Textile Ornament as Argument
Anna Bücheler's dissertation, Ornament as Argument: Textile Imagery and Textile Metaphor in Medieval German Manuscripts explores notions of ornamentation and issues of materiality in early and high medieval manuscript illumination (800–1200). Focusing on ornament that evokes the weave patterns of Byzantine and Islamic silk, this study argues that – in specific contexts – ornament has meaning and serves functions that go beyond mere decoration. Reading so-called textile pages against the manuscript context in which they appear and bringing them together with metaphoric and exegetical notions of the veil, textile ornament emerges as a visual argument. The aim of this study is to contribute to a better understanding of an “iconology of the textile” in medieval art and illuminate the functions and meaning of non-figurative ornament.