Re: Pictures: Yes; Text: Be Careful

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Posted by Steve Price on May 13, 1999 at 20:59:21:

In Reply to: Re: Pictures: Yes; Text: Be Careful posted by R. John Howe on May 13, 1999 at 19:20:38:

Dear John,

Like John Downie, I do spend more time on the pictures than with the text in most rug books. And I also suspect that this is typical of rug collectors, not peculiar to him and me.

This is not the same thing as saying that the text is either so unimportant that it wouldn't matter if it were absent, or that it is usually so inaccurate as to not be worth reading.

I am as appalled as you are by some of the stuff that finds its way into rug books (and other kinds of books about tribal arts, by the way), but I think an estimate of a 75% error rate in the content of the texts of most books is absurd. All you need to do to convince yourself of that is pick out any book - preferably one that you think is pretty bad - and read some pages at random. Make notes of each assertion. Estimate the likelihood that each is correct, as best you can. That will give you an overall estimate of errors. I'll bet that it doesn't reach 10% in any book on your shelf. Or on Jon Thompson's, either.


Steve Price

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