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The New Middle Ages

Bonnie Wheeler, Series Editor

The New Middle Ages is a series dedicated to transdisciplinary studies of medieval
cultures, with particular emphasis on recuperating women's history and on feminist
and gender analyses. This peer-reviewed series includes both scholarly monographs
and essay collections.

Published By Palgrave

• Women in the Medieval Islamic • Chaucer's Pardoner and Gender

World: Power, Patronage, and Piety Theory: Bodies ofDiscourse
edited by Gavin R. G. Hambly by Robert S. Sturges

• The Ethics ofNature in the Middle • Crossing the Bridge: Comparative

Ages: On Boccaccio's Poetaphysics Essays on Medieval European and
by Gregory B. Stone Heian japanese Women Writers
edited by Barbara Stevenson and
• Presence and Presentation: Women Cynthia Ho
in the Chinese Literati Tradition
• Engaging Words: The Culture of
by Sherry]. Mou
Reading in the Later Middle Ages
• The Lost Love Letters ofHeloise and by Laurel Am tower
Abelard: Perceptions ofDialogue in
• Robes and Honor: The Medieval
Twelfth-Century France
World of Investiture
by Constant]. Mews edited by Stewart Gordon
• Understanding Scholastic Thought • Representing Rape in Medieval and
with Foucault Early Modern Literature
by Philipp W Rosemann edited by Elizabeth Robertson
and Christine M. Rose
• For Her Good Estate: The Lift of
Elizabeth de Burgh • Same Sex Love and Desire Among
by Frances A. Underhill Women in the Middle Ages
edited by Francesca Canade Saut-
• Constructions of Widowhood and man and Pamela Sheingorn
Virginity in the Middle Ages
edited by Cindy L. Carlson and • Sight and Embodiment in the Mid-
Angela Jane Weisl dle Ages: Ocular Desires
by Suzannah Biernoff
• Motherhood and Mothering in
Anglo-Saxon England • Listen, Daughter: The Speculum
by Mary Dockray-Miller Virginum and the Formation of
Religious Women in the Middle
• Listening to Heloise: The Voice of a Ages
Twelfth-Century Woman edited by Constant]. Mews
edited by Bonnie Wheeler
• Science, the Singular, and the Ques-
• The Postcolonial Middle Ages tion ofTheology
edited by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen by Richard A. Lee, Jr.
• Gender in Debate from the Early • Eloquent Virgins: From Thecla to
Middle Ages to the Renaissance joan ofArc
edited by Thelma S. Fenster and by Maud Burnett Mcinerney
Clare A. Lees
• The Persistence ofMedievalism:
• Malory's Marte Darthur: Remak- Narrative Adventures in Contempo-
ing Arthurian Tradition rary Culture
by Catherine Batt by Angela Jane Weisl
• The Vernacular Spirit: Essays on • Capetian Women
Medieval Religious Literature edited by Kathleen Nolan
edited by Renate Blumenfeld-
Kosinski, Duncan Robertson, and • joan ofArc and Spirituality
Nancy Warren edited by Ann W. Astell and Bon-
nie Wheeler
• Popular Piety and Art in the Late
Middle Ages: Image Worship and • The Texture of Society: Medieval
Idolatry in England 1350-1500 Women in the Southern Low Coun-
by Kathleen Kamerick tries
edited by Ellen E. Kittell and
• Absent Narratives, Manuscript Tex-
Mary A. Suydam
tuality, and Literary Structure in
Late Medieval England • Charlemagne's Mustache:
by Elizabeth Scala And Other Cultural Clusters
• Creating Community with Food
by Paul Edward Dutton
and Drink in Merovingian Gaul
by Bonnie Effros • Troubled Vision: Gender, Sexuality,
• Representations ofEarly Byzantine and Sight in Medieval Text and
Empresses: Image and Empire Image
by Anne McClanan edited by Emma Campbell and
Robert Mills
• Encountering Medieval Textiles and
Dress: Objects, Texts, Images • Queering Medieval Genres
edited by Desiree G. Koslin and by Tison Pugh
Janet Snyder • Sacred Place in Early Medieval Nco-
• Eleanor ofAquitaine: Lord and platonism
Lady by L. Michael Harrington
edited by Bonnie Wheeler and
• The Middle Ages at Work
John Carmi Parsons
edited by Kellie Robertson and
• Isabel La Cat6lica, Queen of Michael Uebel
Castile: Critical Essays
• Chaucer's]obs
edited by David A. Boruchoff
by David R. Carlson
• Homoeroticism and Chivalry:
• Medievalism and Oriental ism:
Discourses ofMale Same-Sex Desire
Three Essays on Literature,
in the Fourteenth Century
Architecture and Cultural Identity
by Richard Zeikowitz
by John M. Ganim
• Portraits of Medieval Women:
• Queer Love in the Middle Ages
Family, Marriage, and Politics in
by Anna Klosowska Roberts
England 1225-1350
by Linda E. Mitchell
Dress, Textiles, Clothwork, and
Other Cultural Imaginings

Edited by E. Jane Burns

pal grave
Copyright© E. Jane Burns, 2004
Softcover reprint of the hardcover 1st edition 2004 978-1-4039-6186-0
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in
any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case
of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

First published 2004 by

175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010 and
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Companies and representatives throughout the world.


division of St. Martin's Press, LLC and ofPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Macmillan® is a registered trademark in the United States, United
Kingdom and other countries. Palgrave is a registered trademark in the
European Union and other countries.

ISBN 978-1-4039-6187-7 ISBN 978-1-137-09675-3 (eBook)

DOI 10.1007/978-1-137-09675-3
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Medieval fabrications : dress, textiles, clothwork, and other cultural

imaginings I edited by E. Jane Burns
p. em. --(The new Middle Ages)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Costume--History--Medieval, 500-1500. 2. Textile fabrics, Medi-
eval. 3. Costume--Symbolic aspects--Europe. 4. Civilization, Medieval.
I. Burns, E. Jane, 1948- II. New Middle Ages (Palgrave Macmillan (Firm))

CT575.M435 2004
391" .009'02--dc22

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Design by

First edition: September 2004

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
This book is dedicated to Flora McFLimsey,
who appreciated the pleasures ofclothes
and the imagination.
I would like to extend special thanks to the founding editors of the
Medieval Feminist Newsletter (now the Medieval Feminist Forum) Roberta
L. Krueger and Elizabeth Robertson who agreed with me in 1985, during
an impromptu meeting at the Kalamazoo airport, to launch the news-
letter and create an official forum for feminism within Medieval Studies.
Thanks also to Thelma Fenster, who joined us as co-editor of the
newsletter shortly thereafter, and to all those who have supported the
Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship and kept medieval feminist
studies alive over the years. Not least among those scholars is Nancy
Jones whose important early work on the embroidery romances encour-
aged us all to begin thinking about textiles and clothwork in a more
interdisciplinary frame.
Thanks also to the wonderful students in my honors class on
"Medieval Fabrications" in spring 2003 for their enthusiasm and invalu-
able insights.
I thank my colleagues Judith M. Bennett and Barbara J. Harris and
other members of theN orth Carolina Research Group on Medieval and
Early Modern Women for their incisive comments on an earlier version
of the Introduction to this volume.
Thanks also to Brenda Palo, seamstress extraordinaire, for prepar-
ing the index.
And, as always, extra-special thanks to Fred Burns and to Ned, this
time for their enduring commitment to comfortable clothes.

E.J. B.

The editor and authors wish to acknowledge those who gave permission
for use of images:
In Kathryn Starkey's chapter, Photo Rifksdienst voor het Oud-
heidkundig Bodemonderzoek, Amersfoort, The Netherlands. In Janet
Snyder's chapter, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (all rights reserved).
In Andrea Denny-Brown's chapter, Bibliotheque nationale de France,
Why Textiles Make a Difference ................................. 1

Text and Textile: Lydgate's Tapestry Poems ...................... 19


Tristan Slippers: An Image of Adultery

or a Symbol of Marriage? .................................. 35

Dressing and Undressing the Clergy: Rites of Ordination

and Degradation ......................................... 55

Uncovering Griselda: Christine de Pizan, "une seule chemise,"

and the Clerical Tradition: Boccaccio, Petrarch, Philippe
de Mezieres and the Menagier de Paris ....................... 71

"This Skill in a Woman is By No Means to Be Despised":

Weaving and the Gender Division of Labor
in the Middle Ages ........................................ 89

Tucks and Darts: Adjusting Patterns to Fit Figures

for Stained Glass Windows Around 1200 .................... 105
Limiting Yardage and Changes of Clothes: Sumptuary
Legislation in Thirteenth-Century France,
Languedoc, and Italy: .................................... 121

Material and Symbolic Gift Giving:

Clothes in English and French Wills ........................ 137

Cloth from the Promised Land: Appropriated Islamic

Tiraz in Twelfth-Century French Sculpture .................. 147

Almeria Silk and the French Feudal Imaginary:

Toward a "Material" History of the
Medieval Mediterranean .................................. 165

How Philosophy Matters: Death, Sex, Clothes, and Boethius ....... 177

Flayed Skin as objet a: Representation and Materiality

in Guillaume de Deguileville's
Pflerinage de vie humaine . .................................. 193

Notes ...................................................... 207

Works Cited ................................................ 252
Author Biographies .......................................... 273
Index ...................................................... 275
Why Textiles
Make a Difference
E. Jane Burns

ghe essays in this collection reveal the richness and importance of

using dress, textiles, and cloth production as categories of analysis in
medieval studies. Textiles and the representation of them in literary,
historical, art historical, legal, and religious documents provide a partic-
ularly apt tool for medievalists of various disciplines because textiles
stand at the nexus of the personal and the cultural, often linking specific,
individual expressions to institutionalized and hierarchical social struc-
tures. The spectrum of possibilities raised by the study of medieval cloth
and clothing in all their represented forms ranges widely from the use
and circulation of garments as a mark of visible wealth, social position,
or class status to the varied attempts by clerical and legal authorities to
regulate gender and rank by controlling dress and ornamentation. The
spectrum extends further into the production, distribution, care, use,
and decoration of textiles themselves, often as forms of gendered labor.
It also encompasses the cross-cultural and economic effects of trade and

exchange offabrics through pilgrimage and crusade that brought Islamic

and Byzantine traditions into the wardrobes of western Europe.
This volume draws on an array of disciplines currently involved in
examining the wide-ranging functions of dress and textiles in medieval
culture, using the work of historians and art historians, literary and
cultural critics. The geographic scope of individual contributions
stretches from western Christian cultures in England, France, Occitania,
Italy, Germany, and the Low Countries to the peoples of Muslim Spain
and the Arabic-speaking Levant. Each essay analyzes some aspect of
medieval culture through the lens of textiles, demonstrating how
attention to material detail can spur us to rethink and expand the
intellectual paradigms that structure our individual disciplines.

Feminism and Material Culture: Theorizing Objects

Nothing in the title of this volume alludes to feminism or fashion,

although both played a key role in the genesis of this project and its final
framing. Indeed, recent theoretical reconceptualizations of the study of
dress and textiles have drawn fashion studies into the realm of material
culture, demonstrating the benefits to be derived from reading individ-
ual garments as highly charged and malleable cultural icons that define,
describe, and productively create social bodies. 1 That fashion and
feminism need not be at odds might surprise, since from the time of
Simone de Beauvoir's apt denunciation of the myth of the eternal
feminine, feminist critics have often dismissed fashion as a form of sexual
display that fostered the objectification of women based on fantasies of
male spectatorship. 2 As a result, questions of costume, attire, and
adornment had long been left to archaeologists, costume historians, and
museologists, whose work was to categorize, catalogue, and display
objects without evaluating or accounting for troubling cultural conven-
tions that might inhere in them. 3
More recently, however, scholars of material culture have ques-
tioned this artificial exclusion of fashionable objects from social theoriz-
ing, proposing instead that items of dress be considered important agents

of cultural imaginations, both female and male. Clothes in this sense are
seen as social sites that stage gendered identities at the intersection of
individual fantasies, social regulation, and ethical concerns. Postmodern
feminists have acknowledged the potentially subversive force that can
be exerted by articles of clothing that function, in other circumstances,
as tools of control and dominance. 4 Fashion theorists have insisted on
examining the relation between material garments and visual and
textual representations of them, understanding those representations to
be objects in their own right, while also accounting for the representa-
tional functions of clothes. 5 Feminist film theorists have shifted the
terms of the debate away from Freudian-derived voyeurism to empha-
size female spectatorship and consumerism in regard to screen fashions
and the potentially iconic function of costume independent of narrative
strategies and conventions. 6 Transnational feminists have shown how
material objects can undergo subtle but significant transformations of
value and meaning as they are shifted from one cultural context to
another. 7
No longer is fashion understood simply as unique to a culture of
capitalism that generates a privileged phenomenon of European haute
couture or as typifying modern individualism as an index of class, status,
wealth, and power, as early analysts of consumer culture Georg Simmel
and Thorstein Veblen believed. 8 We have learned, for example, that in a
psychoanalytic frame, the act of dressing can constitute a productive and
meaningful invention of the individual. 9 We can now understand the
material body as a privileged place of intersection between consciousness
and the world, where clothes make a difference in terms of touch, texture,
and movement, rather than derive their meaning from sight alone. 10 We
can also see that the process of home dressmaking holds as many
important cultural clues as museum displays of costly gowns. 11 Having
embraced Roland Barthes' s semiological analysis of fashion as a represen-
tational system and Jean Baudrillard' s postmodern concept of a "symbolic
economy" in which categories of objects "quite tyrannically induce
categories of persons," studies of dress have begun to envision a wide
range of interpretative possibilities for reading clothing and its complex
circulation. Also key in the reassessment of clothes as cultural objects is

Pierre Bourdieu' s concept of habitus, which explains how material objects,

including architecture and space, can engage their users in acquiring
cultural competency. Maurice Merleau-Ponty's phenomenological read-
ing of the "lived body" as a body situated in cultural spaces that dictate the
range of possible modalities it can adopt has also shaped studies of dress
and fashion. 12 By acknowledging the importance of the everyday, the
significance of examining dress across a range of non-European cultures,
the relevance of applying theory of various kinds to textiles and clothing,
and the importance of recasting issues of consumption and distribution
within an international frame, feminist analyses have, in turn, demon-
strated the relevance of rethinking the body in terms of clothes.
Perhaps most importantly, as feminist theorists of dress have turned
toward studies of material culture, they have begun to understand, along
with Arjun Appadurai, that consumer goods (in this instance clothing
and adornments) can be "resocialized" and given new meaning by those
who use them. 13 As Hildi Hendrickson explains, "When we see Africans
using our products to create their identities-and vice versa-we learn
that the meaning of body or commodity is not inherent but is in fact
symbolically created and contested by both producers and consum-
ers."14 Peter Corrigan explains further that clothing, as well as being an
object to which things happen, can also "provoke things to happen." 15
It is in this sense that one can speak of dress, textiles, and clothwork as
"cultural imaginings," as the title of this volume suggests, and can
understand dress and textiles as more than consumer objects or products
and cloth work as more than a form of labor. Rather, costume, fabric,
and textile work can be seen to participate in a complex system of
fabrications that move constantly between individual bodies and the
social sphere, between material objects and various cultural representa-
tions of them, creating a relational dynamic perhaps best exemplified by
the concept of an imaginaire vestimentaire (sartorial imaginary). Odile
Blanc uses the term to describe the interface between clothing and
cultural formations according to a range of imagined positions, so that
items of dress are understood to negotiate in a variety of ways among
individual desire, perception, and fantasy on the one hand, and cultural
demands and conventions on the other. 16 From this perspective, we can
understand clothing and textiles more generally as potentially active
forces in social relations or as forms of material culture that "far from
reflecting society ... can be seen to construct, maintain, control, and
transform social identities and relations," as Roberta Gilchrist has
explained in another context. 17
These critical forays may help explain, in fact, why a number of earlier
feminist theorists drew so consistently on metaphors of dress, textiles,
sewing, knitting, and weaving in their efforts to defme and reconceptualize
sexual difference or to expand the theoretical field of female subjectivity
and agency. One thinks most immediately of Nancy Miller's call to
envision a position from which feminists might speak in tropes while
walking in sensible shoes, or Naomi Schor's observation that "women
occupy in modem western culture a specific liminal cultural position which
is through a tangled skein of mediations somehow connected to their
anatomical difference, to their femaleness" (second italics mine). Similarly,
Luce Irigaray offers a formulation of the feminine as "reduced to a mark,
an inappropriate mask, an assigned garment." 18 Most recently, Iris Marion
Young charts the possibility for a fluid and shifting female subjectivity
centered around a constructed "homeplace" where "the activities of
preservation give some enclosingfabric to this ever-changing subject by
knitting together today and yesterday" (italics mine). 19 Even in the most
abstract feminist theorizing among psychoanalytic and literary critics,
images of clothing and textiles provide a consistent reminder of the force
of these material objects as key cultural icons for feminist thinking in the
west. But what of medieval studies?

Medieval Studies and Clothing: What's in a Chemise?

For a number of years, medieval scholars tended to focus on the material

side of the issue. Historians carefully researched the details of wool,
linen, and silk production, the techniques used to fashion garments and
to decorate them with elaborate embroidery. 20 Economic historians in
particular studied the trade and distribution of these fabrics and other
decorative commodities within western Europe and between Europe

and the eastern Mediterranean. 21 Costume historians provided taxono-

mies and inventories of elements of dress that appear on seals and other
visual emblems, while medieval art historians sought information about
dress and textiles in order to read garments figured in manuscript
illuminations and in sculptural programs on cathedral facades. 22 More
recently, literary scholars have become eager to better understand
details of clothing and clothwork that appear in conduct books, didactic
literature, and prescriptive legal codes. 23 A number of literary critics
have scrutinized complex scenarios of cross-dressing and the varied
functions of elaborate courtly attire 24 The ritual functions of vestments
are especially crucial to scholars studying royal and religious garments,
along with those investigating heraldry. 25 Four recent books attest to
the wide-ranging uses of clothing as a category of analysis. Stewart
Gordon's edited collection of essays, Robes and Honor: The Medieval World
ofinvestiture, explains the significance of robing rituals for royal, ecclesi-
astical, and warrior figures from Central Asia through Persia, the
Byzantine Empire and the Middle East, to the Medieval West. Janet
Snyder and Desiree Koslin's edited volume, entitled Encountering Medi-
eval Textiles and Dress: Objects, Texts, and Images, offers readings of
archaeological, art historical, and architectural objects along with anal-
yses of legal, literary, religious, and historical documents and informa-
tion about the technology of textile production. 26 Susan Crane's The
Performance of Self: Ritual, Clothing, and Identity during the Hundred Years
War analyzes "the materiality of self presentation in dress and gesture"
as a kind of ritualized practice in the court cultures of England and
France. 27 My own Courtly Love Undressed: Reading Through Clothes in
Medieval French Culture argues that many of the most basic tenets of
courtly love in the French tradition can be challenged when we read
them through the lens of clothing and textiles. Earlier, path-breaking
work on the social implications of material culture was provided by
Joachim Bumke' s Courtly Culture: Literature and Society in the High Middle
Ages and Michel Pastoureau' s edited collection entitled Le Vetement:
Histoire, archeologie, et symbolique vestimentaires au Moyen Age. 28 Increas-
ingly, over the past decade and a half, then, studies of medieval dress,
textiles, and clothwork have opened the possibility of investigating

medieval culture through a dual lens in which material culture and

cultural imaginings cross in productive and surprising ways. From this
perspective, clothes and other adornments become flexible cultural
formations; their use and meaning extend far beyond the functions of
practical cover, decorative adornment, or index of social status.
One has only to consider the Biblical story of Adam and Eve, whom
God clothed with skins to cover their naked flesh, to see how quickly
material clothing is fashioned by the able hands of medieval commen-
tators into metaphorical garments that resonate on a number of key
cultural registers. In the case of Adam and Eve, animal skins are used to
dress the first humans and mark their fall into flesh and clothes simulta-
neously. But these animal skins can readily be recast as suitable meta-
phorical clothing for the words of Scripture. In Augustine's view, animal
skins provide a parchment cover or "veil of flesh" that conceals theW ord
of God, literally recorded on another kind of skin: manuscript skins on
which "the words and deeds of men, of which we read in those books,
[are] rolled up and concealed in fleshly wrappings." These skins clothe
not human flesh but a textual body of words. In the Confessions,
Augustine develops the image further, refashioning the animal skins that
"once did apparel men" into a divine garment that surprisingly covers
nothing at all. Here the firmament itself is said to be a book stretched
out like a skin without words, an ethereal book needing no interpreta-
tion and bearing little or no materiality, we are told: "Heaven shall be
folded up like a book; and is even now stretched over us like a skin." 29
In this instance, there are no fleshly wrappings to remove before deriving
divine meaning. That meaning is overt and apparent on the skin itself. 30
We have moved, then, from material skins that cover naked bodies to
parchment skins that physically wrap and conceal the word of God, to
a third, even more complex, formation in which the garment-like skin
and the body of words formerly covered by it have become strikingly
one and the same. In the last instance, the ambiguously material skins
of an immaterial firmament provide an uncanny kind of clothing
through which surface has become substance.
That a textile cover might merge with the object putatively covered
is not limited to theological commentary. Analogous examples are

attested by a number of medieval representations of clothing in which

garments are tenuously positioned as equally material and symbolic. That
paradoxicallocation attests to the strength, range, and flexibility of textiles,
in their various forms and functions, as a productive category of analysis
for those interested in studying the complexities of medieval cultural
imaginings recorded in religious treatises, literary texts, historical gar-
ments and documents, and art historical representations. If we move from
the theological example of Adam and Eve's animal skins into a secular
context, we might consider the basic, everyday article ofmedieval clothing
known as the chemise. A unisex undergarment made from linen that also
functioned as a nightdress, the chemise can be used in literary texts to
connote chastity, virtue, reduced social status, or even criminality for men,
while often marking erotic availability, nudity, and sin for women. 31 The
chemise appears at its most practical in Marie de France's "Guigemar,"
when the chivalric hero effectively staunches a serious wound by using
the corner of his "chemise." 32 By contrast, that same garment provides
material for the most abstract allegorizing in Chretien de Troyes' s twelfth-
century romance, Cliges, when the lovestruck protagonist, Alixandre,
describes his painful amorous wound by invoking the standard image of
an arrow lodged in the lover's heart. In this instance, however, the arrow
is housed, we are told, in a quiver fashioned from the ladylove's chemise.
If she is the arrow that has entered the desirous suitor's heart, their
metaphorical coupling is not viscerally naked but highly abstract and
appropriately" dressed." 33 This chemise is not a cloth garment to be put on,
used, or removed. In fact, it is impossible to discern where this undergar-
ment stops and the conjoined lovers' skin begins.
One can cite historical and art historical examples of the chemise that
carry similarly complex cultural meanings while also defying the
assumed separation of body and clothes. We might consider, for
example, the putatively preserved and legendary chemise of the French
king Louis IX, a thirteenth-century garment now housed in the treasury
of the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. Made of linen and lacking the
left sleeve, this historical chemise bears a fifteenth-century parchment
inscription stitched onto its front panel that describes it as belonging to
"Saint Louis, former king ofFrance." 34 Especially important in establish-

ing the garment's status as a relic was its presumed proximity to the
deceased king' s flesh, allowing this item of dress to function literally as
a direct extension of the king' s material body. For pilgrims and Christian
believers in the French Middle Ages, this chemise was considered to be
materially as "real" as a preserved fingernail or leg might have been. 35
Saint Louis's undergarment is not then understood as a functional
covering, fully separable from the former king's body. The common
everyday chemise in this instance becomes an embodied item of dress, a
garment that, like the veronica (a true icon) is both an image and an
essence. 36 The chemise de Saint Louis is then neither a pure representation
nor purely a material object, but both at once.
Even more to the point, in an art historical context, we find represen-
tations of the Virgin's chemise that appear on small lead badges called
chemisettes distributed to medieval pilgrims who visited the site of the
Virgin's holy tunic at Chartres cathedral. Although the cathedral's key relic
is known today as the Virgin's veil, before 1712, when the reliquary was
opened and its contents revealed, pilgrims to the site understood the
reliquary to contain an especially potent chemise, the garment worn by the
Virgin both when she conceived and gave birth to the Christ child. In fact,
when the reliquary was opened in the eighteenth century, it is said to have
contained no chemise at all, but five meters of cosdy silk fabric reputed to
have come from Syria. 37 But medieval pilgrims did not know this. As
visitors to Chartres sewed the small leaden chemisettes onto their hats or
jackets, the Virgin's venerated tunic was not only copied in miniature and
carried away by pious visitors. In this instance, when pilgrims affixed the
metal badge representing the Virgin's chemise to an article of their own
clothing, the image of a garment became in turn a material item of dress
in its own right. Medieval pilgrims' bodies were literally clothed in a
material representation of clothes. 38

Reading Clothes; Reading for Sartorial Bodies

The foregoing examples of chemises drawn from very different disciplin-

ary contexts, whether literary, historical, or art historical, do not

conform readily to the conceptual models most often used to read

clothed bodies in the Middle Ages or the contemporary moment. Most
commonly, clothing is read as a cover, an artificially created envelope
that conceals, to a greater or lesser degree, what is presumed to be a
fleshy body beneath. This reading tends to privilege the natural body
over its superficial cover. It is found in examples that range from the
literary cultivation of chivalric disguise used to conceal a knight's "true"
identity, to instances of crossdressing in literary and hagiographic
accounts that conceal a protagonist's imputed "natural biology." The
understanding of clothing as insubstantial cover extends to clerical
denunciations of lavish clothing, jewelry, and even make-up as unnec-
essary adornments to be removed and summarily discarded. 39
A second conceptual model readily available for reading clothed
bodies tends to privilege the cultural pole of the dyad, endowing clothes
with the ability to generate public identity and create social status, as in
the concept "clothes make the man" (or the woman, as the case may be).
From this perspective, the visual effect of clothing can produce real
material consequences for social interaction. Thus, medieval Jews, lepers,
prostitutes, and criminals had to be clearly marked by garments that
recorded their station in life. 40 Saracens could not wear clothes that might
allow them to be confused with Franks, and the devil often appears
represented in stripes. 41 A similar logic informs much medieval legislation
that warns repeatedly against lesser nobles dressing above their assigned
social station. 42 Their borrowed, usurped clothing could transform their
bodies, visually at least, into something they were not previously.
Although these two modes of reading clothing and textiles are
staged in a range of medieval cultural documents, we also find a rich
supply of examples more in line with instances of the chemise discussed
above. These invocations of articles of dress encourage us to read
clothing in a third way: as forging sartorial bodies derived equally from
fabric and from flesh, bodies that erode the ostensible line between
artifice and nature. 43 This is especially true of clothing in courtly
literary texts where sartorial bodies often challenge the very distinc-
tion that separates fabric on the one hand from corporeal beings on
the other, producing complex assignments of gender, desire, and class

status, as I have argued elsewhere. 44 The foregoing examples of the

medieval chemise help us to see the power of textiles and garments
more generally to forge and participate in cultural meanings well
beyond the functional, decorative, or identificatory, and to challenge
traditional understandings of clothes as discreet objects, removable
and distinctly separate from the wearer. The process is counter-
intuitive and conceptually challenging because we tend to see clothes
and bodies, whether represented or historical, as fundamentally dis-
tinct, in line with the first two conceptual models outlined above.
However, the varied functions of clothing in the textual, historical,
and iconographic examples provided by the ladylove's chemise in the
romance Cliges, Saint Louis's historical chemise, or the visual images of
the virgin's chemise stamped onto pilgrim's badges all stage, in different
ways, a dynamic relation between the terms "body" and "garment"
that privileges neither surface nor substance. Here, forms of material
culture such as clothes and representations of them can be active
agents in constructing social bodies. 45 The chemises represented on
badges displayed on pilgrims' clothing are neither primarily visual
images nor merely decorative adornments. They do not appear
initially to be body parts or garments in their own right but become a
combination of both once they are worn. Saint Louis's recovered
chemise is significant as having the status not of an everyday, functional
cover for the king's body but an uncanny part of it. The ladylove's
allegorical chemise in Cliges provides a highly abstract, disembodied
representation of courtly passion. But it does so to the extent that it
clings closely to the heroine's fine skin. These garments (represented
or actual) have become products of complex social interactions that
produce sartorial bodies, which they mark and identify, but which they
also help to create and fashion.
Consider as a final example the Abbot Suger's comment that the
stained glass windows at Saint-Denis contained vast amounts of "vitri
vestiti et saphirorum materia." 46 Suger here draws on a metaphor of
clothing to evoke, at one and the same time, the materiality of intensely
colored pigments functioning as garments and the intangible clothing
of the symbolic world they represent. Suger's characterization of the

windows in the choir of the abbey church has been interpreted to mean
at least two things, the first being that the pieces of glass contained in
the windows were covered physically (vested) in multi-colored pig-
ments much as garments cover the body. When Panofsky translates the
phrase as "colored glass and sapphire glass," he explains further that the
glass is not superficially painted but saturated with color. 47 Second, the
abbot's description of his powerful windows has been taken to mean
that the translucent panels were "vested with" sacred symbols that
accompanied the materia saphirorum, or the jewel-like blue glass from
which they are made. Von Simpson translates the phrase as "windows
made of blue glass and invested with symbols." 48 Most significant for
our purposes is that in both interpretations, the dressing is integral to
the material ground of the windows, not separable from them. The
metaphorical clothes adorning Suger's colored windows cannot be
considered an inconsequential conspicuous cover to be removed, as
medieval moralists would have women remove excessively lavish items
of dress. Nor do these metaphorical clothes create a deceptive cover,
effectively generating a false identity of the kind that sumptuary legisla-
tion seeks to regulate and restrain.
Suger' s windows provide a particularly clear example of the way
that metaphorical invocations of medieval clothing can expand and
extend material objects or, in some cases, bodies, into the cultural
sphere. Whether the glass panels in question are imbued with material
color or are inherently garbed in symbolic meaning, that adornment
carries a substantive rather than a superficial connotation and the
vestments evoked are understood to be integral to the windows, not
detachable from them. The dressing of these windows, in both interpre-
tations cited above, relies on a paradoxical image of embodied garments,
equally dependent for their meaning on material and symbolic frames
of reference. It is well known that rhetoricians such as Geoffroy of
Vinsauf allude similarly to poetic composition as a process of" clothing"
the matter with words, embellishing and adorning the topic at hand with
artifice that replaces the natural order of things with a more pleasing,
and more substantial, arrangement of artful creation: "Let the art of
poetry ... beware lest its head with shaggy hair, its body with tattered

garments, or the least little detail displease." 49 However surprisingly,

here artifice has a body.
To be sure, this is not always the case. If words function in rhetorical
treatises as necessary vestments, those same metaphorical clothes carry
a deadly materiality in some theological contexts, as when the letter is
said to kill rather than give life to divine meaning, weighing it down with
too much tangible substance. 50 However broadly their potential sym-
bolic and allegorical functions in other contexts, clothes are here
returned to their status as physical properties of the material world,
resembling the opaque skins covering Adam and Eve's nakedness rather
than the immaterial skin of Augustine's firmament. Medieval represen-
tations of textiles across a broad spectrum of disciplines offer the full
range of options, and much more.

Crossing Disciplinary Boundaries

and Expanding Intellectual Paradigms

The chapters that follow demonstrate varied ways in which the material
components of dress, textiles, and clothwork can be used to discuss
broad cultural issues: from questions of gender, class, and ethnicity to
religious and political concerns; from aesthetic, rhetorical, and icono-
graphic considerations to legal regulation and bequests; from questions
of labor and production to processes of consumption and display or
cross-cultural patterns of trade and exchange. In these instances, cloth,
clothing, and textiles are not simply an indication of wealth and status,
gender, or social identity. Nor do they function principally as a superfi-
cial cover indicating disguise or vainglorious consumption. These skins,
garments, and fabrics provide, rather, points of access for reading
cultural formations on a wider scale. As contributors to this volume
explore objects and processes of material culture associated with cloth,
clothing, and cloth production and the varied representations of them
in verbal and visual form, the resultant essays help expand significantly
the conceptual frames previously at our disposal for reading and inter-
preting various aspects of western medieval culture. They address the

processes of poetic composition and dramatic performance, the sub-

stance of philosophical and religious allegory, the range and function of
iconographic images and objects both religious and secular, and the
parameters used for determining gendered labor. They redefine the
limits of gift exchange, and reveal a surprising process offeminist editing.
They broaden our understanding of the methods used to copy and
transpose images in stained glass, the interplay between visual and
verbal storytelling, the scope and particularity needed to redraw the map
of sumptuary legislation or to adjust the lens we use to chart the
European geo-cultural map. Some of the essays collected here are more
overtly feminist than others. Some draw more heavily than others on
theoretical material. But all open new ways of reading medieval cultural
formations by examining those cultural structures through some aspect
of textiles.
Claire Sponsler's chapter, "Text and Textile: Lydgate's Tapestry
Poems," shows how two-dimensional weavings commonly used as
luxury household furnishings also existed as large scale historical tapes-
tries displayed as part of three-dimensional public performances includ-
ing words from poetic texts, visual display, and oral reading. A number
of religious and secular poems by Lydgate, intended to be read alongside
tapestries displayed for civic and religious ceremonies, help us under-
stand how texts and textiles could operate together in the later Middle
Ages in a performance context. Here words woven into tapestries
interacted with words read aloud, and poetic fabricators like Lydgate
could have fabrics in mind when composing poems. In Kathryn Star-
key's chapter ("Tristan Slippers: An Image of Adultery or a Symbol of
Marriage?"), public performance takes place literally on the feet of urban
inhabitants of the Low Countries. Their surviving leather shoes depict
an adulterous scene from the courtly romance ofTristan but with crucial
variations that distinguish these sartorially based images from the
iconographic tradition recorded in courtly manuscripts. By reading
images of the Tristan story embossed on fifteenth-century leather shoes
alongside Middle Dutch urban literature that emphasizes pragmatic and
ethical concerns, Starkey shows how these visual representations of the
courtly love story, worn in public on everyday shoes, have been altered

to reflect not illicit sexual encounter but the more pragmatic concerns
of an emerging discourse on middle class marriage.
Dyan Elliott ("Dressing and Undressing the Clergy: Rites of Ordi-
nation and Degradation") charts a different process of resymbolization
enacted through garments in the religious sphere. By shifting our focus
from the long-standing official symbolism of liturgical vestments used
to mark and maintain the ecclesiastical hierarchy of rank and orders to
the ritual process of actually dressing and undressing priests, Elliott
shows how items of male dress can chart a key change in the political
climate of the thirteenth century. As the formal Church liturgy of
undressing (degradation) publicly strips dissenters of clerical rank, it
makes them vulnerable to possible execution. Roberta L. Krueger
("Uncovering Griselda: Christine de Pizan, 'une seule chemise,' and the
Clerical Tradition") analyzes Christine de Pizan's syncopated rewriting
of the Griselda story that deletes elaborate commentaries accompanying
previous versions of the tale by Boccaccio, Petrarch, and two late-
medieval French writers. Christine's pared-down tale dramatizes not the
patience of a submissive wife emblematized in a simple shift and
Griselda's changes of clothes, but the long-standing suffering of married
women and the harsh realities of wife abuse.
In '"This Skill in a Woman Is By No Means To Be Despised':
Weaving and the Gender Division of Labor in the Middle Ages," Ruth
Karras uses cultural representations of gendered work to supplement
evidence provided by guild and tax records, showing that even after
textile production becomes waged commercial work for men in England
and France, cultural representations continue to associate women with
weaving in the domestic sphere. Symbolically, weaving remains the
appropriate and desirable province of married women in particular,
whose very virtue is attested and recorded in household clothwork.
Madeline Caviness takes us from the process of making cloth to the
possible use of cloth patterns in making stained glass windows. "Tucks
and Darts: Adjusting Patterns to Fit Figures for Stained Glass Windows
Around 1200" shows how greater attention to the use of patterns in
copying and adjusting images in stained glass windows in both England
and France can suggest that some of those key patterns might have been

made oflinen, which would allow subtle sizing adjustments to be made

by means of sewing.
Both janet Snyder ("Cloth from the Promised Land: Appropriated
Islamic Tiraz in Twelfth-Century French Sculpture") and Sharon
Kinoshita ("Almeria Silk and the French Feudal Imaginary: Toward a
'Material' History of the Medieval Mediterranean") turn our attention
eastward, revealing the extent to which religious iconography of the
Christian West maps complex cultural relations of exchange and trade
with Islamic cultures of the eastern Mediterranean and Muslim Spain.
Snyder shows how stone carvings in fine limestone on French cathedral
facades from the 1130s to the1160s record delicate variations in the kinds
of material fabrics represented and the specific techniques of embroidery
used to decorate them. Carved representations of clothing in this context
attest to the presence and use of imported Islamic textiles along with
details of costume adapted from Islamic models that had become an
inherent part of western, Christian dress. Looking at Muslim Spain,
Kinoshita reads the traces oflslamic silks in Christian church treasuries
and in vernacular French texts to reveal a concerted medieval fascination
with the Almerian silk that links French aristocratic luxury taste to cloth
production in the Iberian peninsula, Norman Sicily, and countries of the
eastern Mediterranean. Reading through silk used in religious and
secular contexts allows us, in this instance, to view the map of Latin
Europe from a new perspective in which the Iberian peninsula and
Norman Sicily become central points of commercial access and eco-
nomic exchange with a richly hybrid Mediterranean culture.
Sarah-Grace Heller and Kathleen Ashley broaden our understand-
ing of the scope and function oflegal documents that regulate and record
the use and exchange of clothing. Heller's detailed account of wide-
ranging variations in sumptuary legislation in medieval Europe ("Lim-
iting Yardage and Changes of Clothes: Sumptuary Legislation in Thir-
teenth-Century France, Languedoc, and Italy") helps us redraw the map
ofEuropean sartorial regulation, emphasizing the importance of reading
these legal codes as a complex language that was interpreted differently
across varying social sectors and articulated with crucial geographic and
site-specific variants. Kathleen Ashley's chapter on "Material and Sym-

bolic Gift Giving: Clothes in English and French Wills" uses bequests of
clothing in English and Burgundian wills to question and expand the
limits of gift theory. Since these items of dress garner their most
powerful meanings when the giver is in fact absent, they reconfigure the
terms of dynamic interaction typically associated with both gift and
commodity exchange, while inserting at the same time into the gift
equation the important distinguishing feature of class status.
The chapters by Andrea Denny-Brown and Sarah Kay alert us to the
importance of accounting for the material aspects of highly abstract,
allegorical texts, whether in the Latin or Old French literary traditions.
In "How Philosophy Matters: Death, Sex, Clothes, and Boethius,"
Denny-Brown reads the allegorical figure of Philosophy in Boethius's
Consolation ofPhilosophy against the stark materiality of her torn gown,
revealing that the very garment used to figure philosophical enlighten-
ment, perfection, and purity of the male mind in this text also records
the symbolic loss of philosophical knowledge. Associating philosophy
and learning with a materiality that is explicitly feminine ultimately
unsettles the allegorical project of representing the rarefied perfection
of male philosophical thought. Kay's chapter on "Flayed Skin as objet a:
Representation and Materiality in Guillaume de Deguileville' s Pelerinage
de vie humanine" brings us full circle to the animal skins invoked by
Augustine in the example with which we began, but with a significant
twist. Drawing on Zizek's dialectical-materialist theory of representa-
tion, Kay shows how Deguileville's fourteenth-century trilogy of reli-
gious poems uses images of flayed skin and their association with
parchment and ecclesiastical writings as a guarantor of sublime immor-
tality, while also using those same skins to represent the desublimated
materiality of the mortal body. In both Boethius and Deguileville,
according to these readings, the substance of allegorical writing is more
dependent on aspects of materiality than we had previously thought.
Taken together, the essays in this volume chart a broad expanse of
medieval cultural imaginings that carry textiles, dress, and clothworkfar
beyond their common association with functional covering, unneces-
sary adornment or artificial disguise, on the one hand, and beyond their
accepted role as visible markers of class, gender, or social station, on the

other. Engaging with these important features of dress and textiles as

they are represented in literary, legal, art historical, and historical
sources, including texts in Latin and in regional vernaculars across a wide
geographical spectrum, the chapters in this book urge us to think about
dress and fabric in new ways. Some chapters reveal how textiles play a
key role in bourgeois and aristocratic gift giving, how they feature in
stained glass window construction, how they inflect poetic performance
and allegorical storytelling, or how they inform narratives of wifely
virtue, gendered labor, and middle class marriage. Other chapters show
how medieval concerns with dress generate a highly site-specific lan-
guage of legal regulation, how they can produce a process of feminist
editing, chart the political rise and fall of clergy, or tie the medieval west
to Muslim Spain and the eastern Mediterranean. Using textual and visual
representations of textiles, clothing, and cloth production as a lens
through which to view these varied cultural formations, individual
contributions to Medieval Fabrications suggest a number of ways in which
scholarly attention to both material and imaginative aspects of medieval
fabric can productively expand the conceptual frameworks and disciplin-
ary practices of Medieval Studies.
Text and Textile:
Lydgate"'s Tapestry Poems

Claire Sponsler

j n 1910, Eleanor Hammond remarked that the relationship in

medieval culture between poetry and the decorative arts-and espe-
cially between tapestry and poetry-awaited a full historical examina-
tion.1 Nearly a century later, we're still waiting. In the case of tapestry's
ties to verse, we might expect that etymology alone would have been a
spur to investigation, given the common Latin roots (in textus and
textura) for the vernacular terms for the making of stories and the making
of cloth. Or that mythology, with its legend of Philomela, her tongue
having been cut out, told her story through the medium of weaving,
would have incited inquiry, especially given the story's popularity
throughout medieval Europe. Or, more compellingly, that the empirical
evidence itself would have urged analysis. For although medieval
tapestries have not survived in great numbers, not surprisingly given the
essential fragility of textiles, enough did (and enough others are men-
tioned in accounts and records) to allow us to consider their implications

as a specific kind of representational medium. Textile historians have,

of course, written extensively about medieval tapestries, but not from
the angle of their links to the narrative arts. Yet what is immediately
apparent about many medieval tapestries is how often they reveal a
propensity not only for using decorated cloth to present narratives but
also, and more strikingly, for treating writing as a component of the
pictorial display. Words were woven into tapestries (or painted onto
cloth) to provide a commentary on the images; words were also woven
around tapestries as oral accompaniment to the visual display, as
occurred in courtly and civic ceremonies. As a partial response to
Hammond's wish that a full historic examination be undertaken, this
essay will investigate that intersection of text and textile, as revealed in
the work of the fifteenth-century English poet John Lydgate.
Lydgate, a monk of the great Benedictine abbey of Bury St.
Edmunds and a prolific writer of religious and secular verse, provides
us with a large number of examples of poetry intended to accompany
visual displays, including wall paintings and wall hangings. Lydgate's
tapestry poems, to use the term Hammond gave them, point to the
various material shapes a text could take, whether it be writing,
pictorial image, or performance. Tapestry poems confront us with an
insistent blurring of representational forms that leaves us wondering
what difference, if any, it made that a story was read from a manuscript
page or viewed on a wall hanging or listened to in a performance; such
mixing of forms urges us to reassess the modern preference for sorting
texts out into discrete representational modes when they originally
inhabited two or more at once. An examination ofLydgate's tapestry
poems reveals, then, not only fabric's important cultural role as a
means of disseminating narratives but also its connection to other
media of representation. If our modern privileging of the written word
has often led us to overlook the importance of visual media in the
formation of a late-medieval literary consciousness, the example of
Lydgate ought to remind us of the basic fluidity of cultural forms
within which even an author as enamored of the written word and as
in thrall to the idea of literary genius as Lydgate created his works.
Marginalized though they have been within his oeuvre and within the

canon of Middle English literature, perhaps we should grant Lydgate' s

tapestry poems a more central place, as texts that by vividly demon-
strating the importance of fabric for the work of literary fabrication
reveal literature's deep ties to the visual and performative arts oflate
medieval culture.
Tapestries were among the most popular luxury goods of late
medieval Europe and in less lavish form were part of everyday decora-
tion and household furnishings, as is attested by frequent mentions in
wills of bequests of tapestry or arras bedcloths. They were also an
important art form, particularly in the hundred or so years from 1350
to near the end of the fifteenth century. Although tapestries had been
produced in Europe in earlier centuries, large-scale tapestry production
began in the fourteenth century in areas already known for weaving,
most notably Paris and Arras, whose names became synonymous with
woven figurative fabric. In the second half of the fourteenth century,
tapestry grew more artistically and commercially important and its use
increased in the courts of Europe. Many of these tapestries depicted
scenes from secular or religious history, often organized into a narra-
tive. Among the amply-proportioned historical tapestries of the four-
teenth and early fifteenth centuries, which were probably used for civic
or religious ceremonies, are the famous Nine Worthies wall hanging now
in the Cloisters in New York; the Battle of Roosbeek (no longer extant)
made for and celebrating the part played by Philip the Bold, Duke of
Burgundy, in the defeat of Flemish rebels in 1382; and the Jousts of St
Denis (no longer extant) commissioned by Charles VI (1397). 2 While
the cost of woven tapestries limited their purchase to the wealthiest of
patrons until the production boom of the late fifteenth century lowered
prices (along with aesthetic quality), painted or "stained" cloths, offered
a less expensive format for the depiction of images and narratives. A
will from 1429, for example, bequeaths to the "chapel of oure lady ...
a steyned clooth with the salutacion of oure lady ther to abide
perpetuelly," while a reference from around 1449 comments: "Here in
this steyned clooth, King Herri leieth a sege to Harflew." 3 As Charles
Kightly' s discussion of wall hangings in medieval York suggests, textiles
could be a source of household ornamentation, a marker of social

status, and an opportunity for entertainment, given their typical pref-

erence for depicting narrative. 4
How people might have "read" woven stories is suggested by an
episode in Caxton's version of the romance Blanchardyn and Eglantine
(ca. 1489). In chapter two, Blanchardine, walking in his father's palace
with his tutor, gazes at the "hangings ofTapestrie and Arras" on the wall.
The romance describes how, "stedfastly pervsing the abstracts & deuises
in the hangings," Blanchardine asked his tutor "what warlike seidge and
slaughter of men that might be." So taken was he by his tutor's reply,
which recounted the history of the war and the heroic feats performed
by its participants, that Blanchardine himself aspired to the same honors
with the result that he "continually practised, both in action and in
reading, the imitation of those valorous warres; neither thought he any
time so wel bestowed as either in reciting, reading, or conferring of those
warres." 5
While tapestries could offer legible texts well suited to spurring
action and reflection alike, as the Blanchardyn example suggests, not all
of them required an extra textual commentator like Blanchardine' s tutor
to supply the missing verbal component to explain the visual depiction.
A number of tapestries in fact included a written text as a constitutive
feature of the design. As Hammond pointed out, it is not uncommon in
surviving tapestries to see verses woven into the fabric, although it is
difficult to say how widespread this phenomenon was since relatively
few tapestries or painted cloths have survived. Citing evidence from the
inventories of Charles VI of France and Henry V of England, Hammond
notes frequent references to wall-hangings apersonnages that describe
pictures of people accompanied by writing (apparently, often their
names): One tapestry, for instance is described as one that includes
writing beneath its depictions of people, as well as their names ("ou il y
a au dessoubz desdits personnages ecriptures et leur noms escripz);"
another tapestry of many other people ("plusieurs autres personnages")
contains "au dessoubz de elles a grans escriptures;" and yet another that
contains many inscriptions ("plusieurs escripteaulx") is mentioned. The
inventory of tapestries owned by Henry V cites the opening phrase of
the story ("estorie") on each tapestry, for instance: "Vessi amour

sovient," "Cest ystorie fait remembraunce de noble Vierge Plesance,"

"Vessi Dames de noble affaire," and "Vessi une turnement comenser."
Although it is impossible to know whether these phrases formed part of
the tapestries themselves or are, as appears more likely, shorthand ways
of describing the scenes depicted therein, such phrases emphasize the
narrative aspect of the tapestries. 6
Other evidence of words actually woven into or painted onto wall
hangings can be found in the January miniature of the Tres Riches Heures,
which depicts a banquet in an aristocratic household; on the wall behind
the banqueting table hangs an expensively decorated tapestry that is
perhaps an illustration of a tapestry that once belonged to Jean, Due de
Berry, and that includes written verses above scenes of battle. The six-
piece Angers Apocalypse tapestries originally had panels below each
scene with an inscription; the inscriptions are now lost, but probably
consisted of excerpts either from the text of Revelations or from a
commentary on it. The tapestries of the Romance ofJourdain de Blaye
(from the early fifteenth century) include inscriptions in a Picardy
dialect. And a St. George tapestry described in the inventory ofThomas,
Duke of Gloucester, as "Une pece d' Arras d' or de St. George," is said to
"comense en 1' escripture des lettres d' or 'Geaus estAgles' ovec les armes
de Monsr de Gloucestr" (it begins, in other words, with an inscription
in letters of gold and the arms of Gloucester). 7
The example of Colart de La on, a French painter whose life spanned
the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, suggests how an artist
might have shaped a career around providing visual representations on
fabric for ceremonial uses. Colart is first mentioned in 1377, in the
employ ofPhilip the Bold, Duke ofBurgundy. Most ofColart's commis-
sions appear to have been related to royal festivities and consisted
primarily of painting banners and jousting implements. He was
employed for the elaborate entry oflsabeau of Bavaria into Paris (1389)
and prepared ceremonial trappings in connection with the marriage of
John, eldest son of Duke Philip the Bold, in Cambrai. In December 1395
Colart was paid by Duke Philip's chamberlain for "grands tableaux,"
whose subject matter unfortunately went unmentioned. In 1396, Colart
executed "un tableau de bois qui fait ciel et dossier," which included

images of the Virgin, St. John and the Trinity, for a chapel endowed by
Louis of Orleans in the church of the Celestines in Paris. The following
year, he supplied a panel with Saints Louis of France and Louis of
Toulouse for the room of the Dauphin Charles. In 1400 he provided four
large, painted cartoons for tapestries ordered by the queen and in 1406
agreed to complete a "tableau" intended to be given as a gift from Jean
de la Cloche to the Paris Parlement. 8
If Colart shows us a visual artist's involvement with fabrication,
Lydgate offers a nearly contemporary look at a verbal stylist's corre-
sponding role. Among the large body of work Lydga te produced-most
of it for royal, aristocratic or wealthy bourgeois patrons-are a number
of poems designed to accompany pictorial representations of one sort
or another-whether statues, wall hangings, tableaux, or frescoes.
Although none of the accompanying pictures has survived, so far as we
are aware, internal clues within the poems themselves point to their
connection with images as do annotations supplied by the scribe John
Shirley, who was responsible for copying and thus preserving many of
Lydgate's works. Several ofLydgate's religious works were apparently
intended to be read along with visual images. Cristes Passioun, for
example, ends by sending his poem ("Go, lytel bylle") to "Hang affore
Iesu" in the hopes that "folk that shal the see" will read "this compleynt"
(1:216-221, 113-116). 9 The Dolerous Pyte ofCrystes Passioun, which begins,
"erly on morwe, and toward nyght also, I First and last, looke on this
ffygure" (1:250-52, 1-2) and ends by stating that saying a Pater-noster,
Ave, and Creed while kneeling before this "dolorous pite" will earn
pardons (51-56), similarly suggests that the poem was intended to
accompany a visual image (a "pite," or pieta) displayed in some public
place, presumably a church. The Image of our Lady begins with a similar
command to "Beholde and se this glorious fygure, I Whiche Sent Luke
of our lady lyvynge I After her lyknes made in picture" (1:290-91, 1-3),
a picture that is later identified as resembling a painting in the church of
Santa Maria de Populo in Rome. The last stanza of On De Profundis claims
that the verses were compiled at the request ofWilliam Curteys (abbot
of Bury) so that he would be able "At his chirche to hang it on the wal"
(1:77-84, 167-68).

Some ofLydgate's secular poems were also apparently written to

go with visual representations, judging by internal hints and by head-
notes provided by the scribe John Shirley, who was responsible for
copying and thus preserving and disseminating many of Lydgate's
shorter works, including those that had a performance context. Of the
Sodein Fal of Princes (2:660-61) contains phrases (e.g., "Beholde <Pis gret
prynce," "Se howe," "Se nowe," and "Lo here") that suggest it was
intended to accompany a fresco or wall hanging, or possibly a dumb-
show in which silent performers mimed actions while a presenter recited
the text. Lydgate also wrote verses to accompany the "sotelties," the
confectionary tableaux featured at the coronation banquet of Henry VI
(2:623-24), and verses that either went along with or recalled what seems
to have been a procession of Corpus Christi in London since Shirley
refers to the 224lines of the poem he was able to copy as "an ordenaunce
of a precessyoun" (1:35-43). The large-scale Dance ofDeath, a translation
of the French Danse Macabre, made around 1430 from the (now lost)
mural of 1424-25 painted on the walls of the church of the Holy
Innocents in Paris was designed, Shirley's headnote tells us, for a mural
in St. Paul's Cathedral, London. 10 InA SurveyofLondon (1598),John Stow
corroborates Shirley's claim, mentioning that around the interior of the
cloister on the north side of St. Paul's was once painted the dance of
death, like that in Paris, and that Lydgate's translation was "with the
picture of Death, leading all estates painted about the Cloyster" at the
request of Jankin Oohn) Carpenter, who was Town Clerk of London
from 1417-1438. 11 According to Stow, the whole cloister was pulled
down by the Duke of Somerset in 1549 for building material for his
palace in the Strand.
A more interesting example for the history of poetry and tapestry
is the Legend ofSt. George, described by Shirley as the "devyse of a steyned
hall" designed for the armorers ofLondon. Shirley introduces the Legend
of St. George as the "devyse of a steyned halle of <Pe lyf of Saint George
ymagyned by Daunjohan <Pe Munk of Bury Lydegate I and made with
<Pe balades at the request I of $armorieres of Londoun for <Ponour of
$eyre bro$erhoode and $eyre feest of Saint George" (1:145-54). 12 This
headnote seems to suggest that Lydgate conceived of the whole display,

the "devyse" -here used in the sense of plan or design-of the "steyned
halle" as well as the accompanying verses. The term "steyned halle"
seems to point to a mural rather than a tapestry, although the latter
cannot be ruled out. In any event, Bishop Reginald Pecock' s Repressor of
Over Much Blaming ofthe Clergy (ca. 1449), which refers to "A storie openly
... purtreied or peintid in the wal or in a clooth," 13 suggests that the two
representational modes overlapped (and Hammond treats tapestry- and
fresco-poems as nearly identical forms). Hammond imagines that the
verses of the Legend of St. George were recited aloud as the mural
decoration was displayed during the feast of St. George, a claim that
gains support from the headnote to the opening verses, which states:
"!pee poete first declare<j)e." The first stanza of the poem addresses "yee
folk !pat heer present be, I Wheeche of !pis story shal haue Inspeccion, I
Of Saint George yee may beholde and see" (1:145-54, 1-3). The poem
then recounts the life of Saint George, from his birth in Cappadocia,
focusing on his battle with the dragon and his martyrdom at the hands
ofDacian, but making no further reference to the mural mentioned by
Shirley's headnote and by the opening verses.
Although Hammond assumes that a number of these were tapestry
poems, only one can with any degree of certainty be given that label.
The misogynist poem Bycorne and Chychevache, that recounts the well-
known story of two monsters, one of whom is lean from a diet of
virtuous women while the other grows fat on hen-pecked wives, was,
according to Shirley's headnote, designed at the request of a London
citizen to accompany a painted or stained cloth to hang in a hall,
chamber, or parlor. 14 Shirley refers to the poem as the "deuise of a
peynted or desteyned clothe for an halle a parlour or a chaumbre I
deuysed by Iohan Lidegate at <j)e request of a wer<j)y citeseyn of London"
(2:433-38). Two of the terms Shirley uses to describe this poem call for
discussion. The Middle English Dictionary gives as one meaning of the
verb "steinen" the definition "to ornament (fabric, a garment, etc.) with
an embroidered, stenciled, or woven design or pictorial representation;
also, stencil or embroider (a figure on fabric)." Shirley's headnote could
thus be describing either a painted or a woven cloth. The term "de vis"
refers to a plan or design, or more specifically a literary composition or

device, and is used by Shirley in headnotes to two of Lydgate's other

performance pieces, the Mumming at London, which is described as "<jle
deuyse of a desguysing" (2:682-91) and the Mumming at Windsor, called
"<jle devyse of a momyng" (2:691-94). In the headnote to Bycorne and
Chychevache it is unclear whether Lydgate was responsible for "devising"
just the verses or the entire wall hanging, painted scenes and words alike.
Hammond inclines towards the latter view, arguing that in the seven
headings Shirley includes in his copy of the poem, he is transcribing
instructions for the painter who made the wall hanging. 15 Hammond's
interpretation assumes that Shirley was working from a copy of the
poem Lydgate had made for the painter to use as a design for the
tapestry; she thus sees Lydgate in this instance acting as designer of
textiles, collaborating, in effect, with the visual artists who rendered the
images that accompanied Lydgate's text.
Whether he is transcribing Lydgate's instructions or-as might also
be possible-attempting to recreate the original visual-display context
for readers, at seven places within the poem Shirley includes headings
that seem to point to seven images painted on the tapestry. Shirley's
headings to the first two stanzas indicate that those images included first
one of the poet acting as presenter ("ffirst <jlere shal stonde an ymage in
poete-wyse seying <jlees thre balades") and then another portraying
Chychevache and Bycorne ("<jlane shalle <jleer be purtrayed twoo beestis
oon fatte a no<jler leene"). After that, Bycome is depicted speaking three
balades ("<jlanne shalle <jler be pourtrayhed a fatte beest called Bycorne
of <jle cuntrey of Bycornoys and seyne <jlees thre balades"). The fourth
scene seems to show a group of complaining husbands ("<jlanne shal be
pourtrayed a companye of men comyng towardes <jlis be est Bicorne and
sey <jlees foure balades"). The fifth image shows a woman being eaten
by Chychevache (" <jlanne shal <jler be a womman devowred ypurtrayhed
in <jle mou<jle of Chychevache cryen to alle wives & sey <jlis balade"),
followed by an image of an emaciated Chychevache, who speaks four
balades ("<jlanne shal be <jler purtrayhed a longe horned beest sklendre
and lene with sharpe teethe and on his body no thing saue skyn and
boone"). The final image shows an old man trying to rescue his wife
from Chychevache and speaking four balades ("<jlanne shal <jlere be

pourtrayhed affter Chichevache an olde man with a baston on his bakke

manassing <j>e beest for <j>e rescowing ofhis wyff').
What, exactly, the relationship was between text and image in these
poems is open to debate. The length of many of these texts would seem
to argue against the entire poem's being visually represented within or
alongside the pictorial display. Hammond suggests that perhaps only
portions of long poems were reproduced in paintings or weavings, but
notes that the destruction of so many medieval tapestries and frescoes
makes it hard to rule out the possibility that long texts were painted or
sewn in. 16 It is worth noting in this context that the version of Lydgate' s
Dance ofDeath found in Trinity R.3.21 contains a headnote that states that
the words themselves were painted on the walls of the cloister at St. Paul's:
"Ere foloweth the Prologe of the Daunce ofMachabre translatyd by Dan
John lydgate monke of Bury out ofFrensshe in to engliyssh whiche now
is callyd the Daunce ofPoulys. & these wordes paynted in the cloystar at
the dispensys & request ofJankyn Carpynter." 17 A note at the top of one
page of the Legend ofSt. George in Trinity R.3.21, in Stow's hand, claims
that it was written by Lydgate for the armorers "to peynt about ther
haulle," suggesting that all24 5lines of the poem were meant to be painted
around their hall. In the case of many of Lydgate's tapestry or mural
poems, however, it seems possible that instead of being represented on or
alongside the visual representation the verses were read aloud as the
pictorial image was viewed or displayed. The language of Shirley's seven
headings in Bycorne and Chychevache shows how hard it can be to decipher
the original presentational format of the poem. It is certainly possible that
Shirley's headings point to a linear unfolding of scenes on the tapestry,
with Lydgate's verses appearing alongside or underneath each scene. But
it seems equally plausible to envision the verses having been read aloud
as the tapestry was displayed, as Hammond imagines was the case with
the Legend of St. George. 18 Running titles across the tops of the manuscript
pages in Trinity R.3.20, which describe the poem as "<j>e fourme of
desguysinges I contreved by daun Johan Lidegate I in <j>e maner of I
straunge desguysinges I <j>e gyse of a momynge," further thwart our
attempts to know exactly what representational shape Bycorne and Chyche-
vache originally took.

It is difficult to know with any certainty whether or not the verses

of Bycorne and Chychevache were inscribed on the textile itself, since, as
objects of visual narrative, tapestries overlap with other medieval
performance genres, including such entertainments as mummings,
effigy-processions, royal entries, or tableaux. The two-dimensional
representations found in tapestries and murals, as Glynne Wickham has
noted, formed a continuum with three-dimensional tableaux vivants
and sculptural displays such as the elaborate confectionary "sotelties,"
which featured scenes and images from myth and history fashioned out
of sugar and pastry and were served during interludes in banquets.
Indeed, as Wickham observes, many medieval and early modern enter-
tainments are structured as set speeches explaining visual representa-
tions.19 Our difficulty in deciding what Shirley was trying to convey in
the case of Bycorne and Chychevache is part of a larger dilemma of sorting
mixed-media medieval representations into modern categories, which
distinguish between such entities as poetry and drama, painting and
mumming, in a way that would have seemed foreign to medieval
producers and consumers of such cultural forms. The manuscript
evidence, at least, reveals an indifference to distinguishing between
written and recitation verses and between impersonated (or mimetic)
performance and pictorial representation. Thus Shirley does not clearly
separate something apparently two dimensional and inanimate like
Bycorne and Chychevache from a representation like Lydgate's Mumming
at Hertford, which seems to involve actors playing roles. 20
The term pageant usefully highlights the dilemma modern scholars
face in trying to sort out medieval representational forms that involved
some degree of visual display. As Larry Clopper notes, although it is now
often applied to medieval biblical plays, the use of pageant to refer to
drama is a secondary meaning, derived from its initial use to designate
something that was painted or ornamented. 21 In medieval dramatic
records, the word can refer to the decorated mobile object that could
function as a stage-set ("pageant wagon") or to a decorated object, such
as a painted cloth, that could be carried in a procession. Thomas More
used pageant, as A. S. G. Edwards has noted, to describe pictures on a
painted cloth, accompanied by verses, that More in his youth devised

for his father's house: "Mayster Thomas More in his youth deuysed in
hys fathers house in London, a goodly hangyng of fyne paynted clothe,
with nyne pageauntes, and verses ouer euery one of those pageauntes." 22
Although both the OED and MED seem to take their cue from the More
quotation and defme pageant as "a scene represented on tapestry or the
like," Edwards argues that several instances of it in Middle English
suggest that it may simply mean "picture." For example, a scribe's note
in St.John's College, Cambridge, MS 208 (H.5), refers to "vi payentis iic.
Champis, vi, iii.c. paragraffis v." in a usage that points to the six
illustrations that appear in the manuscript. Such uses, Edwards believes,
suggest that pageant in some cases was used in the late Middle English
period as a synonym for picture or illustration.
The range of usages for the word pageant points to a slippage across
representational categories that reveals how texts and textiles operated
in a performance context. The tapestry poems apparently date to the
peak of Lydgate's career as a Lancastrian propagandist and public poet
in the late 1420s and early 1430s, when he wrote a series of poems and
entertainments for royalty and substantial commoners. To this period
belong his seven mummings, short pageants or mimed plays with
commentary by a narrator or "presenter," as well as poems for the
coronation ofHenry VI in London in 1429 and for his entry into London
in 1432, after he had been crowned in France. Although their exact dates
are not known, it is likely that Lydgate also wrote his other "London"
poems during these years, including Bycorne and Chichevache and the
Legend of St. George.
It is Shirley to whom we are indebted for the texts of many of
Lydgate's performance pieces and for crucial information about their
performance contexts. Without Shirley, many of these performance
pieces-such as the mummings-would be unknown to us, as would the
cultural occasions. Shirley copied these poems into three anthologies,
compiled between the late 1420s and the late 1440s, and often includes
headings, running titles, and marginalia that describe the occasions and
audiences for which the poems were written. Margaret Connolly, in a
recent study, convincingly argues that Shirley was neither commercial
publisher nor amateur book lover, as scholars have tended to assume, but

rather a compiler working in a context shaped by the noble household. In

Connolly's assessment, Shirley wrote within a "culture of service" and
intended his manuscripts to circulate among the members of the house-
hold of Richard Beauchamp, the Earl ofWarwick, with which Shirley had
been associated since at least 1403. In Warwick's household Shirley
envisions that his anthologies would be read by "bathe the gret and the
comune" as he states in the preface to the first of his anthologies. Shirley
was no antiquarian interested in writers from the past, but instead fllled
his manuscripts with the writings of contemporary authors and especially
the work of one particular living poet-Lydgate. 23
Although there is no direct evidence that Shirley knew Lydgate, it
is highly likely that they were acquainted since both men moved in the
same aristocratic and civic circles. Shirley's life ran just a few years longer
than Lydgate's, from around 1366 through 1456 (Lydgate lived from ca.
1370 to ca. 1450) and like Lydgate he had close ties with the Lancastrian
affinity, through his attachment to the household of Richard Beau-
champ, the Earl ofWarwick, who was appointed tutor to Henry VI in
1428. Records show Shirley in Warwick's retinue in France and England
from 1403 until the late 1420s, when he appears to have settled in
London where, while still maintaining connections with the aristocratic
world of Warwick, he gradually developed associations with the city's
merchant class. 24 Shirley's familiarity with Lydgate as well as his general
reliability about attributions, which Connolly has gone a long way
toward establishing, makes his comments unusually valuable when
trying to figure out the specific occasion, hence genre and representa-
tional mode, ofLydgate's poems.
Since Shirley is so crucial a resource for identification of the original
form and occasion of so many ofLydgate's poems, we have to wonder
how many other ofLydgate's poems that were copied by other scribes
might also have been designed for visual and even tapestry display.
Possible candidates include the "Legend of St. Petronilla," which ends
with a reference to those "who cometh vnto her presence" on pilgrim-
age to her shrine at Bury (1:154-59, 161); or "A Prayer to St. Leonard,"
whose next-to-last stanza asks Leonard to pray for his servants ""resor-
tyng to <jlis place" (1:135-36, 36), presumably his shrine at Norwich; or

(less likely) "A Prayer to Seynt Thomas of Canterbury," in which

Lenvoye sends this "little Table" forth to the saint and prays that
everyone "that shal thes seen or rede" will not "disdeigne but doo
Correccioun" (1:140-43, 113-20). What Shirley's headnotes underscore
is how little light internal evidence alone can shed on original venue; the
texts of Lydgate's poems, unless copied by Shirley, can only gesture
towards a display context.
That Lydgate was producing what may have been tapestry-poems
during a period when he was creating other works designed for visual
display and performance should remind us of the fact that tapestry was an
integral feature of medieval performances and ceremonies. Extant records
show how tapestry made its way into performances in the form ofbanners
and hangings used to decorate halls and streets. A mid-fifteenth-century
continuation of The Brut describes the pageants and other honors that
greeted the entry of Henry V and Queen Katherine into London in 1420
where they saw" euyry strete hongid rychely with riche do this of gold and
silke, and of velewettis and clo<j>is of araas, the beste that myght be
gotyn." 25 Lydga te' s verses for the royal entry of Henry VI in 143 2 describe
how the King, riding to the middle of the bridge, came to a tower "arrayed
with welvettes soffi:e, I Clothis off golde, sylke, and tapcerye, I As
apperteynyth to ... regalye"(2:630-48, 103-105).
Although we do not know what was depicted on these pieces of
cloth, their images might well have amplified, supplemented, or served
as backdrop to the performances unfolding in front of them. Spoken
verses, tableaux, tapestry images, and verses displayed in writing all
combined to shape the performance. The mixing of so many different
types of visual display suggests that narratives existed in different forms:
a long romance might have been shortened for wall decoration and
truncated even more for "sotelties."
Lydgate himself seems to have been alert to the power of visual
representation. On at least three occasions he remarks on the impact
that images had on him, particularly as provocations to take up his pen
and write. He tells us in the opening verses of the Fifteen joys and Sorrows
of Mary that he was inspired by a meditation with pictures that he
happened to read in a book one night (1:268-79, 1-35). His Testament

recounts how when he was fifteen years of age, he saw a crucifix" depicte
upon a wall" of a cloister with the word "vide" written beside the phrase
"Beholde my mekenesse, 0 child, and leve thy pryde" (1 :329-62, 7 44-46),
which now in old age inspires him to write a "litel dite" in remembrance
(750-753). The Debate of the Horse, Goose, and Sheep tells us it was inspired
by a wall painting the poet has recently seen ('a similitude I Ful craftily
depeyntid vpon a wall," 2:5 39-66, 18-19). Summing up the effects of the
visual from a moral perspective, On the Image of Pity comments that
"purtreture" and images were made so that "holsom storyes thus
shewyd in fygur I May rest with ws with dewe remembraunce" (1:297-
99, 37-40).
The advantage of pictorial representation over writing is described
by Pecock in his Repressor, a text envisioned as a defense of traditional
religion against Lollards and hence a somewhat reactionary document,
as being primarily speed of apprehension: that is, it might take six or
seven pages' worth of reading to "bringe into knowing or into remem-
braunce" what can be gleaned in much less time by beholding a carved
image or "a storie openli ther of purtreied or peintid in the wal or in a
clooth." Pictorial representations in Pecock's view make it possible to
absorb more "mater" and to absorb it more quickly and with less labor
than is possible through listening. Accessibility is another advantage, for
just as a man who can read, Pecock explains, can understand a long story
more easily through his own reading rather than being read aloud to by
someone else or listening to himself read aloud, so those who cannot
read will not find someone who can read aloud to them as easily as they
can find painted walls of a church or a "clooth steyned." And, finally,
images and paintings also make a stronger impression than words and
thus have more potency. 26
Pecock wrote these words around 1449, at a point when Lydgate's
career as a writer and long life alike were coming to a close, but his claims
for the virtues of the visual might reasonably be taken to apply to
Lydgate and indeed to the generation he belonged to. The dominance
of writing and print in our own era, along with the unavoidable fact that
written texts remain our best first-hand source of information about
medieval culture, has led us not only to downplay other representational

media but also to overlook their frequent intermingling. Lydgate's

tapestry poems remind us that written words, textile arts, and perfor-
mances need not be mutually exclusive modes, but can coexist within
one art form. In light of that blurring ofboundaries among what we now
tend to think of as formally and functionally separate cultural produc-
tions, perhaps we ought to expand our understanding of what it meant
to be a writer in late medieval culture, adding the notion of writer as
fabricator-or weaver of words-whose writerly craft could both be
inspired by the visual and embodied within it.
Tristan Slippers
An Image of Adultery
on a Symbol of Marriage?

Kathryn Starkey

Figure 2.1: Leiden 1

ghe image above depicts part of a leather upper from an open-backed

slipper worn and discarded in the city of Leiden, in the Netherlands,
sometime in the second half of the fourteenth century. 2 Needle holes
along the edges of the fragment indicate that a thick thread once attached
the piece to a sole that was probably made out of cork or wood covered

with leather. The evidence provided by similar fmdings tells us that the
upper consisted of two such triangular pieces attached at the top by a
strap, and perhaps a buckle. 3 The fragment is damaged and worn, but
one may still discern the shape and constellation of the image embossed
into the leather. Two figures appear in high relief, sitting beneath a tree
on gothic-style chairs, gesturing toward one another. Between them is
a chessboard placed over a hexagonal well at the base of the tree. A
crowned head reflected in the water reveals the presence of an eaves-
dropper peering out of the tree above. Framing the image are two
banderoles in Low German that read: "altoes blide I so wat ic lide"
(always happy, despite how much I suffer).
Several of these pictorial elements allow us immediately to identify
the image as part of a larger iconographic tradition. Specifically, the two
figures, the tree, and the reflection of the crowned head, characterize
this as one of the most frequently reproduced scenes from the medieval
romance of Tristan. It is that memorable scene in which the adulterous
lovers, Tristan and Isolde, meet in the orchard under the spying eyes of
Isolde's husband Mark. In most versions of the story, Tristan arrives first
and sees a reflection of a man's head in the well or stream flowing
through the orchard (depending on the version). Determining that Mark
is plotting to catch the lovers in flagrante and expose their affair, Tristan
indicates to Isolde that something is amiss by not going to meet her as
she approaches. Isolde starts to look for clues to Tristan's unusual
behavior and finally notices King Mark's reflection. The lovers then
engage in impromptu doublespeak in which they bemoan the misinter-
pretation of their relationship by the court, reassure the suspicious Mark
of Isolde's faithfulness and Tristan's honor, and simultaneously avow
their undying love for one another.
The slipper fragment above is not an isolated phenomenon. Seven
fragments total, similar in shape and iconography, have been excavated
in five different towns in the Low Countries. The nature of the artifacts
is not unusual, for footwear comprises one of the largest categories of
personal objects that have come down to us from the Middle Ages. 4
These slipper fragments are intriguing, however, because of their
decoration, and specifically their use as a medium for the transmission

of this particular image from the story ofTristan. Why were lovers from
a courtly romance mapped onto shoes? Why were these shoes so
popular? Who wore them?
This chapter examines the ways in which the symbolic and cultural
meaning of shoes overlaps with the implications of the orchard scene
depicted on them. The decorated slippers represented by these frag-
ments resonate on a number of different levels: rhetorical, textual, and
cultural. These resonances invite this examination of the leather frag-
ments, the cultural significance of shoes, the iconography of the Tristan
slippers, and the late medieval culture that produced them. I argue that
the embossed slippers reflect an appropriation of the concept of courtly
love and its reformulation as part of a developing discourse on marriage
in the late medieval urban culture of the Low Countries.

The State of Research

Among the substantial scholarship that describes archeological findings

of shoes, the history of shoes, and their cultural status, three essays have
appeared that deal specifically with the Tristan slippers. 5 The historian
Herbert Sarfatij first provided a detailed description of five of the slipper
fragments in 1984. 6 In addition to providing a historical and material
context for the slippers, Sarfatij raises questions about their cultural and
literary significance. He compares the version of Tristan depicted on
the slippers to a Dutch version of the story that appears in the late
medieval (1410-1412) treatise on love, Der Minnen Loep, composed by
Dire Potter, arguing that the artists who made the images on the
slippers and Potter drew on the same source, a Dutch version of the
story that is now lost. Sarfatij also draws on literary and cultural
references to place the shoes in the context of love and marriage and
suggests that these slippers might have been gifts from grooms to their
brides. In 1986, Johan Winkelman published a response to Sarfatij's
paper, in which he re-examined and expanded the literary and cultural
references, but ultimately concluded that there is no evidence that these
were bridal slippers. 7 Winkelman presents a different interpretive

Figure 2.2 Dordrecht

paradigm, arguing that the image is a convergence of two iconographic

traditions, the orchard scene in Tristan, and the Garden of Love, a
common motif in the visual arts made popular through the Roman de
laRose. A second article by Winkelman (1996) expanded the corpus of
slipper fragments by two additional recently found uppers from V elk-
enisse and Nieuwland. 8 Both Sarfatij and Winkelman concluded that
the image from Tristan placed the shoes in the context of love. This
chapter draws on the work by these scholars, but examines more
broadly the context in which the slippers were created. I read the
slippers both diachronically and synchronically to place them in a
context of competing and complementary discourses. These discourses
include love, sexuality, and marriage, but the shoes speak to us further
of social mobility and urban culture.

The Objects of Study

The quality of the leather, the style of decoration, and the locations in
which the fragments were excavated suggest that these slippers were
created for wear by urbanites belonging to a range of social classes. The
five towns in which the fragments were found were villages or cities in
the late medieval Low Countries of the fourteenth and fifteenth centu-
ries. Three fragments with identical iconography were excavated in

Figure 2.3 Mechelen

Dordrecht (fig. 2.2), and one fragment was found in each of the towns
of Mechelen (fig. 2.3), Velkenisse (fig. 2.4), Nieuwland (fig. 2.5), and
Leiden. 9 The earlier Dordrecht and Leiden fragments are dated to the
second half of the fourteenth century. 10 The Velkenisse, Mechelen, and
Nieuwland fragments are dated to 1400, the first half of the fifteenth
century, and 1450 respectively. The fragments were therefore produced
over a span of about eighty years from 1370 to 1450.
During this period, Dordrecht, Leiden, and Mechelen were partic-
ularly important political and economic centers in the Low Countries,
one of the most heavily urbanized areas of Western Europe. 11 Velken-
isse and Nieuwland were villages situated on one of the main trade
routes along the Scheldt river in the province of Zeeland. 12 The econ-
omy of these cities and villages was based on trade, and their population
was comprised primarily of wealthy burghers, merchants, traders and
artisans. The fact that the Tristan slipper fragments can be localized to
these mercantile centers suggests that the shoes were an urban phenom-
enon. Furthermore, since one of the fastest growing segments of urban
society in the late medieval Low Countries was constituted by the trade
and mercantile classes it seems likely that these "mass-produced" shoes
were created with people of these social classes in mind.
I use the term "mass-produced" because the images on the slipper
fragments were reproducible, as they were created by means of a blind-
press, a process in which the leather is first made wet and then embossed

Figure 2.4 Velkenisse

with a heated metal stamp. Cordwainers then, as now, made shoes and
boots in a wide range of styles and decorated them using a variety of
techniques, including painting, decorative stitching, and perforation, by
which a leatherworker created a design by punching or cutting holes in
the leather. These decorative methods necessarily produced unique
objects, since the artists could not reproduce their work exactly. The
leatherworking process used to decorate the Tristan slippers, by con-
trast, enabled shoemakers to reproduce multiple exact copies of the
image. 13 The three identical pieces from Dordrecht were actually
embossed using the very same leather stamp. The uniformity of the
design on these slippers indicates that a single stamp was used that
contained both image and inscription. 14 Although probably still a luxury,
embossed shoes would clearly be faster and easier to make than stitched,
painted, or perforated ones. Since these shoes were easily reproduced,
they were probably less expensive, more readily available, and intended
for wider consumption than other decorated shoes.
The variation in the types ofleather used for the slippers supports the
idea that they satisfied a range of incomes. The identical fragments from
Dordrecht, for example, are from three pairs of shoes made of different
kinds ofleather: calfskin, goatskin and oxhide. The Mechelen and Nieuw-

Figure 2.5 Nieuwland

land fragments are cowhide, the Leiden fragment is o:xhide, and the
Velkenisse fragment is calfskin. The sturdy leather used for most of the
slippers suggests that they were priced for quick sale, while the diverse
leathers used for the Dordrecht fragments implies that shoemakers cre-
ated a variety of Tristan slippers that ranged in price. Their durable leather
further suggests that these shoes were not precious keepsakes, but were
made to be worn. This impression is supported by the fact that three of
the pieces were found in heaps containing refuse, suggesting that the
slippers were discarded when worn through. The Leiden fragment even
bears evidence of substantial wear: the leather is stretched where the
outside of the wearer's foot pressed against it. 15 Although decorated,
therefore, these were practical shoes made for walking.

Shoes as Symbols of Marriage and Sexuality

The wide range of shoe styles in the Middle Ages and the attention paid
to their decoration indicate that they had some cultural significance
beyond their practical use. Indeed numerous literary and cultural
references to shoes demonstrate that in many cultures they are symbols

traditionally associated with marriage and sexuality. The story of Cin-

derella immediately comes to mind, in which the deserving young
woman is identified by the fitting of an exquisite and unique shoe, and
ends up marrying the prince who had made it his quest to find her. The
anthropologist Alan Dun des has shown that versions of Cinderella, most
containing the shoe motif, exist in hundreds of different countries. 16

In the Germanic tradition, the shoe actually had legal status in the
context of marriage or betrothal. According to the Handbuch der deut-
schen Rechtsgeschichte, shoes could traditionally be presented as part of a
legal contract of engagement-used in lieu of a ring. 17 The legal historian
Ruth Schmidt-Wiegand explains that throughout the Middle Ages and
the Early Modern period shoes were considered an established part of
the legal ceremony of betrothal. In fact, a Western European tradition
of giving shoes as part of the betrothal must have gone back at least to
the sixth century. In his hagiographical work, the Liber vitae patrum,
which contains much information about the aristocracy, Gregory of
Tours writes: "Denique dato sponsae anulo, porregit osculo, praebet
calciamentum, caelebrat sponsaliae diem festum." [Having given his
fiancee the ring, he kisses her, provides her with shoes, and celebrates
the betrothal on a feast day]. 18
Several pre-modern Germanic wedding traditions drew on shoes'
associations with marriage and betrothal. According to Sarfatij, for
example, brides and grooms in the late medieval Low Countries would
give gifts of shoes to their wedding guests. These gifts symbolized the
couple's marriage, and expressed the gratitude of the bride and groom
toward their guests. In another Early Modern Germanic wedding
tradition, young bachelors at a wedding would attempt to steal the
bride's shoe. This shoe would then be held as a prize, auctioned, and the
bride would have to buy it back. 19
Shoes also appear occasionally as symbols of marriage and sexuality
in literary texts. 20 Similar to Cinderella are more localized German tales
in which we find the slipper motif as part of the ritual of betrothal. In
Konig Rother, for example, a Middle High German bridal quest narrative
composed around 1160, the protagonist of the story wins his bride by
enticing her with two exquisite shoes. In the poem, King Rother presents
himself under an assumed name as a warrior in exile at the court ofhis
enemy King Constantine. So many wonderful stories about him are
related at court that the princess desires to meet him and sends her maid-
in-waiting to fetch the visitor. He declines to come, sending two shoes
in his stead, one silver and one gold. Realizing that they both fit the same
foot, the princess sends for him to bring the shoes' mates. He comes to
her chamber posing as a messenger and she places her foot in his lap to
be fitted. Once in this intimate and compromising position, the hero
Rother reveals his identity. The princess agrees to marry him, allows
him to abduct her and they quickly consummate their marriage. A
similar scene, perhaps copied from Konig Rother, appears in the thir-
teenth century Thidrekssaga, a Norse version of the story of Dietrich of
Bern, which was probably translated from a Middle High German
source. In the Thidrekssaga, the hero Dietrich pulls the princess onto his
lap to fit the shoe on her foot, an interaction that is clearly sexually
compromising. In these stories, as in Cinderella, the shoe is used as an
object of exchange between a man and a woman, and the fitting of the
shoe is part of the betrothal.
Although clearly associated with marriage, it is questionable that
the shoes in these stories were still perceived as legal symbols. 21 First,
the fitting of the shoe takes place in private; it is no longer a public
ceremony. Second, these scenes are laced with sexuality and eroticism:
they take place in the bedchamber, and they involve significant bodily
contact between the hero and the lady. Finally, rather than rely on the
shoe motif alone to connote to the audience that a marriage agreement
has taken place, the characters in these scenes explicitly discuss the plans
of abduction. The shoes are thus combined with other symbols, actions,
and words to make clear that the two protagonists have reached an
agreement, although these scenes do not portray a betrothal in the
formal sense. While they may have lost their legal potency in the
marriage exchange, the shoes in these scenes have taken on broader
associations with sexuality and desire.
Why shoes? Scholars have interpreted the tradition of giving bridal
shoes in various ways. Schmidt-Wiegand, for example, argues that
stepping into new shoes symbolized adoption into a new family. 22 The

literary historian Winkelman has suggested that the tradition arose from
an earlier practice of subjects giving their lords shoes or other articles of
clothing as a sign of subservience and gratitude. 23 In the Bible, shoes
appear as a symbol of property and particularly inheritance. 24 These
symbolic uses of shoes are not mutually exclusive and may all inform
the giving of shoes in the context of marriage. An extensive study of the
symbolic meaning of shoes is unfortunately beyond the scope of this
chapter, but the general association of shoes with sexuality and marriage
provides an important context for the Tristan slippers.

The Iconography of (Courtly) Love

Can the symbolic status of shoes in Germanic culture in general tell us

anything about the Tristan slippers? Were they symbols of marriage?
Were they, in fact, wedding shoes, given by grooms to their brides, as
Sarfatij has suggested? If so, how can we reconcile the image of
adulterous lovers with a symbol of marriage? In answering these
questions, it is important to examine the iconography on the slippers to
see if the images offer us any clues regarding their interpretation.
There is a great deal of pictorial evidence for the wide-spread
reception of Tristan. 25 Within this pictorial tradition, the two lovers
being spied upon is the most frequently reproduced scene from the
romance. 26 This one image was ubiquitous in the Middle Ages and
seems sufficient to recall the entire story. 27 It appears carved or painted
on little boxes (Minnekiistchen), on combs, mirrors, frescos, tapestries,
stained glass, and various other luxury objects. It turns up in the
decoration of churches, convents, city halls, castles, and Patrician
houses. 28 Sometimes the scene appears together with other scenes of
lovers, occasionally the orchard scene is part of a longer visual narrative
of Tristan, and sometimes the scene appears alone. 29 As scholars have
argued, the scene's appeal is partly due to its multi-valency. It recalls a
popular Schwank motif of a jealous husband duped by his wife. 30 It also
brings to mind the popular motif of the minnesklave (slave to love), a man
who is a slave to love. 31 The orchard scene furthermore visualizes the
motif of the eavesdropper that is so popular in the late medieval
minnereden. 32 At the same time, the image seems to mimic the icono-
graphic tradition of the Fall from Grace in which Adam and Eve stand
by the Tree of Knowledge. 33 Although the story is a courtly romance,
the orchard scene, depending on context, could be interpreted as
humorous, moralizing, foreboding, tantalizing, or idyllic. The wide
range of objects on which the scene occurs support the notion that the
scene was interpreted in a number of ways.
As if to lead the viewer to a particular interpretation of the scene as
it appears on the slippers, the Dutch artists have layered the traditional
image with symbols that emphasize a particular aspect of the scene: the
aristocratic notion of courtly love. The natural setting and the aristo-
cratic figures, specifically, associate the scene with the conventional
iconography of courtly love. 34 But the Dutch artists have added two
elements to this traditional iconography that underline the scene's
association with courtly love: the chessboard, which appears on all of
the fragments, and the bird perched on Tristan's arm, which appears on
the Leiden and Mechelen fragments.
The bird, presumably a tamed falcon, is a common feature in the
iconic tradition of courtly love. It is an aristocratic bird, associated with
the court and the courtly pursuit of hunting. The falcon can represent
male sexuality in literary texts, and often stands as a metaphor for the
lover in medievallyric. 35 The female counterpart to the falcon is a little
dog. The falcon and the dog are common companions in visual repre-
sentations of lovers-indeed on the Mechelen slipper fragment both a
falcon and a dog have been included in the image. In the German
tradition the falcon becomes a metaphor for the lover as early as 1190
in the poems ofDer von Kurenberg. In the following four line allegorical
strophe composed in a woman's voice, for example, the male lover is
described as a tamed falcon:

Ich z6ch mir einen valken mere danne einjar.

do ich in gezamete, als ich in wolte han,
und ich im sin gevidere mit golde wol ewant,
er huop sich ufvil h6he und vluoc in anderiu !ant. 36

[I raised a falcon for myself for over a year, as I had tamed him just
as I wanted him, and had decorated his feathers in gold, he took off
to the heights and flew to another country.]

Like many ofKiirenberg's poems, this one tells the story of a lamenting
lady who has been deserted by her beloved. The appearance of the falcon
on the slipper, a detail that is not part of the Tristan story, contributes to
framing the scene of the lovers as a courtly interaction within a literary
The chessboard, too, is not part of the orchard scene in the text, but
it is a motif broadly associated with sexuality and courtly love. 37 Chess
is generally portrayed as an aristocratic game in the high Middle Ages,
and it appears as an allegorical motif in courtly romances and treatises
to denote or symbolize strategies of courtly love. Moreover, lovers
frequently play chess to while away their time in the courtly romances
of the thirteenth century and later. Winkelman has demonstrated that
the chessboard frequently appears in visual representations of the
enclosed garden of love, another popular medieval motir_3 8 But, as
Michael Camille shows, the game of chess is more broadly associated
with courtly love in the visual arts and often appears as an allegory for
the rules and strategies used by the lovers. 39
Gottfried von StraJ3burg draws on this association of chess with the
strategies of lovers in the fateful episode in which Mark's cupbearer
Marjodo discovers Tristan and Isolde's love affair. In Gottfried's version
of Tristan the chessboard is used to conceal the lovers, albeit unsuccess-
fully. One evening, Tristan sneaks away from his bed to meet Isolde.
Unknowingly, he is pursued by Marjodo, Mark's cupbearer who wakes
up, misses his roommate, and follows Tristan's tracks to Isolde's bed-
chamber. When Tristan arrives in his lover's bedchamber, Isolde's
handmaid Brangane blocks the light using a chessboard (13,505-7). Due
to the chessboard, Marjodo is unable to see and must feel his way along
the hall to Isolde's chamber where he overhears the lovers, thus
discovering their affair (13,584-13,595).
The chessboard and the falcon frame the orchard scene portrayed
on the slippers as a scene of courtly love. While this aesthetic and
aristocratic ideal of courtly love seems at odds with the medium of
simple sturdy slippers on which it appears, the discrepancy may be
explained if we regard these slippers as a form of social as well as material
appropriation. The banderoles, support the idea that this scene of
courtly love has been appropriated and eventually reinterpreted by and
for the bourgeois urban society of the Low Countries.

Word and Image

While the iconography on the leather fragments is consistent, the

banderoles present us with diverse interpretations of the orchard scene.
On the earlier fragments from Dordrecht and Leiden, the utterances
contained in the banderoles function independently from the scene
depicted to reflect the ideal notion of courtly love. The two utterances
express similar sentiments, both referring to a love that involves suffer-
ing. The Dordrecht fragments read "minne doet I mii dolen" [love hurts
I I suffer], while the Leiden fragment reads: "altoes blide I so wat ic lide"
[always happy I despite how much I suffer]. This painful love is the kind
oflove portrayed in Tristan, but it is also the kind oflove that is more
broadly understood to be courtly love, which is painful because it is in
some way unrequited, unfulfilled or incomplete-here because Isolde
is married to someone else. In each of the banderoles the personal
pronouns imply that the banderoles contain utterances, but who is the
speaker? These utterances do not appear in either Gottfried or Eilhart
von Oberg's versions of the text. They could be the words of the
narrator, but at the same time, the statement is generic and could just
as easily be attributed to the wearer of the slipper, or even to the slipper
itself. These banderoles, like the chess board, the falcon, and the natural
setting beneath the tree, have a meaning independent of the textual
tradition of Tristan. They point to a larger notion of courtly love.
The later fragments present a rather different relationship between
word, image, and story because their banderoles create a narrative out
of the image that is specific to Tristan. The inscription on the Mechelen
fragment, for example, refers to a particular version of the story in which

Isolde makes Tristan aware of her husband Mark in the tree above by
pointing out the fish in the fountain, and thus drawing his attention to
the eavesdropper's reflection. 40 The banderoles read: "triestra siedi I
niet d[a]t viselkiin" [Tristan, don't you see the little fish?]. The name
"triestra" that appears in the utterance on the banderole and the direct
reference to a plot development connect this image inextricably with
the story of Tristan. Word and image thus combine to create a dynamic
self-referential scene of interaction between the two lovers. The visual
narrative refers directly to the text and is thus dependent on knowledge
of the story. The specific utterance draws attention not to the ideal of
courtly love, but to the deception of Mark and the success of the lovers
at hiding their affair.
The banderoles on the Velkenisse fragment are a little more
puzzling. They read "entruer nicht I mich wundert" [Don't be sad I I
wonder (I am surprised)], and represent perhaps part of the impromptu
dialogue between Tristan and Isolde. Similar to the Mechelen fragment,
then, these utterances do not refer to a larger concept that can be 'read'
without recourse to a text. Instead, these utterances seem to draw
specifically on the story of Tristan, and refer directly to this scene of
eavesdropping and deception in the text. One needs to know the story
in order to understand the point of reference. The later images on the
Mechelen and Velkenisse fragments thus portray tableaus that, on the
one hand, are more dependent on the textual tradition of the story, and
on the other, function independently as visual narratives that emphasize
the lovers' restraint and their efforts to maintain their honor by keeping
their love private. 41
Whether the words on the banderoles function independently or
whether they are dependent on the scene depicted, they can be regarded
as an additional symbolic representation that modifies or accompanies
the image. The banderoles on the earlier fragments frame the image in
terms of courtly love, while the later fragments present the lovers in the
context of restraint and deception. This variation may reflect the
processes of appropriation by the rising urban middle classes. If so, then
the banderoles bear testimony to the dynamic processes of appropria-
tion and adaptation. Indeed, if we look at the Middle Dutch urban
literature composed contemporaneously to the slippers, we notice
certain trends that correspond to this implied shift in the banderoles
from a courtly ideal to a coherent visual and pragmatic narrative dealing
with deception for the sake of discretion.

Tristan's Reception in the Low Countries

Herman Pleij has argued that urban literature of the late medieval Low
Countries "played an active role in forming, defending and propagating
what came to be called typical middle-class virtues." 42 Authors reworked
courtly epics to give their protagonists traits that were considered
desirable by the wealthy burghers. Pleij identifies these merchant-class
ideals as usefulness, practicality, industriousness, eagerness to learn,
thrift, cleverness, individualism, opportunism, moderation, reason,
modesty, and self-control. 43 As Ingebord Glier has argued, even the late
medieval minnereden take on a particular pragmatic character in their
Dutch reworkings. 44
Scholars have argued that the story of Tristan was ill-suited to these
new urban ideals. Indeed, there is very little manuscript evidence of
Tristan reception in the Low Countries. 45 Frits van Oostrom sees this as
a self-conscious rejection of the Tristan-material by Middle Dutch
authors in favor of more moderate and ethical stories with stronger
didactic underpinnings. 46 The notion of courtly love that incorporates
sexuality, illicit love, adultery, passion, and pain is at odds with the
pragmatic and ethical concerns of Middle Dutch urban literature. But
while the Tristan text may have been perceived as too problematic to
reproduce in its entirety, the slippers bear testimony to widespread
knowledge of the story and suggest a reinterpretation of the tale that
would appeal to a pragmatic urban middle class public.
One well known literary reference to Tristan, roughly contemporary
with the Velkenisse and Mechelen fragments, offers us some insight into
the presentation of the orchard scene on the later slipper fragments. This
reference is found in a treatise on love composed by Dire Potter (ca. 1370-
1428), a civil servant and diplomat in the service of the Count ofHolland. 47

Composed in 1411/12, Der Minnen Loep (the course oflove) consists of

four books containing over 11,000 lines of verse. In it, Potter discusses the
characteristics of various kinds of love: foolish, good, illicit, and licit
("ghecke," "goede," "ongheoerlofde ," "gheoerlofde minne"). Potter men-
tions Tristan and Isolde's tryst beneath the tree in the book on good love
to exemplify a strategy with which women might cleverly deceive a
suspicious guardian. 48 Potter emphasizes not the adulterous nature of the
affair, but Isolde's strategy of deception. In his text, this deception is a
subterfuge necessary to maintain the lovers' honor. He emphasizes
Isolde's positive characteristics in the brief description of the scene,
describing her as "reyne" (pure [3,617]), and "edele" (noble [3,625]).
According to Potter, good love takes place between unmarried
lovers and can be divided into four stages. The first stage occurs in public
when the lovers gaze discretely at one another in the company of others.
In the second stage, the lovers might converse alone in a garden. The
third stage is characterized by intimate physical contact, which stops
short of coitus. The fourth stage is 'licit' love, which is the most desirable
form of love and can exist only in marriage. Licit love is the subject of
the entire fourth book, which extols the virtues of marital love. The
treatise thus presents us with a clear moral message and a trajectory
toward a convergence oflove, marriage, and sexuality.
We cannot know how widely known Dire Potter's text was, nor
to what extent the Tristan scene contained in its pages found resonance
in the urban societies that produced the shoes. Potter's emphasis on
marital love, however, does reflect a change in the notion of marriage
that takes place in the urban culture of the late medieval Low Countries.
Many scholars have demonstrated that around the beginning of the
fifteenth century love starts to become part of the discourse of middle
class marriage. In her exhaustive study on marriage, property, and
gender in the late medieval Low Countries, Martha Howell explains
that as laws regarding property rights in marriage changed, marriage
started to become rebuilt on different foundations, becoming part of a
cultural discourse "in which [... ] 'affective' ties-bonds of romantic
love, mutual devotion to children, new emphasis on monogamous
heterosexual desire-were being constructed." 49 She explains that,

"[d]idactic and literary texts celebrated marriage as the only legitimate

site of erotic love, the crucible of personal development, the foundation
of a larger moral order" (169). 50 In Der Minnen Loep, Potter speaks to
this social trend in which marital love is upheld as an important part of
the conjugal bond.
Is there a connection between Potter's treatise and the slippers? It
is significant that both Potter and the artist of the Mechelen fragment
portray a similar and unusual version of the scene in which Isolde takes
the initiative in warning Tristan. Both the treatise and the slipper depict
Isolde cleverly telling Tristan to look at the fishes in the fountain.
Potter's text reads:

Ende doe sij sconinex hoeft vernam,

Deedsi Tristram neder crommen
Ende wijsde hem waer die visken zwommen.
Daer sach hijt ende nam des go om
Dat die canine sat opten boom. (3,620-3,524)

[And after she had seen the king, she asked Tristram to come closer
and showed him where the fish were swimming. He looked and
realized that the king sat in the tree.]

This particular version of the story is not widely attested. Indeed, apart
from Potter's Der Minnen Loep, there is no textual evidence of this version
of the story. Only a single extant medieval artifact, in addition to the
Mechelen fragment, portrays a visual representation of this version. It
is a carved wooden comb from the middle Rhein region dated to the
first half of the fifteenth century, and thus contemporary to Der Minnen
Loep and the later shoes. 51 The references to the fishes on the shoes and
in Potter's treatise may provide evidence for a particular Low Country
reception of the story. More importantly for understanding the shoes,
however, the scene presents us with a concrete situation and a solution,
instead of an abstract ideal. This version of the story detracts from the
notion of an ideal love and focuses instead on Isolde's cleverness in
eluding the unsympathetic eavesdropper.

Potter uses this version of the story to a didactic purpose in the

attainment of married love. The question remains whether the image
on the Mechelen fragment similarly bears testimony to a more prag-
matic and ethical interpretation of the orchard scene, as I have suggested
here. If so, then the images on the Mechelen and Velkenisse fragments
could be interpreted as exempla portraying one of the steps in the pursuit
of marital love, a step characterized by restraint, cleverness, discretion,
and the ability to maintain one's honor. The iconography oflove thus
loses its illicit associations and becomes framed within the concept of
marriage for its middle class consumers.


Created for an urban public, these shoes demonstrate how popular

cultural symbols of the courts could be appropriated and reconfigured
to correspond to the new morals and ethics of the developing urban
society. The elements of courtly culture mapped onto these shoes
include the iconography of courtly love, language, and medium. Icono-
graphically, the orchard scene, the aristocratic clothing of the figures,
the falcon, and the chessboard recall nobility, aristocracy, and elitism.
Linguistically, the inscriptions demonstrate the metrical pattern of verse
that was used in the medieval courtly romances. The printed word-
and particularly the literary language reproduced on these slippers-was
a medium used by the elite who could afford books and had the leisure
to enjoy them. This is not to say that merchants, tradespeople and
artisans did not read and own books, but around 1370-1450, when these
slippers were produced, manuscripts, and particularly illustrated manu-
scripts, were still associated with the nobility. These Tristan slippers
helped to make such elite courtly trappings accessible to anyone who
could afford a simple pair ofleather shoes.
The specific interpretation of the orchard scene that appears on the
slippers, and the shift in the utterances on the banderoles from an abstract
notion of courtly love to a scene enacted by clever lovers, suggest that late
medieval Dutch artists reworked the visual narrative in a manner that

corresponds to Dire Potter's interpretation of the scene in the context of

marital love. On these late medieval urban shoes, then, the symbol
denotes restraint, self-control, and public decorum, values that were
central to the middle classes of the late medieval Low Countries. The
images on the slippers further serve as an example of a way in which a
woman might deceive a suspicious guardian intent on bringing shame to
the lovers. The later emphasis on the short narrative downplays the issue
of adultery, and even makes it possible for the viewer to place the scene
in a more acceptable context, such as that suggested by Dire Potter.
Reading the scene on the slippers less as a representation of adultery and
more as a visual narrative of two lovers working to maintain discretion
and uphold their honor allows us to reconcile the shoe as a symbol of
marriage with the orchard scene from Tristan.
The Tristan slippers may never have been used in formal betrothal
ceremonies, but we can nonetheless regard them as emblematic for a
late medieval urban notion of marriage. The very fact that shoes, which
were traditional symbols of marriage, seemed an appropriate medium
for the orchard scene marks the intersection of discourses on love,
marriage, and sexuality-an intersection that we see reflected in a
number of facets oflate medieval urban culture in the Low Countries.
Dressing and
Undressing the Clergy
Rites of Ordination and Degradation

Dyan Elliott

ghe medieval universe was understood to be fraught with ulterior

meaning that was decipherable through other signs. From an Augustin-
ian perspective, the entire created world was filled with vestigia or
"footsteps" leading humanity back to its creator. The way an individual
dressed was expected to be complicit with this divinely instituted
semiotic system: In other words, clothing was meant to mean. Gender,
birth, age, and (especially germane to our purposes) proximity to the
holy were all salient factors in determining the symbolic freight of the
wearer's garments. This is the context in which we should approach the
paraphernalia attending the priest's exercise of his sacerdotal function,
particularly articles of clothing. Not only did each article bristle with
meaning, but the actual rite of dressing was an essential, arguably the
essential, element in the making of a cleric. What follows is an exami-
nation of how clerical identity is constructed through the superimposi-

tion of layers of symbolically laden fabric even as it is deconstructed

through the inverted ritual of divestment. The subtle shifts in protocol
and increased formality of the later Middle Ages are assessed here in
terms of the ecclesiastical hierarchy's willingness to employ harsher
disciplinary measures against its own-a tactical decision that was part
of the larger struggle against heresy.
Clerical vestiture did (and still does) exist in something of a time
capsule, originating with the secular dress of the average Roman
citizen. 1 The manner in which this costume was retained by the clergy,
even though the surrounding world was in flux, parallels a similar
development with respect to the sacraments. Individual sacraments like
the eucharist may originally have signified a specific moment in salva-
tion history, in this case the Last Supper, yet very early on its commem-
orative importance dictated that it be frozen in time and, hence,
stabilized by ritual. And so it was with the clothing of the ministers
presiding over the sacraments. Already in the late patristic period,
priestly vestments began to be traced back to the Old Testament. The
Carolingian theologian, Hrabanus Maurus, would carefully itemize
each article of clothing associated with the clergy, while mystical
meanings were assigned to the different aspects of what was now a
distinctive clerical costume. Thus Hrabanus claimed that the amice
(amictus)-a rectangular piece of material covering the upper part of the
body and tied at the waist-"signifies the cleanness of good works.
Hence quite rightly in the law, when the Lord established sacerdotal
dress with Moses, first he ordered the amice, because whosoever is
promoted to the priesthood and directorship of the people, ought first
to be known through his [good] works." 2 By the tenth century, each of
these articles warranted its own special blessing along with the individ-
ual items in the fabric of the church. 3
Clerical garb was more or less stabilized throughout Latin Christen-
dom by the thirteenth century. In his monolithic work Rationale for the
Divine Offices, canonist and liturgist William Durand us (d. 1296)-upon
whose authority I will rely for much of this study-summarizes the
traditional view of the origins of sacerdotal garb, making reference to
the pertinent biblical passages. God himself ordered Moses to make

Aaron and his sons priests in glory and beauty, stipulating that they
should exercise all sacred functions in this dress. According to Durandus,
sacerdotal garb was but a continuation of this practice. 4 Durand us will
further dignify clerical costume with reference to the young Virgin
Mary's early occupation of weaving during her residency in the temple,
as depicted in the apocrypha. 5 Moreover, even as the priest's traffic with
the sacred suspended his vestments in a kind of time warp, the clothes
themselves were similarly set apart, reserved solely for ritual purposes.
By the mid-third century, the cleric is forbidden to wear his vestments
for every day use. 6 Durandus will, in turn, begin his discussion of clerical
costume with the words: "Sacred vestments ought not to be employed
in daily use for it ought to be noted that just as we perform a literal
change ofhabit, we should do likewise in the spirit." 7
Durandus presents the superpellicium, or surplice (essentially a kind
of undergarment), as the basic article of clothing which distinguishes the
cleric and provides the foundation for the subsequent accretion of
clerical costume. 8 Each grade of the clergy received distinctive objects
or articles of clothing through which they could be identified. There
were seven grades ofthe clergy in all. 9 The various ranks of the minor
orders (offices which Durandus referred to as "not sacred") 10 received
items associated with their various responsibilities: the porter, his keys;
the lector and exorcist, their respective books; and the acolyte, a candle
holder (with the candle extinguished) and an empty pitcher for wine. In
contrast with this exclusive focus on objects, it is significant that the
various ranks of the major orders were all characterized by the assump-
tion of distinctive clothes-more clearly marking the candidate's
entrance upon a new life. Moreover, in addition to being the recipient
of various implements betokening the respective ministry of each, such
as the chalice or patena, the subdeacon received the amice, a maniple
(manipulus-a piece of material looped over the left arm, probably
initially intended as a towel), and a tunic. The deacon received a white
stole, draped over the left shoulder to form a cross, and a dalmatic
(dalmatica), a calf-length garment with sleeves. The priest was, in turn,
clothed in the amice, a cincture or girdle, stole, maniple, and an over
garment called a planeta, or chasuble. 11 At the peak of this hierarchy was

the bishop, who shared six pieces of clothing in common with the priest:
an amice, alb, girdle, stole, maniple, and chasuble. Additionally, the
bishop was dressed in special silk stockings or buskins, sandals, a tunic,
a dalmatic, gloves, a sudarium (basically, a cloth for perspiration), a thin
strip of white wool known as a pallium, and a mitre. His costume was
completed by the addition of the ring which married him to his see, and
a pastoral staff. 12 All ranks ofthe higher clergy were also entitled to wear
an ornamental outer garment on special occasions, referred to as a
pluviale or cope. 13
The foregoing description makes it clear that clerical orders are
constructed like a kind of palimpsest. Lower orders are contained by the
higher-a pattern that is emphasized when, in the event that different
ranks are being ordained on the same occasion, the bishop performing
the ordination begins with the lowest ofthe minor orders and works his
way up. Standing at the pinnacle of the major orders, the bishop is
presented as encompassing the lesser orders-something in the way of
those painted Russian dolls that open to reveal smaller ones inside. This
image is especially sustained by his manner of dress. Thus Durandus
explains that the priest does not wear the distinctive dalmatic of the
deacon since this might restrict his arms. "The bishop, however, wears
the dalmatic [of the deacon] and the tunic [of the subdeacon] and all the
ornaments to show that he possesses all the orders perfectly, just as it is
he who confers them on others." 14
If originally clothing became sanctified through use by the clergy,
this topos is reversed by the actual rites of ordination whereby it is
demonstrated very literally that "clothes make the man" a cleric. Thus
in the case where several subdeacons are being ordained simultaneously,
but there is only one tunic to go around, Durandus instructs that the
garment be put on the shoulders of each and then removed. Like the
water in baptism or the material elements in other sacraments, clothing
was a symbolic correlative representing the invisible grace bestowed in
the course of ordination. It rendered the spiritual conferral of sacred
orders tangible and visible. In his general remarks on the making of any
cleric, regardless of rank, Durandus describes how the candidate, freshly
shaven and tonsured, kneels before the altar in his surplice signifying, in

the bishop's words, that "the Lord dresses (induat) you as a new man,
who, according to God, was created in justice and sanctity of the truth."
The bishop himself, standing in for God, puts the garment over the
shoulders of each of the candidates: "and let him do this until the last is
completely dressed (induatur) by him," Durandus instructs. 15
In the high Middle Ages, the emphasis on the eucharist and the cult
of the suffering Christ accentuated the priest's position in loco Christi,
and this was reflected in the way in which his vestments were inter-
preted. Durand us ends each ofhis detailed expositions on the symbolism
behind individual items of the priest's vestments with a Christological
comparison. Hence, the alb is the white robe that Herod imposed on
Christ to mock him; the girdle represents Pilate's scourge; the stole is
the band that bound Christ to the column; the maniple, the cord by
which Christ was constrained by the Jews; and the chasuble, the purple
vestment in which Christ was dressed by the soldiers. 16 Nor do the
Christological implications of clothing end with the priest, but they are
even, by extension, applied to the altar, which likewise functions as
Christ's surrogate. The corporals, the fabric covering the altar, thus
represent the flesh of Christ's humanity born of earth, which is repre-
sented by Mary, but which after many tribulations reaches the whiteness
and joy of the resurrection. 17 The rapport fostered between priest and
altar through their vestments is further reflected in Durandus' citation
of the Council of Toledo, in which an afflicted priest is warned against
expressing his distress by dressing the altar in a lugubrious style or
adorning it with thorns. 18
Because ordination consisted of a very literal and painstaking
dressing of the priest, the rite was potentially reenacted every time the
cleric dressed himself, not only for the divine offices but even for more
mundane purposes. Private devotions developed which helped to sanc-
tify these personal reenactments. Thus a Carolingian ordo missae (ca. 809)
proffers little prayers to be said by the priest as he dressed himself:
"When you put on your shoes, say: 'let my feet be shod in preparation
for the evangelical peace.' ... When you dress yourself say: 'dress me in
the cuirass offaith and the helmet of the hope of salvation.' When you
put on your belt, say: 'Bind the genitals of my mind, and circumcise

(circumcide) the vices of my heart.' When you put on your over-

garments, say: 'Protect me, lord, in the covering of your wings."' 19 The
number of devotional aids, such as this, continued to increase as the
Middle Ages progressed.
The sacrament of ordination was widely believed to have left an
indelible mark parallel to the effect of baptism. Once ordained, a cleric
could no longer voluntarily return to lay status or revert to a lesser order
within the clergy. And yet, a ritual of demotion did emerge for stripping
a cleric of his orders. This was the ceremony of degradation-a rite that
supposedly did more than merely suspend a cleric from performing
divine offices or depose him from his benefice. Degradation was widely
understood to negate holy orders altogether to the extent that all the
sacraments that the priest subsequently performed would be ineffica-
cious. Moreover, if done correctly for legitimate reasons, the effect of
this rite was final. 20 The only possible motive for reinstatement would
be if an individual was unjustly degraded. But the method of reinstate-
ment was a matter of some doubt. If the rite was comparable to baptism,
the effect of holy orders should theoretically be present even after
degradation. Thus whether or not the individual in question ought to
be ordained anew was at issue. At the end of the eleventh century, Urban
II held that the unction was the essential element in the rite of ordination;
thus, while the rest of the ritual could be repeated for reinstatement, this
part could not. 21 Italian authorities in the twelfth and early thirteenth
centuries were also inclined to believe that the orders themselves
persisted in some form. But a series of French theologians in the
thirteenth century would maintain that degradation entailed the entire
effacement of the sacrament, so it would be as if it never had existed. 22
Thus scholars like the theologian and bishop of Paris, William of
Auvergne (d. 1249), would oppose what he considered to be a misguided
resistance to again ordaining a cleric who was unjustly degraded. But
this required an explicit acknowledgment from William that the impact
ofholy orders was of a different nature from baptism, lacking the latter's
impermeability. 23 His position is in keeping with the tradition articu-
lated at the Council of Toledo in 633: "[I]f a [cleric] unjustly cast out of
his order was found innocent in a second synod, he is not able to be what

he was unless he receive the grades that he lost in front of the altar from
the hand of the bishop." 24
What the priest had lost were literally the clothes off his back. The
degradation of a cleric was a rite of undressing-a sense conveyed in the
modern term "defrocking." The rite, an exacting reversal of the proce-
dures observed for ordination, was probably borrowed from parallel
demotions effected in the military. Thus Boniface VIII would tacitly
acknowledge this indebtedness by remarking on the appropriateness of
this association for the soldiers of Christ. 25 Similarly, in his canonistic
work Speculum iudicale, Durandus notes that the motives directing a
military degradation are not always expressed, but nevertheless recom-
mends that an offending cleric be informed of the reasons for his
disgrace. 26 But whether derivative or indigenous to clerical culture, the
rite itself created a powerful spectacle, slowly delineating the different
degrees of demotion. Thus in the words of William of Auvergne "the
church intends to show manifestly that no dignity or power remains to
him, just as not one of his clerical vestments remains." 27
Although in the early Middle Ages there was general agreement
about the basic contours of the rite, local custom frequently was at
variance over specifics. In 886, the Council ofNimes degraded two bishops
by first stripping them of their vestments, breaking their pastoral staffs
over their heads, and then removing their episcopal rings. 28 The Council
of Limoges of 1031 degraded a priest to deacon in the following manner:
"[the bishop] should order [the cleric] first to be dressed in all his sacerdotal
garments, then with his own hand, he should take away the maniple, then
the chasuble, then he should fold the stole back from the middle of his
neck and put it between his shoulders." 29 In other words, the priest's stole
was now folded in the cruciform manner befitting the diaconate. The
above passage also articulates what seemed to be the covert starting point
for all such rites: a mandatory dressing or investment of the cleric as
preparatory for the ritual divestment. Thus dressing himself for his ritual
humiliation, the offending cleric privately reenacted the investiture asso-
ciated with the ceremony of ordination for the last time. The presiding
bishop, now standing in the place of God the judge versus God the creator
of the new man, would then strip him of his signs of office one by one.

Probably the most notorious and one of the best documented

instances of degradation in the early Middle Ages occurred during the
shocking trial of Pope Formosus. This pontiff was the object of consid-
erable hatred by his successor Stephen VII. In 897, Stephen held a
council-the purpose of which was to declare Formosus an usurper,
having wrongfully abandoned his bishopric in Porto in order to assume
the papacy, and thus becoming a candidate for degradation. 30 The body
of Formosus, who had been dead for nine months, was exhumed and
put on trial. When accused of usurpation, Formosus's defense was
understandably weak. Formosus was thus condemned and degraded.
Since it was the custom for a pontiff to be buried in his vestments,
Formosus had been dressed in his full pontificals, thus his enemies were
spared the labor of dressing the corpse. The body was stripped, dressed
in the clothes of a layman, and the fingers of benediction cut off.
Formosus' s remains were then buried in a cemetery for foreigners. After
a short time, however, the relentless Stephen seems to have had the
body of the late pope again exhumed. This time a weight was attached
to the neck of the cadaver, and it was hurled into the Tiber. 31 Moreover,
all the clerics that had been ordained by Formosus were subsequently
degraded. Stephen was also probably responsible for defacing the picture
of Formosus that was part of a fresco commissioned by the latter in
commemoration of the conversion of the Bulgarians-an event in which
Formosus had played an active role. In any event, only the pontiffs name
remains above the empty space where his figure once knelt before the
feet of Christ. 32
The story does not end there. The unruly Stephen met with a
violent death (by strangulation) in the same year, 897. 33 Another council
was subsequently convened in 898 for the purpose of rehabilitating
Formosus. The actions of the former council were condemned, and
Formosus was cleared of any wrongdoing. But by way of exoneration
of the clerics involved, the present council further maintained that most
only attended the council through compulsion and fear. The clerics who
willfully collaborated in Formosus's degradation, however, were them-
selves degraded, while the ones ordained by Formosus who had been
degraded were reinstated. 34 All of these promotions and demotions

would, in turn, be achieved by the appropriate ceremonies of dressing

and undressing.
We know from other sources, moreover, that Formosus's body
eventually received a proper reburial. The much maligned pontiff was
even the beneficiary of that medieval tendency to assign sainthood to
anyone who met with a wrongful death-a boon seemingly extended
to Formosus for the abuse heaped on his corpse. 35 Auxilius, a cleric who
had been ordained by Formosus, rendering him the pope's most ardent
apologist, claims that although Formosus had been dead nine months,
"by the marvelous grace of God ... he was preserved whole without
corruption." 36 He further notes that the rite of degradation revealed a
hairshirt under the papal vestments, a garment automatically testifying
to the pontiffs piety. Moreover, an anonymous source claims that when
his body was dragged from the church subsequent to his degradation, it
was said to bleed-another clear indication of the signs oflife in death
associated with sanctity. 37 After the body had remained for three
ignominious days in the Tiber, a certain monk saw an apparition
claiming to be Formosus who required that his body be removed from
the river. "The clergy and people with songs and hymns, candles and
incense, they led him back into the city, and dressing him in apostolic
garments, for he had remained whole up until now ... they carried him
into the basilica for the prince of the apostles ... and bearing him
between the apostolic tombs they returned him to his grave." 38 Accord-
ing to Liudprand of Cremona, the images of the saints genuflected as
the body was borne in. 39 Thus on multiple levels, Formosus was fmally
Such ritual undressings not only stripped the priest of his clothes,
but simultaneously deprived the clergy of its pretensions to being
marked as holy and permanently set apart. Thus if the clothing of
ordination was the auspicious moment that connected the priest with
the legacy of Moses and Aaron, its loss could be seen as associating him
with the ignoble example ofNoah, whose nakedness was exposed to the
gaze of his sons while he lay asleep in a drunken stupor (Gen. 9.22-23).
That this symbolic nakedness was the source of both shame and denial
is suggested by the fact that the model of clerical degradation was passed

over entirely in standard canonical sources, such as Gratian. Indeed, it

was not until the fourteenth century that a formal liturgy for the rite was
committed to writing. This liturgy was anticipated by a number of
important developments. Durandus' Speculum iudicale (ca. 1270) con-
tains an in-depth discussion of degradation, carefully distinguishing it
from the lesser penalty of deposition. Around 1294, moreover,
Durandus includes a detailed description in his Ponti.ficale of how a
degradation should be conducted, although this description falls short
of a liturgical rite. 40 Sometime between 1294 and 1298, Boniface VIII,
also discerning between deposition and degradation, gave a precise set
of instructions on how to perform the latter ritual, including the actual
words to be spoken: "The bishop would be able to use words to terrify
in a degradation of this kind, ones which are the opposite of those
proferred in the collect of ordination, saying to the priest these words
or similar ones in the removal of his chasuble: 'We take away your
sacerdotal vestments, and thus deprive you of the honor of the priest-
hood."' These instructions were duly recorded in the Liber Scxtus-
Boniface VIII's supplement to the authoritative code of canon law. 41
It is at this point that a formal rite for degradation first appeared.
Sometime in the early fourteenth century, an actual liturgy was
appended to a manuscript ofDurandus' s Pontijicale. Moreover, this same
text made its way into inquisitor Bernard Cui's inquisitonal manual
Practica inquisitionis (ca. 1321), while Bernard also had it copied into his
own copy ofDurandus when he later became bishop ofLodeve. 42
The appearance of the text coincides with the beginning of a
troubled time for the church. In the late thirteenth and early fourteenth
century, Philip the Fair had a number of prominent clerics publicly
degraded-an initiative which seemed to have been continued by Pope
John XXII. 43 Philip also kept Clement V in thrall with the threat of having
his predecessor, Boniface VIII, tried for heresy-a trial that, had it
occurred, would probably not have devolved into the kind of abuse to
which Formosus' body had been subjected, but nevertheless could not
help but bring this grievous event to mind. At the very least, such a
condemnation would have resulted in the exhumation and burning of
the body ofBoniface-the routine treatment of someone posthumously

deemed a heretic. 44 The fear of such a disgrace for the papacy caused
Clement to condone Philip's aggression against the Knights Templar,
all of whom were arrested and charged with heresy. This eventuated in
the forced confession of many, followed by a series of degradations and
burnings. 45 Furthermore, the schism in the Franciscan Order led to the
harsh repression of Spiritual Franciscans under John XXII. A number of
the friars were executed. 46
But in addition to these public scandals, there were the more
routine, but deeply shaming, encounters with priests who were either
heretics or sympathized with heretics. Inquisitional records of the period
are punctuated with reports of such individuals. The latter category is,
from a certain perspective, the most worrisome of the two since it
articulates an orthodox resistance to the measures taken against heresy
by orthodox critics. Thus in late thirteenth-century Bologna, the rector
Jacob of the church of St. Thomas del Mercato was called before the
inquisition for confessing, absolving, and administering penance and last
rites to Rosaflora, considered a relapsed heretic, seemingly so he could
accord her a Christian burial. 47 In early fourteenth-century Narbonne,
the priest, Bernard Pirotus, twice officiated at a general office for martyrs
on behalf of some sympathizers of the Spiritual Franciscans who were
burned as heretics. 48 The list of such unsung heroes could go on and on,
and no one knew this better than the inquisitors. Any cleric charged with
such an offense, who subsequenty repented, would be forced to wear
the yellow cross of the penitent heretic, a sartorial symbol that was
already of sufficient embarrassment to the church hierarchy. 49
Degradation would be reserved for the unrepentant, heretically
inclined priest, and this is the context in which we encounter the ritual
of degradation in Bernard Cui's Practica. Under the telling rubric The
form of sentence for imprisoning and degrading those who oppose the office of
the inquisition in favor and defense ofpeople condemned for heresy, Bernard
recounts the memorable trial of a friar who was, in modern parlance,
what we might consider a conscientious objector. The brother in
question was accused of preaching against the inquisition, arguing that
the proceedings against the accused were elaborate fictions. The
accused, who were tortured, imprisoned, and forced to confess, were,

according to his lights, true Catholics. His sermons encouraged the laity
to resist the inquisitors, a message which was apparently heeded. Thus
the community in question, which had formerly cooperated with the
inquisitors, was now bent on resistance, and staged a number of
uprisings. Exiled heretics returned; those condemned or awaiting trial
were released from prison. From Gui' s perspective, the ensuing damage
was immense. The brother in question was imprisoned for not one, but
many years. Still unrepentant, however, he was condemned as a heretic
and degraded. 50 The rite of degradation immediately follows this
account. The effect is truly chilling: "To the priest, on the removal of his
chasuble: 'we take away your sacerdotal vestment and deprive you of
sacerdotal honor.' On the removal of the stole: 'we take away your
sacerdotal orarium or stole, representing the sweet yoke of God which
you despised to carry and the stole ofinnocence you scorned to observe.'
To the deacon, for the dalmatic: 'we take away from you the dalmatic, the
ornament of the diaconal office, since you would not wear it as the
garment ofhappiness and the vestment of salvation."' 51 And so the cleric
continues to descend through the ranks.
The instance of the dissenting friar must have been particularly
galling since the individual in question was a member of the Domini-
cans, as was Bernard-the order from which the majority of inquisitors
was drawn. But this episode was far from unique. Gui was only too well
aware of the havoc wreaked by Bernard Delicieux who led the people
of Albi in a revolt against the inquisitors in 1302, a revolt that Gui, acting
as inquisitor at the time, witnessed personally. 52 After a career of
resistance that spanned some twenty years, Bernard Delicieux was
eventually tried and degraded by the inquisition in 1319. According to
the sentence, he was to be "immediately and actually degraded in the
form handed down by law, and every clerical honor, habit and privilege
stripped from him, and also after he was thus degraded, [he was led] to
the prison assigned to him ... in which assuredly he should do penance
in iron chains on the bread of sorrow and the water of perpetual anguish
for the things he did." 53
As grim as this sentence sounds, Bernard at least escaped with his
life. Moreover, his judges even reserved the right to mitigate his penalty

for good behavior. But this verdict was by no means assured for such an
offense in this period. Traditionally clerics were the exclusive responsi-
bility of the ecclesiastical tribunals, and were thus exempt from the death
penalty. The quarrel between Henry II and Thomas Becket, prompted
by Becket's resistance to releasing degraded clerics to the secular arm,
shows the extent to which this privilege of forum was jealously guarded
well into the twelfth century. 5 4 And yet in 1184, Lucius III adopted the
policy of handing clerics accused ofheresy over to the secular arm. 55 So
it was the crisis over heresy that constituted the turning point. In the
early Middle Ages, degradation usually resulted from usurpation or, in
the eleventh century, simony-offenses that, however heinous, could
arguably be easily redressed, while still sparing the offenders' lives. An
unrepentant heretic was different. Heresy was believed to be a disease
of the soul, capable of destroying not only the individual heretic's
prospects for salvation but ofinfecting others as well. 56 The heretic must
be stripped of his pretences, exposing the fetid skin of his false belief.
Gratian cites Jerome, saying: "the putrid flesh should be cut off, and the
scabby beasts repelled from the sheepfold." 57 And, as indicated by the
many degradations and executions of the later Middle Ages alluded to
above, this hybrid of surgical-pastoral justice could now theoretically be
leveled against the entire clergy.
This change in attitude is registered in Durandus's directions for
degradation, which go further than all previous efforts to remove the
cleric's sacrality so that he could be executed like any other layperson.
After the ritualistic stripping of the cleric, not only does Durandus raise
the possibility of clerical tonsure being effaced by shaving, paralleling
Boniface VIII's contemporaneous decretal, but he goes one step further,
requiring that the hands of the degraded priest be scraped with a knife
or piece of glass, symbolically removing his holy unction altogether.
This latter addition in particular cuts the Gordian knot, providing a
visual resolution to the quarrel over whether or not holy orders were
truly indelible-a controversy that was by no means resolved in theo-
logical circles. The symbolic scraping away of the unction negates any
possible appeal to clerical privilege of forum. "And after [the bishop]
stripped [the offender] ofhis clerical habit and dressed him in lay clothes,

saying publicly to the secular judge present that [the offender], on

account ofhis crimes, is thus deposed, degraded, stripped, deauthorized
and that [the judge] should receive him, ifhe wished, into his forum." 58
The cleric's new susceptibility to the death penalty is most dramat-
ically represented by the disinvestment of clerical and reinvestment with
lay costume. The shame implicit in the assumption of this latter attire is
articulated in another, perhaps later, rite: "just as [you] are unworthy of
the clerical profession, we reduce [you] to the servitude and ignominy
of the secular state and dress." 59 Moreover, the clerical vestments
themselves receive an infusion of new meaning. In the rite of ordination,
Durandus demonstrates his canonistic agility by making the conferral of
the superpellicium, or surplice, the foundational garment in the making
of a cleric, coincide with the reception of the valuable benefits of clergy.
In other words, he explicitly places the candidate under the jurisdiction
of ecclesiastical tribunals and hence beyond the reach of secular law:
"Finally, he [the bishop] should announce to them what kind of things
are done through the forum of the church and how clerical privileges
are allotted, and that they should be warned lest on account of their
faults they lose those things and that by an honest life (habitus honestus)
and good morals and works they should be eager to please God." The
double entendre of habitus, which can be understood as clothing or way
oflife, is especially salient: the superpellicium (literally "over the skin") is
forfeited when the honestus habitus is compromised. Once the superpell-
icium is lost, the cleric's "skin" is metaphorically exposed and his life is
now on the line. In other words, a flimsy undergarment is all that seems
to stand between the offending priest and death. 60
Whoever was responsible for the ritual of degradation that was
appended to Durandus' s Ponti.ficale and included in Gui' s Practica,
whether Durandus himself or another, was sensitive to the new sym-
bolism invested in the superpellicium and its special significance for the
rite of degradation. Hence the office reads: "In the removal of the last
[garment] which in the conferral of orders was the first, [the bishop
should say]: 'By the authority of omnipotent God, the father and son
and holy spirit and by our own, we remove your clerical habit and
depose and degrade you from every sacerdotal and also any other order,

we despoil and remove and strip you from every honor and clerical
privilege.' Thus he should pronounce and relinquish him to the secular
power, as is permitted." 61
The complementarity of the rites of ordination and degradation thus
comes into sharp focus in this period. The legalistic insertion of an explicit
reference to clerical privilege in the act of dressing the priest now clearly
anticipates the possibility of degradation, the undressing of the priest. Of
course, this parallelism was always covertly implied. But the appearance
of a formal liturgy of degradation indicates that the church had reached a
critical juncture in which the desire for an unchallenged prerogative to
strip dissenters of their clerical rank outweighed the shame that had
traditionally dictated the reticence over articulating such a rite. The
appearance of the ceremony of undressing was coextensive with the right
to execute. No vestments remain to disguise this naked fact.
Uncovering Griselda
Christine de Pizan, "une seule chemise,"
and the Clerical Tradition:
Boccaccio, Petrarch, Philippe de Mezieres
and the Menagier de Paris

Roberta L. Krueger

3 n perhaps no other medieval narrative is the symbolic power of

dress in a heroine's life story linked so conspicuously to the rhetorical
refashioning effected by translators and adapters as in the popular late
medieval tale of patient Griselda. 1 From its appearance in Boccaccio' s
Decameron and in subsequent versions throughout Europe, 2 the hero-
ine's drama is invariably marked by sartorial transformations that are
integral to each stage: the rich adornment of the poor peasant girl as a
bride by her noble husband Gualtieri; her divestment of luxurious
clothing and jewels when she is repudiated by her husband, years after
he has supposedly murdered her daughter and son; her request for a
simple shift so that she may return in modesty to her father's house,
where she dons again the garb of a simple peasant; and finally, her

reinstatement as Gualtieri's wife and reconciliation with her children,

who are alive and well, after which she resumes wearing her sumptuous
outfit. Clerical translators and adapters paid special attention to the
dressing and undressing of Griselda as she was "translated" back and
forth from father to husband, and, as they did so, they often drew
attention to their own literary adornment and re-investment of an
exemplum exchanged between male writers. Ann Rosalind Jones and
Peter Stallybrass, in their discussion of Griselda, remind us that "trans-
lation" in Renaissance England meant both "linguistic metamorphosis"
and "the act of reclothing." 3 Several recent studies have analyzed the
ways in which Boccaccio, Petrarch, and Chaucer in particular have
"dressed up" their heroine in different rhetorical guises and how the
authors have revised precisely those moments when Griselda herself
changes clothes. 4
In the gallery of European Griseldas, the version intercalated by
Christine de Pizan into Chapter L of the Cite des Dames has received
relatively scant attention. "Gliselidis" is certainly well-known among
Christine scholars as an exemplum in Book II that illustrates wifely
constancy and supports Christine's defense of women against antifemi-
nist slander. 5 Yet Christine's retelling often goes unnoticed or is only
briefly described in comparative accounts of the legend. 6 This may be
so because her tale is considerably shorter than the best-known medieval
versions and appears to be more straightforward and less nuanced or
problematized. As a submissive, patient wife, the character draws less
attention to herself than do more colorful and forceful Cite heroines,
such as Semiramis, Dido, and Lucretia. For modern critics, Christine's
choice of a submissive wife who patiently endures her husband's
mistreatment and submits to the horrendous abuse of their children may
seem distressing, and out of keeping with the author's defense of wise,
strong women elsewhere.
Yet Christine's tale of Gliselidis deserves greater prominence as a
remarkable instance of authorial refashioning. Not only is Book II, Chap-
ter L the only medieval female-authored version of one of the most
popular, and disturbing, exempla of female conduct; it is also a forceful
correction of the clerical tradition, as a comparative reading of Christine's

tale and other versions will reveal. Eschewing the rhetorical frameworks
favored by her predecessors, Christine strips the tale to its core to highlight
the tyranny of many husbands and to underscore bitter truths about the
lives of married women. It is precisely the bare nature of the story and the
unapologetic voice of the narrator that constitute Christine's originality
in retelling Griselda's story. Christine omits clerical discourse about an
ideal but "impossible" woman and recasts her heroine as a sadly plausible
exemplum of the suffering women face in marriage at the hands of abusive
husbands. As Maureen Quilligan has put it, Christine's Griselda is not "an
exception" but rather an extreme exemplum "of the constancy and
fortitude necessary for any woman successfully to negotiate the demands
attendant upon being a wife." 7 Even as Christine refrains from commen-
tary, her unadorned tale works against abusive men in the Cite and extols
the wives who submit to and oppose them. Although briefer than its
source, Gliselidis is one of the longest exempla in the Cite des Dames. It is
prominently poised in the middle of the central book, from which position
it heralds a sequence of longer tales, including three drawn from the
Decameron. Just as Gliselidis refrains from speaking and wears a simple
shift, "une seule chemise," to demonstrate her virtue, so Christine eschews
commentary and tells a simple tale to dramatize the suffering and
constancy of married women.
Christine's silence about and "uncovering" of Griselda counters the
heroine's presentation by Boccaccio, Petrarch, and two late medieval
French writers, Philippe de Mezieres and the Menagier de Paris. Kevin
Brownlee has observed that the provocative nature of the tale ensures
that "virtually every version frames the narrative with interpretive
commentary." 8 At the crux of the critical problem, as Carolyn Dinshaw
has remarked for Chaucer's Clerk's Tale, is Walter's abusive treatment
of his wife and, by extension, the literary interpretation of a woman. 9
From Boccaccio onward, narrators express dismay at Gualtieri's cruelty
and attempt to distance themselves from it; at the same that they admire
Griselda's virtue, they express doubt that her patience is possible or that
her obedience can be imitated. Such rhetorical embellishment, which
parallels the heroine's re-investiture in rich costume as an obedient wife,
cloaks Griselda in clerical discourse covering up a story of marital abuse.

The authorial" cover-up" of the suffering wife begins with the tale's
first appearance in European literature, in the last story of Boccaccio' s
Decameron (X, 10), when the narrator Dioneo concludes with a series of
parting shots that seem to invite, if not provoke, further commentary.
First, he offers a reading that seems to celebrate inner worth over socially
ascribed nobility: "godlike spirits" may be found in "poor homes," just
as "those more suited to ruling pigs than to ruling over men" are found
in palaces. 10 Yet, in his next breath, he doubts that anyone like the
heroine might exist beyond the tale. "Who besides Griselda could have
endured the severe and unheard-of trials that Gualtieri imposed upon
her and remained with a not only tearless but happy face?" (681 ). Finally,
shifting to a more cynical register, Dioneo complains that Gualtieri
deserves to have met the kind of woman who, when sent out of her
house in a chemise, would "warm her wool" or rub her pelt-"scuotere
il pelliccione" against another man in exchange for "una bella roba." 11
His explicit act of reclothing strips away the notion of Griselda as a
virtuous being in her "camicia" (shift) and replaces it with an image of
a coarse woman who manipulates her body to procure "una bella roba."
Ann Jones and Peter Stallybrass argue that the intent of Dioneo's
fmal remark is "not to denigrate the woman but to mock the tyrannical
rule ofGualtieri." 12 It is true that Dioneo speaks no ill of Griselda. But
if "the woman" herself is not calumniated, the remark is one that speaks
ill of "women," for Dioneo implies that no other wife would endure
such cruel treatment so patiently and that "the kind of woman" who
seeks 'bella roba" is more common than one-of-a-kind Griselda. Dio-
neo's remarks problematize both Griselda's exemplarity and her verac-
ity-her ability to stand as a model for women or as an example of the
behavior of "real" women.
Dioneo's barb also inaugurates a tradition of moral commentary
about Griselda. Petrarch, Philippe, and the Menagier all refashion the
story of Griselda, modifYing the events that accompany her sartorial
transformations and intensifYing her humility and obedience. With each
retelling, the wife's submission is accompanied by commentary that
reflects not only upon the tale but also upon its transmission by earlier
clerks. As the Griselda story travels within late medieval culture, its

narrative frames become increasingly intertextual and metacritical.

Whether the narrators declare Griselda impossible to imitate, allegorize
her plight as the common fate of the soul before God, represent her as
an idealized exemplum of wifely devotion, or doubt her veracity, all
distance themselves in some way from the wife's suffering in an abusive
Petrarch's translation of 1372-1373, enclosed within a letter sent to
Boccaccio, responds forcefully to Dioneo's ironization, as critics have
noted. 13 Furthermore, as Dinshaw has emphasized, Petrarch calls explicit
attention to his translation as an act of interpretation. 14 He tells Griseldis' s
story "in my [his] own words" with changes and additions and seeks his
friend's judgment as to whether the tale's altered garment ("mutata
veste") is a deformation or embellishment. 15 Translatio is portrayed as a
change of dress. 16 The new garb, as revealed at the letter's end, is Christian
allegory. Explaining that Griseldis' s patience cannot be imitated by wives,
Petrach offers the story not as a model of wifely devotion but as an
exemplum of constancy for all souls, that they may be so obedient to God.
Petrarch's translation thus corrects or "chastises" the moral ambivalence
ofhis source and calls attention to authorial refashioning. 17
Among the many changes wrought within the tale, Petrarch inten-
sifies Griseldis's obedience and embellishes her relationship to dress,
beginning with her initial reclothing as a bride. Petrarch softens the
moment when Griselda is stripped naked in front of Gualtieri's entire
company by having her court ladies change her "discreetly and speed-
ily," while cuddling her as if she were a child. 18 This change has been
interpreted as a gesture of authorial modesty. 19 Yet in this same scene,
the Latin translator also heightens Griseldis' s submission within her new
household by amplifYing her vow of obedience. Just before she is
crowned, when Gualtieri demands her obedience "without any gesture
or word of repugnance," Petrarch' s Griseldis utters an oath, cast in direct
speech, that is lengthier and more abject than in the source. She
promises: "I will not only never knowingly do, but not even think
anything that is against your wishes; nor will you ever do anything, even
if you order me to die, that I would bear grudgingly" (Sen XVII 3, p. 660,
emphasis mine).

Gualtieri's marriage to Griseldis is contingent upon this vow of

complete obedience. His subsequent adornment of her in expensive garb
can be viewed as the traditional medieval wedding gift bestowed by
husbands, as Christiane Klapisch-Zuber has described it. 20 Yet, as Jones
and Stallybrass note, Griselda's new costume can also be seen as Gualtieri's
livery, a mark of her status "not only as wife but as subject and servant." 21
Petrarch's presentation deepens Griseldis's willing engagement in her
submission, embellishes the drama of clothing, stripping and reinvesti-
ture, and underscores the relation between dress and power. Later, when
Griseldis accedes to her tyrannical husband's demand that her second child
be killed, she notes that she cast aside her "wishes and feelings" when she
cast aside her clothes (Sen XVII 3, p. 663), a formulation not in Boccaccio.
These passages prepare us for the dramatic moment when Griseldis
divests herself by returning the marriage gift to Gualtieri and requesting
only a simple shift so that the naked belly in which she bore his children
may be covered. This scene, which follows Boccaccio rather closely, is
all the more forceful within a story that has underscored the political
meaning of dress. As Petrarch transforms Boccaccio's story into an
allegory of the Christian soul, he cloaks Griseldis even more ostenta-
tiously in obedience.
In a subsequent letter to Boccaccio, Sen XVII 4, Petrarch reports
divergent reactions among friends who read his translation. While one
male friend burst into tears, another remained dry eyed; the latter
concludes that the story must be "ficta omnia" [entirely made up], since
such conjugal love, fidelity, patience, and constancy could not be found
in a woman in Rome, or anywhere. 22 Although Petrarch wryly notes
that critics find "impossible" precisely those qualities they do not
themselves possess and defends the story's plausibility, the poet's report
echoes Dioneo' s charge that women as virtuous as Griseldis are so rare
as to be nonexistent. Even as Petrarch deepens the emotional force of
Griseldis' s exemplary obedience, his allegorization and his inscription of
doubt about the story's veracity are metacritical flourishes that divert
direct attention from the suffering of a wife.
Just as Petrarch explicitly presents his tale as a story exchanged
between men, so too does Philippe de Mezieres. He translates into

French a story told by "son especial amy," Francis Petrarch, in the last
extended exemplum of the Book IV (and last) of Le Livre de la vertu du
sacrement de mariage (ca. 1385?). Philippe both transmits and recasts his
friend's allegorical interpretation. He promotes the story primarily as an
exemplum of wifely devotion, yet explains that it is also an example of
the soul's love for Christ. Philippe's dedicatee and primary audience is
Jehanne de Castillon, whose marriage to the notorious Pierre de Craon,
a convicted thief and murder, may have given her a reason to seek solace
in such books, as editor Joan Williamson has suggested. 23 Yet even as
Philippe holds Griseldis up as a model for wives, he underscores her
extraordinary nature and the "impossibility" of her example. In the
Prologue and throughout the tale he seeks to "emerveiller les lisans"
[astound readers] with the pathos of her tale. 24 He characterizes Grisel-
dis's trials as "vraye martyre" [true martyrdom] that could only be borne
with Christ's love. Although married ladies would find it "impossible"
to follow her example "ala lettre" (357, 1. 15)-just as those who aim
the crossbow don't always hit the target-Philippe thinks they should
force themselves ["efforcier"] to do so (p. 357; 1. 20); they can measure
their qualities and shortcomings by looking into Griselda's "biau mirror"
[beautiful mirror]. Those who find the story so difficult or impossible
that they doubt its truth are referred to its source, Philippe's special
friend Petrarch, who is a "tres devot et vray Catholique" (p. 358). By
describing Griseldis as an extraordinary "mirror" whose story seems too
difficult and too impossible to be true, Philippe elevates his heroine
above the lives of his readers, who must force themselves to do as well
for fear of missing the mark.
Within his tale, among other transformations, Philippe heightens
Griseldis's submission as wife. Her oath of obedience before the wed-
ding is even more obsequious than in Petrarch: She protests that she is
unworthy not only to be his wife, but even his slave or servant, "ta povre
ancelle" (p. 363, 1. 13). The costume Gualtieri bestows is more ornate
than in the source-"perles et pierres precieuses et ce sanz nombre"
[innumerable pearls and precious gems]-so much so that "n'esoit pas
merveille se elle estoit honteuse et esbahie" [it was no wonder that she
was ashamed and astonished] (p. 363, 1. 30) When Griseldis dissimulates

her feelings as her son is sent off to be killed, Philippe invites "roynes,
princesses et marquises" to listen to her response (p. 368, 1. 11), which
he deems "merveilleuse et non pareille" [marvelous and without equal]
(p. 368, 1. 26). Griseldis explains, as she did in Petrarch, that when she
traded in her "povres robes" for Gualtieri, she submitted completely to
his will. To illustrate Griseldis's obedience even more dramatically,
Philippe adds a new detail to the scene ofher repudiation and disrobing:
she turns to the retinue that has accompanied her to her father's house,
thanks them, and urges them to remain loyal to their lord, Gualtieri (p.
372, ll. 30-33).
As the story draws to an end, Philippe deepens the reader's sense of
the heroine's debasement by reminding us repeatedly, in the text and
rubrics, that she bears great humility under a "povre cote." 25 Philippe
amplifies the scene in which Griseldis prepares the house for Philippe's
second marriage by sweeping with "vilz instrumens" [base tools] (p. 374,
ll. 16-23). The narrator marvels, and invites his female readers to marvel,
at just such moments of virtuous abjection: "Que diray je plus pour
toutes les dames du monde esmerveillier?" [What more can I say to
astonish all the women in the world?] (p. 374, 1. 24).
As he recasts a Christian allegory into a "beautiful mirror" for
married ladies, Philippe creates a heroine who shines brightest when she
is most debased. Carolyn Collette has recently noted that Griseldis's
abasement in the sweeping scene is so "painful" that critics shrink from
analyzing it; she argues that Philippe underscores the public nature of
this moment, which is in keeping with his development elsewhere of
Griseldis's role as a "public mediatrix." 26 It is true that Philippe earlier
praises Griseldis for her role in public governance and that he clearly
admires her actions here. But Griseldis' swilling acceptance oflow status
makes her example all the more "merveilleux" [amazing] for high-born
ladies, who would find her behavior "impossible" to imitate, even as
they are enjoined to be astonished by it.
When the Menagier de Paris incorporates Philippe's version of this
"astonishing" story of conjugal submission into the book he composes
for his young bride (ca. 1393), he seems to lead clerical commentary in
a new direction by roundly denouncing Griseldis's debasement. Speak-

ing directly to the wife in the Epilogue, the Menagier exclaims that he
would never demand "telle obeissance" of her (of the sort that Gualtieri
did ofGriseldis), since he is no "marquis" and she is not a "bergere," and
assures her that he would never "faire tels assaulz ne essaiz" [make such
assaults or test]. 27 Yet even as he apologizes for the tale's "trop grant
crualte" [excessive cruelty] and doubts that it is true, he says he ought
not "correct" or change the original: since others have heard this story,
his wife should know it and be able to talk about it, too. The narrator
distances himself from his "cruel" source, professing more moderate,
reasonable authority, yet proposes to transmit his material faithfully.
Within the tale, despite his professed sympathy, the Menagier
continues the clerical tradition of covering up Griseldis's suffering and
justifYing her abasement. He offers a new twist on the Petrarchan
allegory that further normalizes spouse abuse. He explains that the
Roman poet translated the tale to persuade women to endure patiently
their husbands' treatment not only out of conjugal love but also because
God, the Church and Reason wished them to be "obeissans" (p. 230,
emphasis mine).
Indeed, the Menagier stresses Griseldis's wifely obedience even
more pointedly than his predecessors; her story heads a series of exempla
of "obeissance" and "desobeissance" that expressly illustrate docile and
intransigent wives (Chapter I, vi). 28 Within Griselda's tale and in the
supporting exempla, the Menagier displays signs of harshness that
flagrantly contradict indulgence expressed elsewhere, as Ueltschi has
noted generally. 29 Although he claims that he has not "corrected" his
source, he makes several changes that heighten Griseldis's servility. His
description of Griseldis preparing the household for her former hus-
band's new wife (her own daughter), as Ferrier has noted, portrays her
as "the efficient mistress of a large household" and describes in particular
her care for the household linens (p. 79); 30 like a good bourgeoise, this
Griseldis has mastered the home-making arts that the book promotes.
Most remarkably, when Griseldis is repudiated, the Menagier amplifies
Griseldis' swords of support for her husband, a speech sketched out first
in Philippe de Mezieres, as we have seen. 31 After Gautier has forced her
to hand over her two children to be killed and has banished her from

their home so that he can remarry, Griseldis stands at her father's door
and "sweetly and humbly" tells her people that they should not say,
think or believe that her husband had done her any wrong and that they
should loyally love and serve their husbands as the means to gain the
greatest renown (pp. 220-22, lines 654-71 ). With this remarkable speech,
unique to this version, Griseldis repeats her earlier vow of obedience
and emphatically endorses Gualtieri's behavior. The Menagier's narra-
tive presentation thus contradicts his dismay, in the Epilogue, at Gualt-
ieri's harsh treatment of his wife. Rather than mitigate Gualtieri's
brutality, the Menagier portrays a more perfectly submissive and self-
consciously exemplary wife, who exonerates her husband, accepts his
harsh rule as the norm, and generalizes her own previous vow of
obedience as a rule for all wives.
Irony, allegory, exemplification, disclaimer, and contradiction:
Such is the rhetorical wardrobe that traveled with Griselda as her tale
circulated in late medieval Europe. Christine may not have known
Griselda in all her guises, but she cannot have been unaware of the
clerical embellishments that dressed up the patient wife. Although her
direct source is Philippe's Livre de la vertu du sacrement de mariage/ 2
Christine would surely have known Boccaccio's tale since she draws
other tales from the Decameron, and she may well have known the
Menagier de Paris. In contrast to authors who refashioned Griselda by
cloaking her in moral commentary that allegorized her virtue or
questioned her utility as an example, Christine strips away rhetorical
trappings to create a forceful heroine who is "true," a prime example in
her powerful "proof' of women's constancy, an essential building block
in her fortress against misogynistic attack, La Cite des Dames. Christine
corrects those clerks who idealize or doubt Griselda and subtly trans-
forms the exemplum and its metacritical frame.
Christine's Gliselidis is not a female exemplum "translated"
between male clerics, ostensibly for women's benefit; hers is rather a
tale exchanged between women to chastise men who misinterpret
women-specifically, as Droiture says, "pour contredire par exem-
ples" [to protest through exempla] those who say that women are
"fraisles" [weak] (p. 344). In Book II, Droiture [Rectitude] refutes a

litany of persistent complaints against women, adducing exempla that

focus on women's contributions to marriage, family, and household,
drawn more heavily from contemporary late medieval history than
the exempla in books I and IL 33 Each exemplum or group of exempla
counters a specific slander: that girls are economic liabilities (chapters
VII-XII); that women cause all the woes of marriage (chapter XIII)
because they do not love their husbands (chapters XIV-XIX) and
mistreat husbands who are old, scholarly, or infirm (XX-XXIV); that
wives cannot conceal their husbands' secrets (XXV-XXVII) or give
sound counsel (XXVIII-XXIX); that women are the source of all evil
(XXX-XXXV) and should not be educated (XXXVI); that chaste women
are scarce (XXXVII-XLIII); that women desire rape (XLIV-XLVII) and
are fickle, inconstant, and weak (XLVII-LIII), as well as unfaithful in
love (LIV-LXI), seductive (LXII-LXV), and naturally greedy (LXVI-
LXVII). Near the mid-point of the Cite, within a frame as ethically
complex as Grisleda's earlier venues, the female virtue Rectitude tells
Gliselidis's story to the female author figure Christine expressly to
correct or "contradict" such male slander.
Gliselidis' s example is cited twice in Book II, near the beginning and
the end of the marriage sequence, first, in short form, as an instance of
filial piety (XI) and then, as the first of a series of longer narratives that
disprove the specific charge of female inconstancy and contradict the
broader slander charge that women cause the woes of marriage. Glise-
lidis' s story occurs as a transitional moment between short, brutal tales
of cruel, capricious men-among them Nero and Galbo-and the
trilogy of much longer narratives (among the longest in the Cite)
portraying steadfast women: Gliselidis, Florence of Rome (based on
Gautier de Coincy), and Sagurat (from the Decameron), all three of them
women who are mistreated by cruel and disbelieving husbands. 34
Christine's heroine is thus strategically placed to demonstrate the
abuse women suffer under abusive men, tyrannical husbands and to
refute a clerical tradition that repeatedly tries to "essayer" and
"esprover" [test and prove] female virtue, as do the perverse Gualtieri
and other husbands and clerks. In her distinctive refashioning, Christine
re-defines Gliselidis's virtue not as inimitable patience but as

"merveilleuse constance, force et vertu et fermete" (Cite, p. 334) [mar-

velous constance, force, virtue, and strength], qualities she claims many
women display. Even as she remotivates the exemplum, she alters its
rhetorical trappings, stripping away the metacritical commentary of
previous versions. At first glance, Christine seems to submit as silently
as Griselda to the clerical tradition. No prologue or epilogue explains
how the tale should be read as an allegory of the soul or condemns or
apologizes for Gualtieri's actions. No remark embellishes or undercuts
the virtue of the heroine, or questions her believability, either in the
extradiegetic frame or in narratorial interventions. Christine does not
urge ladies to follow Gliselidis' s example; neither does she claim that her
model is impossible to imitate. Important elements of description,
action, and dialogue are excised in this tightly tailored version. Yet
Christine's simple tale reveals and decries women's abuse in marriage
far more forcefully than her predecessors.
Petrarch, Philippe de Mezieres, and the Menagier de Paris, as we
have seen, formalized and elaborated the diptych scene of Gliselidis's
oath and sumptuous costuming and, throughout the story, intensified
the heroine's willing submission to her mistreatment, which exemplified
both the soul's dutiful acceptance of God's will and a wife's exemplary
obedience to her husband. Christine strips away much of the rhetorical
embellishment that recast Gliselidis as willing her submission and
refashions her more simply, in the garb of a wife who is steadfast but
also outspoken about her suffering.
In the wedding scene, Christine not only trims away details about
the bride's wardrobe, but, most significantly, she also entirely eliminates
the oath. Gone are Gualtieri's demand that his wife obey him "sans
contredire" [without protest] and Griseldis' s promise to do anything for
him willingly, even to die. The speech where she remarks that she has
exchanged her will for Gualtieri's clothes is absent; eliminated also is
Griseldis's endorsement of her "seigneur" to her retinue as she is
repudiated (a speech, as we have seen, that the Menagier greatly
expanded). Christine pares down details about Gliselidis's sumptuous
wardrobe and noble life in Gualtieri's palace, bringing into higher relief
the heroine's shabby dress when she returns to her father. The author's

tailoring accentuates those moments when Gliselidis's virtues shine

through her "povre habit" [poor costume].
If Christine eliminates many instances in which Gliselidis talks, it is
to create a heroine who is more, rather than less, eloquent. Christine
focuses precisely on those moments when the wife speaks out to
reproach her husband's mistreatment. This first occurs when Gliselidis
requests "une seule chemise" as payment for her virginity, which is the
longest speech in the exemplum and follows the source closely, but with
subtle alterations. 35 Although Gliselidis does not criticize Gualtieri
directly, neither does she thank God for the time she has spent with him,
as occurs in Philippe. Her poignant recollection of her dowry-she
brought only "foy, meurete, amour, reverence, et povrete" (p. 350) and
her bridal nudity-points up the contrast between the wife's irreproach-
able virtue and constant chastity and her husband's abuse: "Toute nue
en la maison de mon pere je yssis et toute nue je y retourneray .... " [I
left the house of my father completely naked and I will return naked] (p.
350). Gliselidis's words move the marquis to tears, but do not change
his course of action. Gliselidis speaks forcefully a second time when she
advises Gualtieri not to "molester ... des aguillons" [torment his new
wife with needles] as sharply as he has mistreated her; this passage differs
in small but significant ways from Philippe's version. 36 It constitutes an
astute criticism of Gualtieri's tyrannical behavior and echoes the narra-
tor's previous remarks about inconstant, abusive men.
By paring Gliselidis' s direct discourse down to only these two
speeches, Christine emphasizes not Gliselidis's silence and passivity, but
her eloquence and resistance. Set off in a sparse narrative, Gliselidis's
words resound as the measured response of a woman who speaks to
preserve her integrity and to protect another woman-as does Christine
the author when she counters misogyny in the Cite.
Earlier narrators, as we have seen, characterized the Griselda tale
as astonishing, inimitable, or unbelievable; they also questioned or felt
compelled to defend its truth. Christine has no such query or disclaimer
and, as a result, this near-contemporary account of a horrid marriage is
as "true" as the stories of Nero or corrupt historical Church leaders to
which Christine has eluded earlier (Book II, Chapters 47-49). The grim

tale fleshes out complaints about the harsh realities of marriage for
women that resound throughout the Cite. In one of the book's first
substantive counter-attacks, Reason reminds Christine that Matheolus's
antifeminist stance on marriage in the Lamentations, whose reading
launched the author into total despair, runs completely counter to
reality. No husband exists who would endure the abuse that clerks
attribute to women; experience proves that real marriage is the opposite
of what men say; "c' est chose clere et prouvee par 1' experience que le
contraire est vray" (p. 48). Throughout Book II, Christine and Droiture
continue to discuss the "real" nature of marriage, in terms that prepare
readers for Gliselidis. Droiture reminds Christine that books blaming
women for the state of marriage were not written by women (pp. 252-
54) and claims that women would write the story differently. She
compares the "durete" many women endure from their husbands to the
treatment of Saracen slaves: And ask Christine how many "bonnes
preudes femmes" endure "dures bateures, sanz cause et sans raison"
[hard beatings, without cause or reason] and submit to nasty, injurious
servitude and mistreatment and without protestation (p. 254); she
complains that women and children die ofhunger while husbands cruise
the taverns. When Droiture asks "Am I lying?," Christine sadly confirms
that she has seen many wives so abused: "Certes, Dame, si ay fait
maintes, dont grant pitie avoie" (p. 254) [Indeed, my lady, I have seen
many, whom I have greatly pitied]. As Droiture points out, Christine's
own experience disproves the antifeminist accusation that women rule
men; in reality, men have mastery over their wives and not wives
mastery over their husbands, who would never endure such authority
(p. 25 4). As her readers witness, Gaultieri wields just such" autorite" over
As Chapters XIV through XXX of Book II produce exempla of good
wives throughout history, Christine continues to bear witness through
her experience, confirming that the loyal, long-suffering and loving
wives of history still exist: "Certes, Dame ... me souvient avoir veu
femmes semblables" (p. 272) [Indeed, Lady, I recall having seen many
such women]. She recalls "maintes autres femmes" [many other
women] in her day who loved their husbands perfectly (p. 276) and

others who stood by their husbands in sickness (p. 278). In her most
chilling testimony, Christine describes wives she hesitates to name for
fear of displeasing them (or perhaps endangering them?), wives whose
husbands are so depraved that their in-laws wish them dead and yet
those wives continue to endure beatings, deprivation, poverty and
slavery out ofloyalty. These are things seen every day, Christine says,
yet everyone overlooks them (p. 278).
Such accounts of spouse abuse, which intensify throughout Book
II, prepare readers for Gliselidis. Christine neither protests that Gualtieri
is too harsh to be true nor claims that Gliselidis's patience is inimitable.
She does not seek to tell an "extraordinary" example at which readers
will marvel, as does Philippe. Her lack of disclaimer suggests Gliselidis' s
story is sadly true, like the abusive marriages of Christine's contempo-
raries, "maintes bonnes preudfemmes" [many good worthy women]
whose mistreatment Christine observes around her every day. Far from
suggesting that women as virtuous as Griselda cannot be found, much
less emulated (as do, each in his way, Boccaccio, Petrarch, Philippe and
the Menagier), Christine implies that marriages as difficult as Gliselidis's
exist in Christine's own day.
On the thematic level, Gliselidis's tale strongly denounces tyranni-
cal husbands and "contradicts" the charge that women are weak. On a
metacriticallevel, it also forcefully contributes to Christine's plan to
"contredire" [protest] misogyny-a project announced in the Prologue
and repeatedly throughout Books I and II-by demonstrating the virtues
of restraint, dissimulation offeeling, and waiting for the right moment
to utter well-chosen words. To understand fully the force of Gliselidis' s
protest, we need to consider her actions as the first in a trilogy of stories
about unjustly accused wives who respond forcefully to their mistreat-
ment. As we recall, Gliselidis' tale is followed by that of Florence of
Rome (from Gautier de Coincy's Miracles de Nostre Dames) in Chapter
LI, and ofBernabo's wife, Sagurat (from the Decameron), in Chapter LII.
Critics have noted that Christine underscores faithless, cruel husbands
and constant wives as she reworks her sources and links these three
women. 37 Her creation of a trilogy of strong, constant wives highlights
the ways women respond to marital abuse with patience, but also with

increasing resourcefulness and acerbity. At the same time, the tales of

Gliselidis, Florence, and Sagurat represent Christine's own response to
the clerical tradition that slanders women by doubting their strength.
Gliselidis further protests against women's defamation that is integral to
Christine's project in the Cite and to what Helen Solterer has termed her
"sapiential" writing in her oeuvre as a whole. 38
In retelling Gautier's Florence de Rome, Christine reduces nearly
4,000 lines of verse to their essential elements: the false charges against
Florence, her steadfast virtue and her vindication when she forces her
accuser to confess his slander (p. 360). In retelling Day 2, story 9 of the
Decameron, Christine recasts Boccaccio's version of a classic "wager
romance"-in which a wife's fidelity is unjustly slandered and the wife
is banished to be killed-by emphasizing the wife's powerful vindica-
tion. As Kevin Brownlee notes, this is affected by transvestism that
echoes Christine's own desire to be a man in the Prologue. 39 The
calumniated wife cross-dresses and becomes a trusted servant in the
Sultan's court. Woman's speech and manipulation of distinctive cos-
tume again conflate to exemplifY female virtue.
Just as she has pared her source to emphasize the moment that
Gliselidis in her "povre habit" speaks forcefully to her husband, so
Christine shapes the story of Bernabo's unjustly accused wife to high-
light the scene where the wife, disguised as Sagurat the sultan's servant,
reprimands her husband in public more sharply than does Gliselidis.
When Bernabo, convoked before the Sultan, persists in accepting the
calumniator's lies about his wife as truth, the loyal lady delivers a stern
lecture far more acerbic in the Decameron. Sagurat asks him how he can
be so "beste" [silly, stupid, or literally, beastly] not to realize that claims
against the wife could be fraudulent; she argues that Bernabo deserves
to die for having acted so cruelly without "preuve souffisant" [sufficient
proof] (p. 368). This accusation precedes her own "uncovering" as a
woman, when she undoes her garment at the chest ("elle se desbou-
tonna sa poitrine") and resumes a role characterized not as submissive
wife but as "loyal compaigne" [loyal companion] (p. 370).
Sagurat's indignant interrogation of her husband echoes the moral
force of Christine who, through Raison and Droiture, repeatedly

denounces those men who attack women without evidence, "preuve

sousffisant." How can you be so foolish or ignorant, the Cite narrators
repeatedly ask, to believe false charges? By setting Gliselidis' stale within
a triptych of unjustly accused women and by portraying the heroines as
increasingly pro-active agents of their social rehabilitation and vindica-
tion, culminating in the sharp-tongued attack of Sagurat, Christine re-
motivates the passive, silent heroine of the clerical tradition into a
woman who waits for the right moment to speak and accuse.
Recontextualized within the gallery of virtuous women in the Cite
des Dames, Christine's Gliselidis comments on women's silence about
and response to the antifeminist clerical tradition. At the end of this
trilogy offemmes fortes et constantes, the character Christine asks Droiture
why so many valiant and learned women have suffered so long the
horrors that men have accused them of, even when they knew these
men were wrong (p. 372). Christine's question underscores the problem
of response that subtends Book II as a whole, and particularly the
Gliselidis trilogy. If men have repeatedly made false charges against
women, if they have repeatedly tested their patience and doubted their
virtue, why have so many wise and eloquent women of the past, capable
of writing "biaux livres" born their mistreatment sans contredire [without
protesting] (p. 372)? The answer, which Droiture claims is "easy," is, in
fact, profound. Virtuous women have previously been entirely preoc-
cupied by the many different works they have accomplished and their
good works speak for themselves. The task of "contradiction" falls to
Christine, who, like Gliselidis, Florence, and Sagurat, waits prudently to
make her case at a propitious moment, in the fullness of time, just as
Droiture explains (p. 372).
Christine and Droiture's dialogue about women's response acts as
a metacritical commentary not only for the preceding section, but for
the Cite's entire project, as it responds to clerkly misogyny. Stripped to
a core of steadfast strength, Christine's Gliselidis works antiphrastically
within the intertextual mosaic of the Cite des Dames to chastise and
correct the clerical tradition, which errs by doubting women's capacity
for virtue, distrusting female nature, and presenting a patient wife as
extraordinary. Christine's Gliselidis steps down from her "impossible"

position in clerical texts to join the company of other strong, constant

women-Florence, Bemabo' s wife, and many women throughout time
who have suffered abuse sans contredire.
Christine's modestly refashioned Gliselidis thus dramatizes the
power of rhetorical restraint. The female author strips the story to its
core to portray Gliselidis's strength in her two most eloquent speeches.
She recasts the heroine as a strong wife and a pivotal figure in Book II.
As one of the best-known examples of female constancy, Griseldis is also
a commoner, a simple woman who cares for her father and works wool.
She thus provides a link to contemporary women who live in house-
holds performing domestic tasks, caring for aged relatives, enduring
difficult marriages and prefigures Christine's more profound analysis of
women's domestic life-including women's careful manipulation of
speech and dress-in the Cite's companion volume, Le Livre des Trois
Vertus. 40 In that domestic handbook, women are advised to endure
difficult marriages with forbearance, to employ their verbal skills as
negotiators and conciliators, and are also advised to wear moderate, not
extravagant, dress to construct positive social identities. 41
Christine neither holds Gliselidis up as an example for married ladies
nor suggests that women are incapable of imitating such strength. The
author of La Cite des Dames offers an interpretation of Gliselidis that is as
radically different from the divine allegory of Petrarch and Philippe as
Petrarch's allegory is from the ironic presentation of Boccaccio. As
Christine's tale responds to the marriage controversy that subtends the
Cite and echoes other tales of abused wives, her Gliselidis becomes both
real and resistant. As her heroine manipulates the symbolism of her bare
shift in direct speech, Christine redeploys the symbolic force of clothing
and feminine discourse in the Griselda tradition to refashion a powerful
figure whose resilience and strength in the family link the exemplary
women of the Cite des Dames to her contemporary readers, who might
learn more about women's positive contributions to late medieval
households in the Livre des Trois Vertus.
((This Skill in a Woman is By
No Means to Be Despised"
Weaving and the Gender Division of
Labor in the Middle Ages

Ruth Mazo Karras

3 n all the various divisions oflabor along gender lines in the history
of the western world, one set of connections appears with great
consistency: the association of women with the maintenance of the
household through feeding and clothing its members. This is some-
times termed reproductive, as opposed to productive, labor. These
connections appear in distinctive ways in the Middle Ages. When
households began to acquire their food and clothing on the market
rather than producing it themselves-a shift connected with the urban-
ization of the central Middle Ages-this changed the significance of this
work for medieval understandings of gender. It seems to have changed
the significance of textile work less, however, than victualling. As
changing economic conditions and technological developments altered
the production and distribution of cloth so that men took it over on a

commercial basis, cloth production remained a respectable and even

prestigious occupation for women. It was especially respected as work
for married women as part of their responsibility for their households.
The continuing connection of women with textile production demon-
strates that the cultural importance of an activity is not always a
function of its economic importance. It also reminds us that production
outside the market remained important during the Middle Ages and
that cultural representations may provide us with clues to this where
guild and tax records do not.
Scholarship on women's work in the Middle Ages has revealed a
wide diversity of occupations and a significant contribution in many
sectors of the economy, but also a consistent devaluation of that work
in comparison to that of men. Women were excluded from many
occupations, often the more prestigious ones; when they did work in
the same occupations as men, they were often paid less and had fewer
opportunities for advancement. Those occupations that were predom-
inantly or exclusively feminine brought with them little wealth or status.
Within this framework of generalizations, women's work did vary
significantly over the medieval period and across western Europe, and
there is an ongoing scholarly debate over whether the changes over time
were more important than fundamental continuities. 1 However, all
scholars would agree that in any given time and place women workers
were always at a disadvantage compared to men.
A very helpful analysis of changes in the gender division of labor
within an overall framework of continuity is provided by Judith Bennett.
In her book Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England: Women's Work in a
Changing World 1300-1600, Bennett tells in detail the story of women's
gradual exclusion from brewing, one of the most important of the
victualling trades, in England, questioning fundamentally how and why
these processes of exclusion happen. The story she tells includes eco-
nomic and technological change-the introduction of hops, a natural
preservative, which allowed beer to be brewed in larger quantities than
ale and shipped over long distances, thereby allowing capitalization to
develop in the industry. It also includes discussion of why, when an
industry becomes capitalized and prestigious, women are excluded. It is

not simply the case, she explains, that women were the leading produc-
ers in the brewing industry and men then displaced them.
Rather, the status of the industry, not the status of women's labor,
changed. As long as profits were low and the business not especially
prestigious, women could participate, but when the industry became
more lucrative, men took over. Bennett looks to cultural representations
of women's brewing work to show how, contemporary with and
following this shift, women who brewed were treated as immoral and
sexually suspect. 2 These representations were part of the way the
patriarchal system enforced the exclusion of women. As Bennett also
recognizes, however, exclusion might not apply equally to all women;
work done within the context of a marriage could be less suspect than
single women's work.
Weaving (which in England and elsewhere in northwestern
Europe generally meant weaving in wool) followed the same general
trajectory during the high to later Middle Ages as did brewing: as the
industry became more capitalized and industrialized, it also came
under the control of men. Yet women continued to weave (as they
continued to brew) and, unlike brewsters, women who wove did not
come in for the same degree of opprobrium. Weaving continued to be
a respectable craft for a woman, indeed an index of feminine virtue.
The question of which is the prime mover in changing women's
work-economic change, technological innovation, or cultural valu-
ation of the work-cannot, perhaps, be answered. All three certainly
played a role.
Today, despite the prominence of men as designers, the vast major-
ity of workers in the textile and clothing industries world-wide-many
of them in Third W odd countries and earning very low wages-are
women, and in those cultures in which individual households still
produce their own clothing, it is women who do that work. Spinning has
been the female job par excellence-the phrase "distaff side" for the
female side of the family or household comes from a tool used to hold
wool or tow for spinning; an unmarried woman is a spinster; and the
invention that began the Industrial Revolution bears a woman's name,
the spinning jenny (named, according to various legends, for the daugh-

ter or wife of the inventor). For much of history, however, women did
many other textile tasks besides spinning, including weaving.
The connection of women with textile production, especially in
wool, goes back to antiquity. Homer depicts queens as weaving within
their households. 3 Greek myth shows women, including the goddess
Athena, as weavers. Some literary accounts of marriages show the bride
weaving a coverlet for the marriage bed. 4 In classical Athens, women
collectively wove a new peplos (tunic-like garment) each year for the
statue of Athena Parthenos. 5 Xenophon's normative account of house-
hold management, the Oeconomicus, presents one of the main duties of
the Athenian matron as the preparation and weaving of wool into cloth
(or, at least, supervision of the slaves in cloth production). 6 This last
example introduces a feature that is characteristic of cultural represen-
tations of weaving throughout the Middle Ages as well as antiquity.
Those women for whom weaving and other aspects of textile produc-
tion is central, in terms of the construction of feminine virtue, are not
necessarily the women who actually did most of the textile production.
The latter are likely to have been slaves or servants-in the later Middle
Ages, wage laborers-while the former were aristocrats, since textile
production was connected with ideals of aristocratic femininity. The
former were also married women responsible for production within
their households.
In ancient Rome, too, the connection of textile production with
virtue appeared. The epitaph for an aristocratic wife-"she worked
wool" -emphasized that instead of gallivanting about, taking lovers,
attending parties, being concerned with her dress and toilette, she was
engaged in productive labor on behalf of her family. Augustus set the
women of his household to spin and weave in order to improve their
virtue. 7 These women were not doing this work for the economic
benefit of the family. This was not a level of society in which all hands
needed to be employed in order to maintain a level of subsistence.
Rather, it was for moral reasons that these women were engaged in cloth
work rather than relying on slaves.
In Rome, cloth was produced on an industrial basis also, mainly by
female slaves; under Diocletian the imperial cloth works were a punish-

ment for many male and female criminals, including Christians. But
there is evidence from both Greece and Rome of free women working
in weaving workshops too. This work was not done exclusively by
women, and the sources do not permit us to know whether it was done
mainly by them, but they were certainly significantly involved. On the
household level, however, spinning and weaving were considered
women's work and in fact shameful for free men. This proto-industrial
production by slaves or women under other forms of servitude contin-
ued during the early Middle Ages. Saints' lives give us many glimpses of
women weaving in the home, but there were also large gynaecea on
many estates, where woolen cloth was produced on an industrial scale
to meet the needs of the elite (who also exacted rents in cloth). Women
participated in all steps of the clothmaking process, including dyeing. 8
By the central Middle Ages the picture has changed somewhat.
Clothmaking was still considered an important skill for a noble girl.
Many literary references speak of sewing and embroidery, but there are
enough that deal with weaving to indicate that this was a skill women
were expected to have, at least in theory. 9 The French chansons de toile,
whether or not they were ever sung by women while they worked,
indicate that needlework was considered the feminine aristocratic pas-
time par excellence, but they speak once again mainly of sewing or
spinning rather than weaving. 10
If we turn to the practical side-the production of wool and other
cloth for actual use rather than for the preservation of aristocratic virtue-
we find that in the central Middle Ages more of it was migrating to towns.
It is often impossible to know who was actually doing the work before the
thirteenth century when guild records and other documents, like Etienne
Boileau's Livre des metiers or English manorial and tax records, begin to
appear, but it is clear that in northwestern Europe men were becoming
prominent. 11 Where the ninth-century Utrecht Psalter, for example,
showed women weaving, the early thirteenth-century De Natura Rerum of
Alexander Neckham gave a man as the prime example of textor (weaver),
although he had a textrix (the feminine form) assisting him. 12
David Herlihy suggests a list of factors that led to many tasks once
performed by women being taken over by men by the end of the Middle

Ages, and to the gradual subordination of women's work to men's

within the household. The first is the disappearance of the gynaecea on
large estates, in part because of the waning of slavery. The second is the
consequent shift of the locus of manufacture to the towns, where there
could be a concentration of small production units rather than a few
large ones. The towns also permitted the third step, the professionaliza-
tion and specialization of production. Technological change led to a
fourth factor, the requirement for capital for horizontal looms and
fulling mills. Finally, guilds were successful in establishing monopolies
that excluded not only women but also men who were not the sons of
guild members from their respective crafts. 13 Herlihy takes it as a given
that specialization, capitalization, and monopolization work to exclude
women. In the case of weaving they did function this way, but it need
not be natural or inevitable.
One reason for the shift away from weaving as women's craft was
technological: the development from the vertical or warp-weighted
loom to the horizontal loom with pedals. The first reference to this
comes from the Jewish writer Rashi of Troyes, writing in the late
eleventh century. In discussing the types of work that could not be
performed on Shabbat, he describes the weaving process and various
parts of a loom including" a part of the loom used by weavers who weave
with their feet, analogous to the rod which rises and falls in the loom
used by women." 14 Rashi here encapsulates not only the technological
change, which proceeded at varying rates in different parts of Europe,
but also the gender division oflabor that accompanied it. Among other
things, the horizontal loom was more expensive and thus required a
capital investment that the warp-weighted loom did not. Fewer house-
holds could afford it, which meant that work tended to concentrate in
larger workshops under the control of entrepreneurs, who hired men.
Nevertheless outside the towns a significant amount of weaving
continued to be done on a household basis. In thirteenth-century
England, large wool producers like monasteries distributed some of
their wool ad tascum for preparation and weaving in people's homes,
and individual small producers also wove for their family's use. 15 Much
of this work was presumably done by women, although the sources do
not specify; women's work done within the household has often
remained invisible to the historian, and this remains the case for those
who clothed their own families, across Europe and throughout the
Middle Ages. It is also not possible to determine exactly which women
did the work: wives, daughters, or servants.
With the continuing development of towns in the high and later
Middle Ages craft guilds began to take control of production, and in
northwestern Europe women's labor was largely excluded or relegated
to spinning or other less skilled and less remunerative stages of the
clothmaking process, although in the Mediterranean region women
may have been included for longer. 16 As David Herlihy described the
situation by the thirteenth century, "Guilds and governments as yet had
made no effort to limit women's work or to reserve or preserve jobs for
men. In cloth making as in many other trades, women and men worked
alongside one another without visible rivalry. The central Middle Ages
remained a period of free enterprise and of open access to employment
for both sexes." Herlihy paints too glowing a picture here, for (as he
points out) even where men and women worked together in a craft men
tended to do the more skilled parts of the job and to be paid more .17
By the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries craft guilds had come to
dominate skilled labor and women were for the most part excluded. In
a few places-Paris, Rouen, Cologne-there were female guilds, partic-
ularly in luxury textile crafts like silkworking, but these were rare. In
other places, like London, women did most of the silk work but did not
achieve the dignity of a guild structure. 18 The male guilds of weavers,
dyers, fullers, and others-those who worked in wool, which was more
lucrative because of greater demand-attempted to exclude women
other than widows of guild members (and sometimes daughters of guild
members if they married men of the craft). Thus, although women may
have done a good share of the textile work, as members of households,
it was not conceived of as women's work, but rather as women helping
men with their work. Individual female spinners or carders might be
employed by male weavers, as York wills indicate. 19 Where women
participated in textile work on their own account it was in silk and linen,
and not wool, the prime commodity of international trade. For Paris,

John of Garland speaks of textrices who weave only silk. 20 Women span,
but they did not weave, dye, full, or finish the woolen cloth. 21
The exclusion of women was not universal. Maryanne Kowaleski
has identified women cloth merchants as well as weavers in Exeter,
another provincial town, and Jeremy Goldberg suggests that the textile
industry was much more woman-dominated in the north of England
than in the south, and provides a number of examples of women
weavers from fourteenth-century English poll tax evidence. 22 The life of
Lidwina of Schiedam shows us a picture of a widow who establishes a
weaving workshop and sells cloth. 23 But this again is a small town
without a strong guild organization. In areas on the fringes of Europe,
like Iceland, women continued to produce most of the cloth, even for
international trade. Women householders and their servants produced
for the market. By the fifteenth century spinning and weaving had
become somewhat professionalized in that some women were expected
to do them full time; elite women supervised low-paid workers. 24
Even where weaving and other processes of woolen clothmaking
were under the monopoly control of male-dominated guilds, women
might participate. 25 Weavers' workshops were in their homes; they
hired wage labor but they also used the labor of family members. Only
a few workshop owners were women-mainly widows of weavers-
but some of the wage laborers may have been. A Bristol ordinance of
1461 complained that "divers persons of Weuers Crafte of the seid
Towne ofBristowe puttyn, occupien and hiren ther wyfes, doughtours
and maidens, some to weue in ther own lombes and some to hire them
to wirche with othour persons of the seid Crafte." No weavers in future
were to set their wives and daughters to work, although the prohibition
did not apply to those living at the time of the ordinance. 26 In York, an
ordinance of 1400 prohibited women "of whatever status or condition"
from weaving unless they had been properly trained, "because of the
ruin of the cloths for sale, and the prejudice to our craft," unless she is
"well learned and sufficiently approved" to do the work. 27 Both these
ordinances indicate that skilled women were present and participated,
but also that there was resentment of their involvement in commercial

The late Middle Ages, then, was a time when commercial weaving
was under the control of men. A number of possible explanations arise.
Certainly economic change played a role. With the development of
woolen cloth production on an industrial scale, particularly in Flanders
and Italy and later in England, economies of scale arose, forcing small
producers out of the market. The drapers or cloth merchants did not
establish factories in the modem sense; production was still decentralized
to that degree. But they did establish a division oflabor in which each step
in the production process was carried out by different people. Masters in
each of these different crafts, even the more prestigious ones like weavers
and dyers, might be themselves somewhat proletarianized by the late
Middle Ages. They were not independent producers in the sense of
working for themselves; they were subcontractors for the drapers. But
neither were they simply wage laborers. They owned their means of
production, the loom, and hired wages laborers themselves. Their pro-
duction might be organized on the basis of a household workshop, but it
was not just the conjugal family unit that composed that household.
Master weavers hired journeymen weavers, who were all men.
The pattern that Bennett has identified in the brewing industry
appears in weaving as well. By the late Middle Ages, clothmaking was
big business. The cloth trade was incorporated into large-scale trading
systems whose networks reached beyond western Europe. In order for
such a large-scale trade to develop the product had to be standardized,
and the guilds enforced quality standards as well as their monopoly on
The new technology of weaving also provided reasons for the
exclusion of women from the craft. The horizontal loom required a
good deal of physical strength. Women did other sorts of heavy physical
labor, however, and certainly some women would have had the requi-
site strength and some men would not. More to the point, the horizontal
loom required a different sort of division oflabor. The horizontal loom
was more efficient than the warp-weighted one, producing perhaps
three to five times as much per hour, and required proportionally more
spinners to keep it supplied. 28 This led to a division of labor that was
clear both in terms of the structure of a workshop and in prestige as well.

No longer would two women or a woman and a man work as equal

partners; the tasks now required fewer skilled and more unskilled
workers. Where there were lowly tasks in a production process, those
tasks were likely to be relegated to women.
Although men had more or less taken over the craft of weaving, a
wide variety of texts and images still represented women as participat-
ing. The idea of women's weaving remained important even when the
practice did not. Weaving remained in many ways conceptually
women's work, although it did not feminize men who participated in it.
The remainder of this article examines some of the representations of
women's textile work in the late Middle Ages in order to see just how
medieval culture gendered that work.
Textile work was distinguished from other types of crafts in that it
remained a symbol of feminine virtue even after women no longer
formed the main body of workers. In the case of brewing, as Bennett
demonstrates, a considerable ideological apparatus was deployed to
make the point that this was not an appropriate trade for women.
Women who participated were sexualized and mocked in a variety of
misogynistic texts. The development of this body of literature was
important in displacing anxiety about the brewing trade in general onto
women and clearing the way for men to participate. 29 In the textile
industry, this did not occur. Clothmaking and other textile crafts
remained appropriate for aristocratic women. At the same time that a
division oflabor in the textile industry set apart tasks like spinning and
carding, tedious and less well paid, as women's work and defined
weaving, dyeing, and fulling as men's work, all phases of the production
process were appropriate for the woman making cloth within her home
to clothe her family and, no less significantly, demonstrate her virtue.
Textile work was not always connected with virtue. Women who
span could be considered sexually suspect. In the thirteenth century John
of Garland, in his description of the occupations in Paris, could cast
doubt on the sexual virtue of women involved in textiles. "Devacuatrices
are those who wind off [devacuant] the thread, or women gold-cutters;
they empty [devacuant] and cut off their whole bodies with frequent
intercourse; they empty and cut off the purses of some Parisian schol-

ars." 30 This connection crops up again in England, where the word

"spinster" was in the process of shifting in meaning from a woman who
span to an unmarried woman. Occasionally, it was also used to refer to
prostitutes. 31 The connection was not that far-fetched. The brothel
regulations from the London suburb of Southwark prohibited prosti-
tutes from carding and spinning for the benefit of the brothel keeper
when they were not with a customer; the intention presumably was to
keep the latter from extorting additionallabor from them and competing
with other suppliers of thread. In some German towns, though, the
prostitutes were required to employ themselves at spinning when they
were not working. 32 Spinning could be connected with questionable
virtue in the case of married women also, although in a different way.
The famous image of the wife beating her husband with a distaff of tow,
in the Luttrell Psalter, shows that the distaff as quintessential feminine
implement was not always a positive connection; this same psalter,
however, also shows a woman holding a distaff while feeding chickens,
and another spinning on a wheel. 33
The most famous, albeit fictional, medieval woman weaver also
cannot serve as a model of feminine virtue. Chaucer's Wife of Bath was
such a skilled weaver that she surpassed the Flemish: "Of clooth-makyng
she hadde swich an haunt I She passed hem ofYpres and of Gaunt." 34
Yet the text presents her as lustful and transgressive. There is a great deal
of scholarly disagreement over whether the representation of the Wife
of Bath is a feminist or antifeminist one: Would the medieval reader
have admired or deplored her independence, her speaking for herself,
her control of her husbands? Probably, some readers would have
condoned her actions while others would not. She is clearly presented
as a small producer; she is not described as owning a workshop or
working in one, nor as working together with any of her husbands. Nor
does she live in London or another major city, but a backwater
provincial town. Such a woman's weaving could have been connected
to her independence in a very practical way, giving her the financial
wherewithal to support herself. But Chaucer's General Prologue does
not make this connection strongly; the weaving is mentioned only in
passing. It is not clear whether this work is a sign of a positive or a vicious

independence, but it is clear that it is not a sign of virtue. The Wife of

Bath is not the virtuous married woman producing cloth for her family;
she is, for better or for worse, outside her husband's control, and
produces commercially.
William Langland's Rose the Regrater, also a married woman,
cannot be taken as a model of feminine virtue either, but she does
illustrate how a woman might be represented as participating in many
trades rather than specializing in one. In addition to her brewing and
regrating (reselling), she also weaves woolen cloth, cheating her spinster
in paying for the thread. 35 Clearly even in a late medieval city that
excluded women from the weaver's guild, a woman weaver was a
plausible character.
For other women, both aristocratic and bourgeois, weaving does
remain a sign of virtue. Christine de Pisan places it high on the list of the
duties of an aristocratic wife. She may not be doing the actual weaving
herself, but she must be knowledgeable about it in order to supervise
every stage of the process, from the selection of fleeces through the
actual construction of garments. "She, her girls and young ladies will
busy themselves with clothmaking, examining the wool and taking out
the best to one side to make fine cloth for her husband and for her and
to sell if it is her business; coarse cloth for the little children, for her
women and household ... she will have her tenants grow hemp that her
chambermaids will spin and weave on winter evenings ... " 36 Actual
aristocratic wives followed this advice. Jacob Wimpheling described
Margaret, wife of Phillip Elector Palatine, in 1500 this way: "She was
active during her whole life with feminine occupations, consisting
mainly of spinning and weaving of wool and silk, sewing and all sorts of
embroidery, which she did together with her entire female retinue." 37
On the fringes ofEurope, in an un-urbanized region like Iceland, cloth
production was never industrialized and masculinized, and it was not only
aristocratic women who were represented as taking part in it. Icelandic
sagas show weaving as a central occupation ofwomen's lives, and connect
skill in it with good housewifery generally. It is so taken for granted that
it can be contrasted with men's violent occupations. Jenny Jochens has
suggested that the contrast is deliberate: Women do vaoverk (weaving) and

men do vaoaverk (violence). 38 The most horrific scene of weaving in

medieval literature comes from Icelandic literature as well. On the day
of the battle of Clontarf, a man called Darradr has a vision in which he
sees the N orns or fates determining the outcome of the battle. They are
weaving, using bloody spears as heddle-rods, swords as beaters, and
arrows as shuttles; the loom is warped with men's entrails, and the loom
weights are human heads. 39 If feminine figures are to intervene in the
outcome ofbattle, they do so via a metaphor of weaving.
The way the visual arts depict women and the textile arts also
indicates that they were virtuous occupations for them. Illustrations in
books about the crafts themselves mainly show men as weavers and
women as their assistants: Men weave, while women warp the loom or
prepare the wool by washing, carding, and spinning it. This is depicted,
for example, in the Ypres Keurboek, or list of regulations for the occupa-
tions, from 1363. 40 Sometimes they actually weave. In the cycle of reliefs
at the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, designed by Giotto
between 1334 and 1336 and sculpted by Andrea Pisano, the representa-
tion of lanificium shows a woman seated at a horizontal loom while
another assists. 41 It is in other sorts of works, though, which are not
depicting clothmaking as industrial production, that women are more
often depicted doing the actual weaving work. Gaia Cyrilla, wife of
Tarquin, King of Rome, weaves in Boccaccio's De Claris Mulieribus in
two early fifteenth-century manuscripts, one in the British Library and
one in the Bibliotheque Nationale; the text refers to lanificium, or
woolworking, a more general term than weaving, but the iconographic
tradition interpreted this women's work as weaving. 42 The Virgin Mary
is sometimes depicted weaving during her service in the Temple, for
example at Augsburg Cathedral on a fourteenth-century portal, in a
series of fourteenth-century windows from Germany, and tablet-weav-
ing in several books of hours. 43 Elsewhere she knits, another task that in
terms of craft production was also restricted to men. In a late fourteenth-
century altarpiece from Buxtehude she knits for a youngJesus. 44 Here
textile production and meeting the needs of the family is clearly
connected with feminine virtue: What better way for a woman to
employ her time than with creating a garment for the Christ child?

Again, both Gaia Cyrillia and the Virgin are married women responsible
for clothing their families.
Classical stories about virtuous women as weavers also continued
into the late medieval period. Penelope at her loom was a favorite. In
her story, weaving demonstrates marital chastity under the most
extreme of circumstances. Boccaccio cites her "untarnished honor and
undefiled purity," which she preserved by asking for a delay of remar-
riage "until she could finish weaving the cloth that she had begun in
accord with queenly custom." She unwove it at night "with feminine
cunning." 45 Boccaccio apparently felt he had to offer some explanation
of why Penelope was weaving-that royal women (in her day, presum-
ably) did-but it was nevertheless diligent and a sign of chastity and even
holiness. "Feminine cunning" was permissible in the service of marital
Boccaccio also discusses Arachne, "an Asian woman of the common
people," who according to some "was the most skillful weaver of her
time and so adept at it that she did with her fingers, thread, shuttle, and
other tools of weaving what a painter does with his brush." Boccaccio
adds, "This skill in a woman is by no means to be despised," implying
perhaps that it was hardly typical, but also that it is highly desirable. 46
Arachne's weaving, of course, led to a worse end than did Penelope's,
perhaps in part because it did not serve the ends of marriage and family.
In the twelfth-century French version of Ovid's Philomela (who
told in a tapestry the story ofhow her brother-in-law had raped her, then
cut out her tongue), weaving becomes a central way in which women
speak. A quintessentially feminine medium allows the Old French
Philomena to communicate with her sister. The Old French author
changes his Ovidian model to depict a peasant woman, set to guard
Philomena, who helps her in her weaving task, illustrating a cross-class
cooperation of women. The story of Philomena does not, of course,
reflect a social practice of women communicating with one another by
means of tapestries, but it does underscore how weaving is a feminine
mode, and it also continues into the Middle Ages the connection of a
woven coverlet with marriage. Philomena weaves a cortine, a "bed
curtain," the sort of cloth she might have used in her marriage had she

not lost her virginity to rape. 47 Geoffrey Chaucer's English version of

Philomena's story, however, says that she "lerned hadde in youthe I so
that she werken and enbroude couthe, I And weven in hire stol the
radevore [a type of tapestry] I As it of wemen hath be woned yore." 48
This explanation indicates that his audience might have found such work
by a woman unusual, yet virtuous.
Unlike brewing, then, the cultural meanings around weaving for
women continued to be mainly positive ones, despite the fact that most
weaving for the market was performed by men. Medieval Europe is not
the only culture in which this connection has held. In early imperial
China, for example, weaving (albeit in silk rather than wool) was so
closely connected with women that it defined femininity. Women of all
social ranks were expected to make cloth. The tax system required that
all families participate. This connection persisted for some time after
weaving was commercialized and taken over by men, but eventually
women became deskilled; even though some still wove for their fami-
lies, their product was not sold on the market and it was thus not highly
valued. 49 In Europe the connection of femininity and weaving was not
as close. The classic female implement was the distaff, not the loom; the
originary motto was that "Adam delved and Eve span." 50 Yet, as in China
where the ancient connection between feminine virtue and weaving
returned in the nineteenth century, deliberately deployed to promote
the silk industry, in Europe the same connection continued to be made.
As in China, women's weaving, even if not commercially important,
preserved the social order.
The continuing connection of women with weaving and other
forms of textile work does not mean that these tasks were feminized, or
that men who performed them were considered less than masculine.
What was masculine about the work for them was not the nature of the
actual tasks they performed, but rather their wages and the opportuni-
ties for independence. 5 1 But textile work was not gendered masculine
to the point where it was inappropriate for women to participate in it.
The connection of textile work with female virtue was not strong
enough that it excluded men from commercial weaving, because virtu-
ous textile production for women was noncommercial.

Weaving continued to be an acceptable, even desirable, occupation

for women because it was involved in clothing the family. Part of women's
job as nurturers and reproducers was caring for the basic needs of their
dependents, and the creation of cloth was part of this caring. Thus peasant
women might weave for the family, even if most of the thread they span
was sold for use by professional weavers. 5 2 Brewing, of course, could also
be seen as serving a basic need, since ale and beer were common, everyday
drinks, but they were also alcoholic, which certainly had the potential of
leading to disorder. Clothing, particularly wool clothing as opposed to silk
or fur, did not. In the case of brewing, women who sold ale were in
contact with the public, and an intoxicated and potentially licentious
public at that. Weaving kept women tied to the home, where the loom
was located. To that extent it was perceived as a much less threatening
occupation than others might be that included retail sales.
One common characteristic of derogatory depictions of women
weavers is that they are often married. Unmarried women could spin and
do other tasks in the preparation of yarn, but it was married women who
wove, an occupation connected with being the female head of the
household. This aspect of the texts perhaps derives from women's lived
experience, when the only women who had an opportunity to weave
commercially would be the wives of weavers or their daughters (who
themselves were likely to become the wives of other weavers). But even
when we are speaking of noncommercial weaving-weaving for the
needs of the household, great or small-it was the responsibility of
married women.
This connection with married women in particular emphasizes the
importance of treating marital status as a category of difference among
women. Medieval society valorized marriage, and the reason why textile
work, in particular weaving, continued to be an accepted feminine
occupation is because it was closely connected with the married state and
the management of a household. Even if aristocratic women no longer
wove to clothe their household, and bourgeois and even peasant women
might purchase cloth, the idea that a woman would busy herself to
provide the clothing for her family remained an aspect of feminine virtue.
Tucks and Darts
Adjusting Patterns to Fit Figures
for Stained Glass Windows around 1200

Madeline H. Caviness

3 tis well known to everyone who studies medieval stained glass that
the standard way to design and execute a window was to draw the full-
size cartoon on a sized tabletop. This process was described by a
monastic author who dubbed himself "Theophilus" in the twelfth
century, and the only extant tabletop with a window design is in the
Cathedral of Gerona, where it was used more than once in the four-
teenth century. 1 Such designs showed very clearly the matrix of lead
cames that were to join the pieces of colored glass, so that the glasses
could be marked for cutting, or even cut, on the rigid working surface.
They also showed sufficient detail-drapery folds, facial features, leaf
veins-to guide the draughtsmen who were to paint these features on
the glass. The Gerona table demonstrates the versatility of this kind of
pattern, in that the architectural canopy was repeated in at least two
lights, whereas the figures under it were changed; this was easily done
by whiting out part of the design and drawing new elements. Colors

were noted by letters, and these too could be changed. When the glaziers
had finished with this tabletop, they abandoned it in the eaves of the
cathedral. The question raised in this paper is what might they have done
if they had wished to make replicas of this window at another site?
Transporting large panels is not impossible, but it would be costly. I am
looking for a portable intermediary that could be used to generate the
new setting-table design. 2
A report given in 1972 included some new observations on there-
use of patterns in the early thirteenth-century glazing of the cathedrals
at Canterbury (England) and Sens (France). 3 Now the computer has
revolutionized the working methods for analysis of patterns, and hence
the range of conclusions that are possible. 4 At least for a series of more-
or-less life- size figures made for the clerestory (upper) windows of three
widely dispersed buildings around 1200, it has been possible to settle the
question of the material used as a carrier. Paper of that size was not yet
available, so the candidates were wood panels, parchment, or cloth. This
chapter explores how patterns were adapted to different window sizes
and proportions, and concludes that cloth was being used in ways that
are very well known to seamstresses.
In The Early Stained Glass of Canterbury Cathedral I published photo-
graphs of six ornamental window borders, in each case pairing a design
in Canterbury with one in the ambulatory of Sens Cathedral. 5 Further-
more, I had observed that the iron armatures that control the panel
composition of the Saint Eustache window in Sens, and the first window
from the east on the north side of the Trinity Chapel in Canterbury,
shared the same geometric design. It was apparent to me that this
geometry had been invented for the Romanesque round-arched open-
ing at Sens, since the circular irons that delineated groups of figural
panels fit these openings perfectly 6 Such geometric compositions of
course are easily transmitted by small drawings on parchment. As for
the borders, the observation that they are exact replicas one of the other,
and that therefore the glass painters made full-size patterns of some sort,
did not depend on simple measurements, but on rubbings of the lead
cames that hold the colored glasses, and notations on the colors used.
Now, with the use of a computer, the colors can be added to the scanned

rubbings with Adobe Photoshop, and the pairs of rubbings can be

The window borders were typical for the period, consisting of
symmetrical multicolored sprays of foliage on a blue or red ground,
interwoven with a white trellis or stems to give the appearance of
continuous growth up the sides of the window. These designs could
have been transmitted through one repeat, just as for modern block
prints. The unit size, about 20 x 15 em., does not preclude the use of
parchment, from which the design could be transferred by pricking
through to the new setting table on which the glass would be cut, a
technique known in manuscript production. 7 Even so, the computer
revealed slight adaptations, whether to the width of the whole border,
or to the length of the repeat, dimensions that would depend on the
overall size of the window opening. Such adjustments could have been
made by hand on the sized table once the panel size was known. 8 In
another case, one leafY element in the Canterbury border did not appear
in the comparable border in Sens. 9 This was not an adaptation for
reasons of size, but a simplification that had an impact on the visual
richness and on the expenditure of time and materials in cutting and
leading more small pieces of glass. The adaptation was in line with a
broad trend toward simplification in the ornamental designs used within
Canterbury. This was established on the basis of the number of shapes
that had to be cut for each repeat, as if the glass designers were moving
from Vogue to Simplicity pattems. 10 Another pair ofCanterbury-Sens
designs raised the question as to how much detail was carried in the
repeat pattern. For the most part the leafY fronds are very similar,
indicating a degree of detail in the drawing. Yet the glass painters also
seem to have had some freedom, even to invert a leaf without changing
the contour in this case, and close scrutiny of photographs indicates
differences in style between the Canterbury and Sens painters. 11
So what was the material used for these portable patterns that the
glass painters or their patrons carried with them to use at a different site?
Parchment remains a viable choice for any ornamental details less than
about 40 em. in dimension, and it has the advantage of being pliable,
strong, and durable. But parchment was costly and precious. Linen is

another viable candidate, as we will see in the case of a series oflarge figural
panels, and it had some distinct advantages over parchment and wood.
The stained glass made for the clerestory windows of the Abbey
Church of Saint-Remi of Reims, for the Premonstratensian Church of
Braine, and for the Abbey and Cathedral Church of Canterbury were
the subject of my book The Sumptuous Arts at the Royal Abbeys in Reims
and Braine, published in 1990. 12 I proposed on the basis of visual
similarities that a single atelier supplied glass for all three sites. Each
time, the members of this atelier had to make large seated figures-
almost life-size-to install in pairs, one above the other, in the clerestory
lancets. At least one border design is repeated at Reims and at Canter-
bury, and a few other pairs are quite close to each other, but there are
very important gaps in our knowledge of this aspect of the design: For
Saint-Remi it is not even possible to associate specific figures and borders
because so much of the glass changed places before the modern period. 13
And until now, the precise relationship between the figures of the Reims-
Braine-Canterbury group has remained elusive.
An atelier may be defmed as a group of artisans who shared patterns,
including some full-size models. I had argued that such a group worked
in the following sequence: Detailed study of the choir clerestory of Saint-
Remi, constructed and glazed about 1180-82, revealed that several
cartoons had been successively adapted, beginning from the first bay to
have been constructed, the westernmost on the north side. 14 Groups of
figures are almost identical in their lead matrix (which corresponds to
the cut-lines on the tabletop), but sometimes the glass painters had
adapted their big drawings to redesign a head, or to add an attribute such
as a crown. They treated these triple-light window compositions as a
unit, so that figures in the smaller lateral lights were paired parentheti-
cally, their heads turned toward the center. The colors in each such pair
are identical, as are the outlines of the rest of the body and legs; only the
heads were redesigned. 15 The figures in the larger central light of each
triplet are repeated in the opposite window across the choir, but with
changed colors. 16 For the lower figures in all these lights-the archbish-
ops ofReims-it was possible to check the accuracy of the photographs
taken for the Monuments Historiques on a scale of one-tenth against

measurements and rubbings I made from the outer sill of the windows.
This made it possible to trace a series of adaptations to one cartoon in
some detail. 17 For the upper figures, of prophets and apostles, a steplad-
der placed on the sill gave only limited access. The need to make
rubbings in order to trace design changes placed a limit on archaeolog-
ical methods before the advent of computer scanning.
Similar methods had indicated that the French atelier had arrived
in Canterbury about 1190 to1200 (in any case before 1207) to execute at
least one pair of large figures, Naashon and Amminadab, for the
clerestory of the presbytery. 18 Not only the figure design and style of
painting, but also the quality of the glass is different from that associated
with the English-looking work produced for the windows that had been
glazed since about 1180. And the style of these two figures appears rather
close to the ones made in Reims about a decade earlier.
Study of the ancestors of Christ made for the clerestory of Saint-
Yved ofBraine, of which the provenance offour figures installed in the
nineteenth century in the choir clerestory of the Cathedral of Soissons
is the most certain, presented the same problems of access as the choir
windows of Saint-Remi. Even with the hydraulic ladder of the Soissons
fire department, I could only reach the feet of the second figure from
the bottom. Panels preserved elsewhere, in various collections in the
United States, were easier to rub, but these dismembered figures are
more heavily restored-only one remains intact. 19 Yet photographs of
the figures in Soissons on a 1:10 scale and measurements taken on the
sills of Braine suggested a reconstruction of the clerestory composition
for Braine in photo-montage, with two ancestors of Christ superposed
in each, as they are at Canterbury. 20 Beyond the closeness in style
(system of folds, facial types, bodily proportions, and hand gestures), it
still remained to discern the exact relationship between Reims and
Braine designs. Given the date based on documents for the completion
of construction at Braine, before 1208 (or even 1204), and the opinion
of Anne Prache that the work had begun sometime around 1190 to 1195,
the stained glass of the clerestory should date about 1195 to 1205 I 8. 21
Either in parallel with the glazing campaigns at Braine and at
Canterbury, or slightly later, the atelier designed a double tier of seated

figures for the clerestory of the nave of Saint-Remi in Reims. For these
kings and abbots or archbishops I originally used the same methods
(rubbings, measurements, and photographs) to demonstrate that certain
cartoons had been reused up to seven times within the series, in a rather
monotonous manner. 22 Taken with the style and the building chronol-
ogy, this indicates a later date than the choir glass, perhaps during the
abbacy of Simon (1181-1198) who is known for having decorated this
part of the church, or even a bit later. 23 In that case too, losses, distorting
repairs and restorations to the glass, and the almost complete recon-
struction of the walls following World War I, necessitated the use of
photo-montage to envisage the original appearance ofthese windows. 24
Although I could easily make rubbings of the glass from the aisle roof
on the north side, the roof on the south side was steeper and less secure.
The task was possible, but it was rudely interrupted by the town police,
called out by a nervous parish priest, and I very much regretted not to
have profited from a masons' scaffold that had been in place a decade
To that point, it had become clear that a Remois atelier had been in
the habit of re-using cartoons several times within each of four series of
large figures (Reims choir, Canterbury, Braine, Reims nave), but in each
case the procedure could have been to adapt the design on the setting
table, as we know was done in Gerona. But re-examination of the rather
random assortment of rubbings from all four series suggested that the
same designs had been adapted at different sites. Nonetheless, I was very
circumspect in print, "There are numerous cases in which a superposi-
tion of rubbings made from figures of different sizes belonging to
different sites indicates significant coincidences in some contours, such
as the outline of a leg or shoulder; it is as if existing cartoons were being
freely adapted to changes in scale, or as if the draughtsman's arm
repeated the same gestural stroke by habit." 25
The computer study confirmed these suspicions, and supports an
evolution of design from the choir of Saint-Remi. These results were
obtained on a Macintosh personal computer with a scanner and Adobe
photoshop. Each photograph was scanned with a ruler, so that figures
of different sizes could be adjusted accurately on the same scale. The

6.1a King David, detail, Reims, Abbey Church 6.1b Bust of Abiud, from Braine, Abbey
of Saint-Remi, retrochoir clerestory (window Church of Saint-Yved, clerestory (now in
N.!Vb); contours marked in white were also New York, The Metropolitan Museum of
used in the pattern for Abiud at Braine. Art, Medieval Department, accession no.

black and white photographs are too detailed to be read clearly if they
are superimposed in photoshop, even if they are given transparency.
Instead, I traced selected lead lines in color onto a separate layer that
could then be moved over another photograph-much as one might by
making a tracing on transparent paper. This method demonstrated three
kinds of re-use of a pattern: the exact repetition of the main lines of the
composition, adaptation to a different size, or selection of certain
elements only; at least one example of each type will be illustrated here.
As an example of the first type, the main contours of the panel with
the head and shoulders of King David, in the fourth bay from the east
on the north side of the retrochoir of Saint-Remi, correspond very
closely with those of the upper part of Abiud from Braine (figs. 6.1 a and ). 26 Not only do the outlines of their haloes, shoulders, collars, and
faces coincide, but also the edging filets to the pointed panels, as shown
on the illustration of Abiud. In fact, the head of the lancet in Braine is a
replica of those of the central openings in the choir of Saint-Remi, in the
position of the iron armature that defmes the panel, and even in the
template that served the stonemasons to resolve the pointed arch. The
system of rectangular panes aligned horizontally in the blue grounds is
not modular, but the top of the throne behind Abiud does coincide with
the bottom of the inscription for David, and the bands with lettering

6.2a Micheas, Reims, saint-Remi, retrochoir 6.2b Amminadab, reversed, from Braine,
clerestory (window N.!Va); contours in white Saint-Yved, clerestory (now in Soissons,
match or approximate those used at Braine for Cathedral of Saint-Gervais et Saint-Protais,
Amminadab, in reverse except for the head. apse clerestory, Window 103); the pattern
for Micheas was let out with two pieces.

have the same vertical dimension. Unfortunately we cannot know if the

rest of Abiud followed the design for David because it is missing. The
nineteenth-century restorer who reassembled the Braine glass in Sois-
sons, either before installing it there of before putting it on the market,
supplied Abiud with a mix-and-match body and lower extremities from
another figure in the series! 27 What can be said is that the figures in the

central lights in Saint-Remi are slightly taller than those made for the
regular single lancets ofBraine, so the cartoon would have to be adapted.
The pair oflaterallancets that flank the central ones of the type with
King David in Saint-Remi are shorter and narrower. Each figure that fills
them is composed of two instead of three panels of glass, mounted on
the horizontal bars of the armature (as in figs. 6.2a and 6.2b). Yet the
overall dimensions of these lateral figures are close enough to those at
Braine for the cartoons to be adapted for reuse. The design for one of
the ancestors of Christ from Braine, Amminadab, corresponds to that of
David's companion Micheas, but it has been reversed except for the head
(figs. 6.2a and 6.2b ). 28 They are identical in the basic outlines of haloes,
heads, faces, and necks, shoulders and upper arms, left shins, and the rise
of the footstools. But the cartoon had to be lengthened a few inches, and
this was done by letting in a horizontal strip at the figure's waist level,
essentially adding to the top of the lower glazing panel of Micheas. The
forearm positions were redrawn to disguise this, but Amminadab's left
hand and arm are none the less oddly disproportionate because the hand
has to reach down to the drapery fold that Micheas held effortlessly by
resting his right hand on his knee. Amminadab' s right leg was inexplica-
bly shortened, and it was thinned down by using a drapery fold in the
Remois design as a contour. This indicates that the cartoon was marked
for painted detail as well as for cutting the glass. A throne back for
Amminadab helps to fill the wider window opening; its definition
coincides with the limit of the blue ground behind Micheas. Ammi-
nadab's throne and footstool are extended to the left in the lower panel
for the same reason.
The cartoon for Micheas also served, but in the same sense this time,
for N aashon in Canterbury (figs. 6.3a and 6.3b ). The horizontal armature
falls in the same place, and the template for the window head at
Canterbury was adjusted to approximate that of the lateral lights in
Saint-Remi. The overall dimensions for the figure had to be reduced,
however, because of a shorter window and a wider ornamental border
at Canterbury. Not only was a horizontal tuck taken out of the waist of
Micheas, but his robe was shortened by removing a false hem! In his
upper part, a dart taken in the center altered the angle of the upper arms,

6.3a Micheas, Reirns, Saint-Rerni, retrochoit 6.3b Naashon, Canterbury, Christ Church
clerestory; two tucks and a dart reduced the Cathedral, from the Trinity Chapel clere-
contours for Naashon at Canterbury. story, window N.X.

causing his hands to cross in Canterbury. The result is that Naashon's

right hand no longer rests on his knee but holds his mantle in a rather
mannered gesture.
This is the second case noted here of a mason's template from
Saint-Remi reused elsewhere in conjunction with glass painters' car-
toons. It seems that the center lancets of the triple openings in the
retrochoir of Saint-Remi were repeated throughout the clerestory of
Braine, whereas the template for the smaller lateral lancets had an

6.4a Amminadab, Canterbury, Christ Church 6.4b Frankish king, Reims, Saint-Remi,
Cathedral, from the trinity Chapel clerestory nave clerestory (window N.XXIV).
(window N.X); a tuck and dart reduced the
contours for a king in Reims.

impact on the first bays of the Trinity Chapel of Canterbury Cathedral

without exact replication. This represents a dramatic change at Can-
terbury, in that the masons had to step up the rooflevel to accommo-
date the taller more pointed window openings! 29 The motivation is
unlikely to relate to purely architectural concerns, so we may impute
it to a desire to use the Remois glass cartoons. It is an indication that
making the glass went along with the construction and had an impact
on the architectural design.

6.5a Amminadab, Canterbury; a dart and a tuck 6.5b Obed, Canterbury, Christ Church
reduced the head and arch for Obed; four other Cathedral, from Trinity Chapel clerestory
clusters oflines were also reused, but the pattern (window N. VIII); a piece was let in
was probably cut up. between the hands to adapt the pattern
from Amminadab.

The supple folds that describe the left leg of Naashon follow the
Remois model quite faithfully, and in general this refined execution that
presents volume and space is much closer to that of Micheas than are the
figures from Braine (figs 6.3a and 6.3b ). Is that an indication that the French
atelier worked in Canterbury earlier than I had anticipated-for instance
about 1182, which is not impossible for the construction of this bay? Such
a conclusion has to be seriously entertained, although the companion
figure to Naashon is very closely related to the design for a figure made
for the nave of Saint-Remi sometime between 1195 and 1200.
Naashon's companion, Amminadab, in Canterbury shares several
contours with one of the Frankish kings made for the clerestory lancets
of Saint-Remi (figs. 6.4a and 6.4b ). 30 The basic outlines coincide, except
that the shins of the king have been shortened by a horizontal tuck and
the angle of his left upper arm is adjusted, as is the width of the throne
back. The odd-looking gesture of the king' s left hand results from a dart
taken in the chest of Amminadab that eliminated his foreshortened
forearm. And this time it is the Remois figure that grasps a fold in his
mantle instead of making the speaking gesture of the Canterbury figure.
In general, the execution of this series in Reims is much coarser than the
figure paintings done for Canterbury, or even Braine. It looks very much
as if the design for Canterbury's Amminadab (itself probably derived,
like that of its companion, from a figure in the retrochoir ofSaint-Remi)
returned to Reims with the glaziers who adapted it for the nave
window. 31
The ancestors painted for the windows further east in the Trinity
Chapel at Canterbury are much smaller than Naashon and Amminadab.
Inexplicably, despite the lancet shape recently imported form France,
the designer decided to fill each window with varied geometric frames
such as lozenges or quatrefoils, thus drastically reducing the size of the
seated figures placed in them. Nonetheless, the pattern for Amminadab
was adapted for his small neighbor, Obed (figs. 6.5a and 6.5b). This time
only isolated elements could be reused, so the close relationship is
almost imperceptible. A triangular insert has separated the hands and
changed the angles of the shoulders, but Obed is otherwise much
thinner. His face and hands appear disproportionately large, especially
since the abdominal area is reduced in height (his left knee raised up to
his hand). A changed color scheme completes the camouflage. The only
immediate sign that we are dealing with the same painter is the very
distinctive rendering of the frowning face and the sinews of the hand. 32
Following these observations, we are in a better position to decide
what carrier the glass designers had used. What is required is a material
that is reversible, pliable so that it could be taken in or let out to change
the size of the design, and that eventually lent itself to stitching together
an assemblage of parts. My one-time professional engagement with

dress-making led me quickly to the supposition that this must be a fabric;

after all, it is perfectly normal to adjust the fit of a garment using tucks
and darts. The contours (cut lines) could have been drawn on fabric with
charcoal, and reinforced in order to transfer them to the glass painter's
tabletop. Turning the pattern face-down would reverse the design, as
with Amminadab from Braine in relation to Micheas in Reims. Or, to
keep the design in the same sense-which is important if an archbishop
is to keep his crosier in his right hand-it is easy to lay the cartoon on a
surface that has been dusted with soot or charcoal powder, and trace
over the lines firmly. 33 They are then visible on the reverse side of the
fabric, and can be transferred to the table top by tracing them one more
time. Furthermore, a general advantage of fabric is that it becomes
transparent when waxed. In fact oiled linen has been mentioned in
eighth-century accounts in relation to the glazing of windows in York
Minster. 34 However, if I could choose among the fabrics known in
northern Europe around 1200, I would pick silk over linen, because it is
thin and nearly transparent as well as light to transport. Yet it may be
that such exotic material was too costly. 35 And by the late fifteenth
century painters were used to working on linen. Records indicate that
good-quality linen was purchased for the painter Henritz Heyl in 1476
in order to make full-size cartoons for the glass painter Konrad Rule. 36
The examples provided here, and many others worked out on the
Mac, show an extraordinarily fluid adaptation of patterns by an atelier
working in three different sites over a period of twenty years. The
preferred method of figural composition within this atelier involved
repetition of elements in various combinations, without any concern for
the proportion or volume of the figures. In other words, the essentials
of mimetic figure-drawing as practiced in other periods are completely
lacking. The aesthetic of these "Gothic" assemblages seems postmodern
to us now, but it was understood by the glass-painter-restorers of the
nineteenth century, who extended the practice of recombining parts of
different figures by mismatching the actual panels when they put them
on the market. In effect, the color scheme and the painted detail that
gave character to the medieval figures-something we might recognize
as artistic interpretation-masked the predilection for re-using cartoons.

These observations suggest that it is more worthwhile to pay close

attention to the manipulation of patterns than to the style of execution
of stained glass in order to define the work of an atelier and establish a
sequence of work.
Limiting Yardage
and Changes of Clothes
Sumptuary Legislation in
Thirteenth-Century France,
Languedoc and Italy

Sarah-Grace Heller

3 n the thirteenth century, the "via Francigena" passed through the

merchant cities of central Italy towards Provence and France. On it, silks
moved north through Italian hands, while woolens made their way
south and east. 1 The trading cities ofLanguedoc and Provence cultivated
niches in the market, dealing in wool, silk, and cloth of gold. 2 Stories and
songs were also exchanged, as the troubadours' cansos were imitated and
compiled by the French and Italians, and French romances were
reworked in Italian dialects, and parodied in Occitan hands. 3 The French
enjoyed a certain cultural hegemony in the later thirteenth century, 4
when Brunetto Latini depicted himself as an Italian in exile writing his
Livre dou Tresor in French in part because "la parleure est plus deli table

et plus commune a tous langages (the language is more delightful and

more commonly used than all others)." 5
Some attitudes about dress and social comportment were surely
transmitted along with such exchange of cloth and stories. The notion
of passing sumptuary legislation to control expenditure and display in
dress (as well as weddings, funerals, dining, and horses) was embraced
in these and other regions in the thirteenth century, establishing a legal
pattern which continued up to the eighteenth. At the same time,
although the idea of regulating display spread, each kingdom or town
addressed its own set of anxieties and priorities in regulations-as well
as in other forms of expression, such as poetry. This essay proposes a
synchronic survey of some of the extant sumptuary legislation from this
initial period of regulating activity, the thirteenth century. It seeks to go
beyond linguistic and national borders to put dress regulation into the
larger context of the political history and didactic literature of the time.
Although legislation is mentioned frequently in passing in costume
histories and general studies, the historiography of regulation of sump-
tuary expenditure and display has relied overwhelmingly on secondary
sources, which has in some cases promulgated errors. A body of theses
examined it in histories of "luxury," with the obvious bias that would
entail. 6 More recently, sumptuary regulation has been studied as an
Early Modern phenomenon. 7 For Italy, much scholarship has been
devoted to the Renaissance period, which indeed offers a highly rich
body of documentary as well as visual evidence, 8 but with the result that
the earlier activity of the Duecento is often neglected. Studies of
sumptuary legislation are most often diachronic, examining the evolu-
tion of regulation in a specific region over several centuries. 9 This study
proposes to fill a lacuna, then, by comparing some texts of the earliest
of the "Early Modern" edicts over the space of three regions. It cannot
hope to be comprehensive, given that while France offers two clear royal
edicts, nearly any commune in Italy can furnish more, each practically
demanding a diachronic study ofits own; and the statutes of Languedoc
and Provence have never been examined more than anecdotally. Nor
can this study hope to depend exclusively on primary texts, as the texts
of these laws are often inaccessible, when they have been published at

all, let alone in their entirety. 10 I propose here to pose some questions
and assemble a body of evidence to encourage further inquiry. The
available legal and poetic texts point to the conclusion that a fashion
system was established in the thirteenth century in several areas of
western Europe.
Precedents for European sumptuary regulation existed in a number
of ancient cultures, some of which were known in medieval times
through the Bible and the compilations of Roman Law, and which
provided models for later legislation. 11 After the decline of the Roman
Empire, secular regulation experienced a brief revival in theW est at the
Carolingian court, 12 only to disappear again for several centuries. From
late antiquity into the Middle Ages, the Church promulgated reminders
to the clergy on such matters as keeping tonsure and dressing soberly
and distinctly from laypersons. Ecclesiastical dress pronouncements
began to become more specific in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries,
evidence of broader availability of styles and increased possibility of
consumption open to prelates, clerics, and other religious. 13 The church
may have provided secular governments with some models of fre-
quency and philosophy for sumptuary legislation with these decrees.
They were repeated regularly and altered as needed by provincial
councils, as statutes would likewise be reviewed and repeated by secular
governments. Statements about the luxurious habits of laypersons are
conspicuously absent from church decrees previous to the twelfth
century, as Catherine Kovesi Killerby observes. 14 With the twelfth
century, however, preachers of the church as well as secular legislators
began to pay attention to lay dress, across the cities of the west. There
was consternation over men's hair styles and hem lengths in the late
eleventh and twelfth centuries. 15 In the later twelfth century, concern
was directed at hem decoration and use of furs. In 1157, Genoa's first
law code banned the use of sable furs worth more than 40 soldi to trim
hems. Although a simple proscription, and one omitted from the code's
revisions of 1161, this decree marks the beginning of European sumptu-
ary law development. 16 In 1188 French King Philip Augustus, along with
other leaders on the crusade, ordered clerks and laymen in the armies
to forego vair (two-toned fur), squirrel, and sable, "scarlet" woolens, and

slashed or laced garments. 17 In 1195, the papal legate assembled the

Narbonnais council at Montpellier, admonishing laypersons of both
sexes for the lasciviousness and vanity of their slashed or "tongued"
garments, as well as women's long trains, especially in the face of the
Saracen threat in Spain andJerusalem. 18 Apparently it was felt that styles
like trains or elaborately cut and tailored tongues used excessive quan-
tities of fabric and wasted money better spent for the war effort.
Ariodante Fabretti and others have dated the growth of European
sumptuary controls to laws of Louis VIII in 1229 in France. 19 However,
the above evidence shows that anxiety over the desire for display had
clearly begun in the previous century. Moreover, the laws of 1229 do
not seem to exist. There is no such decree in any of the law collections,
and Louis VIII had been dead since 1226. 20 Without this law, the
accepted chronology must be shifted, making the French look less
significant as trendsetters of sumptuary regulation than the current
historiography might indicate. 21 Extant French laws for which we have
verifiable documentation date to the courts ofPhilip III in 1279 and 1283,
and Philip IV in 1294. 22 By that time, legislation had already appeared in
Spain, Italy, and Portugal. Elaborate laws prescribing dress for the noble
hierarchy were passed in Castile at the court of Alfonso X, in 1258. 23
Thirteenth-century laws in Portugal specified the expertise required of
tailors and forbade certain styles, exaggerations, perfumes; further laws
appeared later at the court of Alfonso III. 24 In 1234 King] ames of Aragon
placed limits on dining and on luxury items made and worn by Arabs. 25
Laws regulating funeral excesses appeared in Italy in Brescia, ca. 1200 to
1276, and in 1242 in Reggio; Bassano regulated both weddings and
funerals beginning 1259 to 1265. Weddings were addressed in Perugia
in 1266, as in Padua in 1277, and Venice in 1299. Statutes are lost for
many communes, such as Florence, but there is evidence that regulation
was discussed in 1281, though the details are absent. 26 New laws were
passed and old ones revised in Bologna (1233, 1250, 1260 ... ), Viterbo
(1257, 1251), Parma (1258 to 1266), San Gimignano (1251, 1267), Siena
(1249, 1277 to 1282 ... ), Sicily and Puglia (1272, 1290), Prato (1283), Pisa
(1286), Ferrara (1287), Verona (1295), Cremona (1297), Fabriano (1299),
and other towns. A more comprehensive picture of the copious legisla-

tion in the many vibrant towns of Italy is just emerging, thanks to the
work of Catherine Kovesi Killerby. 27 In this revised context, the French
laws appear less as the model for Europe. On the contrary, they are
posterior to the first wave oflegislation, arriving fully in the middle of a
flowering of regulation that seems to have spread through the western
Mediterranean in the thirteenth century. France was undeniably an
important region in the Middle Ages, as in later centuries, but French
medieval dress has probably received disproportionately more attention
than other regions, exaggerating the importance of the French laws for
the larger historical context.
Some histories of French costume have mentioned legislation from
Provence and Languedoc, generally without recognizing the unique
status of those regions in the thirteenth century. It is therefore both
desirable and necessary to take some time here to begin, at least, to
assemble a picture of the Occitan sumptuary situation, which has not
yet been studied as a product of its own unique position. What follows
is a working list of regulation in thirteenth-century Occitania, most of
which calls for further investigation. As mentioned above, the church's
1195 council in Montpellier extended its prescriptions to include the
dress of laypersons as well as clerics, threatening temporal lords with
excommunication if they did not enforce vestimentary sobriety among
their subjects. The moral tone of this legislation reflects the spirit of
reform embodied on one hand in the formation of the Franciscan order,
on another in the persecuted Cathars' ideals, namely evangelical sim-
plicity and renunciation of worldly finery. Sumptuary controls were
imposed on laypersons as penitence by church councils during the
Albigensian crusade. 28 After the defeats at Beziers, Carcassonne, and
Termes, Count Raymond VI ofToulouse met papallega tes inN arbonne
to negotiate in january, 1211. The Chanson de la croisade albigeoise 29
reports that the pope ordered the count and his vassals to return to their
lands, send away their soldiers, and cease protecting heretics and jews;
additionally, among other things, they must fast six days a week, cease
to collect tolls, pay the appointed clerical peacekeepers an annual fine,
give up usury, and "Ni ja draps de paratge poichas no vestiran, I Mas
capas grossas brunas, que mais lor duraran (they shall not wear noble

fabrics, but rather cloaks of rough "brunette" wool, which will last them
longer, 60.16-17)." Beyond giving their lands to the conquering crusad-
ers, the Church dispossessed the offending Languedociens by stripping
them of their visual noblesse, as well as taxing them so heavily that they
could not outfit themselves anew. The moral and economic mortifica-
tion of the region by the crusade was felt long after the campaigns ended.
By the later thirteenth century, other legislation appears. In 1273,
the municipal consular government of Montpellier restricted the use
of silk and a variety of precious stones for ladies of the town. 30 In 1274
or 1275 the consul ofMontauban listed certain furs, silks, and garments
dyed purple as items which both men and women were forbidden to
wear in the streets. 31 The municipal statutes of Arles, compiled
between 1162 and 1202, forbade prostitutes to wear veils, and autho-
rized honest women to snatch them off if they saw them. 32 Fran<;ois
Bousgarbies reports regulation in Cahors in 1288. 33 Archivist Jules
Quicherat relates that in 1276 the consul of Marseille regulated prices
on heavily ornamented hoods and cloaks lined with cendal and other
silks; in 1298 the consul of Narbonne passed a law against laced
sorquanie outer dresses that allowed the pleated and embroidered
under-chemises to show. 34
The Occitan consular legislative activity of this time resembles to
some degree that of Italy, where each individual town debated and
legislated as it saw fit, rather than being regulated as a larger, united
region, by a king. This reflects the unique situation of the Midi at this
time. As Linda Paterson observes, if regions are defined by political
boundaries, then Occitania did not exist. In many ways it had closer ties
to Catalonia than France. 35 To the west, the English still laid claim to
the Aquitaine; towards the Alps there was influence from Italy and the
Empire. Parts of the area were coming under French domination, due
to annexation following the Albigensian crusade. For Montpellier in the
early thirteenth century, the bishop's quarter was French-ruled, while
the rest of the town was governed by the lenient Peter II of Aragon, who
was heavily indebted to the burghers and permitted them an exception-
ally emancipated consulate 36 Michel Roquebert has argued that the
region identified with France more than any other and that it held a place

of primacy in the Occitan imagination. 37 Occitania, in short, was a

crossroads, and one in transition.
Occitan sumptuary laws share a number of traits with contemporary
Italian legislation. Both the Italian and Occitan regions were distinguished
by their interest in Roman law, whereas in the north customary law was
the rule. Interest in Roman law probably helped reawaken the impulse to
legislate, as well as provide models. Greater anxiety was evinced over
women's ostentation than men's in both Italy and Occitania. In contrast,
the French laws treat 14 categories of men and only 3 of women in 1279,
and 32 and 7 respectively in 1294. The Occitan and Italian laws also pay
more attention to the regulation of particular items of the toilet, such as
specific silks and where they could be worn, particular ornaments, furs,
and so on, whereas the French laws provide very little information about
styles, cuts, and fabrics, being more concerned with the description of an
elaborate social hierarchy, and determining how many changes of clothes
per year persons of each rank were allowed.
Some excerpts from three edicts from the 1270s will illustrate the
point. The consul of Montpellier limited silk use for women in 1273:
"Que non porton vestidura de ceda ni daur ni dargen mais cendat. Item
establem que non porton vestidura neguna de ceda, mais cendat
puescon portar en folraduras de lurs vestirs, et estiers non." [They may
not wear garments of silk, gold, or silver, except cendal. Item, we declare
that no woman may wear silk garments; women may wear cendal as a
lining of their garments, but not on the exterior]. 38 Several statutes in
the collection exhort husbands not to let their wives wear silk gowns,
pelisses, chemises, or hair bands embroidered with gold, silver, pearls,
or other precious ornaments ["Establimen que hom non fassa a sa
molher guatnacha de ceda ... ,""Que neguna dona non porte vestirs de
ceda ni camisa cozida ab aur o ab argent," " ... que neguna dona non
porte garlanda de perlas ni que aia botons"]. 39
In Siena's statutes from 1277 to 1282, there is similar concern with
precious metals, stones, and pearls in women's hair ornaments ["De
coronis et sertis non portandis," "De pierlis non portandis"]; with the
wearing of orphrey bands worked in gold and silver by both men and
women, except at the neck, wrist and arm seams ("De non portandis

fregiis"); with trains ("Quod nulla fancella possit deferre pannos train-
antes"); and with women's robes (meaning full sets of clothes) involving
high yardages of woolens:

Et nulla mulier cuiusque conditionis vel stature sit possit mictere ultra
xviij brachios panni scarleti intra gonnellam et guamachiam; et si faceret
tolam robbam scilicet gonnellam, guarnachiam el mantellum, possil
mictere xxiiij brachios dicti scarleti et non plus; et hoc idem fiat et
observetur de quodlibet panno francisco ... 40

[And no woman of whatever social condition or rank may have a gown

and overdress containing more than 18 brachios (approximately 12 yards)
between them; and if she has the whole outfit made, with gown, overdress
and mantel, she may use 24 brachios of scarlet and no more; and let this
be done and observed for any French fabric ... ]

The edicts ofPhilip the Bold in 1279limited the number of new sets
of clothing and their fabric prices according to rank and income, and
then prohibited furs for bourgeois men and women with less than 1,000
pounds in personal net worth, forbidding gold spurs and horse tack to
them entirely .

. . . nus ne dux, ne cuens, ne prelaz, ne bers, ne autres, soit clers soit lais,
ne puisse faire ne avoir en un anz plus de iiij paires de robes vaires, ne dont
I' aune de Paris conte plus de xxx s. de tournois, se il n' avoit plus de vij mile
livrees de terre a tournois, et cil n' en pourrait avoir que v au plus ... 41

[... no one, neither duke nor count nor prelate nor baron nor others,
whether cleric or layman, may have more than 4 sets of vair-lined clothes
in a year, nor any of such cloth that costs more than 30 tournois sous for
the Parisian aune, if he does not have more than 7,000 tournois pounds of
land revenue, and this man may not have more than 5 sets of clothes ... 1

Squires were only allowed two new robes, unless they had 4,000 pounds
a year, in which case they were allowed four. An item some paragraphs

later stated that the same would be true for women, whatever their
social rank, unless she, her father, or her husband had 5,000 pounds or
more a year, in which case she could add five new sets of clothes to her
All three passages attempt to limit fabric consumption and display,
that much can be said. In Montpellier, women would be allowed a subtle
display of silk, but not an ostentatious one. Wool was apparently
considered more acceptable-less showy, less sinful, or perhaps less
damaging to the economy. Siena, in contrast, limits luxurious French
woolens like the richly dyed and fulled scarlet, attempting to do so by
rationing yardage (which angered both the Sienese women and the
tailors who were held to account for infractions-they protested in 1300
that not all fabrics were the same width, and not all women's girths were
identical). 42 Were these protectionist policies? It seems unlikely for
Montpellier, which was a distribution center for silks through this
period, although it was perhaps "domestically protectionist," keeping
the wives out of the warehouses. It is hard to know whether this might
have been a response to a particular event, or even a repression of
particular individuals, as might have been true on this sort of municipal
level. The French laws also attempt to limit fabric consumption, but
focus on the variable of price rather than fiber, fmish, or yardage. Each
legislative body, whether on the level of the French kingdom or the
Italian or Proven<;al town, experiments with controlling a different set
of variables, though possibly to the same effect: limitations were made
clear where they had not been sufficiently clear before.
Sumptuary laws operate in a tight zone between economic neces-
sity and economic excess, between what is socially expeditious or
delightful as dictated by secular society, and the restricting, simplifying,
renouncing voice of moral conservatism, in this case most clearly
articulated by the Church. Fashion is a creative force because it con-
stantly and paradoxically feeds on both desire to consume and the
condemnation of consumption. It is implicit in these laws that consump-
tion was expected of citizens of all three zones, and that that consump-
tion was legible to the community. The laws offer a kind of grammar,
explaining a language that everyone already speaks but where there are

divergent points of view on correct usage. The preachers condemned

vanity, but where did keeping up appearances end and vanity begin?
Plain taffeta-weave cendal was fine, but other silks went too far. Thirty
sous per aune is recognizably rich, but any more than that is excessive,
punishable, certainly sinful.
Montpellier and Siena obviously devoted more attention to
women's display than men's, while France evinces priorities more
oriented towards keeping the status-wealth correlation transparent than
towards limiting consumption by women. With regard to status, note
also that France legislated for clerics, which the Occitan and Italian laws
do not. Municipal legislation from Italian and Occitan communes was
implicitly bourgeois, whereas the French laws, in legislating for a larger
and more diverse population, necessarily had to enunciate more status
variables. The French laws have been called antibourgeois, 43 an impres-
sion which may be heightened when they are compared with the
municipal laws, but which ultimately skews the content of the edicts.
We can compare these laws up to a point, as certain scholars have done,
contrasting the royal laws' tendency to restrain the ambitions of the
bourgeoisie-or the nobles-with the municipal communes' republican
pride and need for moral restraint. 44 Then the thousand variables which
made these distinct societies from town to town and year to year must be
considered, and comparisons begin to falsifY the reading.
One constantly wonders about the motivations for sumptuary
control. Later laws give preambles spelling out legislators' moral justi-
fications, often concerned with the dire consequences and wrath of the
Almighty that the breaking of commandments might bring on a city,
but such a clear expression of motives is often lacking in the thirteenth
century. 45 The restraint and control of ambition was certainly a factor,
although it must not be forgotten that the notion of social hierarchy has
unique qualities in each region. There are also clearly economic reasons,
such as fears of the dissipation of capital, shortages of precious metals
for minting coins, and a need to protect citizens from bankrupting
themselves to keep up appearances. As Kovesi Killerby observes, the
absence of laws before the thirteenth century can be simply explained
by the absence oflarge, organized groups of consumers. 46 The laws are

a way of coping with a new social reality, that of constant desire for
consumption. The emergence of these laws in the thirteenth century
marks the emergence of a society beginning to organize itself to make
constant consumption a possibility: by producing and importing a
constant supply of available goods, by seeking to create available
personal spending money, and by engaging in discourses that signaled
what-and what not-to consume, which is to say, defining "fashions."
One also wonders why women were singled out for so much
attention, especially in the Midi. In fourteenth- and fifteenth-century
Italy, the expense of increasing dowries (famously enunciated in Dante's
nostalgia for the time before fathers feared the birth of daughters,
Paradiso XV) led to attempts at controls, as Chojnacki, Hughes, and
others have suggested, 47 but in the thirteenth century such expense had
not yet reached those exaggerated proportions. An explanation that
might be truer for the earlier period might be found in Chojnacki's
theory for fifteenth-century Venice, that women's increasing sartorial
splendor was the result of their lack of productive economic or political
outlets, leaving them only things like dress to satisfy the need for self-
expression and for the use of their wealth. Hughes has linked the rise of
cloth production of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and the shift to
an ideology of patrilineal descent in the same period, arguing that wives
became outsiders in a system that attempted to limit claims on family
resources. There was a need to incorporate the wife visually into the
family unit while limiting her control ofwealth. 48 That women's dress
could become a canvas for forms of social identity controlled by men
does seem clear, particularly in laws such as those ofMontpellier, which
demand that husbands control very specific details of their spouses'
There are several occasions in Occitan literature when women are
represented as suffering from sumptuary restrictions. There, their fem-
ininity has a kind of symbolic resonance. Early in the Chanson de la
croisade albigeoise, the very utterance of the word 'war' was said to
unleash the horrors of" ... manta rica dona, mota bela piuzela ... I que
anc no lor remas ni mantels ni gonela" [many a great lady, many a
beautiful girl who no longer has a cloak or a gown to her name, 5.12-

13]. The campaign left many dispossessed widows and orphans, without
a doubt. It also effectively widowed and orphaned the region. The
unclothed femininity of the women evoked by the poem reflects the
vulnerability the entire culture felt in subsequent years. Why would
municipalities deliberately reduce women to this state, after the wars
had done it by violence? Compare the thirteenth-century poem "Ab greu
cossire," by a poet whose gender remains unclear, P. Basc. 49 In it a
feminine narrator bemoans the loss of her fine clothes: " ... 1' apostoli
de Roma I volgra fezes cremar I qui nos fay desfrezar" [may the pope
in Rome burn alive the one who strips us of ornaments, 13-15]. She says
she can no longer wear her white chemise richly embroidered with silk
in bright colors and gold and silver (60-65), twice repeating the refrain,
"-Lassa!-non l'aus portar" [Alas! I dare not wear it, 59, 64]. Linda
Paterson reads it as a straightforward reaction to sumptuary laws of the
Albigensian crusade. Others, such as E. Jane Burns, have focused on it
as a more general expression of women's relation to clothes, or to the
male-dominated society. 50 It certainly suggests that sumptuary regula-
tion caused dismay and anxiety on the part of those regulated, beyond
being the result of anxiety on the part of those regulating.
When attempting to put French sumptuary law into context, a
number of writers have turned to the lengthy sartorial descriptions,
grooming advice and satirical sermons of the Roman de la Rose, whose
continuation by Jean de Meun and initial success is roughly contempo-
rary with the laws of Philip III and IV. 51 This work was adapted and
imitated throughout Europe, setting a fashion for allegorical dream
quests for love, among other things. A short Occitan verse allegory in
this genre, "Lai on cobra," relates the narrator Peire Guillem's meeting
with the God of Love and his lady on route to Toulouse. 52 Like the Rose,
it features amplified description of the figures' dress (48-58, 107-113), and
particularly oftheir horses and harness (59-87, 115-125), something the
Rose merely alludes to on occasion (1113-16). There is evidence of a
shared taste on the part of authors and audiences for extended descrip-
tions of ostentatious fantasy apparel. In describing the horse tack, the
author conveys an idea of the geography of splendor he imagines in his
world. He locates the great riches of the world in the kingdom of France,

which he puts on par with the emperor's court in Germany, and notes
that they pale in comparison to Persia: "Lo fre ni-l peitral ses doptansa
I Comprar no poiria-1 rei de Fransa, I E que lhi valgues 1' emperaire; I
Car tot lo tesaur del rei Daire I Valo doas peiras que i so" [Without a
doubt, the king of France could never afford the reins and the chest
harness, nor could the emperor; for the two stones decorating them
were worth all the treasure of king Darius, 77-81]. Adding a fourth
dimension, he observes that the lady's harness was worth more than all
the wealth of Castile and the five kingdoms of Spain combined ( 115-117).
The Occitan author appreciates description of splendid stones and
textiles, but must imagine the wealth to afford it outside his own region.
One might draw a parallel to the sumptuary situation around him:
Montpellier dealt in silks, but could not permit its citizens to keep them.
Occitania was a crossroads for riches, but those riches were destined for
In contrast, the Rose is adapted into the Tuscan vernacular by a poet
who reduces its 22,000 encyclopedic and digressive lines to a sonnet series
of around 3,248 lines. As Robert Pogue Harrison has observed, this
technique offers a far clearer linear trajectory for the lover, 53 but it
eliminates nearly all the amplified passages full of sumptuary detail: the
wall, the garden, the God of Love's grooming advice, Ami's tale of the
Jealous Husband who fumes over his wife's wardrobe, the Old Woman's
advice on beauty, Pygmalion's dressing of his statue in his wish to bring
her to life. Two key exceptions are the episodes with Richeza, or Wealth
(sonnets 74-75, 85), and False Seeming (sonnets 79-140), which follow the
Rose quite closely. The passages that the author chooses to follow faithfully
signal the Italian adapter's aversion to worldly display and ostentatious
spending. Richeza, showing the lover the quick path to a lady's heart by
the path of Folle Largesse, or unrestrained generosity, is a figure to be
rejected: She leads lovers to financial ruin and despair. Sumptuary laws
represent an authoritative curb to fo!le largesse, offering an official demar-
cation line, showing where social spending can be cut off and considered
sufficient. Falsembiante is a critique of religious hypocrisy: The character
puts on the clothing of humility, only to seek to confess the rich while
openly neglecting the poor. Like Faux Semblant in the Rose, Falsembiante

claims to be like Proteus, able to put on the clothes of any station or

profession and fool people about his true nature and intentions. Devoting
such a large tract of his abbreviated work to this character, the Italian
author echoes the anxieties the French poem expresses about the instabil-
ity of appearances, an anxiety that corresponds to the legislating impulse
that attempted to prevent people from falsifYing their rank, pedigree or
importance through expenditure and display. In short, Il Fiore cuts away
the flights of sumptuary ornament in the Rose, retaining the lessons against
such excesses. Similarly, the laws of the Italian communes were longer,
more descriptive in their restrictions, and more frequently passed than the
French laws, attempting to strike out at excesses and teach a lesson of
simplicity. Kevin Brownlee has argued that Il Fiore represents a challenge
to French cultural hegemony, an interesting parallel to the Tuscan laws
of Siena from the same period which tried to limit consumption of French
fabrics 5 4 Perhaps there is another parallel here: like the impulse of the
Italian writer to reduce what it deemed the rhetorical excesses of a French
poem, the cities ofltaly restricted dress earlier, more specifically, and more
often than the kings of France who, like the God of Love in the Roman de
laRose with his advice that the lover keep up his appearance according to
his income ["Moine toi bel, selonc ta rente," 2,129], seemed more con-
cerned that their subjects spend according to their rank.
A series of vignettes from the anonymous Tuscan story collection
from the late thirteenth century called the "Novellino" offers some
glimpses of how readers of central Italy viewed their trading partners
and customers-and perhaps rivals. The narrator demonstrates an
Italian self-perception in a story set in Levantine Alexandria: " ... in
quella Alessandria sono le rughe ove stanno i saracini, li quali fanno i
mangiari a vendere, e cerca l'uomo la ruga per li piue netti mangiari e
pili dilicati, siccome l'uomo fra noi cerca de' drappi" [In Alexandria,
there are streets where the Saracens make food to sell, and people go
through the streets seeking the finest delicacies; as people do here with
fabrics]." 55 The Italian man is assumed to be one who delights in streets
full of irresistible fabrics. (Notice the author does not put a woman out
there in those streets). As in "Lai on cobra," the Saracen world is a real
but distant horizon for the merchant culture.

In another story, a beautiful French bourgeois wife found herself

less admired than the other ladies at a festival, because their robes were
fmer and newer. She begged her husband for a new dress. He promised
one as soon as some money came in. A merchant came asking for a loan,
promising two marks in interest. The husband refused: Usury would
damn his soul. The wife insisted he take the loan, complaining that he
was just refusing to get out ofbuying her a new dress. When she appears
in the dress, admired as she hoped, Merlin arrives and interrogates her,
remarking that the enemies of God had invested in her gown. At first
she proudly resists, then gives up the robe to free her husband's soul
from damnation (pp. 86-88). The French are always lusting for new
clothes, and it takes a prophet to control their women, as the husbands
give in to their wiles.
In contrast to this sinful French and bourgeois coveting of new
robes, another story curiously mentions the knighting ceremonies of
"the son of Count Raymond" at the court of Le Puy in Provence. So
many great people attended out of love for Raymond that "robes and
silver ran short, and he had to undress his own noble knights" in order
to honor his visitors (p. 154). Here is the Occitan taste for splendor,
bankrupted by excessive expectations of generosity-by the folle largesse
the Rose warned about. The Albigensian crusade that undid the dynasty
of "Raymonds" of Toulouse lingers as a specter of economic ruin in the
Thirteenth-century sumptuary legislation blossomed both at courts
where sartorial splendor had become a social imperative, and in the cities
whose commerce and industry furnished the material of splendor.
France was an increasingly organized and dominant political power, as
well as the producer of certain cultural fashions, from scarlet woolens
to the Roman de la Rose. It should not be seen as the innovator of
everything, however. Sumptuary laws arose independently in each
locality, just as each area turned the allegorical encyclopedia into novas
or sonnets; just as they adapted the available fabrics to their taste and
forbade them according to their own circumstances. The towns of
Languedoc, Provence, and Italy developed elaborate municipal systems
oflegislation, drawing from the models of Roman law taught in those

areas and quickly developing into self-perpetuating mechanisms oflaw

making and revision. Sumptuary history must reflect how these legisla-
tive experiments of the thirteenth century are inscribed in the unique-
ness of each of these areas, as well as their economic and fashionable
interdependence. If sumptuary legislation and constantly increasing
demand for consumption are aspects of Early Modernity, that kind of
modernity must be recognized to have emerged in the thirteenth
century in these regions.
Material and
Symbolic Gift-Giving
Clothes in English and French Wills

Kathleen Ashley

ghe "social life of things" (or material culture) has become the subject
of intense study and theorization during the past twenty years. Material
culture is studied to discover "the beliefs-the values, ideas, attitudes and
assumptions-of a particular community or society at a given time. The
underlying premise is that human-made objects reflect, consciously or
unconsciously, directly or indirectly, the beliefs of the individuals who
commissioned, fabricated, purchased, or used them and, by extension, the
beliefs of the larger society to which these individuals belonged." 1 As the
most literal form of "material culture," cloth and clothing have been the
focus of widespread interdisciplinary interest that encompasses not just
fabric objects but also their representation in visual and verbal texts. 2
Arjun Appadurai in his pioneering volume on material culture, The
Social Life ofThings, makes the point that even if "from a theoretical point
of view human actors encode things with significance, from a method-

ological point of view it is the things-in-motion that illuminate their

human and social context.d Pushing that insight even further, the
editors of Subject and Object in Renaissance Culture argue that the two are
interrelated, not antithetical, reciprocally making and unmaking each
other. "If the subject (or author or painter) is no longer assumed to be
prior to and independent of objects, criticism can attend to a dialectic in
which subjects and objects reciprocally take and make each other over." 4
Certainly, when we examine the important role that cloth and clothing
have played in human economies and cultures, we cannot deny the
inextricable embeddedness of such fabrications in both material prac-
tices and the social imaginary.
This essay will focus on historical objects, the clothing left to friends,
relatives and other recipients in wills. The wills to be analyzed form a
heterogeneous but more or less representative selection of the hundreds
of thousands of late medieval and early modem wills surviving from
England and France. I will first examine the six hundred wills written in
Lincolnshire in the early sixteenth century recendy published by the
Lincoln Record Society. 5 These are written by working class testators,
many of them self-identifying as "husbandmen" or practitioners of various
crafts. About 10 percent of the wills were written by women, all widows,
and another small group by churchmen (usually vicars or parsons) From
England, there are also collections of wills of the urban elite, either
aristocrats or members of the middle class from London, Bury St.
Edmunds, and Canterbury. 6 The one hundred French wills are all from
Burgundy and represent primarily the wealthy bourgeois elites. 7 While in
no way a representative sample by scientific norms, this selection of wills
from France and England is consistent along class lines, and provides a
substantial enough base for some provisional generalizations.
In exploring the representation of clothing in wills, this essay will
engage with contemporary theories of the gift, to suggest that the will
as a site of gift -giving provides a new perspective on many of the issues
that anthropologists and philosophers have raised since Marcel Mauss's
seminal work, Essai sur le don (1923-1924). 8 Mauss claimed that all gifts
imply an exchange economy in which a "counter-prestation" (a return
gift) is required because "every exchange, as it embodies some coeffi-

cient of sociability, cannot be understood in its material terms apart from

its social terms." 9 Wills, however, convey gifts for which (since presum-
ably the donor has died) there can be no direct counter-prestation. They
therefore invite our scrutiny of how they create social meanings in the
physical absence of the giver, and they offer an interesting limit case for
gift theory.
Much of the debate over gifting has focused on a distinction between
gifts and commodities, or between an exchange that has affective/ ethical
dimensions versus one with primarily economic dimensions. C. A. Gre-
gory puts it this way: "Commodity exchange establishes objective quan-
titative relationships between the objects transacted, while gift exchange
establishes personal qualitative relationships between the subjects trans-
acting."10 Philosophically-oriented theorists have raised the issue of
whether there can be such a thing as a "pure gift" that does not imply
reciprocity, while anthropologists have tended to dispute the distinction
between a gift and a commodity, arguing against the possibility that there
could ever be a truly disinterested gift. 11
Gifts of clothing in premodern wills tend to support an anthropolog-
ical interpretation, for they largely erase any theoretical distinction
between "gift" and "commodity." Although one can trace a spectrum of
emphasis-from clothing as obvious commodity to clothing as complex
social signifier-my argument will be that gifts of clothing in wills provide
a rich locus for exploring how material culture created identities. 12 The
clothing in early wills might be symbolized by the Chinese term for gift,
liwu, which is composed of two characters: "The first character li means
rituals, properties and ceremonial expressions of ethical ideals .... The
second character wu means material things." Thus, "etymologically, the
Chinese term indicates that a gift is more than a material present-it
carries cultural codes (proprieties) and also involves ritual." 13
I had expected to use gender as a major analytic tool in this essay, 14
but found that the more provocative differences between the wills in
this sample, clearly reflected in clothing gifts, arose because of class
location. It is the socio-economic class of the testator that makes the
crucial difference in the significance a gift of clothing might have. For
the lower classes, the clothing functions much more as a "commod-

ity" -on a par with other goods owned by the testator. Clothing is
primarily an object of value to be passed on with other items of
household or farm wealth. In the Lincoln husbandmen wills, for exam-
ple, clothing is typically listed in the same sentence with cows and lambs
and horses. John Stele ofEvedon making his last will and testament on
19 June 1532 (#39) gives land and "cowes" to various ecclesiastic
institutions and their representatives, then "oxene," "kye," "bullocks,"
"marys withowt folys," "lammes" and "schepe" as well as crops to a long
list of friends and family members. His few items of clothing -"my
white petycote" or "my russyt cote"-are named in this series of
donations with no marker that they fall into any special category. He
gives to "my brother William my sored horse and my best cote" as if the
coat and the horse are equivalent goods.
One might argue that the clothing's value as material and functional
object is foregrounded in this working class economy, although that is
not to say that either the horse or the best coat lacked sentimental value
to John Stele and his brother William. As a written document, however,
the will does not make explicit the type of valuation placed on the
clothing, and the presentational format implies an equivalence between
the coat and the horse. Only occasionally is the significance of the gift
indicated, as when John Wadeslay, a husbandman, says (#154) that "all
my rayment that longys to my body be equally dyvyded emongeste all
my seyde children" -placing clothing in the same intimate bodily
kinship category with his children. Even where there is no explicit
comment, most of the wills by the less affluent do give their personal
clothing to family members, in some cases specifying clothing that
belonged to a dead spouse. Such comments alert us to the implicit role
of clothing gifts in acknowledging kinship ties and sustaining intimate
relationships, but it does seem that, no matter whom the recipient, the
clothing retains its importance as economic object.
The amount and kind of clothing given in the Lincoln wills indicate
clearly the rural working class status of most of these testators. Almost
all of those who give clothing include an item made of"russyt" -a coarse
woolen homespun cloth often reddish brown in color. It was largely
worn by country folk. 15 Many of these testators also gave clothing made

of worsted, a smooth, strong woolen fabric or of "tawny," a yellowish-

brown wool cloth. 16 Where other colors are mentioned, they tend to be
white, black or red, but a surprising number of items are violet-
including violet hose given to William Manby and violet coats to John
Keston and his servant John by John Thomson of Fosdyke, who
identifies himself as a "yoman"(#S); a violet gown lined with black
cotton from Richard Trowthe of Spalding (#40); a violet cap by Agnes
Cunnell, a widow who survived three husbands and who (reminiscent
of the Wife of Bath) also left two holiday kerchiefs of her own cloth
(#205); a violet jerkin left by Edmund Mitchell to his son John (#276);
a violet gown lined with black for his mother by William Foster, a tiler
from the city of Lincoln (#324); a violet gown for her daughter and a
violet "kyrtyll" for another woman friend by Joan Tollyn, a widow
(#337); a violet gown furred with black lamb to his brother from
Thomas Browne, a glover (#520); and a violet gown with velvet "covys"
to her sister-in-law- by Agnes Clare of Pinchbeck, a widow (#511).
Among the working classes of Lincolnshire, clothing of violet color is
typically bequeathed to the closest relative, implying gifts with a strong
emotional connotation. Violet also appears to have been used in the
fanciest clothing-to be, in other words, a "fashion" color in early
sixteenth-century Lincoln. 17
Clearly then, clothing items given as gifts in all wills are not pure
"commodities." They are dense with meaning for both giver and
receiver, although those noneconomic meanings may be more difficult
to read in the working class wills than in elite ones. The wealthier the
testator, the longer the will since there are more goods to give away. In
such wills, however, the proportion of clothing to other goods
decreases, since the wealthy have many more kinds of valuables to
bequeath: jewelry and other objects made of precious metals and stones;
extensive properties (houses and lands); elaborate household furnish-
ings, and above all, money.
In these wills of middle-class and aristocratic testators, clothing
appears as a polysemic signifier. Grant McCracken argues that clothing
is not expressive like a language because it cannot be recombined in new
ways. For McCracken, clothing is a fairly rigid code, and items of

clothing are mono-, not poly-valent. As featured in testamentary gifting,

however, clothes are capable of conveying multiple meanings, from
personal affection to pious almsgiving and the maintenance of social
networks. 18 Part of that meaning-complex is economic, for clothes were
very expensive items in medieval and early modern economies, but
perhaps their most significant role is to convey various kinds of social
identity. It's also true that the various functions of the clothing gifts-to
acknowledge affective bonds with kin and friends, to delineate social
relationships, to exhibit social status, and to demonstrate piety-are
more fully and explicitly represented in legal documents drawn up by
members of the elite classes as compared to working class wills.
In middle-class wills clothing almost always serves the function of
providing a locus for sentiment, including the desire to thank loyal
servants. When Anne Grozelier, a wealthy but childless Burgundian
widow, writes her will in 1579 she carefully explains why she leaves gifts
to a wide variety of those in her personal network (Beaune archives, Ms.
92). Although most of those gifts consist of money or jewelry, she also
leaves to Jehanne Prejem, her servant, her black outfit that she wore in
winter in recognition of the "bons et aggreables services quelle rna faict
et faict ordinairement en rna maladye" [ff. 12-13; good and agreeable
services that she has done for me and continued to do during my illness].
Ayme de Beaumont, a leading citizen of Chalon in his 1513 will gives
Guiote, his servant, a "robe et chapperon de drap noir bon selon son
estat" [Macon archives E 1315; "a gown and hood of black cloth
appropriate to his station"]. In his 15 86 will (which was bitterly contested
by relatives), the very wealthy Jacques de Germigny gives to Duval, his
"serviteur," his "grand man tea ul de camelot" [large mantle of camelhair]
and "pourpoint et chausee de mesme" [Chalon BM FF 96; doublet and
tights of the same ]. 19 The family might fight over other property, but
the clothing gifts seem to be excluded as expressions of personal
sentiment and, in the case of servants, as rewards for meritorious service.
Outside the personal bonds that gifts of clothing recognize, clothing
may also sustain one's social status even after death, as, for example, in
the elaborate arrangements for funerals. Members of social elites often
specify gifts of clothing for those who will participate in the funeral

procession. Like many of the affluent and pious testators, the aforemen-
tioned Richard Hyckes of Boston (#283, Lincoln Wills) scripted the
spectacle of his funeral, including black clothing for family members.
Hyckes leaves "a black gowne at my buryall day" to 'John Reenalde my
sun-in-lawe, Alice hys wyffe,Jasper, Christopher, Melcher and Fredesw-
yde my children, every one ofthem." 20
Most commonly, clothing is given as alms to poor strangers, who
will then form part of the public funeral procession. 21 Anne Grozelier,
the widow from Avallon, wants thirteen indigent women to carry
lighted torches around her tomb during the service; each is to be dressed
in white clothing (Beaune Ms. 9Z ff. 7-8). Ayme de Beaumont ofChalon
wants twelve torchbearers, whose black clothing he will pay for (Macon
archives E 1315).John Baret of Bury St. Edmunds, a rich clothier, makes
provision in his 1463 will for five men to be clothed in black, in honor
of] esus' s five wounds, and five women to be clothed in white, in honor
of Our Lady's five joys, all to attend his interment carrying wax torches.
In addition, he makes provision for "my executoures, my kynrede, my
frendys, and my servauntes" to have "gownys ofblak" for the occasion,
while the various clergymen involved should have either black gowns
or white and gold vestments. The total of funeral gown gifts specified
in the document must run to several dozen-presumably not a problem
for a man ofhis wealth and profession, but also an indication of Baret's
desire to display both his piety and his prominence in what Gail Gibson
calls "funeral theater." 22 The funeral scripts of these two bourgeois
testators are surpassed by Sir Thomas Gresham, a London knight who
called in his will for an even more extravagant display of charity: "To
one hundred powre men eache of them a good blacke gowen of six
shillings eight pence the yarde. To one hundread powre women one
hundreathe blacke gowens of six shillings eight pence the yarde, for to
bringe me to my grave. 23 In the most elite wills-those of the most
aristocratic and wealthy-gifts of clothing thus become an identifiable
metonym for the giver's social status.
What is notable about the personal clothing described in elite wills
is the obvious luxury of the fabrics and elaboration of design. One of the
few Lincoln wills by a more affluent urban testator is that of Richard

Hyckes of Boston, whose clothing gifts include many furred and

"French" items: "To my brother Thomas Hyckes ofTetbury my gowne
furryd with hole foxe. To William Hyckes off Crommell my gowne
furryd with foxe pultes. To yong Thomas Hyckes my brother my
Frenche tawny gowne, gardyd with velvet andfurryd with blaklame. 24 .
. . To John Renolde my sun-in-lawe my Frenche tawny gowne lynyd
with chamlet." (#283) Items of clothing for the wealthy are no longer
simply valuable goods-on a par with land, livestock, furniture and
cookware-but signifY as fashion. The furs connote aristocratic fashion
while the references to the "French" suggest that often fashion is
associated with the foreign. Insights from the "anthropology of con-
sumption" are thus useful in understanding the roles that clothing
played in earlier as well as in contemporary cultures. 25
One of the most fashionable of the testators surveyed was Cecily
Duchess of York, whose 1495 will is full of gifts of clothing bespeaking
her aristocratic status. In addition to the impressive roster ofjewelry she
gives to friends and relatives, the Duchess bequeaths many items of
clothing trimmed with furs that only the nobility were supposed to wear,
according to sumptuary laws. 26 There is a short gown of plain russet
velvet and one ofblue velvet, both furred with sables; a gown of purple
velvet furred with grey; a long gown of purple velvet upon velvet furred
with ermine; a long gown of blue velvet furred with sable; two gowns
of "musterdevilers" furred with mink; one of crimson velvet, lined and
trimmed with black velvet, as well as a short gown of russet cloth furred
with "matrons and calabour wombs," as well as a kirtle of purple silk
chamblet with "awndelettes silver and gilte." 27 Virtually all of these
lavish outfits are given not to relatives but to people in the duchess's
social network. Lavish and fashionable clothing exhibits the testator's
social place and demonstrates, even in the act of exiting the world, one's
power oflargesse-of gifting to maintain position as a social leader.
Gifts of clothing to the church may also transmute some of that
social identity into a material form of piety. As we have noted, the
wealthiest usually devote a meaningful amount of their fortune in
charity toward the poor, which often includes cloth for new outfits.
Sometimes funds are reserved to pay for new dresses when a worthy
young woman will be married, or black cloth may be given in memory
of the deceased to a designated number of the poor. This almsgiving
affects the testator's reputation in both this world (for example, those
clothed by the alms are to participate in the public funeral ceremonies)
and in the next (recipients are to pray for the soul of the deceased).
Antoinette Perrin, a wealthy and extremely pious widow who wrote
her will when she was ill in 1528, makes bequests for practically every
form of charity available at the time (Macon archives 3E 35374). She
had a special interest in the Chalon hospital and left 48 frances to pay
for the robbes, souliers, chausses, and bonnets for 12 nurses from the order
of the Carmes. She also left money from her rents to buy dresses and
shoes for the poor-unlike the nurses, they did not receive hose and
Many wealthy testators also give fabric and clothing to "dress" the
church and its officials. In the most interesting cases, personal clothing
is donated with the stipulation that it will be made into ceremonial robes
for priests, thus literally transforming worldly into religious garb.
Charlotte d' Amboise, a rich noblewoman married to the powerful
entrepreneur Pierre de Bauffremont, writes a will in 1521 that reveals
her exceptional piety (Macon archives 3E35309). With the financial
resources to support it, she scripts multiple masses of various types,
including a Gregorian mass, to be sung for her soul at Saint julian's, her
parish church in Sennecy. She bequeaths considerable money for vari-
ous religious institutions and charitable purposes, but she also directs
that her "robbe de velour aramoise" [gown of velvet 'aramoise'] should
be made into two tunics and a "chappe" for the clergy. 28 If there is not
enough material in her clothes, she asks her husband to furnish enough
extra to finish the job. Her "rob be de velour noir" [gown ofblack velvet]
should be given to the church at Soye to make a "chappe." Likewise,
when Dame Maude Parr, mother of Katherine Parr (Henry VIII's sixth
wife) makes her will in 1529, she asks that her "apparrell be made in
vestimentes and other ornaments of the churche, and to be govyn to
Malteby, Kegworthe, and Nonyngton." 29 Thus, fabrics that had clothed
and ornamented the body of a worshipper were now to be converted
into the fabric of the church itself as an act of piety.

Affluence potentially ensured that one's socioeconomic power

would continue to be wielded after death. We are familiar with the ways
that late medieval religion used the system of prayers and indulgences
to maintain the memory of a dead family member in order to speed his
or her way through purgatory. Those who could afford it almost always
make provision to pay for prayers for their soul and the souls of departed
spouses and relatives in their wills. 30 Michael Sheehan has commented
on the changes that the death of a family member and major property
holder inevitably brought for survivors and noted that "by that curious
legal act called the 'will' the deceased could play a major role and, as the
middle ages progressed, an increasing role, in directing the course that
those changes would take.oo3 1 Like Sheehan, I want to suggest that the
gifts of clothing in medieval and early modern wills not only assured the
place of the deceased in the afterlife, but also operated to maintain the
testator's legal and emotional power over those who remained in this
life. Through such gifts, both the memory and the material influence of
the deceased would be kept alive for other members ofhis or her familial
and social networks. The necessary "counter-prestation" hypothesized
by the theorists of gift economies is this postmortem effect produced by
the will.
Cloth from
the Promised Land
Appropriated Islamic Tiraz in
Twelfth-Century French Sculpture

Janet Snyder

As for Bohemond, the great warrior, he was besieging Amaltl when he

heard that an immense army of Frankish Crusaders had arrived, going to
the Holy Sepulchre and ready to fight the pagans. So he began to make
careful inquiries as to the arms they carried, the badge which they wore
in Christ's pilgrimage and the war-cry which they shouted in battle. He
was told, 'They are well-armed, they wear the badge of Christ's cross on
their right arm or between their shoulders, and as a war-cry they shout
all together, "God's will, God's will, God's will!'" Then Bohemond,
inspired by the Holy Ghost, ordered the most valuable cloak which had
to be cut up forthwith and made into crosses, and most of the knights who
were at the siege began to join him at once, for they were full of
enthusiasm .... 1

9.1The upper body of the center figure of the right jamb of the
right portal at Chartres Cathedral. (RRZ)

ghe fine cloak from which the Italian Norman Bohemond fashioned
Crusaders' badges was most likely an Islamic textile and his action of
marking his warriors with arm bands follows the Islamic fashion. Similar
decorative bands adorn sleeves and skirts of column-figures installed in
church portal programs in northern France between the 1140s and the
1160s, linking them to the Islamic/Crusader mode of dress (see figure
9.1). This essay will address the appropriation of arm bands along with
other borrowed elements of Islamic dress and textiles. More than the
whim of fashion was involved in this appropriation: Although it is

unlikely that Europeans could read the inscribed bands or fully grasp the
concept that objects associated with the caliph brought blessings, they
could observe the material success of the califs followers. 2 The putting-
on of the arm bands characteristic of the dress of the Islamic ruler's
coterie seems to suggest that a parallel status might be assumed by the
Europeans similarly attired. For success in the Holy Land, Christian
warriors had been promised eternal salvation, but for some of them,
their exploits brought temporal power as well, giving them titles and
property in the Levant. Decorative arm bands applied to sleeves of
Europeans during the twelfth century serve as multivalent signs of
Although at the time the textiles produced in northern Europe
primarily comprised flaxen and woolen stuffs, courtly clothing in north-
ern France during the twelfth century was made of silk as well as linen
and wool, and it was decorated with metallic thread, pearls, and precious
jewels. The silks, worsteds, and compound cloths represented among
the archaeological textile fmds provide tangible evidence that during the
Middle Ages these other fabrics were available. These could only have
been used in northern European clothing and furnishings if they had
been imported. The range of archaeological finds indicates that an active
international trade in fabrics took place in the twelfth century. At that
time, the courtly dress of the French did not include entire foreign
costumes or souvenir outfits. Among the elite of northern France from
the 1130s through the 1160s, the fashionable dress-pleated, fitted,
body-revealing clothing with bejeweled borders-was constructed at
home in European styles using imported textiles and borrowed fashion-
able details. Just as the ancient Romans decorated the Pantheon with
marble imported from the ends of the empire to emphasize the reach of
their power, the exotic fabric employed in northern courtly clothing was
imported from the Mediterranean basin and the Levant in order to
deliver strong messages about Europeans' power and influence abroad.
The Cairo I Fustat Geniza documents testify that during the Middle
Ages, the textile trade was such big business that only professional
merchants specializing in the international commercial handling oflarge
quantities of textiles engaged in such commerce. 3 The Jewish overseas

traders whose records were preserved in the Geniza also handled great
quantities of dyestuffs and materials coming from practically all parts of
the trading world: the Far East, India, Yemen, Egypt, Palestine, Syria,
Sicily, Spain, Tunisia and Morocco. 4 The Geniza records trade of a
fabulously fine white linen produced only in Iran at the Rahban canal as
a result of the canal's water chemical content. The royal treasury
controlled the sale and required stamps to transport the bales of fabric. 5
Textile-weaving and embroidery workshops, known as Dar al-Tiraz
or Dar al-Kiswa, were maintained as a standard part of the Islamic
communities from Afghanistan to Spain from the seventh century until
about the thirteenth century. 6 Fine textiles resonated their sources so that
fabric and dress carried broad geographical and cultural implications for
European audiences. 7 Silk, cotton, and cotton-linen blends came from the
Middle East and the Far East; gauze originated in Gaza, damask in
Damascus; silk and linen, sharb, 8 and inscribed and tapestried tiraz came
from Egypt. In the Middle Ages, Egypt had the reputation as the "land of
linen," with the very finest linens produced along the Lower Nile. 9
The twin cities Cairo I Fustat, the capital of Egypt, formed the
terminus and distribution center for economic exchange between two
principal areas of medieval maritime commerce, the Mediterranean and
the India trade. The jewish traders who went to China and India by sea
kept records that indicate that threads, fabrics, and clothing exceeded all
other categories of commerce in both general and luxury goods. Silk and
flax were by far the most commonly shipped fibers. 10 The Fustat
merchants from Old Cairo dealt with Syrian silks, Egyptian linens and
fostians, 11 and they shipped dyestuffs, cotton fibers, and flax. The prices
of silks indicate they were of varying qualities; the heavyweight relic
wrappings that have survived in European treasuries are the most
expensive and of highest quality and heaviest weight.
When silk cloth is made from the extremely thin and long filaments
taken from the inner rounds of silkworn cocoons, minuscule pleating of
the silk is possible in dress construction. Finely-woven silk cloth retains
an airy volume disproportionate to its weight. The abundant mulberry
leaves required for silk worm cultivation restricted the zone of silk
production to the warm, temperate regions where mulberry trees can

thrive. In the Western Mediterranean, Spain and Sicily exported raw

materials to be manufactured into cloth in North Africa and Egypt. Since
production facilities had not been developed in France during the
twelfth century, all silk cloth that appeared in France at that time had to
have been imported. The Cairo I Fustat Geniza documents indicate that
textile goods and dyestuffs were being shipped from Egypt to Europe
since at least the ninth century, 12 with Alexandria serving as the
international exchange center of silk, with commerce from Sicily, Iraq,
Tunisa, and Spain. 13
Linen fabric is made from fibers of the flax plant, which have been
retted: the core of the plant separates into cellulose fibers derived from
the plant stalk. These fibers maintain a crispness after weaving so that
linen cloth creases into distinctive points and retains wrinkles and
pleating if it is pressed or polished. Although woolen cloth may be
woven with gossamer thinness, its nature causes it to appear to be a
volumetric, relatively substantial fabric. Through the processes of wash-
ing, combing, and spinning, sheep's fleece is turned into woolen thread
or yarn that preserves the springiness of fleece. When woolen cloth has
been fulled and sheared after weaving, the finished fabric can appear to
be thick and it will fall heavily in drapery folds even if it is relatively light
in weight. Both in reality or as represented cloth in stone sculpture, it is
possible to recognize silk, fine linen, and woolen fabrics according to
their characteristic drapery folds.
In addition to the Europeans' acquisition of luxury textiles, the
impact of the Islamic world on European visitors to the Near East during
the eleventh and twelfth centuries was recorded in the adapted details
of garments such as upper arm bands and sleeve cuff construction. One
traditional Near Eastern method of making tunics had been to weave
each garment to shape rather than cut pattern pieces out of a rectangular
piece of cloth. In Egypt, this "old" method may have survived among
the Christian, "Coptic," community until the eleventh or twelfth cen-
tury. 14 The recent analysis of fifth-to-ninth-century Egyptian Coptic
tunics (qibtis) explains traditional garment construction and indicates an
established use of the application of bands of decorated cloth to early
Islamic clothing. 15 These long-sleeved tunics were made on the loom in

9.2 Detail of Bowl, late twelfth-early thirteenth century: Seljuq Iranian;

attributed to central or northern Iran. Mina'i ware, composite body,
opaque white glaze with gilding, overglaze painting; H. 3 % in. (9.5
ern), Diarn. 7 3 I 8 in. (18.7 ern). Purchase, Rogers Fund, and Gift ofThe
Schiff Foundation, 1957 (57.36.4) The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

one piece, like a small letter "t," the shape being produced without
requiring the cloth to be cut. Decorative bands of contrasting color were
applied to the tunics, either over the shoulder like Roman clavi or at the
ends of the sleeves and hem. A second method of Near Eastern tunic
construction involved three pieces of fabric: two smaller rectangles (for
sleeves) were attached to the sides of a central, rectangular panel from
front hem to back hem with a central hole to allow the tunic to be slipped
over the head. A tunic constructed in this way required less time and
skill on the part of the weavers, and might even be composed of pieces
of cloth cut from a larger piece. As a result of the sleeves having been
added to the central panel, the shoulder seams dropped to rest upon the
upper arms. In the Fa timid period (969-1171) tiraz bands were placed on

9.3 The third column-figure from the left on the left jamb of the left
portal of the west fa~ade at Chartres Cathedral. (LL3)

the 'dropped' shoulder-sleeve seam of men's garments and small gold

squares on their turban cloths suggest the fashionable positioning for
golden square panels 16 (see figure 9.2). The golden squares consistently
appear positioned above the wearer's brow. The gold-embroidered or
tapestry-woven arm bands and inscriptions carried the caliph's name,
which was sacred and bestowed blessing; the representation of his name
blessed those whom it touched. 17 The use of these powerful inscribed
tiraz was controlled by the ruling caliph, who distributed them to his
familiars, to high functionaries, to ambassadors, to foreign princes, to all
those whom he chose to thank or honor. On the sleeves of Islamic

garments in illustrations, three kinds of gold arm bands appear: plain,

with inscriptions, or with floral motifs. 18
One easily recognizable tiraz was produced in Yemen, since it is an
ikat cloth (that is, a jagged pattern of stripes is produced by the painting/
dyeing of its warps on the loom before the weaving). 19 This distinctive
striped character of Yemeni tiraz appears to have been echoed in the
layering of the elements of an individual costume like the dress depicted
being worn by women in column-figures at Angers [L3] and Chartres
[LL3] 20 (see figure 9.3). This configuration of parallel fields in the
decorative bands along the borders of separate garments created texture
and pattern within an individual ensemble.
An eleventh-century tiraz linen revered as the Veil of Saint Anne
belongs to the cathedral of Apt, Vaucluse. 21 The Bishop of Apt and
Raimbaud de Simiane and Guillaume de Simiane, lords of Apt, took part
in the First Crusade (1095-1099). Apparently the Apt textile was either
received as a gift or was part of the spoils after the fall ofJerusalem. The
tapestry inscriptions reveal this veil was made in the Damietta tiraz of
the Fa timid Caliph of Egypt El Musta'l"i. 22 The inscriptions on the Veil of
Saint Anne consist of a declaration of the Islamic faith and a blessing on
the caliph, with whom is associated El Afdal, his minister throughout
his reign. Another Islamic inscribed linen cloth preserved in Europe is
the so-called Veil ofHisham. 23 It is likely that this veil is also a product of
an Egyptian tiraz since it is so similar to known Egyptian examples in
fabric (linen), decorative technique (tapestry weave in silk and gold
thread) and pattern arrangement (a band of octagonal shapes containing
zoomorphic forms).
These two tiraz and others from the period now in modern museum
collections suggest that in the years following the successful First
Crusade the experiences of pilgrims and Crusaders must have increased
the desire of European people for fine Levantine cloth, resulting in an
expansion of commercial exchange. Before 1100 not only price and
scarcity but also social rank limited the use of silk and fine cloth to the
highest-ranking and most wealthy persons in northern Europe. 24 In
1106, the young Louis VI of France participated at Chartres Cathedral
in the celebration of the marriage ofhis sister Constance and Bohemond,

the same passionate Norman who had made Crusaders' badges of silk
and who subsequently became prince of Antioch. 25 It is highly likely that
other textiles from the East must have figured prominently in this
sumptuous wedding hosted by Countess Adele of Blois-Champagne. 26
This festive occasion foreshadowed the prominent representation of
imported textiles in the sculpture that was installed as part of the
cathedral's remodeled Royal Portal thirty years later.
The very fme extant eleventh- and twelfth-century textiles from
Islamic tiraz described above correspond in weight and quality to textiles
represented in twelfth-century French sculpture. 27 Recognizable charac-
teristics of textiles, reproduced by artist-masons working in stone, make
it possible to identify the fictional fabric, even in damaged sculpture. For
example, the characteristic folds of linen smocked into sharply pointed
creases reveals fine linen used in the Chartrain woman's bodice while the
miniscule pleats ofher skirt into her waistband recall the character oflight
silk or wool challis (see figure 9.3). The very fine limestone 28 employed
for church portal sculpture in northern France during the twelfth century
has retained details characteristic ofspecific textiles despite damage caused
by war, vandalism, and environmental factors. It is therefore possible to
evaluate the represented textiles and dress as constituent features of the
iconography of these particular sculpture programs and as representations
of contemporaneous ideals of dress.
Significantly for our purposes, two fragments ofEgypto-Arabic tiraz
in the Metropolitan Museum of Art have tapestry designs particularly
close to the predominant border patterns represented in northern
French sculpture (see figures 9.4 and 9.5). The circled pearls enclosed by
lines, the bands of diamond lozenges, and the diaper grids of diamonds
in these textiles are among the most common motifs used by artist-
masons on sculpted necklines, hemlines, cuffs, belts, arm bands, thigh
bands, and cloak borders in northern French column-figure sculpture.
It is striking to observe that no column figure duplicates another, even
among those recognizably produced by the same hand.
While Fatimid Egyptian tiraz produced fine linen cloth with
inserted silk tapestry bands, 29 Islamic Spain was the leading silk producer
in the medieval period. 30 The popularity of Eastern textiles in Europe at

9.4 Tapestry woven in colored silks. Egypto-Arabic. Mid-eleventh

century. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Hewitt Fund, 1911.

the beginning of the twelfth century is further demonstrated by the

Burgo de Osma silk, one of a distinctive group of Islamic Andalusian
textiles believed to have been made in deliberate imitation of Baghdad
silks. 31 The surface designs of the early Iberian tiraz correspond to those
employed by the Baghdad and Cairo tiraz. 32 The silkworks of southeast
Spain had been established between the seventh and tenth centuries, and
the Islamic tiraz silks they produced differ from Byzantine imperial silks
and other Levantine silks. Syria, locus of the Crusader kingdoms,
produced and freely traded quantities of brilliantly colored silk and silk-
cotton compound textiles. 33 Thebes, Andros, and workshops in Central
Asia produced specific types of silk or compound cloth. 34

9.5 Portion of a garment. Blue linen with tapestry bands in tan and black
silk. Egypto-Arabic. Twelfth century. The Metropolitan Museum of
Art. Rogers Fund, 1927.(27.170.64)

In the Mediterranean basin, however, sericulture in Sicily was

second only to that of Spain, exporting raw materials which supplied the
entire Fatimid silk industry. 35 Very high quality silk textiles were not
produced on the island until Roger II had ameliorated the quality of his
Palermo silk-works after 1147 with the addition of silkworkers he stole
from Thebes, Athens, and Corinth following the sack of these manufac-
turing centers. 36 Twelfth-century Sicilian mosaics illustrate Roger and
his grandson William, each crowned by Christ while clothed in the loros
and stemma of the Byzantine emperor. 37 The appreciation of the
imported fabrics in Sicily and their use prior to 1147 for royal garments

such as the Mantle of Roger II help to explain his abduction of the skilled
artisans. 38 The Norman conquest and occupation of Sicily provided
greater access to Islamic silks for northern European courtly consumers.
Northern Europeans were not alone in their appropriation of Islamic
textile design motifs. Marble intarsia floors run like a series of carpets up
the nave of San Minato al Monte in Florence39 in a design echoed in the
Spanish woven silk with addorsed and regardant griffins in roundels now
in The Cloisters Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 40
The clothing depicted on northern French column-figure sculpture
documents both the use of fine imported cloth for courtly dress and the
European appropriation of the Islamic practice of applying bands of
decoration to garments in the twelfth century. Mid-twelfth century
column-figures in courtly dress indicate the pilgrims, crusaders, and
businessmen returning from the Middle East brought with them Near
Eastern tunic patterns that incorporated the "dropped shoulder" sleeve
design with upper-arm tiraz bands. The floral and geometric bands like
tiraz placed on the right arm and thigh of the column-figures may
anticipate the benefits or blessings associated with tiraz wearers in the
Near East or may function as the sign of the crusading warrior-pilgrim.
During the first half of the twelfth century, Europeans appropriated
other features ofislamic clothing construction. Decorative borders were
applied along the wrist cuffs of men's sleeves and the forearm seams
were left unsewn nearly up to the elbow: for example, on the center
figure of the right jamb of the right portal at Chartres Cathedral (see
figure 9.1). Compare the Chartrain crowned column-figure with the
large terracotta Islamic 'princely figures' at the Metropolitan Museum
of Art. Two large terracotta figures at the Metropolitan and another in
the collection of the Musee du Louvre wear sleeves with upper-arm tiraz
bands, applied borders at the wrists and open forearm seams 41 (see figure
9.6). A sleeve structure employing a cuffborder and an open forearm
seam would free the hand from the bulk of a hanging sleeve cuff seen
on other column-figures, allowing the wearer to participate in the kind
of civilized life that so dazzled European visitors to the Islamic lands such
as writing, riding a horse, or grasping a knife. The knee-length coats of
these Islamic noblemen differ from European dress of the period in that

9.6 Figure, ca. 1200; Seljuq, Iranian; attributed

to Iran. Painted stucco; H. 57 in. (122.8 em),
Max. W. 19 Yz in. (49.5 em), Max. Diam. 9 Vzin.
(24.1cm) Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lester Wolfe,
1967 (67.119) The Metropolitan Museum of art.

they have round necklines with three-dimensional decorative bands

applied along the edge and they open completely from throat to knees
at the front. The Arabic inscriptions on the tiraz arm bands of these terra-
cotta figures can be deciphered, repeating the formulaic prayer. Similar
coats with upper-arm bands appear on closed tunics worn by painted
figures on IslamicMina 'i ware pottery, and may be decorated either with
kufic lettering or floral or schematic stripes 42 (see figure 9.2).
Although the French column-figures' upper-arm bands follow the
placement oflslamic tiraz bands, the French arm bands feature floral or

9.7 The three column-figures on the right jamb of the right portal of
the west (Royal) portal of the Chartres Cathedral. (RRl, RR2, RR3)

geometric patterns rather than lettering or pseudo-kufic writing. Fur-

ther, while the Islamic figures usually wear bands on both arms, in
French stone sculpture upper-sleeve bands can be seen only on the right
arm, visible beneath a right-shoulder manteau fastening. Examples of the
tiraz band on the upper right sleeve appear on each of the three column-
figures on the right jamb of the right portal of the west (Royal) portal of
Chartres Cathedral (figure 9.7) and on the center figures on each jamb
of the south lateral portal ofBourges Cathedral (figure 9.8). This band
on the upper right arm might indicate a sign of Eastern power or Eastern

9.8 The Islamic sleeve on column-figure of the south lateral

portal ofBourges Cathedral.

authority: It not only appears on a number of column-figures, but it is

also a characteristic of the enthroned Herod's costume on the lintel of
the Saint Anne portal at Notre-Dame ofParis and on the sleeves ofHerod
and a Magus in twelfth-century glass at Chartres Cathedral. 43 The sleeve
design of the Islamic princely figures is repeated in column-figure
sculpture on the left jamb of Angers Cathedral, on two other column-
figures at Chartres Cathedral, on one on the left jamb of the Saint Anne
Portal at Notre-Dame of Paris, and in the eighteenth-century drawings
of the jamb figures on the west portals of the Abbey of Saint-Denis. 44

Beyond textile details recorded in three-dimensional stone carving we

can glean information about color through paint applied on the stone
surface, of which only bits of tincture remain today. An overall-patterned
textile is illustrated in published eighteenth-century engravings for the
portals with column-figures at Saint-Benigne at Dijon and Saint-Germain
des Pres and on painted wooden sculpture that retains its polychromy. 45
A more permanent representation of surface design was achieved through
the carving of textile patterns as three-dimensional texture over the stone
surface, as can be seen in relief on historiated capitals in the church at
Saujon. 46 The practice of exaggerating the relief of textiles in sculpture has
an established history in metalwork and ivory. The so-called Pisa griffin,
the famous eleventh-century Fatimid bronze, appears to wear a saddle
cloth covered with roundels and bordered with bands ofKufic writing. 47
Elsewhere, patterned fabric strips recall the distinctive stripes of tapestry
in tiraz fabrics or applied tiraz appear on the textile skirts of column-
figures.48 The carved skirts of most column-figures at Etampes show flat
bands as blank fields prepared for painted patterns. 49 Broad diagonal bands
in the skirt of the bliaut of the column-figure identified as Saint Peter
conserved in a chapel at Notre-Dame du Fort at Etampes, appear to
represent the bias of a fabric skirt made in sections or gores of cloth,
making it narrow at the hip and wide at the hem. Conversely, on the south
doorway at Etampes, the significance of decorative panel is emphasized
on the thigh of a woman column-figure, last of the figures on the right
jamb (R3), and also on the right thighs ofboth male column-figures on the
right jamb of the right portal at Chartres (RRl and RR2) and on the leg of
the center figure on the left jamb of the south lateral portal at Bourges
Cathedral (L2) (see figure 9.9). The complex decorative pattern in a
rectangular field embracing the thigh of each of these column-figures
apparently functions in the language of dress as part of the same vocabu-
lary as the Islamic tiraz arm bands.
During the twelfth century, northern Europeans returning from the
East, the Holy Land, appropriated fabrics and elements oflslamic dress
signaling their optimism that the temporal and eternal promises for
successful Christian warriors might be fulfilled. In removing Islamic tiraz
and inscriptions from their originating contexts, these travelers revised

9.9 'fhe thigh of the centerfigure on the left jamb of the south lateral
portal at Bourges Cathedral. (LZ)

the meaning of the luxurious textiles they brought home. In this way
silk, fine linen, woolen, and compound fabrics were imported into
northern Europe to be used in clothing or furnishings. At once a complex
major change appears to have occurred: Exclusively European clothing
was transformed by the new materials used, metamorphosing the
owners and wearers of sumptuous imported materials through an
association with princely and Sacred Personages from the Holy Land to
the East. The distinctive character of these textiles was readily apparent
and could be reproduced as fictional clothing in sculpted stone. Rather

than whole garments that necessarily would have remained frozen in

time as rare and exotic souvenirs of a journey, these textiles and costume
details served a transformative function, repositioning the European
aristocracy and clergy visually at the nexus of an important cultural
crossing with the East. After the mid-twelfth century, what Europeans
perceived as the misfortunes of the Second and Third Crusades, greater
availability of exotic goods in the Fairs of Champagne and Brie, 5° and
the fragile associations of the elite with the luxuries of the Holy Land
faded, and fashions in courtly clothing shifted away from imported
Islamic goods, a shift reflected in sculpture as well.
Almeria Silk and the
French Feudal Imaginary
Toward a "Material" History of the
Medieval Mediterranean

Sharon Kinoshita

j.<t rltff thei' m,rri,ge, Ch,etien de Tmy«'< pm,gooi<t< Erec ond

Enide lead a procession to church, where Erec donates 60 silver marks
and a gold crucifix containing a piece of the True Cross once belonging
to Emperor Constantine. Enide then approaches the altar, prays for the
birth of an heir, and makes her offering: 1

Puis a ofert desor I' au tel

un paisle vert, nus ne vit tel,
et une grant chasuble ovree;
tote a fin or estoit brosdee,
et ce fu veritez pro vee
que l'uevre an fist Morgue la tee
el Val Perilleus, ou estoit;

grant antante mise i avoit.

D'or fu de soie d'Aumarie;
Ia fee fet ne I' avoit mie
a oes chasuble por chanter,
mes son ami Ia volt doner
por feire riche vestemant,
car a mervoille ert avenant;
Ganievre, par engin molt grant,
Ia fame Artus le roi puissant,
I' ot par I' empereor Gassa;
une chasuble feite an a,
si I' ot maint jor en sa chapele
por ce que boene estoit et bele;
quant Enide de li torna,
cele chasuble li dona;
qui Ia verite an diroit,
plus de cent mars d'argent valoit. (2353-76, emphasis added)

[Then she placed on the altar a green paille, the likes of which no one
had seen, and a great embroidered chasuble all embroidered in pure
gold. It was well known that Morgan Ia Fay had made it in Val
Perilleus. She had taken great care over it. It was of gold Almeria silk.
The fairy hadn't at all made it to be a chasuble to sing mass in, but
wanted to give itto herloverto make a rich garment out o[ Through
a clever scheme, Guenevere, wife of the powerful King Arthur, got
it through Emperor Gassa. She had a chasuble made from it, and had
kept it in her chapel for a long time, for it was good and beautiful.
When Enide left her, she gave her this chasuble; in truth, it was worth
more than a hundred silver marks.]

In medieval French epic and romance, Almerian silks-and indeed silks

in general-were synonymous with luxury. Both the beautiful Saracen
princess Nubie in La Prise de Cordres et de Sebille and the countess of
Vermandois in Raoul de Cambrai wear a "mantel d' Aumarie" -the latter
giving hers away as a reward to a messenger who brings her good news;

"paile d'Aumarie" is used for the banners borne into battle by Guielin
(1. 1368) and by King Louis of France in Le Siege de Barbastre; and "soies
d' Aumarie" festoon the streets of Saint-Quentin to welcome home the
countess of Vermandois's long-lost son. 2 In the scene quoted above,
Enide's pious donation illustrates the historical practice of converting
silks "used for secular purposes in the first instance" to liturgical use,
even as the chasuble's fabulous history attests to the sense of wonder
produced by such soies d'Aumarie. 3
In Old French literature, E. Jane Burns writes, costly foreign fabrics
are "visual maps" pointing to sites that provided the sumptuous goods
that marked "elite social status." 4 In this essay, I take the fascination
Almerian silks exerted on the feudal imaginary as a point of entry into
material histories of interconfessional contact and exchange in the medi-
eval Mediterranean. 5 For unlike Byzantine silks, the soies d'Aumarie found
in church treasuries and noble wardrobes throughout the West had to
cross a religious and cultural divide between La tin Europe and the Islamic
world. In recent years, medieval historians, art historians, and literary
critics have elucidated the complexity of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish
interactions in the high middle ages. Yet the perception of a Latin Europe
arrayed in perpetual conflict against the Muslim world has had a long-half
life, particularly in work focused on Christian (mis)representations of
Islam. 6 It is true, as recent studies usefully remind us, that in the middle
ages religion, not race, functioned as a primary marker of identity and
difference. 7 Yet this distinction itself runs the risk of being too quickly
reified into the optic through which to view the totality of medieval
history. The treasured place accorded silks like Enide' s in vernacular
French culture squares poorly with the assumption that medieval Chris-
tian-Muslim relations during this age of crusades were exclusively, or even
predominantly, conflictual. Following the routes that brought soie
d'Aumarie to Latin Europe allows us to reimagine the denizens of the
medieval Mediterranean not (only) as Christians and Muslims, but as
kings, courtiers, diplomats, mercenaries, and merchants, whose experi-
ences, travels, and affinities often crossed confessional lines. Once we
relinquish the a priori assumption of a civilizational standoff, there
emerges a multifacted history of interaction and exchange.

Sericulture was introduced to the Iberian peninsula sometime after the

Muslim conquest of the early eighth century. Under the Umayyads,
Cordoba was the center of Andalusian production. As in other produc-
tion centers around the Mediterranean and in the Near East, the best
silks were produced in strictly controlled palace workshops for use in
elaborate court rituals, or to be distributed as diplomatic gifts and
ceremonial robes of honor. Soon, however, commercial workshops
began producing silks in a wide range of qualities for more general sale
and consumption. By the tenth century, Andalusian silks were being
exported to Fatimid Egypt, where they figured among the gifts the
caliphs bestowed on their retainers. 8 After the fall of the Caliphate
(1031), the lead in silk production passed from Cordoba to Almeria, a
flourishing commercial and industrial center on the southeastern coast
of the Iberian peninsula. Under the Almoravids, 800 factories were
turning out fabrics of diverse and distinctive designs, some imitated from
well-known eastern centers like Isfahan,Jurjan, and Baghdad 9 A purple
silk popular with French merchants appears in the "bliaut de porpre
d'Aumarie" worn by the epic heroine in Aye d'Avignon, and perhaps in
the "porpre noir" worn by the warrior queen Camille in the Roman
d'Eneas. 10 Among the best-known soie d'Aumarie were the patterned
silks, decorated with rows of roundels, called pallia rotata in Latin and
paile roe in vernacular French. Inside the roundels were human figures,
like the mounted falconer on the shroud of Saint Lazarus and the
chasuble of Saint Thomas Becket, 11 or the mirror-image pairs of con-
fronted (face-to-face) or addorsed (back-to-back) animals, often sepa-
rated by a stylized tree oflife: peacocks (on the lam pas weave silk found
with the relics of Saint Cuthbert at Durham), lions (on the chasuble of
Sanjuan de Ortega), lions and harpies (on the shroud of San Pedro de
Osma), and griffins (on a silk wrapped around the relics of Santa Librada
at Siguenza). 12 The colors are typically "dull orange-red for the decora-
tion, with green or blue on an ivory ground," highlighted by touches of
gold. Many of the silks bore Arabic inscriptions in stylized Kufic script,

repeating words like "prosperity" (on the "Lion Strangler") or "perfect

blessing" (on the cope of Robert of Anjou) 13
As these examples indicate, most of the Almerian silks we possess
today survived as ecclesiastical garments or as wrappings for the relics
of saints. One such piece, particularly relevant to the passage from
Chretien de Troyes which opened this essay, is the chasuble of Saint
Edmund Rich from the abbey of Saint Jacques in Provins. 14 A green
lampas decorated with addorsed parrots, it is, like Enide's first offering,
"un paisle vert" (23 54); like her second, it is made of soie d'Aumarie. The
roundel is adorned with the words "Glory to God" in stylized Arabic
script. 15 Such inscriptions, so frequently found on Andalusian silks,
evoke the incongruous spectacle of"clergymen and crusaders" arrayed
in "glowing ceremonial garments, where the praise of Allah was embroi-
dered in the 'tiraz' (decorative silk bands), in words luckily unintelligible
to most ofthe bearers of such a cloth.d 6
What would such silks have meant to a contemporary audience?
The display of silks acquired as spoils of war may have served to proclaim
the triumph of the victors over the vanquished. 17 But in medieval Iberia,
"religious ideology did not control all aspects of cultural interaction"
and, as art historianjerrilynn Dodds underscores, "the complex interre-
lations and tensions" between Christians and Muslims are part of what
made the arts of this period "rich and original." In this period, the frontier
between the Christian kingdoms and al-Andalus was less a "hard-and-
fast line between opposed camps" than a "permeable zone" crossed by
soldiers offortune, political exiles, high-ranking churchmen, merchants,
and eccentric monks. Political dealings between Christians and Muslims
were regulated by" a degree of mutual restraint" marked by treaties and
shifting alliances. 18 The most famous example was "the Cid" -Rodrigo
Diaz de Vivar, the Castilian exile who served the Muslim king of
Zaragoza before conquering the kingdom of Valencia for himself. But
such cross-confessional alliances were not unusual in the history of
medieval Iberia, where commonalities of rank and self-interest could
supersede religious difference. 19 The armies responsible for the Cor-
doban general al-Mansur's devastating raids on the Christian kingdoms
of Iberia, for example, included "numerous Christians who were well

treated and permitted to celebrate their festivals even on campaign," and

who, like their Muslim counterparts, received fine pieces of tiraz
(decorative silk bands) and other silks as their reward 20
Such cross-confessional connections and entanglements are well-
known to scholars of medieval Iberia and the Mediterranean. However,
for the majority of Anglo-American medievalists focused on the more
northerly cultures of England, Germany, or France, these complications
remain hidden in plain sight: vaguely known but rarely assimilated,
obscured by our own modern disciplinary divides. 21 Yet northern
adventurers like Ebles de Roucy and Rotrou de Perche who crossed the
Pyrenees entered a world in which both Christian and Muslim rulers
managed their affairs with a political pragmatism at odds with the
emerging discourse of crusades, and in which Mediterranean silks served
less frequently as trophies of Christian victories over Islam than as
signifiers of power, luxury, and prestige. 22 Their Islamic origins notwith-
standing, Andalusian silks figured among "the finest material in which
holy Christian relics could be wrapped." 23 At Durham, the remains of
the Anglo-Saxon Saint Cuthbert were enveloped in a purple silk brocade
embroidered, in Arabic, with the first half of the Muslim profession of
faith, together with Byzantine silks probably originally transported to
theW est as a diplomatic gift. 24 In church treasuries throughout the Latin
West, the apparently indiscriminate mixing of Muslim and Byzantine
silks suggests that possession of soies d'Aumarie signified, not Christian
triumphalism, but the highest opulence-as in the Roman d'Eneas, where
Camille's tomb is adorned with Almerian along with purple Caffan silk,
the feathers of a magical bird, and a sable edged with imperial (Byzan-
tine) purple (ll. 7365-7724).
In the Roman d'Eneas, the magical agency of the ".III. faees serours"
[three fairy sisters] to whom the golden embroidery on Camille's purple
dress is attributed-like the "grant antante" (1. 2360) Morgan la Fay had
invested in embroidering the silk for her lover-bespeaks a desire to
mystifY the origins of soies d'Aumarie. 25 Yet by the second half of the twelfth
century, Almeria had clearly established its hold on the French imaginary.
In La Prise d'Orange, the architectural marvels of Grable's tower Gloriete
are attributed to Grifaigne d' Aumarie, "Uns Sarrazins de mout tres grant

voidie" [a Saracen of very great skill] (1162-1163). 26 And in Chretien de

Troyes's Cliges (ca. 1180), the protagonist's encounter with his beloved
Fenice is recounted in the following terms: "S' or fust Cliges dus d'Aumarie,
I Ou de Marroc, ou de Tudele, I Ne prisast il une cenele I Avers la joie
que il a" [had he been duke ofAlmeria, ofMorocco, or Tudela, he wouldn't
have given a cenele against his present bliss]. 27 In the eyes of this half-
Byzantine, half-Arthurian prince, the silks of the Muslim Mediterranean
are the ultimate value against which his love's worth can be measured.


Both Almeria and the silks it produced belonged to the larger "Mediter-
ranean society" reconstructed in such remarkable detail by historian S.
D. Goitein from the accidental archive of the Cairo Geniza. 28 In the
eleventh and twelfth centuries, the Mediterranean was a space of
"relatively free trade" pervaded by "a spirit of tolerance and liberalism."
On both its northern and southern shores, the activity of "a vigorous
merchant class ... created an atmosphere of unity despite the constant
wars and political upheavals." Journeys-even regular seasonal com-
mutes-from Almeria to Alexandria or from Marseilles to the Levant
were a common experience. From Tunisia to Egypt, Latin Europeans
came to buy pepper, cinnamon, ginger, brazilwood, alum, flax, indigo,
and other commodities in numbers great enough to affect market
prices. 29 In this medieval Mediterranean, textiles were the major com-
modity and the major industry, with silk the most important of all.
Geniza records document at least 12 different varieties, distinguished by
quality, technique, and place of origin. Bundled into ten-pound units, a
standard grade silk (whose price remained stable ca. 1030-1150) was used
like cash: as payment for debts incurred in the India trade, as stipends to
needy relatives, and as capital investments; "everyone, in addition to his
substantial business, dabbled in silk." Goitein adds: "To conclude from
their writings, the Geniza people must have devoted a considerable part
of their lives to discussing which kind of silk to choose for which garment
and for which occasion." 30

At elite levels, fme silks played a symbolically central role in political

culture. In the early Islamic period, tributes were frequently paid in
fabrics and clothing.

At court luxurious textiles and dress displayed the authority, prosperity

and prestige of the regime, and so were frequently sent as diplomatic gifts
between rulers .... Instead ofhanding out medals in recognition of service,
the ruler generally bestowed gifts of clothing (khil'a), whose value
depended on the status of the recipient. Supporters of the regime were
expected to wear a certain colour or item of dress, and neglect or refusal
to do so signifled withdrawal ofallegiance 31

In Latin Europe, the prestige attached to gifts of fme silks had been set
in the early middle ages by the ceremonial robes Byzantine emperors
sent to the barbarian kings of the West. 32 In medieval Iberia, such gifts
were used to cement cross-confessional alliances. 33 And in the literary
imagination, the distribution of silk was figured as part of a tributary
economy of munificent excess, as in the Roman d'Alexandre (ca. 1180),
where "pailes d'Aumarie" and "siglatons d'Espaigne" (162) figure among
the Antiochene diaspers, Byzantine samites, Russian furs, Arabian
horses, Syrian mules, and Hungarian palfreys that Alexander's mother
Olympias distributes to her favorites. 34
From the tenth through twelfth centuries, silks and other luxury
objects-carved ivory panels and caskets, nielloed boxes, bronze zoo-
morphic statues, rock crystal vases-circulated around the Mediterra-
nean in what art historian Oleg Grabar has called a "shared culture of
objects." 35 As art historian Eva Hoffman explains:

The Fatimids, Byzantines, Normans and Umayyads in Spain flourished and

competed in close proximity around the Mediterranean. Each sponsored its
own impressive literary, scientific, artistic and commercial centres, and no
single power dominated the others. The energetic competition between
these powers sometimes took the form of military cont1ict but for the most
part the rivalry was played out through commerce and diplomacy. The
constant traffic of people and goods, at court level through gifts and at

merchant-class level through trade, proved an effective recipe for sustaining

a fragile co-existence and a delicate balance of power 36

The motifs characterizing this shared culture of objects were already old
in the eleventh century. The circular designs giving pallia rotata their
name appear ca. 700 on silks from Baghdad, Iran, Alexandria, and
Byzantium. 37 The figures they contain are even older, derived from the
ancient Near East, transmitted through Alexander's empire and its
successor states to Byzantium and Sassanian Persia, and disseminated
by the spread of Islam in the seventh and eighth centuries. The mirror-
imaged animals flanking a tree oflife, for example, derive from ancient
Mesopotamia, while the "lion strangler" on the dalmatic of San Ber-
nardo Calvo has been identified as Gilgamesh. 38 Images of the princely
life (like the falconer on the Saint Lazarus and Thomas Becket silks) were
first articulated as a cycle under the Umayyad caliphs of Baghdad. They
came to constitute a "vast koine of artistic themes," an international style
whose courtly motifs could cross confessional boundaries in ways
religious iconography could not. 39 Portable treasures like ivory boxes,
rock crystal vases, metal statuettes, lusterware ceramics, and, of course,
fme silks circulated from one end of the Mediterranean to the other,
spreading techniques and designs so freely as to render modern attempts
to identify the provenance of any particular object difficult, if not
irrelevant. 40 Around the Mediterranean, the "patronage and the posses-
sion" of such objects became a "sign of sovereignty." 41 Highly suscepti-
ble of imitation and appropriation, these portable treasures became
emblematic of the princely life they both enabled and depicted.
In this perspective, it is not hard to imagine that for the feudal
princes of Latin Europe, to possess and display Almerian silks was to
share in the wealth and sophistication of the Mediterranean cultures that
produced them. By the twelfth century, the power exerted by the
ceremonial culture of the Mediterranean may be gauged by the central
role it played in the foundation of the Norman kingdom of Sicily. When
the upstart count Roger II assumed the title ofking in 1130, he adopted
an iconography not from the Capetian or Ottonian north but from the
ceremonial courts of Constantinople and Cairo. His strategic appropri-

ation of Mediterranean forms is exemplified in the Palatine Chapel of

his palace at Palermo, where walls decorated with Byzantine-style
mosaics depicting Christian scenes are covered by a muqarnas ceiling
painted with dancers and musicians drawn from the repertoire of images
characterizing Grabar's "shared culture of objects." 42 Nothing better
illustrates Roger's appeal to these Mediterranean forms than his corona-
tion mantle, a large semicircle of red silk studded with pearls and
cloisonne enamel. The center of the cloak was marked by a large,
stylized palm tree, embroidered in gold. On either side are mirror images
of a lion attacking a camel, combining the motif of symmetrically
disposed animals we have earlier seen on soies d'Aumarie with a second
motif, also drawn from the shared culture of objects, of one animal
dominating another. An Arabic inscription around the border of the
mantle proclaims it was made in the year 528 (1133-1134) in the
workshop of the king's palace in Palermo; the workshop is described as
filled with "joy, honor, good fortune, perfection, long life, profit, good
welcome, prosperity, splendor, glory," and other exemplary qualities.
Like the magnificent Cappella Palatina, the mantle proclaims the king's
majesty in a visuallanguage of power legible across the Mediterranean. 43
In our civilizational histories of the medieval West, emphasis
typically falls on England, France, and the German Empire, relegating
Christian Iberia and Norman Sicily to the margins ofLatin Europe. 44 Yet
in the twelfth century, as Robert Bartlett has shown, the culture of
"Europe" was still very much under construction. 45 The example of
Roger II suggests an alternate mapping which casts western Europe itself
as peripheral to the "shared culture" of the medieval Mediterranean. 46
In this conceptual reterritorialization, the Iberian peninsula and Norman
Sicily-marginalized precisely because their political, social, and cultural
hybridity squares so poorly with the genealogy of the modern nation-
state-may be recoded as the Latin West's privileged points of access to
the medieval Mediterranean. 47
This turn of the geopolitical lens brings us back to Goitein' s Geniza
world of long distance trade routes traversed by merchants of all
confessions, where letters sent from Almeria to Alexandria cost one and
a half dirhams. 48 This emphasis on trade, traffic, and interaction (rather

than on emergent states with their attendant proto-national cultures)

brings to the fore a different set of historical actors who-like the
Norman Sicilians-otherwise risk disappearing in the disciplinary
divides separating medieval Europe from the Islamic world or the proto-
national histories of Italy, France, or Spain. Central here are the
Genoese, who sailed throughout the Mediterranean, building a mari-
time empire rivalling that of the Venetians. In the West, Almeria was a
regular port-of-call in the circuit comprising al-Andalus and the north-
west coast of Africa. 49 Their policies toward the city opportunistically
combined military aggression with a politics of accommodation. In 113 7,
they negotiated an agreement granting them trading rights throughout
Almoravid lands (the first in a series of treaties renewed at regular
intervals well into the thirteenth century). Ten years later, they joined
in Alfonso VII of Castile's siege and capture of the city, sharing in the
immense booty, which included large numbers of women and children
subsequently sold on the slave markets of Marseille and Genoa. 50 When
the Muslims (this time the Almohads) retook Almeria in 1157, the
Genoese simply reverted to business as usual, renegotiating treaties
guaranteeing them access to Islamic Spain and the Maghreb. 51 In the
second half of the twelfth century, their ships came to dominate trade
and transport in the western Mediterranean, carrying (among others)
the celebrated Iberian travelers Benjamin of Tudela and Ibnjubayr on
their respective journeys (1160 and ca. 1185) to the East. At the same
time, Genoese merchants could be found frequenting the famous trade
fairs of Champagne, providing a tangible link between the Muslim
Mediterranean, with its Almerian silks, and the northern milieu that was
home to Chretien de Troyes and Guiot de Provins. 52
This commercial Mediterranean plied by the Genoese was clearly
familiar to the authors of early French romance. In Floire et Blanchejlor (ca.
1150), a Spanish Saracen king, working through a bourgeois intermediary
"qui de marcie estoit molt sages I et sot parler de mains langages" [who
knew a lot about markets and spoke many languages] (424-26), sells the
heroine to some Egyptian merchants in exchange for cash, a golden
goblet, and an inventory of precious silks. 53 In the prose romance La .fille
du comte de Pontieu (ca. 1220), a merchant ship sailing from Flanders, "qui

s' en aloit en tere de Sarrasins pour gaangnier" [heading for Saracen lands
for profit] (237-38) docks in the port of Almeria. IdentifYing themselves by
neither "nationality" nor religion but by profession-"Marceant somes"
[We are merchants]-the sailors secure the sultan's good will by giving
him the daughter of the count of Pontieu as a present, a gesture which
evokes the slave trade so central to Mediterranean commerce in general
and Genoese commerce in particular. 54 Swept into a world where identi-
ties prove fluid and negotiable, the count's daughter abandons her faith
and learns fluent" sarrasinois" (1. 286), becoming sultana of Almeria before
(re )converting to Christianity and returning, triumphant, to the family and
society that had expelled her. Like Blancheflor before her, she is revalued
by her transit through the Mediterranean.


Despite common modern assumptions about the age-old enmity

between Islam and the "West," the history of the medieval Mediterra-
nean demonstrates the inadequacy of catch-all terms like "Christian" and
"Muslim" to apprehend the political and cultural complexity of the age.
In contrast to the simple, static models through which we are tempted
to think medieval cultural difference, the traces Islamic silks have left in
Christian church treasuries and in vernacular French texts summon
forth the necessity for different kinds of historical understanding. The
visual paradox of a bishop clad in a chasuble of Almerian silk reveals a
complex aesthetic politics that pushes our presuppositions about the
Latin middle ages to their limit. Once extricated from histories that
privilege the official knowledge of polemical pronouncements over the
lived practices of ambivalence and accommodation, soies d'Aumarie
invite us to recognize the medieval world's multiple modalities of
contact and exchange. In contrast to the "sheer knitted-together
strength" and "redoubtable durability" Edward Said has attributed to
Orientalist discourse, the material history of Almerian silk gestures
toward the Mediterranean as a site from which to "begin the process of
unraveling of civilizational narratives." 55
How Philosophy Matters
Death, Sex, Clothes, and Boethius

Andrea Denny-Brown

Whence the necessity of <reopening' the figures of philosophical dis-

course .. .in order to pry out of them what they have borrowed that is
feminine, from the feminine, and make them 'render up' and give back
what they owe the feminine.
-Luce Irigaray, This Sex Which is Not One

meaning of Boethius' s highly influential allegorical figure of

Philosophy in his Consolation ofPhilosophy has been much discussed. The
central linguistic fact is that she represents some form of wisdom or
learning: philosophia, from philein, to love; and sophia, wisdom, means <the
love ofwisdom.' That this wisdom is recorded in her garment also remains
unchallenged: Following a distinction made by Boethius himself, the
Greek letters II and 8 on Philosophy's famous robe are generally under-
stood as symbols of practical and speculative philosophy, the letters for
which begin with pi and theta, respectively. 1 Yet the greater connotations
ofPhilosophy' s garment as a material marker have been neglected, in part

due to the historical discourse of philosophical purity and perfection that

has constructed our understanding of her figure. Such a discourse reflects
a general assumption that as an allegorical abstraction Philosophy is
somehow 'above' her material appearance, and thus that specific aspects
of her garment have meaning primarily or exclusively in their relation to
the mind of the poet-philosopher Boethius. I would suggest, rather, that
her sartorial symbolism manifests her profound and wrenching loss: not
only loss of philosophical wisdom and reputation, but also loss of the very
purity for which she is so famous. This rereading of Philosophy tailors
itself toward an understanding of her influence on representations of the
feminine and the feminine subject oflater medieval literature. It explores
further how Boethius' s use of Philosophy's gam1ent to convey allegorical
abstraction ultimately unsettles the allegorical project itself.

I. Philosophy's Body and the Cult of Perfection

The notion of philosophical purity and perfection has dominated our

understanding of Boethius's Philosophy. Boethius himself associates
philosophy with "pure wisdom," the "pure mind," and the "purity of
nature" in his first commentary on Porphyry's Isagoge. 2 Dante subse-
quently identifies her as "the most perfect in the realm of human
beings." 3 In more recent criticism, Pierre Courcelle's influential study
states that she represents "la sagesse humaine a son degre de perfec-
tion."4 This perfection, however, is innately connected to the rational
processes of the philosopher-poet, what James J. Paxson calls the
personification's capacity as a "phenomenological foil to the narrational
human consciousness.'' 5 Indeed, one of the major lessons of the Conso-
lation is that the protagonist Boethius must refocus his interpretation of
the world, including the appearance of Philosophy herself, to include his
own process ofknowledge: "Everything that is known is comprehended
not according to its own nature," Philosophy says to Boethius, '"but
according to the ability to know of those who do the knowing'" [omne
enim quod cognoscitur non secundum sui uim sed secundum cognos-
centium potius comprehenditur facultatem.] 6

This prescription seems to lie at the heart of our various perceptions

and misperceptions of Philosophy's appearance. If we attempt to bring
her material figuration out from under the philosophical process of the
cognoscenti, the text seems to tell us, we will be succumbing to the very
mistake that the Consolation strives to dispel regarding the perceived
importance of the material world: We will be trusting the material. Yet
there are aspects of Philosophy's material figure that deserve a closer
look, not only in light of recent theoretical insights into the material
constructions of identity, but because of their fundamental importance
to Boethius's text and its literary progeny. Perhaps the most accurate
recent articulation of our critical impasse regarding Philosophy is Seth
Lerer's statement that "[w]e cannot content ourselves with familiar
explanations of Philosophy's appearance and her allegorical persona.
Hers is an ostentatious symbolism which alerts us to its status as
symbolism." 7 In conceding Philosophy's symbolic standing, however, I
ask that we also take into account the way in which 'symbolism' itself
creates identity. Considering the crucial and archetypal association of
women with difference, figure, metaphor, and alterity, if Philosophy
represents the symbolic, then she also represents the feminine. 8
And thus we reach the crux of the complexities surrounding
Philosophy's appearance: the tension between the rational male mind
that creates philosophical discourse and the sexualized female body that
is created by such discourse. How can 'pure,' 'perfect' reason be por-
trayed by the feminine body, which is by its very nature (according to
classical thought) leaky, penetrable, open, and polluted? 9 Because Boet-
hius' s Consolation situates itself precisely in the ambivalence of Philoso-
phy's own material reality-is she really there or just a linguistic trope?-
the question ofPhilosophy's 'body' is made to seem even more elusive,
even illusory. Yet, despite her discursive purity, Philosophy's implied
feminine 'body' is ever present. 10
On the one hand, this body is actualized by the metaphorical perfec-
tion used to describe Philosophy. For instance, William of Conches's
popular and influential twelfth-century commentary on the Consolation
discusses Philosophy within a greater understanding of the eroticized
female bodies of Boethius' s text. 11 William maintains the discourse of

Philosophy's intellectual purity and perfection, but articulates it in

expressly corporeal terms, comparing Philosophy to the seductive Muses
of Poetry found with Boethius at the very beginning of the Consolation:
some Muses are whole, he states, while others are wounded [Sed sunt alie
integre, alie lac ere ]. 12 William reinforces his point by repeating each image
two more times in the following sentences: the teachings of Philosophy
are whole (integre) because they conserve man in the wholeness (integri-
tate) and constancy of reason; those ofpoetry are wounded (lacere) because
they wound (lacerant) men's hearts. William's use of the term integritas to
describe Philosophy, aside from indicating a general sense of corporeal
completeness-a concept crucial to classical and medieval perceptions of
moral, philosophical and even individual rectitude-also resonates with
the sense of bodily chastity in Boethius' s concept of purity (from purus,
meaning 'chaste,' as well as 'free from dirt'). 13 Knowing, therefore, as
William does, that in Boethius's text the Muses of Poetry are explicitly
likened to prostitutes (scenic as meretriculas, prostitutes of the stage [ 1. pr .1 ]) ,
we can understand the passage's subtext that Philosophy is 'whole'
because her hymen is intact (integritas: whole, sound), whereas the Muses
of Poetry are 'wounded' because their hymens are torn (lacere: mangled,
lacerated, torn). Such a reading is furthered by William's later inclusion of
a version of the Eurydice myth in which her death by a serpent bite is
preceded by an attempted rape. 14 Although the rape does not appear in
Boethius' s discussion of the myth, William's commentary clearly devel-
ops an implicit association in Boethius's text between the desire for
knowledge and the penetrable female body.
On the other hand, the significance of Philosophy's body depends
on its being clothed. This sartorial body 15 has fundamental importance
as a mnemonic device for Boethius and for the reader, both of whom
work throughout the text to climb the ladder of philosophic learning
symbolically displayed on her garment. 16 Although one must agree with
the sentiment that Philosophy seems more voice than body 17-her body
being mentioned only in the first discussion in Book One of the
Consolation, whereas her voice effectively creates the entire rhetorical
structure of the text-her initial appearance initiates the action and
deepens the meaning of the text. Regardless of her ultimate somatic

status, the poet-protagonist and the reader ostensibly meditate on her

embodied symbolism throughout the intense intellectual gymnastics of
the Consolation. The manuscript tradition ofthe Consolation confirms this
important presence; illustrated manuscripts depict Philosophy's dressed
figure not only at the beginning of the first book, but often at the
introduction of every subsequent book. 18
Furthermore, although images of alluring women were sometimes
used as mnemonic devices in medieval manuscripts, 19 manuscript depic-
tions of Philosophy show a growing emphasis on bodily identity,
ultimately recording her sartorial transformation into a fashionable lady
oflate medieval society. For example, she is depicted wearing the low,
round-necked tight-fitting dresses of the fourteenth and fifteenth centu-
ries,20 with long, floor-length tippets hanging from her sleeves. 21 She is
often shown wearing garments satirized elsewhere for their immorality:
for instance, side-less gowns or cote-hardie with buttons/ 2 and even
dresses with the highly deplored decolletage, overly-long trains, and the
tall pointed hat called the hennin or cornet, complete with the attached
double veil of the mid-fifteenth century. 23
It is thus within an understanding of her material importance that I
will examine how Philosophy actually negates perceptions of herself as
'pure,' 'perfect,' and 'whole.' By concentrating on Philosophy's sartorial
body, rather than the learning process of her poet and pupil Boethius-
in short, by turning the critical focus to the lady rather than the
magician 24-one can see how Philosophy complicates, if not outright
counters, her famous perfection, and offers instead an image of loss,
materiality, and sexuality.

II. The Garment as Loss

In truth, Philosophy's clothes, her central symbolism, are rife with

discord. Although Philosophy's sartorial appearance certainly relates
Platonic wisdom-the pi and theta symbolizing practical and speculative
philosophy-her garment more accurately reflects the squandered
potential of this wisdom, rather than the ideal fulfillment of it:

Her clothes were made of imperishable material, of the finest thread

woven with the most delicate skill. (Later she told me that she had made
them with her own hands.) Their colour, however, was obscured by a
kind of film as of long neglect, like smoke-grimed masks. On the bottom
hem could be read the embroidered Greek letter Pi, and on the top hem
the Greek letter Theta. Between the two a ladder of steps rose from the
lower to the higher letter. Her dress had been torn by the hands of
marauders who had each carried ofi such pieces as he could get. 25

[Uestes erant tenuissimis filis subtili artificio indissolubili materia perfec-

tae, quas, uti post eadem prodente cognoui, suis manibus ipsa texuerat;
quarum speciem, ueluti fumosas imagines solet, caligo quaedam neglec-
tae uetustatis obduxerat. Harum in extrema margine IT Graecum, in
supremo uero e legebatur intextum atque inter utrasque litteras in
scalarum modum gradus quidam insigniti uidebantur, quibus ab inferiore
ad superius elementum esset ascensus. Eandem tamen uestem uiolen-
torum quorundam sciderant manus et particulas quas quisque potuit

Philosophy's is a sullied and fragmented wisdom, with each positive

aspect being countered by a negative one: Her Greek symbols of
learning have been coated with a dirty film of disdain and neglect; her
'imperishable' robe of wisdom has in fact been violently torn and
ravaged through misinterpretation and misuse; efforts to extract her
'wholeness' result in mere pieces ofher garment. In truth she embodies
an aesthetic ofloss: not only loss of her Platonic wisdom, but loss of her
corporeal integrity and purity, her supernatural status, and her reputa-
tion. Like Boethius, she has fallen from the heights of status and power,
but unlike Boethius, she manifests this loss in overtly material terms:
She is literally torn and dirty. These aspects have been traditionally
consigned to her age and recent neglect, 26 but I suggest that we consider
these elements of her sartorial body more carefully.
The theta on the top hem of Philosophy's dress, aside from its
symbolic role as an emblem of philosophical enlightenment, can also be
seen as manifesting in material terms the ultimate in human loss: one's

own imminent mortal absence. Henry Chadwick has pointed out that
prison clothing during this period was marked with a theta for thanatos
to symbolize the death penalty and thus the possibility that Boethius
himself (au thor and protagonist) was wearing a theta. 2 7 This worldly sign
of looming death is echoed by Philosophy's soiled appearance, which
Boethius likens to dramatic, smoke-grimed masks (fumosas imagines).
Such masks of deceased male ancestors were hung in the atrium of a
Roman house, where they accumulated soot from the hearth fire. 28 As
static images of ancestors, they were fundamental symbols of lineage
and power, but when worn they played a greater and livelier role in
memory and mourning: The masks were the unifying symbol of Roman
funeral rituals. Worn by carefully-chosen mourners in funeral proces-
sions, the imagines were the central feature of a ritualized performance
of impermanence and lamentation, one that both celebrated the indi-
vidual character and virtues of the deceased and dramatized a communal
sense of history and past greatness. 29
The imagines and the funeral processions that exhibited them were
also at the center of power struggles over public display of material
wealth and the public performance of mourning. Such funerary conspic-
uous consumption was, for example, a special concern of early sumptu-
ary laws of Greece and Rome, and by the early Empire the imagines were
generally associated with ostentatious displays of wealth. 30 As well, the
combined theatricality and powerful symbolic ancestry of the masks
encouraged their association with deceit and disguise. 31 For example,
the image of the fumosas imagines was specifically used by Cicero to
target those who acquired unearned political achievements. 32 In this
context the masks recall a more dignified past in which leaders earned
their respect and homage, yet in so doing they also magnify the
unmerited position and power of such leaders' progeny. Philosophy's
association with these masks can thus be seen both as a dramatic and
dignified prefiguring of Boethius' s death and as a representation of his
empty material aspirations.
Moreover, the sumptuary laws governing these funeral processions
were especially concerned with the conspicuous display of mourning
women, who were restricted from wearing more than three funeral

shawls and forbidden to wail or tear their cheeks at funerals. 33 The

female ritual of wailing and lacerating oneself and one's clothes was
intended in part to display the wealth and status of the deceased through
the overt dramatization of disorder and indecency caused by his death. 34
Tellingly, we see this ritualized disorder in the lacerated and lamenting
Muses of Poetry who accompany Boethius and his elegiac poem at the
beginning of the Consolation, the aforementioned 'wounded' muses
discussed by William of Conches who are banished by Philosophy for
pretending to aid the poet but in actuality worsening his illness and his
self-delusion. 35
Yet Philosophy is not at all unlike the lamenting Muses she exiles.
Through her combined elements of the theta for thanatos and the fumosas
imagines, Philosophy can be seen to manifest materially the symbolic
loss of philosophical knowledge (and desire for knowledge) that Boeth-
ius once had and has since turned away from, while also marking literally
Boethius's own impending mortal, worldly absence. Moreover, Philos-
ophy's aesthetic of loss goes beyond mirroring aspects of Boethius and
the greater narrative of loss in the Consolation to suggest a materiality
that is explicitly feminine.

III. Gender Matters

Through the symbolism of her torn garment, Philosophy narrates her

own violation experienced after Socrates' death:

'After that the mobs of Epicureans and Stoics and the others did all they
could to seize for themselves the inheritance of wisdom that he left. As
part of their plunder they tried to carry me off, but I fought and struggled,
and in the fight the robe was torn which I had woven with my own hands.
They tore off little pieces from it and went away in the fond belief that
they had obtained the whole of Philosophy. The sight of traces of my
clothing on them gained them the reputation among the ignorant ofbeing
my familiars, and as a result many of them became corrupted by the
ignorance of the uninitiated mobd 6

[Cuius hereditatem cum deinceps Epicureum uulgus ac Stoicum cere-

rique pro sua quisque parte raptum ire molirentur meque redamantem
renitentemque uelut in partem praedae traherent, uestem quam meis
texueram manibus disciderunt abreptisque ab ea panniculis totam me sibi
cessisse credentes abiere. In quibus quoniam quaedam nostri habitus
uestigia uidebantur, meos esse familiares imprudentia rata nonnullos
eorum profanae multitudinis errore peruertit.]

The description of Philosophy's raptus invokes both aspects of the

word's twofold meaning. 37 On the one hand she is materially plundered,
as her dress, the manifestation of her philosophical text and teaching,
has been ravaged, with pieces of it stolen and worn by her enemies. At
the same time, her virginal bodily integrity has also clearly been violated.
For the attackers tear off pieces of the dress and carry them away in the
hopes of procuring all of her (totam me), or, as in Watts' cogent
translation, '"the whole of Philosophy."' Moreover, as I will discuss
further, her torn garment creates the worldly perception that her
attackers are her familiares, or intimates, a public performance of
intimacy that implies Philosophy's own prostitution. Through her
description of her clothing, Philosophy presents herself as a typical
female victim: She has been kidnapped, plundered, and threatened with
rape and prostitution. She has been torn and abused.
Although the tear in Philosophy's garment caused by this raptus has
attracted little attention in modern readings of the text, it was of primary
importance to her iconography in the late medieval manuscript tradi-
tion. In fact, the pi, theta, and ladder central to her early iconography
became less and less prominently displayed in the late Middle Ages, until
in the manuscripts of the early fifteenth century, they are often relegated
to a discreet horizontal band in the middle or at the lower hem of her
garment, or as a subtle pattern in the brocade ofher dress. 38 In contrast,
the rents in her garment are often dramatically represented, as are the
men in long robes with dark expressions who stand behind her, each
carrying a stolen piece of her garment (see figure 11.1). 39 In such
illustrations the performance of identity is most striking: Philosophy's
sartorial body not only comes to suggest a woman of flesh and bone,

MS Paris, Bibliotheque nationale de France, fran~ais 1098, fol2v.

but a woman whose subjectivity is actualized by her sartorial display of

feminine penetrability and loss of material goods. Even more conspicu-
ous is the explicit connection between feminine loss and the violence of
masculine desire, symbolized by the would-be rapists who hover behind
her, still clutching fragments torn from her garment. Such depictions
reveal well the erotic movements around Philosophy's torn garment in
Boethius's text. Allegorically, the rips require Boethius to recall his
previous philosophical training and his own subsequent role in the
neglect, and resultant violation, of his physician and teacher. Materially,
however, the tears in the robe and the accompanying allusions of rape
evoke a titillating and violent erotic scene, with the holes in her robe
encouraging the eye of Boethius and that of the reader to penetrate the
clothes and reveal the secrets of Philosophy, to seek, like the wayward
mob, the 'whole' truth of her.
While the fact of Philosophy's female gender has been a noted
aspect of her meaning, such material manifestations of her gender and

sexuality have rarely been considered. Keeping in mind judith Butler's

concept of' materialization' -the idea that bodily identity is created by
the repeated 'citations' of regulatory norms 40-we can see how
Philosophy's personified status both constructs and complicates her
femininity. Especially through its association with adornment in the
classical rhetorical tradition, the female body became "a corollary
image to the cognitive act of personification." 41 Yet in part because of
this conspicuous association, because of the grammatical basis ofher
gender, and because her gender is noted only at her first appearance
at the beginning of the Consolation, Philosophy's femininity tends to
be ignored, neutralized, or even masculinized. In the preface to his
influential French translation of the Consolation, for instance, Jean de
Meun discusses Philosophy as an intellectual, rational, and male
counterpart to Boethius' s troubled sensual self. 42 More recently, in her
discussion of twelfth- and thirteenth-century epistemology and the
medieval perception of the female body, Sarah Kay specifically uses
Boethius's Philosophy as an example of an allegorical figure who is not
tied to her femininity, and whose authority does not seem to be
jeopardized by the misogynist association between femininity and
materiality. 43
Yet Boethius explicitly identifies Philosophy's sartorial body
through its material properties: "Her clothes," he writes, "were made
of imperishable material, of the finest thread woven with the most
delicate skill" [U estes erant tenuissimis filis subtili artificio indissolubili
materia perfectae]. 44 On one level Boethius plays with the notion here
that philosophy was once a seamless robe, a gift from God to
humankind. 45 The greater context for this "imperishable material,"
however, should not be overlooked. In addition to the sense of
'material' as cloth or fabric, materia can also mean 'matter' (versus
form), 'subject matter or theme,' 'cause,' 'source,' 'capacity,' 'natural
ability,' and 'disposition.' 46 Boethius specifically uses materia else-
where to discuss the idea of matter versus form-as in his famous
poem "0 qui perpetua,'' in which the "unchanging Mover" shapes
"unstable matter" (3.m.9). Hence his use of it in the description of
Philosophy's robe, the site that marks her feminine vulnerability, has

far-reaching connotations regarding her performance of sexual differ-

Feminist theorists have pointed out the misogynist underpinnings
of this femininity-materiality association, a connection underscored by
the etymological link between materia and mater (mother, cause, ori-
gin). 47 At the center of this discussion is a text Boethius expressly relies
on: Plato's Timaeus, in which Plato uses explicitly feminine terms to
explain the production of materiality. The imperishable philosophical
material that Philosophy weaves, for example, gives Boethius the
protagonist the language and tools to progress toward God and truth,
and in this way manifests key aspects of the Platonic chora, or the
unchangeable feminine matter that mandates origination and creativ-
ity48 Boethius's use of materia to describe Philosophy's garment situates
her sartorial body precisely in the foundations of discursive construc-
tions of feminine sexuality. As Butler describes it, this Platonic materi-
ality is "the site at which a certain drama of sexual difference plays itself
out," and where "a set of positions is being secured ... through the
exclusive allocation of penetration to the form, and penetrability to a
feminized materiality." 49 Moreover, that Philosophy's imperishable
material is erotically torn-thus performing this very 'penetrability'-
both emphasizes and intensifies its association with the feminine.

IV. Sartorial Sexuality and Open Secrets

Since Irigaray feminist theorists have been aware of the 'feminine gap'
in philosophical discourse. 5° And yet in Philosophy's torn garment we
have a material gap that seems both to underscore the absence of the
feminine in philosophical discourse (Philosophy's overall hermeneutic
project in the Consolation is undoubtedly masculine), and at the same
time to locate the feminine as a material loss or gap in the body. Images
of sartorial penetration were part of a wider exegetical tradition that
troped the acquisition of secret knowledge, truth, and revelation as the
unveiling of the female body and its sexual 'secrets'. Perhaps the best
example of this is the popular passage from Macrobius's Commentary on

the Dream of Scipio in which he uses revealing and concealing clothing to

discuss the application of narrative stories in philosophy:

Philosophers . realize that a frank, open exposition of herself is

distasteful to Nature, who, just as she has withheld an understanding of
herself from the uncouth senses of men by enveloping herself in varie-
gated garments, has also desired to have her secrets handled by more
prudent individuals through fabulous narratives .... Only eminent men
of superior intelligence gain a revelation of her truths; the others must
satisfy their desire for worship with a ritual drama which prevents her
secrets from becoming commons 1

Here the 'open' exposition of Nature, the revelation ofher 'truths' to

eminent men, is analogous to a woman revealing herself completely-
clearly a euphemism for giving herself sexually to him, as further
suggested by the fear that too much revelation will make her' common.'
Boethius himself repeatedly describes his philosophical process as
exploring of the "secrets ofNature," 52 a metaphor that gains even more
sexual significance when considering that the word natura itself was
commonly used to connote genital organs 5 3
In addition to such images of the 'open' yet reluctant feminine body,
the literary tradition also imagines the literal 'open' body of the prosti-
tute, making even more clear the erotics of the exegetical process. The
counterpoint to the elite philosopher obtaining access to the secrets of
the text is the problem he then has keeping them from becoming too
open, too widely known, and thus losing their potency as 'secrets.'
Hence the philosopher who irresponsibly reveals textual secrets is
explicitly identified as the male ravager or pimp who forces the figural
female text into prostitution. Macrobius makes this explicit in his story
about the philosopher Numenius, who has a disturbing vision of the
Eleusinian goddesses "dressed in the garments of the courtesans ... [and]
standing before an open brothel," who protest that he "prostituted them
to every passer-by" with his interpretation of the Eleusinian mysteries. 54
Like the 'open' exposition of herself that Nature so abhors, here we
see the emphasis on the revealed secrets of the 'open' brothel, a

performance of openness that goes beyond mere nakedness to connote

the 'open' hole of the prostitute. Similarly, the violently 'opened' holes
ofPhilosophy's garment and the pieces torn away give her attackers the
reputation ofbeing her familia res, intimates. This transforms Philosophy
from a goddess-muse who appears in order to reveal divine secrets, to a
harlot in a torn garment, whose sexual secrets have been forced open
against her knowledge for the (male) philosopher to see. This sexual
secret is utterly unlike the philosophical secrets she willingly reveals to
Boethius; it taps into a discourse that establishes female sexuality as a
masculine hermeneutic tool about which women have no knowledge
or control. As Karma Lochrie describes the process in another context,
such a conception "does not grant women (or their bodies), thus
constituted as secrets, the possession of any knowledge about those
secrets. In fact, women are ignorant of the very secrets that they are." 55
In this context Philosophy's materiality performs a feminine bodily
difference exactly opposed to her ostensible philosophical purpose; her
masculine wisdom is countered by her gendered physical loss, the
sartorial tear that marks her as open and unwitting secret.
Moreover, although the well-known cultural association between
the prostitute and the actress is most apparent in linguistic connections,
such as Boethius' s derogatory branding of the Muses ofPoetry as scenic as
meretriculas (, the prostitutes of antiquity were, like their allegor-
ical counterparts, explicitly associated with the sartorial performativity
of gender and sexuality. Regulation of prostitutes' attire emerged with
the earliest sumptuary laws and remained one of the most resolute
aspects of sumptuary history, suggestive not only of a deep cultural
desire to control the performance of unbridled female desire through
strict social order, but also of prostitutes' routine defiance of social and
sartorial codes. 56 In Rome prostitutes were denied the dress of the
matrona (mother and citizen), and wore instead the male toga. 57 Rather
than concealing gender identity, however, such cross-dressing eroti-
cized the discrepancy between the prostitute's sartorial performance
and sexual identity. It emphasized her dressed figure as one of open
secrets, of dissembling, and of difference, and called into question the
very boundaries of identity and representation.

V. Conclusion

In the end, the 'gaps' in Philosophy's garment invoke a corporeality

characterized by materiality, penetrability, and open spaces, aligning her
more with the 'torn' femininity ofWilliam of Conches's Muses ofPoetry
than the 'whole' or 'sound' physicality he and others construct for her.
Indeed, Boethius' s figuring of philosophical wisdom and purity in a
material garment that manifests the tension between the rational male
mind and the sexualized female body has the eventual effect of destabi-
lizing that very binary. The problematized trope of the torn garment
most clearly symbolizes this tension, and as the ultimate mark of what
Lochrie calls "the opposition between the masculine 'desire to know'
and the feminine refusal to tell," 58 it has a substantial presence in later
medieval literature. For instance, we might similarly explore how the
torn garments worn by characters such as Chretien de Troyes' s Enide
and Chaucer's Griselda manifest their position at the intersection
between the allegorical and cultural, and, as with Boethius' Philosophy,
seem in some ways to actualize disparities inherent in a feminine literary
subjectivity created within masculine hegemony. The related character-
ization of the female body as the site of a gap or opening also reappears
in later medieval medical texts, which discuss female sexuality in terms
of the familiar 'slit,' or 'empty space,' or 'little space' that characterizes
the 'nature' -as both inner truth and as genitalia-of women. 59 Such
examples attest to Philosophy's profound importance as a material body,
one whose slippages between sartorial and sexual both complicate and
illuminate the literary and cultural movements at work behind images
of the clothed body.
Flayed Skin as objet a
Representation and Materiality
1n Guillaume de Deguileville's
Pelerinage de vie humaine.

Sarah Kay

3 n this essay I use allusions to flaying in a late medieval didactic text as

a means of purchase on current preoccupations with representation and
materiality in medieval studies. These preoccupations often-as this
volume attests-converge in the study of clothing, which can be read both
as an instance of material culture and as a metaphor of its representation. 1
My aim is to offer a different perspective by shifting attention from
garment to skin, and from undressing the body to flaying it. 2
The text in question is the Pflerinage de vie humaine, the first in a trilogy
of religious poems by the early fourteenth-century Cistercian monk
Guillaume de Deguileville. 3 It proved enormously successful, surviving in
numerous copies, many of them abundantly illustrated, and inspiring a
revised edition by the author himself and a series of imitations by others
including, most famously, John Bunyan. 4 Deguileville's Pflerinage, like
Bunyan's A Pilgrim's Progress, takes the form of a dream in which the soul

embarks on human life as a pilgrim bound for the Heavenly City but
encounters a series of temptations on its way. In Deguileville, the encoun-
ters are with the seven deadly sins, all of them personified as nightmarish
elderly women. The pilgrim succumbs to each in turn, despite being
periodically admonished to resist by two attractive female companions,
Reason [Raison] and the Grace of God [Grace Dieu]. Indeed, he is such a
hopeless case that rescue from "the Sea of theW orld" comes only when
he embarks on the "Ship of Religion" identified as the monastic life. The
poem ends when the terrifying figure of Death appears to him, and he
awakes in a panic from his dream.
The gruesome fascination exerted by this work amply bears out
Lacan's remark that "whatever some may think in certain milieux, you
would be wrong to think that the religious authors aren't a good read." 5
Deguileville's didactic impulse translates into a series of surreal images
among which those that involve flaying vividly articulate the anxiety
about mortality and salvation that is his overriding theme. Detraction,
daughter of Envy [Envie], wants to eat the pilgrim alive, strip the flesh
from his bones with her teeth, and flay the skin from his back ["je te
mangeraija touz vis. I Jete rungeraijusqu'aus os I et te trairai lapel du
dos," 8526-28]. From the monstrous body of Covetousness [Couvoitise]
there spurt a series ofhands of which the first flays everything it can seize
["j' escorche tout sans rien laissier," 9462], enabling Couvoitise to suck
out the flesh from her victim's skin like a spider devouring a fly. The
smith Tribulation hammers on her victims' bodies and then uses their
flayed skins for aprons (12051-67). Such images present the flayed body
as horribly and defmitively dead, its lifeless skin left behind as the detritus
of its destruction.
Other personifications, however, like Charity [Carite] with her
script or Study [Estude] with her parchment, link the theme of flayed
skin to that of writing. These references to inset documents, many of
them attributed with a divine origin, serve, as Helen Philips has pointed
out, to enshrine the permanence of the Church's doctrine amid the
violence and confusion of life's pilgrimage. 6 As the stuff of which the
parchment page is made, skin provides an enduring support for the
moralist's message and thus a tangible expression of the hopes of eternal

life which the text, in its content, promotes. Once stripped and cleansed
of mortal flesh, flayed skin can be conceptually detached from the life
that once was and serve, instead, as a means to immortality.
Yet parchment can also act as an inarticulate witness to the death from
which its manufacture results. It is still always possible to discern on the
surface of its leaves which is the hair side and which the flesh side of the
dead animal from which it has been stripped, and sometimes an individual
folio may be further scarred by death: a hole where the skin has torn and
been written around; a hole whose edges have been sewn together, so that
it looks like a stitched wound; the red outline of veins, or the spectral traces
of bones. 7 Michael Camille has pointed out that one of the characteristics
of illumination in Deguileville manuscripts is their tendency to leave large
areas of the parchment bare, as opposed to filling it with decorative detail
or dense color. For example, the artist responsible for MS BNF fr. 828
"leaves the bare vellum behind the figures and does not depend on color
at all." 8 Especially fascinating to Camille is another manuscript (BNF fr.
823 ), the painter of which regularly allows large areas of emptiness to form
part of the composition, giving rise to what Camille calls "his usual
ambiguities and vacant spaces." 9 Camille calls this artist "the Master of
Death" in tribute to the image from the end of the poem (fol. 94) in which
the figure of Death, armed with her scythe, looms over the pilgrim who
lies on his bed, half covered by a sheet as ifby a shroud. Camille comments
on the deathly quality of this miniature, where icy blue, gray and white
prevail. 10 I would add that the pilgrim already looks like dead skin, his face
under the sheet the same clammy tone not only as the figure of Death,
but as the parchment page outside the frame.
This capacity of skin in the Pelerinage de vie humaine to equivocate
between irrevocable death and eternal life is the problematic which the
rest of this chapter explores.

Representation, Materiality, and the Imaginary

The suturing 11 of the content ofDeguileville's poem to the parchment

folios on which its copies are inscribed is an instance of reflexivity of a

kind with which medieval scholarship has recently been much preoccu-
pied and which has typically centered on references to clothing as a
means whereby a work may draw attention to its own status as a cultural
Of course, the analogy of clothing misleads ifit is taken as suggesting
that language covers "reality" as garments do the body, as if this reality
could be revealed in all its nakedness, like a body that was both hidden
underneath, and yet made socially legible by, its linguistic garb. Lacan's
anecdote of the rivalry between the painters Zeuxis and Parrhosios
exposes the naivete of this view. Zeuxis has painted grapes so realistic
that birds swoop down to peck at them, but he loses the competition to
Parrhosios who has "painted on the wall a veil so lifelike that Zeuxis,
turning towards him said, Well, and show us what you have painted behind
it.»~ 2 Lacan's point is that the veil of representation is responsible for
instilling belief in a pre-existing reality that is capable of being unveiled,
a belief he clearly stigmatizes as misguided.
E. Jane Burns has likewise recently challenged the assumption that
some "natural" body of truth lies within the cultural fabulation of dress.
Arguing for a continuum of social covering that extends from the
masculine pole of shining armor to the feminine one of gleaming skin,
she coins the oxymoronic terms "sartorial body" and "social skin" to
disclose the aporia lurking within the very idea of "undressing." There
is no truly undressed body since, beneath their garments, courtly
characters are always already socially clothed (theirs is a "sartorial
body"); conversely, their clothes are so inextricably bound up in their
"nature" as to form part of it (constituting a "social skin"). 13 The liminal
nature of skin, which has an interface both with the external world and
with whatever we conceive as lying inside it, lends it to this process of
infinite regress, since it is always possible for skin to be imagined as an
"outside" and thus as containing a further "inside" within it, which
would then become an "outside" in its turn, and so on, ad infinitum. 14
From a psychoanalytic standpoint, the account of skin that is being
invoked here belongs in the domain of the "imaginary"; that is, it is a
phenomenon associated with the ego rather than with the subject in the
unconscious, and as such to be theoretically distinguished from both the

"symbolic" and the "real" (even if, in practice, it remains entangled with
them). Indeed, the ego has been seen by psychoanalyst Didier Anzieu as
enveloped and defined by skin to such an extent that he proposes
identifying the ego as a skin. Anzieu explains his thinking as follows: "By
Skin Ego, I mean a mental image of which the Ego of the child makes
use during the early phases of its development to represent itself as an
Ego containing psychical contents, on the basis of its experience of the
surface of the body." 15
Two consequences flow from this identification of the skin ego as
imaginary. First, as an imaginary construct the skin ego is sexually
undifferentiated. The imaginary body is a delusory mirror-image, indif-
ferent with regard to sex; in the imaginary, for example, the mother is
endowed with a phallus in the same way as the father. Burns's insight
that there is no sexual difference in the "sartorial body" is entirely
consonant with this imaginary relation. Second, the skin ego is an idealist
construct; that is, it is assembled from thoughts and ideas. Thus, says
Anzieu, the child is able to acquire its own skin ego "by a dual process
ofinteriorization: (a) of the interface [between the child and the mother],
which becomes a psychical envelope containing psychical contents
(whence the constitution[ ... ] of an apparatus for dealing with thoughts);
(b) of the mothering environment which becomes the inner world of
thoughts, images and emotions." 16 Similarly, the "sartorial body" in
courtly texts is the product of thought (indeed, of ideology) about
identity and gender. Clothes and/ or skin are being valued for their role
in generating and sustaining mental images, and it is this, precisely,
which makes them into figures of representation. Like Parrhosios' s veil,
they stand for the imaginative operations of the text, their capacity to
create belief in a material reality, which, however, is precisely what is
excluded from the idealizing process.
This does not mean, of course, that this process is not grounded in
any material support. On the contrary, Anzieu stresses that the biolog-
ical nature of skin is what enables it to support the perceptual envelope
around the ego. 17 Analogously, the role of clothing as mediator between
a biological body and its social inscription is the condition of possibility
for the "sartorial body." That is why, as Burns puts it, there is a

paradoxical cast to material cultural studies whereby it finds itself

investigating both "tangible material objects" and their "abstract and
often elusive cultural work." 18 The point is, rather, that this material
ground of thought is concealed by thought's emergence. The fact that
clothes and skin are composed of what we might call "matter" does not
of itself prevent their textual expression being purely ideational.
Textual study has likewise positioned itself under the banner of
"materiality" even though addressing itself to material things (manu-
scripts) primarily from the perspective of the ideas or thoughts to which
they give rise. Stephen G. Nichols, for instance, describes his work as
"material philology": "I want to consider the medieval artifact itself, the
manuscript as an historical document whose materiality constitutes
precisely what the ideal text cannot be [. . . ] a medieval event." 19
Although writing from a different theoretical, or rather antitheoretical
stance, Keith Busby also claims a material basis for his ambitious study
of the reception of Old French narratives in their manuscript context. 20
How might it be possible to gain an intellectual purchase on matter?
In my view, an account can only be materialist if it in some way
exposes the stand-offbetween matter and thought: Material reality may
constrain the way we think, but it cannot be subsumed into thought.
For example, although money lies at the heart of economic reality, there
is nothing so ideological as money if we fail to analyze it properly: It is
commonly credited with magical, quasi-divine qualities, hence Marx's
qualification of it as a "fetish." 21 Likewise medieval studies risks making
the "materiality" of manuscripts into an object of ideology, using
medieval codices as a kind of sublime currency with which to shore up
its own sense of value. 22 To escape idealism, the "real" of material reality
needs to be somehow captured in its very absence from, and resistance
to, our thought.
How can a religious poem such as Deguileville' s provide the means
for such an analysis when religious faith is the form par excellence adopted
by ideology? Reading this text through a theory of representation
adapted from the writings of Slavoj Zizek, I shall argue that the theme
of flaying in Deguileville' s Pelerinage de vie humaine, although at times it
presents skin as guarantor of sublime immortality, also manifests it as

the ineluctable remainder, the desublimated materiality of the mortal


Zizek's Dialectical-materialist Theory ofRepresentation

La can' s claim to "materialism" lies in his insistence on the divorce of the

(material) signifier from the (ideal) signified. Zizek's account places the
emphasis differently, relocating Lacanian theory within a Marxist philo-
sophical framework of "dialectical materialism"; that is, one in which
the play of thought is constrained and inflected by the "real," which, at
the same time, eludes it. 23 That is, by "material" he designates the
ineluctable condition of thought but not to what we might commonly
think of as "matter," in the sense of tangibly available "stuff."
Central to Zizek' s thinking on representation is Lacan' s definition
of the subject as "what one signifier represents for another signifier," for
example: "This subject, it's what the signifier represents, and it would
be incapable of representing it for anything except another signifier, to
which the listener is then reduced" [Ce sujet, c' est ce que le signifiant
represente, et il ne saurait rien representer que pour un autre signifiant:
a quoi des lors se reduit le sujet qui ecoute]. 24 The subject in this sense
exists only within language and as the product of the differential
structure of language (for example, it is said to be "split" by the
differential between the signifiers). This is first and foremost represen-
tation in its political, not its pictorial, sense; the subject is not endowed
with content; on the contrary, it is denied content in order that it can be
assigned a role in the structure of communication. The subject contrasts
with the ego in this respect; as we have seen, the ego serves as the
container for imaginary contents such as the thoughts and images which
we imagine ourselves to be made up of.
The process of socialization is a violent one, also termed "castra-
tion," and the sense of having sacrificed the content of individuality
generates, as its counter-effect, an objectal remainder that is not any
thing as such, but rather the rendering positive of a perceived absence
from the field of representation. This nothing-something that the

signifiers fail to communicate is what ZiZek, following Lacan, calls the

objet a. It features in many guises in Zizek' s thought, two of which are
particularly relevant to this chapter. First, objet a is the trace left in
language by the material real; second, it oscillates between sublimity and
abjection in a way that corresponds to the equivocation I have discerned
in the role of flayed skin in Deguileville.
Traditional defmitions of sublimation involve deriving satisfaction
not from obtaining the immediate goal of the drive, but from transfer-
ring its energy to other activities. In Zizek's Lacanian-derived account,
the possibility of obtaining satisfaction from the goal is denied and
instead we are faced with two options, sublimating the drive or pervert-
ing it. Perversion leads the subject to identify with the position of the
object-remainder of representation (objet a), whereas the strength of
sublimation is that it maintains a distance between the subject and the
object-the object is "sublimated," held up as "sublime," admired, even
hallowed. By clinging to a "sublime object" the subject provides itself
with a fantasy core of substance. This is what creates a sense of
perspective on reality, the sense of existing in a moral universe where
some things are imbued with value. Any such sense of perspective is,
however, ungrounded and contingent. The role of psychoanalysis is to
enable the subject to recognize the arbitrariness of his or her insertion
into the signifying chain and thus be free to adopt a new perspective. A
consequence of this moment offreedom is thatthe "sublime" undergoes
"desublimation": the magical value adhering to it evaporates, abandon-
ing the object to its ugly, meaningless inanity. As a result of this interplay
between sublimation and desublimation, the dimension of the "real" in
the objet a is exposed.
The objet a is thus a clue to a dialectical materialist reading. The
point where we locate the objet a is the point where material reality-
whether it be the "real" of the internal drive or of external matter-
which is excluded from thought, in fact shapes and conditions it. Relating
flayed skin to the objet a and its equivocations enables us to sketch how
manuscript culture in general, and the Nlerinage in particular, supports
an ideology of sacrificial morality, of pious death and resurrection, on a
skin of real, bodily death.

The Sublimation and Desublimation of Flayed Skin

I have said that one of the ways Deguileville's poem draws attention to
its capacity for spiritual instruction is by the many references within it
to written documents. A striking example is the figure of Estude, one of
the personifications of the monastic way oflife whom the pilgrim meets
with on the Ship of Religion. This young woman is first encountered
holding out a parchment sheet on which are pieces of food:

Une autre vi qui s'en aloit

par cloistre et, si come me sernbloit,
viande enrniellee portoit
sur parchernin qu' elle tenoit
et Ia suioit .i. coulon blanc. (12675-79)

[I saw another walking through the cloister who, as it seemed to me,

was carrying honeyed meat on a piece of parchment that she held,
and a white dove was following her.]

A picture ofher doing this, as though offering round a tray of sandwiches

at a party, is found in several of the illuminated manuscripts. 25 Estude
sutures the text to the page, sublimating the material parchment support
of the word into the ideological nourishment of its contents. Grace Dieu
draws attention to this process of sublimation. Anything about Estude
that might appear to relate to the flesh is to be read, she asserts, as an
image of spirituality:

et donne a mangier a !'arne

et Ia repaist qu' e[lle] n' afarne.
Le cuer rernplist, non [pas] la pance
de sa douce et bonne viande. (12827-30)

[and she feeds the soul and nourishes it so that it does not starve. She
fills the heart, not the belly, with her sweet, good food.]

This food, we discover, is Holy Scripture and the dish which bears it is
a "vaissel fait de parchemin" (12834) that cannot spill its contents:

gardee si bien ne si bel

ne puet estre en autre vaissel. (12840-42)

[It could not be so well or so finely kept in any other vessel.]

Thus parchment is transmuted into a kind of Grail which will eternally

preserve the contents of the sacred page.
A similar example of suture is effected in the description of the
pilgrim's sword early on in the text, when the pilgrim is armed as a knight
with the four cardinal virtues. Grace Dieu warns him that the sword,
Justice, will need to be turned mostly against himself, since he is his own
worst enemy. He is to keep it concealed, she says, in the scabbard of

qui est fait d'une morte pel

en meditant et en pensant
et en touz temps recogitant
que es martel et que par toi
ne !'as pas fait, ainz est par moi. (4360-4)

Lwhich is made from a dead skin, meditating and reflecting, and

recognizing at all times that you are mortal and that you have done
nothing in your own power, but only through me.]

The skin as stimulus to reflection and self-knowledge evokes the

parchment folio on which these words are written; meditation on the
text will provide a support and guide to the exercise of]ustice.
In both of these passages, the moral perspective is maintained by
persuading readers to see some things as meaningful at the expense of
others. They are directed to see the spiritual message but not the flayed
corpse it is inscribed upon. Something dead falls out of the process of
representation in order for the living truth to be advanced. However, all

it takes is a shift of perspective for the passages to be read quite

In the description of the sheathed sword, the conjunction of blade
and skin may actively recall the process of slaughtering and flaying and,
indeed, of preparing parchment. The fact that the pilgrim may need to
turn the blade against himself could suggest that his mortality is no
different from the beast's. The allegory of Justice would then undergo
desublimation, and the reader would see dead skin not as the support of
eternal virtues but as the material remainder of mortality.
The reference to viande on the parchment sheets borne by Estude
is likewise susceptible to desublimation, for while viande means "the
support of life" it also means "dead meat." The depiction of it as
"honeyed" invokes a traditional method of cooking as much as (or more
than) the sweetness of Scripture. A hungry reader might be tempted to
put the allegorical image into reverse, as it were, and revisualize the skin
in its original function of enclosing within it the animal body, be it sheep,
calf, or goat, that would, on a good day, provide him with literal viande.
The pilgrim's violent and nightmarish encounters with the sins,
which fall in between these two passages, present much more jarring
juxtapositions of eternal verity with the flayed body. Here Deguileville
seems not to have attempted to suture ideology to the page. Instead,
sublimation and desublimation are openly in tension with each other.
In so graphically depicting the pilgrim's horrible experiences, Degui-
levile confronts his readers with the horror of mortality. He intends to
coerce them into accepting his spiritual message, but he may not always
I will concentrate here on the figure of Tribulation, a last-ditch
supplement to repentance by whom the pilgrim must pass since he was
unable to withstand a single one of the deadly sins. Tribulation is
portrayed as a smith. She will, she volunteers, forge the pilgrim a
heavenly crown; but he must provide the anvil, and since he didn't like
wearing the armor of the cardinal virtues and in fact took it off as soon
as he was given it, the only thing he has for her to hammer on is his skin.
Among Tribulation's numerous attributes is a leather apron made from
the skin of people who have not survived this hammering in the past. In

this case, skin is overtly associated with violence, not with teaching or
reflection. True, Tribulation does have written documents ["commis-
sions"], one from God and the other from Satan, which come into effect
according to the moral demeanor of her victim. But the unlucky or
unworthy ones are tortured and pay for their faults by yielding up their
skin to her, as she says:

A sa pel acheter le fais

par la vergoigne que 1' en fais
quar ala couenne et lapel
qui est .i. forain devantel
connoist on cil que je parsui
eta cui je vueil faire ennui. (12060-65)

[I make him pay for it with his skin, and by the shame I inflict on him, for
from the rind and skin here in front, on my apron, you can see whom I
persecute and whom I intend to torment.]

The word couenne, which designates the rind on pork, shocks with its
emphasis on the flayed corpse as dead meat. Being flayed by Tribulation
may convey moral meaning, but it also points to the radical dead end of
meaning. If man's object-skin is no different from an animal's, then, like
an animal, he dies outside the realm of meaning, irrevocably consigned
to the silent world of matter.

Flayed Skin as Objet a Versus the Skin Ego

Deguileville's poem lays claim to the sublime in the way it overlays the
skin of an irredeemably dead animal with an allegedly living doctrine of
eternal salvation. But it also "desublimates" by the way it objectifies skin,
especially that of the pilgrim himself when the various sins threaten to
strip it away or suck the flesh from off it.
I earlier likened Burns's "sartorial body" or "social skin" to Anzieu's
concept of the "skin ego" as similarly belonging in an egoic, imaginary

framework; I then sketched a dialectical materialist approach to represen-

tation intended to reach beyond the imaginary to the real-symbolic
relation between the subject and the objet a. The sublime and desubli-
mated uses of skin in the Nlerinage de vie humaine show that flayed skin
differs from the skin ego in two ways, both of which help to prise the
symbolic-real axis away from the imaginary dimension. Flayed skin
reduces the three dimensional "social skin" to two dimensions, and it
replaces the principle of infinite regress with an absolute limit. Skin in
Deguileville is not something that can repeatedly be removed only to
reveal a further skin enrobing the rounded body beneath. Once your skin
is off you are dead, and what happens then depends on the capacity to
sublimate death as its contrary, immortality. In the shifts between subli-
mation and desublimation, the selfloses its illusory fullness and is reduced
to the surface of the page or the two-dimensional flatness of an apron. 26
The role played by flayed skin in Deguileville's text is thus very
different from the "social skin" that we find in courtly literature. Less
tilted than imagery of clothing toward imaginary seductions, more able
to expose the material limits of ideology, flayed skin in the Nlerinage de
vie humaine suggests ways of giving a more material hold on the concept
of representation, and greater materiality to manuscript studies, than
Notes to Introduction

1. See especially the methodology issue of Fashion Theory 2.4 (1988); Stella Bruzzi
and Pamela Church Gibson, eds. Fashion Cultures: The01ies, Explorations, and
Analysis (London: Routledge, 2000); Fred Davis, Fashion, Culture, and Identity
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999); Shari Ben stock and Suzanne Ferriss,
eds., On Fashion (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1994); Elizabeth
Wilson, Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity (Berkeley: University of Califor-
nia Press, 1987);Jane Gaines and Charlotte Herzog, eds., Fabrications: Costume and
the Female Body (New York: Routledge, 1988). I understand "social bodies" as
Elizabeth Grosz uses the term to refer to the body as "the political, social and
cultural object par excellence, not a product of a raw, passive nature that is
civilized, overlaid, polished by culture." Rather the social body is "a cultural
interweaving and production of nature," Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal
Feminism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994), p. 18.
2. See Tori! Moi, Simone de Beau voir: The Making ofan Intellectual Woman (Cambridge,
England: Basil Blackwell, 1994), pp. 191-92.
3. Valerie Steele, 'A Museum of Fashion Is More than a Clothes Bag," Fashion
Theory: The journal of Dress, Body, and Culture 2.4 (1988); Fiona Anderson,
"Museums as Fashion Media," in Fashion Cultures, pp. 371-89.
4. Elizabeth Wilson, "These New Components of the Spectacle: Fashion and
Postmodernsim," in Postmodernism and Society, ed. Roy Boyne and Ali Rattansi
(New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990), pp. 209-36; and her "Fashion and the
Postmodern Body," in Chic Thrills: A Fashion Reader, ed. Juliet Ash and Elizabeth
Wilson (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), pp. 3-16; Jennifer Craik,
The Face ofFasltion: Cultural Studies in Fashion (London: Routledge, 1994).
5. Valerie Steele, 'A Museum of Fashion," 327; and Fiona Anderson, "Museums as
Fashion Media," p. 376.
6. Stella Bruzzi, Undressing Cinema: Clothing and Identity in the Movies (London:
Routledge, 1997); Sarah Berry, Screen Style: Fashion and Femininity in 1930s
Hollywood (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000);Jackie Stacey, Star
Gazing: Hollywood Cinema and Female Spectators hip (London: Routledge, 1994).
7. Wendy Chapkis and Cynthia Enloe, Of Common Cloth: Women in the Global Textile
Industry (Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Transnational Institute, 1983).
8. Thorstein Veblen, Theory of the Leisure Class (New York: Macmillan, 1899) and
(~eorg Simmel, "Fashion," 1904, repr. in the American journal ofSociology 62 (1957):
9. Eugenie Lemoine-Luccioni, La Robe: Essai psychanalytique sur le vi'tement (Paris:
Seuil, 1983).

10. Iris Marion Young, "Women Recovering Our Clothes," in Throwing Like a Girl:
Essays in Philosophical and Social Theory (Bloomington: Indiana University Press,
1990), pp. 177-88. On Merleau-Ponty and film theory see Vivian Sobchack, The
Address of the Eye: A Phenomenology of Film Experience (Princeton, N]: Princeton
University Press, 1992).
II. Clare Lomas,"'] Know Nothing About Fashion: There's No Point in Interviewing
Me': The Use and Value of Oral History to the Fashion Historian," in Fashion
Cultures, pp. 363-70.
12. Roland Barthes, The Fashion System, trans. Matthew Ward and Donald Howard
(New York: Hill and Wang, 1983);Jean Baudrillard, "The System of Objects," in
jean Baudrillard: Selected Writings, ed. Mark Poster (Stanford, CA: Stanford Univer-
sity Press, 1988), pp. 16-17; Pierre Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice, trans.
Richard Nice (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1977); Maurice
Merleau-Ponty, The Phenomenology of Perception, trans. Colin Smith (New York:
Humanities Press, 1962) and his The Visible and the Invisible, trans. Alphonso Lingis
(Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1968).
13. "Introduction: Commodities and the Politics ofValue," in The Social Lifo ofThings:
Commodities in Cultural Perspective, ed. Arjun Appadurai (Cambridge, England:
Cambridge University Press, 1986), pp. 3-13.
14. Hildi Hendrickson, ed. Clothing and Diffirence: Embodied Identities in Colonial and
Post-Colonial Africa (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996), p. 2. See also
Deborah james, '"!Dress in This Fashion': Transformations in Sotho Dress and
Women's Lives in Sekhukhuneland Village, South Africa" in Hendrickson, ed.
Clothing and Difference, pp. 34-65, esp. p. 34; and Igor Kopytoff's argument that
objects are created culturally and cognitively and thus move in and out of being
"mere commodities," "The Cultural Biography of Things: Commoditization as
Process," in The Social Life of Things, ed. Arjun Appadurai, pp. 64-91.
15. "Interpreted, Circulating, Interpreting: The Three Dimensions of the Clothing
Object," in The Socialness of Things: Essays on the Socio-semiotics of Objects, ed.
Stephen Harold Riggins (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1994).
16. 'Historiographie du vetement; un bilan," in Le Vi'tement: Histoire, archeologie, et
symbolique vestimentaires au moyen dge, ed. Michel Pastoureau (Paris: Le Leopard
d'Or, 1989), p. 28.
17. Roberta Gilchrist, Gender and Material Culture: The Archaeology of Religious Women
(London: Routledge, 1994), p. 15. On the reading of medieval texts as cultural
objects see Claire Sponsler, "Medieval Ethnography: Fieldwork in the Medieval
Past" Assays 7 (1992): 1-30.
18. Nancy K. Miller, "The Text's Heroine: The Feminist Critic and Her Fictions,"
Diacritics (summer, 1982): 53; Naomi Schor, "Dreaming Dissymmetry: Barthes,
Foucault, and Sexual Di±lerence," in Men in Feminism, ed. Alice Jardine and Paul
Smith (New York: Routledge, 1987), p. 110; Luce Irigaray, Sexes et parentes (Paris:
Edition de Minuit, 1987), p. 126, my translation ("Mais l'un [le feminin] est reduit
aune marque, un masque inapproprie, un vetement impute").
19. 'House and Home: Feminist Variations on a Theme," in Gender Struggles: Practical
Approaches to Contemporary Feminism, ed. Constance L. Mui and julien S. Murphy
(Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002), p. 333.
20. On wool, John H. Munro, "The Medieval Scarlet and the Economics of Sartorial
Splendor"; Hidetoshi Hoshino, "The Rise of the Florentine Woollen Industry in
the Fourteenth Century"; and his "The Woollen Industry in Catalonia in the
Later Middle Ages" all inN. B. Harte and K. G. Panting, eds., Cloth and Clothing
in Medieval Europe: Essays in Honor of Professor E. 1\1. Carus-Wilson (London:
Heinemann Educational Books, 1983), pp. 13-70, 184-204; 205-29 respectively;
Eileen Power, The Wool Trade in English Medieval History (London: Oxford
University Press, 1941 ); A. R. Bridbury, Medieval English Clothmaking: An Economic
Survey (London: Heinemann Educational, 1982); Guy De Poerck, La Draperie
medievale en Flandres et en Artois: Technique et terminologie, 3 vols. (Bruges: De
Tempel, 1951). On linen ,Jane Schneider, "Rumpelstiltskin's Bargain: Folklore and
the Merchant Capitalist Intensi±lcation of Linen Manufacture in Early Modern
Europe," in Cloth and Human Experience, ed. Annette B. Weiner and Jane
Schneider (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989), pp. 177-213; and
John Horner, The Linen Trade of Europe During the Spinning Wheel Period (Belfast:
M'Caw, Stevenson, and Orr, 1920). On cotton, Maureen Fennell Mazzaoui, The
Italian Cotton Industry in the Later Middle Ages 1100-1600 (Cambridge, England:
Cambridge University Press, 1981) and Franco Borlandi, "Futainiers et Futaines
en Italie au Moyen Age," in Eventail de l'histoire vivante: hommage a Lucien Febvre
vol. 2 (Paris: A. Colin, 1953), pp. 133-40. On silk, Florence Lewis May, Silk Textiles
of Spain (Eighth- Fifteenth Centuries) (New York: Hispanic Society of America,
1957); Robert Lopez, "The Silk Industry in the Byzantine Empire," in Byzantium
and the World Around It: Economic and Institutional Relations (London: Variorium,
1978), pp. 594-662; Anna Muthesius, "The Byzantine Silk Industry: Lopez and
Beyond," journal of Medieval History 19 (1993): 1-67; and Byzantine Silk Weaving:
A.D. 400-A.D. 1200 (Vienna: Verlag Faesbinder, 1997); David Jacoby, "Silk in
Western Byzantium Before the Fourth Crusade," in Trade, Commodities and
Shipping in the Medieval Mediterranean, ed. David Jacoby (Brookfield, VT: Vari-
orum, 1997), pp. 452-500. On Cloth production more generally, Dominique
Cardon, La Drape1ie au Moyen Age: essor d'une grande industrie europeene (Paris:
CNRS, 1999); Irena Turnau, 'The Organization of the European Textile Industry
from the Thirteenth to the Eighteenth Century," journal of European Economic
History 17 (1988): 583-602; Walter Endrei, L'Evolution des techniques dufilage et du
tissage du moyen dge a la revolution industrielle, trans. Joseph Takacs (The Hague:
Mouton, 1968). On embroidery, Kay Staniland, Medieval Craftsmen: Embroiderers
(London: British Museum Press, 1991). On dyeing, Dominique Cardon and
Gaetan du Chatenet, Guides des teintures naturelles (Neufchatel-Paris: Delachaux et
Nestlie, 1990). On clothing detail adapted from the eastern Mediterranean,
Veronika Gervers, "Medieval Garments in the Mediterranean World," in Cloth
and Clothing in Medieval Europe, pp. 279-315; Janet Snyder, "The Regal Significance
of the Dalmatic: The Robes of le sacre as Represented in Sculpture of Northern
Mid-Twelfth-Century France, in Robes and Honor: The Medieval World ofinvestiture,
ed. Stewart Gordon (New York: Palgrave, 2001), pp. 291-304.
21. Elizabeth Chapin, Les Villes des foires de Champagne: Des origines au debut du XIVe
siecle (Paris: Champion, 1937); Robert-Henri Bautier, Sur l'histoire economique de la
Francemedievale (Brookfield, VT: Variorium, 1991); Henri Dubois, "Le commerce
et les toires au temps de Philippe Auguste, in La France de Philippe Auguste: Le
Temps des mutalions, ed. Robert-Henri Bautier (Paris: CNRS, 1982), pp. 689-709;
Kathryn L. Reyerson, "Medieval Silks in Montpellier: The Silk Market ca. 1250-
ca. 1350," journal of European Economic History 11.1 (1982): 117-140; and her "Le
Role de Montpellier dans le commerce des draps de Iaine avant 1350," Annales du
Midi 94 (1982): 17-40; Maurice Lombard, Les Textiles dans le monde musulman, 7e-
12e siecles. Etudes d'economie medievale, vol. 3 (Paris: Mouton, 1978).
22. Jules Quicherat describes French clothing from its earliest appearance to the
Revolution, L'Histoire du costume en France depuis les temps les plus recules jusqu'a la
fin du XVIIIe siecle (Paris: Hachette, 1877); Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and
Camille Enlart extend Quicherat's inventories to situate French costume within
broader contexts: Viollet-le-Duc writes a dictionary of medieval costume and
architecture, "Vetement, bijoux de corps, objets de toilette," Dictionnaire raisonne
du mobilier franrais de l'epoque carolingienne a la Renaissance, vols. 3-4 (Paris: A.

Morel, 1872-73), and Enlart catalogues medieval dress among other decorative
arts, Camille Enlart, "Le Costume," Manuel d'archeologie fran,aise, vol. 3 (Paris:
Picard, 1916). Germain Demay catalogues clothing that appears on seals in Le
Costume au moyen age d'apres les sceaux (Paris: Librairie de D. Dumoulin, 1880);
Adrien Harmand provides a detailed account of men's garments in the late
Middle Ages in jeanne d'Arc, ses costumes, son armure: Essai de reconstitution (Paris:
Librairie Ernest Leroux, 1929); S. Grandjean treats women's dress in Le Costume
feminin en France depuis le milieu du XIIe siixle jusqu'a la mort de Charles VI (1150-
1422), thesis, L'Ecole des Chartes, 1941; Herbert Norris charts the development
of medieval costume principally in England, Medieval Costume and Fashion (1927
repr. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, 1999). For art historical studies see
Joan Evans, Dress in Mediaeval France (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952); Stella Mary
Newton, Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince (Suffolk, England: Boydell Press,
1981); Margaret Scott, History of Dress Series: Late Gothic Europe 1400-1500 (Lon-
don: Mills and Boon, 1980) and A Visual History of Costume (London: Batsford,
1986); Mary Houston, Medieval Costume in England and France, 13th, 14th and 15th
Centuries (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1950). See historians Fernand
Braude!, "Les costumes et la mode," in Civilisation materielle et capitalisme (Paris:
A. Colin), pp. 271-90; and Jacques LeGoff, La Civilisation de !'Occident medieval
(Paris: Arthaud, 1977). Fran<;:oise Piponnier combines archaeological, historical,
and anthropological approaches, Costume et vie sociale: LaCour d'Anjou au XIV-XV
siecles (The Hague: Mouton, 1970). Elizabeth Crowfoot, Frances Pritchard, and
Kay Staniland record medieval finds from excavations in London in Textiles and
Clothing (London: HMSO, 1992). Useful overviews are provided in Le Vi'tement:
Histoire, archeologie, et symbolique vestimentaires au moyen age, ed. Michel Pas-
toureau; and by Fran<;oise Piponnier and Perrine Mane, Dress in the Middle Ages,
trans. Caroline Beamish (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997).
23. Sec Roberta L. Krueger, "Nouvelles chases: Social Instability and the Problem of
Fashion in the Livre du Chevalier de la Tour Landr)l the Menagier de Paris, and
Christine de Pisan's Livre des Trois Vertus," in Medieval Conduct, ed. Kathleen
Ashley and Robert A. Clark (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001),
pp. 49-85; and her "Jntergeneric Combination and the Anxiety of Gender in Le
Livre du Chevalier de la Tour Landry pour l'enseignement de ses .filles," Esprit createur 33
(1993): 61-72; Danielle Regnier-Bohler, "Un Traite pour les filles d'Eve: l'ecriture
et le temps dans le Livre du Chevalier de la Tour Landry pour l' enseig~tement de ses
.filles ," in Education, apprentissages, initiation au Moyen Age (Montpellier: Centre de
recherche interdisciplinaire sur la societe et l'imaginaire au Moyen Age, 1993), pp.
449-67. On sumptuary law see Alan Hunt, Governance of the Consuming Passions: A
History of Sumptuary Law (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996); Diane Owen
Hughes, "Regulating Women's Fashion," in A History ofWomen in the West, vol. 2,
Silences of the Middle Ages, ed. Christiane Klapisch-Zuber (Cambridge, MA:
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1992), pp. 136-58 and her "Sumptuary
Law and Social Relations in Renaissance Italy," in Disputes and Settlements: Law and
Human Relations in the West, ed. John Bossy (Cambridge, England: Cambridge
University Press, 1983), pp. 69-100; Claire Sponsler, "Fashioned Subjectivity and
the Regulation of Difference" in her Drama and Resistance: Bodies, Goods, and
Theatricality in Late Medieval England (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press,
1997), pp. 1-23, and the chapter by Sarah-Grace Heller in this volume.
24. On the complexities of dressing and crossdressing see James A. Schultz, "Bodies
That Don't Matter: Heterosexuality Before Heterosexuality in Gottfried's
Tristan," in Constructing Medieval Sexuality, ed. Karma Lochrie, Peggy McCracken,
and James A. Schultz (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997), pp. 91-
110; Keith Busby, "'Plus acesmez qu'une popine': Male Cross-Dressing in Medi-
eva! French Narrative,'' in Gender Transgressions: Crossing the Normative Barrier in
Old French Literature, ed. KarenJ Taylor (New York: Garland, 1988), pp. 45-59; 49;
Susan Crane, "Clothing and Gender Definition: Joan of Arc," Journal of Medieval
and Early Modern Studies 26.2 (1996): 297-320; Susan Schibanoft~ "True Lies:
Transvestism and Idolatry in the Trial of Joan of Arc," in Fresh Verdicts on Joan of
Arc, ed. Bonnie Wheeler and Charles T Wood (New York: Garland, 1996), pp. 31-
60; Valerie Hotchkiss, Clothes Make the Man: Female Cross-dressing in Medieval
Europe (New York: Garland, 1996); Roberta L Krueger, "Women Readers and the
Politics of Gender in the Roman de Silence," in her Women Readers and the Ideology
of Gender in Old French Verse Romance (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University
Press, 1993), pp. 118-24; Peggy McCracken, "The Boy Who Was a Girl: Reading
Gender in the Roman de Silence," Romanic Review 85.4 (1994): 517-46; Simon
Gaunt, "The Significance of Silence," Paragraph 13.2 (1990): 202-16; essays by
Lorraine Kochanske Stock, Elizabeth A Waters, Kathleen M. Blumreich, and
Erin E Labbie in Regina Psaki, elL Le Roman de Silence, Arthuriana 7.2 (1997);
essays by Robert S. Sturges, Robert L A. Clark, Robert Omar Khan, Lynne
Dahmen, and Christopher Callahan in Regina Psaki, ed. Le Roman de Silence,
Arthuriana 12.1 (2002); Lorraine Koschanske Stock, '"Arms and the (Wo)man' in
Medieval Romance: The Gendered Arming of Female Warriors in the Roman
d'Eneas and Heldris's Roman de Silence," Arthuriana 5.4 (1995): 56-83; Karma
Lochrie, Covert Operations: The Medieval Uses ofSecrecy (Philadelphia: University of
Pennsylvania Press, 1999), pp. 213-19; Claire Sponsler, "Outlaw Masculinities:
Drag, Blackkface, and Late Medieval Laboring-Class Festivities," and Ad Putter,
"Transvestite Knights in Medieval Life and Literature," both in Becoming Male in
the Middle Ages, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Bonnie Wheeler (New York:
Garland, 2000), pp. 321-47 and 279-302 respectively; David Townsend, "Sex and
the Single Amazon in Twelfth-Century Latin Epic," in The Tongue of the Fathers:
Gender and Ideology in Twelfth-Century Latin (Philadelphia: University of Pennsyl-
vania Press, 1998), pp. 136-55; E. Jane Burns "Denaturalizing Sex: Women and
Men on a Gendered Sartorial Continuum," in Courtly Love Undressed: Reading
Through Clothes in Medieval French Culture (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylva-
nia Press, 2002), pp. 119-78. On literary representations of embroidery see Nancy
A. Jones, "The Uses of Embroidery in the Romances of Jean Renart: History,
Gender, Textuality," in Jean Renart and the Art of Romance: Essays on Guillaume de
Dole, ed. Nancy Vine Durling (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1997), pp.
13-44; on the linings of garments, Caroline ]ewers, "Fabric and Fabrication: Lyric
and Narrative in Jean Renart's Roman de laRose," Speculum 71.4 (1996): 906-24; on
underwear, E. Jane Burns, "Ladies Don't Wear Braies: Underwear and Outerwear
in the French Prose Lancelot," in the Lancelot-Grail Cycle: Text and Transformations,
ed. William W. Kibler (Austin: University of Texas, Press, 1994), pp. 152-74; on
clothing and courtly love, E. Jane Burns, Courtly Love Undressed; on eroticism,
Kathy Krause, "The Material Erotic: The Clothed and Unclothed Female Body in
the Roman de la violette," in Material Culture and Cultural Materia/isms in the Middle
Ages and Renaissance, ed. Curtis Perry (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2001), pp. 17-
40; on the economic and cultural implications of costume, Sarah-Grace Heller,
"Fashioning a Woman: The Vernacular Pygmalion in the Roman de la Rose,"
Medievalia et Humanistica, New Series number 27 (Totowa, N]: Roman and
Littlefield, 2000), pp. 1-25. Two important early studies that paved the way for
later analyses are: Frans;ois Rigolot, 'Valeur figurative du vetement dans le Tristan
de Beroul," Cahiers de civilisation mfdievale 10.3-4 (1967): 447-53, and Eunice
Rathbone Goddard, Women's Costume in French Texts of the Eleventh and Twelfth
Centuries (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1927).

25. See, for example, historians such as Dyan Elliott, "Dress as Mediator Between
Inner and Outer Self: The Pious Matron of the High and Later Middle Ages,"
Medieval Studies 53 (1991): 279-308; Michael Moore, "The King's New Clothes:
Royal and Episcopal Regalia in the Frankish Empire," in Robes and Honor, ed.
Stewart Gordon, pp. 95-135; and Bonnie Effros, "The Symbolic Significance of
Clothing for the Dead," in her Caringfor Body and Soul: Burial and the Afterlife in the
Merovingian World (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992),
pp. 13-39; medieval art historians such as Annemarie Weyl Carr, "Threads of
Authority: The Virgin Mary's Veil in the Middle Ages"; Desiree Koslin, "The
Robe of Simplicity: Initiation, Robing, and Veiling of Nuns in the Middle Ages";
and Janet Snyder, 'The Regal Significance of the Dalmatic," all in Robes and Honor,
pp. 60-93,255-74, and 291-304 respectively; and literary critics such as "Sara Sturm
Maddox and Donald Maddox, 'Description in Medieval Narrative: Vestimentary
Coherence in Chretien's Erec et Enide," Medeoevo Romanzo 9 (1984): 51-64. On
heraldry see Michel Pastoureau, Figures et couleurs: Etudes sur Ia symbolique et Ia
sensibilite medievales (Paris: Leopard d'Or, 1986), and his Traite heraldique, 3rd ed.
(Paris: Picard, 1997).
26. Robes and Honor (New York: Palgrave, 2001); Peiformance of Self (Philadelphia:
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002). Encountering Medieval Textiles and Dress,
ed. Janet Snyder and Desiree Koslin (New York: Palgrave, St. Martin's Press,
27. Philadelphia, PA: University ofPennsylvania Press, 2002.
28. See especially Bumke's chapter on "Material Culture" in his Couray Culture, trans.
Thomas Dunlap (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), pp. 128-52; and
the array of essays in Pastoureau's Le Vetement. For a recent study of Renaissance
clothing see Ann Rosalind Jones and Peter Stallybrass, Renaissance Clothing and the
Materials ofMemory (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2000).
29. Herbert L. Kessler, Spiritual Seeing: Picturing God's Invisibility in Medieval Art
(Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), p. 187. On the fall into
clothes see R. Howard Bloch, Medieval Misogyny and the Invention of Western
Romantic Love (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), pp. 41-43.
30. Kessler, Spiritual Seeing, p. 188.
31. See, for example, Lancelot in Chretien de Troyes, Le Chevalier de la charrete, ed.
Mario Roques (Paris: Champion, 1970), vv. 1213-42; La Mort le Roi Artu, ed. Jean
Frappier (Paris: Champion, 1964), p. 71; Lancelot: Roman en prose du XIIIe siecle, ed.
Alexandra Micha (Paris: Champion, 1978-83), 7:374; Lanval's ladylove in Les Lais
de Marie de France, ed. Jean Rychner (Paris: Champion, 1973), vv. 99-100; and
further, Cesarius of Heisterbach's story of a repentant mother dressed "only in
her shift," Devils, Women, and jews: Reflections on the Other in Medieval Sermon
Stories, ed. Joan Young Gregg (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997),
p. 135. For a fuller discussion see E. Jane Burns, "Ladies Don't Wear Braies," in
The Lancelot-Grail Cycle: Texts and Transformations, ed. William W. Kibler, pp. 152-
32. "Guigemar," Les La is de Marie de France, vv. 139-41.
33. Ne m' an mostra Amors adons I Fors que la cache et les penons, 1 Carla fleche ert
ala coivre mise:/ C'est li bliauz et la chemise,/ Don la pucele estoit vestue [my
emphasis; At the time, love showed me only the notch and the feathers because
the arrow was placed in the quiver, that is, inside the tunic and chemise the maiden
was wearing], Chretien de Troyes, Cliges, ed. Alexandre Micha (Paris: Champion,
1957), ll. 845-49. For a fuller discussion of this scene see E.Jane Burns, Courtly Love
Undressed, pp. 164-67.
34. The inscription reads: "C' est la chemise de mons. St. Lays jadix Roy de Fran[ ce]
et n'y a que une manche. N." A lab report dated August 1970, identifies the

chemise as a thirteenth-century garment, containing traces of blood, that ostensi-

bly had remained unwashed since it was last worn. See ]annie Durand, Marie-
Pierre Lafitte, Dorota Giovanonni, Le Tresor de Ia Sainte-Chapelle (Paris: Reunion
des Musees Nationaux, 2001), pp. 231-32.
35. Not unlike the key Christian relics purchased by Saint Louis himself from Baldwin
II in Constantinople and transported to the Sainte-Chapelle in 1247, Le Tresor, pp.
36. Kessler, Spiritual Seeing, p. 11. On the significance of the vernicle worn by
Chaucer's Pardoner as a "true icon" see RobertS. Sturges, "The Pardoner Veiled
and Unveiled," in Becoming Male, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Bonnie Wheeler,
pp. 261-77.
37. A. Lecocq, "Recherches sur les enseignes de pelerinages et les chemisettes de
Notre- Dame," Memoires dela societe archeologique d'Eure-et-Loire 6 (1876): 194-224;
Emile Male, Notre-Dame de Chartres (Paris: Flammarion, 1963), pp. 9-10; Arthur
Forgeais, Collection de plombs histories trouves dans Ia Seine (Paris: Boucquin, 1863);
pp. 28-34; George Henderson, Chartres (Harmondsworth, England: Penguin,
1968), p. 21.
38. See E. Jane Burns, "Saracen Silk and the Virgin's Chemise: Cultural Crossings in
Medieval France," in manuscript.
39. See, for example, Jacques de Vitry on St. Bernard's sister in The Exempla or
Illustrative Stories from the Sermones Vulgares ofjacques de Vitry, ed.Thomas Freder-
ick Crane (1890; repr. London: Nutt, 1925), pp. 114, 252; and Pierre de Limoges,
who endorses an unnamed woman's plan to decorate her tombstone with an
image depicting herself stark naked, Albert Lecoy de Ia Marche, La Chaire
fran~aise au moyen age (Paris: Librairie Renouard, 1886), p. 483 along with a fuller
discussion of the phenomenon in E. Jane Burns, "Medieval Sermons and the
Regulation of Gender" in Courtly Love Undressed, pp. 37-41.
40. Perrine Mane, "L'Emergence du vetement de travail a travers l'iconographie
medievale," and Michel Beaulieu, "Le Costume: Miroir des mentalites de Ia
France (1350-1500)," both in Le Vi'tement, ed. Michel Pastoureau, pp. 93-122 and
255-76 respectively; and Piponnier and Mane, Dress in the Middle Ages, pp. 114-41.
41. John V Tolan, Saracens: Islam in the Medieval European Imagination (New York:
Columbia University Press, 2002); Michel Pastoureau, The Devil's Cloth: A History
ofStripes and Striped Fabric, trans. Jody Gladding (New York: Columbia University
Press, 1991).
42. See Alan Hunt, Governance of the Consuming Passions.
43. See E. Jane Burns, "From Woman's Nature to Nature's Dress," in Courtly Love
Undressed, pp. 149-78
44. Courtly Love Undressed, pp. 11-14.
45. Roberta Gilchrist, "Medieval Bodies in the Material World: Gender, Stigma, and
the Body," in Framing Medieval Bodies, ed. Sarah Kay and Miri Rubin (Manchester,
England: Manchester University Press, 1994), p. 46.
46. Kessler, Spiritual Seeing, p. 193.
47. Erwin Panofsky, Abbot Suger on the Church of St.-Denis and Its Art Treasures, 2nded.
(Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1979), pp. 171,216.
48. Otto von Simson, The Gothic Cathedral (New York: Pantheon Books, 1956), p. 121.
49. Poetria Nova, trans. Margaret F. Nims (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval
Studies, 1967), p. 17.
50. Kessler explains this as the "carnality of all written words," Spiritual Seeing, p. 188.

Notes to Chapter One

1. Eleanor P Hammond, "Two Tapestry Poems by Lydgate: The Life of St. George
and the Falls of Seven Princes,"" Englische Studien 43 (1910-11): 10-26; 10.
2. For the history of medieval tapestry, see Achille Jubinal, Recherches sur !'usage et
l'origine des tapisseries a personnages depuis l'antiquite jusqu'au XVIe siecle (Paris:
Challamel et Cie., 1840);Jean Lestocquoy, Deux siecles de l'histoire de la tapisserie,
1300-1500 (Arras: Commission departementale des monuments historiques du
pas-de-Calais, 1978); and Roger A. d'Hulst, Flemish Tapestries From the Fifteenth to
the Eighteenth Century, trans. Frances]. Stillman (New York: Universe, 1967).
3. Both examples are cited in the Middle English Dictionary under "steinen," defini-
tion 3.a.
4. Charles Kightly, '"The Hangings About the Hall': An Overview of Textile Wall
Hangings in Late Medieval York, 1394-1505," Medieval Textiles 28 (June, 2001): 3-
5. William Caxton, Blanchardyn and Eglantine, ed. Leon Kellner, EETS es 58 (Lon-
don, 1890), p. 14.
6. These examples are cited by Hammond, 'Two Tapestry Poems," p. 22.
7. For the inventory of Gloucester's goods, which were seized in his castle ofPleshy,
in Essex, in 1397, see Viscount Dillon and W H. St.John Hope, "Inventory of the
Goods and Chattels Belonging to Thomas, Duke of Gloucester," The Archaeolog-
ical]ournal 54 (1897): 275-308. The inventory lists 15 items under the heading
'Draps de Arras," that is, wall hangings; their subjects include scenes from
romances and histories, such as the battle of Gawain and Lancelot, the siege of
Jerusalem, the story of St. George, and Judith and Holofernes, as well as religious
scenes such as the nati;ities ofJesus and Mary.
8. Patrick M. De Winter, "'Colan de La on," Grove Encyclopedia ofArt Online (http://
9. Unless otherwise specified, all quotations from Lydgate's poetry come from the
two-volume edition by Henry N. MacCracken, The Minor Poems ofjohn Lydgate, 2
vols., EETS es 107 and os 192 (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Triibner, 1911-1934),
and will be cited by volume, page, and line numbers.
10. The Dance ofDeath has been edited by Florence Warren, The Dance ofDeatlt, EETS
os 181 (London: Oxford University Press, 1931).
11. John Stow, A Survey of London (John Wolfe, 1598), p. 264.
12. The Legend of St. George exists in three manuscripts; the version in Shirley's
anthology Trinity College Cambridge MS R.3.20 contains Shirley's headnote.
13. Reginald Pecock, The Repressor of Over Much Blaming of the Clergy, ed. Churchill
Babington, 2 vols., (London, 1860), 1:212.
14. Of the four manuscripts in which Bycorne and Chychevache survives, only Shirley's
Trinity College R.3.20 identifies it as a poem intended for a wall hanging. BL MS
Harley 2251 omits the headnote; MS Trin Coli R.3.19 omits the headnote and
headings before stanzas, but includes the following running titles across the top:
'"<jle couronne of disguysinges contrived by Daun Iohan Lidegate. <jle maner of
straunge desguysinges, <jle gyse of a mummynge"( 2:433-38).
15. Hammond, "Two Tapestry Poems," 21.
16. Hammond, "Two Tapestry Poems," 22.
17. See Trinity College, Cambridge, MS R.3.21, folio 278b.
18. Hammond, "Two Tapestry Poems," 22.
19. Glynne Wickham, Early English Stages 1300-1600, 3 vols. (London: Routledge and
Kegan Paul, 1959), 3:125.
20. In his biography of Lydgate, Walter F. Schirmer draws attention to the connec-
tions between the mummings, the pictorial poems such as Bycorne and Chychev-
ache, and tableaux such as Of the Sodein Fal of Princes, while noting their atl!nities
with other art forms such as mystery plays and polemical poems; see his john
Lydgate: A Study in the Culture of the Fifteenth Century, trans. Ann E. Keep (London:
Methuen, 1961), p. 100.
21. Lawrence M. Clopper, Drama, Play, and Game: English Festive Culture in the Medieval
and Early Modern Period (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001), p. 130.
22. A. S. G. Edwards, "Middle English Pageant 'Picture'?" Notes and Queries 237 (1992):
25-26, quoting More's text from the facsimile of the 1557 Rastell edition,
introduced by K. J. Wilson (London, 1978), which was probably composed near
the beginning of the first decade of the sixteenth century.
23. Margaret Connolly, john Shirley: Book Production and the Noble Household in
Fifteenth-Century England (Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 1998), p. 191.
24. For Shirley's biography, see Connolly, john Shirley, pp. 15-63. For Lydgate's
connection to Warwick, see Derek Pearsall, john Lydgate (London: Routledge and
Kegan Paul, 1970), pp. 160-71.
25. The Brut, ed. Friedrich W. D. Brie, 2 vols., BETS os 131 and 136 (London: Kegan
Paul, Trench, and Triibner, 1906-08), 2:426.
26. Pecock, Repressor, pp. 212-213.

Notes to Chapter Two

1. The photographs in figures 2.1-2.5 are courtesy of the Rijksdienst voor het
Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek, Amersfoort, the Netherlands.
2. For the details of this description I draw on the authoritative study of these
fragments by Herbert Sarfatij, "Tristan op vrijersvoeten? Een bijzonder vesi-
erungsmotief op Laat-Middeleeuws schoisel uit de Lage Landen," in Ad fontes:
Opstellen aangeboden aan prof dr. C. van de Kieft ter gelegenheid van zijn aftchied als
hoogleraar in de middeleeuwse geschiedenis aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam (Amster-
dam: Verloren, 1984) p. 43 [371-400].
3. See Sarfatij, "Tristan" for a description and photograph of an ahnost complete
slipper excavated in the province or Reimerswaal. See also Johan H. Winkelman,
"Over de Minnespreuken op Recentelijk Ontdekte Tristan-Schoentjes," Amster-
damer Beitriige zur iilteren Germanistik 43-4 (1995): 553-560. The fragments average
15 em in length and 6.6 em in height. The leather is about 2 mm thick.
4. Olaf Goubitz, "Eight Exceptional Medieval Shoes from the Netherlands," in
Proceedings of the State Service for Archeological Investigations in the Netherlands.
Berichten van de Rijksdienst voor het Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek, vol. 42 (Amers-
foort, the Netherlands: Rijksdienst voor het Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek,
1996-7), pp. 425-455. According to Goubitz, 90 percent of the medieval leather
artifacts excavated in the Low Countries are footwear. Between the years 1969
and 1985 some 15,000 shoes or parts of shoes were found in Dordrecht alone. In
terms of attire, shoes were probably more expendable than any other item.
Goubitz mentions accounts informing us that people of the mercantile classes in
this period may have bought two outfits of clothing every four years, but, he adds,
they probably went through at least two pairs of shoes each year. Shoes were
worn and probably discarded when worn through.
5. For the most extensive bibliography on footwear of the Middle Ages, see the
website by I. Marc Carlson entitled: "Footwear of the Middle Ages: An On-going

Examination of the History and Development of Footwear and Shoemaking

Techniques up to the End of the Sixteenth Century" at http:/ /www.person- -marc-carlson/ shoe/ SHOEHOME.HTM. See also Goubitz, Step-
ping out in Time: Archeological Footwear from Prehistoric Times unti/1800 (Zwolle, the
Netherlands: Stichting Promotie Archeologie, 2001).
6. Sarfatij, "Tristan."
7. Winkelman, 'Tristan en Isolde in de Minnetuin. Over een Versierungsmotief op
Laatmiddeleeuws Schoeisel," Amsterdamer Beitrdge zur dlteren Germanistik 24
(1986): 163-188.
8. Winkelman, "Over de Minnespreuken."
9. Two of the Dordtecht fragments and the Leiden fragment were uncovered in
refuse heaps, the Mechelen fragment was found in the courtyard well of a
Beguinage, and the remaining fragments were isolated finds. See Sarfatij,
"Tristan," on the Leiden, Dordrecht, and Mechelen fragments, and Winkelman,
"Over de Minnespreuken." on the Velkenisse and Nieuwland fragments.
10. See Sarfatij, "Tristan," ±or details on dating.
11. Walter Prevenier, "Court and City Culture in the Low Countries from 1100 to
1530," in Medieval Dutch Literature in its European Context, ed. E. Kooper (Cam-
bridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1994), p. 12 [11-29].
12. These villages were submerged over time and now serve as rich sources of
archeological material from the late medieval period.
13. This process seems to have been fairly common in the Netherlands, Flanders, and
northern France; knife sheaths, purses, wallets, and bookbindings have been
excavated that were similarly decorated using leather presses.
14. Sarfatij, "Tristan."
15. Sarfatij, "Tristan," 399.
16. Many of these oral folktales go back to the Middle Ages and earlier. See Alan
Dundcs, cd., Cinderella, a Folklore Casebook (New York: Garland, 1982).
17. Ruth Schmidt-Wiegend, 'Hochzeitsbrauche," in Handbuch der deutschen Rechtsge-
schichte, ed. A. Erler und E. Kaufmann (Berlin: E. Schmidt, 1971-), col. 190.
18. Gregory of Tours, Libervitae patrum xx.i (De Sancto Leobrado reclauso). Cited from
translation by Joaquin Martinez Pizarro, in A Rhetoric of the Scene: Dramatic
Narrative in the Early Middle Ages (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1989), p.
246 n. 6.
19. These traditions are also mentioned in Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm,
Deutsches Wiirterbuch, vol. 9 (Leipzig: S. Hirzel, 1899), p. 1850.
20. In her comprehensive study of clothing and fashion in the courtly epic, Elke
Briiggen includes only a brief section on shoes, which are apparently seldom
mentioned in medieval courtly descriptions of clothing. According to the few
literary references, peasants wore heavy shoes made of thick cowhide, while the
nobility wore shoes made of Cordovan leather or fine materials. Elke Briiggen,
Kleidung und Mode in der hiifischen Epik des 12. und 13. jahrhunderts (Heidelberg:
Carl Winter, 1989), pp. 245-46.
21. According to Winkelman, "Tristan en Isolde," and Pizarro, Rhetoric of the Scene,
the legal status of giving shoes becomes lost by the time Konig Rother is written
down, but the connection between giving gifts of shoes and marriage remains a
part of the cultural consciousness.
22. Schmidt-Wiegend, "Hochzeitsbrauche."
23. Winkelman, "Tristan en Isolde.'·
24. Ruth 4,7; Deuteronomy 25,9.
25. See Doris Fouquet, Wort und Bild in der mittelalterlichen Tristantradition. Der dlteste
Tristanteppich von J...1oster Wienhausen und die textile Tristaniiberlieferung des Mittela-
lters. (Berlin: E. Schmidt, 1971); Hella Friihmorgen-Voss, "Tristan und Isolde in

mittelalterlichen Bildzeugnissen" in Text und Illustration im Mittelalter. Auftdtze zu

den Wechselbeziehungen zwischen Literatur und bildender Kunst, ed. N. Ott (Munich:
C. H. Beck, 1975), pp. 119-39, figs. 37-53. See also Norbert Ott, "Katalog der
Tristan-Bildzeugnisse" in Text und illustration, pp. 140-171. Michael Curschmann,
"Images of Tristan" in Gottfried von Strassburg and the Medieval Tristan Legend:
Papers from an Anglo-North American Symposium, ed. A. Stevens and R. Wisbey
(Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1990), p. 7, n. 17 [1-17] supplements this catalogue with
several items, including the five fragments, from Dordrecht, Leiden, and
26. See Fouquet, "Die Baumgartenszene des Tristan in der mittelalterlichen Kunst
und Literatur" Zeitschrift fiir deutsche Philologie 92 (1973): 360-70.
27. James Rushing and others have suggested that the issue of adultery became
secondary to the general idea of Tristan and Isolde as exemplary lovers, and that
the representation ofthe orchard scene thus came to symbolize true love. James
Rushing, "The Medieval German Pictorial Evidence," in The Arthur of the
Germans: The Arthurian Legend in Medieval German and Dutch Literature, ed. W H.
Jackson and S. A. Ranawake, pp. 257-79, esp. p. 267.
28. In the Low Countries the scene is reproduced, for example, on the facade of the
city hall in Bruges (1376-87). See Fouquet, 'Die Baumgartenszene" and Ott,
29. Fouquet, "Die Baumgartenszene," 363; Ott, "Tristan auf Runkelstein und die
tibrigen zyklischen Darstellungen des Tristanstoffes. Textrezeption oder medien-
interne Eigengesetzlichkeit der Bildgrogramme?" in Runkelstein. Die Wandmal-
ereien des Sommerhauses, ed. W Haug (Wiesbaden, 1982), p. 216 [194-238]. See also
Curschmann, "Images of Tristan" for an interesting discussion of the intellectual
and iconographic connections between representations of the orchard scene and
the scene of Adam and Eve at the Tree of Knowledge.
30. Fouquet, "Die Baumgartenszene" makes this argument most convincingly.
31. Sarfatij, "Tristan"; Curschmann, "Images of Tristan."
32. See Ann Marie Rasmussen, "Eavesdropping Male Narrators." Speculum 77 (2002):
33. Curschmann, "Images ofTristan."
34. Fouquet, "Die Baumgartenszene."
35. Isolde is likened to a falcon and a sparrow hawk in Gottfried von StraBburg's
Tristan: She is described as "gestellet in der waete, I als si diu Minne draete I ir
selber z' einem vederspil" (formed in every part as iflove had formed her to be her
own falcon [ll. 10899-901]).'' Her figure is described as free and erect as a sparrow
hawk's: "si was an ir gelaze I Ufreht und offenbaere, I gelich dem sparwaere" (ll.
10996-98). As she walks into the court gathering, Isolde's eyes dart around like a
falcon's: "si liez ir ougen umbe gan I als der valke uf dem aste" (ll. 11001-2).
Gottfried von StraBburg, Tristan, 2 vols, ed. Peter Ganz (Wiesbaden: Brockhaus,
36. Carl von Kraus, ed., Des Minnesangs Friihling (Leipzig: Hirzel, 1959) ll. 8,34-9, 2.
Similarly, the lady is compared to a falcon in this strophe by Ktirenberg: "Wip
unde vederspil diu werdent lihte zam: I swer size rehte lucket, so suochent si den
man. I als warb ein schoene ritter umb eine frouwen guot. I als ich dar an
gedenke, so stet wol hohe min muot." (Women and falcons are easily tamed:
whoever knows how to attract them, they seek out that man. Thus did a
handsome knight woo a fine lady. When I think of it my spirit is heightened [ll.
37. For comprehensive studies on Tristan iconography, see: Fouquet, "Die Baumgar-
tenszene"; Frtihmorgen-Voss, "Tristan und Isolde in mittelalterlichen Bildzeugn-

issen," Deutsche Vierteijahresschrift fiir Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte 47

(1973): 645-63.
38. The chessboard is one point of comparison that Winkelman, "Tristan en Isolde",
uses to support his argument that the iconography on the slippers derives from
images of the love garden.
39. Michael Camille, The Medieval Art ofLove (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1998), pp.
107, 124-25.
40. The reference to the fish is found in only four instances in the Tristan material. It
is found here on one of the slippers, on an oak comb from Bamberg dated from
the first half of the fifteenth century, a mural at St. Floet in Issoire, dated at 1350,
and in a Dutch version of the story by Dire Potter, written at the beginning of the
fifteenth century. On the significance of the version of the text "'ith the line about
the fish, see Martine Meuwese, 'Arthurian Illuminations in Middle Dutch
Manuscripts," in Word and Image in Arthurian Literature, ed. K. Busby (New York:
Garland, 1996), pp. 151-73. Bart Besamusca, mentions the slippers in the context
of Potter's use of the fish motif in "The Medieval Dutch Arthurian Material," in
The Arthur of the Germans, p. 204 [187-228].
41. Unfortunately the lettering on the Nieuwland fragment has been damaged and
cannot be reconstructed. We can discern only that the image is different in style,
presenting us with the image in a medallion framed entirely by a ring of writing.
Winkelman, "Over de Minnespreuken" identifies the following letters: GAET:
NW A[+++] E[ +++ ]SUERDE [.. ] B[ +++] E [ .. ] and suggests a partial recon-
struction based on the Dordrecht and Leiden fragments.
42. Herman Pleij, "The Rise of Urban Literature in the Low Countries," in Medieval
Dutch Literature, p. 63 [62-77].
43. Pleij, 'The Rise of Urban Literature," 73.
44. Ingeborg Glier, Artes Amandi: Untersuchung zu Geschichte, Uberlieferung und Typolo-
giederdeutschenMinnereden(Munich: Beck, 1971).
45. It is limited to a single fragmentary text of158 partly damaged lines from a mid-
thirteenth century manuscript written in the eastern part of the Low Countries.
See Besamusca, "The Medieval Dutch," 204.
46. Frits Pieter van Oostrom, "Reflections on Literary History and Netherlandic
Cultural Identity in the Medieval Period" in The Low Countries and the New
World(s ): Travel, Discovery, Early Relations, ed. Johanna C. Prins, et al (Lanham,
MD: University Press of America, 2000), p. 7 [1-10]. He draws on Glier's work on
the Minnereden in which she concludes that the Middle Dutch version of the
Minnereden are more clearly didactic.
47. A.M.]. von Buuren, "Dire Potter, A Medieval Ovid," in Medieval Dutch Literature,
pp. 151-167. On Dire Potter, see also van Oostrom, Court and Culture. Dutch
Literature 1350-1450 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), esp. pp. 219-
48. Dire Potter, Der Minnen Loep, vols. 1-4, ed. P. Leendertz (Leiden, the Netherlands:
D. du Mortier en Zoon, 1845/46). Here, vol. 2, ll. 3613-3636.
49. Martha Howell, The Marriage Exchange: Property, Social Place and Gender in Cities of
the Low Countries, 1300-1550 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998) p. 237.
Howell writes: 'Historians are most familiar with these tropes from the literary
and didactic texts of the late medieval and early modern period-sermons,
conduct books, songs, plays, and stories in which contemporaries constructed the
ideal of a union between husband and wife, bound together as much by passion
as duty, that was, entirely contradictorily, both hierarchical and fully reciprocal."
50. See Howell, Marriage Exchange, for a bibliography on love and marriage in the late
Middle Ages.

51. The banderoles on the comb read as follows: Isolde: "tristram gardee de dire
vilane porIa pisson de Ia fonteine"; Tristan: "dame ie voroi per rna foi qui fV ave
nos monsignor le roi"; Marke: "de dev sot il con dana qui dementi Ia dame loial."
For a photograph of the comb, see Fouquet, "Die Baumgartenszene," p. 367. See
also Ott, "Katalog," 164-65 and Gertrud Blaschitz, "Schrifi: aufObjekten" in Die
Verschriftlichung der Welt: Bild, Text und Zahl in der Kultur des Mittelalters und der
friihen Neuzeit, ed. Horst Wenzel, et a!. (Vienna: Kunsthistorisches Museum,
2002), pp. 167-70 [145-179]. The comb is currently held in Bamberg at the
Museum des historischen Vereins.

Notes to Chapter Three

1. Janet Mayo, A History of Ecclesiastical Dress (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1984),
pp. 11-12.
2. Hrabanus Maurus, De clericorum institutione 1.15, Patrologia Latinae (hereafter PL)
107, col. 306. Note that Hrabanus in fact uses an alternative term for the more
common am ictus: the superhumerale.
3. See Cyrille Vogel and Reinhard Elze, eds., Le Pontifical Romano-Germanique du
dixieme sifcle 40.79-82, Studi e testi, 226 (Vatican: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana,
1963), 1:152-54.
4. The key passages cited byDurandus are in Ex. 28, 31, 35, 40; Eccli. 47. In Rationale
divinorum officiorum 3.1.2, ed. A. Davril and T. M. Thibodeau, CCL, 140:178; cf
idem, Le Pontifical romain au moyen-ilge, Le Pontifical de Guillaume Durand 2.9 ed.
Michel Andrieu, Studi e testi , 88 (Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana,
1940), 3:520-21. Note, however, that Durandus remarks that certain heretics
complain that there is no authorization tor such robes in the New Testament
(Rationale 3.1.14, 140:183).
5. Durandus, Rationale 3.1.2, 140:178; idem, Pontifical romain 2.10.2, p. 521. Various
theorists further ransacked Scripture for new analogies. For example, Philip of
Harvengt draws a comparison between the priest in his two layered clerical tunic
and figures such as the good wife from Proverbs (Prov. 31) and John the Baptist
(Luke 3; De institutione clericorum tractatus VI 1.20, PL 203, col. 690).
6. Mayo, History, p. 15.
7. Durandus, Rationale 3.1, proemium, 140:177; cf. 3.1.2, 140:178.
8. Durandus, Pontifical romain 1.3. 7, p. 33 7.
9. Some authorities, such as Hugh ofAmiens, made much of the clergy's sevenfold
nature, attempting to associate it with other celebrated sequences of sacred
sevens. See Jan Michael Joncas, "A Skein of Sacred Sevens: Hugh of Amiens on
Orders and Ordination," in Medieval Liturgy: A Book of Essays, ed. Lizette Larson-
Miller (New York: Garland, 1997), pp. 85-120.
10. Durandus, Pontifical romain 1.5.1, p. 338.
11. Durandus, Pontifical romain 1.11.12-19, pp. 356-58 (subdeacon); 1.12.12-13,17, p.
362 (deacon); 1.13.2, 10, 11, pp. 364, 368, 370 (priest).
12. Durandus, Pontifical romain 1.14.1, p. 374; 1.14.8, p. 376. Not all of these items are
employed in the ordination proper. It became customary to receive the pallium
in Rome from the pope himself. The pope might give the pallium to an ordinary
bishop, but it was usually reserved tor the metropolitan. See Durandus's list in
Rationale 3.1.3, 140:178.

13. Durandus, Rationale 3.1.12, 140:182. Elsewhere, Durandus remarks that the cope
is worn on the ordination of the bishop by the archpresbyter, archdeacon, and the
candidate himself(Pontifical romain, 1.14.1-2, p. 388).
14. Durandus, Rationale 3.11.4, 140:205.
15. Durandus, Pontifical romain 1.3. 5, p. 33 7. On the superpellicium, see idem, Rationale
3.1.10, 140:181-2.
16. Durandus, Rationale 3.3.5, 140:188; 3.4.6, 140:190; 3.5,8, 140:192; 3.6.5, 130:194;
3.7.5, 140:196.
17. Durandus, Rationale 1.2.12, 140:33.
18. Ourandus, Rationale 1.2.13, 140:34; cf. C.2 q.4 c.13.
19. D. A. Wilmart, ed., Precum Libelli Quattvor Aevi Karolini (Rome: Ephemerides
liturgicae, 1949), p. 49. I would like to thank jonathan Black tor this reference.
20. See E. Vacandard, ''Deposition et degradation des clercs," Dictionnaire de theologie
catholique (Paris: Letouzey, 1925-), cols. 451-65; R. Genestal, Le Privilegiumfori en
France du Decret de Gratien ala fin du XIVe siecle, vol. 2, Le Privilege en matiere penale
(Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1924), see bk. 1, on degradation. Note that until the twelfth
century, there was no formal distinction between deposition and degradation
(Vacandard, "Deposition," col. 461). For exceptions in the early church, see col.
455. Also note that Durandus alleges that this stigma can be removed by the pope
(Pontifical romain 3.7.25, p. 608).
21. Louis Salter, Les Reordinations: Etude sur le sacrement de l'ordre, 2d ed. (Paris: Victor
Lecoffre and]. Gabalda, 1907), pp. 231-36.
22. Saltet, Les Reordinations, p. 354.
23. William of Auvergne, De sacramento ordinis c. 7, 8, in Opera omnia (1674; repr.
Paris: A. Pralard, Frankfurt am Main: Minerva, 1963), 1:539-40. See Salter, Les
Reordinations, pp. 356-58.
24. See Toledo IV, ann. 633, G. D. Mansi, ed., Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima
collectio (Paris: H. Welter, 1901-1927), vol. 10, col. 627, no. 28. This passage was
reiterated by Gratian (C.ll q.3 c.65). But note that Gratian's own position on
reordinations was far from decisive (Saltet, Les Reordinations, pp. 291-96).
25. Vl.5.9.2. See Vancandard, "Deposition," col. 456; Marc Dykmans, "Le rite de Ia
degradation des clercs," appendix in Le Pontifical romain revise au XVe siecle (Rome:
Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1985), p. 165.
26. Durandus, Speculum iudicale (Lyon, 1498-1500), bk. 3, ad De accusatione, no. 4
27. William of Auvergne, De sacramento ordinis c. 7, 1:539.
28. Nimes, ann. 886, Mansi, Sacrorum conciliorum, vol. 18, col. 46. See Roger
Reynolds, "Rites of Separation and Reconciliation in the Early Middle Ages," in
Segni e riti nella chiesa altomedievale occidentale, Settimane di studio del Centro
Italiano eli Studi sull'alto medioevo, 33 (Spoleto: Sede del Centro, 1987), 1:421.
For other instances, see Dykmans, "Le rite," pp. 159-60.
29. Limoges, ann. 1031, Mansi, Sacrorum conciliorum, vol. 19, col. 540.
30. This is the reason given by Liudprand of Cremona, Antapodosis 1.30, in Opera
omnia, CCCM, 156 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 1998), p. 23. But also see the
summary ofFormosus's rehabilitation which claims he was guilty of perjury and
lay communion. This council, thought to be held in Ravenna in 898, is dated 904
in Rome, in Mansi, Sacrorum conciliorum, vol. 18, col. 221. On the controversy
regarding whether there were actually one or two such councils, see J. Duhr, "Le
concile de Ravenne en 898: La rehabilitation du Pape Formose," Recherches de
sciencereligieuse 22 (1932): 541-79.
31. The council of rehabilitation will claim that this was the work of treasure seekers,
however (Mansi, Sacrorum conciliorum, vol. 18, col. 225, c. 9).

32. On this fresco, see]. Duhr, "Humble vestige d'un grand espoir," Recherches de
science religiense 42(1954): 361-87; Horace Mann, The Lives of the Popes in the Early
Middle Ages (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1925), 4:47.
33. H. Leclercq, Histoire des conciles (Paris: Letouzey et Ane, 1911), 4,2:712.
34. Mansi, Sacrorum conciliorum, vol. 18, cols. 223-25, c. 2, 3, 4, 8, 2. Only one cleric, a
certain Bonosus of Narni, seems to have resisted (col. 222). Leclercq, Histoire,
4,2:715-18. On the issue surrounding the reordination of those originally or-
dained by Formosus, see Saltet, Les Reordinations, pp. 152-56.
35. See Andre Vauchez, Sainthood in the Later Middle Ages, trans. Jean Birrell (Cam-
bridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp. 147-55.
36. Auxilius, In defensionem sacrae ordinationis papae Formosi 1.1 0, in Auxilius und
Vulgarius, ed. Ernst Diimmler (Leipzig: S. Hirzel, 1866), p. 71. On Auxilius' etlorts,
see Saltet, "Les Depositions," pp. 156-60.
37. This is according to an anonymous Beneventan author of the tenth century, as
cited by Mann, Lives of the Popes, 4:82.
38. Auxilius, In defensionem 1.11, p. 72.
39. Liudprand, Antapodosis 1.31, p. 24.
40. Durandus, Pontifical romain 3.7.22-27, pp. 607-9. In his concluding remarks, he
further refers the reader to the section in his Speculum iudicale mentioned above.
41. Vl.5.9.2. See Dykmans, "Le rite," pp. 165-66; Cenestal, Le Privilegium, 2:59-63.
42. Dykrnans, "Le rite," pp. 166-67, 172-73.
43. Dykrnans, "Le rite," p. 171.
44. See Bernard Cui's prescriptions for sentences on posthumous condemnations in
Practica inquisitionis hereticae 3.1, ed. Celestin Douais (Paris: Alphonse Picard,
1886), p. 85.
4 5. Malcolm Lambert, Medieval Heresy: Popular Movements from the Gregorian Reform to
the Reformation, 2nd edn. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1977), pp. 180-81; Bernard Cui
gives the forms for such a condemnation in Practica 3.27-28, pp. 123-26.
46. Lambert, Medieval Heresy, pp. 207 ti
47. See Acta S. Officii Bononie: ab anna 1291 nsque ad annum 1310, ed. Lorenzo Paolini
and Raniero Orioli (Rome: Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo, 1982-4),
Jacobus, rector of St. Thomas del Mercato, 1:37-40. I discuss such cases at greater
length in Proving Woman: Female Spirituality and Inquisitional Culture in the Later
Middle Ages (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004).
48. Bernard Pirotas ofLodeve, Doat Collection, Bibliotheque Nationale, vol. 28, fol.
49. For sentencing and the bestowal of crosses, see Cui, Practica 3.1, p. 84.
50. Cui, Practica 3.20, pp. 111-15.
51. Cui, Practica 3.21. p. 117-19.
52. See Alan FriecUander's, The Hammer of the Inquisitors: Brother Bernard Delicieux and
the Struggle Against the Inquisition in Fourteenth-Century France (Leiden, the Nether-
lands: Brill, 2000).
53. Alan Friedlander, ed., Processus Bernardi Delitiosi: The Trial of Fr. Bernard Delicieux,
3 September-S December 1319 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1996),
p. 211; cf the account of the actual degradation in Carcassonne (p. 212). See
Friedlander's discussion of the trial in The Hammer of the Inquisitors, pp. 258ft:
54. See Cenestal's discussion of this quarrel in Le Privilegium, 2:95-114.
55. See Vacandard, "Les depositions," cols. 462-63; Cenestal, Le Privilegium, 2:137-53.
56. See R. I. Moore, The Formation of a Persecuting Society (Oxford: Basil Blackwell,
1987), pp. 62-64.
57. C.24 q.3 c.16. Note that Cratian anticipated the papal decree that unrepentant
clerics be delivered to the secular arm (C.1 q.1 c.30 dpc; see Cenestal, Le
Privilegium, 2:7).

58. Durandus, Ponfical romain 3.7.22-23, p. 608; cf. idem, Speculum 3.4, De accusatione,
in which he again stresses the publicity of the ceremony. See Dykrnans, "Le rite,"
p. 163.
59. See Dykrnans' edition of the ritual contained in the sixteenth-century Pontificale
romanus, in "Le rite," text no. 2, 10.2, p. 184. Dykrnans notes, however, that the
rite may be no older than the fourteenth-century rite (p. 174).
60. Durandus, Pontifical romain 1.3 .9, p. 33 7.
61. Durandus, Pontificale romain, appendix, 4, pp. 681-2, nos. 9-10.

Notes to Chapter Four

1. The following editions of versions of Griselda have been consulted and will be
cited, as appropriate: Boccaccio, "Decameron (X, 10), 1350," ed. Jean-Luc Nardone
in L'Histoire de Griselda: une fomme exemplaire dans les litteratures europeennes, ed.
Jean-Luc Nardone and Henri Lamarque, vol. 1 (Toulouse: Presses Universitaires
de Mirail, 2000), pp. 29-57; in English, Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron, trans.
Mark Musa and Peter Bondanella (New York: W W Norton, 1982), pp. 672-81;
Petrarch, "De oboedentia et fide uxoria, in Seniles (XVII, 3), 1373," ed. Henri
Lamarque in L'Histoire de Griselda, pp. 59-104; in English, Francis Petrarch, Sen
XVII 3 in Letters of Old Age "Rerum Senilium Libri" I-XVIII, trans. Aldo S. Bernardo,
Saul Levin, and Rita A. Bernardo, vol. 2 (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1992), pp. 65 5-68; Philippe de Mezieres, Le Livre de la vertu du
sacrement de mariage, ed.Joan B. Williamson (Washington, D.C.: Catholic Univer-
sity of America Press, 1993), pp. 356-77; English translations of Philippe are my
own. Le Mesnagier de Paris, ed. Georgina E. Brereton and Janet M. Ferrier, trans.
Karin Ueltschi (Paris: Librairie Generale Fran~aise, 1994), pp. 192-232; English
translations my own. For the French anonymous translation, Le Livre de Griseldis,
ed.]. Burke Severs in]. Burke Severs, The Literary Relationships of Chaucer's Clerk's
Tale (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1942; repr. Hamden, CT: Archon
Book, The Shoe String Press, 1972), pp. 255-89. For the dramatic version, L'Estoire
de Griseldis, ed. Barbara M. Craig (Lawrence, KA: University of Kansas Press,
1954). For Christine's version, Maureen Cheney Curnow's dissertation on Chris-
tine de Pizan remains a valuable source of information and analysis, "The Livre de
la Cite des Dames of Christine de Pizan: A Critical Edition" (Ph.D. dissertation:
Vanderbilt, 1975); the Gliselidis story occurs in Pt. IV, pp. 900-10. The most recent
edition of Christine's work is La Citta delle Dame, ed. Earl Jeffrey Richards and
trans. Patrizia Caraffi, (Milan: Luni Editrice, 1998), pp. 346-56; page references
will be to Richard's edition and English translations are my own.
2. For discussion of Griselda's European transformations, see Nardone and Lama-
rque, L'Histoire de Griselda and for the Griselda legend in medieval France, see Elie
Golenistcheff-Koutouzotl; L'Histoire de Griseldis en France au XIVe et au XVe siecle
(Paris: Droz, 1933).
3. Ann Rosalind Jones and Peter Stallybrass, Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of
Memory (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2000), p. 220.
4. An astute analysis of rhetorical embellishment, the heroine's clothing, and gender
ethics in Chaucer's Clerk's Tale is provided by Carolyn Dinshaw, "Griselda
Translated" chapter 5 of Chaucer's Sexual Poetics (Madison, WI: The University of
Wisconsin Press, 1989), pp. 132-55; on Petrarch's "correction" of Boccaccio's
stripping of Griselda and the subsequent problematization of the nude heroine in
Renaissance marriage chests, see Cristelle L. Baskins, "Griselda, or the Renais-
sance Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelor in Tuscan Cassone Painting," Stanford
Italian Review 10 (1992): 153-75;Jones and Stallybrass further discuss how Petrach
"refashions" Boccaccio's Griselda by effacing "the violence and the sexualization
of Boccaccio's version" in Renaissance Clothing, p. 222. Susan Crane analyzes
Griselda's reclothing as social performance in Chaucer in The Performance of Self:
Ritual, Clothing, and Identity During the Hundred Years War (Philadelphia: Universi-
ty of Pennsylvania Press, 2002), pp. 29-38; see also Kristine Gilmartin, '1\.rray in
the Clerk's Tale," The Chaucer Review, 13.3 (1979): 234-46. Although Chaucer's
Clerk's Tale and its frame have provoked arguably the liveliest discussion about
authorial strategies and this text pre-dates the Cite des Dames, it is unlikely that
Christine knew it. Comparison of Chaucer's and Christine's interpretative refash-
ioning is beyond the scope of this study.
5. See, for example, Marueen Quilligan, The Allegory of Female Authority: Christine de
Pizan's Cite des Dames (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991), pp. 165-67 and
Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski, "Christine de Pizan and the Misogynistic Tradi-
tion," Romanic Review 81.2 (1990): 291. Quilligan in particular notes Christine's
distinctive treatment of the tale as compared to her male predecessors. Most
recently, l'atrizia CarafE notes that Griselidis assumes new significance as she is
recontextualized within the Cite; Patrizia Caraffi, "Jntroduzione," in Christine de
Pizan, La Cite des Dames, ed. Richards and Caraffi, p.22 and Patrizia Caraffi,
"Silence des femmes et cruaute des hommes: Christine de Pizan et Boccaccio,"
Contexts and Continuities: Proceedings of the IVth International Colloquium on Chris-
tine de Pizan (Glasgow 21-27 july 2000), Published in Honor ofLiliane Dulac, ed. Angus
J Kennedy, Rosalind Brown Grant, and Liliane Dulac (Glasgow: University of
Glasgow Press, 2002), pp. 175-86.
6. For example, GolenistcheffKjoutouzoff devoted only a few pages to Christine's
version, L'Histoire de Griseldis en France, pp. 126-30; it is not included in Nardone
and Lamargue, eds. L'Histoire de Griseldis.
7. Quilligan, The Allegory of Female Authority, p. 167.
8. Kevin Brownlee, "Commentary and the Rhetoric of Exemplarity: Griseldis in
Petrarch, Philippe de Mezieres, and the Estoire," South Atlantic Quarterly 91, 4
(1992): 867.
9. Dinshaw, Chaucer's Sexual Poetics, pp. 132-33.
10. Decameron, trans. Musa and Bondanella, p. 681.
11. Decameron, ed. Nardone, p. 56.
12. Jones and Stallybrass, Renaissance Clothing, p. 228.
13. Jones and Stallybrass, Renaissance Clothing, p. 223. See also Robin Kirkpatrick,
'The Griselda Story in Boccaccio, Petrarch, and Chaucer," in Chaucer and the
Italian Trecento, ed. Piero Boitani (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University
Press, 1983), pp. 231-48.
14. See Dinshaw, Chaucer's Sexual Poetics, p. 133.
15. Petrarch, ''De oboedentia," ed. Lamarque, p. 68.
16. See Jones and Stallybrass, Renaissance Clothing, p. 222.
17. Baskins, "Griselda," p. 159;Jones and Stallybrass, Renaissance Clothing, pp. 221-23.
18. Petrarch, Sen XVII, 3, in Letters of Old Age, trans. Bernardo, Levin and Bernardo, p.
19. Jones and Stallybrass, Renaissance Clothing, p. 223.
20. On the medieval husband's gift of clothing to the bride, which symbolizes her
entrance into a new family and which remains his property; see Christiane
Klapisch-Zuber, "Le Complexe de Griselda: Dots et Dons de Mariage au Quattro-
cento," Melanges de L'Ecole fran~aise de Rome 94 (1982): 7-43.
21. Jones and Stallybrass, Renaissance Clothing, p. 220.

22. Petrarch, "De oboedentia," ed. Lamarque, p. 98 and Sen XVII, 4, trans. Bernardo,
Levin and Bernardo, p. 670.
23. Joan B. Williamson, "La premiere traduction fran~aise de l'histoire de Griselidis
de Petrarque: pour quiet pour quai fut-elle taite?" in Amour, mariage et transgres-
sions au Moyen Age. Actes du Colloque du Centre d'Etudes Medievales de l'Universite de
Picardie, mars 1983. Gbppinger Arbeiten sur Germanistick, No. 420 (Goppingen:
Kummerle Verlag, 1984), pp. 447-56 and "Philippe de Meziere's Book for Married
Ladies: A Book from the Entourage of the Court of Charles VI," in The Spirit of
the Court: Selected Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the International Courtly
Literature Society (Toronto 1983 ), ed. Glyn S. Burgess, Robert A. Taylor et al.
(Woodbridge, UK: D. S. Brewer, 1983), pp. 393-408.
24. Philippe de Mezieres, Le Livre de la vertu du sacrement de mariage, ed. Williamson,
p. 356, 1. 7; English translations of citations from this edition are mine. On the
insistence on Griseldis as "marvelous" in Philippe's authorial commentary, see
Brownlee, "Commentary," p. 871. Brownlee also argues that Philippe "criticizes
the behavior and motivation ofWalter," p. 871, more than Petrarch.
25. "Povre cote" appears in the Livre de la vertu du sacrement de mariage, p. 373, 1. 6; p.
374, 1. 7 (with "povre habit); "en habit de tres povre ancelle" p. 374, 1. 21; "povre
robe" p. 374, 1. 32; "povres dras" p. 376, 1. 32.
26. Carolyn Collette, "Chaucer and the French Tradition Revisited: Philippe de
Mezieres and the Good Wife," in Medieval Women: Text and Contexts in Late
Medieval Britain: Essays for Felicity Riddy, ed. Jocelyn Wogan-Browne, Rosalyn
Voaden, Arlyn Diamond et al. (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2000), p. 165.
Collette notes that earlier Philippe emphasizes her management of the state as
well as the household.
27. Le Mesnagier de Paris, ed. Ueltschi, p. 232. Translations of citations from this
edition are mine.
28. See Janet M. Ferrier, "Seulement pour vous endoctriner: The Author's Use of
Exempla in Le Menagier de Paris," Medium Aevum 48 (1979): 77-89.
29. Ueltschi, ed. Le Mesnagier de Paris, p. 10.
30. Ferrier, "Seulement pour vous endoctriner," 79.
31. The addition of this speech has been noted by Ferrier and others. Ferrier, calls it
"a little sermon" and takes brief notice of it; Ferrier, "Seulement pour vous
endoctriner," p. 78. I wish to emphasize its importance in a text where few
changes to the original have been made.
32. As noted by Golentischeft~Koutouzoff, I:Histoire de Griselda, pp. 126-29. See also
La Cite des Dames, ed. Curnow, vol. 1, pp. 156-60.
33. The contemporary chronology is noted by Brown-Grant, Christine de Pizan and
the Moral Defense of Women: Reading Beyond Gender (Cambridge, England: Cam-
bridge University Press, 1999), p. 165 who cites Glynnis M. Cropp, "Les person-
nages feminins tires de l'histoire de la France dans Le Livre de la Cite des Dames," in
Une femme de lettres au Moyen Age: Etudes autour de Christine de Pizan, ed. Liliane
Dulac et Bernard Ribemont (Orleans: Paradigme, 1995), pp. 195-208.
34. See Caraftl, "Introduzione," La Cite des Dames, ed. Richards, p. 22.
35. For Christine's version of the speech, see La Cite des Dames, ed. Richards, p. 350;
tor Philippe's more obsequious speech, see Le Livre de la vertu du sacrement de
mariage, ed. Williamson, p. 371.
36. Cite des Dames, ed. Richards, 354; Le Livre de la vertu du sacrement de mariage, ed.
Williamson, p. 375. See Quilligan's discussion, The Allegory of Female Authority, p.
37. For other perspectives on Christine's rewriting ofBoccaccio in these stories, see
Patricia A. Philippy, "Establishing Authority: Boccaccio's De Claris Mulieribus and
Christine de Pizan's Le Livre de Ia Cite des Dames," Romanic Review 77. 3 (1986), 167-
93; Kevin Browlee, "Christine de Pizan's Canonical Authors: The Special Case of
Boccaccio," Comparative Literature Studies 32.2 (1995): 244-61; Caraffi, "Silence des
38. On Christine's ethical stance against the defamation of women and her sapiential
writing, see Helen Solterer, The Master and Minerva: Disputing Women in French
Medieval Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), pp. 151-75.
39. Brownlee, "Christine de Pizan's Canonical Authors," pp. 251-52.
40. On women's manipulation of speech and dress in the Livre des Trois Vertus, Liliane
Dulac, "The Representation and Functions of Feminine Speech in Christine de
Pizan's Livre des Trois Vertus," in Reinterpreting Christine de Pizan, ed. Earl Jeffrey
Richards (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1992), pp. 13-22 and my "Nouvelles
chases: Social Instability and the Problem of Fashion in the Livre du Chevalier de la
Tour Landry, the Menagier de Paris, and Christine de Pizan's Livre des Trois Vertus,"
in Medieval Conduct, ed. Kathleen Ashley and Robert L. A. Clark (Minneapolis:
University of Minnesota Press), pp. 48-85.
41. On women's positive construction of social honor in Trois Vertus, see Brown-
Grant, Christine de Pizan and the Moral Defence ofWomen, pp. 175-214, especially pp.

Notes to Chapter Five

1. For this debate, see Judith M. Bennett, '"History that Stands Still': Women's Work
in the European Past," Feminist Studies 14 (1986): 269-83; Bridget Hill, "Women's
History: A Study in Change, Continuity or Standing Still?" Women's History
Review 2 (1993): 5-23; Martha Howell, Women, Production, and Patriarchy in Late
Medieval Cities (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986).
2. Judith M. Bennett, Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England: Women's Work in a Changing
World, 1300-1600 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).
3. Sarah B. Pomeroy, Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves: Women in Classical
Antiquity (New York: Shocken, 1975), p. 30.
4. John Scheid and Jesper Svenbro, The Craft of Zeus: Myths of Weaving and Fabric,
trans. Carol Volk (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996), p. 68.
5. Elizabeth Wayland Barber, Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years (New York: W. W.
Norton, 1994), pp. 281-2.
6. 7:35, excerpted in Women's Lifo in Greece and Rome: A Source Book in Translation, ed.
Mary P. Lefkowitz and Maureen Fant, 2nd ed. (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1992), p. 200.
7. Pomeroy, Goddesses, p. 199.
8. David Herlihy, Opera Muliebria: Women and Work in Medieval Europe (New York:
McGraw-Hill, 1990), pp. 77-91.
9. On embroidery see Nancy A. Jones, "The Uses of Embroidery in the Romances
of Jean Renart: Gender, History, Textuality," in Nancy Vine Durling, ed., jean
Renart and the Art ofRomance: Essays on Guillaume de Dole (Gainesville: Universi-
ty of Florida Press, 1997), pp. 13-44.
10. On the chanson de toile, see E. Jane Burns, Courtly Love Undressed: Reading Through
Clothes in Medieval French Literature (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania
Press, 2002), Chapter 3.
11. Rene de Lespinasse and Fran<;ois Bonnardot, ed., Le livre des metiers d'Etienne
Boileau (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1879).

12. Alexander Neckam, De Naturis rerum, ch. 171, ed. Thomas Wright, Rerum
Britannicam Medii Aevi Scriptores 34 (London: Longman, Green, Longman, Rob-
erts & Green, 1863), p. 281.
13. Herlihy, Opera Muliebria, pp. 185-91.
14. Arsene Darmesteter and D.S. Blondheim, Les gloses fran~aises dans les commenwires
talmudiques de Raschi (Paris: Champion, 1929), no. 1089, 1:150.
15. A. R. Bridbury, Medieval English Cloth making: An Economic Survey (London: Heine-
mann, 1982), pp. 1-3.
16. Dominique Cardon, La. Draperie au Moyen Age: Essor d'une grande industrie eu-
ropccnnc (Paris: CNRS, 1999), p. 545.
17. Herlihy, Opera Muliebria, pp. 96-97, 147-48.
18. Howell, Women, Production, pp. 124-33; Herlihy, Opera Muliebria, pp. 147-48;
Maryanne Kowaleski and Judith M. Bennett, "Crafts, Gilds, and Women in the
Middle Ages: Fifty Years After Marian K. Dale," Signs: journal of Women in Culture
and Society 14 (1989): 474-501.
19. Heather Swanson, Medieval Artisans: An Urban Class in Late Medieval England
(Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989), p. 31.
20. Kathryn L. Reyerson, "Women in Business in Medieval Montpellier," in Women
and Work in Preindustrial Europe, ed. Barbara A. Hanawalt (Bloomington: Indiana
University Press, 1986), pp. 21-22; Kay Lacey, "The Production of'Narrow Ware'
by Silkwomen in Fourteenth and Fifteenth Century England," Textile History 18
(1981): 187-204; John of Garland, Dictionarius, in A Volume of Vocabularies, ed.
Thomas Wright (Liverpool: D. Marples and Co., 1882), pp. 134-35.
21. Howell, Women, Production, pp. 70-75, shows that women in Leiden did not weave
or full, although some were actually cloth merchants.
22. Maryanne Kowaleski, "Women's Work in a Market Town: Exeter in the Late
Fourteenth Century," in Hanawalt, Women and Work, pp. 152-53 (the women
merchants were widows of merchants); P. J. P. Goldberg, Women, Work, and Lift
Cycle in a Medieval Economy: Women in York and Yorkshire c. 1300-1520 (Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1992), pp. 82-157, esp. pp. 120-21, noting that women tended to
be in the lowest -skilled and lowest -paid branches of the textile trade.
23. Wakefield examples listed in J. W. Walker, Wakefield: Its History and People, 3rd
edition (Wakefield: S. R. Publishers Ltd., 1966), 2:386-88.Johannes Brugman, Vita
posterior beatae Lidwinae virgin is, 2:4, AASS vol. 11 p. 323 and ff.
24. Jenny Jochens, Women in Old Norse Society (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press,
1995), pp. 134-60, esp. p. 139; Helgi Porlaksson, '1\.rbeidskvinnens, sarlig vever-
skens, oknomiske stilling pa Island I middelalderen," in Kvinnans ekonomiska
stiillning under nordisk medeltid, ed. Hedda Gunneng and Birgit Strand (Lindome,
Sweden: Kompendiet, 1981), pp. 50-65; Nanna Damsholt, "The Role oflcelandic
Women in the Sagas and in the Production of Homespun Cloth," Scandinavian
journal ofHistory 9 (1984): 81-87.
25. I use the term "woolen" here not in the technical sense, which distinguishes
between "woolen" and "worsted" cloth although both are made of wool fiber,
but simply to indicate the fiber content, as opposed to linen or silk.
26. Little Red Book ofBristol, ed. Francis Bickley (Bristol: W. Crofton Hemmons, 1900),
27. York Memorandum Book, ed. Maud Sellers, Surtees Society 120 (Durham, England:
Andrews & Co., 1912), 1:243.
28. Walter Endrei, L'Evolution des techniques du filage et du du Moyen Age a Ia
revolution industrielle, trans. Joseph Takacs (Paris: Mouton, 1968), p. 38; Cardon,
La Dra.perie, pp. 265-67.
29. Bennett, Ale, Beer, and Brewsters, pp. 122-44.
30. John of Garland, Dictionarius, p. 135.
31. Ruth Mazo Karras, Common Women: Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England
(New York: Oxford, 1996), p. 54.
32. Karras, Common Women, p. 39; Peter Schuster, Das Frauenhaus: Stiidtische Bordelle
in Deutschland (1350-1600) (Paderborn, Germany: Ferdinand Schoningh, 1992), p.
33. Fols 60r, 166v, 193r, in Michael Camille, Mirror in Parchment: The Luttrell Psalter and
the Making of Medieval England (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), pp.
299-300, 219, 221.
34. Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, "General Prologue," ll. 446-47, Riverside
Chaucer, ed. Larry Benson (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987), p. 30.
35. William Langland, Piers Plowman: The B Version, ed. George Kane and E. Talbot
Donaldson (London: Athlone Press, 1988), 5:213-16, p. 319.
36. Christine de Pisan, Le Livre des Trois Vertus, 2:10, ed. Charity Cannon Willard and
Eric Hicks (Paris: Champion, 1989), p. 156.
37. Quoted in Merry E. Wiesner, "Spinsters and Seamstresses: Women in Cloth and
Clothing Production," in Rewriting the Renaissance: The Discourses of Sexual
Difference in Early Modern Europe, ed. Margaret W Ferguson, Maureen Quilligan,
and Nancy]. Vickers (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), p. 191.
38. Jochens, Women in Old Norse Society, pp. 159-60; Damsholt, "Role," p. 84.
39. Brennu-Njals saga, 157, in Islendinga siigur, vol. 1, ed. Bragi Halld6rsson, J6n
Torfason, Sverrir T6masson, and Ornulfur Thorsson (Reykjavik: Svart a hvitu,
1987), pp. 341-42;Jochens, Women in Old Norse Society, pp. 136-39.
40. The manuscript was destroyed during World War I, but had been photographed
before that time. Cardon, La Draperie, fig. 131.
41. Gert Kreytenberg, "The Sculptures of the Fourteenth Century," in Cristina
Acidini Luchinari, ed., The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, trans.
Anthony Brierly (Florence: Cassa eli Risparmio di Firenze, 1994), 2:73-156, fig. 19.
42. Cardon, La Draperic, fig. 126.
43. Dennis A. Chevalley, Der Dom zu Augsburg(Munich: R. Oldenbourg Verlag, 1995),
p. 139, fig. 242; Robert L. Wyss, "Die Handarbeiten der Maria: Eine Ikonogra-
phische Studie unter Berticksichtigung der Textilentechniken," in Artes Minores,
ed. Michael Stettler and Mechthild Lemberg (Bern: Stampfli & Cie., 1973), pp.
114-55, pis. 1-5, 18-22.
44. Wyss, "Die Handarbeiten," p. 177.
45. Giovanni Boccaccio, Famous Women, ed. and trans. Virginia Brown (Cambridge,
MA: Harvard University Press, 2001), pp. 158-61.
46. Boccaccio, Famous Women, pp. 138-81. The translation of the last phrase is mine
rather than Brown's, as it is the skill rather than the woman that is not to be
47. E. Jane Burns, Bodytalk: When Women Speak in Old French Literature (Philadelphia:
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993), pp. 116-50 discusses the Old French text.
The story is known in other versions and vernaculars as well; the French version
has been used here because Burns's analysis is helpful.
48. Geoffrey Chaucer, The Legend of Good Women, 11. 2351-53, in Riverside Chaucer; p.
49. Francesca Bray, Technology and Gender: Fabrics of Power in Late Imperial China
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), pp. 183-272.
50. G. R. Owst, Literature and Pulpit in Medieval England (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1933), p. 291, on the history of this saying.
51. Ruth Mazo Karras, From Boys to Men: Formations of Masculinity in Late Medieval
Europe (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003), pp. 109-50.
52. Barbara Hanawalt, The Ties that Bound: Peasant Families in Medieval England (New
York: Oxford University Press, 1986), p. 149.

Notes to Chapter Six

Picture credits: Overlays ©. Madeline H. Caviness, based on illustrations in

Caviness, Sumptuous Arts.
1. Theophilus, De Diuersis Artibus II, in "De componendis fonestris ," ed. and trans. C.
R. Dodwell (London: Nelson Press, 1961), p. xvii; Joan Vila-Grau, "La table de
peintre-verrier de Cerone," La Revue de l'Art 72 (1986): 32-34. See also Sebastian
Strobl, Glastechnik Des Mittelalters (Stuttgart: A. Gentner, 1990), pp. 76-84, and
Madeline Caviness, Stained Glass Windows, Typologie des Sources du Moyen Age
Occidental 76 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1996), pp. 49-50.
2. An invitation to give a paper on the re-use of cartoons (full-size patterns) in
monumental stained glass programs at a conference at Auxerre in 2000 inspired
me to see what could be added to existing knowledge by scanning photographs
into a computer. See my "Les Patrons pour le vitrail: transmission et utilisation a
plusieurs reprises autour de 1200," Le Vitrail au XIIIe siecle dans la Bourgogne royale
et le contexte europeen, Colloque 1-3 decembre 2000, Auxerre: Centre d'Etudes
Medievales (papers in press).
3. Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi Colloquium, Canterbury and York, 1972.
4. Heidi Gearhardt, working with me as a graduate assistant, showed me how to
scan and edit the computerized images. She is largely responsible tor the
completed designs used in the French version of this paper and available on the
web at: http:/ I -mcavines/ glassdesign.html.
5. Madeline H. Caviness, The Early Stained Glass of Canterbury Cathedral (Princeton,
N]: Princeton University Press, 1977), pp. 88-89, figs. 175 [upside down], 176; 177,
6. Caviness, Early Stained Glass, p. 87, Appendix figs. 2 (n. II) and 3.
7. Robert W Scheller, Exemplum: Model-Book Drawings and the Practice of Artistic
Transmission in the Middle Ages, trans. Michael Hoyle (Amsterdam: Amsterdam
University Press, 1995), pp. 70-71 (with bibliography, pp. 189-92, n. 198).
8. A clear case is the border of Window n. II in the Trinity Chapel of Canterbury,
referred to above, one of several containing the posthumous miracles of Saint
Thomas Becket, and the border of the vvindow v<.ith the life of the same saintly
archbishop in Sens. See Madeline Caviness, "Les Patrons pour le vitrail," figs. 1 a-
9. Caviness, "Les Patrons pour le vitrail," figs. 2 a-c.
10. Madeline H. Caviness, The Windows of Christ Church Cathedral, Canterbury, Corpus
Vitrearum Medii Aevi, Great Britain, II (London: Oxford University Press for the
British Academy, 1981), pp. 86, 100, 106, 161, 165, 199,205,209.
11. The border of the St. Eustace window in Sens (in which the iron armature design
has already been linked with window n.II in the Trinity Chapel at Canterbury), is
very close to a stray panel that has been reused in one of the choir clerestory
windows at Canterbury: Caviness, "Les Patrons pour levi trail," figs. 3 a-c.
12. The clerestory refers to the upper wall, usually the third story above an arcade
and a gallery, which brings light directly into the nave and choir. In the buildings
discussed here, the sills of the clerestory windows are about 50-60 feet above the
13. Madeline H. Caviness, Sumptuous Arts at the Royal Abbeys in Reims and Braine:
Ornatus elegantia et varietate stupendae (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press,
1990), p. 120 and Appendix D, esp. R.b.20 and C.b.4.
14. Caviness, Sumptuous Arts, pp.108-116, figs. 5 and 6, pls. 29, 77. Anne Prache
worked out the very precise dating for the building construction, from docu-
ments and observations of the masonry: Anne Prache, Saint-Remi de Reims:
L'Oeuvre de Pierre de Celle et sa place daus !'architecture gothique (Geneva: Societe
fran<;aise d'archeologie, 1978).
15. Caviness, Sumptuous Arts, fig. 6 "F'', col. pl. 4, pis. 77, 129, 175, 179.
16. Caviness, Sumptuous Arts, pis. 167-71, 174.
17. Caviness, Sumpluous Arls, figs. 6-7.
18. Caviness, Early Stained Glass, Appendix fig. 5, figs. 151-52; see also Caviness, The
Windows of Christ Church Cathedral, Canterbury, pp. 36-37, figs. 52-56. This window
was to the east of the screen that closed off the part still under construction from
the presbytery to the west, where the high altar was put into use in 1181. The date
of1190-1200 depends on other circumstantial and stylistic evidence.
19. Caviness, Sumptuous Arts, pp. 339-47.
20. Caviness, Sumptuous Arts, p. 83, pis. 78 and 79.
21. Anne Prache, "Saint-Yved de Braine," Congres Archeologique de France: Aisne
Meridionale (Paris: Societe Archeologique de France, 1994), 1:105-18.
22. Caviness, Sumptuous Arts, pp. 125-26, pis. 258-65 (270 and 271 are identical).
23. Caviness, Sumptuous Arts, pp. 25-26, 124, 129.
24. Caviness, Sumptuous Arts, pl. 80.
25. Caviness, Sumptuous Arts, p. 100.
26. Caviness, Sumptuous Arts, col. pis. 10 and 11.
27. Abiud is now in New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Medieval
Department accession# 14.47. The figure was acquired from the dealer Bacri in
Paris in 1914: Caviness, Sumptuous Arts, p. 341 no. 5.
28. This was not a case of reversing the pattern tor Ezechiel, the figure that is paired
with Micheas in the third lancet, because the outline of his forehead and beard is
quite different; see: Caviness, Sumptuous Arts, pl. 77. The lower panel of Micheas
is however modern, but it replicates the authentic lower half of Ezechiel.
29. Caviness, The Windows of Christ Church Cathedral, Canterbur)l fig. 2b.
30. Another such case is the adaptation of the pattern for Jesse in Canterbury for King
Chilperic in the nave of Saint-Remi: Caviness, Sumptuous Arts, figs. 265, 266;
Caviness, "Les Patrons pour le vitrail," figs. 11 a and b.
31. Amminadab in Canterbury is also closely related to a figure labeled 'MELBA' that
comes from Braine, though they do not appear to be directly related (Caviness,
"Les Patrons pour levi trail," figs. 13 a and b). Most probably both derive from a
lost figure from the choir of Saint-Remi.
32. Clearly visible in Caviness, Sumptuous Arts, pis. 98 and 268.
33. Desiree Koslin, "Turning Time in the Bayeux Embroidery," Textile & Text 13
(1990): 34-37.
34. David O'Connor and Jeremy Haselock, "The Stained and Painted Glass," in A
History ofYork Miuster, ed. G. E. Aylmer and Reginald Cant (Oxford: Clarendon
Press, 1977), pp. 318-19. They interpret this oiled cloth as a temporary weather-
proof and translucent window filling, replaced by glass in 670, but perhaps it was
the pattern.
35. Linen is mentioned by Scheller, Exemplum, pp. 72-73, who observes that the same
fabric was used tor both architectural templates and for patterns tor glass. For
templates drawn on wood or fabric, see also: L. F. Salzman, Building in England
Down to 1540 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952), pp. 21-22, and Lon R. Shelby,
"Medieval Masons' Templates," journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 30
(1971): 143.Janet Snyder considers the impact of imported silks on the represen-
tation of sculpted drapery in mid-twelfth-century France in this volume.
36. Hermann Roth, "Der Maler Henritz Hey! und die spatgotischen Glasmalereien
in der Pfarrkirche zu Friedberg I Hessen in urkundlichen N achrichten," in
Festgabe fiir Christian Rauch, Mitteilungen des Oberhessischen Geschichtsvereins,
n. F. 44 (Giessen, Germany: Wilhelm Schmitz Verlag, 1960), pp. 86, 97.

Notes to Chapter Seven

1. Francisque Xavier Michel, Recherches sur le commerce, la fabrication, et l'usage des

etoffis de soie, d'oret d'argent, 2 vols. (Paris: Crapelet, 1852-54); E. M. Carus-Wilson,
'The Woolen Industry," in Cambridge Economic History of Europe, ed. M. Postan
and E. E. Rich (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1987), pp. 614-
92; John H. Munro, "The Medieval Scarlet and the Economics of Sartorial
Splendor," in Cloth and Clothing in Medieval Europe, ed. N. B. Harte and K. G.
Pouting (London: Heineman, 1983), 13-70.
2. Dominique Cardon, La Draperie au Moyen Age: Essor d'une grande industrie eu-
ropeenne (Paris: CNRS, 1999); Kathryn Reyerson, "Medieval Silks in Montpellier:
The Silk Market ca. 1250-1350," journal of European Economic History 11 (1982):
3. Ernst Robert Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, trans. Willard
R. Trask (New York: Pantheon, 1953), pp. 30-34; on Occitan parodies, Caroline A.
]ewers, Chivalric Fiction and the History of the Novel (Gainesville: Univ. Press of
Florida, 2000), esp. pp. 54-129.
4. Kevin Brownlee, "The Practice of Cultural Authority: Italian Responses to French
Cultural Dominance in Il Tesoretto, Il Fiore and the Commedia, .. Forum for Modern
Language Studies 33. 3 (1997): 258-69.
5. Francis]. Carmody, ed., Li Livres dou Tresor de Brunetto Latini, vol. 22, Publications
in Modern Philology (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1948), p. 18. Transla-
tions are mine throughout.
6. Most influential is Henri Baudrillart, Histoire du luxe prive et public depuis l' antiquite
jusqu'a nos jours, 2nd ed. (Paris: Hachette, 1881). See also L'abbe de Vertot,
Memoire sur l'etablissement des lois somptuaires (Paris: Academie des inscriptions,
1766); Marcel Gatineau, Le luxe et les lois somptuaires (Caen: E. Lanier, 1900);
Etienne Giraudias, Etude historique sur les lois somptuaires (Poitiers: Societe
fran<;:aise d'imprimerie et de librairie, 1910); Marthe Leriget, Des lois et impots
somptuaires (Montpellier: L' Abeille, 1919); Pierre Kraemer- Raine, Le luxe et les lois
somptuaires au moyen dge (Paris: Ernest Sagot, 1920), and others below.
7. Alan Hunt, Governance of the Consuming Passions: A History of Sumptuary Law (New
York: St. Martin's Press, 1996). Also Claire Sponsler, Drama and Resistance: Bodies,
Goods, and Theatricality in Late Medieval England (Minneapolis: University of
Minnesota Press, 1997) and "Narrating the Social Order: Medieval Clothing
Laws," CLIO 21.3 (1992): 265-82; and Neithard Bulst, "La legislation somptuaire
d'Amadee VIII," in Amadee VIII-Felix V, premier due de Savoie et pape, 1383-1451
(Lausanne: Bibliotheque historique vaudoise, 1992), pp. 191-200.
8. Diane Owen Hughes, "Sumptuary Laws and Social Relations in Renaissance
Italy," in Disputes and Settlements: Law and Human Relations in the West, ed. John
Bossy (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1983), pp. 69-100, and
"Regulating Women's Fashion," in A History ofWomen: Silences of the Middle Ages,
ed. Christiane Klapisch-Zuber (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992),
pp. 136-58; Ronald E. Rainey, "Dressing Down the Dressed Up: Reproving
Feminine Attire in Renaissance Florence," in Renaissance Society and Culture:
Essays in Honor of Eugene F. Rice, Jr., ed. John Monfasani and Ronald G. Musto
(New York: Italica Press, 1991), pp. 217-37, and his dissertation, "Sumptuary
Legislation in Renaissance Florence" (Columbia University, 1985); James Brund-
age, "Sumptuary Laws and Prostitution in Late Medieval Italy," journal ofMedieval
History 13 (1987): 343-55; Stanley Chojnacki, "The Power of Love: Wives and
Husbands in Late Medieval Venice," in Women and Power in the Middle Ages, ed.

Mary C. Erler and Maryanne Kowaleski (Athens, GA: University of Georgia

Press, 1988), pp. 126-48.
9. Besides many of the studies cited above, Frances Elizabeth Baldwin, Sumptuary
Legislation and Personal Regulation in England, vol. 44, Johns Hopkins University
Studies in Historical and Po!Hical Science (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University
Press, 1926); Kent Roberts Greenfield, "Sumptuary Law in Ntirnberg: A Study in
Paternal Government," Johns Hopkins Studies in Historical and Political Sciences 36.2
(1918): 1-139; John Martin Vincent, Costume and Conduct in Laws of Basel, Bern and
Zurich, 1370-1800 (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1935);Johanna
B. Moyer, "Sumptuary Law in Ancien Regime France, 1229-1806" (Ph.D. thesis,
Syracuse University, 1996).
10. As Catherine Kovesi Killerby and Ronald Rainey note, Sumptuary Law in Italy
1200-1500 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 3-5, and Rainey, "Sumptu-
ary Legislation in Renaissance Florence," p. 16.
11. For an overview, Kovesi Killerby, Sumptuary Law, pp. 9-21; see also note 6 above.
12. Kovesi Killlerby, Sumptuary Law, pp. 21-22; Baudrillart, Histoire du luxe, vol. 1, pp.
66-69; Michel, Recherches sur le commerce, vol. 2, p. 158.
13. The Second Council of Nicaea, 787, exhorted clerics to dress modestly and to
avoid showy apparel embroidered with silk. At the Second Lateran Council in
1139, bishops and clerics were told to avoid styles and colors which might
interfere with their role as spiritual examples, H.]. Schroeder, Disciplinary Decrees
of the General Councils (St. Louis, MO: B. Herder, 1937), pp. 151, 199-200. Pope
Innocent III's legate to Paris in 1203 prohibited sleeved cloaks, silk in colors other
than blue or black, and other "inordinate" garments, Odette Pontal, ed. and
trans., Les Statuts de Paris et le synodal de !'ouest (XIIIe siecle) (Paris: Bibliotheque
Nationale, 1971), pp. 74, 82, 84. Lateran IV continued this trend; see esp. canon
16, Raymonde Foreville, Latran I, II, III et IV (Paris: Editions de l'Orante, 1965), pp.
290, 355-56.
14. Kovesi Killerby, Sumptuary Law, p. 21.
15. H. Platelle, "Le Probleme du scandale: Les Nouvelles Modes masculines aux XIe
et Xlle siecles," Revue beige de philologie et d'histoire 53.4 (1975): 1071-96.
16. Kovesi Killerby, Sumptuary Law, p. 24; F. Niccolai, Contributo allo studio dei piu
antichi brevi della campagna genovese (Milan: A. Guiffre, 1939), pp. 125-26.
17. Alexander Cartellieri, Philipp II. August. Konig von Frankreich, band II. Der Kreuzzug
(1187-1191) (Leipzig: Dyksche Buchandlung, 1906), p. 57; Hans Claude Hamilton,
ed., Historia rerum anglicarum Willelmi Parvi de Newburgh, in agro eboracensi, 2 vols.
(London: English Historical Society, 1856), vol. 1, p. 276.
18. H. Leclercq, ed., Histoire des conciles, vol. 5 (Paris: Letouzey et Ane, 1913), pp.
1171-72; Giovan Domenico Mansi, Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collec-
tio, (Florence/Venice: 1759-1790), vol. 22, col. 667-71.
19. Ariodante Fabretti, "Statuti e ordinamenti suntuarii intorno a! vestire degli
uomini e delle donne in Perugia dall'anno 1266 a! 1536," Memorie della Reale
Accademia delle Scienze di Torino, serie scienze morali, storiche e filologiche 38 (1888):
153-54. Fabretti also credits the growth to reawakened interest in Roman law.
20. I have traced this back to Baudrillart, who refers to two "lois de Louis VIII"
(Histoiredu luxe, vol. 3, pp. 168-71), which forbade counts and barons to give more
than two robes to knights of their suites. Sons of counts, barons and bannerets
should not wear fabric costing less than 16 sous per aune. It was permitted to give
companions fabrics costing up to 18 so us per aune. This reads like a paraphrase of
Philippe IV's 1294 statutes, items 5, 10, and 17, except that the known statutes
give no minimum price. Another of the supposed statutes proscribed "collet
renverse, queue trainante, ceinture doree" (turned-down collars, long trains, gold
belts) tor courtisans, which would be highly exceptional since no other French

laws of the time regulate either courtisans or any specific garment styles. Vertot
mentions an "arret de Parlement" with similar wording, but dated 1420 and
renewed in 1446. "Memoire sur l'etablissement des lois somptuaires," pp. 462-
21. Besides Fabretti, some scholars who have emphasized the French "law" of 1229
as a key starting point in the history of sumptuary legislation include Rainey,
"Sumptuary Legislation in Renaissance Florence," p. 42; Kovesi K.illerby, Sumptu-
ary Law, p. 24; Hughes, "Sumptuary Law and Social Relations," p. 73; as well as
the often franco-centric histories of luxury such as Baudrillart, Histoire du luxe,
vol. 3, p. 168; Kraemer-Raine, Le luxe et les lois somptuaires au moyen-age, pp. 33-34;
Giraudias, Etude historique sur les lois somptuaires, p. 52.
22. H. Duples-Augier, "Ordonnance somptuaire inedite de Philippe le Hardi,"
Bibliotheque de !'Ecole des Chartes 3.5 (1854): 176-81; Jourdan, Decrusy, and !sam-
bert, Recueil general des anciennes lois fran~aises, depuis l' an 420 jusqu'a la revolution
de 1789, 29 vols. (Paris: Belin-le-Prieur, 1821-1823), vol. 2, p. 669 (noting a 1283
"ordonnance sur le luxe," whose text was apparently lost); and pp. 697-700.
23. 'A Thirteenth-Century Castilian Sumptuary Law," Business History Review 37.1-2
(1963): 98-100.
24. Gustavo de Matos Sequeira, "Le costume defendu," in Actes du ler Congres
international d'histoire de costume, 1952 (Venice: 1955), pp. 64-68.
25. Kovesi K.illerby, Sumptuary Law, p. 24; G. Del Giudice, "Una legge suntuaria
inedita del 1290: Commento storico-critico," Atti dell'accademia pontaniana 16.2
(1886): 84-86.
26. Rainey, "Sumptuary Legislation in Renaissance Florence," pp. 44-46.
27. Kovesi Killerby, Sumptuary Law, pp. 24-40, and passim; see her bibliography.
28. Fore;ille, Latran I, II, III et IV, p. 243.
29. Eugene Marrin-Chabot, ed., La Chanson de la croisade albigeoise (Paris: Librairie
Generale Fran~aise, 1989).
30. La Societe archeologique de Montpellier, Thalamus Parvus, Le Petit Thalamus de
Montpellier (Montpellier:Jean Martel Aine, 1840), pp. 144-46. See also Reyerson,
"Medieval Silks in Montpellier," pp. 117-18, n. 2.
31. Mentioned in Fran~ois Boucher, 20,000 Years ofFashion (New York: Abrams, 1987),
p. 179, who dates them at 1274 and 1291, without citation. Annie Latlorgue, ed.,
Inventaire des titres et documens de !'Hostel de Ville de la cite royale de Montauban
(Montauban: Les Amis des Archives de Tarn-et-Garonne, 1983) lists "reglementz
sur les habits des hommes et des femmes" for 1275 in the book of "Sermens," p.
44. The document has apparently not been published.
32. Charles Giraud, Essai sur l'histoire de droit fran~ais, (Paris: Videcoq, 1846), pp. 205-
6; Leah Otis, Prostitution in Medieval Society: The History of an Urban Institution in
Languedoc (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), pp. 16, 67.
33. Fran<;:ois Bousgarbies, Du luxe ftminin: de quelques uns de ses probli:mes et quelques uns
de ses consequences en droit (Toulouse: G. Mollat, 1914), p. 140.
34. Jules Quicherat, Histoire de costume en France (Paris: Hachette, 1877), pp. 186-87.
35. Linda M. Paterson, The World of the Troubadours: Medieval Occitan Society, c. 1100-
c. 1300 (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 1-8.
36. Jacqueline Caille, "Urban Expansion in Languedoc from the Eleventh to the
Fourteenth Century: The Example of Narbonne and Montpellier," in Urban and
Rural Communities in Medieval France: Provence and Languedoc, 1000-1500, ed.
Kathryn Reyerson and John Drendel (Leiden: Brill, 1998), pp. 67-68.
37. Michel Roquebert, L'Epopee cathare (vols. 1-4, Toulouse: Privat, 1970-89; vol. 5,
Paris: Perrin, 1998).
38. La Societe archeologique de Montpellier, Le Petit Thalamus de Montpellier, p. 146.
39. La Societe archeologique de Montpellier, Le Petit Thalamus de Montpellier, pp. 144-
40. Curzio Mazzi, '1\.lcune leggi suntuarie senesi," Archivio storico italiano ser. 4.5
(1880): 134-36.
41. Duples-Augier, "Ordonnance somptuaire inedite," pp. 176-81.
42. Mazzi, '1\.lcune leggi suntuarie senesi," 139.
43. For example Kraemer-Raine, Le luxe et les lois somptuaires, pp. 31-34.
44. Hughes, "Sumptuary Law and Social Relations," p. 73, and passim; Fabretti,
"Vestire degli uomini e delle donne," pp. 151-54; Kovesi Killerby, Sumptuary Law,
pp. 24-25.
45. Kovesi Killerby Sumptuary Law, pp. 61-110, esp. 62.
46. Kovesi Killerby, Sumptuary Law, p. 41.
47. Chojnacki, "The Power of Love: Wives and Husbands in Late Medieval Venice,"
p. 131; Hughes, "Regulating Women's Fashion," pp. 140-44; Kovesi Killerby,
Sumptuary Law, pp. 54-60.
48. Hughes, "Regulating Women's Fashion," p. 140.
49. Angelica Rieger, Trobairitz: Der Beitrag der Frau in der altokzitanischen ItO.fischen
Lyrik. Edition des Gesamtkorpus (Ttibingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1991), pp. 691-
50. Paterson, World of the Troubadours, p. 264; E. Jane Burns, Courtly Love Undressed:
Reading Through Clothes in Medieval French Culture (Philadelphia: University of
Pennsylvania Press, 2002), pp. 59-62, 75-77.
51. Felix Lecoy, ed., Le Roman de Ia Rose, 3 vols. (Paris: H. Champion, 1965-70). For
readings of the poem with regard to sumptuary laws, see Sarah-Grace Heller,
"Fashioning a Woman: The Vernacular Pygmalion in the Roman de la Rose,"
Medievalia et Humanistica 27 (2000): 1-18, and "Light as Glamour: The Lumines-
cent Ideal of Beauty in the Roman de laRose," Speculum 76 (2001): 934-59; Burns,
Courtly Love Undressed, pp. 44-51.
52. Suzanne Mejean-Thiolier and Marie-Fran~oise Notz-Grob, eds., Nouvelles cour-
toises occitanes etfran~aises (Paris: Libraire Generale Fran~aise, 1997), pp. 354-83.
53. Richard Pogue Harrison, "The Bare Essential: The Landscape of Il Fiore," in
Rethinking the Romance of the Rose, ed. Kevin Brownlee and Sylvia Huot (Philadel-
phia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992), pp. 289-303.
54. See above, pp. [8-9]; Mazzi, '1\.lcune leggi suntuarie senesi," pp. 134-36.
55. Gerard Genot and Paul Larivaille, eds. and trans., Novellino (Paris: 10/18, 1988),
pp. 56-57.

Notes to Chapter Eight

1. Jules David Prawn, "The Truth of Material Culture: History or Fiction" from
History from Things: Essays on Material Culture, ed. Steven Lubar and W David
Kingery (Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993), p. 1.
2. Por a useful overview of theories of clothing as social practice, see Le Vi'tement:
Histoire, archeologie et symbolique vestimentaires au Moyen Age, ed. Michel Pas-
toureau (Paris: Cahiers du Leopard d'Or, 1989), especially the introductory essay,
"Historiographie du vetement: Un bilan," by Odile Blanc (pp. 7-33). See also the
collection, The Fabrics of Culture: The Anthropology of Clothing and Adornment, ed.
Justine M. Cardwell and Ronald A. Schwarz (The Hague: Mouton, 1979),
especially the introductory survey, 'The Language of Personal Adornment," by
Mary Ellen Roach and joanne Bubolz Eicher, pp. 7-21. A number of recent works

have focused on representations of courtly clothing in literary texts. See, for

example, E. Jane Burns, Courtly Love Undressed: Reading Through Clothes in Medieval
French Culture. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002); Susan
Crane, The Performance of Self: Ritual, Clothing, and Identity During the Hundred
Years War (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002). For a historical
approach, see Kay Staniland, "The Great Wardrobe Accounts as a Source for
Historians of Fourteenth-Century Clothing and Textiles," Textile History 20
(1989): 275-81. Clothing was a favorite gift in courtly culture. Brigitte Buettner,
"Past Presents: New Year's Gifts at the Valois Courts, c. 1400," Art Bulletin 83.4
(2001), argues that seasonal courtly gifts, etrennes, performed a kind of'symbolic
alchemy' whereby a ritual is produced in order to suppress the reality of
economic exchanges, a 'sincere fiction of a disinterested exchange' that wove
people into a complex web of prestation and counterprestation allowing social
cohesion and competition to be expressed and perpetuated," (618). The key to
this kind of gift-giving, she points out, is that it was done in semipublic rituals
instead of privately; she quotes from the Welsche Gast, a manual of good behavior
tor nobles written about 1215 by Thomasin von Zerclaere, in which the open
chivalric gift is contrasted to "hidden monetary transactions."
3. The Social Lift of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective, ed. Arjun Appadurai
(Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1986), p. 5. See also the
overview by Christopher Tilley, "Ethnography and Material Culture," in Hand-
book of Ethnography, ed. Paul Atkinson eta!. (London: Sage, 2001), pp. 258-72.
4. Subject and Object in Renaissance Culture, ed. Margreta de Grazia, Maureen
Quilligan, and Peter Stallybrass (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University
Press, 1996), p. 8.
5. Lincoln Wills, 1532-1534, ed. David Hickman (Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press,
6. These are drawn from Wills from Doctors' Commons. A Selection from the Wills of
Eminent Persons Proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 1495-1695, ed. John
Gough Nichols and John Bruce (Westminster, England: Camden Society, 1863);
Wills and Inventories from the Registers of the Commissary ofBury St. Edmunds and the
Archdeacon of Sudbury, ed. Samuel Tymms (Westminster, England: Camden
Society, 1850).
7. All these wills have been collected in the archives at Macon, Beaune, Chalon and
Dijon; they are unpublished.
8. Mauss's work was translated as The Gift: Forms and Functions ofExchange in Archaic
Societies, trans. Ian Cunnison. Introduction by E. E. Evans-Pritchard (Glencoe,
IL.: The Free Press, 1954).
9. Marshall Sahlins, "The Spirit of the Gift," in The Logic of the Gift: Toward an Ethic
of Generosity, ed. Alan D. Schrift (New York: Routledge, 1997), p. 95.
10. Chris A. Gregory, Gifts and Commodities (London: Academic Press, 1982), p. 41.
11. Arjun Appadurai argues that any distinction between the two is meaningless, in
The Social Lift ofThings, pp. 11-13. Annette Weiner has proposed that the concept
of "inalienable possession" replace that of reciprocity; see her Inalienable Posses-
sions: The Paradox of Keeping-While-Giving. (Berkeley: University of California
Press, 1992). She argues that, "What motivates reciprocity is its reverse-the
desire to keep something back from the pressures of give and take. This
something is a possession that speaks to and tor an individual's or a group's social
identity and, in so doing, affirms the difference between one person or group and
another" (p. 43). The "inalienable value" added to objects might be seen as an
updating of Mauss's concept of hau, the power/ spirit in the gift (pp. 8-9).
12. Yunxiang Yan, The Flow of Gifts: Reciprocity and Social Networks in a Chinese Village
(Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996), p. 44.
13. Another forthcoming essay will analyze the way "Wills Write Lives: Burgundian
Testators as Autobiographers" -that is, their more narrowly autobiographical or
idiosyncratic dimensions. Here I focus on social identities.
14. It is true that the majority of wills by women are those of widows, who had
relative freedom to dispose of their property. However, the Burgundian examples
include a fair number of testaments by married women as well. Marilyn
Strathern, The Gender of the Gift: Problems with Women and Problems with Society in
Melanesia (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), says that "to ask about
the gender of the gift ... is to ask about the situation of gift exchange in relation
to the form that domination takes in these societies" (p. xii). She argues that
"ceremonial exchange, with its myth that gifts create gifts," tends to hide the "fact
that such exchange is the means by which wealth is appropriated" (p. 151 ). In
Melanesia, she suggests, men use the ceremonial exchange system to suppress
the fact of inequality of access to resources and to ensure their own domination.
Men, she argues, are able to use the system to transform wealth into a "singular
identity" for themselves-their prestige (p. 159). She posits two types of sociality:
collective and singular. As this essay will suggest, wealthy women in early
modern western culture often make the same attempt to create a "singular
identity" for themselves through their gift-giving. In her study of aristocratic
women, Barbara]. Harris draws on wills to analyze female control over property,
noting that women "'ith no children distributed their goods to "a relatively
narrow group of their natal kin-their siblings and siblings' children." She
remarks on the "dense, enduring female networks" of childless aristocratic wives
and vvidows, and the "phenomenon of movable goods, especially jewelry, plate,
and clothes, passing from one woman to another over a number of generations,"
English Aristocratic Women, 1450-1550: Marriage and Family, Property and Careers
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 172.
15. C. Willett and Phillis Cunnington, Handbook of English Costume in the Sixteenth
Century (London: Faber and Faber, 1962), p. 202. Lincoln wills mentioning gifts of
russet coats, gowns, hose, hats, caps, 'kyrtells,' or other garments include# 3, 8,
39, 44, 62, 105, llO, ll6, 122, 138, 146, 158, 161, 184, 230, 332, 348, 353, 383, 397,
435, 516, 568.
16. Cunnington, p. 205.
17. Karen Casselman, a specialist on early dyes, notes that dyes of purple hues can be
produced from a variety of sources (lichen, folium, cochineal, lac, murex, and
madder), and that "dyers have a fondness tor purple because it shows a high level
of technical skill" (personal communication). She suspects that the violet color in
the Lincolnshire clothing comes from folium but it might also come from a lichen
dye, both of which could be referred to by the common name 'turnsole.' See also
her Craft of the Dyer (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1980), and Lichen Dyes:
The New Source Book (Dover, NY: Dover Press, 2001).
18. "Clothing as Language: An Object Lesson in the Study of the Expressive
Properties of Material Culture," in Material Anthropology: Approaches to Material
Culture, ed. Barrie Reynolds and Margaret A. Stott (Lanham, MD: University
Press ofAmerica, 1987), pp. 103-33.
19. On items of men's costume, including chausses or tights, the pourpoint, and the
manteau or mantle, see Joan Evans, Dress in Mediaeval France (Oxford: Clarendon
Press, 1952), pp. 29-33, 44. My sample of wills does not bear out an association
between women and clothing gifts; however, Natalie Zemon Davis, writing on
The Gift in Sixteenth-Century France (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press,
2000), briefly mentions gifts given in testaments, and singles out special gifts of
personal property given by women. She says that most often "it was the women
who turned their belongings into signifying gifts, and not just rosaries, rings,

jewelry, and clocks, but intimate items of apparel. ... These gifts introduce a
highly individual element into an event where much property was passing
according to the concern of family strategy or prescription. One's clothes
continued one's person" (p. 31). Davis calls women, "specialists in this kind of
gift" that represents intimate relationships.
20. Lincoln Wills, p. 197.
21. See the discussion of processions, including funeral processions, in my Introduc-
tion, 'The Moving Subjects of Processional Performance" in Moving Subjects:
Processional PeJformance in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, ed. Kathleen Ashley
and Wim Husken (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2001), pp. 7-34, especially pp. 11-12. On
the black garb of those accompanying the body in procession, see Phillis
Cunnington and Catherine Lucas, Costume for Births, Marriages and Deaths (New
York: Barnes and Noble, 1972), pp. 182-92.
22. Wills from Bury St. Edmunds, pp. 16-18,42; see also the analysis of Baret and his will
by Gail Gibson, The Theater of Devotion: East Anglian Drama and Society in the Late
Middle Ages (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), pp. 72-79.
23. Wills from Doctors' Commons, p. 58.
24. Cunnington, p. 26, describes an early sixteenth-century male"s "'gown" as "worn
over the doublet or jerkin," 'broad-shouldered and loose, made with ample folds
falling from a fitting yoke. It was open down the front." Gowns were usually
'"lined and faced with rich materials or fur" (p. 30).
25. See, ±or example, Mary Douglas and Baron Isherwood, The World of Goods (New
York: Basic Books, 1979). Consumption is defined as "a use of material posses-
sions that is beyond commerce and free within the law." Thus, "consumption is
the very arena in which culture is fought over and licked into shape" (p. 57).
'"Goods ... are ritual adjuncts; consumption is a ritual process whose primary
function is to make sense of the inchoate flux of events" (p. 65).
26. On English sumptuary law, see Frances E. Baldwin, Sumptuary Legislation and
Personal Regulation in England (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press,
27. Wills from Doctors' Commons, pp. 6-7. On the vogue for luxury furs, see Fran<;:oise
Piponnier and Perrine Mane, Dress in the Middle Ages, trans. Caroline Beamish
(New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997), pp. 73-74. They note that a taste
±or dark furs, especially sable and black lamb, arrived in Europe at the end of the
fourteenth century. 'Awndelettes" of precious metal may be aiguillettes, which
were ornamental shoulder knots.
28. The chappe was a mantle with a long train used for ceremonial occasions,
according to Joan Evans, Dress in Mediaeval France, p. 44.
29. Wills from Doctors' Commons, p. 17. Felicity Heal and Clive Holmes, in fact, note
that be±ore the Reformation it was "clothing to be made into vestments that
predominated in physical bequests to churches-velvet gowns from gentry
wardrobes were constantly being reworked for the benefit oflocal priests." After
the Reformation, clothing gifts declined; now "plate was one of the few meaning-
ful donations from the gentry to the church fabric." The Gentry in England and
Wales 1500-1700 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994), p. 341.
30. Clive Burgess notes that perpetual chantries of the very rich have been well
scrutinized, but the foundations by the commercial classes of the fifteenth
century have been less studied, "Strategies for Eternity: Perpetual Chantry
Foundation in Late Medieval Bristol," in Religious Beliefand Ecclesiastical Careers in
Late Medieval England, ed. Christopher Harper-Bill (Woodbridge, England: Boy-
dell Press, 1991), pp.1-32.
31. Michael M. Sheehan, C.S.B., "English Wills and the Records of Ecclesiastical and
Civil Jurisdictions," journal ofMedievalHistory 14 (1988): 3.

Notes to Chapter Nine

The preparation of this essay was supported in part through a West Virginia
Humanities Council Fellowship, 2002.
1. Gesta Francorum etAliorum Hierosolimitanorum: The Deeds oftlte Franks and the Other
Pilgrims to jerusalem, ed. R. Hill (London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, Ltd., 1962),
pp. iiii, 7.
2. Paula Sanders, "Robes of Honor in Fatimid Egypt," in Robes and Honor: The
Medieval World of Investiture, ed. Stewart Gordon (New York: Palgrave, 2001), pp.
225-26. During the Abbasid period (750-1258) Egyptian chroniclers used a term
referring to the robe of honor bestowed by the calit; khil' a, as a shorthand tor the
appointment to office.
3. The Fustat Geniza includes records ofjewish international traders from the ninth
to fifteenth centuries. In medieval Hebrew, geniza designates "a repository of
discarded writings ... writings bearing the name of God, after having served their
purpose, should not be destroyed ... but should be put aside in a special room."
S. D. Goitein, A Mediterranean Society; The jewish Communities of the Arab World as
Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza. 2 vols. (Berkeley: University of
California, 1967-1993), 1:1.
4. The hub of the Mediterranean was the Islamic principality which comprised
Tunisia and Sicily; it is represented in the Geniza documents mainly, but not
exclusively, by (a!-) Qayrawan, the inland capital of Tunisia, and its seaport al-
Mahdiyya, and by Palermo, the capital and northern seaport of Sicily, and other
ports of that island. The backbone of the India trade was formed by three centers:
Qus and other towns in Upper Egypt, to which one traveled from Cairo on the
Nile; 'Aydhab and other ports on the Sudanese coast, which were reached from
Qus by crossing the desert; and, above all, Aden in South Arabia. Goitein, A
Mediterranean Society, 1:32.
5. M. Lombard, Etudes d' economie medievale, III, Les textiles dans le monde musulman du
VIle au XIIe siecle. (Paris: Mouton, 1978), p. 55.
6. The word tiraz may indicate embroidery, woven cloth, arm bands, or the textile
workshop. "During the first centuries of Islam it was Egypt that was most
renowned for its textiles, its tiraz, and for several centuries it continued to supply
the caliphate with the cloth for the so-called robes of honor. By extension, the
word tiraz was applied also to the arm bands or brassards of gold thread
decorated with calligraphy that are seen in many Arabic miniatures and that were
conferred on worthy individuals along with the robes of honor. Brocades were
abundantly used for garments, curtains, hangings, and cushions" Alexandre
Papadopoulo, Islam and Muslim Art (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1979), p. 190.
Archaeological excavations of Egyptian graves, undertaken in response to
widespread grave-robbing in the 1930s, noted underneath linen tiraz there were
at times layers of silk funerary wrappings which disintegrated when hanclled by
the excavators. "While tiraz textiles as we know them are characterized by linen
or cotton fabrics with woven or embroidered inscriptions and/ or decorative
bands, the court registers of the Fatimids tor example tell us about sumptuous
and colorful silk garments, gold-woven turbans and jeweled dresses, none of
which seem to have survived or have just not been identified." Jochen A. Sokoly
"Between Life and Death: The Funerary Context of Tiraz Textiles," Islamische
Textilkunst des Mittelalters: Aktuelle Probleme. (Riggisberg, Switzerland: Abegg-
Stiftung, 1997), p. 71.
7. For example, a fundamental distinction was drawn between European cloth and
goods from the Mediterranean basin as in the mention of a royal garment made

of cendal d'Andre in the twelfth-century Roman de Thebes. See Eunice R. Goddard,

Women's Costume in French Texts of the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries. (Baltimore,
MD: The johns Hopkins Press, 1927).
8. Sharb is a fine grade of Egyptian linen.
9. Fine linens were produced at Alexandria, Tinnis, Damietta and in Lower Egypt.
See Thelma Thomas, Textiles from Medieval Egypt A.D. 300-1300 (Pittsburgh, PA:
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 1990), p. 29. See also E. Sabbe,
"L'importation des tissus orientaux en Europe occidentale du haut Moyen Age
IX-X siecles," in Revue belge dephilologie et d'histoire 14 (July-December 1935): 1276.
"The mixture of silk with a less expensive yarn enabled the production of
refined textiles which, though still fairly expensive, were affordable to a larger
clientele unable or unwilling to pay the high prices required for pure silk textile.
Fabrics with silk warp and linen weft are documented as tramoserica in the Roman
Empire since the second century A.D. Half-silks from the Byzantine period have
been found in Egypt and were produced in the period examined here in Muslim
silk centers: kandji with silk warp and cotton weft and the highly prized mulham
with silk warp and a weft of another yarn." Lombard, Etudes, pp. 69-70.
'According to the oft-quoted words of the Arab chronicler al-Tha' albi (d.
1037-1038): 'People knew that cotton belongs to Khurasan and linen to Egypt."'
Lisa Golombek and Veronika Gervers, "Tiraz Fabrics in the Royal Ontario
Museum" Studies in Textile History, ed. Veronika Gervers (Toronto: Royal Ontario
Museum, 1977), p. 83.
In the thirteenth century and later, extremely fine linen was produced in
France, most notably in Reims. See Jules Quicherat, Histoire du costume en France
depuis les temps les plus recules jusqu'a la fin du XVIIIe siecle (Paris: Librairie
Hachette, 1875, 1877), p. 188.
10. For example, the Fustat Geniza documents include records from around 1100
from Nahray b. Nissim, a wholesale merchant of high standing, whose greatest
volume of business was first in tlax, exported from Egypt to Tunisia and Sicily,
and secondly silk (from Spain and Sicily) and other fabrics, from Syrian or
European (Rum) cotton toN orth African felt, and textiles of all descriptions, from
robes to bedcovers. Goitein, A Mediterranean Society, 1:153.
11. Fustian is a term used to describe 'A wide range of fabrics .... The earliest fustians
probably made partly of wool; after the 17th century, increasingly of cotton. They
were made of plain or with a raised nap or pile .. ."Fairchild's Dictionary of Textiles,
7th ed. (New York: Fairchild Publications, 1996).
12. S. D. Goitein discusses the Geniza in detail. Goitein, A Mediterranean Society, 1:2-
13. Goitein, A Mediterranean Society, 1:223.
14. See T. E. A. Dale, "The Power of the Anointed: The Life of David on Two Coptic
Textiles in the Walters Art Gallery" The journal of the Walters Art Gallery 51 (1993):
15. Hilary Granger-Taylor, 'The Construction of Tunics," in Early Islamic Textiles, ed.
Clive Rogers (Brighton: Rogers and Podmore, 1983), pp. 10-12. See also Patricia
L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Press, 1995), pp. 36-37.
16. These squares, "so-called factory-marks" are evident, for example, in "Listening
to the Theologian,"Maqamat al- Hariri, 1237, probably Iraq. (Paris, Arabe 5847, f
58v) Baker, Islamic Textiles, p. 50. The arm bands also decorate sleeves in ceramic
decorations like the Bowl in figure 9.2: Bowl, late twelfth- to early thirteenth
century; Seljuq Iranian; attributed to Central or northern Iran Mina'i ware,
composite body, opaque white glaze with gilding, overglaze painting; H. 3 3 I 4 in.
(9.5 em), Diam. 7 3/8 in. (18.7 em). Purchase, Rogers Fund, and Gift of The Schiff
Foundation, 1957 (57.36.4).

17. Sokoly, "Between Life and Death," p. 72.

18. Baker, Islamic Textiles, p. 57. See Figure 2.
19. See, for example, the Tiraz fragment, tenth century, attributed to Yemen: Cotton,
ink, gold leaf; plain weave with painted decoration; 23 x 16 in. (58.4 x 40.6 ern).
Gift of George D. Pratt, 1929 (29.179.9) The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
20. This study comprises about 150 column-figures, addorsed along the jambs of
major churches that were constructed during the mid-twelfth century in north-
ern France. For identification purposes, the column-figures have been identified
by city and labeled according to location on the portal jambs, as if reading left to
right. This makes the third column-figure from the left on the left jamb of the left
portal of the west fa<;ade at Chartres Cathedral Chartres "LL3" and the third
column-figure from the !eli: on the left jamb of the single decorated portal at
Angers Cathedral "L3."
21. The dimensions of this rectangle of fine linen gauze with tapestry woven of silk
bands and roundels, 3 rn. 10 ern. long, would classify it as a pallium rather than a
veil. Originally, it may have been sewn along the shoulder as an open tunic or
coat. H. A. Elsberg and R. Guest "The Veil of Saint Anne" Burlington Magazine 68
(1936): pp. 149-54; G. Weit and G. Marcais "Le Voile de Sainte Anne d'Apt,"
Monuments et memoires public's par l'academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres 34
(Fondation Eugene Piot, 1934): pp. 177-94, plate 10; Baker, Islamic Textiles, p. 57.
22. Fatirnid Caliph of Egypt El Musta'l, who reigned 1094 -1101.
23. The inscription names the C6rdoban ruler Hisharn II (r. 976-1009; 1010-13);
Baker, Islamic Textiles, p. 61.
24. Texts in which these fabrics are mentioned deal exclusively with the nobility, the
higher clergy and monks. Gifts of liturgical ornaments to churches come from
the same social class. Sabbe, ''L'irnportation," p. 1284.
25. Archives nationales, Le Sacre a propos d'un millenaire 987-1987 (Paris: Archives
nationales, Musce de l'Histoire de France, 1987): no. 36, Mars 25- rnai 26, 1106,
Chartres. For a document relating to the marriage, see Constance, jille de Philippe
I, marriage with Bohemond ofAntioche, in Achille Luchaire, Louis VI, le Gras, Annales
de sa vie et son regne (1081-1137) (1890 repr. Brussels: Culture et Civilisation, 1964).
Also in attendance at the nuptials were many archbishops, bishops, and
barons, the papal legate, and Philippe I. See Suger. La Geste de Louis VIet autres
ceuvres, ed. Michel Bur (Paris: Irnprirnerie Nationale, 1994) 10:66-67.
"Only with the Latin occupation of Antioch (1098-1268) and the king-
doms of Acre and jerusalem (1098-1187), were Italian merchants able to import
Syrian textiles in quantity." Xinru Liu, Silk and Religion, An Exploration of Material
Lift and the Thought ofPeople, A.D. 600-1200 (New Delhi: Oxford University Press:
1996), p. 176.
26. Wolfenbtittel, Herzog August Bibliothek, Cod. Guel[ 105 Noviss. 2° and Munich,
Bayerische Staatsbibliotheck, Clrn. 3055, tol.20r. While later in date, illuminated
at Helrnarshausen Abbey, ca. 1185-88, for Henry the Lion, duke of Saxony 1142-
95, this manuscript illustrates textiles in color that appear to be very similar to
contemporary tiraz silks (see note 40).
27. See Annernarie Stauffer, Textiles d'Egypte de la collection Bouvier; Antiquite tardive,
periode copte, premiers temps de l'Islam. Musee d'Art et d'Histoire, Fribourg (Bern:
Benteli Verlag, 1991).
28. Working with geologists of the C.N.R.S., the Limestone Sculpture Provenance
Project has identified this limestone as liais de Paris. Access to the database and
information about the analysis of stone are available at http:/ /www/rnediev-
29. Figure 9.4, Tapestry woven in colored silks. Egypto-Arabic. Mid-XI century. The
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Hewitt Fund, 1911. (11.138.1). Figure 9.5, Portion

of a garment. Blue linen with tapestry bands in tan and black silk. Egypto-Arabic.
XII century The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Rogers Fund, 1927. (27.170.64).
30. Lombard, Etudes, p. 96. "Spain was another point of contact between the Muslims
and Christians. In addition to regular trade, regional politics encouraged the
exchange of gilts among Islamic rulers and Christian princes. In A.D. 9971387
A.H., after a military victory, the Muslim minister, Mansur, rewarded Christian
princes and the Muslims who supported him with 2285 pieces of various kinds of
tiraz silk, 21 pieces of sea wool, 2 robes perfumed with ambergris, 11 pieces of
scarlet cloth, 15 of striped stuff, 7 carpets of brocade, 2 garments of Roman
(Rumi) brocade and 2 marten furs. These items remind us of the Islamic silks
tound in Christian Spain, like the figured silk with Arabic inscriptions found in the
tomb of Bishop Gurb of Barcelona and the Islamic silks used tor Christian liturgy"
Xinru Liu, Silk and Religion, p. 176.
31. The Burgo de Osma silk is also known as "the Baghdad silk." Andalusia, ca.
1100, silk and gilt membrane threads, 17 3 I 4 x 19 5 I 8 in. (45 x 50 em), now
in The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (33.371). Daniel Walker, "Fragment
of a Textile," The Art of Medieval Spain, A.D. 500-1200 (New York, NY: Metropol-
itan Museum of Art, 1993), pp.lOS-9.
32. Baker, Islamic Textiles, p. 61.
33. For mulham, silk-cotton compound textiles, see jean-Michel Tuchscherer, "Woven
Textiles," in M. Calano and L. Salmon, eds., French Textiles from the Middle Ages
Through the Second Empire (Hartford, CT: Wadsworth Antheneum, 1985), p. 17.
34. An eleventh-century fragment from Central Asia now in the Cleveland Museum
of Art (1993.139) has ecru silk warps and cotton foundation wefts laid beside
silver supplementary wefts. James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk
Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.),
pp. 50-51.
35. Goitcin, A Mediterranean Society, 1:102.
36. Roger II was the Norman King of the Two Sicilies. See Marielle Martiniani-Reber,
Lyon, musee historique des tissus. Soieries sassanides, coptes et byzantines Ve -XI e siecles
(Paris: Ministere de la Culture et de la Communication, 1986), p. 371.
37. Dressed like a Byzantine emperor, Roger II is pictured in a mosaic at The Church
of the Martorana in Palermo while similar mosaics of William II are on the
crossing piers ofMonreale Cathedral.
38. William Tronzo, "The Mantle of Roger II of Sicily," in Robes and Honor, pp. 241-53.
Part of the coronation regalia of the Holy Roman Emperor, the Mantle of Roger
II is now in the Treasury of the Kunsthistoriisches Museum in Vienna. See the
Insignia of the Holy Roman Empire, in Marie Schuette and Sigrid Muller-Christens-
en, A Pictorial History of Embroidery, trans. Donald King (New York: Frederick A.
Praeger, 1963), illus. 60-62 (coronation manteau); illus. 65-66 (dalmatic); illus. 67,
69, 71 (alb); illus. 68, 70 (gloves).
39. See especially "Rampant dragons and lions" ca. 1207, in Bruno Santi, San Miniato
al Monte (Florence: Becocci, 1999), p. 21.
40. Woven silk, with addorsed and regardant griffins in roundels, Western Mediterranean
(Spanish?) or East Iranian (?), late thirteenth- through early fourteenth century,
Lampas weave, silk, and gilt parchment over cotton yarn: 69 1 I 4" x 3 8 1 I 4 in.
(175.9 x 97.2 em), The Cloisters Collection, 1984 (1984.344) in Mirror of the
Medieval World, ed. William D. Wixom (New York, NY: The Metropolitan
Museum of Art, 1999), pp. 112-14.
41. Figure, ca. 1200; Seljuq, Iranian; Attributed to Iran. Painted stucco; H. 57 in. (144.8
em), Max. W 19 112 in. (49.5 em), Max. Diam. 9 112 in. (24.1 em) Gift of Mr. and
Mrs. Lester Wolte, 1967 (67.119) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (also
57.51.18) (figure 9.6). See also Figure in stucco from Rhages, Abbasid period (Persia),
twelfth-thirteenth centuries. The Louvre, pictured in R. Huyghe, Larousse Ency-
clopedia ofByzantine and Medieval Art (New York: Larousse, 1958), illus. 232, 288.
42. See figure 9.2. For other examples seeM. Yoshida, In Search ofPersian Pottery (New
York: Weatherhill, 1972), fig. 7; J. Allan and C. Roberts, eds., Syria and Iran: Three
Studies in Medieval Ceramics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), figures A1,
43. See also, for example, in the British Museum, the patterned band decorating the
upper-sleeve of Cadmus on the Bronze ["Hansa"] bowl engraved with mythological
scenes. Probably German. Twelfth century. Found in June 1824 in the River Severn
between Tewkesbury and Gloucester. In the center, King Cadmus of Thebes,
inventor of the Greek alphabet; medallions show the birth and Labors of
Hercules. M&LA 1921,3-25, 1.
44. For the drawing of Saint-Denis RL3, see Paris, Bibliotheque nationale, MS Fr
15634, fol. 76.
45. For Saint-Benigne, see Dom Urbain Plancher, Histoire generale et particuliere de
Bourgogne (Dijon: 1739, repr., Paris: Editions du Palais Royal, 1974), p. 503.
Patterns appear on all column-figure sculpture at Etampes, at Saint Germain-des-
Pres: L3 (see Johannes Mabillon, Annales Ordinis S. Benedicti, [Paris 1703-39] 2:
169), at Notre-Dame, Paris: L1 (see Dom Bernard de Montfaucon, Les Monuments
de Monarchic Fran{oise, qui comprennent l'Histoire de France [Paris, 1729], 1: Plate 7),
Chartres: LLl, LLZ, RR1, Angers: LZ, Vermenton: R, Saint Denis: RL3. See the
so-called oriental silk colobium in a pattern similar to the Burgo de Osma silk (as
inn. 31) Janice Mann, "Majestat Batll6," The Art of Medieval Spain, A.D. 500-1200
(New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993), pp. 322-23.
46. Four historiated capitals in the church at Saujon (southwest of Saintes, France),
twelfth century.
47. Fountainhead in Griffin Form, Egypt, eleventh century, Cast bronze with incised
decoration, ca. 39" h., Camposanto Museum, Pisa. Marilyn Jenkins, '1\.1-Andalus:
Crucible of the Mediterranean," The Art of Medieval Spain, A.D. 500-1200 (New
York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993), p. 81. My thanks to C. T. Little for this
observation. See also Reliefwith the Adoration ofthe Magi. Northern Spain, first half
oftwelfth century, Whalebone, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London (142-
1866), in Charles T. Little, "Relief with the Adoration of the Magi," The Art of
Medieval Spain, p. 287. In addition to the decorative bands bordering all of her
garments, there are pearled stripes in the skirt of the enthroned Virgin similar to
the tiraz fabrics offigures 9.4 and 9.5.
48. 'The so-called Marwan silk with its aligned rows of 'Sasanian pearl' roundels is
indeed a tiraz. Its embroidered Kufic legend in split-stem-stitch names the place
of production as Ifriqiya, a region outside Umayyad control during the caliphate
of Marwan I (684-85), so the Marwan given as Commander of the Faithful (a
caliphal title) in the inscription was presumably Marwan II (744-50). The second
fragment in the Textile Museum, Washington, D.C. ( 73.524), also refers to
Marwan but this has a very different structure, of wool worked in a fine-toothed
tapestry weave with z-spun weft and z-plied warp. These weave details suggest it
was made in the eastern Islamic lands (Kuhne! and Bellinger, 1952)," Baker,
Islamic Textiles, p. 57.
49. For a discussion of carving methods, see Vibeke Olson, "Oh Master, You are
Wonderful! The Problem ofLabor in the Ornamental Sculpture of the Chartres
Royal Portal," AVISTA Forum journal 13.1 (2003): 6-13; and Janet Snyder, "Written
in Stone: The Impact of the Properties of Quarried Stone on the Design of
Medieval Sculpture," AVISTA Forum]ournal13.1 (2003): 1-5.

50. For a concise discussion of the cloth trade at the Fairs of Champagne, see E. Jane
Burns, Courtly Lave Undressed, Reading through Clothes in Medieval French Culture
(Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002), pp. 190-91.

Notes to Chapter Ten

A grant from the Institute for Humanities Research at UC Santa Cruz aided in the
preparation of this paper. My thanks to Brian Catlos, Will Crooke, Carla Freccero,
Virginia Jansen, and Karen Mathews for advice of various kinds.
1. This passage occurs in an interpolation unique to BN 794, attributed to the scribe
Guiot of Provins. Chretien de Troyes, Erec et En ide, ed. Mario Roques (Paris:
Champion, 1976), p. xlix.
2. La Prise de Cordres et de Sebille: Chanson de geste du XIIe siecle, ed. Ovide Densusianu
(Paris: Firmin Didot, 1896), 1. 732; Raoul de Cambrai, ed. and trans. Sarah Kay
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), 11. 7998, 8003; Le Siege de Barbastre, ed. Bernard
Guidot (Paris: Champion, 2000), 11. 1368, 4297-4300. The Old French term "paile,"
frequently used to designate silk, derives from the Latin "pallium"-an ecclesias-
tical mantle worn by archbishops and, by extension, the precious material out of
which it is made.
3. Anna Muthesius, Studies in Byzantine and Islamic Silk Weaving (London: Pindar
Press, 1995) p. 142. On silk chasubles, seep. 122.
4. E. Jane Burns, Courtly Love Undressed: Reading Through Clothes in Medieval French
Culture (Philadelphia: University ofPennsylvania Press, 2002), chapter 6. My tocus
on silks from Islamic Almeria complements Burns' study of eastern, Islamic and
particularly Byzantine, silks, pp. 182-97.
5. "Imaginary" here and in my title translates the French imaginaire, the term used
by Jacques Le Goff in his study of medieval mentalities, L'Imaginaire medievale
(Paris: Gallimard, 1985). See also Evelyne Patlagean, "L'Histoire de l'imaginaire"
in La Nouvelle Histoire, ed. Jacques Le Goff (Paris: Retz CEPL, 1978; repr. Editions
Complexe, 1988), pp. 307-34.
6. Edward W Said, Orienta/ism (New York: Random House, 1978). In Saracens: Islam
in the Medieval European Imagination (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002),
John V. Tolan traces permutations in the medieval textual tradition.
7. See Robert Bartlett, "Medieval and Modern Concepts of Race and Ethnicity,"
journal ofMedieval and Early Modern Studies 31:1 (2001): 39-56.
8. R. B. Serjeant, Islamic Textiles: Material for a History up to the Mongol Conquest
(Beirut: Librairie du Liban, 1972), p. 165.
9. Serjeant, Islamic Textiles, p. 170, quoting tram the Book of Roger, written by the
Muslim geographer al-Idrisi for King Roger II of Sicily (of whom more below) in
the mid-twelfth century.
10. May, Silk Textiles of Spain: Eighth to Fifteenth Century (New York: Hispanic Society
of America, 1957), p. 12; Aye d'Avignon: chanson de geste anonyme, ed. S.]. Borg,
Textes Litteraires Fran<;:ais (Geneva: Droz, 1967), I. 916; and Le Roman d'Eneas, ed.
and trans. Aime Petit (Paris: Livre de Poche, 1997), 1. 4099.
11. On the shroud of Saint Lazarus, the falconer roundels alternate with roundels
containing a sphinx. Les Andalousies: de Damas aCordoue (Paris: Institut du Monde
Arabe, 2000), pp. 136-37. The inscription "al-Muzaffar" on the falconer's belt, an
honorific title granted to the C6rdoban vizier 1\.bd al-Malik, dates the silk to 1007-
1008. Eva Baer, "The Suaire de St. Lazare: An Early Datable Hispano-Islamic
Embroidery," Oriental Art 13 (1967): 36-37 [36-48]. An inscription on the Becket
chasuble says it was made in Almeria in A.H. 510 (1116). Annabelle Simon-Cahn,
"The Permo Chasuble of St. Thomas Becket and Hispano-Mauresque Cosmolog-
ical Silks: Some Speculations on the Adaptive Reuse of Textiles," Muqarnas 10
(1993), 1 [1-5].
12. For the Durham silk, see Muthesius, Byzanline and Islamic Silk Weaving, pp. 89-93.
The other examples are from Cristina Partearroyo, '1\Jmoravid and Almohad
Textiles," inAl-Andalus: The Art ofislamic Spain, ed.Jerrilynn D. Dodds (New York:
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992), pp. 106-7 [105-13].
13. Partearroyo, "Textiles," pp. 105-6. This list exemplifies the heterogeneity of
modern nomenclature, which might identifY a silk by the saint or prelate \vith
whom it has been associated, the site where it was uncovered, or a distinctive
motif or design.
14. Provins was the site of one ofthe great trade fairs of Champagne, as well as the
home of Guiot de Provins, presumed author of the interpolation recounting
Enide's donation. The chasuble's association with the abbey of Saint Jacques
suggests a possible link to the Santiago pilgrimage
15. Though Edmund Rich, archbishop of Canterbury, died in 1241, the silk is dated
to the twelfth century on stylistic grounds. Dame! Walker, "Chasuble of Saint
Edmund," in The Art of Medieval Spain, A.D. 500-1200 (New York: Metropolitan
Museum of Art, 1993), p. 107. For a technical description oflampas weave, see
Scott, Book of Silk (London: Thames and Hudson, 1933), pp. 101, 238.
16. RobertS. Lopez, "Mohammed and Charlemagne: A Revision," Speculum 18:1
(1943): 37 [14-38].
17. According to tradition, the two pieces found wrapping the relics of Santa Librada
in Siguenza were taken during Alfonso VII of Castile's conquest of Almeria (of
which more below). Similarly, the "Lion Stranger," part of the dalmatic of San
Bernardo Calvo, bishop of Vich (in Catalonia), is thought to have been taken
during James I of Aragon's conquest of Valencia (1238). Partcarroyo, '1\lmoravid
and Almohad Textiles," in Al-Andalus, p. 107.
18. R. A. Fletcher, "Reconquest and Crusade in Spain c. 1050-1150," Transactions of
the Royal Historical Society, Fifth Series, 37 (1987): 35-36.
19. For a literary representation of such an alliance, see Sharon Kinoshita, "Fraterniz-
ing with the Enemy: The Crusader Imaginary in Raoul de Cambrai," In L'Epopee
mfdievale: Actes du XVe Congres International de Ia Societe Rencesvals. Vol. 2 (Poitiers:
Centre d'Etudes Superieures de Civilisation Medievale, 2002), pp. 695-703. For an
inverse example, see Brian A. Catlos, '"Mahomet Abenadalill': A Muslim Merce-
nary in the Service of the Kings of Aragon (1290-1291)," in In and Around the
Medieval Crown of Aragon: Studies in Honor of Proftssor Elena Lourie, ed. Harvey
Hames (Leiden, the Netherlands: Brill, forthcoming).
20. Joseph F. O'Callaghan, A History ofMedieval Spain (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University
Press, 1975), p. 127; R. B. Serjeant, Islamic Textiles, p. 169.
21. On the marginalization of the Iberian peninsula in "postcolonial medievalism,"
see Kathleen Biddick, "Coming Out of Exile: Dante on the Orient Express" in The
Postcolonial Middle Ages, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (New York: Palgrave, 2000), p.
16, n49 [35-52], and Bruce Holsinger, "Medieval Studies, Postcolonial Studies, and
the Genealogies of Critique," Speculum 77 (2002): 1202-03 [1195-1227].
22. Ebles was a Champenois noble who took part in the campaign Pope Gregory VII
called against Spanish Muslims. His sister Felicie married King Sancho (1063-
1094) of Aragon, making him the maternal uncle of kings Peter I and Alfonso the
Battler. Rotrou of Perche (in Normandy), who served in Alfonso's Ebro valley
campaigns, was another nephew, son ofEbles's sister Beatrice. Marcelin Defour-
neaux, Les Franrais en Espagne aux XIe et XIIe siecles (Paris: Presses Universitaires de
France, 1949).

23. Dodds, Art ofIslamic Spain, p. 33.

24. Alice E. Lasater, Spain to England: A Comparative Study of Arabic, European, and
English Literature of the Middle Ages (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1974),
3; Muthesius, Byzantine and Islamic Silk Weaving, pp. 77-104.
25. Contrast the notorious Pesme Avanture episode of Chn§tien de Troyes's Le
Chevalier au Lion, in which the manufacture of silk is shown to be the work of
three hundred exploited captive maidens. Le Chevalier au Lion, ed. Mario Roques
(Paris: Champion, 1978), II. 5182-5340.
26. La Prise d'Orange: chanson de geste de la fin du XIIe siixle, 7th ed (Paris: Klincksieck,
1986). In laisse 42, Aumarie is described as "Ia cite d' Aufrique," capital of the
pagan king Tiebaut d'Esclavonie.
27. Chretien de Troyes, Cliges, ed. Alexandre Micha (Paris: Champion, 1978), 11. 6248-
51 (emphasis added). Tudela, in the Ebro valley, had been conquered by Alfonso
I of Aragon in 1119.
28. The Geniza was a tower, once common in medieval synagogues, used to store
unwanted documents until they could be properly buried. (No writing bearing
God's name could be destroyed.) In the late nineteenth century, the geniza in Old
Cairo was found to contain, in addition to valuable manuscripts, a huge cache of
letters, marriage contracts, bills of divorce, legal deeds, court records, business
accounts, wills, inventories, horoscopes, and children's writing exercises, written
mostly in Judeo-Arabic, dating from the eleventh and twelfth centuries. From
these textual fragments, Goitein has pieced together a world in which Jewish
merchants based in Fatimid Egypt maintained networks of trading partners and
correspondents stretching from Almeria in the west to the Malabar coast oflndia
in the east. SeeS. D. Goitein, A Mediterranean Society: The jewish Communities ofthe
Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza, 5 vols. (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1967-93), 1: 1-16.
29. Goitein, Mediterranean Society, 1: 29, 42,44-45, 70.
30. Goitein, Mediterranean Society, 1: 104, 222-23; 4: 167. Silk was often the object of
official trade embargoes, "calculated to inflict maximum economic damage."
Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Press, 1995), pp. 14-15.
31. Baker, Islamic Textiles, p. 15. On investiture as a "metalanguage" of power with a
long genealogy, originating in Asia and widespread throughout the medieval
Mediterranean, see the essays collected in Robes and Honor: The Medieval World of
Investiture, ed. Stewart Gordon (New York: Palgrave, 2001).
32. Constantinople's strict control over the circulation and export of such silks
enhanced their symbolic value. Lopez, "Mohammed and Charlemagne," 37.
Compare Anna Muthesius's felicitous term, "silken diplomacy." See "Silken
Diplomacy" in Byzantine Diplomacy: Papers from the Twentyfourth Spring Sympo-
sium of Byzantine Studies, Cambridge, March 1990, ed. Jonathan Shepard and Simon
Franklin (Aldershot, England: Variorum, 1992), pp. 237-48.
33. Caliph al-Hakam II (961-76) bestowed silks on both Ordofio IV of Le6n and
Count Borrell I of Barcelona during their respective visits to Cordoba. May, Silk
Textiles, p. 9.
34. Alexandre de Paris, Le Roman d'Alexandre, ed. E. C. Armstrong, trans. Laurence
Harf-Lancner, Lettres Gothiques (Paris: Livre de Poche, 1994), pp. 159-65.
Antioch was known for its brocades with fantastic animals and birds, highlighted
in gold. Philippa Scott, Book of Silk, p. 96. On the complicated history and
etymology of"siglaton" (from the Arabic siqlatun), see Lombard, Textiles, pp. 242-
43 (but contrast Scott, Book of Silk, p. 99). According to Lombard, the siqlatun of
Almeria, like that of Antioch, was red.
35. Oleg Grabar, "The Shared Culture of Objects," Byzantine Court Culture from 829 to
1204, ed. Henry Maguire (Washington, D.C.: Dum barton Oaks, 1997), pp. 115-29.
For examples, see The Art of Medieval Spain, pp. 80-81,94-96, 98-100, 103, 273-76
and Les Tresorsfatimides du Caire (Paris: Institut du Monde Arabe, 1998).
36. Eva R. Hoffman, "Pathways of Portability: Islamic and Christian Interchange
from the Tenth to the Twelfth Century," Art History 24:1 (2001): 22 [17-50].
37. May, Silk Textiles, 22; Baker, Islamic Textiles, 39.
38. On Gilgamesh, seeAl-Andalus, p. 320 n.2.
39. Oleg and Andre Grabar, "L'Essor des arts inspires par les cours princieres a Ia fin
du premier millenaire: princes musulmans et princes chretiens," in L'Occidente e
l'Islam nell'alto Medioevo (Spoleto: Presso Ia Sede del Centro, 1965), pp. 846, 882.
40. Their portability "destabilized and dislocated works from their original sites of
production [and] re-mapped geographical and cultural boundaries." Eva Hoff-
man, "Pathways of Portability," 17. Medieval producers themselves were not
above profiting from the ambiguities, as in the case of the "Burgo de Osma" silk,
a twelfth-century knock-off which bears an inscription reading "made in Bagh-
dad," though technical features of its weave and orthography make Almeria its
probable site of production. See Art ofMedieval Spain, pp. 108-9.
41. Grabar, "Shared Culture," pp. 608-9. On the importance of the so-called "minor
arts" in the Islamic world, see Jonathan Bloom and Sheila Blair, Islamic Arts
(London: Phaidon Press, 1997), p. 10.
42. The term muqarnas refers to the distinctive stalactite or honeycomb vaulting
widespread in Islamic architecture between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries.
For their development and symbolic associations, see Yasser Tabbaa, The Trans-
formation ofIslamic Art during the Sunni Revival (Seattle: University ofWashington
Press, 2001), chapter 5. William Tronzo, The Cultures of His Kingdom: Roger II and
the Cappella Palatina in Palermo (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997),
pp. 142-43, Tresors fatimides du Caire, pp. 220-21; Ereditti dell'Islam: arte islamica in
Italia, ed. Giovanni Curatola and Bianca Maria Alfieri (Venice: Silvana, 1993), pp.
205-7. Specific borrowings from Fatimid Egypt included Roger's royal titulature,
palace design, chancery script, and iconographic programs and inscriptions. Long
recognized as Arabic, they were assumed to be survivals of earlier Sicilian
practices. However, in "The Norman Kings of Sicily and the Fatimid Caliphate,"
Anglo-Norman Studies 15 (1992): 133-59, Jeremy Johns demonstrates their direct
links to contemporary Fatimid forms.
43. On the conflicting interpretations given the lion/camel motit; see William
Tronzo, 'The Mantle of Roger II of Sicily" in Robes ofHonOJ; pp. 241-53.
44. For example, Western Societies: A Documentary History, ed. Brian Tierney and Joan
Scott (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984), whose chapter on "Medieval Monar-
chies" is divided into sections on England (four entries), France, and the Empire
(one each). In RobertS. Lopez, The Birth of Europe (New York: M. Evans, 1967),
Sicily is listed among the "Smaller Powers," even though, at the beginning of the
twelfth century, "the Norman state was unusually prosperous and Palermo, its
capital, surpassed all other Catholic cities in population, size, and magnificence.
Nowhere else could one have found an administration as complex and polyglot
yet so capable of unifying the motley components of the population under its
control" (p. 244).
45. Robert Bartlett, The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization and Cultural Change
950-1350 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993).
46. See Samir Amin, Eurocentrism, trans. Russell Moore (New York: Monthly Review
Press, 1989), pp. 8, 10-11.
47. Beyond its political and linguistic ties to Anglo-Norman England, Sicily was
linked to northern France by the dynastic marriages Roger II arranged for his
children. His son Roger, who predeceased him (1149), was married to Elizabeth
of Champagne, sister of the future Count Henry the Liberal; his eventual

successor, William I, was married to Margaret of Navarre-cousin of the counts

ofPerche and Roucy who played so prominent a role in Aragonese politics.
48. S. D. Goitein, "The Unity of the Mediterranan World in the 'Middle' Middle
Ages," Studies in Islamic History & Institutions (Leiden, the Netherlands: Brill,
49. An early twelfth-century Latin lite of Saint Gilles represents a Genoese merchant
ship caught in a storm while sailing horne from Almeria. Olivia Rernie Constable,
"Genoa and Spain in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries: Notarial Evidence for
a Shift in Patterns of Trade," journal ofEuropean Economic History 19.3 (1990): 637
[635-56]. In 1143, the archbishop of Genoa established a standard tithe levied on
ships arriving from Almeria. Steven Epstein, Genoa and the Genoese, 958-1528
(Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996), p. 26.
50. The year before, the Genoese had seized Almeria for themselves. However, the
exorbitant tribute they imposed had proved uncollectible. Epstein, Genoa, pp. 31-
32, 49-51.
51. On the difference the regime change made in Iberian silk production, see
Partearroyo, "Textiles," pp. 109-10.
52. See Epstein, Genoa, pp. 25-6, and Constable, "Genoa and Spain," pp. 635-36, 650.
53. Sharon Kinoshita, "In the Beginning was the Road: Floire et Blancheflor and the
Politics of Translatio," Medieval Translator 8 (forthcoming).
54. Compare La Prise de Cordres et de Sebille, which shows an Anglo-Norman fleet
docking at Cordoba to stock up on "les chiers dras d' Aurnarie" and Syrian horses
(I. 2185).
55. Edward W. Said, Orienta/ism (New York: Random House, 1978), p. 6; Edmund
Burke, III, "Towards a Comparative History of the Modern Mediterranean,"
paper presented at the International Conference on Cosmopolitanism, Human
Rights, and Sovereignty in the new Europe," Center for European Studies,
University of California, Berkeley, May 4-5, 2001.

Notes to Chapter Eleven

My gratitude to the American Association of University Women and the Wood-

row Wilson National Fellowship Foundation for their generous support of this
1. Boethius, In Porphyrium dialogus primus, PL 64:2A [1-70].
2. Boethius, In Porphyrium, PL 64:2A [1-70].
3. Dante, Convivio III.6, trans. Richard Lansing, Digital Dante, available at http:// convivi/ index.htrnl (27 December 2002).
4. Pierre Courcelle, La Consolation de philosophie dans Ia tradition litteraire: Antecedents
et postmte de Boece (Paris: Etudes Augustiniennes, 1967), p. 22.
5. James J. Paxson, The Poetics of Personification (Cambridge, England: Cambridge
University Press, 1994), p. 98.
6. Boethius, Consolation, 5 .pr.4. Unless otherwise noted, English translations of
Boethius are from The Consolation of Philosophy, trans. V E. Watts (New York:
Penguin, 1969). All Latin quotations ofBoethius are from Consolatio Philosophiae,
ed. James O'Donnell (Bryn Mawr, PA: Bryn Mawr Latin Commentaries, 1990).
7. Seth Lerer, "The Search for Voice," in Boethius and Dialogue (Princeton, NJ:
Princeton University Press, 1985), p. 102.
8. On the Lacanian feminine as the signifier of the Symbolic, see Judith Butler,
"Subjects of Sex/ Gender /Desire," in Gender Trouble (New York: Routledge, 1990),
p. 27. On woman as the "metaphor of alterity" see Susan Crane, 'Adventure," in
Gender and Romance in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (Princeton, N]: Princeton
University Press, 1994), pp. 171-72. See also R. Howard Bloch, "Early Christianity
and the Estheticization of Gender," in Medieval Misogyny and the Invention of
Western Romantic Love (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), pp. 37-63.
9. See Anne Carson, "Dirt and Desire: The Phenomenology of Female Pollution in
Antiquity," in Constructions of the Classical Body, ed. James I. Porter (Ann Arbor:
University of Michigan Press, 1999), pp. 77-100. Sarah Kay asks a similar ques-
tion-'How is this denigration of the body as feminine compatible with the
deployment of a female agent of revelation?"-in "Women's Body ofKnowledge:
Epistemology and Misogyny in the Romance of the Rose," in Framing Medieval
Bodies, ed. Sarah Kay and Miri Rubin (Manchester: Manchester University Press,
1994), p. 226.
10. By 'body' here, I refer to the material entity identified as Philosophy, understand-
ing that her allegorical status and her lack of fleshly form complicate the term.
This is somewhat distinct from my subsequent discussions ofher "sartorial body,"
a phrase I borrow from E. Jane Burns to refer to the combined forces of clothing
and body in the construction of identity. My gratitude to Jane Burns for her
guidance in refining my terminology. See Burns, Courtly Love Undressed: Reading
Through Clothes in Medieval French Culture (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylva-
nia Press, 2002), pp. 12-13, 24-26.
11. On William's commentary see Courcelle, La Consolation, pp. 408-10. See also
Nikolaus M. Haring, "Commentary and Hermeneutics," in Renaissance and
Renewal in the Twelfth Century, ed. Robert L. Benson and Giles Constable, with
Carol D. Lanham (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991), p. 188.
12. MS London, B.L. Egerton 628, fol. 166r. Qtd. in Winthrop Wetherbee, Platonism
and Poetry in the Twelfth Century: The Literary Influence of the School of Chartres
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1972), p. 93.
13. 'Purus,' in Charlton T. Lewis, Ph.D. and. Charles Short, LL.D, A Latin Dictionary
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1879).
14. See Richard A. Dwyer's discussion of this addition in "The Tempting Integu-
ment," in Boethian Fictions (Cambridge, MA: Medieval Academy of America,
1976), pp. 54-55.
15. See above, p. 5 n.10.
16. See I .erer, "The Search tor Voice," in Boethius and Dialogue, especially pp. 96-11 o.
17. See Kay, "Women's Body," in Framing Medieval Bodies, p. 226.
18. Courcelle, La Consolation, pp. 90-99. My subsequent analysis of manuscripts relies
on Courcelle's plates and figures.
19. Mary J. Carruthers, "Elementary Memory Design," and "The Arts of Memory,"
in The Book ofMemory (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1990),
pp. 109, 142; and "Reading with Attitude," in The Book and the Body, ed. Dolores
Warwick Frese and Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe (Notre Dame, IN: University of
Notre Dame Press, 1997), pp. 2-3.
20. For example MS Paris, Bibliotheque de l'Institut de France, 264, tols. Ir and 54r;
MS Oxford, Bodleian Douce 298 tols. 33r and 53v; Courcelle plates 32.1-2 and
21. MS Oxford, Bodleian Douce 298, fol. 53v; Courcelle plate 33.2.
22. MS Besan<;:on, Bibliotheque Municipale 434, fols. 300v and 321r; and MS Macon,
Bibliotheque Municipale 95, fols. 84r and 101v; Courcelle plates 31.1, 31.4, and
23. MSS Paris B.N. fran~ais 1100, fol. 41v and B.N. fran~ais 1101, tol. 3v; Courcelle
plates 39.1-2.

24. I take the concept of the lady and magician from Amy Richlin, who uses the
metaphor to discuss feminist studies regarding Ovid and rape. Richlin, "Reading
Ovid's Rapes," in Pornography and Representation in Greece and Rome, ed. Amy
Richlin (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), pp. 158-79.
25. Boethius, Consouuion, I alter Watts's translation in light of O'Donnell's
interpretation of.firmosas imagines.
26. See for example Boethius, The Consolation ofPhilosophy, trans. P G. Walsh (Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1999), p. 116 n3. See also Courcelle, La Consolation, pp.17-28, and
Henry Chadwick, Boethius: The Consolations of Music, Logic, Theology, and Philoso-
phy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981), pp. 225-26.
27. According to the Carolingian philosopher Prudentius ofTroyes. See Chadwick,
"Theta on Philosophy's Dress in Boethius," Medium Aevum 49.2 (1980):175-79;
and Chadwick, Boethius, pp. 225-26.
28. O'Donnell's notes to Consolatio,
29. Harriet I. Flower, Ancestor Masks and Aristocratic Power in Roman Culture (Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1996), esp. pp. 32-59.
30. Flower, Ancestor Masks, pp. 115-26.
31. As in Ovid's Amores 1.8.65-66. Qtd. in Flower, Ancestor Masks, p. 301.
32. See Cicero, In Pisonem I. Qtd. in Flower, Ancestor Masks, pp. 286-87.
33. Flower, Ancestor Masks, p. 119. On the lasting legislation associating women,
ti.merals, and conspicuous consumption, see Alan Hunt, Governance ofthe Consum-
ing Passions (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996), esp. pp. 18-19,393.
34. See Margaret Alexiou, The Ritual of Lament in Greek Tradition (Cambridge,
England: Cambridge University Press, 1974), esp. p. 21.
35. Boethius, Consolation,
36. Boethius, Consolation,
37. 'Raptus,' in Jan Frederik Niermeyer, Mediae Latinitatis lexicon minus (New York: E.
]. Brill, 1993), and R.E. Latham, Revised Medieval Latin Wordlist from British and
Irish Sources (London: Oxford University Press, 1965).
38. See, for example, MS New York, Pierpont Morgan Library 222, to!. Ir, fol.4r; and
MSS Paris, B.N. fran~ais 1098, fol.2v, and B.N. lat. 6643, fol.24r. Courcelle, La
Consolation, pp. 90-99, esp. plates 52-58. In the sixteenth century, however,
representations of Philosophy revert back to eleventh-century iconography
Courcelle, La Consolation, p. 96.
39. See above n38. Courcelle, La Consolation, pp. 92-3.
40. Judith Butler, "Introduction," in Bodies that Matter (New York: Routledge, 1993),
p. 15.
41. Paxson, Poetics, pp. 173-4.
42. "Boeces establist et represente soi en partie de homme trouble et tourmente et
demene par passions sensibles et establist Philosophie en partie de homme eleve
et ensuivant les biens entendibles." V. L. Dedeck-H§ry, "Boethius' De Consolatione
by Jean de Meun," in Medieval Studies 14 (1952):171 [165-275]. 'Homme' in this
passage can obviously be read as a gender biased form of 'human'; since
Philosophy is presented here as a distinct part ofBoethius, however, I believe that
her masculine identification suggests connotations beyond grammatical gender.
43. Kay, "Women's Body," in Framing Medieval Bodies, p. 226.
44. Boethius, Consolation,
45. Unfortunately, the significance of this "imperishable material" is too complex to
treat properly within the confines of this article. On the tradition see Boethius,
Consolation, trans. Walsh, p. 116 n.3. See n.26 above.
46. 'Materia,' in Lewis and Short.
47. See Elizabeth Spelman, "Woman as Body: Ancient and Contemporary Views,"
Feminist Studies 8.1 (1982):109-31.
48. On the unchangeable chora, see Plato's Timaeus in Plato: The Collected Dialogues,
ed. Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns (Princeton, N]: Princeton University
Press, 1961), esp. paragraph 50c. See also Butler, "Bodies that Matter," in Bodies,
pp. 27-55.
49. Butler, "Bodies that Matter," in Bodies, pp. 49, 50.
50. Luce Irigaray, "La Mysterique," Speculum ofthe Other Woman, trans. Gillian C. Gill
(Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1985), p. 192.
51. Macrobius, Commentary on the Dream of Scipio, trans. William Harris Stahl (New
York: Columbia University Press, 1990), pp. 86-87.
52. For example, in l.m.Z and
53. As in Cicero's De NaturaDeorum 3, 22, 55. 'Natura,' in Lewis and Short.
54. Macrobius, Commentary, pp. 86-87.
55. Karma Lochrie, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Murderous Plots and Medieval Secrets,"
in Premodern Sexualities, ed. Louise Fradenburg and Carla Freccero (New York:
Routledge, 1996), p. 143. See also Lochrie, "Men's Ways of Knowing: The Secret
of Secrets and the Secrets of Women," in Covert Operations: The Medieval Uses of
Secrecy (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), pp. 93-134.
56. Hunt, Governance, pp. 246-48. The stripping of prostitutes was also a common
punishment, a type of literal enactment of her performance of the state of
undress (Hunt, pp. 243-45). See also Leah Lydia Otis, Prostitution in Medieval
Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), pp. 21, 67. In addition, in the
late Middle Ages, the terms 'public women' and 'lost girls' further underscored
the association of prostitutes with openness and loss. See Otis, Prostitution, p. 50.
57. Thomas A. McGinn. Prostitution, Sexnality, and the Law in Ancient Rome (New
York: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 156-71,208-11. See also Jane F. Gardner,
Women in Roman Law and Roman Society (Bloomington: Indiana University Press,
1986), pp. 129, 251-52. The cross-dressed prostitute reappears in medieval sump-
tuary laws. See Otis, Prostitution, p. 80.
58. Lochrie, 'Don't Ask," Premodern Sexnalities, p. 143.
59. See Danielle Jacquart and Claude Thomasset, Sexuality and Medicine in the Middle
Ages, trans. Matthew Adamson (Princeton, N]: Princeton University Press, 1988),
pp. 23-24.

Notes to Chapter Twelve

1. See most importantly E. Jane Burns, Courtly Love Undressed: Reading Through
Clothes in Medieval French Culture (Philadelphia: University of Penn Press, 2002). A
fine study which writers on mainstream literature might overlook is Jean-Charles
Huchet, "Le Roman mis a nu:]aufre," Litterature 74 (1989): 91-99.
2. The theme of flaying remains relatively unstudied in medieval literature, but see
W R. ]. Barron, 'The Penalties tor Treason in Medieval Life and Literature,"
journal ofMedieval History 7 (1981 ): 187-202 and, on the iconography of Cambyses,
Hugo van der Velden, "Cambyses tor Example: The Origins and Function of an
exemplum iustitiae in Netherlandish Art of the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seven-
teenth Centuries," Simiolus 23 (1995): 5-39. I intend to pursue research in this area.
3. ]. ]. Sttirzinger, ed., Le Pi:lerinage de vie humaine de Guillaume de Deguileville,
(London: Nichols, 1893). All quotations and references are from this edition. The
subsequent volumes in the trilogy are Le Nlerinage de I'a me and Le Pi:lerinage ]esu
Christ. Deguileville's name is spelled in a variety of ways and I follow the editor's

4. The second version remains unpublished, but was translated/ adapted by Lyd-
gate. Deguileville's other best-known reader is Chaucer, whose ABC poem to the
Virgin is imitated from the Pderinage de vie humaine. On the manuscripts, see
Michael Camille, The Illustrated Manuscripts of Guillaume de Deguileville's "Nleri-
nages," 1330-1426, Ph.D. thesis (Cambridge University, 1985) and Master of Death:
the Lifeless Art of Pierre Remiet, Illuminator (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press,
1996 ). On Chaucer as reader of Deguileville, see Helen Phillips, "Chaucer and Degui-
leville: The ABC in context," Medium Aevum 62.1(1993 ): 1-19.
5. Jacques Lacan, The Seminar ofjacques Lacan, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, Book VII,
The Ethics of Psychoanalysis 1959-60, trans. Dennis Porter (London: Routledge,
1992), p. 83.
6. Phillips, "Chaucer and Deguileville," pp. 2, 10.
7. See C. de Hamel, Scribes and Illuminators (London: British Museum Press, 1992),
pp. 13-15; Gerhard Moog, "Haute und Pelle zur Pergamentherstellung. Eine
Betrachtung histologische Merkmale ," in Pergament. Geschichte, Struktur, Restauri-
erung, Herstellung, ed. Peter Ruck (Sigmaringen: Jan Thorbecke Verlag, 1991), pp.
8. The Illustrated Manuscripts, p. 192. Analogously, BNF fr. 12465 has a "muddy
colour and bare vellum backgrounds still showing the ruling beneath," indicating
that its owner "sought instruction rather than delight" (The Illustrated Manu-
scripts, p. 119).
9. Master of Death, p. 91.
10. Master of Death, p. 135
11. The concept of suture, developed in film studies, designates a short circuiting
between levels in such a way as to expose the artificiality of their separation in the
first place. In this way, it points towards a previously occluded universality. See
Slavoj Zizek, "Da Capo Senza Fine," in Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau, and Slavoj
Zizek, ContingenC)\ Hegemony, Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left
(London: Verso, 2000), pp. 237-38 [pp. 213-62].
12. The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-analysis, trans. Alan Sheridan, Introduc-
tion by David Macey (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1994), p. 103.
13. Courtly Love Undressed, for example pp. 12, 14, 22,24-26.
14. Jean Pepin, "Saint Augustin et le symbolisme neoplatonicien de Ia veture," in
Augustinus Magister. Congres international augustinien, Paris, 21-24 septembre 1954
(Paris: Etudes Augsutiniennes, 1955), 1:293-306, shows that this process of regress
is already present in Augustine's conception of the body as the clothing of the
soul, since that clothing is always already double.
15. Didier Anzieu, The Skin Ego, trans. Chris Turner (New Haven, CT: Yale University
Press, 1989), p. 40. Previously, Anzieu has explained that "[t]he development of a
Skin Ego is a response to the need tor a narcissistic envelope and guarantees the
psychical apparatus a sure and continuous sense of basic well-being" (p. 39).
Anzieu, initially a student of Lacan, dissociated himself from him and attached
himself instead to the English school of post-Kleinian object-relations theorists.
16. The Skin Ego, p. 63.
17. The Skin Ego, p. 9.
18. Courtly Love Undressed, p. 13.
19. "Philology and its Discontents," in The Future ofthe Middle Ages: Medieval Literature
in the 1990s, ed. William D. Paden (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1994),
20. Keith Busby, Codex and Context: Reading Old French Verse Narrative in Manuscript
(Amsterdam & New York: Rodopi, 2002).
21. For this discussion of the commodity in the first chapter of Marx's Capital, see
Slavoj ZiZek, The Sublime Object of Ideology (London: Verso, 1989), pp. 11-28.
22. Louise Fradenburg, '"So that we may speak of them': Enjoying the Middle Ages,"
New Literary History 28.2 (1997), p. 218 [205-30]; Sarah Kay; 'Analytical Survey 3:
The 'New Philology,"' New Medieval Literatures 3 (2000), pp. 316-20 [295-326].
23. What tallows arises from my Slavoj Zizek. A Critical Introduction (Cambridge,
England: Polity, 2003). See in particular pp. 31-33, and, for Zizek's account of
representation, p. 72. The Zizekian text on which I draw most heavily in this
present essay is The Indivisible Remainder: An Essay on Schelling and Related Matters
(London: Verso, 1996).
24. Jacques Lacan, Ecrits (Paris: Seuil, 1966), p. 835.
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Kathleen Ashley is Professor of English at the University of Southern Maine. She has
research interests in medieval and early modern cultures generally, and is currently
pursing a project in the Burgundian archives on urban bourgeois families.

Madeline Harrison Caviness is Mary Richardson Professor and Professor of Art History
at Tufts University. Among her numerous books and articles are: Medieval Art in the West
and its Audience (Aldershot, England: Variorum reprints, 2001); Visualizing Women in the
Middle Ages: Sight, Spectacle and Scopic Economy (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania
Press, 2001), and Reconfiguring Medieval Art: Diffrrence, Margins, Boundaries (Medford, MA:
Tufts University electronic book, 2001: http: I I nils.lib.tufts.edul Caviness).

Andrea Denny-Brown is Assistant Professor of English at the University of California,

Riverside. Her dissertation examines medieval discourses of sexuality, consumption,
and the clothed subject. Her forthcoming articles include work on fashion and the
medieval self

E. Jane Burns is L. M. Slifkin Distinguished Term Professor of Women's Studies and

Adjunct Professor of Comparative Literature at the University ofNorth Carolina, Chapel
Hill. She has written Courtly Love Undressed: Reading Through Clothes in Medieval French
Culture (2002), Bodytalk: When Women Speak in Old French Literature (1993), Arthurian
Fictions: Rereading the Vulgate Cycle (1985), and has translated The Quest for the Holy Grail

Dyan Elliott is Professor ofHistory and Adjunct Professor ofReligious Studies at Indiana
University. She is the author of Spiritual Marriage: Sexual Abstinence in Medieval Wedlock
(1993), Fallen Bodies: Pollution, Sexuality, and Demonology in the Middle Ages (1999), and
Proving Woman: Female Spirituality and Inquisitional Culture in the Late Middle Ages (2004).

Sarah-Grace Heller is an Assistant Professor of French at Ohio State University. Her

research deals with sumptuary laws, material culture, and fashion theory with regard to
medieval romance literature.

Ruth Mazo Karras is Professor of History at the University of Minnesota. She is the
author of From Boys to Men: Formations of Masculinity in Late Medieval Europe; Common
Women: Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England; and articles on medieval gender and

Sarah Kay is Professor of French and Occitan Literature at the University of Cambridge,
UK. Her most recent books are Courtly Contradictions: The Emergence of the Literary Object
in the Twelfth Century (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001) and Ziiek: A Critical
Introduction (Cambridge: Polity, 2003). She is currently working on late medieval didactic
literature in French.

Sharon Kinoshita teaches medieval French and World Literature and Cultural Studies
at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is completing a book on French literary
representations of cultural contact.

Roberta L. Krueger, Professor of French at Hamilton College, is editor of The Cambridge

Companion to Medieval Romance and author of Women Readers and the Ideology of Gender in
Old French Verse Romance, as well as numerous articles on medieval conduct literature.

Janet Snyder is Associate Professor in the Division of Art at West Virginia University and
she lectures regularly at the Cloisters of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her publica-
tions have addressed the limestone used for sculpture during the mid-twelfth century in
north central France, and the representation of contemporary textiles and dress in that

Claire Sponsler teaches in the English Department at the University oflowa. She is the
author of Drama and Resistance (Minnesota) and editor of East of West: Crosscultural
Peiformance and the Staging ofDifference (Palgrave).

Kathryn Starkey is Assistant Professor in the Department of Germanic Languages at the

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research interests include German
courtly literature, word and image, performance, ritual, and visual culture. Her forth-
coming monograph is entitled Reading Lhe Medieval Book (Notre Dame).
abuse, 15,63,64,72,73, 79,81,82, 83,84, brothel, 99, 189
85, 88, 185 Butler,Judith, 187, 188
Adam and Eve, 7, 8, 13, 45, 103 Byzantine, 2, 6, 156, 157, 167, 170, 171,
Afghanistan, 150 172, 173, 174
Africa, 4, 151, 175
alb, 58, 59 Cairo, 149, 150, 151, 156, 171, 173
Alexandria, 134, 151, 171, 173, 174 caliph, 149, 153, 154, 168, 173
allegory, 14,46, 75, 76, 78, 79,80,82, 88, camel, 174
132,203 Canterbury, 32, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110,
Almoravid, 168, 175 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 138
altar, 58, 59, 61, 101, 165, 166 Capetian, 173
arnice,56,57,58 cathedral, 6, 8, 9, 16, 25,101, 105,106, 108,
Andalusia, 156, 168, 169, 170 109, 115, 154, 155, 158, 160, 161, 162
Andros, 156 cendal, 126, 127, 130
Antioch, 155, 172 ceremonial, 23, 139, 145, 168, 169, 172,
Arabic, 2, 155, 159, 168, 169, 170, 174 173
architecture, 4, 6, 105, 115, 170 ceremony, 14, 20, 21, 32, 42, 43, 53, 60, 61,
aristocrat, 92, 138 63, 69, 135, 145
arm, 45, 57, 67, 110, 113, 117, 127, 147, Champagne, 155, 164, 175
158, 160 Chartres, 9, 154, 158, 160, 161, 162
Asia, 6, 102, 156 chasuble, 57, 58, 59, 61, 64, 66, 165, 166,
Athens, 92, 157 168, 169, 176
Augustine, 7, 13,17,55 Chaucer, Geoftrey, 72, 73, 99, 103, 191
chemise, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 73, 74, 83, 126,
badge, pilgrim's, 9, 11, 147, 148, 155 127, 132,
Baghdad, 156, 168, 173 children,9, 33, 50, 72, 75, 76, 79, 84,100,
bands, 59,111,127,185 101, 140, 142, 143, 175, 197
belt,59,155 China, 103, 150
bias, 162 Christian, 2, 9, 16, 65, 75, 76, 78, 93, 149,
bird, 45, 170, 196 151, 162, 167, 169, 170, 174, 176
birth, 9, 26, 55, 131, 165 Christine de Pizan, 15, 72
black, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145 cincture, 57
blue, 12,107,111,113,114,168,195 class, 1, 3, 10, 13, 15, 17, 18, 31, 38, 39, 48,
Boccaccio, Giovanni, 15, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 49,50,52,53,102,138, 139,140,141,
7~ 80,85, 86,88, 101,102 142, 171, 173
bourgeois, 18,24,47, 100,104,128,130, lower class, 139
135, 138, 143, 175 middle class, 15, 18, 48, 49, 50, 52, 53, 138,
bride, 37, 42, 44, 71, 75, 78, 92 141, 142
Brie, 164 working class, 138, 140, 141, 142
2 76 INDEX

clavi, 152
clergy, 15, 18, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 63, 65, fair, 164, 175
67, 68, 69, 123, 143, 145, 164, 169 falcon, 45, 46, 47, 52
cloak, 126, 131, 147, 148, 155, 174 Fatimid, 152, 154, 155, 157, 162, 168, 172
commerce, 135, 149, 150, 151, 172, 176 feet, 14, 59, 62, 94, 109. See aLso foot,
Constantinople, 173 footvvear
cope, 58, 169 feminine, 2, 5, 17, 88, 90, 91, 92, 93, 98, 99,
Coptic, 151 100,101, 102,103, 104, 131,132, 177,
Cordoba, 169 178,179,184,186, 18~ 188,189,190,
Corinth, 157 191, 196
coronation, 25, 30, 174 feminist,Z, 3,4, 5, 14, 18, 72, 84, 87, 99,188
cotton, 141, 150, 156 feudal, 16, 167, 173
court, 6, 21, 36, 43, 45, 52, 75, 86, 123, 124, finger, 9, 62, 102
133, 135, 168, 172, 173 Flanders, 97, 175
courtly, 6, 10, 11, 14, 20, 37, 45, 46, 47, 48, flax, 149, 150, 151, 171
49, 52, 149, 158, 164, 173, 196, 19~ fleece, 100, 151
205 floral, 154, 158, 159
crimson, 144 foot, 41, 43. See aLso feet, footvvear
crovvned, 30, 36, 75,108,157,158,203 footvvear, 36. See also feet, foot
crusade, 2, 123, 125, 126, 132, 135, 154, Freud, Sigmund, 3
158, 164, 167, 170 funeral, 122, 124, 142, 143, 145, 183, 184
cuff, 151, 155, 158 fur, 104, 123, 126, 127, 128, 144, 172
curtain, 102 Fustat, 149, 150, 151

dalmatic, 57, 58, 66, 173 gauze, 150

Damascus, 150 Gaza, 150
damask, 150 gems, 77
darts, 15,113,117,118 gender, 1, 3, 10, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 50, 55,
death, 17,25,62,63,67,68, 142,146,180, 89, 90, 94, 98, 103, 132, 139, 186, 187,
183,184,194,195,200,205 190, 197
diamonds, 155 Geniza, 149, 150, 151, 171, 174
diaper, 155 Genoa, 123, 175, 176
drapery, 105, 113, 151 German,36,42,43,44,45,99, 174
Durham, 168, 170 Germany, 2, 101, 133, 170
Dutch, 14, 37, 45, 48, 49, 52 gift, 14, 17, 18, 24, 37, 42, 76, 138, 139, 140,
dye,93,95,96,97,98, 126,129,150,151, 141,142, 143,144, 146, 154,168, 170,
154 172, 187
gilt, 144. See also gold
Egypt, 150, 151, 154, 155, 168, 171, 175 girdle, 57, 58, 59
elbovv, 158 gloves, 58
elite, 52, 93, 96, 138, 141, 142, 143, 149, gold,23,32,43,45,46,98, 121,127,128,
164, 167, 172, 189 132, 143, 153, 154, 165, 166, 168, 170,
embroidery,5, 16,26,93, 100,126,127, 174, 175. See aLso gilt
132, 150, 153, 166, 169, 170, 174, 182 gores, 162
England, 2, 6, 15, 22, 31, 72, 90, 91, 94, 96, green, 166, 168, 169
97, 99, 106, 138, 170, 174, groom,37,42,44
English, 17, 20, 21, 28, 30, 93, 96, 103, 109,
126 hair, 12, 63, 123, 127, 142, 195
ermine, 144 hand, 61, 67, 109, 113, 114, 117, 118, 158,
Eve, see Adam and Eve 194

hat, 9, 181 Latin, 16, 17, 18, 19, 56, 75, 167, 168, 170,
head, 36, 61, 101, 108, 111, 113, 152 171, 172, 174, 176
hem, 99, 113, 123, 152, 162, 182, 185 law, 50, 56, 64, 66, 68, 122, 123, 124, 125,
hemp, 100 126, 127, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134,
Herod, 59, 161 135, 136, 144, 183, 190
hip, 162 leather, 14, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 47, 52,
holes, 35, 40, 152, 186, 190, 195 203
Holy Land, 149, 162, 163, 164 legal, 1, 6, 13, 16, 18, 42, 43, 122, 123, 142,
honor,22,32,36,48,50,52,53,64,66,69, 146
102, 13~ 143, 153, 16~ 174 legs, 9, 108, 110, 113, 116, 162
horse, 122, 128, 132, 140, 158, 172 Leiden, 35, 39, 41, 45, 47
Hungarian, 172 Levant,Z, 134,149,154,156,171
linen, 5, 8, 16, 79, 95, 107, 118, 149, 150,
husband,27,36,44,48, 71, 72, 73, 76, 79,
151, 154, 155, 163
80, 81, 82, 84, 85, 86, 99,100, 127,129,
lion, 168, 169, 173, 174
131, 133, 135, 141, 145
loom, 94, 97, 101, 102, 103, 104, 151, 154
Iberia, 16, 168, 174, 156, 169, 170, 172,
lord, 44, 78, 125, 154
174, 175
loros, 157
ikat, 154
love,6, 14,36,37,38,44,45,46,47,48,49,
India, 150, 171
50, 51, 52, 53, 76, 77, 79, 80, 81, 84,
indigo, 171
132, 134, 135, 177
Iran, 150, 173
Low Countries, 2, 14, 36, 37, 38, 39, 42, 47,
Iraq, 151
Irigaray, Luce, 5, 177, 188
Isfahan, 168
Maghreb, 175
Islamic, 2, 16, 148, 149, 150, 151, 153, 154,
maniple, 57, 58, 59, 61
155, 156, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 164,
marriage, 14, 15, 18, 23, 37, 38, 42, ,43, 44,
167, 170, 172, 173, 175, 176
Italy, 2, 16, 97, 121,122,124,125, 126,127,
Marseille, 126, 171, 175
131, 134, 135, 175
masculine, 103, 186, 188, 190, 191, 196
mask, 5, 182, 183
Jerusalem, 124, 154 Mediterranean, 6, 16, 18, 95, 125,149,150,
jewelry, 10, 12, 71, 141, 142, 144, 149 151,157, 167,168, 170, 171,172, 173,
Jewish, 10, 59, 94, 125, 149, 150, 167 174, 175, 176
journey, 164, 171, 175 merchant,31, 39,49,52,96,97, 121,134,
Jurjan, 168 135, 149, 150, 167, 168, 169, 171, 173,
174, 175, 176
king, 8, 21, 32, 36, 42, 43, 51,101, 110,111, Mesopotamia, 173
113, 117, 123,124, 126,133, 134,166, metal, 9, 40, 127, 130, 141, 149, 162, 173
167, 169, 172, 173, 175 minister, 56, 154
knight, 65,135,143,147,202 monk, 20,63, 169,193
kufic, 159, 160, 162, 168 Montpellier, 124, 125, 126, 127, 129, 130,
131, 133
Lacan,Jacques, 194,196,199,200 moral, 33, 50, 51, 52, 68, 74, 75, 80, 86, 92,
lady, 21, 24, 43, 46, 75, 77, 78, 82, 84, 86, 125,126,129,130,180,200,202,204
88, 100, 126, 131, 132, 133, 135, 143, Morocco, 150, 171
181 motit~38,42,43,44,46, 154,155,158,173,
lampas, 168, 169 174
2 78 INDEX

mulberry, 150 robe,6,59,78,113,128,135,142,145,168,

Muslim, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 175, 176 172,17~ 182,18~ 185,186,187
Roman, 56, 79, 123, 127, 135, 152, 183
neck, 61, 62, 113, 127, 181 Rome,24,76,81,85,92,93,101,132, 183,
Netherlands, the, 35 190
nobility, 10,23, 31,50,52, 71, 74, 82, 93, royal, 6, 23, 24, 29, 30, 32, 102, 122, 130,
124, 125, 130, 135, 144, 167 150, 155, 157, 160
Norman, 16, 148, 155, 158, 172, 173, 174, Russian, 58, 172
sable, 123,144,170
orange, 168 sacrament, 56, 58, 60
Ottonian, 173 samite, 172
Saracen, 10, 84, 124, 134, 166, 171, 175, 176

painting, 12, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, Saujon, 162
28,29,33,40,44,58,95,105,109,113, scarlet, 123, 128, 129, 135
117,118,154,159,160,174,196 seam, 127, 152, 153, 158
Palermo, 157, 174 serpent, 180
sex, 17, 95, 124, 197
Palestine, 150
sharb, 150
Paris, 8, 21, 23, 24, 25, 60, 73, 78, 80, 82,
shawl, 184
95, 98, 128, 161
sheep,67, 151,203
pattern, 13, 15, 52, 58, 97,105, 106,107,
shoes, 5, 14,37,38,39,40, 41,42,43,44,
108, 111, 117,118, 119,122, 151,154,
50, 51, 52, 53, 59, 145
155, 158, 160, 162, 168, 185
shoulder, 57, 58, 59, 61, 110, 111, 113, 117,
peacock, 168
147, 152, 153, 158, 160
pearls, 77, 127, 149, 155, 174
Sicily, 16, 124, 150,151, 157, 158, 173,174
peasant, 71, 102, 104
silk, 5, 9, 16, 32, 58, 95, 96, 100, 103, 104,
Persia, 6, 133, 173
118, 121, 126, 127, 129, 130, 132, 133,
pilgrim, 9, 154, 158, 194, 195, 201,202,
144, 149, 150, 151, 154, 155, 156, 157,
158,163, 165,166, 167, 168,169, 170,
Pisa, 124, 162
171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176
pleat, 126, 149, 150, 151, 155
silver, 43, 127, 132, 135, 144, 165, 166
Portugal, 124
skirt, 148, 155, 162
priest, 15, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 63, 64, 65, 66, slave, 44, 77, 84, 92, 93, 175, 176
67, 68,69, 110,145
sleeve, 8, 151, 153, 158, 160, 161
Provence, 121, 122, 125, 135 Spain, 124, 133, 150, 151, 155, 156, 157,
purple, 59, 126, 144, 168, 170 172, 175
Pyrenees, 173 Islamic Spain, 155, 175
Muslim Spain, 2, 16, 18
queen,24,32,92, 168 spinning, 91, 92, 93, 95,96, 98, 99, 100, 101,
104, 151
Rahban, 150 spinster, 91, 99, 100
red, 107, 141, 168, 174, 195 stemma, 157
relic,9, 150,168,169,170 stole, 57, 58, 59, 61, 66
religion, 33, 146, 167, 176, 194,201 surplice, 57, 58, 68
religious, 1, 6, 8, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, Syria, 9, 150, 156,172
24, 123, 133, 145, 167, 169, 173, 193,
194, 198 tapestry, 14, 19,20,21, 22,23,24,25,26,
ritual, 6, 15, 42, 56, 57, 60, 61, 63, 64, 65, 27,28,29,30,31,32,34,44, 102,103,
6~ 139,168,183,184,189 150, 153, 154, 155, 162
INDEX 2 79

Thebes, 156, 157 warp,57,94, 97,101,154

thigh, 155, 158, 162 weaving, 5, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26,
thread,35,98,99, 100,102,104,149,150, 57, 91, 92, 93, 94, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100,
151, 154, 182, 187 101, 102, 103, 104, 130, 150, 151, 153,
tiraz, 16, 150, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 158, 154, 158, 168, 182, 184, 187, 188
159, 160, 162, 169, 170
wedding,42,44, 76, 77, 82,122,124,155
trade, 1, 5, 13, 16, 39, 90, 95, 96, 97, 98, 100,
white, 57, 58, 59, 107, 111, 132, 140, 141,
121, 134, 149,150, 156,171, 173,174,
143, 150, 195,201
175, 176
widow, 95, 96, 132, 138, 141, 142, 143, 145
tunic, 9, 57, 58, 92, 145, 151, 152, 158, 159
Tunisia, 150, 171 wite, 15, 26, 27, 44, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77,
Umayyad, 168, 172, 173 95,96,99,100,101,104,127,129,131,
urban, 14,37,38,39,47,48,49,50,52,53, 135, 141, 145, 166
89, 100, 138, 143 wills, 17, 21, 95, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142,
143, 144, 145, 146
Valencia, 169 wool,5,58, 74,88,91,92,93,94,95, 100,
velvet, 141, 144, 145 101, 103, 104, 121, 126, 129, 141, 149,
Venice, 124, 131 155
vestments, 6, 12, 13, 15, 56, 57, 59, 61, 62, woolen,93,96,97,100,121,123,128,129,
63, 64,66,68,69,143 135, 140, 141, 149, 151, 163
violence, 62, 100, 101, 132, 182, 186, 190,
wrist, 127, 158
violet, 141
yellow, 65
vrrgin,9,24,57, 101,102
Yemen, 150, 154
waist, 56, 113 Ypres, 99, 101
wall-hanging, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27,
32,33 Zizek, Slavoj, 17, 198, 199, 200