Chinggis Khaan/Mongolian Monument, art, antiques and artifacts

Video of a Monument to Chinggis Khaan.  This field video is of one of the most important locations in Mongolian history and is from one of my two Jan – May, 2011 Explores Club Flag Expeditions to research the Mongol-Siberian Shaman’s, their stories, art, cultural objects and Mongolia history. It is the location where 20 year old Temujin took his first real step towards taking the name Chinggis Khaan. The location is in very remote, far northern Mongolia, northwest of Ulaanbaatar. In the background, the ridge line that can be seen is the border with Siberia. The reason the Merkit had camped here was that there was a natural mineral water spring the emerged near by, as well as a river about 1/2 mile/0.8 Km away.

The monument that I am doing a traditional Mongolian offering and prayer to, marks the battle field where young Temujin had his first major successful battle, routing one of the most powerful Mongol clans, the Merkit, and winning back his beloved wife Borte, who they had kidnapped 4 years earlier. The offering I am giving is directed towards the four directions, the great blue sky, as well as respect to Chinggis Khaan, his amazing wife Borte and their love and loyalty to each other.

Many artifacts and antiques from Mongolia are frequently misrepresented as being either Chinese, Sino-Tibetan, Tibetan or even Indian. However, these misrepresentations can depress the prices of real Mongolian art, antiques and artifacts. Please feel free to contact Greg C. Brown & Associates, Inc. if you think your items might be incorrectly identified. I am one of the very few people on earth who has the extensive hands on experience and background in the world in Mongolian history and artifacts.

Greg C. Brown, MS, ISA.


Buddhist Statuary.

Often people assume that every sculpture that appears to be Buddhist is therefore of “Buddha”, or next most often, Guanyin. However, there are hundreds of Buddhist deities and important Lama’s, not just Buddha and/or Guanyin. The reason for this confusion is that in the West most people do not realize the sheer number of deities that exist in the Buddhist pantheon and have only heard of the generalized forms of these two most famous icons.

Another point to be made is that there are various forms of both Buddha and Guanyin, let alone all of the other iconography. These break down into different countries, different sects, different symbolism combinations and even fakes that mix the symbols incorrectly, adding more confusion to the mix. It is therefore important to do a little leg work before you decide to sell or auction your Buddhist iconography, as it is possible that you may end up being taken advantage of by a dealer or collector who knows more than you, and/or an auction house may not know enough to be able to differentiate between an important buddhist sculpture and a common one – this can break in your favor, but more often does not.

If you truly believe you have something important and valuable, then it is more than worth the cost of hiring specialist experts like Greg C. Brown & Associates, Inc. to asset you, as our entire purpose is to make sure you get the true facts.

Greg C. Brown, M.S.; ISA, Member.

The following 4 images come from the Zanzabar Museum of Fine Art in Monglia and represent four different forms of buddhist iconography which are frequently generalized by the public to be either “Buddha” or “Guanyin”: 1) the Amitayus Buddha, 2) a Arhat/Buddhist Elder, 3) the White Tara/Vajrasattva, 4) Avalokiteshvara/Chaturbhuja

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A Lesson For The Casual Collector And Estate Work…

     It never ceases to amaze me how many items clients are unaware that they have important pieces in their homes/businesses/collections. Family lore often dictates what is and is not important to their descendants, while these “facts” frequently do not pan out to be true and items are missed that really need to be examined. It behooves all clients to spend the extra money to have your appraiser swing quickly through your entire home/business/collection at the beginning for a quick overview of what else exists, as we might recognize something that has potential value that family lore does not address in any way. It is not uncommon for the most important pieces to be completely missed by clients.

     When we do notice something that has not been brought to our attention by the client, it is very common to hear the client say things like, “oh, that old thing has been in the family forever and no one ever said anything about it being valuable/important/historical/etc.” I may not know details about everything in someone’s home, that would be impossible, however, I know enough to be dangerous and can call on colleagues to look at things I think might be relevant to the clients evaluation work. So, the lesson for the client is, always tell your appraiser that you want them to do a quick circuit around the home/business/etc. to make sure you have not missed something obvious, we will be very happy to know you trust our opinions and are humble enough to admit you might have missed something.

     Still not sure if you should spend the extra money on making sure nothing has been missed, read this story about an amazing Chinese porcelain find, which, without expert help would have been missed!

     Greg C. Brown, M.S.; ISA, Member.

This image comes from the above article in the New York Times.


Happy 12-21-12! And, Happy 14th B’ak’tun, 12-22-12, Everyone!

Happy 14th B’ak’tun, 12-22-12, to all Mayan peoples and the world. this is a bit off of what will be my typical topics, but it is timely, cultural and archaeological, plus I have worked on some Mayan artifacts over the years.

Believe what you want folks about Dooms Day on Friday, 12-21-12, however, what I believe is this… Doomsday is NOT coming on Friday, only the start of a new Mayan calendar cycle. Sorry to all of you who are firm believes that the apocalypse happens on the 21st, especially those who may have been brainwashed to do very terrible things to themselves and/or others, but it just isn’t true! The facts that the world continues are written by the Maya themselves. The Maya Long Count Calendar is significantly longer than having an ending on 12-21-12, and it is perfectly supported by archaeological finds/facts. If they were predicting the end of the world on Friday, then why would they have taken the time to inscribe dates nearly 6200 years into the future?

If you do not want to read the scientific literature, at least take the time to read these two short articles, the first from National Geographic,

the second from Indian Country,,000-years-112465.

I will relish this day, Friday, 12-21-2012, as day when the 13th B’ak’tun transitions into the 14th B’ak’tun, and the new cycle of the Mayan calendar starts it’s cycle anew, just as it has 13 other times since the Mayan “creation” date. Happy Mayan New Year/B’ak’tun everyone!

Greg C. Brown, M.S.; ISA, Member.

The National Geographic image below of the date “7000” years into the future came from Indian Country,


“Play it, Sam.” The Casablanca Film Piano Sells at Sothebys for $602,500.00 USD!

“Here’s Lookin’ at you, kid,” indeed! $602,500.00! It is amazing how valuable a generally valueless antique or collectible can become when associated with, excellent provenance; a significant historical event; a celebrity; etc. This piano in and of itself is not great, spectacular, or important, but with this amazing provenance and it’s association with one of the greatest films of all time – WOW! The sky can literally be the limit in values when the right two or more bidders are involved. Yet, despite it’s amazingly high hammer price, it sold for “significantly less” than the pre-auction estimate of $800,000.00 – 1,000,000.00. An example of an excellent market for investment, pre-purchase/pre-sale consultations and/or appraisals right now is that of high-end Asian art and antiques, whose market has been very hot over at least the last 5 years, with no end is site. Amazing prices, frequently world record setting, are being achieved consistently in Asian art and antiques. See the Sothebys link and images below of the piano. Enjoy, Greg C. Brown, M.S.; ISA, Member.

The Casablanca Piano listing:


The “China’s Terracotta Warriors” Exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts!

I found the “China’s Terracotta Warriors, The First Emperor’s Legacy” exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to be excellent and fascinating. It was well worth the extra money to have the recording device along with me and listen to the extra tidbits that came after the main presentations for the numbered pieces. I do not think for me it was so much about learning the history, which I indeed did learn new information about, but about being able to get another excellent chance to get up close and personal with the pieces and examine the patinations, workmanship, colors, craftsmanship and stylistic changes within the chronology of the Qin Dynastic Period that hit me.

I say, “again” as I had the great fortune back in 1999, when I was invited to consider doing my Ph.D. in Paleontology (a long story) at Beijing University (Peking University/Beijing Daxue) and was at one of the little museums on campus with my friend Dr. Sun, and one of the Terracota Warriors was free-standing there in the museum, with no ropes or barriers separating him from me. I asked Sun if I could touch it and examine it closely and he said, “Yes, it is okay”, so I started to do so. However, I was very abruptly snapped at by the ever-present guards, they are everywhere in China. However, Sun turned to the guard, and said something I did not understand, and the guard replied and did a 180 on his left heel and faced the wall. Sun then said, “It is okay, go ahead”! I was able to examine both visually and tactilely this Ancient portrait in clay of this warrior, to connect with this man after 2000 years was amazing. What, you may ask, did it feel like? It felt like very dry terra-cotta, as was to be expected, with a fine, but rough surface, and very solid, yet fragile and hollow. It was a great pleasure and honor.

So, back to the MIA exhibit, these people were truly amazing artisans, for example the Spring and Autumn period (770–476 BCE) bronze short sword with the amazing openwork gold and turquoise inlaid hilt, the Jades and Bronzes, and of course the life-sized+ Terracotta warriors and Horses, one of the horses is so well made it even has a proper butt-hole – yes, really, a proper anus! The other horse does too, but not so, dare I say it, impressive and realistically portrayed! For me the most interesting part was the green face of the kneeling archer, which is speculated to possibly be designating him as a Shaman-Warrior. I have been studying the similarities of Mongol-Siberian and Native American Shamanism in my Explorers Club Expeditions in Mongolia (another story for later).

This exhibit will only tour to three cities in the USA, 1) Discovery Times Square, in New York City (which is finished), 2) Minneapolis at the MIA (October 28, 2012 – January 20, 2013) and 3) the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. (February 22, 2013 – May 27, 2013).

I do highly recommend going to this exhibit. See below for further information.

Here is the Minneapolis Institute of Arts website about the tour:

Here is the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco’s info:

Enjoy, Greg C. Brown, M.S.; ISA, Member.

The image below was taken from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts Website. It is of the Green Faced Kneeling Archer! Very cool!


The pleasure of meeting colleagues in Asian art and antiques.

About real, Professional Appraisers, why you should use them and why I am so happy to be colleagues with them. This year I have been advancing my appraisal practice and credentials, and in turn meeting new colleagues who are also in the profession. This has been the best year so far in my career, which dates back to 2005. I have found every person I have met this year that is involved in or is in a related area of Asian Art and Antiques and/or the Professional Appraisal business through The International Society of Appraisers (ISA, which I am a member of, taken course work and webinars from), the Appraisers Association of America (AAA, who I have taken course work and webinars and attended lectures with) and the American Society of Appraisers (ASA, who I have taken webinars from and hope to attend chapter meetings with), are all wonderful, kind, hard working, ethical and honest people within each organization. From people I have never met before, to people I have known for a while and have gotten to know better, each and every person has been helpful, thoughtful and collegial. This is exactly why the public needs to understand the difference between a Professional Appraiser, and someone who simply calls themselves an appraisers, because the Professional Appraisers, who are credentialed through one of these big three organizations (ISA, AAA and ASA), are here to promote the betterment, honesty and integrity of the profession for the protection of the public through ethical practices. Thank you all for all of your sharing, wisdom and teaching this year. I continue to become more enlightened and humbled every day.

Greg C. Brown, M.S.; ISA, Member.