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The fabric of devotion: A new approach to studying textiles from late medieval nunneries

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Recent scholarship on the nunneries of the Late Middle Ages has demonstrated that within these houses, textile work served as important devotional tools which might accompany prayer, meditation and worship. This shows that the production of woven and embroidered textiles in nunneries does not easily compare to any modern-day notion of artistic practice, and it is argued that art historians should take this into consideration when approaching these textiles. This article proposes a new way of analysing textiles from nunneries, based on the premise that within nunneries, textile production was a complex and dynamic devotional practice. The article analyses a series of textiles from Lüne Abbey in northern Germany, the so-called Bartholomäuslaken (1492), Katharinenlaken (1500) and Georgslaken (1500), to illustrate the claim that we should consider textiles from religious houses as material indexes of the devotional practice of nuns.
Original languageEnglish
JournalKonsthistorisk Tidskrift
Pages (from-to)44-64
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

    Research areas

  • textiles; the Middle Ages; monasteries, female spirituality, materiality, devotion

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