so
30:57
all of this i think speaks to there being a cultural connection a real one between
31:02
this this corpus of material and uh an ancient arabia now that doesn't mean every
31:09
single line dates to that period of course when things are transmitted they will each each barter everyone
31:16
who's transmitting it will change it a little bit may insert a line which is very easy to do with with poetry because
31:21
you just have to basically keep the meter um and the rhyme so you might you might add material you might you could
31:27
edit things slightly so it's not it's not to say that that every single word every single
31:32
uh letter is uh is is is exactly as it was but that in general very much like we
31:38
might speak of uh literature like uh uh beowulf which was what transmitted as well and it's certainly gone uh
31:44
been edited in the transmission process um that but in essence it comes from the pre-islamic period
31:50
fascinating fascinating thank you so much for that professor
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34843
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Fri Oct 21, 2022 9:34 pm

Part 2 of 2

now this next set of questions is something that we've been touching upon
31:57
throughout this episode but i think it's important to kind of ask them here again how has the discovery of new
32:03
inscriptions advanced our knowledge of pre-islamic arabia the quran and early islam what about the
32:09
arabic language do you think that the history of arabic and its development in the islamic period will be rewritten
32:15
based on these new inscriptions that we're finding that's a very good question and i think we need to we need to treat what islamic
32:24
what medieval muslim scholars said about the history of arabic in its context so much like uh the writing of the
32:31
history of the jahiliyyah right the uh these scholars were interested in folklore they were
32:37
interested in storytelling they weren't necessarily interested in saying um disprovable things about
32:43
pre-islamic arabia by the study of archipelago artifacts and and what have you so when it comes to the history of arabic it's
32:49
the same way the history of arabic and the arabic language itself becomes in the in
32:54
in this period storytelling becomes an important symbol of authenticity and arabness and so
33:00
stories are told about arabic to position it in um you know larger biblical history
33:06
or um uh to to include certain tribal groups or certain um
33:12
uh and certain regions into the fold of arabness so for example one of the most popular uh explanations of arabic the origins of
33:18
arabic and the islamic period was that arabic was first uh spoken
33:24
in south arabia by a man named yarub now this story is important
33:31
for including the yemenis the ancient yemenis into the fold of
33:37
arabness now it was very obvious uh in this time and even earlier that the
33:42
uh yemenis south arabians were not speaking arabic they were speaking uh well and by this period a language we
33:49
know very little about we have only a few words and uh and maybe one or two sentences preserved of something called
33:55
hemorrhagic but when we look at the ancient inscriptions of yemen we find four main languages that are
34:02
as distinct from arabic as hebrew aramaic are and some even more distance for example if we go to hadramut
34:08
and we see the ancient language of hadermud based on its inscriptions it is um about as far away from it's as
34:13
distant from arabic as for example ethiopic i mean it's very very uh very far so there is a so by using arabic and
34:21
positioning arabic in certain places in history you can weave people who haven't traditionally
34:26
been under the umbrella of arab into that uh into that narrative and give them a a a role to play and let them have a
34:34
stake in this identity now you see that's not history writing as we would that's not the kind of his
34:39
linguistic history that we would write today so we don't from the islamic period sources we don't
34:44
have a history of arabic we have these kinds of folk tales and and and a mythological past for arabic
34:51
which is fascinating and interesting in its own uh right and should be studied uh as well but when it comes to a history of
34:58
arabic that is how did arabic as a a terrestrial vernacular develop over
35:03
time that is something that was all that that story started to be written really in um
35:09
we're talking about arabic in the pre-islamic period of course uh in the 19th century and the
35:14
and the issue is is that in the 19th century and even in the 20th century without
35:19
recognizing the role that these inscriptions could play and without properly deciphering and understanding them that
35:26
the history of pre-islamic of pre-islamic arabic was almost entirely
35:31
speculative it was based on trying to distill uh the past from materials connect
35:38
collected by the uh arab grammarians and it was and by as well the um
35:44
how do you say it the uh uh uh reconfusing historical linguistics on
35:50
historical linguistic methods this is the way people reconstruct uh languages by the comparison of
35:55
grammar reconstruct extinct stages of a language by applying those methods to the modern dialects and applying them to the
36:02
uh to the material collected by the classical grammarians as well but with the decipherment of many of
36:08
these inscriptions and especially in the corpus that i spend most of my time working on i'm mostly busy with is saphiric
36:14
a corpus of more than 40 000 texts now uh these texts date you know uh almost a
36:20
thousand years before at the earliest perhaps uh before the uh the activity of the grammarians
36:26
so they they turned that period that we were interested as prehis previously interested in which was
36:32
previously pre-history they make it history and we could start to see the way the arabic language
36:38
looked in this period before the rise of islam and it gives you a completely different comparative
36:43
dimension when it comes to interpreting things um like you know we talked a little bit about
36:48
the pre-islamic arabic poetry what do words mean in this in these poems what what exactly is zubat referring to for example what is
36:55
it uh we can now bring a different um uh kind of interpretive lens uh uh to
37:03
the matter and uh and then sometimes that works better than what um classical commentaries gave us
37:08
um the same with trying to interpret some vocabulary in the quran the same with um even trying to
37:13
understand some of the grammar of the quran which is if you take it on its own terms quite different from what becomes
37:18
normative classical arabic and this is something that the grammarians recognize as well that quranic arabic was its own
37:24
thing well we have uh inscriptions now that from the pre-islamic period that lead
37:30
right up into the uh to the um to the period of the uh
37:36
of the quran's um uh the collection of the quran and uh well these texts can bear on on those
37:42
types of philological questions uh another thing comes for example with trying to understand
37:47
one of one of the things that anyone looking closely at qurans will see is that the spellings the orthography
37:53
there are a lot of what from the from the point of view of normative classical arabic pronunciation
37:58
and normative classical arabic spelling there are a lot of anomalous spellings
38:04
or rather odd or strange ways to write words uh that were uh in many ways not fully understood um
38:13
by having the pre-islamic inscriptions available we can now understand the development of those kinds of spellings
38:18
why for example manat is written with a wow why for example uh mia has an extra alif
38:26
there why and and so on there are so many more examples we can bring forth and i think the interview you gave
38:32
that you had with uh with dr van puten uh is uh you know we'll go into detail about that and
38:38
interested listeners can uh can tune in there but all of this material all of this all the
38:44
things that we now can understand um and that and in some ways are textbook uh
38:49
explanations um for example when it comes to chronic spellings we're all made possible by people going
38:54
out doing surveys in the deserts going out to collect this material
39:00
it was there it's been there for thousands for more than a thousand years in the arabic material thousands of years otherwise but it took people to go out
39:07
and actually care about that material and document it right and and put the effort into trying
39:12
to understand it decipher it and realizing this important this invaluable uh uh resource and its importance for
39:20
the um uh for later historical questions that we always we always took the answers we had for granted
39:25
um and in fact it's always a much more complicated uh situation thank you so much for that
39:31
professor and before we move on to these kind of rapid fire questions about the process i was wondering if you
39:37
would tell us a bit about your most important finds to date and maybe some of the adventures
39:43
that you have when you're kind of going about looking for inscriptions
39:48
uh it's uh epigraphy is uh so epigraphy is the scientific study of
39:56
uh inscribed of inscriptions described objects usually on raw on rocks um but especially in the
40:02
arabian context on rock now these texts are uh the the corpus that i'm interested in
40:08
the sophiatic and these texts are very very far away in the desert um they're not a you can't just stroll out
40:15
and uh and have a little tour but like i said they uh their importance they are our they
40:22
are our first port of call for the writing of the history of pre-islamic arabia they are the uh indigenous voices we can
40:28
say of the people who live there of the pre-islamic arabians and it's this material really that um
40:36
that we uh that will allow us to flesh out the history of this period and allow us to uh interpret later accounts so uh
40:44
the fact that it's so far away um and uh and so difficult to access is uh really
40:50
not not consequential and do anything to get to this material and so i started doing field work uh i
40:56
uh i collaborate with my colleague ali manassi in jordan uh who uh works with the
41:02
department of antiquities uh and uh all of all this field work is collaborative you never go out by
41:07
yourself and uh and uh a fantastic colleague he sorts out everything on the jordanian end he
41:13
means permits and and and knows the landscape like no one else the epigraphic landscape so uh
41:19
you know he can uh he he he is able to plan what to do with the very
41:25
short amount of time that we have um because you might be able to survey for about two weeks uh before you have more material than
41:31
you know what to do with and uh and before exhaustion uh completely takes over so surveying is
41:37
uh uh is a wonderful uh wonderful thing that's a it's a lifestyle in a way um so you keep doing it like after this
41:44
uh corona thing i found myself unable to go to the field but uh you know start reproducing sir
41:50
when i go to visit national parks i end up finding myself surveying there collecting 19th century american inscriptions it's just a becomes a
41:56
uh sort of an addiction it's a wonderful uh thing uh but the uh let's see so
42:03
so uh usually when we go into jordan uh we'll we will uh all meet up at the uh at a camp near at
42:09
the edge of the desert usually in in one of these towns or safari
42:14
and uh then we head out early in the morning uh four or five in the morning uh before it
42:20
gets too hot because of right out there while it might not seem that far we might just go uh ten miles or so into the other twenty
42:26
miles max the ride out there takes hours and hours sometimes four hours to reach where you
42:32
want to survey because the landscape is so difficult uh it is a basalt desert not a sand
42:39
desert so it's rock uh mixed oftentimes with flint um it's hilly and these rocks can often be
42:47
sharp so you'll lose tires and you can only drive a couple of miles an hour and you feel
42:52
every bump right so if you have motion sickness this is absolutely not something you can do and
42:58
you go out there very slow very difficult uh way uh and uh you you to to a site that you
43:05
might have chosen by looking at uh satellite imagery and and talking to locals now the people that you go out with you
43:11
have to cooperate with local uh with locals as well local bedouin because they're the only people who
43:16
actually know how to get around the desert um there's no cell phone connection when and you can't drive wherever you want so
43:22
you can't look at a map and say okay we are this far from the highway and driving a straight line there are only certain ways that you can go
43:28
uh your car can get stranded you can break down so it's very important to cooperate with
43:33
a local who understands how to navigate in the desert and once you get to and and then once
43:39
you get to your side you get out and you you have your your equipment you know gis uh your scales photograph uh
43:45
and and equipment to photograph and sometimes you might have some uh some very rudimentary uh uh
43:52
archaeological material equipment as well and uh you will uh yeah we'll walk around and uh
43:58
survey the in order to to capture everything because you can never know um what's out there at any given site
44:03
you have to kind of move meter by meter cover the landscape cover any different given site meter by meter
44:09
and make sure that you look at every single rock all right so it's the about the attention to detail is
44:14
incredibly important and every
44:20
every season promises a new discovery every season promises uh uh the addition of new information
44:26
to uh to science and and some season and and and the potential to completely
44:32
change our understanding of really big questions so i can tell you a few stories from
44:37
last season uh ones that are uh one that stand out to me now we were
44:43
we on i think around the fourth or fifth day we decided to survey a rather large
44:48
wadi now the wadi was uh you just couldn't drive down it the the the cars wouldn't go it
44:54
was the urban was too thick it was one that received a lot of water and so even in june there was still a lot of urban
45:00
bushes you couldn't drive so we we planned to walk about uh 10 miles down to zwadi
45:06
surveying everything on both sides and meet our trucks on the other side okay our
45:11
cars on the other side these are these nissan pickup trucks so
45:16
we do that we tell everyone you know i'm out there surveying with uh with some uh with some students and some
45:22
of these are uh you know young tough guys who uh think they need a lot less water than they actually do and they don't want to
45:28
carry it so i said come on we need to you know we have this our supplies a few guys uh didn't bring as much water
45:33
as they should have and uh and didn't wear as much clothing as they should because you know it's a
45:38
great place to work on your tan as you can imagine well that's fine uh and we start
45:44
surveying and we're going and my colleague ali malacia is up at one at the top of a a hill a cliff about
45:53
about 80 100 feet above the wadi beautiful uh beautiful place and he makes a signal come you know come
45:58
join me i found something we go up there we rush up there and we see two uh three cleared out areas in the basalt
46:07
and the minute you see cleared out areas like this this points towards uh human uh occupation human activity
46:13
right um and one of these circles had a perimeter of inscriptions which was interesting the middle one had nothing
46:19
and then the final cleared out circle uh that was overlooking the lady at the edge of the cliff
46:24
when you got close you could see that there were some sunken in stones and that there was a basically a stone circle that it was very clearly
46:31
a burial okay so we were dealing with this very interesting burial funerary installation nothing
46:38
like it had ever been discovered before and we started to look and read the inscriptions and indeed this was a
46:43
burial of a woman and there were about 80 inscriptions memorializing her
46:49
including one by her father and she's described simply by the title enrassin which in
46:55
later arabic means bride but i'm it's we we don't know what it means here it could something obviously it's a
47:00
title for a important woman in this context and they're grieving for her and this was this entire burial installation
47:08
uh was set up to memorialize her perhaps her body lay at the pit at the edge there may have been a morning circle and
47:13
the inscription sort of memorized whatever the case was nothing like it had ever been discovered we discovered a new burial installation
47:19
and the inscriptions were fascinating many new words many new grammatical features but also insight into a new
47:26
kind of burial custom a new kind of funerary custom that we just had no clue about incredibly exciting uh spent about five
47:34
hours documenting that um as much as we could uh we'll go back and uh and and and you know uh fill in any
47:41
holes we had before we prepare the publication but it is a huge discovery and you know the the excitement you feel
47:48
of being able to see something that nobody had seen before in in millennia more than a millennium to read texts
47:55
that nobody had read in more than a millennium and to bring that to the scholarly community is is uh
48:00
there's nothing compared to it and and one of the things the reason why this was so beautifully preserved is that it
48:05
seems that the modern bedouin weren't using this wadi very much the way we knew that as well
48:11
one is very difficult to access with your cars and two there were there were no cigarette packaging anywhere and cigarette
48:17
packaging is a good way to know whether there have been people around in recent times so so and it doesn't go
48:22
anywhere it's plastic so there was nothing like that so this was really uh we we've been the first people to come here
48:28
and who knows how many centuries and we continued down walking this wadi and
48:34
you know uh maybe by mile six or seven or something uh our
48:40
some of the students started to really feel it the water was uh running out uh sunburned
48:47
feeling really tired panicking and uh you know i was worried i think well maybe we have to carry these guys uh
48:53
they didn't they didn't bring enough water um but we had enough water to give them anyway it was fine we kind of compensated for that
48:59
but but they were really exhausted um one guy was just absolutely spent and despaired at the idea of walking another
49:06
three miles or so and uh you know while we're we we keep drugging along and and surveying
49:11
what we can documenting what we can and we found hundreds and hundreds of inscriptions in this wadi we see at the top of the hill
49:18
um to our left and we're walking um uh uh a little cafe huh an arm waving
49:25
and it is one of our bedroom driver and he says uh well he found a place to park that was
49:31
closer it was just in time and so we start we go off track and start uh walking towards him
49:36
and as we start going up that hill we see a um a path an ancient path
49:43
but people had been walking up this hill in this way before and so we start following that path
49:48
okay it takes us up the hill and once we get to the top we see where they park they park next to an a a a dry lake bed huge lake
49:55
bed that's dry and we continue down that path that path takes us to a small cairn and that cairn is filled
50:02
with inscriptions uh saphiri conscriptions but also greek and uh i start photographing but you
50:08
know my colleagues want to go back to the car of course we need to hurry so we're going to come back the next day but i started photographing and and
50:14
documenting what i could hear we go back to the cars we we rest up we have we have a great time we go back
50:19
and and you know it was a it was a fascinating day it was a wonderful day huge discoveries now um months later as
50:27
i'm home uh looking over and preparing the materials that we discovered for publication
50:33
i come to the photographs that i took at that site and that site that we discovered by
50:39
accident simply because we had become too exhausted and by the luck of our bedouin driver having um
50:45
found a uh a place to park we found uh those the inscriptions there provided
50:52
our first evidence for the use of the term arab as a term of
50:57
self-identification among the nomads in in the um in the area and you can
51:02
think of how important this is there are so many books now dedicated to to arab identity and reconstructions of
51:07
what that might have meant and and there's so anyone who reads these books realize there's so little evidence from the pre-islamic period
51:14
that helps us understand this and then here we are two new inscriptions that make it absolutely clear that the
51:20
general term that people living in this area that the nomads of this area used for themselves was out up absolutely
51:28
fascinating huge discovery and uh and you know every year has stories like this
51:33
um uh every year uh comes with uh surprises uh and sometimes we don't even know what we discovered so in
51:40
2018 so two years ago uh we were surveying and uh we we reached a
51:47
we were serving um a bit south where it was a bit sandy and we reached a cairn that was just you
51:52
know covered in sand and sand is no nobody likes sand uh because um
51:57
well because it gets everywhere and that's a joke for those on the internet um but uh the uh the the sand is
52:05
um uh tends to hit the uh uh the stones and the rocks and weather the inscriptions so it's very
52:11
difficult very difficult to uh read texts that have been subject to this weathering and in the south most inscriptions tend
52:18
to be a bit shorter the further south you go in the sophiatic uh area the texts tend to be a little bit shorter uh
52:24
less interesting mostly names and drawings uh and so you know we're surveying because you must collect everything but
52:30
we didn't have big hopes to discover great things here and you know we're surveyors we're not we're not
52:35
excavating so we're documenting archaeological sites but we're not excavating things necessarily and i'm
52:40
walking and we're on this site and i put my foot down on one of these like sandy patches
52:46
and you know usually your boot sinks a little bit and my boot didn't sink there was something hard
52:51
there i said what is this you know i go down i start digging up a little bit and i pull out this beautiful rock 30
52:58
centimeters by 20 centimeters so quite large filled with writing with a uh with some
53:04
uh magical figures on it as well a sun disc absolutely gorgeous rock i pull it out i
53:10
start reading it on the site i read uh immediately i see the word the
53:15
words which means in saphiric seven stars
53:20
which must be a reference to pleiades and in the context of the inscription it is
53:25
indeed a reference to the pleiades this person had uh uh was talking about the heliacal rising
53:31
of the pleiades and it's supposed to bring you know uh he wanted to pastor on herbage
53:36
uh that came after this period but the garbage was bad and so he suspected that is the evil the
53:43
the the evil eye he suspected the evil eye then he makes a prayer against
53:49
the evil eye against the the the uh this kind of envious eye fascinating text nothing like this had
53:55
been seen of course you're seeing how this is foreshadowing things that we get later um and
54:02
the text continued on was a bit strange it didn't bother reading it and i filed and then and then we left i was excited
54:07
you know i was very happy we left and i forgot about the text because there have been so many other things that
54:13
that we had discovered in the meantime and i was busy with publishing those that had forgotten about this text you see
54:18
and uh and then because of the corona uh stop a stoppage i was able to go back through
54:24
photographs and go back to materials that we collected a long time ago and i found i saw this text again and i
54:30
finished reading the inscription and the inscription ended with an invocation to uh zusharae
54:38
that is the uh the chief god of the nabataeans who is
54:44
called min the one from which is petra right and you know that
54:50
this is uh one of the interpretations uh very convincing one of the term in the quran that uh you have a nice
54:56
article by maisha dell on the subject so um so the the the uh
55:02
from petra and then it continues and to a lot who was from min now what is
55:11
we have no idea it could be a man of course which is not very far away it could be uh but but there's another
55:17
but it could be some other local sanctuary that has the same three-letter uh
55:23
root it could be um or a three-letter sequence it could be a skeleton it could be uh oman i mean roman is
55:28
really too far and there's no reason to think it's it's roman as such but rather maybe another place named that locally
55:34
in any case huge questions so this one again another beautiful inscription uh
55:40
so much new information so much to discover so much to learn um i i've sent it i sent it in for
55:48
a publication hopefully appear maybe the end of this year early next year uh so much to learn and and it was
55:54
discovered by stepping in in the right place very easy to survey the site because it was covered by sand
56:00
and just not to have stepped there and it would have been discovered maybe later when archaeologists came back to the site
56:05
but um but you know who knows when that's going to be right who knows it could be a century from now but when
56:12
we but it was just from stepping in the wrong in the right place that this big discovery could have been made
56:17
at this moment right absolutely riveting thank you so much for that

I think what's admirable -- besides the fact that you're kind of braving this harsh temperature, these long difficult commutes -- is the fact that you're able to resist this impulse to just say, "Okay, we see this word, and we know what this word means in this language, or in this usage, and we can just apply that to this." And I think it's admirable that you're able to resist that urge.


I'd like to move on to these rapid-fire questions, and I think they're important. So we're just going to start with the first one. What compelled people to write? Who was the intended audience? Was it other people; divine figures? And generally, what was literacy like?

[Dr. Ahmad Al-Jallad] Well uh that's a very good question. uh so this is the hot seat now yeah uh so i'll try to be very uh very very quick in it i think i think there's no one answer i think it the inscriptions tell us sometimes why people wrote uh some inscriptions are writing to kinsmen that they should that the writer should be remembered and hoping that the kids that that their kin would read their inscription and repeat their prayer they asked passerbys to uh read this writing you might have you have a few texts for example very clearly in sapphire that will say something like that all right very clear so may the one who reads this writing be secure uh so so you have that you have some inscriptions that are uh that are invocations to deities they begin ha and then the divine name this is an ancient god help me against misfortune or evil this year these types of invocations to the deities uh you have other texts that are marking um buildings uh who building uh uh uh text for example this this structure was built by so and so or or um uh marking uh territories you have some texts that mark you know they're funerary so they're gravestones and they're meant for to let people know who's buried here and that you could have a uh uh so people could of course uh make prayers for the deceased of some or or for the for the surviving members uh you have a very beautiful prayer in safari um uh uh that you get at infinerary inscriptions they asked for the peace uh for they they grieve for the peace for the sorry they grieve for the deceased so what and then following that wa islam but those who remain alive despair so it's the idea that the dead are at peace but the living suffer right so you have these uh these types of things may the ones who remain alive that is the family the kin of the uh of the deceased may they remain secure many many many texts of this sort so it's always about um uh i i i think uh what you have to do you have to answer that question based on the text itself and we're talking about sapphire but i think overall i think the basic idea of why people write is whether they realize it or not is to be remembered uh anyone who inscribes their name uh that name ultimately becomes a memorial it will survive under normal circumstances it will survive you.


and so uh when i was
59:23
in i was in mammoth cave uh kentucky a month ago or so and i'm
59:29
reading inscriptions of individuals who left their names there in the 1830s and the 1840s you know and
59:34
uh and and they'll probably be there for uh you know a thousand years if not more i mean it's
59:41
incredible and you have and with the date and no i don't know who these people are at all but they left their mark and they're
59:46
being remembered somehow you see so i think there's that impulse as well to uh to somehow survive
59:54
uh one one's demise to have one's memory survive their physical existence of course for an individual
1:00:01
that can be as small as writing your name on a rock that people pass by or if you have the resources you might build yourself a pyramid same
1:00:08
same motivation thank you for that professor how do we know an inscription is
1:00:13
actually going back to a particular date do we find inscriptions that were made
1:00:18
several centuries later in an attempt to imitate already present inscriptions and if so how do we distinguish the dates between
1:00:24
these two types of instruct inscriptions uh well in ideal circumstances you have
1:00:30
inscriptions that can be dated in absolute terms that means that the inscription the author decided to kindly enough leave us a date now they
1:00:37
tell us what year they wrote the inscription now when you do that we get an idea of what letter shapes look like in a
1:00:44
certain period and so you can develop something called a um you know we you can have a paleographic chronology where you can
1:00:51
say that letter shapes evolve in a certain way over time what that means is that uh or certain
1:00:57
spellings also develop in a over time in a certain rate so that can give you even if you don't have a date
1:01:03
you can have an understanding of uh of when a text was produced but sometimes we're just completely in
1:01:09
the dark so for example sapphiric inscriptions have dates but we don't understand most of those dates for
1:01:14
example you have a date like senate senate matt adram
1:01:20
who's adram why the year adram died well we don't know who adram is so we have no we have no idea exactly when this
1:01:27
inscription was written but we get a general sense that the safiri conscriptions probably are before the fourth century
1:01:32
uh ce so when we see a safety conscription we are probably dealing with the time period before that
1:01:38
probably again very vague there's no reason to think that they go beyond that date because of the uh
1:01:45
things that they mentioned the the the events that they mentioned are actually um uh they don't mention christianity or anything to do with the
1:01:51
events of the fourth century and afterwards so it seems like it's a reasonable it's a reasonable hypothesis
1:01:57
uh uh in other cases um so we have absolute dates we have
1:02:03
paleography letter shapes uh now the thing is is that people have memory so uh people when when writing an
1:02:10
inscription people might choose if we use the letter shape dating to archais they want to write an encryption that
1:02:16
looks old right um and that's not uh not necessarily uncommon so the paleographic dating is
1:02:22
not absolute you might have inscriptions that look old that were written much later and one of the best ways to kind of
1:02:29
discover this you can't always discover it but one of the best ways to discover this is um when you get idiosyncratic
1:02:35
spellings or anachronistic spellings right so uh for example um
1:02:42
you have uh uh these uh these letters that um the prophet muhammad sent to
1:02:48
various rulers uh telling them to convert to islam and
1:02:53
the letters themselves um the actual artifacts i think they their authenticity is well they're not
1:02:59
authentic and the reason why you can know that is although they try to use old looking letters they get they get a lot of the
1:03:05
shapes wrong or they get the logic of the writing wrong but also the spellings the way that they the spellings are completely anatomistic
1:03:11
they're using spellings that were much too modern for the period so there are a lot of these types of small things that um
1:03:17
people who want to give the effect of creating an ancient inscription um aren't going to pay attention to that
1:03:24
experts can can detect you see um and uh and as when it comes to forgeries i mean
1:03:30
i think in the in the arabian context i have not seen any convincing forgeries yet um uh
1:03:36
i i get forgeries all the time people send me forgeries uh usually uh they people will create forgeries to
1:03:42
sell them so i usually get sophiatic manuscripts or sophiaic
1:03:47
writing on perishable materials and it's all nonsense oftentimes i can see which academic
1:03:52
article which script chart they chose to use to make the to make the uh the fake inscription so so far it's
1:03:59
been uh it's it's not uh no there hasn't been any convincing uh forgeries in that way
1:04:04
uh but but for much of for much of what we're doing uh the the chronology isn't is is in the air we talk about pre-islamic
1:04:11
but sometimes we our margin of error is many centuries uh and that will get better as more texts
1:04:17
are discovered as our understanding of the development of these different scripts improves but at the current moment we deal with a lot of uncertainty when
1:04:24
it comes to the chronological dimension




thank you for that professor.


[Narrator] So the final question is, what methodology is
applied to determine the pronunciation of certain words in bilinear inscriptions? How important are these inscriptions, or
how important have they been for the study of Arabic and other ancient near eastern languages?

Well it ties into what you said earlier which is not to assume that whatever meaning a word might have
1:04:49
in a in a later arabic dictionary holds true in the earlier periods right it's the same thing with
1:04:55
pronunciation the way we pronounce arabic today is very different than the way
1:05:01
sibo actually pronounced described the pronunciation of arabic and even dealing with sibo way's
1:05:06
pronunciation so in the eighth century we can't assume that that held for the second century
1:05:11
so bilingual inscriptions are um our only way really to or one of the
1:05:18
primary ways i should say to understand how a language was pronounced in pre-modern in
1:05:24
in uh before there was a uh any kind of oral tradition or
1:05:30
description before there was a formal description of the language not the oral tradition that that can be variable as well so for example
1:05:36
sapphiric um saffidec has a uh a glyph it's a hashtag okay this hashtag
1:05:43
glyph corresponds etymologically corresponds to the lawd in arabic right so the uh
1:05:51
the salt with the dot on it the dotted d now in modern times when you go and take arabic 101
1:05:58
they teach you that this is an emphatic dal right this is a very late uh
1:06:05
pronunciation um this is not reflected in in sibo a sibo way for example says that this is a
1:06:11
lateral uh emphatic lateral fricative uh so what does that mean he he says to put
1:06:17
your tongue between your uh uh between your molars for example and uh
1:06:23
and you know release with emphasis huh wad wads what's an l type of sound okay
1:06:31
fine uh now is that the sound that we would get in safari can we assume that for
1:06:36
southern well we would no idea by just the hashtag the hashtag has no phonetic information
1:06:42
we could assume so but when sophietic writers decide to write their names in
1:06:47
greek someone who a very common name is right coming from the name yeah what in
1:06:55
classical arabic this is a very common name in and when they do write it
1:07:01
they decide that the letter in the greek alphabet that's closest to their lord is a scene
1:07:06
as a s a sigma so they must have been pronouncing this lawd in a completely different way than
1:07:14
anything we have later and we see it again there's a big tribal group called life right related to life and and
1:07:19
classical arabic and they rewrite it with a sigma so using the greek evidence and then
1:07:24
understanding this the history of this phoneme by looking at other semitic languages we can make a hypothesis that
1:07:30
saphiric probably pronounced this letter as the voiceless version of
1:07:36
seaboy's blood something like flawed flood flood right so you can see why maybe
1:07:42
that could be something pronounced as an s uh written with an s maybe s is the best approximate of it
1:07:47
but what is clear is that without these bilingual inscriptions we would just simply have no idea how to pronounce most of these
1:07:53
things and because sophiatic writers for example were in contact and were were writing greek
1:08:01
um they knew that there seems to be a number of them who knew the greek language or at least the greek alphabet and they produced greek texts and this
1:08:08
is and we see the kind of multilingualism found here is is actually quite widespread throughout arabia
1:08:13
we can vocalize safiyadik with some accuracy with some confidence we look at south arabian ancient south
1:08:20
arabian sebayek nasibek is a much bigger corpus in southeast in terms of its in terms of its attestation
1:08:25
linguistic richness you have monumental inscriptions very long sentences all kinds of stuff
1:08:31
but the sabayans didn't use greek ever not and so we have no
1:08:36
bilingual greek subject texts and for that reason we absolutely have no idea how sebek was pronounced we can make
1:08:43
only educated guesses but we have that we don't have that rosetta stone type thing for pronunciation now
1:08:50
the same is true for any stage of the language when we look at arabic in the 7th century now the 7th century arabic as as spoken
1:08:57
in for example egypt that's not something that the arab grammarians described we can't assume
1:09:02
that what the arab grammarians described holds for there either right so that basic methodology needs to be applied
1:09:08
to any um any period or form of the language that doesn't have an
1:09:13
a a clear description associated with it you see whether whether middle rather from
1:09:18
medieval times or or or or in the ancient past thank you so much for that professor and and thank
1:09:24
you for this incredibly informative and rich discussion i really enjoyed it and i
1:09:30
really learned a lot uh before we conclude the episode i wanted to ask if you had any projects
1:09:35
that you're currently working on or anything that you recently completed and if you didn't mind just telling us about some of these projects around the
1:09:40
pipeline well thank you yes it's um uh it was a
1:09:45
real pleasure for me to talk with you uh about these subjects as well uh so you can you can put a link to my
1:09:52
academia.edu page on the uh on the episode because i put most of my draft articles
1:09:58
uh on academia for that can be downloaded and read for free or discussed and so people can see what's coming out uh
1:10:04
quickly um also i i have a uh one thing that's not under there is that i finished the um uh well i attempted to
1:10:12
decide from it at least we'll see how well it holds up but i think it's quite good uh well the reviewers uh uh recommended
1:10:19
that it be published um uh so it will appear i think it and it will appear in b solas uh the decipherment of the samudic
1:10:27
a variety of the famous ancient arabian alphabet that was previously not fully understood only partial deciphered
1:10:34
called famous d and these texts are found from us from around medina all the way up to
1:10:40
through hail and central arabia up to taima a really weird exotic corpus
1:10:46
and so i've completed its decipherment unfortunately most of the inscriptions are amount to
1:10:52
bathroom graffiti sexual boasting and such things but there was at least there was one text that was an
1:10:58
incantation and so that's that's a tremendous use i think an interest i think to people and uh so that's uh
1:11:04
uh that that will appear i guess sometime next year and one other project that i'm i'm doing i i think i'm going
1:11:09
to share this uh and put anyone on twitter will realize that there are hundreds and hundreds of new
1:11:14
inscriptions that get posted by amateurs in in arabia going around taking photographs and posting them online
1:11:20
and they're they're hard to keep track of and so i i have a personal database of all that material um with who
1:11:26
discovered it when it was found where it comes from translation commentary any kind of relevant bibliography
1:11:31
and i i use it for for my own work of course these things are not published but it's good for me to keep track of and i think i'm going to
1:11:38
try to work to make this database public so that anyone can use it as well because there's all this materials online but it's impossible to find and
1:11:44
once you do find it's impossible to make any sense of it in a systematic way so i think it'll be a good resource for uh
1:11:50
uh for both our colleagues and lay people alike so look forward to that understood that's that's you know that's
1:11:56
uh uh crowdsourcing itself yeah absolutely absolutely these guys are putting this material out
1:12:02
and i think i can kind of collate it and comment on it and and and make it useful to the scholarly and
1:12:07
lay public uh and with that i'd like to thank you again and conclude that thank you professor for being on thank
1:12:15
you my pleasure
1:12:25
[Music] you
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34843
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Mon Oct 24, 2022 10:15 am

Part 1 of 2

Arabs, Arabias, and Epigraphy - Real Talk with Mr. Michael C.A. Macdonald (Full Interview)
by Sebastian Seals
Mar 20, 2022

Mr. Michael C.A. Macdonald is one of the great names of Arabian Studies. He pioneered the field of Ancient North Arabian and made invaluable contributions to the history of Arabia and the nomads of the Near East as well as their languages, and scripts. He is also a research associate of the Khalili Research Centre, honorary fellow of Wolfson College, University of Oxford, fellow of the British Academy and is a Trustee of the International Association for the Study of Arabia.



Transcript

0:00
[Music]
0:09
he is one of the great names of arabian studies he pioneered the field of ancient north arabian and made
0:15
invaluable contributions to the history of arabia and the nomads of the near east as well as their languages and
0:21
scripts he is also a research associate of the kalili research center honorary
0:26
fellow of wolfson college university of oxford fellow of the british academy and is a trustee of the international
0:33
association for the study of arabia it is truly a pleasure to have with me today on real talk with taran poole the
0:39
great epigraphist and linguist mr michael c mcdonald how are you doing today sir and thank you for joining me
0:46
for what i believe is going to be a really exciting discussion well thank you very much you're far too
0:51
kind in your introduction but uh i'm fine and looking forward to talking
0:57
to you yes thank you all right and yes over the last couple of years i've been indulging myself in
1:04
your works um just your research on the history of the arabs before the coming of islam is truly
1:10
fascinating and i believe it's starting to grant gain a wide a wide variety of
1:16
popularity at the moment and i hope it continues to go in that direction because this is really fascinating work
1:22
um but a considerable amount of people have not the slightest idea as i did not
1:27
several years ago to what the field of epigraphy is all about so for those watching who may still be clueless
1:33
concerning your profession michael can you please tell us what it is you do as an epigraphist
1:40
yes indeed uh sort of technically uh epigraphy is the
1:47
study of ancient inscriptions um so writing on stone occur
1:54
and but it can be extended now so for instance uh modern uh epigraphists can
2:01
study spray-painted graffiti uh on walls um and but it's basically
2:08
reading what people have uh have written um on permanent surfaces
2:15
rather than in manuscripts and and and and books um and uh so
2:22
inscriptions you could define perhaps as statements public statements and so you
2:29
have a a public inscription a formal inscription by uh the local authorities
2:36
saying uh uh you know keep out danger uh things like that or you can
2:43
have graffiti which is a personal statement by an individual uh but put in a public place um
2:51
and um so it's different for instance if you write uh
2:56
uh i hate putin perhaps i shouldn't say that uh uh it's relevant for today
3:02
is relevant in today's uh geopolitics that uh you know you could write it in
3:08
your diary and that would be a private expression of your feelings but if you write it on a wall then that's a public
3:14
expression of your feelings so that's basically what typography is about
3:20
okay and what sparked your interest in studying inscriptions or what got you into epigraphy
3:26
well i i've always been interested in languages which is rather perverse because i uh i'm actually
3:33
very good at forgetting them and not not so good at learning them but i
3:39
have studied i always been very interested in history and as my
3:47
life went on through childhood and adolescence i became interested in earlier and
3:52
earlier periods of history and then
3:58
by pure chance i met on a dig uh in 1970 uh uh in jordan uh a man who
4:06
was the world expert on the sort of inscriptions that i work on now and so
4:12
uh he filled me with enthusiasm uh and i went
4:18
to uh back to oxford and uh uh studied arabic and aramaic and syriac
4:25
and uh then went out as a volunteer to to work with him on these inscriptions
4:30
um and uh so and the rest is history as they say i
4:36
mean i where just continued um i don't think he wanted a volunteer by
4:42
the way i think but he was very kind to me and let me work with him
4:47
was that a part of your um was that a part of maybe an elective while you were in uni or was that a part of the degree
4:55
you were working towards going on excavations no it was uh i did one degree which was
5:01
uh english language and literature in which i studied the philology uh the the the language the development of the
5:08
english language um and then
5:13
in the holidays after that i'd finished that degree i went on this excavation in jordan and um
5:20
they it was in those days they would allow you to go and they would teach you what
5:26
to do um uh you didn't have to be qualified uh they the workmen actually taught you how
5:33
to how to dig properly which was because they were very experienced they were the leader
5:38
so if i got this straight you started basically from nothing uh
5:43
zero understanding of what epigraphy was about and the person who taught you filled you with all of this knowledge
5:50
and that's where you got inspired to continue in that direction yes absolutely yes yes i mean i knew
5:58
literally what epigraphy meant of course uh uh and uh had looked at anglo-saxon
6:03
inscriptions and so on when i was studying english and so on but generally
6:08
i had no idea about these ancient nomads who were writing graffiti and on the rocks of the
6:14
desert and and things like that or the ancient history of arabia although i was fascinated by the middle east and by
6:20
particularly by the arab countries and that was my next question why the
6:26
near east namely syria jordan and arabia as your area of research
6:32
uh well this is rather embarrassing um uh between school and university in
6:38
what's now known as the gap year uh i um decided to go to the middle east um
6:45
for the very bad reason that it was the only part of the world that my much traveled family hadn't been to
6:53
so you know i was an adolescent uh and um so i did a crash course in arabic uh
6:59
for two months before i went uh and i spent five months wandering around with
7:05
the rucksack um and um and 50 pounds which was all one was
7:10
allowed to take out of the country at that time in england and um
7:16
people were so kind to me and so hospitable and uh it was just such a fascinating
7:23
area that uh i came back and although i was supposed to be studying
7:28
uh english language and literature at the university uh i spent a lot of my time reading up about
7:36
islam and arabs and and and uh pre-islamic history and and so on much
7:42
more than i i should have done really because i i should have been studying uh for the english but uh anyway
7:49
so i had that background and that's really what drew me back to the middle east and uh
7:55
um and i had to say that the kindness of people there was quite extraordinary um
8:02
even when they were suffering you know they would still make a cup of tea for a stranger
8:09
amazing awesome and as someone who's been in the field for over 40 years have you noticed an
8:15
increase in interest shown to your area of research compared to when you first started like i can imagine
8:21
telling someone in a table side conversation i'm an epigraphist that
8:26
there is a level of mystery to that like uh again like i mentioned several years ago
8:32
if you had said you were in a pygmafist i would have never known what that was but it seems like today the popularity
8:38
of epigraphy concerning uh the middle east has grown so much that it's almost
8:43
at least in the circles i communicate with people in it's almost just like common knowledge to know what epigraphy
8:49
is um hopefully i didn't say too much and lost the question in the process you know absolutely no i i still find uh in
8:57
england uh even you know talking to educated people uh you say a piggrafist
9:03
and they pick on the one syllable that they recognize which is pig and they think you're a farmer um
9:09
so i have to explain that i'm not a farmer but um the it's but people yes understand a bit
9:16
more about inscriptions now um in the actual countries in the middle
9:21
east people understand much more than here in the west um because it's their
9:27
heritage after all and so for instance in saudi arabia there are large numbers of uh young and
9:36
uh people of all ages who go out at weekends and try to find inscriptions and
9:43
photograph them and then put them on facebook or twitter and so on and a lot
9:49
of these inscriptions are previously unknown so it's it's a very uh
9:54
important way of discovering where these inscriptions are um but
10:01
so yes people i find that people are actually interested in the
10:07
uh particular sort of inscriptions that i i work a lot on which are these
10:12
graffiti by ancient nomads um because they
10:19
they are as far as i know unique in that they
10:25
the a particular kind of uh graffiti written by ancient nomads
10:30
which is in the deserts from southern syria through northeastern
10:36
jordan into saudi arabia northern saudi arabia they actually say quite a lot
10:42
and they are very revealing about the feelings of the people um who wrote them
10:49
and so they didn't just write their name and uh say gilroy was here they actually
10:56
wrote their names and their genealogy often but then said they're cold and hungry uh or they're
11:03
lost or they they the wild animal has come and taken the
11:09
sheep or their dog and they because we have tens of thousands of
11:15
them of these graffiti we get a picture of the individuals and their society um
11:22
which we don't have for any other group uh in the ancient middle east um because
11:29
in the settled areas people would write on soft materials like papyrus and so on which have all disappeared outside you
11:36
know anywhere outside egypt and if they wrote graffiti on the walls um
11:43
most of the walls have come down of course you know in their room uh so
11:48
it's extraordinary i mean that we have this it's like uh tens of thousands of
11:54
uh pages from diaries different diaries scattered all over the desert and i actually like what you said uh tweets
12:01
from the desert yes i believe that definitely encapsulates what they are given the context and and what they
12:07
convey uh you also mentioned something that i found very interesting uh and it kind of flies in the face of uh muslim
12:14
tradition concerning pre-islamic arabia is that in the arabian peninsula in the ancient world
12:20
uh writing was more prevalent there than anywhere in the near east yes yes absolutely and
12:27
we we don't know uh particularly why but uh
12:32
it's uh arabia had its own form of the alphabet
12:39
so when the alphabet was invented in the second millennium uh
12:44
bc the um it split very quickly
12:50
we're actually we're going to get to that just so we don't jump ahead a bit and and that's actually a part that i'm very much interested in and i've spent
12:57
quite a bit of time looking at some of your charts you had from other um
13:02
other uh lectures that you gave but i'm actually still a little bit interested in how the field of epigraphy concerning
13:09
um the arabian peninsula and its environs developed um i mean
13:14
thanks to epigraphy as well as archaeology and philology outstanding contributions have been made to our
13:20
understanding of arabia in antiquity one contribution and the one i find to be the most fascinating is how they have
13:27
discovered a diversity of scripts and languages which existed in arabia from its most ancient recorded history until
13:34
right before the advent of islam in the 7th century so just to take it back a bit
13:40
when did euro american academics begin to discover these inscriptions that were
13:45
obviously in strange scripts and how did they perceive thereafter before being
13:51
deciphered i can imagine that between the discovery of these inscriptions and deciphering them there was a level of
13:58
mystery like what are these things and um i can only imagine the theories that came out of that until we actually knew
14:04
what they were saying yes well the uh the
14:11
south arabian inscriptions from what is now yemen and the far in southern oman
14:17
um were first discovered uh in i think well in the 1840s by
14:25
an english captain of an english ship who went
14:30
ashore and copied an inscription that he saw there and he didn't know what it was
14:36
but he thought it was interesting and so he published it in his uh
14:42
book that he wrote about his his voyages around the arabian peninsula
14:49
and this caused a lot of interest and it took only a few
14:56
about 15 years before the script was deciphered because fortunately
15:03
one relative of this script still survives which is the vocalized alphabet
15:09
of uh used in ethiopia for the ghettos and the amharic uh and other languages
15:15
there and so the south arabian script was uh sufficiently
15:22
uh similar to the guests one uh to the the ethiopian run uh that they could
15:27
quite quickly work out but they then had to work out what the language was which was quite different from arabic and
15:34
quite different from ethiopian and so that took much longer in the north uh the earliest
15:41
inscriptions were discovered in 1858 by a scotsman uh
15:48
called cyril graham uh in southern syria uh
15:54
he discovered them near a great uh
15:59
outcrop of of uh lava called the safar and so they were called the sapayatic
16:06
inscriptions after that ironically no psychiatric inscriptions have been found
16:11
in the safar uh it was only on the job but anyway and gradually then more
16:18
explorers french and german explorers went into uh
16:24
arabia uh in the uh towards the end of the 19th century uh an english explorer
16:29
called doughty charles doughty who wrote a a very famous book called arabia deserter of
16:36
his travels there also copied inscriptions there and
16:41
they so gradually these inscriptions became known but they weren't
16:46
deciphered uh until the beginning of the 20th century
16:51
um and actually there are still some versions of the scripts which haven't been properly deciphered and uh
16:59
really uh so work is being done on them now so what was
17:05
divided in the north of arabia they were divided into the
17:11
inscriptions uh which were only graffiti written by uh by nomads
17:17
and the inscriptions in the oasis of tama and dadaan which is modern
17:23
in northwest arabia and the
17:28
and then a whole lot which were put into a uh a pending file called uh which they
17:35
called samudic which has nothing to do with the ancient tribe of samud
17:41
and i was a little disappointed about that but we will get to another topic later where tamu definitely makes a
17:47
presence where the presence felt so but within the samut uh
17:54
class there are possibly more than a dozen different scripts
17:59
and the more people are are recording them photographically um the more we realize how many differences
18:06
there are uh because originally most of the themedic inscriptions were only known from hand copies by people who
18:14
couldn't read the inscriptions of course and so they didn't know sometimes how to distinguish between a
18:20
crack in the rock or a a line that had been carved um
18:25
so basically we have uh two
18:30
uh groups of urban um uh inscriptions tama and and
18:39
and the rest are all nomads who for some reason learn to read and
18:44
write um and we've no idea really why they learn to
18:50
read and write because it's it's not at all useful for nomads in their life because
18:56
they all they have to write on are rocks and so you you obviously you can't send a letter uh written on a rock
19:04
um or record your uh that you've sold your camel to somebody
19:09
on on a rock and so they
19:14
remained non-literate uh oral society so they
19:19
everything they stored everything in their memories rather than writing it down and they communicated by word of
19:25
mouth rather than sending letters but the one thing they really needed was
19:31
something to stave off boredom when they were looking after the camels and the sheep and the goats
19:37
pasturing because they would spend all day out with the animals with nothing to do and so
19:43
they picked up this the the scripts and of course when you are in an oral society you
19:49
develop a very good memory because you've got to remember everything um and
19:55
so they learn very quickly um and so they started carving their names and
20:01
then there was still quite a lot of time that day so they carved you know what they were thinking or what they'd rather
20:06
be doing or uh rude remarks about each other i mean very scary seems like a more of a pastime that they learned how
20:14
to write and utilize writing absolutely it was a pastime and
20:19
occasionally they would use it for um something serious like writing uh
20:25
uh a memorial for somebody who died so when somebody who was much loved died
20:32
they would build a huge cannon over him a pile of stones over him or her um and
20:39
they would uh each person would bring a stone carve their name and that the fact
20:45
that they were mourning for this person or they were helping build the can and then put it on the can so you get these
20:52
great piles of stones sometimes with hundreds of these inscriptions on them
20:58
all mourning the particular person who's in the or under it
21:03
and you know you mentioned some inscriptions uh and i would like to get to them uh from what i gathered by
21:09
reading your cv or your background uh researching your background uh is that
21:14
in the field of epigraphy as it pertains to syria jordan and arabia your main area of interest seems to focus on
21:20
ancient north arabian scripts and languages uh one thing i noticed about ancient north arabian is that it has
21:27
more categories of scripts than its sister script south arabian um can you elucidate the categories of
21:34
ancient north arabian scripts in my opinion they're not as straightforward as what you find with
21:39
ancient south arabian where you have the moosenid and zabor as you mentioned with
21:44
north arabian scripts you have taemin you have the oasis uh scripts you also
21:49
have the um scripts from the nomad and i think there might be some other that i'm that i'm
21:54
missing in there um it's basically a division between oasis
22:00
and nomads um uh i should just say about uh ancient south arabian
22:07
that although there were four different kingdoms and four uh different languages
22:13
in ancient saudi arabia they all used the same script um
22:19
and so you had the monumental scriptures you say the muslim and the uh
22:26
the the script called zaboor used for carving uh with a sharp knife on
22:32
uh the stems of palm palm leaves or or on sticks
22:38
they again they they don't seem to have used uh papyrus and ink
22:43
uh and so but gradually the zaboor the the muslin uh
22:49
letters uh are become more and more cursive in their their their
22:55
their forms in uh in the zaboor um so it's not a separate script it's just
23:01
a development from the was not yours in the north you have uh
23:08
what is uh very interesting in tamra uh
23:14
uh tama it was one of the most important oasis in pre-islamic arabia
23:20
because uh it was its position it was an extremely rich oasis from the
23:26
point of view of water it it by it's where several uh different watercourses
23:33
all join there so the water even now when vast amounts of water were taken out every day the the water level is
23:40
still quite high there um so that was good but also it was in a
23:46
position where if you were coming from the south up to the north um
23:51
the uh and that's how the trade routes came because in the south they produced
23:57
frankincense and myrrh and um they also imported in the south from india and the
24:04
south east asia a lot of aromatics of of perfumes and spices and things so they
24:10
would bring them up um the west side of the peninsula and then obtainer they
24:16
could split either they could go north east to mesopotamia to to what is now iraq um or they could go
24:24
northwest towards uh the mediterranean because of course the greeks and romans
24:30
were very keen on on these products and egypt um and
24:35
so it was the best best position where you could choose which way to go
24:42
um they and there camera was particularly interesting because it had its own
24:48
script its language has now recently been discovered is not related to arabic but is related
24:55
much more to uh hebrew and aramaic so up in the north um
25:01
and uh it but from the uh the middle of the sixth century bc so
25:08
about five 550 bc the
25:14
uh the last king of babylon conquered all the north arabian oasis and he set
25:21
up uh his home in tener and it's amazing when you think of all the magnificence
25:26
of babylon he came to this this oasis and he stayed there for 10 years
25:32
um obviously and we still don't know why he decided to move from babylon to tama there are lots of lots of theories but
25:38
nothing that you can prove unfortunately um anyway he came there and he brought with
25:45
him aramaic as the the language of his administration because by that time they
25:51
were using uh cuneiform and and acadia the the traditional writing only for official
25:58
royal inscriptions and uh uh religious inscriptions for day-to-day
26:06
uh activities they would use aramaic and so aramaic came into the uh
26:11
into a tama um as and gradually it pushed out the original tamanitic script
26:18
um and things more and more got written in in uh in aramaic
26:25
um did you do the same thing with the danic um what is interest that's very interesting
26:31
what happened in the dharma we get very few aramaic inscriptions
26:37
until the nabataeans come we can talk about the navitians later that um the
26:44
it so dadan kept its uh its own script and its own
26:49
um language and which is also not arabic it seems to be related to arabic
26:56
but it's actually different from it so it's a cousin of arabic should i say um
27:01
and there it seems to be almost certain that they
27:06
actually did write with pen and ink as well we haven't found any uh any
27:11
examples unfortunately but what you can see is the development of the letters
27:16
letter forms in the in the inscriptions um are
27:22
becoming cursed more and more sort of as if they were written in in ink
27:28
and the the people who were carving them either the stone masons or ordinary
27:33
people who are just scratching on the rock they seem to have not minded using a
27:39
monumental form of a letter right next to its cursive form as well so you get
27:46
these very strange mixture of of of letter forms the same letter with
27:51
different forms yes in the same inscription um and that to me shows that they must have been
27:57
writing an ink um because you you on on stone there is no
28:03
reason to change the the letter forms whereas if you're writing init you you
28:08
want to be quicker or easier and so on and say the the letter forms develop
28:14
um and in so in dadaan we have
28:19
a lot of official inscriptions a lot of religious inscriptions
28:25
but also a lot of graffiti which suggests that the ordinary people in the uh in the oasis could also read and
28:32
write uh and they just went around but they the graffiti is is much more
28:38
uh they're much shorter than the the nomads obviously i suppose you know they
28:44
didn't have as much time to to kill you know you know i wonder how long
28:49
maybe you might not be able to tell me this but how long do you think it took to inscribe
28:55
uh you know um carve into these rocks i i can and what kind of tools did they use i can like i can imagine why you
29:02
couldn't do cursive in um in a rock because it's hard to drag across a rock but you know i wonder did they use uh
29:09
chisel and it's interesting you you can say i mean you can do cursive on iraq okay that's
29:16
how how it is so for instance the nabataean script uh
29:22
which uh the nabataeans were an arab tribe that settled in southern
29:27
jordan and petra peop many people may have heard of petra uh but it became their capital um but they spoke arabic
29:35
but they wrote in aramaic because at that time arabic was a uh wasn't a
29:41
written language um and so they they uh but
29:46
their form of the aramaic aramaic script developed on in writing on uh on with inc
29:54
and um so a lot of the letters are joined up um and
29:59
that then is is put into the inscriptions the the the letters are still joined up in in in the
30:06
inscriptions um but to go back for a moment to uh
30:11
uh yes what they they used in
30:17
the battle desert in the in the area i mentioned where the psychiatric inscriptions are which is southern syria
30:24
northeastern jordan northern saudi arabia this is a desert
30:30
which is basically limestone but on top of it there are have been huge
30:37
lava flows from volcanoes um along the um
30:43
so in southern syria and northeast and jordan you have a line of volcanoes and
30:49
millions of years ago they poured vast quantities of lava about 100 kilometers
30:56
um and gradually these sheets of lava broke up into uh billions of stones and and boulders and
31:03
and so on which are lying on top of the the uh the limestone
31:09
bases now limestone is where you find a lot of flint
31:14
and so what they seem to have done is to have used the flint as a uh uh to write to to carve on this
31:22
battle um and they're carved in different ways sometimes they they would would in size like that you get a very
31:29
thin line sometimes they they would just go boom boom boom like that which is very messy
31:36
when you're trying to write letters and sometimes they would take one and a stone and another and hit it like that
31:42
as a chisel and so you can tell these different techniques uh
31:48
uh and so the chiseling often was very very beautifully done um but you can see the the bumps in in
31:56
in the line when you look very closely with each each blow
32:02
further south in the dhan and tama you it's sandstone
32:08
so that's relatively easy to carve and again they probably would have carved with uh
32:14
with flints or with with some sort of sharp object but possibly not with knives because the you
32:22
don't want to blunt your knife uh and then have to sharpen it again you need your knife to protect yourself
32:28
and uh and so on and so but
32:34
basically they're there they carved but it's much easier as i say to
32:39
carve on sandstone um and so anyway
32:44
i i do have a question about ancient north arabian i'm not sure are the art
32:49
did this okay so we have the different scripts the danick uh
32:58
and the inscriptions of the nomads are these different dialects of the same language
33:04
are they distinct languages from each other they're distinct languages but
33:10
north arabian ancient north american actually refers to the script
33:16
rather than the languages so
33:21
it's you had the all these scripts are related to each other and they're related to
33:26
south ancient south arabian um but the languages are are different so
33:31
terminitic as i said was closer to aramaic than to aramaic
33:36
arabic data nitic was like a cousin of arabic uh not arabic but not
33:43
so far away um and uh the
33:48
sophiatic uh and the um nomadic uh scripts uh
33:56
use a recorder language which does seem to be arabic it's the earliest
34:03
arabic we had and ironically well the people like the nabataeans thought you couldn't write
34:10
arabic you had to use aramaic or something like that these nomads were writing just as they spoke so there was
34:17
writing arabic so we actually the earliest written arabic is by these nomads of uh southern syria jordan and
34:24
and and uh northern saudi arabia um but the people like the nabataeans who were
34:31
settled and thought rather highly of themselves um obviously weren't gay to take over a
34:37
script by by mere nobody and so they went from writing aramaic
34:42
which had a lot of prestige about it in the aramaic as well and i also would like to uh mention that
34:49
you have a website where all these north arabian inscriptions are catalogued for
34:55
people who are interested in doing some research on their own um it is called
35:00
oceana online corpus of inscriptions of ancient north arabia i will put a link
35:07
in the description um but i would like to know what is the background behind you developing that website and what was
35:12
your intent for creating it i mean i know the catalog your fines but uh you know just in case there was anything
35:18
else behind it yeah well i i started off in 1994
35:24
in fact uh because i decided that there were so many uh of these ancient north arabian
35:29
inscriptions uh i mean there were about 20 000 of those days which is very small compared to what it
35:36
is now but that it would would be sensible to to to make a database for them and a colleague of mine
35:44
um called dr leila neymay who had just finished her doctorate then came and she
35:52
she's now the world expert on on navitian by the way but she came and she set up a database
35:58
for me uh they actually created the the the database and then i put in all
36:04
the the the the inscriptions happy hitter conscriptions um
36:09
then in 2013 uh the khalili research center where i i
36:16
was uh the research associate of um i i suggested to them that we should ask
36:24
for grant to expand it for all the ancient north arabian inscriptions
36:29
and so we were given a a grant by the uh arts and humanities research council in
36:36
in britain and we were able to employ uh people who are
36:43
experts in these inscriptions there aren't very many so we almost employed the whole lot
36:50
and they for three and a half years entered all these inscriptions in um
36:56
so we now have something like 45 000 something like that i can't remember double since 1994. well yes yes more in
37:04
fact yes yes yeah so that is very good and we had a the whole
37:11
uh structure had to be completely changed of course to because you the the different descriptions uh types
37:18
of inscriptions need different things and you have to be have a structure where you can search
37:24
for through all these different types of inscriptions um and that was done by by
37:29
daniel bert at the uh research center who's the the the great i.t expert there
37:36
um and this goes on now the the project finished in 2017 but we still are
37:42
entering inscriptions as they come new new inscriptions and uh also trying to change
37:49
um sometimes correct uh things because uh further study of
37:55
particular inscriptions has shown that they actually should be read in a different way and so we are trying to
38:00
put in the latest research into this and that's one thing i've noticed on the website is that you have
38:06
a history of how certain inscriptions have been translated from when it was first deciphered to a more modern
38:13
translation uh based on the new research i'm guessing that you've discovered yes that's right yes and uh
38:21
that and so then uh last year uh you know two years ago i set up a charity called the
38:29
foundation for the study uh of ancient arabian languages and cultures
38:35
which i hope we we will get sufficient funds
38:40
to continue employing people to go on entering uh
38:46
stu inscriptions into into oceana um and also
38:52
i'm so sorry i got a quote um the uh also
38:57
to start bringing things out so you could have a um concordance of all the genealogies uh
39:06
because some of these genealogies go up to 20 generations uh the the the the nomad would write
39:13
so he was so-and-so son of so-and-so son of cena's um that's if he couldn't think of
39:19
anything else to write and but it does mean that we have the social structure then through the
39:26
genealogies and to make dictionaries and grammars and so on uh but also
39:32
to get with to draw out the historical content of these inscriptions
39:37
but and for that we need really to have a quite a lot of money to be employed people who are
39:43
going to be able to work on it full-time at the moment it's just a few people
39:48
like me and ahmed uh and others who are trying to keep up but
39:55
the number of inscriptions being found is so great that we're always behind
40:00
yeah in a way it seems like that's a good sign but yeah the keeping up part is is i i believe is a necessary thing i
40:07
see a lot of like as you mentioned people from the gulf posting on twitter facebook inscriptions that they find and
40:13
i can only imagine uh how to keep up with that level of uh production from
40:18
people posting pictures um and i do actually want to get into arabs and arabia's before late antiquity
40:26
that's just like kind of a spin-off from your um the article you wrote called arabs arabias and arabic before late
40:33
antiquity but we'll get to the arabic part later i actually found out about that article of yours from your friend
40:40
ahmed al-jalad it was the first paper of yours that i ever read and the two topics you focus on in that
40:47
paper have been of great interest to a wide variety of people lately and they are arab identity in the arabic language
40:54
before the advent of islam i already interviewed peter webb concerning his book imagining the arabs
41:00
arab identity and the rise of islam and it's probably his work on the subject i'm more familiar with uh so please
41:06
excuse me um with my next line of questioning i'm just going to press you a little bit with some of the arguments
41:13
found in his book that i just mentioned okay uh well first have you read are you
41:19
familiar with this word yes and uh do you have any thoughts on it um you know just any type of
41:26
scholarly critique um i mean how did you receive it
41:32
i uh i find i should perhaps have begun at the end rather than at the beginning
41:38
because i find myself much more sympathetic to the arguments he he gives in the the say
41:45
the second half of the book than in the in the first half where i think uh
41:51
in his effort to show that there was no arab identity
41:56
uh before islam just until just before islam
42:02
he actually made some mistakes in in his treatment of the acadian um
42:09
uh evidence for instance and there was to me it it was all special pleading and
42:16
as well as actual mistakes and so on so uh i wasn't very sympathetic with that
42:22
um but uh you know i can see his his point and i agree with with somebody
42:28
i myself said in in some articles this idea of
42:35
bringing people together of an arab nation all distinguished by their
42:41
presence in the great genealogy that was was concocted after uh after the the rise of
42:49
islam um and so uh i think so you know i i'm a in two minds
42:57
shall we say depending on whether we're talking about the first half of the second half
43:02
and yeah the first i mean i guess from untrained eyes the first half of his book seemed very convincing to me uh it
43:08
seemed like he was uh trying to resuscitate um a debate between noldikka and d.h mueller where mueller had was
43:16
under the impression that uh before the rise of islam um arab identity didn't
43:21
exist but uh let's start actually with gendibu because that's kind of where he started and also um what some who some
43:28
people believe to be the first arab uh in recorded history uh mentioned in the
43:34
probably butchered that name monolith of the assyrian king xiaomi iii uh dr
43:40
webb of course is in disagreement that gendibu and his arab were the first
43:45
arabs um and rather than proof of arab ethnic identity webb puts forth the idea
43:51
that assyrian scribes may have coined the name simply as a acadian language administrative jargon
43:58
connoting westerners outsiders or step nomads and not to specify an actual ethnicity
44:06
and so what what are your thoughts on gendiboo his arabah uh and them being the first arabs in recorded history
44:14
uh well first i should just say that uh uh well two things one is that i i don't
44:20
think peter webb has any evidence for this he's just speculating um
44:25
but the uh you also said guinda boo was the first arab of course he's only the
44:32
first arab to be mentioned in a resource
44:43
in recorded history yes so i mean he was the first time it's the first
44:49
time that we we have so let's hope we'll find something earlier um but um
44:56
and um but yes i i cannot see all the the uh seriologists
45:05
that i know um agree that uh
45:11
means arab i mean all there are lots of different um ways in which it's spelt but
45:18
in in virtually all of them it has a determinative a little uh extra
45:25
sign which says uh that it is a people or a or a country
45:32
um that they are talking about and that's something that peter webb didn't understand didn't realize um
45:38
and so it cannot mean nomad if it's got this determinative it means uh you know
45:46
arab uh or arabia in other contexts and so on but
45:51
it's uh so that's one thing
45:56
also it seems that the assyrians
46:02
and the babylonians they mention these arabs that they find arabs and they mention
46:09
them a lot i mean we have a lot of cases um and
46:14
they um and very often we get greek and roman historians
46:22
four five six hundred years later finding arabs in exactly the same spots
46:28
yeah in lebanon in northern syria in in uh central syria in mesopotamia
46:36
modern iraq near parts of the sinai absolutely and so these are uh
46:43
it's what the the conclusion that we we come to i
46:50
think we are forced to is that uh arabs are first recorded
46:56
and it's very important to say first recorded in the north in in syria and lebanon and and sinai uh
47:06
palestine um not in
47:11
uh in arabia in in the peninsula that um and that actually the peninsula came to
47:18
be called arabian um by mistakes made by by by greeks i
47:25
thought that because the merchants who sold them the frankincense were arabs because they dominated the
47:31
northern part of the the trade route um that the arabs must have grown the
47:37
incense as well uh in the south um whereas the people in in south arabia
47:44
uh would not have uh recognized themselves as being called arabs uh and
47:49
would in fact part sorry i didn't mean to cut you off but that part i found to be mind-blowing because as i mentioned to you before my
47:55
first introduction to pre-islamic arabia was reading uh traditional muslim era
48:00
sources and in that they uh project that arabs and the arabic
48:07
language stemmed from southern arabia and then when i started reading works of
48:12
your work ahmed al-jalad and other epigraphists working in that area to see that arabic or signs of arabic as well
48:19
as the mentioning of arabs seemed to be concentrated in the northern part of the peninsula totally just turned my
48:26
understanding upside down and that's actually what kind of kept leading me in the direction of researching arab
48:32
identity and what was going on in pre-islamic arabia um so i didn't mean to cut you off i just
48:37
wanted to add that part in this i think it is one of the uh
48:43
the the the problems that uh because of the
48:48
contemporary events that were happening here uh under the umayyads uh the the earlier
48:55
particularly where the people from yemen
49:01
who had become muslims very early
49:07
and had been some of the leaders of the conquest arab conquests out of
49:13
the peninsula because they were rather important
49:18
politically um they could also um and and being arab was very important
49:26
at that stage to distinguish you from your uh muslim uh subjects who had been
49:33
conquered um and who theoretically we are muslim brothers but uh were actually
49:38
uh um you know the conquerors wanted to remain different i
49:44
so they so then they created this this genealogy including all the biblical patriarchs
49:50
and and prophets uh as well as the the arabian prophets and they um
49:59
but they put they they produced this myth that uh
50:04
the arabs came from yemen whereas if you'd ask anybody before islam in yemen they said no
50:15
further north um and so that i think uh was
50:20
and of course once you write down genealogy then it's fixed and so anybody who wanted to prove they
50:27
were an arab say well look you know this is my genealogy goes back to this this uh and that would be all right
50:34
um all right and you know i remember watching a lecture of yours on youtube
50:41
where you mentioned that based on the epigraphic record we have no evidence of what the inhabitants called the whole of
50:47
the arabian peninsula pre-islam and if i understood peter works
50:52
peter's work correctly uh he is of the opinion that successive empires following the assyrians up to the akka
50:59
minutes uh basically adopted acadian language administrative jargon and how they use arab cognitive words to
51:05
describe outsiders uh while not having sorry i probably wrote too much for this question but the
51:10
main thing that i and you actually answered this the how we came to understand the arabian peninsula as
51:16
arabia was the product of greeks before that before um alexander's naval
51:22
expedition uh across the red sea herodotus had described arabia as
51:27
whatever is between egypt and mesopotamia uh but thanks to alexander
51:33
and i believe few historians followed him thereafter in in that assumption but it was thanks to the ex naval expedition
51:39
of alexander that he demarcated what arabia would eventually become um
51:48
and uh is so i guess you would agree with that assessment um at first i was going to see if you had any pushback
51:54
behind that but you already kind of uh described that previously before i asked this question so i don't think you would
52:00
be in disagreement with that assessment right there no more or less it's um
52:06
alexander's uh attempts to go around the peninsula to circumnavigate the peninsula um
52:14
from the the gulf to uh to to the red sea uh and vice versa
52:20
um showed him that it was all one one land which hadn't
52:25
been uh really understood before um because nobody had traveled across it uh i mean
52:32
no greeks have traveled across it um but uh and
52:38
in fact a very important stage in this process of describing it
52:43
as arabia is recorded by um
52:52
gosh it's gone straight out of my head i'm sorry who who actually wrote about it but one of the the the uh pilots one of the
53:00
guide guides on on one of alexander's ship ships as they were
53:06
coming out of the persian gulf and round coast of oman said
53:11
that land is part of arabia now how he knew i mean what he he meant by
53:18
that of course is but probably he meant it was part of the
53:24
uh the land which uh produced the frankincense there which so
53:30
which we they they called arabia udaimon in in greek and arabia felix in latin um
53:37
and but we we just have that one little bit of information we don't have any
53:44
explanation of how it came along and um but so alexander
53:50
confirmed that it was a peninsula um but nobody whose writings have survived
53:58
had actually uh been done right from the north to the south or
54:04
come from the south to the north um there probably were greek traders who
54:10
had done that but um uh you know gone with the caravan uh up
54:16
the west but we they didn't write about it unfortunately so we don't know so yes it
54:22
is basically that uh so one writer greek writer for instance thought that
54:27
uh arabia felix started uh in the north and the whole
54:33
peninsula was this wonderful lush place
54:38
uh eventually it's only when we get very late to to ptolemy uh in the second century
54:45
that uh we that they realize that there is arabia desert in the desert
54:52
north uh in the north and then in only in the south is this lush
54:57
[Music] place which produces the frankincense
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34843
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Mon Oct 24, 2022 10:16 am

Part 2 of 2

speaking of ptolemy was it ptolemy who
55:04
divided the peninsula into three separate parts uh was it petra deserta
55:09
and felix he's responsible for that yes he didn't divide the peninsula into
55:15
three he divided arabia arabia i keep forgetting that the peninsula and arabia
55:21
are uh two can be two different things yes absolutely and so you had arabia all
55:27
over the the near east uh lots of arabians and so arabia petraeus was
55:35
the what was basically the nabataean had been the nabataean kingdom um the whole
55:41
of jordan and a little bit of uh syria modern syria um but yes it's uh it's always important to
55:49
remember that uh arabia is means lots of different places um
55:56
the peninsula is that just just one wonderful
56:02
all right and continue on with ptolemy uh something i did not find mentioned in
56:07
webb's work but they are definitely talked about in your paper arabs arabias and arabic before
56:13
late antiquity are the 29 inscriptions where arab is mentioned as some kind of
56:18
identity marker 16 of which you believe are safe to say are self-identifications
56:24
uh with the remaining 13 about which there are uncertainties um and another
56:30
interesting fact about these 29 inscriptions is that 26 out of 29 of them uh
56:35
are written in greek are written in are written in greek how
56:41
how do we explain such a high concentration of people identifying as arabs and also
56:47
read written writing in greek in or around the ptolemaic egypt
56:54
well the
56:59
so i'm just working out which way to uh uh where to stop the uh so they were
57:06
writing in greek because that was the normal language uh particularly for
57:11
uh non-egyptians in um in ptolemaic egypt i mean the ptolemies
57:17
where were greeks were macedonians and so
57:23
if you wanted to write then that's what you you use and it was the administrative language and so on
57:29
and the uh some more old-fashioned egyptians would still
57:35
write in in uh demotic the the
57:41
cursive form of the hieroglyphic uh egyptian but uh so that's one thing
57:47
they would identify as arabs because i think arabs were
57:53
there were lots of different ethnic identities within um the ptolemaic egypt and you got
58:00
text according to your ethnic identity very often
58:07
and um it's uh arabs had also been
58:13
in eastern egypt so on the edge of the red sea uh since at least the sixth century bc because
58:20
that's when herodotus says that they were there and we have
58:25
um arabs as tax collectors actually quite a lot of references to arabs as
58:32
tax collectors and in fact it became a an arab uh in greek which should mean a leader
58:39
of the arabs uh came to be used as slang for uh for a
58:44
tax collector so they were obviously very good at doing that um so
58:50
basically there seem to have been quite a few uh arabs it's not surprising that there were uh arabs in egypt the fact
58:57
that we have all the uh the evidence comes from egypt it's just that the party
59:04
uh survived in egypt and you mentioned that earlier in the talk that all the papyri
59:09
outside of egypt are basically have been destroyed for whatever reason and only inside of egypt do you find papyrus
59:15
still in tech so that actually definitely answers my question but i still have another question concerning
59:20
um ptolemaic egypt and arab identity a lot of the people who identified as
59:26
arabs in the inscriptions they had greek or egyptian names um so i'm wondering
59:32
like what did it mean to be an arab in that period if they had greek and egyptian names they also wrote in greek
59:38
we don't have any evidence at least from that region of them writing in arabic what did it mean to be an arab in that
59:44
period because as you mentioned they had different um occupations uh you can't
59:50
just say that they were pastoralists or they were settled people or they were a bird agura or a barber
59:55
you know it's it it creates um in my mind i cannot pin down what it is that
1:00:02
makes someone an arab in that period i think it's it's very difficult to tell
1:00:08
because uh we don't have enough evidence i mean it would be
1:00:13
lovely if in all these papari or administrative papari unfortunately that if we had a uh
1:00:21
a poem or a book written by an arab then you might find some arabic loanwords in
1:00:28
the in the greek you know that would be wonderful but we're not likely to find that i suspect um but so
1:00:35
i have suggested and it's it's purely a hypothesis a suggestion
1:00:41
that what identified arabs to themselves and to each other
1:00:48
uh over this huge area the whole of the the levant and mesopotamia and egypt and
1:00:54
so on was a mixture of the language they spoke
1:01:00
uh and the albeit lots of different dialects
1:01:05
and some common cultural uh phenomena so very much as today
1:01:12
somebody fro from uh morocco and somebody from lebanon and somebody from iraq or saudi arabia they all recognize
1:01:20
each other as arabs even though they have very different uh cultures
1:01:26
but they and they can't understand each other's dialects often uh but they they recognize each other as arabs um
1:01:34
and i think something like that would explain how you get all these different groups of
1:01:40
people who must have called themselves arabs because we have it in in greek and
1:01:45
latin they're all called arabs um not you know some something else and that
1:01:51
suggests that they were uh that's what they called themselves um
1:01:56
but uh it can only be in hypothesis unfortunately because
1:02:03
we can't ask them don't know and hopefully maybe later on we discover something from uh something
1:02:10
personal from one of them talking about how they're an arab and give us more information about the subject uh but i
1:02:15
would like to discuss uh the kingdom of nepatia or the nebateans
1:02:20
i remember reading something from you that the arabic language played a major cultural role in nebatean society i
1:02:27
think also where you might have didn't think that at one point but with
1:02:32
more evidence that came along uh you're you lean more towards that arabic did play a major role in their society i was
1:02:39
wondering did the nebateans identify as arab do we have anything from the nebutians in aramaic
1:02:46
saying i am arab or anything uh of that sort unfortunately not but there's
1:02:52
consistently called arabs by their neighbors by the the jews uh
1:02:57
and um also by by some greek uh writers um
1:03:03
the so what seems to be is that they
1:03:09
if i'm right in thinking that to be an arab means that you you speak arabic and you have
1:03:16
some forms of arab culture you share with other arabs
1:03:22
then that's what would have distinguished them as as
1:03:28
arabs um but they tend to call themselves navitians but we have very only i think uh three or
1:03:36
four instances of somebody saying i'm an aberdeen and that was outside of nebraska outside of memphis yeah
1:03:45
who had mentioned inside of somewhere uh you don't need to nest like when i'm in
1:03:50
california i don't need to identify as a californian only since being in england do people ask me where i'm from and i
1:03:57
have to assert that identity so it that definitely made sense to me when uh he had mentioned that i think i i said that
1:04:03
actually i mean i was okay you know i've watched so many so many yeah
1:04:11
i mean i watch so many of you guys videos i probably get some of the words you guys say uh
1:04:18
and um now when the kingdom of nebucha was annexed
1:04:25
and it became the roma uh the provincia of uh the roman provincia of arabia or
1:04:31
do do you even say that right provencio or is it provincial normally okay yeah cause
1:04:37
that's what peter webb uh how he pronounced it and i was just wondering okay he knows more than i do so maybe i'm
1:04:42
saying it incorrectly uh will you you can either say the province of arabia or
1:04:48
you can use the latin provincial arabia i think the latin sounds more cool
1:04:56
but since that transition from the kingdom of nabataea to provincial arabia you also see um it add another layer to arab
1:05:05
identity to now people who are living within the province are considered arabs regardless
1:05:12
of their um regardless of their background or the language that they speak and then the people who were
1:05:18
normally considered arabs became saracens yes um
1:05:24
and it almost seems like that gives a little bit of credence to peter webb's theory that arab started
1:05:32
out as a i'm not saying that's what i believe but but i i can almost see a connection or someone making the
1:05:38
argument that the term arab in provincial arabia went back to administer an administrative
1:05:44
term like peter webb theorized it was starting with the assyrians um
1:05:52
but uh let's see how did i want to um and i kind of want to include the uh un
1:06:01
fadot inscription into this but i'm not sure if it was
1:06:06
constructed during uh provincial arabia or it was before
1:06:11
because i have a couple a couple dates for the on of that uh eight eight uh
1:06:17
eight um ad88 and possibly ad125 or uh it couldn't have been no
1:06:25
later than 150. um and in that inscription it contains six lines uh
1:06:30
four of which are in aramaic and two are in arabic i know i said a lot so my
1:06:36
question is this it seems like with the annexation of the kingdom of the
1:06:42
nebula and the coming or and and the the creation of provincial arabia that
1:06:48
arabic starts to become more pronounced that's you start seeing it more
1:06:53
um in writing and starting to come uh reach an elevated status like i
1:06:58
mentioned in the answer that um the last two lines are in arabic and i i believe
1:07:03
that's one of the only um inscriptions from that period of time
1:07:09
where uh we have in anything in error i believe one of three uh you clean up anything that i said i know it was a
1:07:15
bunch of jumbled up but uh this part is not as clear to me as maybe the the other parts
1:07:23
okay well uh when the romans took over nabateer
1:07:29
of course they took over the government and they made greek the language of administration
1:07:37
and dating was the language of the army this was the same in the whole of uh the
1:07:43
eastern empire um in the west latin was was everything um
1:07:49
so but of course people went on speaking as they'd spoken before
1:07:55
presumably arabic we don't know and the nabatean society and culture
1:08:02
went on as before and so
1:08:08
what i i is for the enough dart inscription
1:08:16
i find no evidence for the various dates which have been given to it okay
1:08:23
i think it's very uh uh very difficult to to to date it uh
1:08:30
and things like using poliography uh to date the the shape of the letters and so
1:08:35
on um when you're dealing with a single grappito which is basically what it is
1:08:41
it's carved on a rock uh out of the desert um you can't say well this letter
1:08:46
looks like this and so it must be 2580 or whatever you know it doesn't work
1:08:51
like that and so what i have suggested is that
1:08:59
this graffito which is fairly close to
1:09:04
the city of uh of um a buddha uh in uh
1:09:11
the negev desert in southern israel and a border was set up by the
1:09:17
nabataeans as a city in memory of the first king
1:09:22
obadas uh of nabataea who
1:09:27
they elevated to a deity he became a god um
1:09:33
so there were obviously services going on in the buddha
1:09:41
it depends how you like to pronounce it it's very confusing because you have the the aramaic pronunciation you have the
1:09:48
hebrew pronunciation aim of dart and you have an arabic from ein abduct
1:09:56
so anyway the i have suggested that the two lines of
1:10:02
arabic are actually a quotation from the liturgy in praise of
1:10:08
the divine obadas and that this
1:10:14
the writer of the graffito who is asking for protection from the deity uh
1:10:22
has quoted this line in praise these two lines in praise of the deity from this
1:10:28
this liturgy now if the nabataeans believed that you couldn't write down outfit which is what
1:10:35
seems to have been the very general apart from the nomads this seems to be the general idea you couldn't write down
1:10:41
arabic um the liturgy would be spoken in arabic
1:10:48
uh but not um but not written down so it would be passed from one priest to the
1:10:53
next uh as as a a verbal liturgy
1:10:59
uh and this was an attempt just to write these two lines because he he was
1:11:05
recording a prayer uh to to look after him um
1:11:10
we also have uh much later in the third century the uh epiphanius uh the greek um
1:11:18
scholar uh says that in petra um they uh and
1:11:25
another city in the they they prayed in arabic
1:11:33
which is also very interesting so
1:11:38
what i'm suggesting is that in the in in religion they retained the religious
1:11:44
uh liturgies and rights from their nomadic times before they settled um
1:11:49
they kept them in arabic um but uh uh and so pass them on uh uh
1:11:56
verbally from generation to generation you get a similar thing in the law chords when you have the
1:12:03
uh uh the
1:12:08
sorry they they they they uh uh papyri which were found in a cave on
1:12:16
the west side of uh of the red sea of the dead sea um and they were they the uh
1:12:24
documents the the the legal documents of a jewish woman called babatha
1:12:30
who escaped at the time of the in the 1830s
1:12:36
a.d um she uh the uh there was the barcock
1:12:43
among the jews in in in what was in the province of judea and they
1:12:50
uh and then the the the army the roman army from the
1:12:56
province of arabia yeah which was built in napatia uh came in and joined and so this woman's
1:13:03
village was right on the border of the province of arabia and the province of judah and so she escaped and
1:13:09
hid in this cave and unfortunately died there and and her uh her papers were only discovered
1:13:16
in 1971 but in these two these these
1:13:22
legal papers she had um
1:13:27
she had had documents in greek hebrew
1:13:32
jewish aramaic and nabataean aramaic and
1:13:38
very interestingly in the navitian aramaic the aramaic legal terms
1:13:44
are followed by the same term in arabic written in in the aramaic script and so
1:13:52
on and that shows that that there was a legal vocabulary in arabic
1:13:57
it wasn't just you know for the casual conversation and so i've suggested it and again it's
1:14:03
purely a suggestion that the law courts in the law courts the proceedings were conducted in arabic but
1:14:10
they were recorded in aramaic and we have exactly the same situation
1:14:16
in uh medieval england where the uh the proceedings happened in english or
1:14:23
sometimes norman french but they were recorded in latin oh wow
1:14:30
and so i from that i've just i mean and these are two you know very small things but uh
1:14:37
i've suggested that actually the the cultural and religious and legal
1:14:45
life uh life was conducted in arabic spoken but only but had to be when it had to be
1:14:51
written down it had to be written down in aramaic because arabic was considered
1:14:56
an unwritten language and uh i do want to ask you about the ruffa
1:15:03
inscription there's no arabic in that inscription it's written in greek and aramaic but the interesting part about that is that
1:15:10
it does from what i understand have an arabic word with um the name of the mood uh from the
1:15:16
famed quranic stories uh i'm not sure if they're from the famed quranic stories but you know the name hearing the name i'm kind of
1:15:23
making a connection i could be wrong uh but that is actually what i found to be very interesting is that they are
1:15:29
mentioned in um this inscription uh as uh which i'm not sure if they're a
1:15:36
nation a confederation but the word used to describe what they were i thought was
1:15:41
um very interesting uh and how and how they were kind of uh
1:15:47
brought into the roman empire were made to be a part of the roman empire if i understood correctly uh if you could
1:15:52
just um explain that for me yes absolutely so ruafa
1:15:59
is a an isolated spot uh to the west of uh alola
1:16:06
but absolutely with nothing uh visible around it and as far as we can see
1:16:11
even in ancient times we we haven't got any ruins around it um
1:16:18
there is water in a cave uh not too far away and
1:16:24
there's there seems to have been uh well there was a temple a small temple
1:16:30
was was built there uh by the romans um and
1:16:36
on the lintel of the main entrance was an inscription in
1:16:42
greek for the roman side and nabataean for the local side um
1:16:48
and in this inscription it says that
1:16:54
this temple was was built uh by uh the for the the glory of the empire
1:17:00
emperors uh there was marcus aurelius and lucias perez who uh were twin imprints uh uh at the time and they were
1:17:07
i mean not literally twins but i mean there were emperors at the same time and um
1:17:13
so so marcus aurelius and i can't remember the other guy's name lucius pieros so they were separate people yes
1:17:21
but see what does it mean when lucius became or took the name marcus aurelius
1:17:27
if i understood that correctly uh okay maybe maybe i i didn't understand what i was reading
1:17:32
because two two different uh people they decided to to to rule together okay um
1:17:40
and um they so this is uh about between 166 and
1:17:46
169 a.d um and it clearly probably almost certainly
1:17:53
wasn't built by the tribe of zamud it was built by roman uh builders uh
1:17:59
because the they mentioned also thanks to the governor of arabia provencia uh
1:18:06
that uh before helped with about the building especially um but anyway they
1:18:12
in this there is a single arabic word in the nabatim uh part which is shadoka uh
1:18:21
uh shot a cut in fact um and nowadays that this word means a company
1:18:27
uh you know like a uh an industrial company or a commercial company um
1:18:34
but originally it means a group
1:18:40
to which you join which you join voluntarily as opposed to a tribe
1:18:46
or a confederation which you were born into um
1:18:51
and so it and that's a very important distinction in a tribal society um
1:18:58
and what in in the greek translation the greek version it's ethnos
1:19:04
which can mean can also be used to mean a a company but it's generally mean
1:19:11
literally means a nation a people [Music] now what is very interesting here is
1:19:18
that almost exactly at the same time the
1:19:24
there is a roman uh historian who is writing about the roman army describing the army and he
1:19:31
describes groups of native uh peoples from the the the the uh different
1:19:38
provinces of the empire being uh enlisted in the roman army in groups
1:19:44
which he calls nationas nation uh from which we get nation of course um
1:19:52
and so ethnos is the exact greek translation of nation
1:19:59
and sharika would be a very good explanation of uh uh
1:20:06
in in arabic um and so what i have suggested is that the
1:20:12
uh that it's not the tribe or confederation of samud it's this new
1:20:19
uh military group the nation of the thamud and you have
1:20:25
british nationalists you have uh you have
1:20:30
different tribes in different peoples from the huns and germans well probably not the huns but
1:20:37
germans and belgians and so um and um they
1:20:42
say we know about these all over uh the empire and
1:20:47
so this seems to have been their way of uh
1:20:53
celebrating their um joining the roman army
1:20:59
and giving their allegiance to the two emperors um
1:21:05
and and so it is written in the most beautiful calligraphic nabatoon um
1:21:11
and it's just a pity that probably very few people in tamwood could have read it
1:21:17
but it's probably nice to look at lovely to look at absolutely yes
1:21:22
and we we have similar temples in other parts of the empire
1:21:28
uh written by local i mean erected by uh nationals which is the plural of martial
1:21:37
from different uh parts of the empire and and the local god
1:21:43
who is actually uh mentioned not in this big inscription but in in in other inscriptions at rafa
1:21:51
um by one by priest of this uh this god it was called uh
1:21:57
allah um now not i mean not the allah of of islam
1:22:05
but uh it could be illah it could be you know just somebody called god you know sort
1:22:11
of not with a small g not a big g yeah and you know i think that i think
1:22:16
even in the bible they they have that uh where people are called gods and it's not the you know the god in heaven above
1:22:23
but you know i wonder in what context calling someone god meant um in that
1:22:28
language yes it's very difficult to know but um and uh just a couple more
1:22:33
questions i'm not going to hold you for too much longer i would love to talk about the nemara inscription that's one of my favorite
1:22:40
inscriptions and it's from the historical content the mystery
1:22:45
um the the language that it was written in is just such a phenomenal inscription um
1:22:52
from in the namara inscription uh it's by it's uh the funerary inscription of mara al-kais
1:23:00
and even his name is a bit of a debate how how do you say how you say it i've seen it
1:23:06
spelled emerald christ like the sixth century arab poet and some people have even made the mistake of believing they
1:23:13
are one in the same even though they're not totally far apart away from each other um
1:23:19
but in your book or actually uh in the book edited by greg fisher uh arabs and
1:23:25
empires before islam um in the first chapter arabs uh before arabs and empire
1:23:32
before the sixth century you mentioned that his name is
1:23:37
more correctly pronounced moral kais and also we're not sure if he is uh the
1:23:45
second lucamine king or are there any other theories on who uh mara al-kais could be
1:23:52
um so it's uh they think he was second king so uh you know
1:23:59
did i say you you said look amid but i mean it's actually lachnet okay all right
1:24:06
you know uh americans we love to butcher uh the pronunciation of things so please
1:24:11
excuse he did it just said that it's uh it's uh to your listeners and
1:24:17
viewers and so on so uh yes
1:24:22
the evidence for it is is not very strong but it it's a
1:24:27
possibility um what he was doing at namara of course is is a
1:24:35
a big problem because the the the inscription doesn't say that
1:24:41
but i have uh uh i've worked quite a lot at namara at
1:24:47
the site of namara uh in the days before the wars in syria and um
1:24:53
it has a the remains of a roman fort
1:24:59
so nemara is um a mountain a small mountain an island in
1:25:05
the middle of a wadi there'd be a great great valley that goes through so he's got water on either side of it when when
1:25:11
you get the rains um but it's dry for most of the year and on
1:25:16
top of it there is the remains of a small roman fort most of the stones of which were
1:25:22
plundered to make a um a mausoleum in the middle ages so what people often
1:25:27
think of is that it is the roman fort is actually uh this mausoleum but you can
1:25:33
still see the outline of the roman form um and um but what is also interesting is
1:25:39
that on the uh the the the
1:25:47
areas of desert around this there are quite large areas
1:25:52
of single stones being set up sort of at regular intervals
1:25:58
um and great sort of lines of them like this which look like tombstones very much
1:26:03
like as if they're there um and so they need of course to be excavated
1:26:09
but unfortunately the civil war came before we could do that um but if they are if it is
1:26:17
there are hundreds and hundreds of them i mean uh so if it is a graveyard
1:26:23
they it looks as if their people were all killed at the same time all died at the same time um
1:26:29
and um so that would explain if there was a battle
1:26:35
there and he was killed and the emerald christ was so i've done it now model guys was uh uh
1:26:42
was killed in the battle that would explain why his mausoleum
1:26:47
is there a kilometer away from the mother itself um
1:26:53
and from what i understand the lokomids were uh a vassalage of the persian empire um
1:26:59
and the al namara is on the roman side yeah but then again in the inscription it says that he uh
1:27:07
basically you know basically seems like he was working for both um maybe i think in in your book you
1:27:13
mentioned at the uh or in your article you mentioned that maybe at the end of his life he he veered more towards the
1:27:20
roman side but early on it was a possibility that he was more of a vassalage with uh persia
1:27:26
it's it's certainly possible we don't know with the very early ahmed how they uh
1:27:33
how much they were vassals of the persians um because
1:27:39
we don't actually we have that they're only mentioned as the ancestors of people later on uh of kings
1:27:47
who later on they we don't actually have information about them themselves um so
1:27:53
uh it's it's possible and he does say in the uh inscription that he he made his sons
1:28:01
proxies for the russia for the romans and the persians and this was a new
1:28:06
um uh reading i think of the the inscription there which you find in the greg greg
1:28:13
fisher book so
1:28:18
he but he seems he was clearly very very important
1:28:25
and it is infuriating that none of the classical sources mention him but uh he
1:28:31
uh either that or he had somebody uh with a great imagination writing his epitaph uh
1:28:40
but it's um it looks as if he
1:28:45
was able to dominate uh nomadic tribes as well as the settled people the shard
1:28:51
um and um and as i say get his his sons at least
1:28:57
two to work for both the the the persians and the romans um
1:29:03
but apart from that it's very it's very difficult to uh
1:29:11
to actually put him into our knowledge of history of that uh that area
1:29:17
there is one very nice very small detail in the inscription that the only word that isn't arabic in
1:29:24
the inscription is uh the word for son of which is bar
1:29:29
which is aramaic rather than bin and this went on
1:29:35
right into the early islamic period as being it was just one of these fossils from
1:29:42
from the aramaic type that went on being used
1:29:47
rather as we use a lot of latin fossils in english like etc and so on
1:29:55
so um but that's just a curiosity i mean [Music]
1:30:00
uh and in the namara inscription i guess it is one of three inscriptions in arabic with
1:30:07
someone identifying as an arab king of the arabs
1:30:12
uh what did that or king of all the arabs one thing that i found interesting
1:30:17
about that that term king of all the arabs is that following it it only mentions
1:30:22
three tribes nazar my hij if i pronounce that correctly and mahad yes um in peter west's book
1:30:31
he translate okay yeah king of all the arabs just as it is but instead of and
1:30:36
he um um dominated mahad or ruled mahad uh he he translates it as
1:30:44
king of ma'ad and from that he believes ma'ad was a separate entity from king of
1:30:52
the arabs and following in that direction he believes that mod
1:30:58
weren't arabs at all that it was another tribal uh super tribal um identity that wasn't the
1:31:06
possession of any single tribe but how a collection of tribes understood each other uh and he also wrote a paper about
1:31:13
it that is in uh he also wrote an article that is in umayyad world uh the rise of mod in my period and he has
1:31:20
other um things from literature talking about them um how do you feel about
1:31:26
mod being a separate entity away from the arabs or were they considered arabs
1:31:31
like nazar mahej or were these central arabian tribes not
1:31:37
completely arab it's a bit confusing for me when i think about it uh mainly because you know we imagine
1:31:45
well now i'm just going to i'm not going to put my foot in my mouth it is
1:31:51
extremely confusing and very difficult
1:31:56
because we get the name mentioned quite a lot both in south arabian uh
1:32:02
inscriptions and in in in the north but it we don't get
1:32:08
um any detail about who they were so it's purely a question of
1:32:14
speculating and trying to fit uh i mean it's a jigsaw with most of the
1:32:20
pieces missing uh and it's and i don't know i mean i just
1:32:28
didn't have enough evidence to to to to to come to any sort of conclusion i'm afraid
1:32:33
about that except that they they do seem to have been something rather different
1:32:39
from other tribes i mean all tribes but what that difference was
1:32:45
is another matter and um michael zletler wrote a very long
1:32:51
article on that um but in the end
1:32:57
it is just you know speculation i'm afraid it's very very difficult um maybe i'm being too depressing but uh
1:33:05
it's like no i i actually like that there's a bit of mystery when uh when looking into
1:33:11
pre-islamic arabia and in the early history of islam um for me it's not a off-putting at all i know for some
1:33:17
people they want to like know exactly what happened and everything clearly defined for them but i like the little bit of speculation and theorizing that
1:33:24
comes with uh not knowing exactly all the details and this right here will be my last set
1:33:30
of questions and it's on the arabic language before the advent of islam and you mentioned something that i found to
1:33:36
be very interesting the arabic language was not written down in its early
1:33:41
stages it was more of a spoken language and when it became or started to become
1:33:48
written down it was not in a script identifiable as arabic today can you
1:33:53
please explain that for me where was arabic hidden before it became what we
1:33:58
understand to be arabic today well um arabic seems to have been
1:34:05
uh well if we accept that uh one way of identifying an arab in
1:34:12
antiquity was that he or she spoke arabic um and that is you know is just a
1:34:19
hypothesis um then arabic was spoken over a very wide area
1:34:24
of egypt and event uh in parts of what's now iraq
1:34:30
and uh the northern part of arabia and possibly more
1:34:36
um the but because it was spoken um people didn't write write it down and
1:34:43
as i say it's only by excellent that these nomads in southern syria and
1:34:49
jordan and saudi arabia who wrote the saphetic inscriptions wrote as they spoke
1:34:55
and it's very interesting that we can catch dialectal differences differences of
1:35:01
dialect in the um in the uh graffiti that they write you
1:35:06
know some some will spell a word in in one way as being pronounced in one way and others will do the same
1:35:13
word but spelt in another way um and that so we know that they they spoke it
1:35:22
but otherwise nobody else seems to have written it down um until
1:35:28
quite late like the uh presumably the abduct inscription and and uh
1:35:34
then the namara inscription and so on um but these are very exceptional
1:35:41
things great generally it seems to have been thought of as
1:35:46
as an unwritten language rather as for instance the
1:35:52
modern south arabian languages in in parts of yemen and and uh
1:35:57
in southern oman and so on um until very recently were unwritten
1:36:04
and so if you wanted somebody to write if you wanted to write something a letter to somebody you've got somebody
1:36:09
to write in arabic and they then have to get somebody to translate it back into your language um
1:36:17
so but it clearly was behind the uh the aramaic which the nabataeans were
1:36:25
writing um so the nabataeans instead of um [Music]
1:36:31
unlike the nomads they decided to use a language which was the lingua franca was
1:36:36
this sort of common language throughout the middle east which
1:36:42
everybody spoke and was had a certain prestige to it um so the very first time we hear about the
1:36:49
nabataeans was when they were still nomads and they were around
1:36:54
petra and they were attacked by the seleucid king by the the king and they wrote a letter to him to to complain um
1:37:03
and they wrote it in aramaic letters it says in in in the
1:37:08
history and so they were clearly using aramaic as a
1:37:15
written language so that went on until uh about the third century uh a.d
1:37:23
so the romans had had conquered had had uh finished the finished off the nabataean
1:37:29
kingdom and made it into the province of arabia in 106 a.d
1:37:35
and they were actually generally much more interested in
1:37:40
the jordanian and syrian parts of the nabataean empire rather than the northwest arabian
1:37:47
mainly because they had diverted the south to north uh trade in frankincense and and spices
1:37:54
to the sea it was much easier they they worked at the the problem with the red sea is that the wind is the prevailing
1:38:02
wind is from the north so if you're trying to go from south to north in a sailing ship it's actually very
1:38:07
difficult if you don't know how to attack which is how you go around and the romans knew how to do that they
1:38:14
learned how to do that and so most of the produce was put on ships down in yemen
1:38:23
and and just brought up to uh suez and so on
1:38:28
so they uh northern northwest arabia became less
1:38:34
and less interesting for the romans uh they were there for a bit um
1:38:39
but uh one of the effects was that whereas greek became
1:38:45
the official language in jordan and syria the in northwest arabia
1:38:53
nabataean aramaic went on being the general written language um but gradually sort of over the
1:39:00
centuries uh fewer and fewer people bothered to learn
1:39:05
the aramaic language um and they they had a few of these uh
1:39:13
which were called fossils aramaic fossils uh like etc in english uh
1:39:19
from latin fossils um and so but anything they wanted to say that wasn't standard
1:39:27
with these fossils they would write in arabic but in the arabic language but written
1:39:33
in this navity and aramaic script now the problem was of course that the
1:39:39
nabataean script only had six that only had 22 letters
1:39:44
um and several of these letters had come together to to to be
1:39:52
the same shape for two or more different letters
1:39:57
and so it was very ambiguous when you were trying to write arabic which has 28
1:40:03
uh consonants in this uh so uh but anyway they they went on and
1:40:08
on and eventually the we know this from the repeating uh that they left uh
1:40:14
gradually um they were writing only arabic with except for bar the the the word for
1:40:21
son-off which stuck um and so gradually we got this and then we
1:40:28
don't know when but at some stage they started distinguishing the letters which looked like by dots and they seem
1:40:36
to have a very um uh universally accepted
1:40:42
uh uh form of which dots for which letters not completely universally
1:40:49
accepted but fairly widely accepted because we have for instance the earliest islamic um
1:40:57
papyrus from 22 of the hijra
1:41:02
from egypt um it has um it has the dots already in not all the
1:41:08
darks but but but some of them and the earliest arabic inscription um
1:41:14
which is 20 i think 23 i 23 or 24 uh
1:41:20
after the hijra um also has dots uh interestingly they put dots where you
1:41:26
and i would think they didn't need them where it was actually fairly obvious what they the thing
1:41:34
yes yes um but for for this to work there had to be a generally accepted
1:41:41
um interpretation of where the dots went um
1:41:46
and i don't know i did do a uh a lecture
1:41:52
for the cast university in saudi arabia which is on the uh the
1:41:58
um the youtube video is is on the called the
1:42:05
the curious history of writing i've watched it i think i might have uploaded it to my channel all right okay i'll probably have all your videos uploaded
1:42:12
to my channel
1:42:17
and my last question and there's probably a huge one the arab arabization of the peninsula i mean we
1:42:23
hopefully people have followed the journey of arabic from arabs in the north uh uh unwritten language just
1:42:30
spoken uh amongst a collection of people how did it end up becoming the lingua
1:42:36
franca of the islamic empire how how did it spread throughout the peninsula um i
1:42:42
just find that to be so fascinating i know uh robert hoyland's last uh chapter in his book uh arabs in arabia even
1:42:49
though it came out 21 years ago um i felt like his how he tried to describe arabization in
1:42:56
the last chapter was a little bit uh lacking i understand it was 21 years ago and we probably know a lot more today
1:43:02
but i still cannot wrap my head around how people they had their culture seems
1:43:08
like their culture was tied to their language all of a sudden the rise of islam comes or the advent of islam comes
1:43:14
along and people kind of ditch their language as well as adopt a different identity and now the
1:43:22
whole middle east is arabic speaking i don't think it probably didn't happen that fast i watched a lecture by um
1:43:29
i believe her first name is petra cannot say her last name stein yes yes and where she talked about
1:43:35
the air but i think she talked about the arabization um after the conquest in the umayya period with abdul malik
1:43:42
making the administration all right right in arabic but i'm curious
1:43:47
how did it happen in the early years of islam it's just sorry
1:43:53
if i'm babbling on i just cannot wrap my mind around how people i cannot see myself speaking english today and then
1:43:59
within a couple generations i'm speaking a totally different language and then my
1:44:05
descendants thereafter are as well i'm pretty sure it happened other places in history but because we're talking about um the arabian peninsula that i just
1:44:11
cannot wrap my mind around it yeah well it is very difficult and and we don't know uh
1:44:19
really how it spread within the peninsula uh arabic whether it was there all the time
1:44:26
we and we we just don't know whether what the uh the population of arabia
1:44:32
before islam spoke probably more and more
1:44:37
tribes did speak arabic but we don't know i mean it's just pure speculation
1:44:44
but it would seem that they must have done because by the time
1:44:49
uh of the prophet um the he was sending out missionaries
1:44:57
within the peninsula um uh and they were speaking arabic so that
1:45:03
presumably their that their heroes were also arab uh
1:45:09
um arabic speakers when that first happened goodness knows whether
1:45:14
they were always there i mean so when i say we don't know the the the arabian peninsula with the peninsula whether it
1:45:21
was actually full of arabs or not um it's just we shouldn't assume that it was
1:45:28
because all the arabians that are mentioned in in ancient sources are up in the north
1:45:33
it may have been um so that's one thing then with the conquests
1:45:40
when you are conquered um and it clearly permanent becomes permanent uh
1:45:48
then if you want to get on in the world you learn the conqueror's language
1:45:54
and yeah absolutely and that's i think that's
1:45:59
i mean one of the extraordinary things is that uh most of the arab grammarians famous arab
1:46:05
romans and arab scholars were persian
1:46:10
and we're actually you know writing about the arabic language and so on but they were actually all personal because
1:46:16
they had a long tradition a scholarship of course and um
1:46:22
they so it's i don't think it's it's really surprising especially when
1:46:29
the the the language is associated so closely with the religion as it is with uh you
1:46:35
know with christianity uh the christians uh translated
1:46:40
that their their holy books into the languages of the place they came
1:46:46
from but the the muslims you had to learn arabic to to read the holy book
1:46:51
and uh so it was just a different way around but it did mean that the the arabic
1:46:57
language spread um much much more and i think it's the same with all them personally
1:47:04
the europeans the british or the french or the dutch yeah yeah of course i mean look at latin america you know how did
1:47:11
they end up speaking spanish it's uh you know just one of those things but um and
1:47:17
maybe it didn't happen as fast as i i think it happened but just to see such uh
1:47:22
cultural change within um amount of several decades i just find that to be fascinating i'm pretty sure
1:47:28
it happened other places in the world but it's still interesting to see yes it was an extraordinary event and i i i
1:47:36
i don't think uh i can't think of a parallel really a sort of exact parallel like that it was
1:47:44
amazing and uh unit compared to other conquerors uh in that area when you
1:47:51
think of genghis khan and and uh and so on the the the amount of
1:47:56
destruction that they did the the the the muslims actually did relatively little destruction they they
1:48:03
came in and and conquered and i think that was also uh
1:48:09
probably helped people to accept uh more
1:48:14
um because they'd had so much particularly in the lab they've been so the battles between the byzantines and the persians
1:48:20
have been such going on for years and years and years and if you've got one
1:48:26
power that came in and kept order yeah that's really what
1:48:32
people wanted i think definitely and you kind of see that in the tradition when muhammad uh went to
1:48:38
uh medina and one of the reasons why they wanted him there was to act as a mediator so that definitely makes sense
1:48:45
and uh do you have any closing remarks michael uh before we part ways
1:48:50
unfortunately because i really enjoyed this conversation and hearing about pre-islamic arabia uh is you know i can
1:48:56
sit here all day and listen about it and probably when i get off i'll be reading about it anyway so
1:49:02
but yeah if there's anything you'd like to share anything that you're working on where we can find anything you have coming up next uh i will plug your
1:49:08
academia edu page so people can read all your phenomenal works and uh you know
1:49:14
don't want to put them off too much yeah well i just thank you very much
1:49:21
indeed it's it's been extremely interesting talking to you you ask very interesting questions and uh i
1:49:28
hope that i've managed to to answer them more or less oh no i mean you you did more than answer them i mean i i really
1:49:35
like the way that you go off and i don't want to say a tangent because tangent can kind of seem but i really do like
1:49:40
how i can ask you a question and you just take off with it and i was hoping my questions weren't too like
1:49:46
basic uh you know academic you study this in detail i hope i'm not asking like preschool questions or anything
1:49:52
like that certainly not no no it's uh but you you you can see that um
1:49:58
my enthusiasm for the subject anyway and i i i find it it's a great passion
1:50:04
uh and i hope other people will uh enjoy it too oh yes and and i really actually
1:50:09
hope other people take on uh take on the profession as a epigraphist i mean um it
1:50:14
seems like revolutionary steps are being made in the field of epigraphy as well as more and more people becoming
1:50:21
interested so i hope with all of that going on we will continue seeing more developments in this field
1:50:27
i hope so absolutely in china all right all right thank you michael it was a
1:50:33
total pleasure speaking with you and i hope you enjoy the rest of your day and you know i hope to speak to you again if i have any questions concerning your
1:50:39
work absolutely do thank you very much
1:50:45
thank you bye-bye
1:50:50
[Music]
1:50:56
you
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34843
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Tue Oct 25, 2022 3:51 am

An Invocation to Jesus in a Safaitic Inscription?
by Dr. Ahmad Al-Jallad
Feb 17, 2021

The Safaitic inscriptions constitute the largest epigraphic corpus in Jordan. The term refers to the northernmost branch of the South Semitic alphabet, a sister of the Ancient South Arabian script (musnad). The inscriptions, concentrated in the Syro-Jordanian Basalt Desert (the Ḥarrah), record the lifeways of the region's inhabitants some 2,000 years ago. While the exact chronological limits of Safaitic are not known, scholars have assumed that the documentation ends around the 4th century CE, as there are no mentions of Christianity. This lecture will present a new inscription, discovered during the 2019 summer campaign of the Badia Surveys. It records an invocation to a new divinity, attested for the first time in Safaitic, that should likely be identified as Jesus. After the discussion of its reading and interpretation, I will explain the ramifications of this discovery on the history of Christianity in the region and the background of Quranic ʿysy.



Transcript

0:08
welcome everyone thank you for joining us here this evening my name is pierce paul kriefman
0:14
it's truly my pleasure to to introduce our speaker this evening but before we do so i just
0:20
need to say a few words about the american center of research i want to make sure that everybody has the
0:26
opportunity to keep in touch with us so we'll go through and point out some of these options of course you see
0:32
here we're grateful that you've joined us during our lecture series we've got our next lecture will be march 17th at 7
0:38
pm a month time we hope that you can join us for that as well in the interim
0:44
please don't be shy to stay in touch with us in many any number of other ways [Music]
0:50
call to your attention perhaps the best way to hear about new programming publications and opportunities
0:56
is by joining our electronic mailing list you can see at the location here at the bottom of the screen it's up to you how often you'd
1:03
like to hear from us for most folks we recommend subscribing to our monthly update where you receive all of the information in
1:09
one single news package of course you can find us and follow us on social media media and i would
1:14
especially recommend our youtube channel the latest recorded presentations
1:19
uh where this one will end up in not such a distant future which we're grateful to have a nice
1:25
catalog of those and hopefully to keep you interested and informed we do have a couple of other
1:32
opportunities in the mix we're doing hiring so if anybody's interested in careers with acor please don't hesitate
1:37
to visit our page at the link here and consider those uh consider those possibilities with us
1:44
now of course on to the reason why everybody is gathered here this evening it's truly my pleasure to introduce
1:49
professor ahmad al-jalad a philologist epigraphist and historian of language
1:54
professor and sophia chair of arabic studies at ohio state university his work focuses on the
2:01
languages and writing systems of pre-islamic arabia and the ancient near east and he's going to tell us some about
2:07
those now these ancient north arabian inscriptions we're very excited to hear from you tonight sir thank you so much for
2:14
joining us and to everybody uh we're welcome to have you here happy to have you here uh i'll turn it over to you thank you
2:21
sir
2:38
we need you to unmute we've got your video we've got your screen all right all right yes you can
2:45
hear me now okay perfect so then thank you very much and i think acor and the invitation of dr
2:52
chrisman and to uh miss uh sausage for assistance with the technical issues and all the advertising
2:57
and i thank you all for uh for showing up uh this earlier this late uh to attend this lecture i'm
3:04
very excited to announce an important discovery from the 2019 summer campaign of the badia uh surveys
3:12
in northeastern jordan the um in the black desert uh i'll be presenting today a new
3:18
sophiatic inscription which likely contains our earliest invocation
3:24
to jesus in the arabic language predating the quranic text by centuries and like all important
3:31
discoveries the text raises more questions than it can answer so uh let's go
3:36
right now immediately to the where the text was discovered
3:42
the is an arabic term for the basalt desert that stretches from southern syria to
3:50
northern saudi arabia across the jordanian panhandle it's the result of volcanic activity
3:56
millions of years ago and the spread of lava south over time the lava broke up into
4:01
the salt stones and these uh stones give rise to uh the term the
4:08
black desert which is popular today uh it as you can see here
4:13
is an appropriate name and the uh the desert is really magnificent not for
4:19
just its natural beauty but because it's a treasure trove of archaeological remains uh human habitation of the area
4:25
stretches from the prehistoric period uh until modern times really continuous and there's evidence for uh
4:34
people everywhere campsites animal enclosures various stone installations here you have
4:40
a the remains of a uh a cairn and a a tomb a stone burial
4:46
overlooking a a wide uh beautiful landscape indeed but perhaps one of the most
4:52
remarkable uh features of the of the
4:57
arts inscriptions you can see why and and there and believe it or not there are actually quite a few
5:02
uh uh we would say quite a few tens of thousands of texts uh to be found in the it's not hard to
5:08
see why here you can see that the windy uh these winding while these in good seasons in the rainy season
5:14
will uh produce garbage that will attract pastoralists and uh from all around it's a great
5:21
place to pasture your animals uh spend some time you can see that uh even uh
5:27
in this photograph we have a stone enclosure and it's not uncommon to find uh fresh dung within these enclosures so
5:33
we see reuse and continued occupation until the present day
5:39
and as we go closer to areas where we find human habitation um this is where uh one of the unique
5:46
features of the harvard becomes apparent sorry one moment the uh inscriptions and rock art
5:54
if you look at this boulder here i'll bring out the cursor one moment yes if you see this
6:01
boulder you can see immediately petroglyphs images of animals here some camels and some other
6:07
animals that were carved uh many many centuries ago by the local nomads by the pastoralists and
6:15
in addition to that you'll see on the right to the left of it at the top carvings of letters in fact this is here
6:21
this is um something that accompanies these rock drawings often are inscriptions in the term that we call in
6:29
a in a script that modern scholars have called saffier it's one of the most peculiar witnesses to the region's past
6:35
because in addition to the rock art it gives us insights about the people who lived here their life ways
6:42
and uh and and basically their own their local history
6:48
the script that you see here is a distinct variety of the south semitic script it's a family of alphabets used across
6:54
the arabian peninsula in pre-islamic times and the language it represents
7:00
is also conventionally called sapphiric and in linguistic terms it lies on a dialect continuum
7:06
of old arabic or pre-islamic arabic varieties the language is very close to classical arabic
7:11
indeed michael mcdonald the great expert of the epigraphy of north arabia as uh as has suggested that sophiaic and
7:17
classical arabic may have even been mutually intelligible and anyone who spent some time reading these inscriptions
7:22
you see that could very well be possible uh nevertheless safiri has its own grammatical eyesight losses that
7:29
distinguish it from other closely related dialects there are over 33 000 texts in the
7:34
script uh published and many thousands more have been discovered and await uh publication okay
7:41
and so uh we can see here as we move on
7:48
the inscriptions of this area were also produced by local nomads within the script now southeast is just one of the
7:54
scripts that we find in the heart of the most numerous we can say there are many other types of alphabets
8:00
that can be found in other languages but the most numerous is the sophiatic script and these were
8:05
produced by local nomads who had their own writing tradition that interfaced with their
8:10
customs and rituals and direct and just their ways of life and in many ways the genre of the inscriptions are familiar to people who
8:16
study a bigography from other traditions like roman epigraphy and navitian infography the uh the texts of course contain
8:24
mostly on a mastic such as personal names of the individuals who wrote these texts but also uh contain religious and
8:30
commemorative inscriptions building inscriptions funerary inscriptions and one inscription type that is perhaps
8:37
uh unique to the arabian cultural sphere north arabian cultural fear which is
8:43
stopping and weeping we know this genre from later arabic poetry where poets will begin their
8:48
uh their odes by stopping at a campsite and weeping and remembering loved ones and indeed that is a very common uh
8:56
textual genre that we find in sofiadic where authors will stop at a cops at a campsite and remember lost
9:02
relatives and remember those who inhabited the area but not just in oral form they will
9:08
commemorate their morning with and and their memory with an inscription okay now because the inscription that
9:14
we'll discuss today is religious we don't have time to go through all of these categories but we'll just look at what the safety inscriptions can tell
9:22
us about the religious life of the ancient nomads uh generally many of these inscriptions
9:29
give us information about their beliefs and their rituals and the inscriptions reflect
9:34
or suggest that the local nomads indicated the local nomads worshiped a large number of deities uh uh local gods and as well of gods
9:42
as well as gods of uh of neighboring groups like the god of the navitians who was
9:49
worshipped in the settled areas of the palmyra but as well local gods such as
9:59
now in addition to these deities we have evidence for different rituals
10:05
uh religious rituals such as animal sacrifice erecting standing stones and
10:11
commemoration of interaction with the deity or not
10:16
pilgrimages even burnt offerings aslaya or
10:21
various other verbs uh and so far with the corpus of over 30 000 inscriptions there is
10:27
no evidence for the practice of monotheism or in monotheisms there's no evidence for local jewish tribes and there's
10:34
certainly as of yet no evidence for christianity so i'll give you a uh kind of example of the of
10:40
the better example the kind of religious uh text and religious vocabulary that we can get in these inscriptions so krs 68
10:48
reports 8 which you have here is a photograph but not a very good one on the slide unfortunately
10:54
records a uh a prayer a religious act a sacrifice and prayer to a deity called home
11:02
is a uh perhaps leader of the army leader of the host leader of the people uh a deity worshiped by the nabataeans
11:08
and as well uh worshiped locally and this the the individual the author of this text
11:15
he sacrifices a camel and then he makes a short prayer
11:24
so you are the one he seeks in his path and through your guidance comes deliverance fulton from death remote
11:31
now the my vocalization of sophiaic is based on uh the study of the
11:36
of the inscriptions themselves and as well as greek transcriptions of the language so it sounds a little
11:42
bit different than classical arabic but i think most who do know classical arabic wouldn't have a hard time understanding what i
11:47
just said now i've uh so we have evidence of these basically we have a window into their
11:53
religious life and it is overwhelmingly uh we can call local arabian uh uh
11:58
paganism now uh for lack of a better term there's probably uh better ways to put that now i have
12:05
not said anything about chronology yet and that is because the chronology of safety is rather
12:11
unclear we don't know the chronological limits of safety that is when the inscriptions
12:17
began to be produced and when uh they ceased the uh conventional dating conventional
12:24
dating given by scholars is that the inscriptions uh begin around the first century bce
12:31
and end around the fourth century ce and this is based on a small number of dated
12:36
inscriptions uh whose dates we can understand so the sophiatic writers did not used a fixed
12:42
calendar with numbered years rather they dated their inscriptions to local events the year so and so died
12:48
the year and the year of drought the year of reigns and those types of dates we just simply
12:53
we cannot locate in time we cannot know when those events took place and what years those refer to
12:59
but sometimes we get dates like the year the king of nabatia died or the year
13:06
uh caesar announced the province and these seem to point towards the nabateen and roman period
13:12
and therefore the it is suggested that the safety conscriptions were produced in this period
13:17
but it is based again on a small number of data texts and and indeed we don't know when the
13:24
tradition of writing begins archaeological uh evidence uh from the surveys of peter ackerman suggests that they could push
13:30
the date back to the third century bce um but it's truly unclear and the end
13:35
date for the inscription the terminus is based on the absence of references to christianity that is the
13:41
host that is so so it is an argument from absence in fact um and uh and maybe it's a good one as well
13:48
but it's still uh we don't really have any good evidence for when the inscriptions uh do end it's a conventional
13:54
uh end point now uh the there have been others in the past
14:01
there have been a few claims and i'll just treat one of christianity and be ancient
14:07
and all of these claims are rather dubious so for example one very popular one was a
14:13
reading of an inscription by inno litman published in 1950 you have here a uh
14:19
a cross this comes from and beneath it he read in the his maix script
14:25
a yod a sheen and an ayam which he took to be as yeshua it's an ingenious reading of this
14:32
very poorly uh poorly carved section but in fact when you look more closely at this image
14:38
we see that there that this line here that this bar that is meant to be part of the yacht is also
14:44
part you have another line here and it could very well be damaged but more interesting is that i when i was visiting uh
14:50
in 2019 one of the famed desert castles of the umayyads and when you go inside it's filled with graffiti and markings and i find the
14:57
same sequence there a very similar sequence and these on in this sequence here is
15:03
simply a tribal mark it's a mark a tribal mark has nothing to do with christianity and it's probably
15:08
relatively modern and it seems that that's in fact what is occurring here it's just a tribal mark
15:13
and it is not the reading of or not the name jesus at all and so uh with this society there are a
15:19
few others that are basically of the same quality there have been no there's been no evidence in any of these inscriptions
15:26
for christianity or mentions of jesus or mention events that occur after the fourth century so the
15:33
end date seems rather reasonable now the text that i'll present today
15:38
may change that story uh the text was discovered during the 2019 campaign of the badia surveys led by myself
15:45
and my colleague with the generous support of the husson research center in abu dhabi
15:50
uh by led by zuhairopali our survey lasted two weeks as we covered dozens of sites
15:57
in northeastern jordan and on the 20th of june the team discovered what turned out to be a remarkable site
16:02
near a seasonal watering hole which you can see here so our activities is uh were up here
16:08
northeastern jordan and this is the site and from the from this uh image you can see the watering
16:13
hole make it a bit larger we were surveying in this lady here
16:18
and then we reached a point where we wanted to meet our cars were parked in the uh in the bed of this dry
16:26
lake and so we cut across uh to meet them and as we did we followed in a footpath
16:32
one that already existed would turn out to be a very ancient footpath and you can already see it here and it leads right by a small cairn
16:39
right and as we follow this footpath we came to the care and the care
16:44
was which looks like this nothing too exciting but it was filled with inscriptions hundreds of inscriptions
16:51
uh surrounding the cairn and mostly in the sophietic script um but also in the greek script i'll
16:56
show you uh right here you have even the greek inscriptions there so this was a a site that many people were coming to
17:02
and the reason was in fact the dry lake bed that we see right next to it
17:07
was in former times of course filled with water and it was called by many of those who wrote the saphedix
17:13
inscriptions and atayat afayet which simply means a pond in saphiric
17:18
and the soviet writers recorded stopping at this place and taking their animals to the pond and exploiting the pond
17:24
okay and it seems that the same reason would have attracted uh anyone passing through the desert
17:30
okay um let's see yes uh and one of the texts among the
17:37
many many inscriptions that we discovered here was one text that was unique it was carved in a kind of script style it's
17:42
very different than the uh other uh texts that we discovered and it was carved on a movable solitary
17:49
stone it made no reference to the pool i can't show the entire photograph yet because the inscription isn't published
17:55
we hope to publish it this year um but i have given you a section here of the
18:00
relevant portion right the invocation so the entire text reads
18:07
something like this
18:16
that's his genealogy a man named that he gives his ancestors 10 generations or so well
18:25
he grieved for his maternal uncle the ashleylight this is typical safiya
18:31
not very uh remarkable in any way and then the invocation which you can see very clearly here for those of you who
18:36
know the safety script
18:50
help him against those who deny you now we'll talk about how to make sense
18:57
of this text in the next slide but immediately the formula shows us that this form and c is in the
19:05
position of the deity it's being invoked and that and in some fields this continental skeleton and signia
19:11
is compatible with classical arabic uh spelling of isa okay whereas in classical arabic
19:18
you write the long vowel internally with a ya in saphyric you do not mark internal
19:23
long vowels the what we call the alif maksura in classical arabic which is really just a yad that we
19:29
pronounce as an alif in normative classical arabic pronunciation and southeast is always represented with
19:34
the there are phonetic phonological and phonetic reasons for that that we can discuss later okay so this form here is compatible
19:42
with the arabic so how do we determine exactly what this
19:49
means well saphyric writing software descriptions are rigidly formulaic and
19:54
these formulae give us an opportunity to understand the occurrences of new words
20:00
and understand the syntax or to understand the meaning of new combinations of words since they
20:06
all follow the same or very similar syntax so the invocation here follows an established
20:12
uh uh formula for invocations where you begin with evocative and the deity uh here on the side you have various
20:19
ones ha and then the name of a deity then an imperative verb which can then be followed by a
20:24
predominant object introduced by h or or a nominal object that goes back to the author that refers
20:30
back to the author and then the preposition me or men with assimilation and then the uh um and that introduces
20:38
the matter for which the author is seeking help okay so here we have hi
20:45
salim
20:58
against enemies
21:12
deliver him from enemies and so on so you see that the structure is established there are
21:18
many many many inscriptions that follow this exact structure and that is the exact formula that we have here so we can break it down quite
21:25
easily as a deity is the imperative verb
21:31
ha refers back to the author me is what he's seeking protection against
21:37
is the thing that that he's seeking his help or protection from and this ka
21:43
must refer back to the deity right so this is going back to the deity now
21:48
the collocation of these verbs nasa and kaffar is indeed remarkable because these verbs do not occur in
21:57
um uh uh elsewhere together in south europe now in the remaining time i cannot give a full survey of all the
22:04
occurrences of the root nasaran in the semitic languages and their spectrum meetings like but i'd like to
22:10
focus on on this on this very important fact of their occurrence here nasara and kaphara are never appearing
22:15
together in safety across hundreds of prayers nasara is only known from
22:20
i think two texts and kaphara is attested here for the first time and we have of course
22:26
it's uh we see that the pair occurred together for example in the quran in three one four seven one surname
22:35
and help and grant us victory over the disbelieving host and uh even with a direct object so
22:40
usually in the quran kephara kafarabi it takes an object introduced by b but in extra quranic material kaphara
22:48
can take a direct object so for example in this um and what is uh yesterday's
22:55
which uh has its origins and the controversial laws
23:03
we do not deny you we do not believe in you but we uh uh but we believe in we do uh
23:10
the contrary right um and so and of course this uh usage is reminiscent of uh
23:16
syriac usage as well in fact um the semantics of kaphra in arabic to
23:22
deny are thought to derive from syriac usage that is a meaning originates in a christian context
23:27
and so while kaphara exists in arabic already its original meaning um and this is the meaning that you find
23:33
across the semitic languages is to cover or to conceal but not to for example deny
23:39
faith and here we have a uh a nice example in syriac
23:47
okay so let us go identize the christianity the nazarene phase all right um
23:54
so then let's move on so then how do we try to identify this uh uh
24:02
divine name and scene yeah given the context that we've just presented and seeing how that's strongly
24:08
reminiscent of christian usage how do we define uh or how do we try to identify ancient yeah now it's
24:14
compatibility with these as important but at the same time uh uh we should be aware of the fact that asa itself
24:21
in classical arabic the name of jesus asa in classical arabic does not have a convincing etymology it
24:27
does not derive through any normal processes from the existing names of jesus at the
24:33
time so for example the hebrew yeshua syria yeshua greek
24:39
is uh ethiopic yeah none of these would produce isa it's
24:46
possible through a lot of ad hoc changes to transform any of these into isa but those ad hoc
24:51
changes um reduce the likelihood of such an explanation so for example for the greek
24:57
isus it has been said uh that uh well the arabic added the i'm to the
25:02
beginning of the word which happens occasionally but it's not regular but then the second declension ending us
25:08
is never rendered in arabic with the final ah much less a so we would just have to say they did
25:14
that just because and those are the types of examples those are the types of explanations that have been used
25:19
um some of the better explanations in fact that have been used to explain how these uh pre-existing names for
25:26
uh for jesus became isa or ise depending on the um reading tradition one wishes to use
25:33
when performing the quran now i i noticed a while back that at least a
25:39
name that is consonantally compatible with isa exists in safiyad again it even exists
25:45
in the in pagan inscriptions so for example in this inscription here uh we have a short text with a prayer
25:52
life bin and then you have an senior
25:59
right so it's a prayer to a uh pagan deity with a person named cenia so a very simple hypothesis would
26:07
be that this was a pre-existing name in the arabic of the area
26:12
that when the uh that when the when these arabic speakers became christian
26:18
that they equated this name with the name of jesus now there are parallels for this for
26:23
example the arabic name for john johannan which is given in arabic as
26:28
yahya or yahya okay these uh oops sorry this uh where did we go uh
26:34
yeah which is given in arabic as yahya this does not derive from this is not
26:40
the result of simply importing into arabic and pronouncing it with an arabic accent or or
26:45
or rendering it with arabic phonology but rather yahya or is a pre-existing arabic name
26:51
indeed already tested tested in saphiric in pagan inscriptions and it seems that when arabic speakers
26:59
adopted this name into arabic when they they equated it with a pre-existing name
27:04
so rather than simply bringing your hanan over they equated your hanan with a name that already existed in their
27:10
anamastacon which was the same process could in fact apply to jesus is not brought
27:18
over in this strand of arabic and other kinds of arabic it was of course but in this strand of arabic it was not
27:23
brought over phonetically but rather equated with a pre-existing name
27:29
okay all right now with that said it still leaves the etymology of ese
27:35
open there's no consensus among uh uh the uh classical exegetes and
27:41
medieval arabic grammarians and lexicographers as to what i say means many have suggested it is a
27:47
foreign name others have tried to derive it from arabic roots meaning white but there's no consensus i'd like to
27:53
suggest here a etymology that may have motivated this
27:58
equation the root it may not come from a root that we
28:04
find in the um uh in the classical arabic
28:09
dictionaries i would suggest that the meaning of the name okay actually made it attractive especially
28:15
attractive as a way to render jesus into arabic the root assaya as i said is not productive in classical arabic but is
28:21
found in older arabian languages and in gaias and it seems in the southern lexicon if we look at the at the
28:28
personal names means something like to purchase okay to acquire to purchase and so i would suggest that you say is a
28:35
a fail pattern which is an agent of pattern right an arabic or productive agent of pattern
28:40
uh meaning the doer of something um to mean the purchaser or purchaser right uh the name would be
28:47
uh similar would have had a similar meaning to the modern arabic name fadi which is one who ransoms the one
28:53
who purchases right and in that sense he say it's literal if that is the correct
28:59
etymology it would literally mean the redeemer or a redeemer a possible lone equivalent not translation
29:06
of the greek title uh for example soter or syria it would be seen as an equivalent
29:12
on that the focus on the redemptive aspect of salvation the arabic name or epithet may be deliberate the
29:19
pagan gods were frequently invoked for deliverance yet they never paid or sacrificed anything in order to
29:25
save their worshiper this would have been a unique quality of christian salvation as such the epithet could have served to distinguish
29:31
christ as a redeeming savior from the older pagan gods indeed christ's sacrifice as
29:38
redemption is expressed in several of paul's letters and is a universal aspect of christian theology
29:44
now we can also take an alternative uh view and see ah come up with a different uh uh etymology
29:50
and connect it to a hebrew assa or the root meaning to make or do and take
29:57
it as assay a creator or doer but the sibilants don't quite work out there so there's
30:02
some sound correspondence issues and again such an explanation sort of
30:08
uh it doesn't take into account the heavily christian vocabulary of the invocation in which this name
30:14
occurs right and leaves our explanation of the name of jesus also uh uh what leaves the name of jesus
30:20
in arabic later without an explanation so then we come and try to build a historical context for this
30:27
inscription if the interpretation is correct that this is indeed and this is indeed a christian
30:32
invocation and build a pretty strong case for that how did this come to be earlier literary
30:39
early literary sources report several accounts of christian holy men venturing out into the deserts to convert its nomadic
30:45
inhabitants perhaps one of the most famous descriptions belongs to jerome with the in the fourth early fifth
30:52
century um recounts an encounter between saint hilarion and the arabs and elusive he
30:57
describes the saracens so he describes them as devoted to the cult of the morning star and stories of saint hilarian's miracle
31:03
working caused the nomads to flock to him to receive blessings at which point he invited them to abandon the idols and
31:10
worship god alone as it converts them to christianity now greek inscriptions left by men with greek names can be
31:16
found throughout the hallway in the most remote parts of the not many but they're there you can
31:22
encounter them for example the photograph here you see this was left by just a single name somebody
31:27
named nestor carved his name here now one wonders if some of these like our
31:34
nestor were carved by ascetics proselytizing to the nomads
31:40
there is so far only one greek inscription that contains christian devotional language discovered near paso
31:45
this hasn't been published yet but it is the the same circumstances that would have led uh to this kind of proselytizing in in
31:52
other places for example in the account described by jerome would have uh uh been present in the hot run it's not
31:58
hard to imagine that um people from settled areas in the holy men from those areas or or
32:04
elsewhere moving into the hadron attempting to convert the local nomads in the same way wabel could therefore
32:11
have been could therefore have lived at the period at the end of soviet documentation let's
32:16
say around the fourth century ce his group may have converted to christianity by the activities of desert
32:22
proselytizers the fact that jesus is invoked in a manner similar to the prague dance
32:28
but which is simply different uh let's say vocabulary could suggest that simply modified his writing tradition to
32:35
accommodate his new faith constantine klein produced a fascinating study of these early literary accounts
32:41
suggests that the type of conversion described by jerome was merely the grafting of the old
32:46
of the new upon the old and that might that might be what we are uh witnessing here
32:53
uh thank you very much for your attention uh you can if you have further questions after the talk you can write me
32:59
at this address or visit my uh website for further articles on uh on the inscriptions and to give a
33:04
broader context and uh and and hopefully we'll have this inscription published
33:09
this year sometime the article is almost ready and should be coming out this year
33:14
where i go into many of these issues in more detail and i'm happy to discuss the details with you in the uh right now
33:21
in the discussion thank you very much thank you so much for that i'll give the
33:27
round of applause on behalf of everybody who's watching now uh it's exciting stuff and we're extremely grateful that you're
33:33
willing to share that with us uh in advance of publication i've got a couple of questions here and
33:40
some of them are related to uh just general context for perhaps those of us who are who are not so
33:45
intimately familiar uh with this about what time chronologically does isa
33:53
uh the the name in arabic generally become agreed to as referred to being jesus well you have
34:00
you the uh the earliest let's say uh documentation of this name is in the
34:05
quran itself okay so it's in the quran itself uh and if you want to be very strict then you
34:10
would put that to the mid you would say you would look at the earliest manuscripts which date to the mid 7th century okay now at the same time
34:18
christian arabic communities have another name for jesus which is yasuo
34:24
and this is in fact the arabic pronunciation of the syriac and hebrew yeshua right you
34:30
would render into arabic as yeshua and that's sort of a different line but that name yes does not occur
34:35
as the name of jesus in the quran and then and it's the quran that establishes the name of jesus for muslims
34:42
and that is the uh name that uh that is that is the name that of
34:48
course is used uh by muslims and within the muslim tradition assemblage by the quran yeah so this would be perhaps in
34:55
previous previous think i should say this most people have understood their essay to be a corruption
35:00
or some kind of misunderstanding uh uh done and and basically put it back to
35:06
muhammad himself muhammad heard it this way or misheard it this way and so the discovery of this text in
35:12
fact pushes the name back centuries with no longer attribute the um incompatibility of isa and yes yeshua
35:19
yeshua to the early islamic community it goes back further if this identification is
35:24
correct okay thank you so you have uh you seem to have inspired some people to start
35:30
their googling mid-lecture uh and so there are some questions about is there a major
35:35
electronic index or source for these kinds of languages is there
35:40
an online repository something that's maybe mapped or geo-referenced so people can
35:46
explore a little bit on their own uh yes there are two uh two resources for north and south the north one the
35:53
online corpus of the inscriptions of ancient north arabia you can type that into google and find
35:58
it and that has the inscriptions the sophiatic inscriptions in the north arabian inscriptions and the digital archive uh dasie for the
36:06
uh study of the inscriptions of ray i can't remember what the rest of it was sorry about that uh but that's for the south arabian
36:12
inscriptions yeah visual yeah and so there and and that one's a host in italy oceana is in
36:18
the uk out of oxford yeah and we will collect those references for those interested and make sure to link them on facebook
36:24
or in the comments on youtube once we get everything there so that people can explore
36:30
okay we're going to take some more questions here um would anybody assume the uh
36:37
[Music] sophiatic predates christianity out of an absence of mentions
36:46
um i think you have uh so you have references to events that that
36:52
that happen in in the first century bc so you can say that the inscription
36:57
and then of course you have the archaeological evidence the real question i think this is a this is probably a different way of thinking about it
37:04
the um the ancient north arabian inscriptions would say this
37:09
um uh date back to the middle of the first millennium bce in north arabia
37:15
perhaps earlier but for sure to the middle of the first millennium bce now the development of this script type
37:23
of other early north arabian scripts which we call vaguely famous or oasis north arabian
37:28
into sophietic is a discussion of letter shapes when did the letter shapes develop in such a way that we now call them zafiri
37:35
but when we look to other things like formulae structure of prayer structures of expression vocabulary
37:41
there seems to be a continued tradition that dates back from to the middle of
37:46
the first millennium bce until the soviet period whenever that ends um of uh
37:52
of um a writing formulae and of uh and of style so we might simply be talking about a
37:58
continuous use of a script type and very broadly speaking
38:03
that um uh in these areas and the definition of software edict simply comes down to when do we start calling
38:09
these letter shapes and indeed the difference b there are some groups of sophietic descriptions
38:14
what we call the 90 degree script where the difference between that and some would be is which is a
38:20
much older script we think it goes back to the middle of the first million bce the difference between the two is really
38:26
hard to tell sometimes and sometimes it could be either so we are looking at a a gradient or a spectrum yeah
38:34
so there's a couple of questions related to what the inscriptions can tell us about
38:39
the people on the plate uh what the inscriptions tell us about literacy
38:44
among the groups of people here these pastoralists is there a way to measure is there understanding is there other
38:50
comparative contemporary data
38:55
uh yes literacy um the uh there there certainly seems to be
39:01
um more literacy than what's expected but that's because our general idea about literacy in this uh in pre-islamic
39:08
arabia is that well very few people could read or produce read and write right so that's the general idea
39:14
about the pre-islamic period is that most people could not read and write there was a uh and so the discovery of all these
39:20
inscriptions is shocking already from that perspective now the question of literacy has is tied
39:26
to the question of chronology and so far as you can look at the amount of inscriptions that you see
39:31
okay in the landscape and say this is a huge number that huge number really depends on the time dimension and since we don't know
39:38
the time dimension it's really hard to say how you know definitely how widespread
39:43
writing was because if you have and this is an argument i think um peter arkham has made in print somewhere
39:50
uh if you have uh uh uh you know 30 000 texts over 300 years it's very different
39:56
than 30 000 texts over 800 years and so it's very difficult to say without the time dimension pinned down
40:02
how widespread writing was but it does but there we there was no there were no institutions
40:07
or formal institutions and such so there could be institutions that's a tricky term but no formal institutions
40:12
such where we would say that you have a scribal a a a scribal class a special group of people that were trained describes
40:19
writing seems to and michael mcdonald hypothesized that writing was passed on informally taught from person to person
40:25
but it's important to emphasize this while it was passed on and informally the uh the
40:32
structure of the inscription the formulae what you could say in the description was very rigid so it wasn't that they
40:38
just learned the alphabet but they learned how and what to write they didn't simply write whatever
40:43
came to their minds they followed very strict formulaic genres and so that's why we know a lot about certain things
40:49
and almost nothing about other subjects because they followed very strict um writing for me there are exceptions and
40:54
those exceptions are precious but very but but but generally speaking they follow a very strict uh
41:00
writing um formulae yeah so if they're following these formulae there must be some
41:05
centralized ish way of of obtaining the knowledge right
41:11
yes so i would think that it would be productive to compare it to the way let's say poetry um must have been
41:18
taught and reproduced in in among the pre-islamic nomads so if you think about poetry it's very it's
41:23
it follows very similar themes you have uh meters and rhyme and meter set structures established meters that you have to
41:30
follow in rhymes there are no schools as such that you went to these were simply regulated by usage
41:35
but when you compose a poem a poem should look in a certain way and therefore you have to follow one of the established meters you have to
41:41
use the rhyme and you need to follow a certain structure as well and so it seems that the inscriptions
41:46
would have been taught in a similar kind of way um i think that's probably a good comparison yeah okay
41:53
and uh i'm going to regret taking this privilege is that you stumbled into an area i study as chronology
41:59
and i'm curious have there been archaeological scientific attempts to
42:04
date for example you mentioned there's always there's often dung in the areas around where these are collected
42:09
uh or taking ams samples from around the the layers around the lake beds
42:16
or i can think of any number of others are there people trying to sort out those finer points
42:22
since the chronology is such an open question the real trick though is associating
42:27
whatever you date with the inscription itself so for example uh you might date so
42:33
you might find a burial okay that one excavates and you uh uh can date
42:40
the remains but how and then there might be sophiatic inscriptions at the site as well but the only way to link the two is if
42:46
the sophietic inscription directly references the grave and says that this is the burial of so-and-so and so far no burial with an associated
42:55
soviet description has been discovered to date in such a way there are lots of inscriptions around
43:01
the edges of these lakes are there any sort of accretions from the lakes have risen and drop that overlap on the
43:07
on the inscriptions because i know with these accretions if there's enough carbon in them that can be dated that's interesting no i
43:14
don't i don't i don't know of any examples personally but that's a very interesting thing to look into i know for example this
43:19
seasonal lake that we went to the avaya the cairn where the inscriptions were at were you know
43:25
good 300 meters or so from the lake so yeah yeah so they're a bit further so you would basically take your animals down i
43:31
suppose somebody the camp would be a bit further away and that's where they were producing the inscriptions um what's fascinating here
43:37
though is uh uh there are i think that there are opportunities um you know with further uh surveying to
43:44
find undisturbed burials where this might be possible but the reason why this is something that's
43:49
interesting to point out the reason why it's so difficult to find undisturbed structures or burials
43:54
is because the area is uh in constant use the same people still inhabit still use the same
44:00
areas and so when you go to a site with a lot of safety inscriptions the inscriptions can be thrown around
44:06
they look like they're just written on any rocks and just thrown about but i'm becoming more and more convinced that that's because
44:12
they're not in their original context so this la in 2019 we actually discovered a beautiful site that seems to have been
44:19
undisturbed one of the good reasons to think it's undisturbed it was there's no cigarette packaging around or
44:24
anything so there's nothing no evidence for at least recent uh uh people being there
44:29
um and the soviet inscriptions that in other sites look like they're thrown about were beautifully arranged
44:35
into sort of a panel and in a um an enclosure and they formed a structure we
44:41
found out that the structure was in fact a funerary structure and that the word that we have been translating as enclosure elsewhere
44:47
because these things have been found out of context in fact referred to a certain funerary installation
44:52
and that because we found it in context it was in fact a funerary installation it wasn't just a rock talking about an
44:58
enclosure for animals now that is a unique find so far but uh so and and you have to go into
45:05
the really the deepest parts to to to find places such as these so hopefully there's an opportunity if
45:10
an undisturbed grave is found in such a context then we could get uh uh a real date that would fit with an
45:16
inscription that we could um isn't it wonderful when archaeology and linguistics play nice together
45:22
oh absolutely absolutely so i have some we have some more questions here uh about the northern and
45:29
southern versions we're asking is there a connection between these two um between these two types
45:36
what's the difference yes um south sofietic is a term that uh
45:43
was used i guess at rishi's height in the 80s to refer to what we today call the hismaic inscriptions um it is
45:49
what it also appears in the literature as samurai these texts uh occur in the
45:54
hisma in um area um and they can be found as far north as madaba they are related and
46:01
so they they seem to be from the same time period they are not the same script and they actually reflect two very different
46:07
writing traditions and this is why i'm a uh this is why i say that these the scripts come with
46:12
established writing traditions because you have two ancient north arabian alphabet types at the same time time period but the
46:20
things that they express are very very different and they follow very different kind of ways to structure the
46:26
inscriptions and the genres the subjects that they they talk about in the inscriptions are actually quite different
46:31
and so it seems that these reflect different communities and different writing traditions one using a script that we call this make
46:38
and it's distinguished from sap in terms of its letter shapes and the values that certain letter shapes have
46:43
and the other that we call suffield which is concentrated in the hardware yeah okay i think we're going to take
46:49
one more here uh you mentioned that some combination of the sophiatic letters as meaning a
46:54
common indication of prayer has anyone or you tried had tried to check whether the quranic
47:00
quote unexplained letter combinations at the beginning of separate specific surahs could be something in
47:07
origin or have an i haven't seen anything that would shed
47:12
light on those unfortunately would be exciting but i haven't uh seen anything that sheds light on on that we have lots of inscriptions we
47:18
don't understand but i think that comes from the fact that we and especially in the family conscriptions but i think that comes
47:24
more from the fact that we just simply don't have enough material to understand those languages rather than they being magical combinations of letters so i
47:31
don't think we have anything that would shed light on what's going on in the quran yeah okay well we thank you very much we have
47:39
a great many other uh questions still here but i will uh direct folks to as you as you offered to email you in
47:45
contact directly here and uh we thank you professor al jalan for your time tonight and for this
47:51
exciting discovery we hope to see it in print and when it does we'll make sure to get it linked onto our web page
47:56
and back to this lecture uh so everybody can follow up on your points thank you very much thank you for the
48:02
invitation thank you truly our pleasure thank you so much thank you bye good night everyone
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34843
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Thu Oct 27, 2022 2:34 am

My Fake Picasso Went to Auction at $1.4 Million
by Sydney Lima
VICE
Feb 26, 2021

Forgery is one of the greatest challenges the art world faces today, with fakes and misattributions estimated to be as high as 50% of all works in the market.

Before his arrest, Billy “The Brush” Mumford forged over 1000 pieces that made their way across the globe. His best friend David Henty had equally thrived selling his fakes on eBay, with one of his Picasso copies recently going up for auction at £1 million.

Sydney Lima meets the two convicted forgers as they work to create a knock-off piece of art that could be accepted as real. Then she takes the piece to a forensic lab to see whether they can tell it’s a fake.



Transcript

0:00
This is just a little storeroom.
0:02
So you’ve got a Caravaggio.
0:03
Six-and-a-half-foot Basquiat.
0:04
There’s another Modigliani there.
0:06
Oh, is this a Picasso?
0:07
I mean, I do Picassos.
0:08
Sometimes I can do two or three in a day before breakfast, you know,
0:11
because they’re not that difficult.
0:13
I gave one to a friend of mine. He sold it.
0:15
Someone bought it, and they took it to the auction
0:18
and they valued it at a million.
0:19
[Kings of Forgery]
0:22
Forgery is one of the greatest challenges the art world faces today,
0:25
with fakes and misattributions estimated to be as high as
0:28
50 percent of all works in the art market.
0:31
Sold. Six million two.
0:33
To combat this, there has sprung a multibillion dollar industry
0:36
of authentication services.
0:37
However, away from the premier art circuit,
0:40
there is a blind spot where forgeries get through with ease.
0:44
I’m on my way to meet David Henty and Billy “The Brush” Mumford,
0:48
two convicted forgers
0:49
who have made thousands selling their fakes on eBay.
0:52
The two lads like to go to this car boot sale
0:54
to find historical materials
0:56
appropriate to wherever they’re forging.
0:58
Although they claim to have hung up their forgery boots,
1:00
they go and show me how they would fake a painting.
1:02
Then I’m going to take that painting
1:03
to one of London’s best authentication services
1:06
to see if they can clock it’s a fake.
1:09
-Sydney. -Hiya.
1:11
-How you doing? -Hi, how are you doing?
1:12
-Hi. Billy. -Nice to meet you.
1:14
Take me through this license plate.
1:16
Van Goghs. I’ve got Van Gogh as well.
1:20
-Have you? -Yeah. And I’ve got--
1:21
You’ve bought all the Van Gogh options.
1:23
Yeah. Well, I’m also... I’m just buying one,
1:25
F-O-R-6-3-R, FORGER.
1:29
What have you got here?
1:31
Billy’s got a load of catalogs,
1:32
so I’m going to be looking through these later on this afternoon
1:35
and thinking, “Oh if I get a little canvas like that,
1:37
I’ll stick something on it.”
1:38
You know, you get some good ideas from here.
1:40
We’re going to go down to the market now,
1:42
but just before that... unfortunately, I served some time
1:47
in a prison about two or three minutes away,
1:49
so we might go via there.
1:53
Before Billy was caught under the police’s “Operation Sketch”
1:56
and sentenced to two years in prison,
1:58
he had forged over 1,000 pieces
2:01
that had made their way across the globe.
2:03
Detectives have only managed to find 40 so far,
2:06
meaning there’s a lot still in circulation.
2:08
So how did you get into art forgery?
2:10
Well, I was dismissed from Saint Martins in 1968.
2:14
It was something to do with me being intoxicated in a life drawing class.
2:20
So it was either get a job
2:23
or use what limited artistic skills I had,
2:26
and that’s the road I went down.
2:28
Do you still forge art?
2:30
No, not at all.
2:32
Wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole.
2:33
Do you do any art?
2:35
Yeah. I doodle sometimes, yeah.
2:37
Do they look similar to any other pieces of art?
2:43
-Sometimes. -Sometimes, yeah.
2:45
So have you served any time for art forgery?
2:47
I served time for forgery.
2:49
-Forging passports. -Right.
2:51
I went into the prison art department.
2:55
I thought I’d just go in and read about art and learn about it.
2:58
But the teachers there said, “No, you’ve got to actually paint.”
3:01
When I came out I thought, “This is what I want to do,”
3:03
but it's very difficult to sell your own work.
3:05
But then I painted a lovely little Paul Henry, the Irish artist.
3:08
So I put it on, and I got a thousand pound.
3:10
I was getting... I’m not going to say too much because the--
3:13
I mean, I’ve straightened the taxman out now.
3:15
I had a criminal tax investigation
3:17
because I was making so much money there.
3:19
-We’d better go, Billy. -OK.
3:21
We’d better go or we’re going to miss all the old canvasses.
3:23
We certainly are.
3:25
What’s your favorite thing about the art world?
3:26
The money.
3:31
Mark Rothko, a wonderful American abstract painter,
3:36
said that to be an artist,
3:38
you have to steal a space on a rich man’s wall.
3:42
And I love that. I don’t forge famous artists per se.
3:48
I do the one that they could have painted.
3:51
When I used to do eBay and stuff like that,
3:52
there was a caveat saying, “There’s no paperwork
3:54
or provenance with this painting,”
3:56
so sold “in the style of” or “after the artist.”
3:59
That way you're covered by law.
4:01
You could go to the auction and put it in...
4:03
and not say anything.
4:04
And if they go, “Yes,” then it goes through, you know.
4:07
And Billy and I get all the art catalogs,
4:10
and quite often you’ll open it up and you’ll see--
4:11
Ah, that’s one of ours.
4:12
So do you think auction houses
4:14
kind of profit off not asking questions?
4:17
-Yeah, yeah. -Absolutely.
4:18
Yeah, I mean, if they can turn a blind eye.
4:20
They want it to be right
4:22
because if it isn’t right, they ain’t going to earn a dime.
4:27
So how do we go about finding the tools?
4:29
If you want to get it past the forensics,
4:31
you have to use age appropriate materials.
4:34
That’s one for you, isn’t it?
4:35
So is this what you’re after?
4:37
Yeah. This is, yeah.
4:38
-Is it all right to have a look? -Yes, of course.
4:41
Yeah, Windsor & Newton. It’s an old one, about 1910, 1915.
4:45
Perfect for a little painting.
4:48
I could get a Lowry on there, couldn’t I?
4:49
-Yeah, of course. -An early Lowry, yeah.
4:52
How much are they?
4:53
I’ll do them two for £20.
4:55
-How’s that? -Lovely.
4:59
These are old letters, look at that.
5:01
One of Lowry’s things that he did, he’d draw on anything, you know,
5:04
even letters in his pocket and envelopes and stuff.
5:06
They turn up every now and again.
5:08
And if they’re from the 50s or 60s,
5:11
they’ve a good chance of being a Lowry drawing.
5:14
-Thanks. -Lovely, cheers.
5:16
That was a good buy, mate.
5:17
I shall do a little masterpiece on here later.
5:25
Right. Home, sweet home.
5:36
The whole purpose of coming here
5:38
is for David to have a look at some frames.
5:40
Yeah, how much are these, Billy?
5:42
-Nice selection, David. -One, two, three...
5:43
-Let’s get them out before we talk. -four, five, six, seven--
5:44
I can’t talk money in the dark, Dave,
5:46
I cannot talk money in the dark.
5:47
Where’s that chair? In case I faint at the price.
5:50
Look at these rusty nails...
5:52
How did they get like that?
5:55
With a salt water, I expect.
5:57
Why would anyone want rusty nails?
5:59
Beats the hell out of me. I don’t know.
6:01
I think it’s time, the passage of time, really.
6:04
I don’t think it’s a chemical process.
6:06
Three, four...
6:07
No, don’t lump them all together, Dave.
6:09
They’re individual prices, David.
6:12
Individual price.
6:13
This one... beautiful, 90 quid.
6:15
Oh, God.
6:17
You adding it up?
6:18
-Seventy quid. -What?!
6:21
This, one and a quarter.
6:23
Don’t.
6:24
This one here, for my friend as a gift.
6:27
-Thank you. -Nothing, gornisht.
6:29
-It’s nice, that little one, innit? -Yeah, lovely.
6:30
Can see a little Italian painting in there.
6:31
-Are you adding these up? -Yeah.
6:33
-What’s that, £375? -Yeah.
6:35
I’ll have to owe you... 40 quid, 20 quid.
6:39
Mazel tov.
6:40
Pleasure to meet you all.
6:41
I wish I could say it’s a pleasure.
6:43
What do you mean?
6:45
Come here, you schmuck.
6:53
Shall I take in these ones in here?
6:56
Yeah, if you wouldn’t mind.
6:59
-We’ve got to be so careful. -Oh gosh, don’t say that.
7:02
Hello!
7:03
Come on, Rock.
7:04
Rocky.
7:06
Oh, wow!
7:08
-Yeah, this is a-- -This is insane.
7:10
This is just a little storeroom with some of my... paintings in.
7:15
-So you’ve got a Caravaggio. -Caravaggio.
7:17
I think there’s another one. Oh, there’s a Caravaggio there as well.
7:20
Salvator Mundi.
7:21
That went for the most money ever at auction, didn’t it?
7:24
Yeah.
7:25
-It did. £450 million, yeah. -£450 million.
7:27
Six-and-a-half-foot Basquiat.
7:29
You could take that and do the forensics on it...
7:32
and it would come back as genuine.
7:34
-Really? -Yeah.
7:35
There’s another Modigliani there. Basquiat.
7:38
How often are you doing these paintings?
7:40
Every day. I get up every day and...
7:42
yeah, I work seven days a week just because I really enjoy it.
7:45
Oh, is this a Picasso?
7:46
I mean, I do Picassos, you know...
7:49
sometimes I can do two or three in a day, you know.
7:51
They’re not that difficult.
7:52
I gave one to a friend of mine. He sold it.
7:55
Someone bought it, and they took it to the auction
7:57
and they valued it at a million.
7:58
And they had quite a lot of interest in it.
8:01
But it came out in the papers that this forger said it’s his.
8:04
The guy who owned it started threatening.
8:07
And he told a friend of mine that goes in there, that buys stuff,
8:12
“Tell him I’m going to get someone to burn his house down--”
8:14
-Your house? -My house, yeah. He put a...
8:17
firebomb through the letterbox.
8:19
So I reported it to the police,
8:21
and I got all cameras put up at the front of my house and stuff.
8:23
I just said on Twitter,
8:25
I said, “Do due diligence.”
8:27
You know, if you’re selling a million pound painting,
8:29
get it authenticated.
8:30
But did it sell?
8:31
All the TV cameras were there and the news channels
8:34
and it flopped.
8:35
I think they said they sold it for eight thousand.
8:40
Amazing. Quite a view.
8:43
Yeah, yeah, it’s good.
8:44
Do you often work out here?
8:46
Yeah, if I can.
8:48
I love to work out here
8:49
just because it’s nice and it’s peaceful, you know.
8:52
Going to paint a little seascape.
8:54
So how much have you studied Lowry then,
8:56
to understand how he paints down to a T?
8:59
Oh, I’ve been to the Lowry gallery...
9:02
I bought every book I could find about Lowry.
9:07
When you’ve stepped in their shoes,
9:08
you understand a bit more than an academic
9:11
because you’re actually living it.
9:12
But this one, I’m making up.
9:14
So I’ll put a bit of sky.
9:16
So it could be like a lost Lowry that’s just ended up at auction.
9:20
Well, it might well do.
9:23
Do you think there are any problems with art forgery?
9:26
Well, I think there’s a lot of problems with people making money
9:30
off dead artists, you know,
9:32
that didn’t make any money in their own lifetimes.
9:35
There’s more of a problem with that, I would have thought.
9:38
You know, you’re an ordinary girl,
9:40
you love Picasso or you love Modigliani,
9:43
but you haven’t got 5 million or 10 million or 100 million.
9:46
But I still want a painting.
9:47
I don’t want a print, a lifeless print.
9:49
So, you know, is that wrong?
9:52
I think the basic thing is I don’t care about the money;
9:55
I love the art.
9:56
When I go to bed at night,
9:57
I can’t wait to get up in the morning.
9:58
If I’m working on something that I really, really like,
10:02
you’re in your own world, basically.
10:04
If I was a multimillionaire...
10:07
I’d still get up in the morning and paint pictures.
10:09
Obviously, technology’s advanced.
10:11
Do you think that makes it harder to make good forgeries?
10:14
-No. -No?
10:15
Nah, nah. I think you can beat the forensics,
10:19
and the rest is about good craftsmanship, really.
10:22
So what do you think?
10:24
Passable.
10:27
OK, well, give me a call when it’s ready and I’ll take it to the lab.
10:30
-OK. -And I’ll let you know how it goes.
10:32
As long as we go halves on it.
10:34
OK, deal.
10:39
[3 Weeks Later]
10:41
So I dropped off David Henty’s Lowry the other day,
10:43
and they’re going to run a few tests.
10:44
So fingers crossed for David.
10:46
[Art Discovery London]
10:50
Hello, I’m Sydney.
10:55
There it is.
10:56
Here it is.
10:57
So here’s the Lowry basically dismantled.
11:00
In taking it out of its frame,
11:02
the tape’s still quite sticky,
11:04
which means it wasn’t on there for a long time.
11:06
Taking the painting out,
11:08
he’s clearly used one of these old notebooks, 1955.
11:12
So no question about it, this is old.
11:15
This isn’t particularly impressive.
11:16
Now, we’re going to take that and have a look down the microscope.
11:20
Straightaway, we can see that it’s very yellow looking.
11:24
And this is typical of forgeries
11:27
because you want the object to look old.
11:29
And if you just paint it in nice, fresh, bright colors,
11:33
it’s going to look new.
11:34
There’s no obvious cracking.
11:37
And... yes, we’ve got an obvious fake patina. You see it right away.
11:43
We did find what we think is a pet hair.
11:45
They have two dogs.
11:46
Old master artists
11:48
are really careful about their materials,
11:50
and you don't find dog hairs.
11:52
So now that we’ve, with our tiny scalpel,
11:55
taken our tiny samples,
11:57
we’re going to take them to the lab and see what we’ve got.
12:02
Hi, we’ve brought a stub with some samples from the Lowry painting.
12:06
So what's this machine?
12:07
It's actually one of our best tools for looking for forgeries.
12:11
It does the best job of anything in this room
12:13
for looking for modern 21st century pigments.
12:16
Is there any way that anyone could trick these machines?
12:20
No.
12:21
So now we’ll go have a quick look at our imaging room,
12:24
where we’ll be taking an X-ray as well of the Lowry.
12:28
The way this works is that the painting’s placed in the chassis
12:32
and then the camera moves.
12:35
So it’s like Google Earth.
12:36
You get lots of little tiny images
12:38
that are then put together in a computer
12:41
and you can zoom in and zoom out.
12:42
It's like having a microscope without a microscope.
12:47
So one of the most famous quotes,
12:49
which is actually on David Henty’s website,
12:51
is, “I am a simple man and I use simple materials,
12:54
ivory black, vermilion, Prussian blue, yellow ochre,
12:57
flake white and no medium.”
12:58
However, we found cadmium red instead of vermilion.
13:03
We’re accumulating evidence, and the evidence is--
13:05
It’s not looking good.
13:06
It’s not pointing in the right direction.
13:08
Here’s our X-ray of the Lowry.
13:10
As you can see, it’s kind of not very controlled-looking strokes.
13:17
And looking at other Lowrys,
13:19
we see that there’s kind of a control.
13:24
So David was often selling on eBay.
13:26
Do you think that means that there’s a bit of a blind spot
13:29
for getting these kind of Lowrys through?
13:31
Yeah, I mean, it’s for all sorts of things.
13:34
People love to make discoveries,
13:36
but it’s really “buyer beware.”
13:38
If you’re not an expert,
13:39
if you’re getting a bargain, it’s probably not a bargain.
13:43
I think for the market he’s shooting at,
13:45
for doing something to sell on eBay,
13:47
he’s going to fool the average punter who’s not an expert.
13:50
But copying things for profit, that’s deception,
13:54
and that’s where it becomes a criminal act.
13:56
Forgers will speak about channeling, you know,
14:00
the dead artist as if it was some sort of psychic gift they had,
14:03
which is all hugely dodgy.
14:05
It’s just justification for profiting on someone else’s genius.
14:08
So is David Henty, for you, he’s not an artist, he’s a criminal?
14:12
Yeah, basically.
14:14
And he’s a... bit overrating himself to say,
14:18
“Judged as the best copyist in the world.”
14:22
I won’t let him know.
14:26
Hello.
14:27
Hi, David, how are you?
14:28
-Yeah, good, yes. -It’s Sydney.
14:30
Hiya, how’ve you been?
14:31
I’m good. I just left Art Analysis.
14:34
Oh, have you?
14:35
I think it went well.
14:37
Oh, really?
14:38
Well, you sound surprised.
14:40
There was one problem about the paint, the type of white paint.
14:43
And there was the vermilion,
14:44
apparently the vermilion was wrong.
14:46
I did notice that. I didn’t think they’d pick up on it.
14:49
I mean, I didn’t do it to...
14:51
to fool anyone, really, you know.
14:53
No, of course not, David,
14:57
There’s literally no way you could have got past her.
15:00
-Honestly. Yeah. -Really?
15:02
There’s nothing. No way.
15:03
-Bye, David. -Bye. Bye.
15:05
Oh, he’s so sweet.
15:08
I thought he was going to get a bit miffed, but...
15:12
I’ve encouraged him... to keep forging.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 34843
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

PreviousNext

Return to Articles & Essays

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests