This appears to be a wall panel that was cut into 2″ X 3 1/2″ rectangles and then pieced back together inside a frame.  The whole thing weighs about 12 pounds and has the look of something looted from a temple.  However, is it real?  I’m having a hard time determining that because some of the cut marks don’t look like they go all the way through and makes me think they were just put there for the appearance.  On the other hand, there could well be a real seam and the tiles fitted together so well the seams cannot be seen, only the surface cuts.  It’s a lovely piece just the same and for the price I got it, I may at least break even on the re-sale or make a little profit.  Here is the centerpiece Buddha.

There is no question that this Mayan mask is real.  It’s very heavy and the stone clearly shows wear that can only be natural.  I had sold this on eBay but probably would’ve been better off taking it to a museum.

So, is it legal?  As long as the items you buy in the U.S. and resell in the U.S. including ivory, you should be alright.  It seems confusing but this article in the National Geographic explained how that works.  I don’t like to feel I’m supporting looters in the antiques trade but they are hard to avoid and much is unknown after the item’s been sold to a collector put on the market.  However, it goes to show they are out there and we shouldn’t be afraid to take something to a museum even without proof of where it was purchased.  Hanging onto receipts helps, though yard sales don’t provide receipts,  estate sales do. Photos help and a passport can provide a record of your travels.  Estate sales agents don’t always have the answers or know if something is real or fake or looted.  Most of them are very good, but as with all of us, knowledge comes with experience,  lots of reading and research.  There’s no real school for this, it’s a self taught degree.  A course in art history wouldn’t hurt.

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