A few things have happened over the past week that bring authenticity, appropriation and the ownership of art images into focus. Again. The first is the bizarre exhibition Terracotta Warriors on show in Wellington. These are contemporary replicas made and aged in China. A selection of the original terracotta figures from Shaanxi province were exhibited in New Zealand years ago and now this new lot are showing upstairs in Wellington’s St James Theatre foyer. In Auckland they showed at Sky City which reminds us of another display, this time of of Egyptian artifacts, we saw in the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas (now sadly closed). It too was populated by copies made locally for tourists. At the St James the show comes complete with guards, in what is perhaps traditional dress, and a number of the figures are painted in “vibrant colours” to show visitors “how the Terracotta Warriors originally looked when buried.” The 54 sculptures are owned by Auckland Creative Business Financier and exhibition wrangler Marshall Bird, author of How to start a business using none of your own cash. Bird has been assembling his doppelganger army over the years, warrior by warrior. Meanwhile, in the United States the heat’s on Richard Prince, painter and appropriator. He’s being sued by photographer Patrick Cariou who is upset by Prince’s nicking his images of Rastafarian culture. As if that weren’t enough for one week, in the Paris quarter of Montmartre, traditional sidewalk painters are gathering forces to remove skilled Chinese painters from their streets. You will remember we encountered this same phenomenon in New York. The French claim that the Chinese paintings are too cheap, too slick and, given the training of the artists, possibly too expert. Also, they are not French. Keep alert for Chinese artists and artisans putting even more pressure on the meaning and value of that word - original.