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Collecting “Tribal Art”—Sacred or Secular?

  • Robert K. Paterson (a1)

Abstract:

This article explores the history of collecting and dealing in non-Western cultural objects—primarily from the Pacific Islands—from the earliest explorers to the modern auction houses. It considers international and domestic laws relating to indigenous cultural material that might be seen as religious or sacred in character and concludes that while these rules clearly influence both private and institutional practices they fall short of legally impacting the functioning of otherwise lawful markets.

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