Textiles, cloth and skins: the problem of terminology and relationship

Harris, S. (2008) Textiles, cloth and skins: the problem of terminology and relationship. Textile, 6(3), pp. 222-237. (doi: 10.2752/175183508X377645)

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The problem of terminology and relationship is something I first came across when researching cloth and skins in the societies of prehistoric Europe. I wanted to understand the relationship between animal skins, linen and wool textiles, netting and twined cloth, yet I found there was no adequate way of describing these as a group of related materials. I was faced with quite separate books and journals on “cloth” or “textiles” from those on “skins” or “leather”. The content of these publications were usually defined by raw materials, technology or style. Such a separation makes it difficult to understand the relationship between these materials at any given time or place. From this problem, I recognized the value of classifying these related materials by their physical similarity and pattern of use. To do this I have used the term cloth-type material to refer to all flexible, thin sheets of material that can be wrapped, folded and shaped, but excluding materials related through structure, technology or raw material that do not share these qualities. This classification is significant to consider how cloth-type materials have the potential to be used in similar ways, yet through cultural values and choices have distinct roles and values.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Archaeology, textile, leather, materials, cloth, clothing.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Harris, Dr Susanna
Authors: Harris, S.
Subjects:C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Journal Name:Textile
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1751-8350

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