Tracing Material Identities in the Eastern Medieval World (Session 115)
Organized by Rachel Catherine Patt, Princeton University
From monogrammed seals to articles of adornment to portraits decorating manuscripts, the Byzantine world was rich with material things that expressed their users’ identities in settings as diverse as markets and monasteries. Often portable, such objects could create networks between persons over time and space, accruing layers of associations as they were adopted in new contexts. This panel explores how people’s notions of selfhood were wrapped up in the objects they employed to fashion their identities. Touching upon issues of gender and social status, it reveals how the abstract notion of identity was entangled with tangible aspects of Byzantine culture.