Object identification

Many people contact us to inquire about or to donate their antiquities. Our ability to assist in matters like these is often limited because of other important work such as exhibitions, programme activities, researcher visits and international projects. Consequently, we are only in exceptional cases able to help with the identification and assessment of privately owned objects.

Archaeological sites the world over are being looted on a daily basis. Museums, churches and other places of cultural historical value are robbed of their treasures and artefacts. The world cultural heritage is in great danger of diminishing.

Archaeological materials from areas that come under the responsibility of the Museums of World Culture disappear from their countries of origin before they can be documented. War-torn countries such as Afghanistan and other poverty-stricken and politically unstable countries such as (northern) Pakistan and Cambodia are severely affected by the large number of antiquities thefts. In the early 1990's, the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul had already lost more than 2/3 of its unique cultural heritage collections along with the possibility of gaining a greater understanding of ancient interactions between South-East Asia and the European continent. These antiquities and artefacts are now circulating on the international antiques market. Chinese antiquities are another sought after commodity on the international antiques market with reports of many illegal excavations of archaeological sites in China. Invaluable historical information disappears with every illegally sold item. This is a tragic depletion of a country's cultural heritage. In addition to looting and illegal excavations, there is also a large industry manufacturing fake ancient artefacts.

Most museums are today affiliated to the International Council of Museums, also known as ICOM and thus, comply with the rules of professional conduct as adopted by the 15th General Assembly of ICOM in Buenos Aires in 1986 and revised in 2001. These rules of professional conduct aim to stop the looting of our cultural heritage and form the basis of the Museum of World Culture's Collection Acquisition Policy. In view of the above, the Museum of World Culture takes a restrictive approach to the assessment of antiquities belonging to private persons and instead puts more time and effort into organising educational programmes, exhibitions and long-term projects.

If you own an object that you think might be of interest to the Museum of World Culture, please send a written assessment request to: Världskulturmuseerna, Box 5306, S-402 27 Göteborg, Sweden.

The following conditions for an assessment request apply:
- The object must be substantiated by way of an export license issued by its country of origin.
- All relevant information about the object including photographs must accompany the assessment request.