Re: My Answers to Jerry's Questions

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Posted by Michael Wendorf on May 11, 1999 at 09:46:08:

In Reply to: My Answers to Jerry's Questions posted by R. John Howe on May 10, 1999 at 20:38:18:

: Dear folks -

: I've taken on Jerry's questions. Here are my thoughts on them.

: 1. Most and least informative. No single answers to either. Eiland's "Comprehensive" Guide certainly a possible on the most side. I'm disappointed when an author omits an index (almost none of the leading Turkmen sources have one) and when they blithely state that they're into "aesthetics" and so have not done much with technical information (Parson's, although he has an index).

: 2. Favorite? I am very impressed with two "niche" books. Daniel Walker's "Flowers Underfoot" on Mughol carpets and the volume on the Goldman ikats by Kate Fitz Gibbon and Andy Hale both impress me with their scholarship and presentation. I think the Wright-Wertime Caucasian volume is a fine piece of work and Ralph Kaffel's recent book on Caucasian prayer rug gets a vote although at another level.

: 3. I'll answer the old half of "provocative" by changing that term to "irritating" and then nominating Jacobsen's large volume (not his buyer's guide). Jacobsen apparently knew his rugs but he's so busy selling you and bragging that he often doesn't seem to capture in his writing what he must have known. The now debunked "mother goddess" thesis by Melaart might be a candidate for an instance of newer controversy.

: 4. I owned Jacobsen first because I was looking for rugs to go with "antique" furniture that seemed to be what he was talking about. I bought my first "collector" books on the recommendation of Harry Meyers in Seattle. Mackie-Thompson, "Turkmen;" Loges "Turkoman Tribal Rugs," and Tzareva "Rugs and Carpets of Central Asia." All three are still good beginning buys for a Turkmen collector.

: 5. Best pictures? Probably "Woven Stars" on the Kirchiem collection. "Flowers Underfoot," "Ikat" and Jon Thompson introductory "Oriental Carpets" all have very good color. Black background? I don't know. Seems to work with Peter Davies kilim book. Probably not generally though.

: 6. We need a replacement for Mackie-Thompson, Turkmen. None of the subsequent volumes is really a replacement. Get Pinner to write? It should show how both Yomud and Ersari are beginning to be broken down. Also need a comprehensive scholarly treatment of Balouch weaving. Raoul Tschebull should write a general book on Caucasian rugs. Something to replace Schurmann.

: 7. Accurate color is still too often a problem. And whether softcover or hard, more durable bindings are needed.

: 8. Use of my books? Don't protect dust jackets. Don't write in them or dog-ear pages. Do press them open to scan images. They are tools not the thing itself.

: 9. Mind "ex lib?" Not unless they're book collectors, which I'm not.

: 10. Too expensive? Don't know. Replaceable by Internet? Not likely. Too fatiguing to read on a screen and there's no real screen equivalent of a page yet.

: 11. Agree with Yon that Marla Mallett's new book on structure should be in here somewhere and I have found Joyce Ware's "Price Guide," not a price guide at all but rather a very good rug resource guide. It even has an annotated bibilography. Finally, find a way to buy George O'Bannon's bibliography on oriental rug books.

: Regards,

: R. John Howe

Dear All:
Reading the thoughtful answers posted by John and Wendel made me realize that in my own post I neglected to mention Andy Hale And Kate Fitzgibbon's Ikat as a favorite rug book. I think this work presents lovely works of art in good photographs that are accessible at any time and in any mood as well as a treasure trove of information when you have the urge to sit down and work through it. I regret omitting this great work previously. Michael

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