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Art Sales as Cultural Intelligence: Analysis of the Auction Market for African Tribal Art

African Security, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 127-144, 2011

Posted: 6 Jul 2011 Last revised: 19 Jul 2011

Erik Nemeth

Cultural Security; RAND Corporation

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

The market value of tribal art has implications for the risk of looting in Africa. Consequent trafficking in tribal art compromises security on the continent by eroding cultural identity, fostering public-sector corruption, and providing a source of revenue for insurgents. This paper examines auction sales of African tribal art for the continent as a whole and by individual nations of origin. Graphical analysis of sales data from the past nine years identifies distinct market trends for temporal comparison with security in nations from which the artworks originate. The analysis suggests that collecting trends in “market nations” may reflect perceptions of security in “source nations”.

Keywords: cultural property, intelligence, looting, trafficking, art market, antiquities, tribal art

Suggested Citation

Nemeth, Erik, Art Sales as Cultural Intelligence: Analysis of the Auction Market for African Tribal Art (2011). African Security, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 127-144, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1877510

Erik Nemeth (Contact Author)

Cultural Security ( email )

Santa Monica, CA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://culturalsecurity.net

RAND Corporation ( email )

1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.rand.org/about/people/n/nemeth_erik.html

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