Towards the end of the XIX century, a batch of figurines surfaced in Jerusalem. All of them were covered in dots and seemingly meaningless scriptures. All of these “Moabite antiquities” were bought for 20,000 thaler by the Prussian government at the insistence of learned experts in Oriental studies. The Frenchman Clermont-Ganneau declared the entire batch counterfeit. A political scandal flared up. The 1.700 articles of “Moabite culture” were a prized possession of the Berlin museum. It turned out that the company that forged all these thousands of antiquities was presided over by an icon artist called Selim from Jerusalem. In the 1920’s the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York purchased three Etruscan warrior statuettes - unique works of art created more than 2,300 years ago. Specialists were triumphant. Only Parsons, a Roman antiquity collector, had doubted the authenticity of the findings. 30 years later Parsons met the Italian Alfred Fiorovanti who confessed to have created a workshop with brothers Riccardi half a century ago where old ceramics were forged en masse. The museum refused to believe this report, and a specialist arrived in Rome with a plaster casting of a hand belonging to one of the statues with a missing finger, which was found in the possession of Fiorovanti who had kept it as a memento. A truly amazing craftsman was the jeweller Y. Rakhoumovskiy, who employed his talent for the creation of a whole series of “ancient relics”. His “tiara of Saitaphernes” brought him worldwide acclaim - Louvre bought it in 1895 for 200.000 francs as a true work of Greek art. The Greek inscription on the tiara declared the latter to have been given to Saitaphernes, the Scythian king of the alleged III century B.C., by the inhabitants of Olvia, a Greek colony in the delta of Bug. Later on it turned out that the figures on the tiara were taken from an atlas on the history of culture published in 1882. Rakhoumovskiys authorship claim wasn’t believed, so he demonstrated other works of his own art - among those a rhyton (drinking horn), a golden group of statues (Athena and Achilles) etc. After that, the management of the Louvre was forced to take the tiara of Saitaphernes away from the exhibition hall with antiquities and put it on display as modern decorative art. The management of the Louvre bought a “Scythian” artefact again in 1939. This time it was a silver drinking horn made in the likeness of a boar’s hear with embossed figures of the Scythians. The horn proved a forgery - a propos, a similar rhyton was purchased by the Moscow Museum of History as early as 1908. Both rhytons came from the same workshop of the Gohkman brothers in the town of Ochakov. They ran a whole shop, distributing the orders between jewellers (Y. Rakhoumovskiy being one of those). L. Gokhman would sketch out antiquities-to-be, and they promptly incarnated into “relics” of silver and gold. Among the shops clients (as it became known later) were the museums of Russia, Germany, France, England, Greece (!) and Italy (!). There was an extensive network of agents - a modest peasant woman by the name of Anyuta from the Peroutino, a village located on the site of the “ancient” Greek city of Olvia, made quite a few visits to museums and private collectors offering “antiquities” of silver and gold. Anyuta would earnestly tell a very plausible story of the finding; one of the sceptical collectors was given the opportunity to find the forgery all by himself (it was buried in a grave exhumed in his presence, which had been considered indisputable proof of the findings authenticity for a long time thence). The production scale of the shop can only be estimated roughly, judging by the disclosures that could be made. E. R. Stern, the director of the Archaeological Museum in Odessa, was forced to make a speech at the X archaeological seminar on the subject of classical relics being counterfeited in the south of Russia. The shop would forge everything. “Ancient inscriptions” were cut into slabs of marbles, with their conceptualization and creation done by professional epigraphists. As a result, the director of the museum in Odessa bought four counterfeit inscriptions in 1892-1893. “Ancient” marble would be procured from the excavation findings in Kerch. Then real inscriptions would be chiselled off, with new ones taking their place - those concurring with the hypotheses made on the subject of the “ancient” Olvian history based upon the contents of popular textbooks.
After the divestiture of the hoax it became known that “towards the end of 1896 the Gokhman brothers managed to foist the golden figurines of Nike and Eros riding a centaur upon one of the prominent Russian collectors (as “antiquities” found during excavations). Every wall in the modest abode of the jeweller from Odessa was covered in exquisite drawings of ancient palmettes; Roukhomovsky himself had been working on a golden skeleton for half a year, claiming it was done for his own amusement. However, later it became known that the skeleton had also been ordered by Gokhman, and destined for the collection of the Viennese banker Baron Rothschild. In 1957 a counterfeit “ancient” icon was accidentally discovered in Greece. Investigation discovered a whole factory that provided America and England with thousands of such “antiquities”. 17 of them were found in museums.
In November 1958 a Gothic sculpture of Our Lady dating to 1380 entered the catalogue of Dorotheum, the State Auction of Vienna. It had remained a sensation until the November of the same year when Riefesser, a woodcarver from Southern Tyrol, recognized his own work in its photograph. It turned out that the merchant Joseph Auer, who had sold the statue for 60,000 schillings, sold quite a few of Riefesser’s carvings in this manner. Authorship recognition took a considerable amount of effort from the latter.
However, it is Alceo Dossena who can be declared king of ancient forgeries. His workshop had been active for many a year, flooding the world market with counterfeit ancient artefacts. After exposure Dossena was saying that “it is true that I have forged these countless works - sarcophagi, statues of Our Lady with a child, relief carvings and other things. However, none of them can be called counterfeit; I did not deceive anyone. I never copied, I only reconstructed”. He was a brilliant counterfeit artist - one that had entered history as “the genius of counterfeits”. The range of his production was very wide and included Athenian statues of the “archaic epoch”, sculptures resembling Italian masters of the XV century, Gothic statues and marble sarcophagi, frontispieces and figurines which allegedly remained buried for 3.000 years, etc. In 1927 Dossena made a self-disclosure. Just like Rakhoumovskiy, he was selling his creations through a firm that specialized in forging “classical” art. However, a conflict of a monetary nature took place, and Dossena decided to revenge himself upon his partners. It is curious that no museum would believe Dossena's claims initially; he had gone to great lengths before his authorship was proven. “All across Europe and America one would encounter sculptures born in Dossena’s workshop and sold by Fasoli and Palesi - in antiquity shops, private collections and museums. The beautiful statue of Core in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, which was ascribed to a Greek master of the VI century B.C.; an Etruscan Diana in the St. Louis museum, an archaic Athena in Cleveland, and a frontispiece group from Velia in Vienna “reconstructed” by F. Studnicki, a famous specialist in the field of ancient art, as well as dozens of statues in other collections ascribed to Donatello, Verochio, Mino da Fiesole, Rosselino and other renowned sculptors of the Renaissance. The artful hoaxer even transformed Simone Martini, an Italian artist of the XIV century, into a sculptor...”. We must also say a few words in re F. Studnickis reconstruction. The matter is that the “original” of Dossenas work only consisted of two figures whose bases were neatly broken off for the sake of “extra age”. After the “frontispiece group from Velia” became world famous, F. Studnicki, an acclaimed specialist, added another figure to the composition - the third, which wasn’t even implied by the piece chiselled out by Dossena. The latter would have been confused by such “reconstruction” himself. “The last unbelievers gave in after the film that Dr. Hans Kurlich had made in the workshop of Dossena. The sculptor was calmly and level-headedly making his last forgery, this time a legal one - the statue of an ‘ancient’ goddess - all of it in front of a camera, under bright lights”.
On 2 May 1937 a peasant by the name of Gonon from a small village near Brizet had found a marble statue when he was ploughing his field, with minor defects. The specialists were unanimous in their identification of the statue as one of Venus, dating in to the I century b.c. Gonon is offered 250.000 francs for “the work of Praxiteles or Phidias”. Next year, in 1938, Francesco Cremonese, an Italian sculptor, claimed to have personally buried a statue of his own creation in the field, demonstrating the missing fragments as proof. The purpose of the falsification was declared to have been the demonstration of his abilities.
In 1830 a certain Becker had died in Germany - he turned out to have been a professional false-coiner of the ancient profile. He had carved 622 stamps which he used for “the coinage of a great many counterfeit coins of gold and silver - Roman aurei and denarii. These forgeries were littering many museum collection until the beginning of the XX century”. Many museums of the world display large numismatic collections of ancient coins. The cases of their countless forgeries are known very well. Apart from that, any coin only makes sense if it is widespread enough. Unique coins are suspicious. The value of a coin has to be set rigidly, that is, all coins must be minted according to a certain standard and not individually. Unique coins are of no market value and tend to get suspected of being forgeries. These relics are in great demand among tourists since they are portable, and the creation of a stamp requires neither any particular skill, nor a long period of study; therefore, the workshops of forgers came to existence near every historical place. It is obvious that the state benefits from minting a large number of similar coins in order to avoid chaos in its system of finance. A forger hardly benefits from minting many identical coins since it is a certain way to get his workshop discovered, and also due to the fact that a large number of similar coins makes them less valuable from a tourist’s point of view. The only coins that can claim being real are those of a single weight and a single title, made with a single stamp; several dozen such coins need to be found at the very least. One has to point out that “ancient” coins are unique for the most part, which leads to the existence of such oddities as coins minted by Pythagoras the philosopher and Joshua Siragh the moralist - they are all the more suspicious if a different stamp was used for each coin. All such unique artefacts are suspicious even if they are said to surface during excavations - especially considering how often such findings would be made during the excavations of Pompeii and in the presence of distinguished guests, who would then be invited to keep them as souvenirs of their visit.
On the other hand, many coins declared counterfeit today may be real. For instance, it is presumed that the workshop of Giovanni Cavino, a Paduan citizen, made a great many coins “of the ancient profile” in the XVI century. These coins, called “Paduans” nowadays, are declared false on the sole basis that “there was no antiquity in the XVI century”, according to academic historians. Therefore, the “Paduans”, or the coins minted in the XVI century Padua, might prove authentic.
The first attempts to make numismatics a science were made as late as the end of the XVIII century. Therefore, a vast numismatic material had already been arranged and classified according to historical chronology, which had already become consensual at that time. Therefore, the existing numismatic scale is by no means independent. The official numismatic scale names Joseph Hilarius Eckhel (1737-1798), the keeper of the Viennese Munzkabinet, as its founding father. He published two volumes describing all the coins of the Viennese numismatic collection. A while later he published a catalogue in eight volumes (1792-1798). Before the publication of this oeuvre, coins would be collected and described only on the basis of random details of their appearance - owls, bows, wheels etc. Let us reiterate that Eckhel was naturally adhering to historical chronology.
On one of the sarcophagi in Louvre we can see Psyche and Eros; the right arm of the latter is missing, but the hand survived - it is on Psyche’s cheek. Two archaeologists transformed this hand into a beard on their drawing. Then this obvious absurdity entered the catalogue of Louvre with commentary stating that “the author of the sarcophagus wasn’t familiar with the subject very well, making Psyche, who wears a woman’s attire, sport a beard!”.
Julius Meier Graephe, the German art critic, had once been sightseeing in Egypt, accompanied by a guide, and found an “ancient” statuette in the sand. When he returned to the hotel, he boasted about his finding to the merchant who, according to Meier Graephe himself, “invited me into the back of his shop, opened a cabinet and showed me four or five statues that looked exactly the same. Each of them was covered in millenarian sand. They were made in Bunzlau, but he had received them from some Greek agent in Cairo”.
In 1925 Andre Malraux became acquainted with some collector whose travels were paid for by the Boston Museum in a Singapore bar. He had shown to Malraux five small ivory elephants that he had purchased from some Indian several instants ago, with the following words: “You see, my dear friend, - said he - I buy these little elephants. When we make excavations, I put them into some sepulchre before burying it again. If the sepulchre is opened again by other researchers in 50 years, they will find these little elephants, which shall no longer be looking brand new, covered in green film, and be forced to ponder their finding a great deal. I am always happy to oblige my successors with such riddles. For instance, upon one of the towers in Angkor Wat I scribbled a most obscene phrase in Sanskrit, having daubed over it to make it look very old. Some rascal is bound to decipher it”.
A most edifying story is associated with the name of Hubert Grimme, a German archaeologist. In 1906, eight inscriptions were found upon rocks near Sinai; they were in a Semitic dialect and got dated to the XIV-XV century b.c. In 1923 Grimme published a work where he claimed to have deciphered two of the writings. According to Grimme, they were clear indications that “back in the days of yore” the cult of Yahweh already existed around Sinai, confirming the existence of Joseph and Moses, as well as the fact that the latter had been pulled out of the Nile by the Pharaoh’s daughter in his early childhood. The scientists were polemizing profusely. Some of them claimed the interpretation to have been incorrect, whereas others declared the whole thing a forgery. Grimme defended himself. The most interesting thing is that no one had cared to study the originals of the writings for a long time. The discussion revolved around the drawings made by Grimme himself. It was only after a while that the Egyptologist Sethe got the idea to turn to the originals and published a clear photograph of the Sinai inscription. It turned out that “there was nothing remotely resembling Grimme’s readings. The fraud was exposed”. The inscription didn’t survive except for several semi-obliterated signs, with the remaining surface beyond legibility. These perished texts were “reconstructed” by Grimme, who had apparently counted upon his colleagues to show little interest in either the original or the photograph of the inscription. The only reason why Grimme became exposed as a fraud was that his “interpretation” was too sensational - had he been more modest, he could have got away with it.
M. Liebmann and G. Ostrovskiy wrote in their book entitled Counterfeit Masterpieces that “it appears no one can be sure anymore; neither the tourist who buys a “real” Egyptian scarab for a few coins near the pyramids in Gizeh, nor the collector who had accidentally found an “indubitable” painting by Corot in one of the numerous little Parisian antiquity shops, nor even the art critic who purchases a Rembrandt’s painting (whose authenticity was attested by many experts) for a large museum at Sotheby’s. It is for a good reason that, starting with the second half of the last century, a great many books were published with warnings, advice and recipes for safety from hoaxers”.
“A new era in collecting was opened by the Americans at the end of the XIX century. In their attempt to compensate for the previous lack of opportunity, they started to buy everything they could lay their hands on, paying ridiculous amounts of money for it. The prices for works of art rocketed immediately... Some witty Frenchman called Corot the author of 3,000 works, 10,000 of which were sold to America. However, reality proved more sensational than any joke: Rene Hugues, the famous museum scientist, counted 30,000 works of Corot in Europe alone.
A certain Dr. Jussome possessed a collection of 2,414 works and autographs of the famous French painter. Unfortunately, all of them proved counterfeit with no exceptions... according to French statistics, only the USA imports included 9,428 of Rembrandt’s paintings and 113,254 works of Watteau...”.
In 1864 de Nolivot brought an exquisite ancient bust of Girolamo Benivieni, a friend of Savonarola and follower of Petrarch. After a while the bust was sold at an auction for a great deal of money and then exhibited in one of the Louvre’s main showrooms among the greatest Renaissance masterpieces. This doubtlessly genuine work of an anonymous XV century master had been a great joy for the public as well as the specialists. Paul Manz, a famous expert in art history of the Renaissance art, published his review of the exhibition in the “Gazette des beaux arts”, singling out this sculpture in particular. Then a large number of articles got written, some of them containing results of scientific research, with various hypotheses concerning the possible author of the sculpture. The issue was far from simple, but the scientists were making progress. No one knows how many more works would get written if the “Chronique des Arts” hadn’t published the following report from Florence in December 1867: “Giovanni Freppa, an antiquarian, reports that the bust of Benivieni was made to his order in 1864 by Giovanni Bastianini, an Italian sculptor, who had received 350 franks for this work. Giuseppe Bonaiuti, a worker from a tobacco factory, served as model. The antiquarian claimed that, when he was selling the sculpture to Mr. Nolivot, it had been the furthest from his mind to present it as a work of XV century art; however, he had nonetheless refrained from divulging the identity of its real author”. A great scandal ensued. Eugene Louis Le Quesne, the renowned sculptor, made the following public statement: “I am prepared to temper clay until the end of my days for anyone who can prove the authorship of ‘Benivieni”. De Nieuwerkerk, Director General of the Imperial Museums, declared that he would pay 15,000 franks to anyone who could make a bust to serve as a pair for “Benivieni”. Le Quesne published a large article, declaring the work of art in question indisputably ancient in a quiet and scientific manner, basing his judgement on historical materials of all kinds, as well as his knowledge of the differences between the ancient and the modern style of sculpture. The finale came when Bastiniani, the author, made an appearance. Much to the embarrassment of the connoisseurs headed by De Nieuwerkerk, the sculpture had to be transferred into the Museum of Decorative Art.
The most famous of Malskat’s forgeries was his work on the frescoes in the Liibeck church of St. Mary. This case is all the more remarkable since an official restorer acted as a hoaxer here. When a part of the plasterwork fell off as a result of the bombings, it revealed the old artwork; Malskat was invited to do the restoration. However, as it turned out later, there was hardly anything left from the old murals, which rendered the restoration impossible. In his reluctance to lose a profitable contract, Malskat played his part in a tremendous hoax which had remained unknown to everyone except for a couple of his colleagues, presenting his own work as the XIII century original. He had remained secluded in the church with a couple of assistants for a long time, painting freestyle compositions which combined the meagre remnants of the Marienkirche frescoes with elements of Romanic and Gothic art. As for the walls of the altar part, he wasn’t bound by any original work whatsoever and painted Mary with the infant Christ giving blessings surrounded by saints. In September 1951 Liibeck celebrated 700 years of its famous church; the saviour of the national treasure was in the centre of attention and received a generous bounty. However, the glorified party hadn’t been Malskat but rather Fey, his employer. Malskat decided to revenge himself upon the latter, and made a personal confession to Dr. Hebei, a church councillor. There was hardly any other scandal at the time to par this one. It had been referred to as the greatest hoax of the XX century all across Europe. Specialists, scientists, restorers and members of the monument preservation committee all showed a lack of readiness to believe Malskat, accusing him of megalomania. It was only after a considerable period of time that Malskat managed to arrange for a special commission of experts headed by Dr. Grundman, a well-known authority, to perform an investigation. The scandal was growing ever louder. The commission discovered other chefs-d’oeuvre of Fey’s restoration agency - in particular, the “restored” murals of the Holy Ghost Hospital chapel and the church of St. Catherine in Liibeck were declared counterfeit. Fey and Malskat had been responsible for those as well. It also turned out that Malskat didn’t even bother about removing the old plasterwork - he painted right over it to evade excessive labour. Old XIII century artwork, or, rather, the scant remnants thereof, had indeed been discovered after the removal of the modern artwork by the commission. Hardly anything remained from the old murals after the passage of 500 years: “this layer was dark grey, with a few exiguous flecks of colour scattered here and there”.
The book of M. Liebmann and G. Ostrovskiy contains a list of methods used for testing the authenticity of a given work of art. These methods may be applicable to paintings, after a manner, but are all but worthless with sculptures. Apart from that, they are based on the subjective opinion of experts to a large extent, hence the vague pontificating on the mysterious sense of authenticity allegedly possessed by eminent experts, such as “some special sense is telling one that the article in question is definitely genuine, or warns one of something being not quite right [voices in one’s head, mayhap?]. This expert’s sense is not so much based on the subconscious, but rather a trained memory, a large body of knowledge and a high enough level of general culture. It goes without saying that one cannot quite trust this instinct...”. Accumulated experience definitely plays a major part in expertise. However, in the cases listed above, we have witnessed it to be based on the foundations of the historical chronology, as well as the upbringing and education of the modern experts in general. A most notable phenomenon is the falsification of the holy relics and various other holy objects. This issue is extremely babelized and obfuscated by academic history. On one hand, one apparently comes across originals amongst numerous Christian halidoms that were fortunate enough to survive until the present day. On the other hand, due to the competition that existed between various ecclesiastical movements in the XVII-XIX century, many of these holy objects may well be forgeries slyly declared original. After a while it became hard to tell who had been in the right altogether. Finally, one has reasons to suspect that the counterfeit halidoms were fabricated on purpose, in order to make the original halidoms fall into obscurity and replace them with forgeries. Apart from that, when the 'sovereignty' fell into a multitude of new states, the rulers of the latter may have condoned the creation of the “local duplicates” of the unique Christian holy objects in order to make new religious centres flourish on their territory.
In 1821-1822 Colin de Plancy, a French historian, published the three volumes of his Dictionary of Religious Criticisms. The list of forgeries collected in this renowned work (at least, the objects De Plancy himself decided to be counterfeit) is nothing short of mind-boggling. The history of John the Baptist’s remnants, for instance, as well as the objects related to him in some way, is most complex indeed. The sword that he was beheaded with is kept in the Avignon cathedral in France. The rug that John’s head was put on after the execution is kept in the Aachen Cathedral. The stone that the rug lay upon is in San Marco, Venice. The platter used for serving John’s hear to Salome is kept in the Genoese church of St. Laurence. Apart from John’s sandals, the cave where he hid and his bed of stone bearing the image of his body are all popular tourist attractions. Legend has in that Emperor Julian ordered for the excavation of John’s grave, whose remains were to be mixed together with the bones of various animals and burnt. This version opened limitless opportunities for the demonstration of John’s ashes. Pounds and pound of ashes are kept in the churches of Rome, Genoa, Viennes, Ardres, Dua, Puis en Velle etc. However, the most interesting relic of them all is John’s head. The first head is kept in Aims, allegedly since the IV century. Then, in the alleged year 452, another head of John was found, and yet another in the alleged year 857. When Abbot Marole was paying his dues to John’s head in Constantinople, he proclaimed: “Blessed be the Lord, for this is the sixth head of John that I have the privilege of kissing”. There are twelve heads of John to date. The thirteenth is presumed to have been kept in Moscow but lost at some point. The shoulders of John are kept in St. Denis near Paris, as well Longpont and other places, totalling four. The legs are in Abbeville, Venice, Toledo and Namur. There is a great amount of hands in existence - one of them became the possession of Paul, the Russian Czar, by the end of the XVIII century. Another is kept in Bologna, one more in Soisson, the fourth is in Rome and the fifth in Perpignan - 9 hands with 45 fingers altogether. Apart from that, one also encounters individual fingers, one of which is in Bezançon and another in Toulouse; their total number equals thirteen. We see that a good method of fighting against former halidoms is the following.
The reformers of the XVII-XVIII must have been thinking along the lines of “one has to condone the creation of similar relics in large quantities”. This would result in the status of the original object marred and eventually lost amongst a series of “similar relics”. Another virtue of this method is that any of the holy objects can be declared a forgery at any time, correctly so in most cases. Something of the sort must have happened in the XVII-XVIII century, when the older holy objects were dealt with as a menace, and real holy objects and places either destroyed or drowned in a mass of newly-made forgeries in order to confuse the believers and make the past perfectly impenetrable. After a while, the hoaxers became confused themselves and started to believe “the true story” themselves and teach it to others.
Let us conclude with a very vivid example that bears no apparent relation to falsifications, being however very illustrative in what concerns the fantastic and fable-like transformations of real and more or less recent events in the minds of the generations to follow.
The “Parlamentskaya Gazeta” newspaper published an article in No 55 (935), 22 March 2002, page 9. It was written by Vladimir Mikhailov and entitled “Buratino [the Russian analogue of Pinocchio from a book by Alexei Tolstoy] was human?”. Let us quote a number of the passages contained therein. “The fact that Tolstoy's Buratino had originally been a brainchild of the Italian writer Carlo Collodi and called Pinocchio is common knowledge. However, the fact that the Italian wooden puppet had in turn possessed a prototype, and a living one at that, remained perfectly unknown for a long time. This amazing discovery was made recently by a group of American archaeologists who were conducting excavations near the graveyard where the great storyteller and revolutionary... Carlo Collodi (real name Lorenzini) was buried. Quite naturally, the researchers did not intend to make any exhumations of any sort; however, they discovered a gravestone with the name of a certain Pinoccho Sanchez near the grave of the writer. Someone made a joke about whether this Sanchez could be related to Collodi's writing in some way. The dates of birth and death were compared, proving the two to have been contemporaries... The amusing assumption became a version, and, although no documents could be found, the Americans managed to receive the permission for the exhumation of Pinoccho Sanchez, buried in 1834. This is where the sensation took place. Expertise proved that the lower part of the Sanchez character was made of wood! That is to say, he had wooden prostheses made with amazing skill and craft; furthermore, his intestines were bovine in origin, with just the head, the heart, the lungs, the kidneys and the liver being his own. However, the sceptical archaeologists remained doubtful, since they were suspecting the exhumed body to be a masterful forgery of some modern practical joker.
However, new proof kept arriving - one of the halfway rotten prostheses bore a hallmark with the initials of the master Carlo Bestulgi. After that, the archaeologists, who all but studied every paper dating to the period under a microscope, found the church records, which survived rather miraculously, and got to learn of many interesting facts. Pinoccho Sanchez, a midget, was born in 1890. Despite his being a dwarf, he was recruited into the army at the age of 18. He served for 15 years and became an absolute cripple. Then he was relieved from military duty and sent home to die. However, his chance encounter with the genius Carlo Bestulgi resulted in an operation that allowed Pinoccho to live for another decade, and to be better off materially than most of his fellow villagers, since he would get paid rather well for his performances at fairs. His wooden body parts, nose, and the numerous stunts that he learnt, made him a “star” of the local “fair scene”. The most curious detail is that his death was unrelated to the operations and the transplantation - he simply fell to his death upon having made a mistake during one of the stunts.
Here we see how a real event became transformed into a childrens tale of Pinocchio, the little wooden man. The original had been forgotten completely, and we ended up with a fantasy image, which, as we are beginning to understand now, owes its existence to a real XIX century character. Similar transformations happened to other historical events and characters. For instance, we already witnessed that a gigantic stone aqueduct might have been transformed into the ''Trojan horse'' by the quills of the chroniclers.|[/col]