Fashion and Identity in the Eastern Mediterranean World: Case Studies in Painted and Ceramic Portraiture
This paper analyzes the symbolic and material character of late thirteenth to fifteenth-century dress recorded in secular portraiture that flourished on eastern Mediterranean islands where native Byzantine communities came under European rule in the advent of the Crusades. Substantial numbers of visual and written records chart the shared experience of Catholic settlers from Europe and indigenous Orthodox Greeks, presenting a unique method of cultural interaction and exchange that is best seen in the choice of dress featured most prominently in commemorative portraits.
These portraits represent more than individuals: they can connote subversive, non-elite identity, or translate memory into the commemorative present. Portraiture was carefully employed to construct, express, and negotiate identity by manipulating representations of male and female styles of dress and accessories grounded both in reality and in the cultural memory of a greater past.
Response: Dr. Mabi Angar (Köln)