Fashioned Selves: Dress and Identity in Antiquity [Paperback]

Megan Cifarelli (Editor)

ISBN: 9781789252545 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2019 | Language: English 256p, H240 x W170 (mm) b/w and colour

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Fashioned Selves


The study of dress in antiquity has expanded in the last 20 years, evolving from investigations of costume and ethnicity in ancient art and texts and analyses of terms relating to textiles and their production, to broader studies of the social roles of dressed bodies in ancient contexts, texts, and images. This volume emerges from Approaches to Dress and the Body sessions at the Annual Meetings of the American Schools of Oriental Research in 2016 and 2017, as well as sessions relating to ancient dress and personal adornment at the Annual Meetings of the Archaeological Institute of America in 2018. Following the broad notion of dress first presented in Eicher and Roach-Higgins in 1992 as the “assemblage of modifications of the body and/or supplements to the body,” the contributions to this volume study varied materials, including physical markings on the body, durable goods related to dressed bodies in archaeological contexts, dress as represented in the visual arts as well as in texts, most bringing overlapping bodies of evidence into play.

Examining materials from a range of geographic and chronological contexts including the prehistoric Caucasus, Iran, Mesopotamia, Syria and the Levant, the Aegean, Greece, the Roman world and Late Antique Central Asia, this volume takes as its starting point that dress does not simply function as a static expression of identity or status, inscribed on the body to be “read” by others, but is a dynamic component in the construction, embodiment, performance and transformation of identity.

Table of Contents

List of contributors
Introduction: Fashioned selves
Megan Cifarelli
Part One: Funerary selves
1 Fashioned identity in the Şərur Valley, Azerbaijan: Kurgan CR8
Jennifer Swerida and Selin Nugent
2 To toggle back and forth: clothing pins and portable identities in the Old Assyrian Period
Nancy Highcock
3 Male dress habits in Roman period Palmyra
Maura Heyn and Rubina Raja
Part Two: Sacred fashions
4 Dressed to heal, protect and rule: vestiges of shamanic praxis in ancient Near Eastern rituals and beliefs
Diana L. Stein
5 A proposal for interpreting the role of colour symbolism in Prepalatial Cretan body adornment
Cynthia S. Colburn
6 Biblical regulation of tattooing in the light of ancient Near Eastern practices
Nili S. Fox
7 Weapons and weaving instruments as symbols of gender in the Ancient Near East
Sophus Helle
8 Israelite high priestly apparel: embodying an identity between human and divine
Christine Palmer
Part Three: Communal selves
9 A feather in your cap: symbols of “Philistine” warrior status?
Josephine A. Verduci
10 Some observations on fringe in Elamite dress
Trudy S. Kawami
11 The impenetrable body: armour and the male nude in Greek art
Marina Haworth
12 Dressed to dazzle, dressed to kill: staging Assurbanipal in the royal lion hunt reliefs from Nineveh
Omar N’Shea
13 Banqueting, dress, and the idealized Sogdian merchant
Betty Hensellek
Part Four: Beyond identity
14 A sense of stone and clay: the inter-corporeal disposition of Minoan glyptic
Emily S. K. Anderson
15 The phenomenology and sensory experience of dress in Mesopotamia: the embodiment of discomfort and pain through dress
Allison K. Thomason
16 The tangible self: embodiment, agency, and the functions of adornment in Achaemenid Persia
Neville McFerrin

Reviews & Quotes

"…an important contribution to the study of dress and body ornamentation. The diversity of cultures, cases and aspects render it a thought-provoking read."
Christina Aamodt
Ancient West & East

"It is an extremely useful source for dress historians, students and researchers who wish to deepen their knowledge of the complex relationship between dress and identity."
Jennifer Daley
Journal of Dress History

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