Dressing the Past (Ancient Textile Series, Volume 3)

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Employing notions of distributed agency, this paper proposes an interpretation of these objects as agentive objects in their own right. While they may have participated in local identity formation and negotiation, this paper argues that lion pins are essentially cultic equipment that, when integrated into the dress of a cult statue, played a critical role in presencing the deity and transforming the man-made image into an animated, powerful entity.

She is the author of multiple articles dealing with the material culture of Hasanlu, Iran, theoretical issues relating to mixed material culture produced in contact situations, and Assyrian visual culture. Bio: Jean M.

The Hidden Meanings of African Clothing

Jean was a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from to and was ultimately a co-organizer of the exhibition Beyond Babylon: Art, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium BC and co-editor of its corresponding publication. Benjamin R. Abstract: Pictorial and textual evidence from the Akkadian period ca. Changes in women's styles are less apparent. Depiction of nakedness served multiple purposes. Evidence for court, cultic, and military apparel, both parade and battle, may also be considered. Bio: Benjamin R. In the area of Akkadian literature, he is author of Before the Muses , , , an anthology of annotated translations from Akkadian poetry and prose of all periods.

An abridged, paperback version of this work appeared as From Distant Days In the area of history, especially social and economic history, he is author of two books, Umma in the Sargonic Period and Administration and Use of Institutional Land in Sargonic Sumer , as well as about fifty articles, most of them dealing with the third millennium bce. Title: " A Religion Without Priests? Abstract: Although Greek dress could contribute to the visual articulation of religious hierarchy, it is remarkably hard to identify some kind of consistent dress across the various types of Greek religious personnel, and there is little that comes close to being identifiable as sacerdotal dress.

Strict codes for male and female religious dress are generally taken to be a part of an ideology of control over belief and related to an emphasis on orthodoxy.

The exceptions that prove this ideological rule are the dress practices of the officials who oversaw the Eleusinian Mysteries. Her research focuses on ancient Greek religion, particularly the management of sacred space, "sacred law," and the intersection of dress and religious experience. These traditions can be connected with broader geographical regions: Greece followed the Near Eastern pattern; Italy was closely connected with the eastern Hallstatt Culture; while Spain although the evidence is still very limited appears to have had similarities with the western Hallstatt trends.

Given the importance of textiles in creating individual and group identities, and at the same time the conservative nature of the textile craft, how did the technical and aesthetic differences between these textile cultures affect the appearance and construction of dress in these regions? This paper examines the extant archaeological evidence and discusses the implications of textile data for addressing identities through attire in the ancient societies. Her research interests include the archaeology of the pre- and protohistoric Mediterranean and Near East. She specializes in textile archaeology, including scientific analytical methods of fibre and textile investigation.

Ann C. Gunter, Respondent. Bio: Ann C. Her chief research interests include artistic and cultural interaction between the Mediterranean and the Near East and the reception of Greek and Near Eastern art in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Abstract: Attire plays an important part in presenting various identities projected in this world, as well as in the afterlife. It can serve as both a code of belonging to a certain group and as a tool to distinguish the self from the other.

The attitude an individual or culture displays toward foreign fashion reflects the type of contact with the foreigners and the political situation in which the interaction took place. Thus, the conscious choice of dress could show not only conformity, but also resistance to foreign culture. Dress as an analytical tool can easily mislead if studied with wrong assumptions and without a detailed analysis of the item itself. The problem of interpretation lays in the cultural background of the interpreter, the distance in time from analyzed material, and the fragmentary state of preservation of the ancient sources be in artifact, art, or text.

Such presumptions are prevalent in the study of costume represented in Late Period Egyptian art, when changes and innovation are often explained as "foreign influence" attributed to the contacts with the first millennium Mediterranean world. An example of this type of challenge is the so-called "Persian costume" that consists of the high-waisted kilt with protruding roll and overhang and the long-sleeved tunic that has sometimes even been called a "Persian jacket.

The interpretation of his costume as a "saratorial koine" of the Persian period, resulted in becoming a stylistic criterion to date an object to the Twenty-seventh Dynasty. It is being prepared for publication by the Oriental Institute. She spent the academic year — in Egypt as a postdoctoral scholar at the American Research Center in Egypt, financed by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Abstract: Clothing was central to Achaemenid Persian court culture.

Persian courtly identity was defined through its clothing. The Greeks generally regarded Persian dress as beautiful and expensive it was once estimated that by modern standards, Artaxerxes II stood up in nothing short of 3 million pounds worth of clothing and jewelry. One of the most distinctive of all Persian garments was the top coat, the gaunaka , which is the focus of this study.

It was a kind of overcoat with wide, often over-long, sleeves and it was usually worn hanging from the shoulders. The Greeks knew it as the kandys. I refer here, of course, to the notion of investiture and the political importance attached to the custom of royalty bestowing the gaunaka as a robe of honor onto a worthy recipient. The robe was a reward which was physically expressed through the gift itself and in Achaemenid ideology, the interplay between service and the gift was profound since the monarch was perceived as receiving the gifts of his people in the form of loyalty, service, and produce.

The robe was a manifestation of royalty itself and as such, was a logical expression of the loyalty gift.

These Greek stories highlight the fact that certain Persian dress customs were known to the Greeks, albeit imperfectly, and stress the notion that clothing rituals in antiquity had deep cultural roots. His work focuses on Achaemenid court culture and Persian interactions with the Greek world as well as on dress and gender in antiquity.

Margaret C. Abstract: The imperial vision of the Achaemenid world, reflected in palatial and funerary arts as well as royal texts in Fars, emphasized the extent of empire by carefully delineating and articulating the many peoples that lay within as a result of victorious conquest. The very limited evidence available suggests that this powerful vision was disseminated by replication in some, if not all, satrapal capitals. In several regional contexts, there is clear, if limited, evidence to show that at least some of the elite members of the regional populations of the empire selectively adopted Persian dress as well as facets of Persian lifestyle: a kandys on a hunter, the court robe on a banqueter.

Bio: Margaret C. Miller, Arthur and Renee George Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Sydney, has research interests in the archaeology of ancient Greece, notably the material evidence for social life and thought in the tenth through fourth centuries bc.


Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion Vol 1: Africa: Joanne B. Eicher: Berg Publishers

Research foci pertain to relations between the Greek world and ancient west Asia, especially Anatolia, in the Persian period; tracking social attitudes through the vehicle of the representational arts; and settlement archaeology excavation of Zagora on Andros. He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in , and was lecturer at the Papyrological Institute of Leiden University from to before coming to Chicago.

He has published two books on taxation in Ptolemaic Egypt and a third on the ancient Egyptian economy. Title: "'Silver for Clothing…'. These textiles can be interpreted as objects of high status and prestige and as such must have been understood by both parties in the communication.

The written evidence dated to the second half of the second millennium bc offers an opportunity to study the relevant terminology both in a geographical and chronological perspective. It is the main aim of the proposed paper to pinpoint some individual traditions as reflected in written documents as well as to identify the specifics of the Egyptian tradition. She is the author and co-author of several books and studies on the topic Language of Amarna — Language of Diplomacy , Prague Presently, she carries a research project devoted to the study of Amarna cuneiform palaeography and she recently became a member of a multidisciplinary research project dealing with the collection of the Old Assyrian tablets at Charles University.

She is the main organizer of the Crossroads conferences Prague , devoted to study of interrelations among the ancient Near East societies in the Bronze Age. Abstract: Of the many foreigners depicted in Egyptian art, it is the people of the west of Egypt who are most readily identifiable not merely by skin tone, but by distinctive clothing, accoutrements, and hair style. Shown either largely naked in a phallus sheath — for both males and females — and bandelier crossing the chest or clothed in a long open cloak, Libyans are further distinguished by feathers in the hair, specific tattoos, and either a frontal, jutting hair lock or by a single long side lock descending well below the ear.

From these distinctive features it is possible to reassign misidentified foreigners as Libyans and to expose Egyptian "mummers" pretending to be Libyans for ritual performances during times when the pastoralist Libyans could not be found. Rock art from western Libya now confirms the genuine basis of the Egyptian representations. Bio: Robert K. Abstract: The scenes in Theban tomb chapels belonging to elite Eighteenth Dynasty officials offer a rich source of material for understanding how dress was used to construct identity within the visual system employed in tomb decoration.

Depending on the role played by the owner in any given context, the way he presents himself may differ subtly from one scene to another. In this paper, I explore the ways in which dress is implicated in identity construction to signify social status, gender, age, ritual role, and ethnicity in tomb chapel decoration. She has published numerous articles relating to ancient Egyptian art, Eighteenth Dynasty non-royal Theban tombs, and women and gender issues in ancient Egypt. Caftan fashion in the West was borne out of a romantic obsession with the idea of the exotic otherness, whether it was fantasies about Arabian deserts, Indian temples, Turkish palaces, or Southeast Asian islands.

Portrait of Czarina Alexandra in a traditional Russian coronation dress. Via 1st-Art-Gallery. Their whole family would be executed by the Bolsheviks in , at the end of the Russian Revolution. But in the late s, Alexandra was an aspirational royal style icon.

Assyrian, Babylonian costume history. Mesopotamia.

Historically, Russian caftans look quite similar to those worn by Ottoman sultans. Radically different from the waist-cinching corset and curve-hugging dress that was so fashionable in England, the robe completely obscured her figure. She looked delightfully striking and strange to Western eyes. But that was one of the first examples of a woman who was also seen in fashionable Western dress wearing something so exotic. But after that, socialites and designers were drawn to the idea of looser clothes with more volume and less constriction.

Via the National Gallery of Australia. The czarina also prompted a craze for all things Russian. This fad provided the opportunity for Russian impresario Serge Diaghilev to present a season of Russian art, music, and opera to Paris audiences in Petersburg to Paris to establish his Ballets Russes company.

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All of this made Persia the new exotic destination du jour. While the allure of unknown cultures like Russia and Persia was one factor that brought caftans to the West, another important influence was innovative fashions by turn-of-the-century designers who rejected the confinement of Edwardian S-shape corsets. When there are low fellows who run after our sledges and annoy us, we have their heads cut off, and we put them in sacks just like that. Nonetheless, Poiret opened his own design house in , making that Asian-style coat his signature piece, along with several other long loose-fitting garments meant to free the body from constraints.

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In the s and s, French designer Madeleine Vionnet followed in their footsteps, making bias-cut clothes designed to hug and emphasize the natural curves of a woman. That would be so constricting. Loose-fitting drop-waisted dresses were the height of elegance in the s, as you can see on the cover of the Summer issue of McCall Quarterly. Via HubPages. These designers paved the way for the Jazz Age flapper movement , where economically and sexually liberated women, who were uncorseted but girdled, wore drop-waist dresses with scandalously bare arms and exposed knees.

But this baggy-fitting, curveless style was soon adapted into more conservative, mature looks and sold at Sears by the end of the s. For example, Dior is also credited with showing the first modern caftan, as a coat over a dress, on a haute couture runway in the s. In , he added Yves Saint Laurent , a year-old French designer from Algeria, to his team, and the house introduced the triangular A-line silhouette and the wide-shouldered, slim-skirted Y-line shape.


In certain incarnations, this loose-fitting knee-length dress had a almost rounded shape, while others had a more cucumber-like silhouette. Reviled at first, it was eventually considered the height of elegance and widely copied by ready-to-wear manufacturers. In , both Givenchy and Balenciaga put sack dresses on the runway.

As these strange silhouettes became more widely accepted in the late s, Americans were embracing a fantasy of Polynesian island culture. Tiki-themed bars and restaurants were popping up everywhere, and when Hawaii became a state in , everyone started throwing backyard luaus. Via eBay.

Unlike the caftan, the muumuu was not native dress. Before contact with the Western world, Hawaiian women wore only skirts, and walked around topless, breasts exposed. When American missionaries arrived in the s, they were scandalized, and immediately sought to teach Hawaiians modesty and cover these women up. Around the same time, Thea Porter had so much success selling Middle Eastern wares and antique caftans at her London shop, she started designing caftans herself. Photo by Henry Clarke, images via Shrimpton Couture. She was all about making a big statement. What Balenciaga was doing with gazar had a really sturdy structure to it, and a lot of the Russian traditional garments have a heavier hand, or feel, to them.

Via RecordMecca. Saint Laurent fashioned caftans for his fabulous pals like actress and socialite Talitha Getty, her playboy husband, John Paul Getty, Jr. Pucci, Pierre Cardin, and Valentino all debuted out their own versions of the caftan on the runway. Each designer made the caftan his or her own with the type of fabric, color palette, and embellishments used.

Grace Kelly , who became the Princess of Monaco in , naturally, appeared sporting a caftan. Yanofsky thinks outside of the appeal of exoticism and Eastern culture, the rise of the caftan had a lot to do with pushing the boundaries of what American women could wear, and when. It had an ambiguous sexuality to it. It both freed the body and emphasized the body, while still remaining somewhat dignified.

Over the years, Elizabeth Taylor amassed a huge collection of designer caftans by Emanuel and Thea Porter, and she even wore a tie-dyed Gina Frantini caftan for her second wedding to Richard Burton in Instead, young starlets in the s adopted form-fitting Spandex and big, angular shoulder pads. Via Decades Inc. Right, a s Valentino caftan. Via Etsy. Finally, the caftan is making a triumphant return. What do I look like today? You can dress it up, dress it down.

There are not that many garments that translate so well. Emilio Pucci returned to caftans as well, always a fantastic way to showcase his signature fabrics. Missoni is a knitwear company.