Of course, private individuals and collectors purchase antiquities to furnish their houses with the beauty and meaning that come from such objects. But along with the privilege of owning rare artifacts comes the responsibility of acting as a custodian for each work of art.
Ultimately these objects that have come down to us over hundreds—and, in some cases–thousands of years—of not really belong to any one individual, but belong to our communal culture and heritage. Each individual owner is only escorting the object through time, so that it continues to “live” for future generations.
As one antique dealer, Ali Aboutaam, explained “Our clients never really own any of these works, but merely look after them in their best possible interest (restoration, conservation, studying, publishing, exhibiting, etc…), for only a brief time span, until parting, and then someone else, be it an individual or an institution, takes over that responsibility.”