China’s Art Market and Fraud

In a recently posted article on, writer Abagail R. Esman asserts that China’s art market — the world’s largest — is rife with fraud and deception.

Among Esman’s assertions:

– Many major purchases at China’s auction houses are defaulted on, and never completed.

– Artificially inflated purchase prices and manipulated sales have distorted the market

– Sellers are covertly allowed to bid, often in a process designed as a bribe

If Esman is correct that over 80% of the prices paid at Chinese art and auction sales are tainted, it is likely that price estimates across the globe have been altered as a result. Add to this the problem of fakes and forgeries — always an issue in the Chinese market — and you have some idea of the complications found in the market for both antique and contemporary Chinese works.

For the complete text of Esman’s article, click here.