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FAKES IN THE MARKET: A WORD OF WARNING.
It is increasingly difficult to find old Tibetan furniture that has not been re-painted or put together from parts of different pieces. The "Tibetan-style" cabinets and boxes that are being made in Chinese furniture warehouses are easily identified as replicas, but some of the fake furniture coming from Tibet is much harder to recognize. From photographs it can be difficult to tell, and in most instances the repainting is done on an old wooded structure. It is dishonest to date newly re-painted Tibetan furniture to the age of the wooden structure. Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to determine the state of the original paintwork without removing the heavy synthetic varnish applied almost universally to furniture in Tibet these days. In our workshop we remove this new varnish to assess the state of the paint-work of each piece.

  FAKES ON WEB SITES
Having checked many web sites that sell Tibetan furniture, I would estimate that 99% of the pieces that originate from China are replicas, and a large percentage of furniture from Lhasa are also re-painted, put-together or completely new. Extremely popular are doors with snow lions, dragons, tantric symbols, etc. newly painted on thick canvas on old wood. Below are a few examples of excellent replicas, with a detail image which seems to show patina, but is in fact achieved by a master in the art of making fakes.
 
 

replica box
Newly-painted Tibetan box

   
               

Detail of newly-painted Tibetan box
               
new cabinet
Newly-painted Tibetan cabinet

Detail of newly-painted Tibetan cabinet