Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Breaking A Million Dollar Antique

Back in 1995, artist and activist Ai Weiwei made his most famous work, where he smashed a 2,000-year-old artifact. On purpose.

When asked, Ai said the message behind his work was the same General Mao once gave, “the only way of building a new world is by destroying the old.”

An unsatisfactory answer for most.

After all, the entire world lost a priceless piece of cultural heritage.

But was the Han Dynasty urn really priceless?

At the time it was made, the urn was mass produced. But instead of conveyor belts, the urns were flying off the pottery wheels of thousands of skilled artisans.

And were far from rare.

2.000 years ago, the pots were common and cheap. So the awe we feel for the pot today is misplaced.

The Han Dynasty urn is essentially the Iron Age equivalent of a flower pot from Walmart. And if someone were to slam that Walmart pot into the concrete two millennia from now, would you feel outraged?

Or would you not care?

The notion that everything old is good doesn’t hold up. Even if a nincompoop would buy it for a million dollars.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach