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Old 29th September 2013, 05:39 AM   #1
estcrh
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Default Persian mail and plate shirt.

I ran into this image of a Persian mail and plate shirt and I had to laugh, this is in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
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Old 16th October 2013, 10:21 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
I ran into this image of a Persian mail and plate shirt and I had to laugh, this is in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.


Did you laugh because it is not Persian or because it is Ottoman
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Old 19th October 2013, 09:35 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALEX
Did you laugh because it is not Persian or because it is Ottoman
Alex, look at the shoulders...someone at the museum put a pair of dizcek (cuisse or knee and thigh armor) on the shoulders. There is no way that any museum personal should make a mistake like that. Dizcek have a large round plate that covers the knee and mail and plate that covers the thigh. You can search the internet and not find another example like this so were did the museum come up with this idea. Here is an image showing how they should be worn. As far being Persian or Ottoman that would be a much more understandable mistake to make.
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Old 19th October 2013, 11:09 AM   #4
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WOW! This is really good one, Estcrh. Incredible indeed. I've seen a fair share of mistakes in many museums, but never a mega blunder like this Thanks for sharing!
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Old 19th October 2013, 01:24 PM   #5
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Salaams estcrh ALEX and all... I have to say I didn't spot that either, moreover, I was looking for something funny ... Now that you point it out it is quite amazing how someone has put this all together wrongly (unless the wearer fell from his horse and that's where his knees ended up!!) I suppose it is funny...ha! Did you mention it to the Museum?

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Old 20th October 2013, 08:44 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi
Salaams estcrh ALEX and all... I have to say I didn't spot that either, moreover, I was looking for something funny ... Now that you point it out it is quite amazing how someone has put this all together wrongly (unless the wearer fell from his horse and that's where his knees ended up!!) I suppose it is funny...ha! Did you mention it to the Museum?

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Ibrahiim and all, I have found that museums in general do not want to be told that they are wrong, here is another example. Recently I spotted this image being posted all over the internet. It is a samurai full face mask (somen), there is no doubt about that, anyone can google "samurai somen" and come up with matching images. There are several different versions of this somen but all have the same basic description.
Quote:
Iron Executioners Mask, European 1501-1700 Wellcome Library, London


So I did a little detective work and found the photographer responsible for taking one of the images, he was actually very cordial, he stated that he simply copied the museums description of the image and he felt that seeing the respectable nature of the museum (The Wellcome Collection) that owns the somen that they must be right in the accuracy of the description, but he did say that if the museum changed their description that he would do the same on his images.

So I did a little more digging and found links to the images with the wrong description. (http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/M0005113.html) and (http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/M0005114.html). So I thought that this would be an easy one, I contacted the museum many months ago and sent them all of the information they would need to see that the item being described as a "European executioners mask" was in fact a samurai somen. Well the mask is still mislabeled and the museum never replied to me.
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Old 20th October 2013, 10:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
Ibrahiim and all, I have found that museums in general do not want to be told that they are wrong, here is another example.


If you had put a PhD behind your name, they would have.
I've contacted the British National Maritime Museum in the past about a late 19th-early 20th c. child's toy sword [what the Germans would call a kinder degen] that they hath mislabeled as a US Navy officer's dirk. The curator emailed me and thanked for correcting their description...but they never changed it on their website.
There are other incorrectly described items on their website, but I never bothered to write to them again.
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Old 20th October 2013, 11:34 AM   #8
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On the other-hand, I recently informed The Herbert museum (Coventry, UK) that they were about exhibit a fake (eBay) Sikh 'Turban' helmet as part of a Sikh Exhibition, and they took my opinion without question.

Unfortunately it had already been on display at Birmingham (UK) Museum for many months, described as a 19thC original, without question by museum staff, and so-called experts invited to the exhibition.

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Runjeet
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Old 20th October 2013, 06:53 PM   #9
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I've had it go both ways as well. Smaller museums being more willing to engage in a discussion in my experience. It also helps if you can provide a few references and sources for them to pursue.

The last one I got a positive response on was a small regional museum which was exhibiting a 19th century kaskara as 15th century Spanish! They were actually very receptive to being contacted as they don't have any specialized staff and were planning to change the labeling last I heard.

If nothing else, it gives peace of mind I think to at least be able to say I tried to let them know if there's something obviously out of place.
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Old 21st October 2013, 07:16 PM   #10
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Years ago a mislabeled item would not have caused much problem, now images are being sent all over the world instantly, they are used in blogs, forums and lately on pinterest, and people actually believe the descriptions attached to these images because they think a museum would not make such blatant mistakes. it is not only museums but also auction houses that are sometimes completely wrong in their descriptions as well.
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Old 21st October 2013, 07:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
it is not only museums but also auction houses that are sometimes completely wrong in their descriptions as well.


Especially this. Not just wrong with attribution but sadly in some fields completely wrong about authenticity.

Heck, I've had cases of it myself, changing my opinion on some attribution elements on my own site, but sometimes images and old descriptions linger on in other folks' blogs and forum posts.

It's a general danger with online media.
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Old 29th October 2013, 05:35 AM   #12
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Here is another classic example from the Military Museum, Istanbul Turkey. This is an inexcusable mistake seeing that this is Ottoman armor and should have been easily identifiable, but somehow museum employees have no clue as to how their own countries armor was worn.
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Old 29th October 2013, 08:28 AM   #13
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I cannot agree with you more, Estcrh. Both Askeri Muse and Topkapi Palace armory have countless mistakes, some on a verge of being ludicrous, and some well beyond . Some museums are not really interested in academic study (cause it involves work , and they assume their tourist audience does not care much either. They just want to show some weapons to the kids and keep the ticket sales going. I'd not spend any effort pointing it to them, it'd be frustrating waste of time in most cases. One should be proud by noticing the mistake, silently smiling and telling to oneself: "good catch", and enjoying the show... and later sharing it with those few who know here on the Forum So, well done and thanks for sharing!
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Old 29th October 2013, 07:15 PM   #14
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Ahh . . . I am new to the world of swords and armor & really don't know any more than those museums. To me, joining this site has been like when I went from the Smart Guy in High School to lowly Freshman in college. This Freshman still works to comprehend the Obvious-to-You errors.

For example, that last photo of some plate armour on a man's fore-arm looks to me like - what? For a horse's nose? Damnifino.

Oh, well. I'll figure it out.
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Old 30th October 2013, 01:30 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesKelly
Ahh . . . I am new to the world of swords and armor & really don't know any more than those museums. To me, joining this site has been like when I went from the Smart Guy in High School to lowly Freshman in college. This Freshman still works to comprehend the Obvious-to-You errors.

For example, that last photo of some plate armour on a man's fore-arm looks to me like - what? For a horse's nose? Damnifino.

Oh, well. I'll figure it out.
James, here is a link to help you, one hint...that is not an arm guard.


http://www.pinterest.com/samuraiant...-persian-armor/
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Old 30th October 2013, 07:18 PM   #16
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HERE ARE 3 PICTURES OF A JAPANESE SAMAURAI ARMOR MASK VERY SIMULAR TO THE ONE POSTED FOR COMPARASION.
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Old 31st October 2013, 07:50 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VANDOO
HERE ARE 3 PICTURES OF A JAPANESE SAMAURAI ARMOR MASK VERY SIMULAR TO THE ONE POSTED FOR COMPARASION.
VANDOO, yep, thats how easy it would be for them to check it out, I just sent them another email with detailed links, I will see it they respond this time.

Quote:
Hello, I want to inform you that the item in your collection labeled as a "European executioners mask" is not an "executioners mask" and it is not "European". The mask is actually a Japanese mask worn by samurai warriors, it is called a "somen" and if you do a simple google search for "samurai somen" you will find many similar masks. Currently your image is being posted all over the internet with this wrong description, it would be quite easy to check out what I am saying and fix the description, I hope you will take the time to investigate this matter as your institution has a very good reputation and people believe the descriptions posted on your items, thank you very much.
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Old 31st October 2013, 08:52 AM   #18
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I also sent a message the Los Angles County Museum of Art about the mail and plate shirt, lets see if they respond.

Quote:
Hello, I am writing to inform your institution that an item on your website is currently mis-identified and it is also not being displayed properly. The item in question is being called ("Breastplate, Iran, 16th-17th century, Arms and Armor, Steel with silver inlay24 x 39 in. (61.0 x 99.0 cm), The Nasli M. Heeramaneck Collection, gift of Joan Palevsky (M.73.5.729a-j), Islamic Art") http://collections.lacma.org/node/221440 This armor is not a "breastplate", it is actually a mail and plate shirt (zirh gomlak or zirah baktar / zirah bagtar). This is not the worse error unfortunately, someone has placed a completely separate form of armor on each shoulder, these are actually a rare form of knee and thigh armor (dizcek), these absolutely do not belong on the shoulders of this mail and plate shirt, they should be dis-attached from the shirt and be displayed, cataloged and inventoried as individual items.

I have provided a link were you can see examples of both types of armor, a little research will show you that the item is not properly displayed or labeled, since your institution has a very good name and people are now downloading these images and copying the descriptions it would be in your best interest to correct these inaccuracies, thank you.

Last edited by estcrh : 31st October 2013 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 31st October 2013, 01:11 PM   #19
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One more example, a well known armor from the Deutsches Historisches Museum (Museum of German History), with this example it is easier to list the parts which belong then the ones that do not. Since I do not speak German someone else will have to tell them that they are making their institution look foolish.
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Old 31st October 2013, 03:48 PM   #20
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WE DON'T DISCUSS ARMOR MUCH SO I WILL INCLUDE A COUPLE OF MY FAVORITES HERE JUST FOR FUN. 1. A BREASTPLATE FROM INDIA AND 2. A SILVER BRA FROM SULAWESI, TORAJA. HAPPY HALLOWEEN
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Old 31st October 2013, 08:13 PM   #21
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Using dizçeks as shoulder armour and "kolçak"s as shin armour are unfortunetley the most common and persistant mistakes museums make on their displays.
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Old 1st November 2013, 02:09 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
I also sent a message the Los Angles County Museum of Art about the mail and plate shirt, lets see if they respond.


I just received an email from Dr. Linda Komaroff, Curator of Islamic Art and Department Head, Art of the Middle East, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I think this is a great reply.

Quote:
Thank you for calling to our attention the errors on the museum's website. The curatorial departments do have responsibility for updating the website. Although we try very hard to pass along the correct information it does not always find its way to the internet. The armor in question is currently on exhibition and is shown correctly as in the attached image. I think you will agree it looks much better.

Sadly someone mounted the knee guards on the shoulders many years ago, around 1995, as reflected in that old image. They are currently in our conservation department being cleaned though they are perhaps not a matched pair.The shirt of mail and plate is exhibited with a 15th-century helmet and two leg guards of similar date, which unfortunately are definitely not a matched pair. We will do our very best to have the old image removed and the correct information inserted.



An image of the current display and the new description.

Shirt of Mail and Plate
Iran, 15th century
Steel with silver inlay and traces of gilding
The Nasli M. Heeramaneck Collection, gift of Joan Palevsky
M.73.5.729a
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Old 2nd January 2015, 01:18 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
Ibrahiim and all, I have found that museums in general do not want to be told that they are wrong, here is another example. Recently I spotted this image being posted all over the internet. It is a samurai full face mask (somen), there is no doubt about that, anyone can google "samurai somen" and come up with matching images. There are several different versions of this somen but all have the same basic description.

So I did a little detective work and found the photographer responsible for taking one of the images, he was actually very cordial, he stated that he simply copied the museums description of the image and he felt that seeing the respectable nature of the museum (The Wellcome Collection) that owns the somen that they must be right in the accuracy of the description, but he did say that if the museum changed their description that he would do the same on his images.

So I did a little more digging and found links to the images with the wrong description. (http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/M0005113.html) and (http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/M0005114.html). So I thought that this would be an easy one, I contacted the museum many months ago and sent them all of the information they would need to see that the item being described as a "European executioners mask" was in fact a samurai somen. Well the mask is still mislabeled and the museum never replied to me.


Update, after contacting the Wellcome Collection again I finally received a response.

Quote:
I am writing to thank you for your e-mail of 11 September letting us know about the mis-identification of the Japanese Somen which features in our permanent exhibition “Medicine Man” (currently suspended while building work is completed).

We are very grateful to you for pointing out this mis-identification which seems to have come with the object when it was originally acquired for Henry Wellcome’s collection, but has obviously been repeated in different places at different times.

The Somen will go on display again in February next year when our permanent exhibitions re-open, and the accompanying ‘information’ will of course be corrected in accordance with the information you have kindly passed on.

With many thanks for your help, and very best wishes, James

James Peto
Senior Curator
Public Programmes
Wellcome Trust
215 Euston Rd
London NW1 2BE
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Old 2nd January 2015, 09:37 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estcrh
Update, after contacting the Wellcome Collection again I finally received a response.



Bravo !!!

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Old 2nd January 2015, 07:21 PM   #25
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Sometime the squeaky wheel gets the oil!

Unless someone in staff knows you or you have written books that are widely known, you could be a crackpot. If they get a lot of comments, then they will investigate.

Also, if a case is sealed for a certain time that will not open it to change a label unless there is so much commentary it becomes an embarrassment.
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Old 3rd January 2015, 06:26 AM   #26
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I work at a museum, and I can confirm first hand that curators are reluctant to ever admit they are wrong. I have presented extensive, accurate information concerning erroneous labelling, but it always seems to fall on deaf ears. I call it "I'm the expert" syndrome.
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Old 3rd January 2015, 10:02 AM   #27
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Second syndrome is
"I'm a lazy bugger"...
People don't like changes...
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Old 3rd January 2015, 12:01 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by russel
I work at a museum, and I can confirm first hand that curators are reluctant to ever admit they are wrong. I have presented extensive, accurate information concerning erroneous labelling, but it always seems to fall on deaf ears. I call it "I'm the expert" syndrome.

Russel, that must be frustrating, do you have any examples you can show.

Here is an example of what can happen with one misidentified object. A photographer took some photos of objects from the Wellcome Collection a few years ago including the mask, now his photo has been reposted all over the internet with the wrong description.
https://www.google.com/search?tbs=s...9XN3x5gbxCBLW1A
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Old 3rd January 2015, 01:20 PM   #29
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http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/openc...ith_Dragon_Head

labelled as Ottoman axe 18th
instead of Qajar 19th

You have hundred of examples...
and it is worst in the storerooms than the exhibition rooms!
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Old 3rd January 2015, 08:01 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/openc...ith_Dragon_Head

labelled as Ottoman axe 18th
instead of Qajar 19th

You have hundred of examples...
and it is worst in the storerooms than the exhibition rooms!


Definitely not Ottoman!!!

Quote:
Battle-Axe with Dragon Head
Shared motifs and designs in the art of diverse cultures along the Silk Route provide some of the most visible evidence of cultural transmission between China and the Islamic world. Through trade, tribute, gift exchange, and the spread of religions such as Buddhism, Manichaeism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, imagery associated with one artistic tradition was often adapted or incorporated in another cultural context. Motifs that appear across the arts of China, Central Asia, and the Islamic world include fantastical animals such as dragons and phoenixes; cloud bands and cloud collar motifs; and flowers such as lotuses and peonies. Yet the meanings linked to these motifs often did not transfer from one context to the next. Similar imagery could exist simultaneously in several regions while signifying different things.

The dragon represents one of the enduring motifs of Chinese art; it has acquired a range of auspicious meanings over time, symbolizing creation, life-giving rain, and the benevolent power of the emperor.

Dragons were also familiar to Iranian, Anatolian, Central Asian, and Indian cultures and were represented as peaceful and benevolent or terrifying and violent depending on Manichaean, Soghdian, Khotanese, or Armenian mythology. The dragon decorating the back of an Ottoman axe might have served as a fear-inducing and simultaneously protective image.

Medium: Steel
Dates: 17th-18th century
Period: Ottoman dynasty
Dimensions: 31 in. (78.7 cm) Other (Blade): 8 1/2 in. (21.6 cm) (show scale)
Collections:Arts of the Islamic World
Museum Location: This item is not on view
Accession Number: 42.245.5
Credit Line: Gift of Percy C. Madeira, Jr.
Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
Caption: Battle-Axe with Dragon Head, 17th-18th century. Steel, 31 in. (78.7 cm).
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