Definition of ethnographic

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Posted by Fred Mushkat on December 02, 1998 at 01:01:31:

This discussion of what makes a textile ethnographic is very intruiging, and the sweater and eagle kazak arguments are no doubt true. The only exception I have with the discussion is the belief that a textile has to be "relatively high quality." Many ethnographic textiles were no doubt made by weavers who made nothing but textiles for indiginous use. I believe that it is safe to assume that these weavers did not begin making relatively high quality textiles, but learned through practice. It is the higher quality pieces that survive, simply because they were better cared for during their useful life, and selectively collected thereafter. We should be cautious in assuming that ethnographic textiles are necessarily more beautiful or of higher quality than their commercial counterparts. Nearly all collectors have seen hideous textiles that one wonders if anyone would buy...surely not all such textiles were made for the commercial markets!

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