LACMA double-niche Anatolian carpet
You say in Part 3: The session on the LACMA double-niche Anatolian carpet, a rug whose age and authenticity have been questioned, showed that it had been repaired extensively and at least three different times. Carbon dating appears to indicate an age ranging from 1460 to 1650, more or less in the range given when it was purchased by the museum.
Wasn’t that the rug our most faithful reader and troll (and self-elected Supreme Galactic Authority on ANY kind of textiles), Jack Cassin, has claimed for years that was much more recent?
Wasn’t that - Jack kept on saying - the “perfect opportunity” for the rugdom to learn the truth… attending Dr. Gilberg’s lecture on the carbon-dating of LACMA rug? What happened then?
Could you please elaborate a bit on the matter?
It sounds like Jack’s nth fiasco, we have the right to know more!
Well, he was only off by about 200 years in his oh-so-confident date attribution.
It is ironic that he now (yesterday) claims to be able to place Winston Chorlton's juval into a 25 year window (1825 to 1850) on the basis of photos displayed on a monitor.
I think the big obstacle in making date attributions is that we don't have databases of rugs with well documented ages, at least not for most genres. There probably aren't 10 Turkmen pieces for which there is documentary or physical evidence of ages more than 125 years. That being the case, estimates (educated guesses) are possible based on the conventional wisdom, but it is absurd to think that they can't be wrong. The estimates become less reliable as the estimated age increases and as the window of the attribution becomes smaller. His belief that he can accurately attribute a Turkmen juval to the period 1825-1850 is self-deception if he believes it, something much worse if he doesn't. Likewise for his insistence for more than 2 years (maybe 3 years, I've lost track) that the LACMA Turkish carpet is ca 1800.
LACMA is close to Hollywood
The talk was only about a half an hour, so we were not provided with
graphical analysis of the carbon dating of the rug in question, only that the
carbon 14 results indicated a date in the range from 1460 to 1650. This range is
significant in that radiocarbon dating is either conclusively pre-1650 or, if
later than 1650, possibly from multiple age ranges due to the fact that carbon
14 peaked in the late 18th century to a level equal to that of earlier ages.
So the pre-1650 dating removes the uncertainty of whether it could possibly have been made later.
As Jurg Rageth notes in his book Anatolian Kilims and Radiocarbon Dating,
"Because of the statistical uncertainties of both the C14 analysis and the calibration curve, it is not possible to quote an exact historical age. Only a time interval can be given, in which the true age lies with a certain probability."
"The radiocarbon dating method may be somewhat imprecise for our purposes, and for the period after 1650 must be used with great care."
We were not informed how many tests were made or what the percentage of confidence of the test(s) was, and I do not recall if tests were conducted at more than one facility.
Interestingly, it was shown with the other testing methods that the rug has been significantly repaired and that the repairs had been done three different times. I do not recall what percentage of the rug was repaired, but it was not just a small area.
More C14 testing is being done on the repaired areas to see if they can determine the age of the repairs.
I suppose it is a bit like deciding how old Michael Jackson or any Miss Universe is based on the percentage of original material remaining.
As expected, our most faithful troll is foaming with rage and multiplying his
activity against us.
If there aren’t any significant contributions to this thread today, I suggest closing it down.
I have no time, patience nor the inclination for dealing with mentally insane people.
There is a post on that (ugh) "discussion forum" yesterday that I think says it all. Here is the relevant excerpt:
... steve price or filiberto ... have the ignorance and false sense of righteousness to claim RK is off base.
From anybody except him, it would be astonishing. From a narcissist, it's expected.
…like if we were the ones who performed the C14 text, right?
Steve, I have found a new emoticon: we could use it in Turkotek at the place
of JACK CASSin’s name.
If you like it, copy it in the “smilies” folder.
The name is jackass.gif, of course.
Now, let's brace for more of 's messages...
I'd like to return to the LACMA carpet, as entertaining as it is to point out Cassin's ridiculous narcissism. Two issues in particular.
First, one that you raised: LACMA's intention to do C14 analysis of the restorations. I'm kind of puzzled by about this one; it seems pointless to me. All they can hope to learn is the age of the wools used in those restorations, which is not the same thing as knowing when the restorations were done. So, I wonder, why do they even care? C14 analysis isn't cheap.
Second, the more general problem of date attribution. There's a central fact: the rug was woven at some particular time. The problem is to know when that was. The typical approach in Rugdom is to get expert opinions. This involves, first, identifying the experts (not as trivial as it might seem). Second, and usually overlooked, is recognizing the limitations of the opinions of the experts. Expert opinion must sooner or later be traced to the database of rugs of documented dates from which properties can be extracted that allow accurate discriminations to be made. Sadly, the database for rugs that can be documented to predate 1875 or so is very small. Since the experts derive their criteria from the same sources, the fact that they all agree that a piece dates to, say, 1750, is better than nothing. But it isn't something on which you'd want to bet your life.
The less usual approach is to get hard data, like C14 analysis, on a rug. Now, C14 dating has lots of problems. For instance, a C14 date of 1750 or later is meaningless. In addition, trace contamination from smoke can increase the apparent age by centuries. There are other problems as well. But people who do C14 analysis professionally are usually aware of these problems, and results from professional practitioners of the method should be considered reliable unless there is good reason to think otherwise (a history of fraud, for instance).
So, in the case of the LACMA carpet, the C14 data overrides whatever expert opinions there are about it. Indeed, unless and until there is data to contradict it, this becomes one of the very few rugs that can now be documented to have been made between 1450 and 1650, and is part of that very small database. It may require that experts (and, of course, pseudo experts) revise their criteria for date attributions of rugs of this genre.
Anyway, that's where I am on all of this.
If I am understanding what you said in regard to the first point in your last post C14 dating is useless in telling whether the wool tested was reprocessed and respun from old wool in more modern times. Am I understanding correctly? Sue
C14 dating of wool gives the approximate time the wool was removed from the sheep.
Restorations nowadays are often done with wool taken from old kilims. If you were to do C14 analysis on such a restored area, you'd get the age of the wool. The restoration could have been done last week; if the wool was 500 years old, it would show up as 500 years old.
Thank you. Now were you, alone, aware of that? Would you expect it to be common knowledge within the scientific community or, at least, well known amongst specialists who are qualified as capable of performing such tests? Sue
I think anyone conversant with C14 dating would know it. Strictly speaking, if C-14 was perfectly accurate and precise, it would give you the date on which the vegetation that the sheep ate was last part of a living plant. That isn't likely to be more than a year before the shearing, and when a method has a 95% confidence interval of more than 100 years, who worries about a year or two?
I don't think a year or two matters much either unless one year the 500 year old wool is in an old kilim and the next year it is used to restore pile in rug. As you say, that happens, and I agree with you that it does. So I don't see how a restored rug can be useful in establishing a data base of dated rugs based on C14 tests, from what you have said. I think the test's usefulness may be more appropriate for, and limited to, a dated wool data base. Sue
We just blocked a reply from JACK cASSin. It objects to the notion that sheep feed on vegetation. Here's the relevant part:
... clown....you are too stupid to even bother to critique....sheep vegetation? idiot
Does this mean that there's actually someone in Rugdom who doesn't know that sheep graze? If he knows that they graze, what does he think they eat when they graze? Cheeseburgers?
This belongs in the Urban Dictionary - it's what they call a "cassinization".
My understanding is that the C14 dating of the LACMA rug was based on wool from pile that was original. The fact that they say that they intend to do C14 analysis on restored parts implies this to be the case. If that's so, the rug is a documented example of a mid-16th century (plus or minus 100 years) Turkish rug. For the most part, it should be useful in contributing criteria for recognizing Turkish rugs of that period. The design and colors were probably reproduced pretty faithfully in the restoration (that's nearly always the case), and the pile and foundation in the parts that are original are mid-16th century work.
It may be typical of the period, it may not be. But I don't see how any database of mid-16th century Turkish rugs can fail to include it.
I read about this rug being C14 tested, (at the above, emoticonned, person's site), long before I read there about it's having been restored so my understanding is that the carbon dating was done before it was generally known that the rug had been restored because the above mentioned person would have brought that into his argument long before it appeared there if he knew about it.
There must be a timeline somewhere recording the testing sequence which could clear some things up. It's a shame the talk Pat attended did not include an informative handout for participants. Did anyone else attend that talk who remembers anything that Pat may have forgotten? Maybe an answer puzzling all understandings--- why more C14 tests? Sue
I assume that Gilberg was aware of the extensive restoration and of the C14 data before he took the podium at ICOC. If the C14 analysis was done on snippets of restored pile rather than on original sections, he would not have reported that the C14 data date the rug to between 1450 and 1650. He is, after all, a professional conservator.
So Cassin knew that C14 analysis was done (but not the results) but didn't know about the restoration until after the talk. So what? Even as we discuss it, he is insisting that the C14 analysis was flawed by contamination and that his own attribution is correct.
My default position in assessing the reliability of data obtained by professionals is that they are aware of the well known pitfalls in their methodology, and know how to avoid them (avoiding the contamination problem is easy once you know it is a problem). If someone can produce evidence that the analytical lab has a history of fraud or is incompetent, I'll change my view. But at the moment, my choices are to accept one of two lines of evidence:
1. Professional C14 analysis that leads to a date of 1550, plus or minus 100 years.
2. Opinions based on comparison of this rug with other rugs whose ages are, for the most part, undocumented, that attribute it to around 1800. Oh, and did I mention that the major proponent (in fact, the only one who's made his opinion public) of this point of view has a well documented history of presenting fabrications as facts?
That's where I stand on this. Open to persuasion that I'm wrong, but haven't seen any reason to think so thus far.
"my understanding is that the carbon dating was done before it was generally known that the rug had been restored"
In fact, numerous other testing methods had discerned the repaired areas prior to the rug having been C14 tested. Only the areas of the rug that predated the restorations were C14 tested prior to ICOC.
Steve is correct when he states that the "restorations" retained the original design of the rug as woven.
This rug has been proven by C14 analysis to be, as Steve said: "a mid-16th century (plus or minus 100 years) Turkish rug" And C14 testing is extremely accurate with rugs and other organic items that are more than 300 years old.
It may have been a rural copy of the urban, royal prototype, but it is as old as it was represented when sold to LACMA.
They may have paid too much for it, but 50 years from now it may be seen as a bargain.
Send me an e-mail in 2057 and we will compare notes.
If the C14 analysis had confirmed ’s thesis, would have glorified the C14 method and sung hymns to himself (or the other way around).
Now that the C14 has disproved him, he’s trashing the method. Classical for a .
(Note: from the tone of the e-mails I’m receiving, I think he’s on the brink of a heart attack. Should take a crash course on “Rage Management”…)
The issues of whether LACMA overpaid or underpaid, or whether it is of the age that the seller believed it to be when they bought it, are irrelevant for our purposes. The item of interest here is the rug and the attention it has drawn to the weaknesses in the usual methods of date attribution.
I don't know how many rugs of documented similar age there are out there, probably very few by any standard. Rugs with documented ages are the only ones that can ultimately provide the criteria on which to base reasonably reliable eyeball (and tactile) age attribution. They are, for that reason, important to art history. The notion, "if I like it, it must be old; if I like it a lot it must be REALLY old", the underpinning of so much date attribution, may collapse like a house of cards once there are enough rugs with proven ages. On the other hand, it may wind up being supported by the evidence. Until there are lots more old rugs with documentable provenance or scientifically derived dates, there's no way to know.
Incidentally, one criticism that's been leveled at the C14 analysis is that it gives probabilities for the dates being within certain ranges, not absolute results. This is a general problem, not peculiar to C14 dating. Every scientific "truth" is really a statistical probability. Often, the probability is so high that it isn't calculated or stated, but it is a finite probability nevertheless. For most purposes, 95% probability is the accepted scientific standard of "truth". It is impossible to understand science, its power, and its limitations without understanding that fact.
Now I'm getting confused. Didn't you say C14 cannot be used to determine when a rug was woven? Sue
C14 dating of wool gives the date at which whatever vegetation the sheep ate (and more or less converted into that wool) was last part of a living plant. Typically, shearing is a twice a year event, so it's nearly true to say that C14 dating of the wool gives the date of the shearing (plus or minus 100 years). Since shearing and using the wool for weaving are unlikely to be more than a year or two apart (if that), talking about the C14 date from analysis of the wool as the date of the weaving is a reasonable approximation. Since the C14 data gives a window of plus or minus 100 years on the date, it does no great violence to the truth to treat it as the date of the weaving.
Now for restoration. If a rug is restored with wool taken from kilims that are, say, 100 years older than the original rug, C14 analysis of wool from the restoration won't give the date at which the rug was woven, but the date at which the kilim was woven (with the slop of a year or two in the estimate for the reasons I outlined in the first paragraph).
Does this help?
old is old
The percentage of radioactive carbon 14 in the atmosphere today is the same as the percentage that is in living tissue-such as bones, hair, wool, plants and animals that are alive right now.
This percentage of atmospheric C14 has been shown to change, generally declining over time, until the above-ground nuclear tests increased it to a level that existed right around 1650. That is why items that were alive AFTER 1650 could have died either in 1650 or 1950. Experts and art historians need to use other means to decide which date is correct.
This rug has C14 that predates 1650.
A baseline database derived from tree rings of known age is used to compare items that are tested today.
Since carbon 14 is radioactive, it decays from the moment a living tissue stops "consuming" it (when it dies) and this decay occurs at a known rate. So, when the sheep that wore the wool died, the C14 started to decay and testing can determine, within a range, when it died. What the testing cannot tell is when the wool was woven into a rug. It is like folks use old lumber from a barn for their new furniture. C14 testing would show that the furniture is "old", even though it is only the wood that is old and the furniture is new.
P.S. The C14 test compares the relative amounts of C14 with non-radioactive (therefore non-decaying) C12 and C13.
Thank you, Steve and Patrick. Sue
I don't want to be a statistical nitpick, and I know very little about C14 dating, but a "95% confidence interval" is not strictly the same as a "95% probability" (that's why it's called a "confidence interval", not a "probability interval").
The 95% confidence interval is a statistical concept that relates to the inherent sampling error in a particular measurement. A 95% confidence interval is equal to +/- 1.96 times the standard error of an estimate. Each time a study is carried out, you can estimate the standard error, and compute a 95% confidence interval. Each time you carry out the same experiment using the same procedures the size of the 95% confidence interval is the same. So as I understand it, the 95% confidence interval for C14 dating is +/- 100 years, and for this LACMA rug analysis, the date estimate would be 1550 with a 95% confidence interval of 1450-1650.
Here is the tricky part...
The strict definition of a 95% percent confidence interval is... "if I repeatedly conduct this experiment and estimate 95% confidence intervals, 95% of such intervals will contain the true value". So for this particular experiment you have "95% confidence" that your interval contains the true value. This is different from probability because this confidence interval either does or does not contain the true value. An analogy that I like is having a professor go outside a room of 100 students and ask each of them to make a 1 meter horizontal line on the same wall. The professor goes outside the room draws a vertical line on the opposite side of the wall. He returns to the class and announces, "95% of your lines crossed my line." Then he asks each student "how confident are your that your line crosses my line?" Each student would correctly answer "I have 95% confidence that my line crosses your line", even though 5 of them are wrong.
From a purely statistical perspective, if one accepts the basic accuracy and precision of C14 dating, then postulating that the true date is outside of the 95% confidence interval is illogical. Insisting that it must be outside the 95% confidence interval at one end (i.e. later date) is even less supportable statistically.
Of course, if one doesn't accept the validity or stated precision of C14 dating and prefers another method for dating then the issue of the C14 confidence intervals is moot. But then I would anticipate that the burden of proving the accuracy and precision of the alternative method should also be expected.
It seems like it would be a real hassle to carbon date a rug with as much restoration as, apparently, the LACMA rug has. How do you determine what's truly original, and what's truly not? Some restoration work can be truly exceptional. Couldn't such work be judged as original and then lead us to a bogus date? Couldn't even the restoration have been done with wool older than the original parts of the rug--leading us to a bogus early date? And what happens if you take samples both from restored and non-restored portions of the rug? How would that affect the results, and how can we be certain that didn't happen given just how excellent some restoration can be? This method just seems ill-suited to overly restored textiles, so maybe we need to rely on other indicators to determine an appropriate age range? Just a few thoughts...
You're right (you already knew that).
Incredible as it may seem, Cassin believes - really, truly believes - that scientific truth (as, for example, a date derived from C14 analysis, smoking is bad for your health, etc.) is invalid unless the probability that it is wrong is precisely 0%. Here is something he wrote this morning, in response to the post to which you refer:
"Every scientific "truth" is really a statistical probability" and "95% probability is the accepted scientific standard of "truth"? Phuleeze, steev you rug-dunce, such a statements would be laughable were they not uttered from the droopy lips of a PhD professor.
There is little doubt price is an idiot who twists reality to support his boners and dumb-bell opinions, as he has done here to vainly try to validate his belief in C14 dating of old oriental rugs is viable.
Truth is 100% steev and without truth in science there would be no science, clown.
There you have it. From God's lips to your eyes.
My impression is that determining which parts of a rug are original isn't hard. Although I don't know the details, one approach is to look at it under UV light. I've also heard different numbers for the percentage of the LACMA rug that are original. Cassin says 50%, I heard 35% a month or so ago. Anyone have the straight skinny on that?
Various kinds of light were used to locate restorations before the C-14 process was begun, which is one reason that they knew that restoration had been done at different times. 35% is right.
Gilberg himself has a scientific background and stated that the C-14 results were as reliable as any that could be obtained. He seemed to have no questions about their accuracy.
"Ultraviolet (UV) light is a basic tool of the fine arts and the forensic
sciences, used primarily to expose repairs and forgeries. When a rug is
repaired, or purposely altered such as by changing an inscribed date, the
affected areas may show up strongly when viewed in UV light unless the worker
has employed heroic efforts to disguise his or her endeavors. In Turkey, it is
said, some repair shops use wool unraveled from old kilims in their
restorations. To the extent that the old dyes match those in the rug under
repair, UV detection may be difficult or impossible."
Detecting Frauds and Repairs on Oriental Rugs with Ultraviolet Light, Phillip R. Lichtman, Oriental Rug Review, volume 15/6
Last of 's
Dr Gilberg has stated the rug is 50 % repair
plus, you idiot, science is different than pseudo-science
2 plus 2 equal four -- this is truth
a 1460-1650 C14 date with a 95.4% probability is not truth
it is "opinion"
So, when Dr. Gilberg says something (exaggerated by Jack, of course) that likes, he’s OK.
When Dr. Gilberg says something that doesn’t like, he’s wrong.
And that's the TRUTH.
Are there really light tests that can reveal if old wool has been reprocessed and spun or how long a time a knot has been in a rug? I'm sure I' m not the only one who would like an explanation of those tests. I've never heard of them before. Sue
I don't think detecting repairs with UV light is looking at different properties of wool of different ages, but of different dyes or, at least, of differences that occur in the fluorescence and light absorption properties of dyes over time.
The latest, even more incredible than what he's written so far, appeared today.
1. Although he's repeatedly raised the objection that C14 rug dating is impossible without calibrating the method with rugs of known dates, his story today is that calibration of C14 is done with methods like dendrochronology. He's right, it is. The calibration was done decades ago, and is considered accurate for things more than 250 or 350 years old (depending on which expert is doing the regarding). Yes, Jack, it's true. C14 dating is done against a calibration standard. So is every measurement of any kind. That makes it scientific, not unscientific. It is unscientific to report a measurement that can't ultimately relate to a calibration standard.
2. He cites a 20+ year old paper discussing the problems of dating the shroud of Turin by C14 as evidence of the method's lack reliability.
3. But the most astonishing is this jaw-dropping display of reasoning. It is copied and pasted as a block of text, straight from the source. Although it is an excerpt of a lengthy post, I have not edited it in any way.
Then, of course, there is the caveat of "probability" any resulting date carries.
Why would someone blindly accept a "scientific" procedure, like C14 which is not really scientific (because it produces "probabilities" not "certainties"), in comparison to an expert art historical analysis of the object with others of its type?
Well, we all know most people when stricken with cancer go to a doctor, even though the doctor knows nothing about the cause of the cancer, how it came into the body or its cure.
RK believes most cancer patients would be as well served going to an expert holistic healer or a witch-doctor shaman.
We pose this example to show the rather illogical and blind-faith and trust most people put in "science" even when it is not scientific.
I present it without comment except to note the irony of the fact that the author often presents himself with the title, "Founder (or Director, it varies), Weaving Art Museum and Research Institute", with frequent assertions that he plans to pursue the application of modern forensic science to the study of rugs. If he's aware of any methods in modern forensic science that provide something other than statistical probabilities, the entire scientific community would love to hear about them.
I must retract part of my criticism. I said that Cassin has repeatedly insisted that C14 dating of rugs requires calibration against rugs with known dates. That's incorrect. He didn't. He has repeatedly stated that calibration is a problem in C14 dating of rugs. He implies that it is a problem peculiar to applying the method to rugs, since he acknowledges that many other kinds of objects can and have been dated by the method.
On the other hand, the calibration by C14 analysis of wood whose age is documented from tree ring counts was done several decades ago, and is still in use. There is no special calibration needed or used for rug analysis.
So, I apologize for the error.
The notion that a method requiring calibration is unscientific is bizarre. Any measuring device - ruler, thermometer, scale; you name it - involves calibration against a standard.
Note, added on the morning of June 6, 2007
I believe the following passage, copied and pasted from a post dated yesterday (although I think it was actually posted a day or two earlier; the dates on the posts on that site seem to change from day to day), is part of the basis for my impression of Cassin's position on the need for rugs of known dates against which to calibrate C14 rug dating:
"So, in fact, any C14 result must be compared and calibrated against a known. This is why RK has always maintained a comparison of the C14 result must be compared to a known." (emphasis in original).
His explanation now is that the "known" to which he refers is the calibration based on tree ring dates published about 50 years ago, something that seems not to even be worth mentioning as a special problem related to analysis of rugs.
JACK cASSin's buddy and intellectual equal, John Lewis, has now weighed in on the matter. He begins by misstating the date attribution given by C14 (it's 1550, John, not 1650), following it up by misstating the percentage of the LACMA rug that is said to be restoration (I've seen two numbers, 35% and 50%; he refers to the rug as 65% restored).
He concludes his learned dissertation with,
As for Professor Price's comments about science - he had better take a \"Science 101\" class or is he a creationist as well?
I presume that he's objecting to my saying that science deals in probabilities, truth in science being synonymous with acceptably low probabilities of being incorrect. His position, like that of JACK cASSin, is that scientific truth is absolute. His earlier example was the sum of the angles of a triangle (or some related piece of elementary trigonometry; I'm not sure of the details and don't care enough to check). JACK cASSin's, reproduced in this thread, is 2+2 = 4.
Well, John and JACK cASSin, here's a chance for you to unambiguously prove that I'm ignorant about science. With this link, you can search the
membership of the US National Academy of Sciences. There are about 1500 members; it brings you to contact information for each of them. Select as many as you like, and send each a message asking him or her to confirm that scientific truth is exact and has a 100% probability of being correct. Be sure to mention that you understand that the notion of scientific truth being a probability statement is nonsense, you just need affirmation by a few undisputed experts in order to convince certain idiots who believe the opposite about scientific truth. Don't forget to tell them that these idiots teach their stupid ideas to students in American institutions of higher education. That will help them grasp the gravity of the situation. Oh, do mention that your companion in this quest is the founder and director of a research institute, and that he intends to bring modern science to bear on a much neglected area. That will impress them.
It will take awhile for whoever you contact to stop laughing, but you'll probably get some replies. Let us know the outcome. If even one of them supports your position, I will apologize as publicly as I am now mocking you for being ignorant and too dumb to know it and JACK cASSin for being ignorant and too narcissistic to know it.
I'd like to return to a cassinization that appeared in the last few days.
Well, we all know most people when stricken with cancer go to a doctor, even though the doctor knows nothing about the cause of the cancer, how it came into the body or its cure.
RK believes most cancer patients would be as well served going to an expert holistic healer or a witch-doctor shaman.
In case any readers think this is even an approximation to fact, I refer you to this
link, which summarizes the success rate of cancer treatment by physicians. I've been unable to find data on the success of witch doctors or holistic healers with which to compare it.
I bet a survey of witch-doctors, shaman, and MD's would probably conclude that the best way to avoid cancer is to avoid rk. Sue
I find JACK cASSin's a little surprising, but not astonishing. The notion that science deals in absolute truths is a misconception that is more common than it should be. His aggressive insistence that he's right is ridiculous, but not unexpected from him.
But his ignorance about cancer is shocking, even coming from him. Just about any sixth grader in central Virginia (which is not exactly the Athens of the USA) knows some of the causes of cancer and is aware of the fact that some cancers are curable. It's hard to believe that JACK cASSin has managed to avoid learning any of that.
What I find surprising is that he says he saw this rug in person and failed to notice, or mention, that it was heavily restored. Some expert. Sue
Restorations that are done well are virtually invisible in normal light, even when the piece is examined closely. So, that part is understandable.
But, having said that, I'll add that I don't put much faith in his self-proclaimed expertise in rugs. My experience has been that any time he talks about something of which I am well informed, he's wrong. Some recent examples are, of course, the certitude of scientific information and the world of medicine's total ignorance of the causes and cures of cancers. If he's clearly full of prunes when talking about things that they know, why should anyone take his statements seriously when he talks about things of which they know little?
Maybe you are not alone in thinking it is too much to expect of an expert in historic rugs to be able to determine that a third of a rug is restorations. No rebuttal from dr. pisstiche, at least, who sees to have moved his charge onward to higher virtual reality ground by challenging another rug expert to a duel over c14 methodology, challenging yet another rug expert to some unspecified something else, (a rug flashcard game or a rugdom spelling bee or something?), and of course, most importantly, reminding people to vote for his candidate in 2008 to save the world. Yawn. Sue