The Mexican government says a Mayan-style statue that brought $4 million (euro2.9 million euros) at auction is a fake. The auctioneers say it is genuine.
The Paris-based gallery that sold the shield-toting, clay warrior figure says the attack on its authenticity is an attempt by Mexican officials to ruin the market for pre-Hispanic artifacts.
The stakes in the dispute are high, and not just because of the cash laid down by the as-yet-unidentified buyer.
Representatives of the Paris-based Binoche Et Giquello auction house said Wednesday that attacking the credibility of public auctions may only drive the artifacts trade into the uncontrolled black market.
Mexico's archaeological agency says the warrior is a recent creation made to look old.