Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Historical Tidbits

A while ago now, I found an interesting book on the Casemate Academic (formerly David Brown Book Company) website.  Casemate is the American affiliate of Oxbow Books, which sells many wonderful books relating to archaeological research, including archaeological research involving clothing and textiles.  Because the price was low (only $12.00 USD).  I purchased it. Here's the bibliographical information:
Nosch, Marie-Louise, Feng, Zhao, & Varadarajan, Lotika, eds. Global Textile Encounters (Ancient Textiles Series vol. 20) (Oxbow Books 2014).
As the title implies, the theme of all the essays in the book is how clothing and textile designs are inspired by contacts with foreign regions.  Most of the essays are short and informal--perhaps a bit too informal for publication in most academic journals.   However, they still have interesting snippets of information for students of historical textiles and costume.  The amount of photographs in this volume are limited, but the ones that appear are in color and of excellent quality. 

For the convenience of my readers, I have replicated below the list of the essays in the book, to make it possible to judge whether the book is worth $12.00 USD to you.  I found most of them--including those relating to clothing and textiles outside of my primary period of interest--to be fascinating.  
1.   Textiles and Elite Tastes between the Mediterranean, Iran and Asia at the end of Antiquity: Matthew P. Canepa.

2.   Palla, Pallu, Chador: Draped clothing in ancient and modern cultures: Mary Harlow.

3.   From Draupadi to Dido: The duties of dress in paintings inspired by the Mahabarata and the Aeneid: Linda Matheson.

4.   The Kaftan: An unusual textile encounter in the Scandinavian Late Iron Age: Ulla Mannering.

5.   Ancient Running Animals: Tablet-woven borders from China and Norway: Lise Ræder Knudsen.

6.   The Development of Pattern Weaving Technology through Textile Exchange along the Silk Road: Zhao Feng.

7.   The Earliest Cotton Ikat textiles from Nahal ‘Omer Israel 650-810 CE: Orit Shamir and Alisa Baginski.

8.   Northerners – Global Travellers in the Viking Age: Eva Andersson Strand.

9.   Unravelling Textile Mysteries with DNA analysis: Luise Ørsted Brandt.

10. The Traceable Origin of Textiles: Karin Margarita Frei.

11. The World of Textiles in Three Spheres: European Woollens, Indian Cottons and Chinese Silks, 1300-1700: Giorgio Riello.

12. Chinese Silks in Mamluk Egypt: Helen Persson.

13. Woven Mythology: The Textile Encounter of makara, senmurw and phoenix: Mariachiara Gasparini.

14. Textile in Art: The influence of textile patterns on ornaments in the architecture of medieval Zirikhgeran: Zvezdana Dode.

15. Coromandel Textiles: The Changing Face of Consumer Demand and Weavers’ Responses 16th to 18th Century CE: Vijaya Ramaswamy.

16. The Jesuit Dilemma in Asia: Being a naked ascetic or a court literate?: Selusi Ambrogio.

17. “The Colourful Qualities of Desire”: Fashion, colours and industrial espionage: Vibe Maria Martens.

18. Fashion Encounters: The “Siamoise” or the Impact of the Great Embassy on textile design in Paris in 1687: Corinne Thépaut-Cabasset.

19. The Chinoiserie of the 17th to 18th-century Soho Tapestry Makers: Mette Bruun.

20. Exoticism in Fashion: From British North America to the United States: Madelyn Shaw.

21. Textile symbolism and social mobility during the Colonial Period in Sydney Cove: Judith Cameron.

22. The Impact of British Rule on the Dressing Sensibilities of Indian Aristocrats: A case study of the Maharaja of Baroda’s dress: Toolika Gupta

23. Re-imagining the Dragon Robe: China Chic in Early Twentieth-Century European Fashion: Sarah Cheang.

24. Sari and the Narrative of Nation in Twentieth-Century India: Aarti Kawlra.

25. From Cool to Un-cool to Re-cool: Nehru and Mao tunics in the sixties and post-sixties West: Michael Langkjær.

26. Too Old: Clothes and value in Norwegian and Indian wardrobes: Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Lill Vramo and Kirsi Laitala.

27. A ‘stinging’ textile: Cultivation of nettle fibre in Denmark and Asia: Ellen Bangsbo.

28. Fist-braided Slings from Peru and Tibet: Lena Bjerregaard.

29. Parsi Embroidery: An Intercultural Amalgam: Shernaz Cama.

30. The Navjote Ceremony and the Sudreh Kushti: Lotika Varadarajan.

31. Globalization, Identity and T-shirt Communication: Karl-Heinz Pogner.

32. India to Africa: Indian Madras and Kalabari Creativity: Joanne B. Eicher.

33. Textile: The non-verbal language: Jasleen Dhamija.


  1. This looks good. The influence of “eastern” fashion on Viking clothes is interesting, and I’m always surprised at just how global the ancient world was.

    Incidentally, my favourite winter jacket is essentially a version of the Hedeby kaftan. It’s very warm and comfortable. It doesn’t have the pink fun fur though.

    1. "Pink fun fur"? I didn't recall a Hedeby find with fur, fun, fake or otherwise, on it. Do you have a picture of you in the jacket? I'd like to see what it looks like.

    2. It's Fragment 19B from the harbour, it contained fragments of fake fur (like flokati) dyed with madder.
      There's a bit written by Carolyn Priest-Dorman about it in here:

      But I'm not sure where the pink trim comes from. Page 76 of Hagg says the fabric was "Künstlich eingefärbt" [artificially coloured] and p. 289 says it was with walnut shells. But I don't see anything saying the fur trim was a different colour?

    3. Ah, that explains it. Thanks for reminding me of Carolyn's write-up. Unfortunately, I've never seen a picture of Fragment 19B, and I don't have Hagg 1984 (even if I could read Swedish).

  2. Ah, I found a copy on sale (with free international postage) on ebay, which arrived today. And I popped on here to tell you about it. Unsurprisingly, you've beaten me to the punch, and already knew about it! :D