Re: Importance as reason for collecting

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Posted by Maude Pattullo on March 25, 1999 at 21:04:47:

In Reply to: Importance as reason for collecting posted by Yon Bard on March 25, 1999 at 15:03:29:

Re: the advice Mr. Bard received from a ceramics collector:

I was taught that you do your research before buying, and not afterward.

"Pieces related to archaeological material" are,

ironically, often the most problematic to research of all; good forgers read what scholars do, or else their 'employers' do.

And it is the market that drives the availability

of'important' pieces, not vice versa. The

procurers-in-the-field for archaeological

material, no matter how humble it may be, know

where the archaeologists have been, have

oftentimes been there first, and do not need NEH

grants to fund their 'excavations.'

Those charming folks at the auction houses are only too happy to tell a prospective buyer what is

'hot' at the moment, what is "important," what will gain them status among their fellows.

Objects such as this, in the words of one

prominent Near Eastern archaeologist, are witnesses to the past that have had their tongues cut out and can never inform us of their true meaning. They are without context, forever lost to

us except in the aesthetic sense. And we can never

really be sure if they are echt, authentic, or

untainted by the ministrations of those who would

'fix them up' so as to make an extra buck.

I expect, too, that as rug collectors you all know to trust your eye before you trust the date woven into a rug.

I still hate these little boxes.

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