Event details

03.11.2016 - 05.11.2016

Textile Gifts in the Middle Ages – Objects, Actors, and Representations

International conference

Gifts of textiles and clothing appeared in diverse contexts and fulfilled various functions in pre-modern Europe. They could be offered in the course of an initiation rite and or an act of social transition, including upon investiture, marriage, or entry into a monastery. Gifts of clothing to the poor, meanwhile, were among the works of charity thematized in the vitae of numerous medieval saints. Sumptuous textiles were sent as resplendent gifts to religious institutions or, like patterned silk textiles from Byzantium, circulated through diplomatic gift exchanges. Gifts of clothing were also distributed within the court as compensation in kind, which supported the structuralization and hierarchization of courtly society. Textile gifts could represent the donor. Especially in the case of clothing previously worn by its donor, the physical presence of the giver might have been woven into the materiality and form of the gifted garment.

The goal of this interdisciplinary conference is to situate the diversity and polysemy of such acts of symbolic communication into the broader context of medieval gift culture. The integration of anthropological and sociological models (Marcel Mauss, Bruno Latour) into an art historical approach allows for gifted artifacts to be taken seriously as independent entities within the giving process as a socially generative form of communication. The conference therefore investigates the relationship between human actors and the “agency” of gifts themselves, exploring  how the dynamics of reciprocity and its attendant obligations were charged both visually and materially.


Download Program

Donnerstag, 3.11.16

10.00 Uhr
Tanja Michalsky: Begrüßung

10.15 Uhr
Christiane Elster (Rom)/Stephanie Luther (Paris): Introduction - Towards an Unpacking of the Medieval Textile Gift

11.00 Uhr

Materiality and Agency I
(Moderation: Christiane Elster)

11.30 Uhr
Alžběta Filipová (Brno/Lausanne): The Holy Network. The place of textile in early relic circulation

12.15 Uhr
Jan Keupp (Münster): Der Stoff aus dem Geschenke sind. Zur Materialität der Gabe

13.00 Uhr

Materiality and Agency II
(Moderation: Tristan Weddigen)

14.30 Uhr
Philine Helas (Rom): Kleiden durch Selbstentkleiden. Ein Exempel der Caritas in der italienischen Kunst zwischen 14. und 15. Jahrhundert

15.15 Uhr
Timothy McCall (Villanova, PA): Worn “nel mezzo del cuore”. Gifts of Luxury Clothing and Embodied Power in Fifteenth-Century Italy

16.00 Uhr

16.30 Uhr
Juliane von Fircks (Berlin/Mainz): Between the gift and the market: Imported silk fabrics on their way through Europe (1200-1400)

17.15 Uhr
Cecily Hilsdale (Montreal): Prestation and Proskynesis on Byzantine Silks

Freitag, 4.11.16

Political Gifts and Diplomacy I: Princes and Popes
(Moderation: Stephanie Luther)

9.15 Uhr
Kirsten Frieling (Bielefeld): Verschenkt, vererbt, verordnet. Textile Gaben an spätmittelalterlichen Fürstenhöfen

10.00 Uhr
Lisa Monnas (London): Politics and Patronage: Textile gifts by the Valois Dukes of Burgundy to Our Lady of Tournai

10.45 Uhr
Pippa Salonius (Canterbury, NZ): The Gifts of Kings and Popes: The Ascoli Piceno Cope, its Donors, and its Recipients

11.30 Uhr

Political Gifts and Diplomacy II: Byzantine Textiles
(Moderation: Cecily Hilsdale)

12.00 Uhr
Warren T. Woodfin (New York): The Emperor’s Old Clothes: Re-Gifting Byzantine Textiles in the Medieval West

12.45 Uhr
Silvia Leggio (Rom): Alleanze con la seta al tempo del Concilio di Lione (1274): Il Pallio di Michele VIII Paleologo per il Papa Gregorio X

13.30 Uhr

Transformation and Re-interpretation I: Cathedral
(Moderation: Stefanie Seeberg)

15.00 Uhr
Tanja Kohwagner-Nikolai (Bamberg): Zwischen Memoria und Reliquienverehrung. Überlegungen zum Perspektivwechsel der sog. Kaisergewänder

15.45 Uhr
Patricia Strohmaier (Köln/Leipzig): Ornatus de Grecia – Zur Aneignung von Textilien aus der Schenkung Konrads von Krosigk in Halberstadt

16.30 Uhr

Transformation and Re-interpretation II: Cloister
(Moderation: Stefanie Seeberg)

17.00 Uhr
Jörg Richter (Hannover): Textilgeschenke, soziales Netzwerk und Memorialpraxis in niedersächsischen Klöstern

17.45 Uhr
Sabine Schrenk (Bonn): Die Textilreliquien in Sant’Ambrogio, Mailand: Funktionswandel und Präsentationsformen

Samstag, 5.11.16

(Moderation: Tanja Michalsky)

9.30 Uhr
Stefanie Seeberg (Köln)/Alexandra Gajewski (London): Ideal, Norm und Praxis – Textilschenkungen von Frauen im europäischen Mittelalter

10.15 Uhr
Anna Adashinskaya (Budapest): Textile Gifts of Church Female Donors in the Countries of Late-Byzantine Commonwealth

11.00 Uhr

11.30 Uhr
Eleonora Rava (St Andrews), Abiti e corredi nei testamenti pisani (secc. XIII-XIV)

12.15 Uhr
Sara Piccolo Paci (Florenz)/Alessio Palmieri-Marinoni (Sussex): Brunhilde’s Cingulum. Belts and Girdles as Gifts Throughout the Middle Ages

13.00 Uhr


Bibliotheca Hertziana
Max-Planck-Institut für 

Via Gregoriana 28
I-00187 Rome