Performing Chairs. Materiality and Mediality of Medieval Seats

Sabine Sommerer, Ph.D.

The project searches for a comprehensive synthesis of the materiality, significance, function and performance of medieval seating north and south of the Alps. The aim is a representative collection of selected chair objects against the background of a broad chronological range from Late Antiquity to the post-Reformation period. The focus lies not only on the real seating objects, their location as important players in (mostly sacral) spaces and on the opportunities for sitting, but also on the sitters, the possessors in the literal sense. The project searches for answers to the question of how the chairs and their often postfactual staged object biographies were instrumentalized as sacral and secular power insignia, e.g. as gifts, or as media of legitimation in liturgical collective actions and as witnesses.

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