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21 mai 2024

Textiles : au-delà de la matérialité

Textiles : au-delà de la matérialité 26 JuinJuin 2024 11:00 - 12:30


If there exists any field for which the materiality of objects is essential to their understanding, it is that of textiles, in which it is not only necessary to consider the materials and type of weaving employed, but also the pigments and functions of the fabric, whether it was used for clothing or to upholster furniture. For this reason, the CIETA (Centre international d’études des textiles anciens) has developed a method of technical analysis aimed to take account of this complex materiality of textiles and to build a common vocabulary so that specialists from around the world can understand one another when it comes to analysing weaving types.


This proposed session focuses on another form, or perhaps a supplementary stratum, of materiality: that of traces. Both visible traces (such as stains or holes) and invisible ones (such as odours) can provide new information about the creation of an object, its use and alterations, or the ways in which it may have been modified or repaired over time. Just as smudging on a medieval liturgical manuscript can inform us with remarkable precision about the areas touched by officiants and thus about their liturgical and devotional practices (for example, see the work of Kathryn Rudy on manuscripts, which have been made available to the general public through this video: How the Grand Obituary of Notre-Dame (Paris, BnF, Ms. lat. 5185 CC) was Touched, Kissed, and Handled, 2020), the traces left on a textile work can serve as a new source for analysis and understanding.
The ongoing conservation treatment of the liturgical textiles of the Ordre du Saint-Esprit, held at the Musée du Louvre, provides an opportunity to achieve a more clear understanding of their use over time: thus, the fact that the antependium underwent more substantial conservation work than the altarpiece suggests that the antependium was more exposed to rubbing by celebrants during the Order’s ceremonies. In a more recent context, pieces from a fashion show may bear traces of makeup, holes from high-heeled shoes, or points showing the couturier’s last-minute touch-ups. These traces also lead us to question how they should be taken into account in a museum environment: should they be removed during conservation treatment? Although the subject has been occasionally considered in publications on textiles, taking it up over a long time scale, in diverse contexts (such as in archaeology and fashion), and different geographical environments would provide a new dimension to this approach, in order to affirm its importance in understanding textiles.


Salle Saint-Clair 1

Centre de congrès de Lyon

  • Métropole de Lyon
  • Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
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