This volume represents a first attempt to conceptualise the construction and use of composite artefacts in the Ancient Near East by looking at the complex relationships between environments, materials, societies and materiality.
Composite Artefacts in the Ancient Near East: Exhibiting an imaginative materiality, showing a genealogical nature examines the complex relationship between environment, materials, society and materiality with particular reference to the composite artefacts in the ancient Near East. On the one hand are the objective and natural attributes of materials, possibly exalted from their transformation: a form of fascination immanent in all kind of technical activity which promotes the transition from the ordinary into an ‘extra-ordinary’ realm, imbuing the object with new meaning. On the other hand is the idea that properties of materials are not fixed attributes of ‘matters’, but are processual as well as relational: the qualities of artefacts are subjective and are included in the worldview of artisans making them, as well as in the mind of who observes who appreciate them. Thus, the craftsmanship is oriented towards the achievement of sophisticated products through assemblage techniques and the blending of contrasting properties and qualities of materials. The term ‘composite’ is a combination of the power of technology and the ability to form new images: the strict relationship between creativity, technology and manufacture produces novel interactions and solutions.
Although the primary concern of this volume is to provide specific case studies in which theoretical assumptions and hypotheses can be applied to the ancient evidence, most of the papers take not only the general perspective, such as the relationship between materials and humans, but also a defined body of evidence – material, textual and visual through which they address the issue. This volume represents a first attempt to conceptualise the construction and use of composite artefacts: the richness of approaches, the development of new issues depending on specific case studies, and the overturning of widely accepted ideas, show the interest towards this category of objects and the opportunity to enlarge this field study in the future.
Silvana Di Paolo – Introduction: New Lines of Enquiry for Composite Artefacts? ;
Section 1. The Planning: Materiality and Imagination ;
Silvana Di Paolo – From Hidden to Visible. Degrees of Mental and Material Construction of an ‘Integrated Whole’ in the Ancient Near East ;
Alessandro Di Ludovico – A Composite Look at the Composite Wall Decorations in the Early History of Mesopotamia ;
Section 2. Symbols in Action ;
Chikako Watanabe – Composite Animals Representing the Property of Thunder in Mesopotamia. ;
Elisa Roßberger – Shining, Contrasting, Enchanting: Composite Artefacts from the Royal Tomb of Qatna ;
Megan Cifarelli – Entangled Relations over Geographical and Gendered Space: Multi-Component Personal Ornaments at Hasanlu [Open Access: Download] ;
Section 3. Sum of Fragments, Sum of Worlds ;
Jean M. Evans – Composing Figural Traditions in the Mesopotamian Temple ;
Frances Pinnock – Polymaterism in Early Syrian Ebla ;
Anna Paule – Near Eastern Materials, Near Eastern Techniques, Near Eastern Inspiration: Colourful Jewellery from Prehistoric, Protohistoric and Archaic Cyprus
About the Author
Silvana Di Paolo (PhD Rome 2001) is, since 2001, researcher at the Institute for Studies of Ancient Mediterranean of the Italian National Council of Research (CNR). She is the director of the Series Biblioteca di Antichità Cipriote, scientific board member of al-Sharq (published in Paris) and editorial board member of Rivista di Studi Fenici published by ISMA. As CNR researcher she is co-coordinator of different projects in collaboration with European and non-European foreign institutions. She is a co-director of the QANATES project in the Iranian Kurdistan. She has written extensively on the relationship between art and power, location and styles of workshops, social meaning of works of art, as well as on material culture of the 2nd millennium BC. Silvana is currently working on the concepts of similarity in assemblages of artifacts and routinisation of the artisanal production in the ANE, as well as on the applications of the shape and semantic analysis on Mesopotamian glyptics.