Weaving from literary, cultural and material perspectives

Dr Magdalena Öhrman

Spinning, carding and weaving are described in a range of ancient texts, from poetic works like Ovid’s Metamorphoses, to philosophical and didactic texts, to epigram and letters. On many instances, the soundplay used in such texts mimics parts of the process of wool work. The newly founded Sound of Weaving project combines the analysis of such literary evidence from the Roman world with research on textile technology in the ancient world to gain an understanding of how close was the experience of Roman authors of the actual practice of such textile crafts. Thus, the projects charts Roman literary descriptions of wool work and their design, and explores the implications for our understanding of the place of textile production in and outside of the home in the Roman world. 

The Sound of Weaving project is ideally placed alongside research strands on material culture on the one hand, and ancient literature on the other. One of the key texts used for this project is Claudian’s De Raptu Prosperinae, on which Dr Ruth Parkes is producing a commentary. Significantly, there are links between this project and the Arediou Vouppes project led by Dr Louise Steel, and particularly to Dr Jane Draycott’s work on health and gardens in the ancient world. 

Applications are in development through HEFCW (SIPS) and with partners in Europe.

Through the work in this research area the School has active research links and collaborations with researchers and practitioners in:

Denmark: The Centre for Textile Research, Copenhagen.

in preparation

The Centre for Textile Research  http://ctr.hum.ku.dk/