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FECHA LÍMITE/DEADLINE/SCADENZA: 15/02/2018
FECHA CONGRESO/CONGRESS DATE/DATA CONGRESSO: 05-06-07-08/09/2018
LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Faculty of Geography and History, University of Barcelona - Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain)
ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Dr. Marta Zuchowska (University of Warsaw) ; Dr. Cecilie Brøns (Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies) ; Dr. Susanna Harris (University of Glasgow)
INFO: web - firstname.lastname@example.org ; Cbrons@chs.harvard.edu ; Susanna.Harris@glasgow.ac.uk
Textiles have largely disappeared from the archaeological record, which makes a study of them something of a challenge. A study of ancient textiles must therefore be based, to a large extent, on secondary sources. Iconography is a particularly crucial source of information about ancient textiles and dress, especially in societies where we only have limited written sources. Thus, a wealth of information on ancient textiles is available from ancient depictions in, for instance, sculpture, vase-painting, figurines, reliefs, mosaics and coins.
However, making sense of images can be difficult, although we still tend to take the process of interpreting images very much for granted. A constant problem for anyone interpreting ancient iconography is therefore determining how we interpret what we see. The most important problem with the use of iconography as a source on ancient societies is the extent to which iconography corresponds to reality. There is no doubt that images are not simple replicas or photographs of reality, and that they were not produced to document or to provide information. Instead, iconography may draw on and select elements from the surrounding world that were ‘recognisable’ to the ancient audience. Thus, in many cases, the images reflect the perceptions, ideologies, and ideas of the society in which they were produced. Furthermore, reading images is not just a question of decoding a single meaning, since the interpretations of images changes from context to context depending on the various viewers and their expectations.
In ancient societies, dress was used to signal aspects of identity such as gender, status, ethnicity, and age, as well as position in the social hierarchy. Dress was also used to indicate specific professions or one’s position in religious hierarchies. In consequence, textiles are often represented in detail in iconography, permitting analysis of a broad spectrum of issues.
Furthermore, textile production was an important element of ancient economy as well as social and cultural life and textile tools and scenes of textile production were therefore depicted in art.
This workshop addresses the topic of representations of textiles in ancient visual arts and how we should interpret these depictions.
Further questions include (but are not limited to):
• How do the depictions relate to the medium in which, or the artefact on which they are represented?
• How do the depictions of dress relate to our knowledge of ancient garments and/or written sources?
• How were depictions of textile tools used to reflect social practices and traditional values?
• How do we assess the possible religious aspect of the depictions of textiles and textile production?
We warmly welcome papers addressing these topics in depictions of dress, textile tools, textile production, as well as textiles for other purposes than dress, such as furnishing textiles etc. We do not set any chronological or geographical restrictions, we welcome all papers proposing new methodological and theoretical approaches to the study of textiles and ancient iconography.