Textiles offer a rich opportunity to explore the projection of identity, both within and between social and cultural groups. A pertinent arena for such an exploration is the intercultural region of the Mediterranean.

This workshop, organized by the British School at Athens, will bring together a group of junior and senior scholars to investigate and elucidate the role of textiles in the cultures of the Medieval and early Modern Mediterranean, and its periphery, with a focus on specific case studies. Our investigation will analyze textiles as tools for projecting identity within specific contexts, whether cross-cultural or not. Institutionalized practices of textile use and reuse, written and unwritten rules governing ceremonial use, the departure from standard practices, the active reception of imports and their interpretation will form the major topics examined by the participating scholars. Our directed investigation will seek to identity parallels and points of contact between the use of textiles in various political entities, and among social groups and cultures.

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3 June 2016

Venue: Museum of Islamic Art, 22 Ag. Asomaton & 12 Dipylou St., Athens

Welcoming remarks

9:30 John Bennet, British School at Athens

9:40 Mina Moraitou, Benaki Museum

Opening remarks

9:50 Nikolaos Vryzidis, British School at Athens

1. Medieval Islamic textiles in the Eastern Mediterranean

10:00 Alison Ohta, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland: Chair

10:10 Scott Redford, SOAS-University of London: ‘Seljuk silks, standards and emblems’

10:30 Marielle Martiniani-Reber, Musées d’Art et d’Histoire de Genève: ‘The relationship between Islamic and Byzantine textiles during the Middle Byzantine period’

10: 50 Maria Sardi, SOAS-University of London: ‘Towards a standardization of Mamluk aesthetic: influences and identity as reflected on textiles’

11:10 Discussion

11:30 Coffee break

2. Western Mediterranean cross-cultural encounters

11:40 Mina Moraitou, Benaki Museum: Chair

11:50 Ana Cabrera, Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas & Laura Rodríguez Peinado, Universidad Complutense de Madrid:  ‘Medieval Textiles from the Iberian Peninsula: state of the art and new approaches of study’

12:20 Vera-Simone Schulz, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz: ‘Entangled Identities: Textiles and the Art and Architecture of the Italian Peninsula in a Mediterranean Perspective’

12:40 Discussion

13:00 Lunch break

3. The multi-cultural Ottoman Empire

14:00 Nurhan Atasoy, Istanbul University (Emerita): Chair

14:10 Anna Ballian, Benaki Museum (Emerita): ‘Chios silks’

14:30 Amanda Philips, University of Virginia: ‘Interventions in technology and fashion: the case of Ottoman compound weaves’

14:50 Elena Papastavrou, Hellenic Ministry of Culture & Sports: ‘Greek-Orthodox cultural identity as reflected on Constantinopolitan Church Embroidery’

15:10 Discussion

15:30 Coffee break

4. Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christian textiles

15:40 Warren Woodfin, City University of New York: Chair

15:50 Dickran Kouymjian, California State University-Fresno (Emeritus): ‘Armenian Altar Curtains: Repository of Tradition and Innovation’

16:10 Nikolaos Vryzidis, British School at Athens: ‘Animal motifs on Asian silks used by the Greek Church: an afterlife of Byzantine iconography?’

16: 30 Jacopo Gnisci, Independent scholar: ‘Towards a History of Ecclesiastical Dress in Early Solomonic Ethiopia’

16:50 Discussion

General discussion and concluding remarks

17:10 Nikolaos Vryzidis, British School at Athens

4 June 2016

Study day (attendance by invitation only)

10:00-13:00 Handling session (Benaki Museum Peiraios annex), hosted by Mina Moraitou

15:00 Museum visit (Benaki Museum main building), hosted by