Reading a dynamic canvas: adornment in the ancient Mediterranean world

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Cambridge Scholars, 2008 - Design - 230 pages
Personal adornment, as an extension of the body, is a crucial component in social interaction. The active process of adorning the body can shape embodied identities, such as social status, ethnicity, gender, and age. As a result of its dynamic and performative nature, the body can often convey meaning more powerfully and convincingly than verbal communication. Yet adornment is not easily read and does not necessarily reflect actual lived experience. Rather, bodily adornment, and the performances that accompany it, can be manipulated to conceal or exaggerate reality, thus speaking more to identity discourse. The interpretation of such discourse must be grounded in an understanding of the context-specific and negotiable nature of adornment. The essays in this volume, which are united by their focus on material and visual evidence, cover a broad chronological and geographical span, from the ancient Near East to Roman Britain, and bring together innovative scholarly work on adornment by an international group of art historians and archaeologists. This attention to the archaeological evidence makes the volume a valuable resource, as those working with material or visual culture face unique methodological and theoretical challenges to the study of adornment.

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