Posted by Saul Yale Barodofsky on December 15, 1998 at 13:53:10:
In Reply to: The Questions Posed in This Salon posted by R. John Howe on December 14, 1998 at 18:23:25:
Dear John -
Hopefully not too far off the subject of aesthetics, I would like to offer an idea that has been pushing at me for years.
Why do we believe that "better" pieces and "better" art was only created in earlier times?
To me, the matter of the survival of textiles has as much to do with chance as it does with intention. And, it is from this group of "survivors" that we draw our conclusions about the art and culture of a given group. These survivors are obviously not the total quantity of items made within their category and time period. And probably represent a tiny fraction of what was produced by weavers in any given area.
Therefore, I propose two possible reasons for their survival:
1. that chance plays a large part.
2. and more important to the topic of aesthetics is that families who had "dowery" collections, would probably save the best of the collection for future generations and sell the lesser pieces off. Thus, as generations pass, the best of the best was saved, and recently came to light when the price of "early" kilims sky rocketed in the mid 1980s.
I do believe that we should not confuse what has remained with what was. As tempting as it may be.
Nor should we place our understandings, opinions, or world views upon the backs of earlier non western nomads.
As difficult as it may be, it seems best to try to look at apples as apples, and not what we might wish them to be.
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