chapter  1
14 Pages

Ethics

ByGary Edson

A few years ago, a large metropolitan museum was offered an extraordinary work of aboriginal art that would have been a very important addition to their collection. The curator of ethnology was delighted with the object as it complemented several works already in the museum’s collection. The piece was well crafted, had excellent markings, and was a near perfect example of a late-eighteenth-century, post-adolescent initiation figure depicting the dangers of adulthood. To acquire the object was, from the sociological as well as the ethnographical perspective, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.