Textile crafts and history

2016-10-24T15:32:49Z (GMT) by Mary E. Harlow
The main focus of my research is Roman dress. When we imagine the Roman past, one of the images most conjured up is a statue of a man in a toga. Roman authors (always men) wrote about the clothing in ways that expose the social codes associated with certain garments but reveals little about textile production or the relative economic value of either the textiles or the finished garment. If they do talk about cost, it is mostly to complain about women desiring expensive and exotic fabrics such as silk. Alongside this rather partial literature, a huge volume of surviving images in a variety of media show clothed individuals allowing us to stock the Roman wardrobe with a number of different garments. However, it is often hard to match the literature with the images and to align the idealising and stereotyping that they embody to the lived reality of producing and wearing the ancient wardrobe. [Opening paragraph]