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This Swiss event had its origins back in the mid-1990s as TEFAF Basel, when it was associated with the organisers of the famous Maastricht fair.

However, that relationship rather ended in tears and since 1999 it has gone alone as Cultura. It does, however, have a high proportion of Maastricht regulars among the exhibitors.

Being Switzerland the fair is exceptionally strong on antiquities and at one time there was a danger of this being seen as basically an antiquities marketplace. But it has overcome that shortcoming and is now also very strong on Oriental work and gaining ground in other areas.

Cultura is still the world’s top fair for antiquities, and is likely to remain so, but there are six other specialist sections. But before we leave the Classical Antiquities and Egyptian Works of Art section it is this year even richer with the return of top London firm Charles Ede, who stand at Maastricht and Grosvenor House.

Asian and Islamic art is the second most prominent area and has already garnered an international following of collectors who make the journey to Basel.

There are two exhibitions of Ming furniture at Cultura this year which no doubt prompted noted Chinese furniture dealer Grace Wu Bruce of London and Hong Kong to join the fair.

Also joining this section are Georgia Chrischelles from Brussels with Indian jewellery and Eric Thomson from Germany with Japanese screens.

Manuscripts and rare books is a small but important Basel category while the well-received tribal art section is this year joined by two new specialists, one of them Jonathan Hope from London.

As tribal art becomes ever bigger on the market so does 20th Century Art and Design and this section has flourished in the past few years. Four dealers make their design debut this month, three from Europe and Dr. Elmar Weinmayr from Kyoto with contemporary Japanese lacquerwork.

We know what to expect from the section labelled La Haute Joaillerie but more varied is the Antiques and Works of Art section which merits even more interest this year since two very big international names, both Maastricht regulars, come to Basel for the first time, Galerie Neuse of Bremen and Spanish dealer in medieval works of art and metalwork Luis Elvira.

Held in Hall 4 of Messe Basel, Cultura admission is SFr25.