Posted by Yon Bard on June 07, 1999 at 15:33:31:
I won't try to answer all the questions since there will be mostly boring repetition of other answers.
Sources: When I started, I thought auction houses would be my main source, but it has turned out that 'private' dealers have been much more productive. The rare good pieces to appear at auction tend to skyrocket.
Condition: some condition problems matter more than others: I hate areas of exposed foundation (this is a situation where I'd consider restoration) but am less bothered by small holes, tears, missing borders, etc. I definitely collect fragments, but in all cases of poor condition there has to be some visual integrity to what's left. Of course, I always stabilize any damage. I usually back holes and gashes with fabric of roughly the ground color of the rug.
Most important advice to collectors (I wish I could have adhered to it): Buy the best things you can afford: sacrifice quantity for quality. A few great pieces will give you more pleasure than many good ones. In a book about ceramics I read the story of a porcelain collector who has amassed a large, distinguished, collection, but then sold it all and with the money bought a single Song dynasty vase of utter perfection, and lived happily ever after. I admire this person, though I do not have the will power to emulate him.
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