session grouped by Nancy Wu (7/11/03):
Abstract paper -a:
As pronounced by the Elvira Council (306 CE?) the Church Fathers, lighting candles on graves or during funerals was strictly prohibited, being considered a pagan custom. Similar restrictions are repeatedly mentioned against putting flowers or crowns on graves or on the deceased himself. However, the Early Byzantine painted tomb at Lohamey-ha-Getaoth prominently displays large burning candles, blooming red flowers and a large crown. This paper attempts to explain the appearance of motifs so conflicting with the official dogma in Christian funerary art, and to show how the adoption of such motifs eventually transformed into a new iconography.
Abstract paper -b:
This paper will explore the symbolic significance of the peacocks concealed in Ezra’s cupboard in the Codex Amiatinus. Although never previously commented on (or apparently, noticed), the peacocks, and their arrangment, reveal possible connections between the Anglo-Saxon illustrator, the monasteries of Monkwearmouth/Jarrow, from which the manuscript originates, and the iconography of the Late Antique/Early Christian period. Examples of similar iconography will be examined in order to determine the possible transmission of this imagery, and the birds analysed in the context of the overall manuscript to determine how they can shed further light on the enigmatic Codex Amiatinus.
Abstract paper -c:
Several early Christian monuments depict a seated woman flanked by attending female servants. Scholars usually approch these monuments as illustrating an aristocrat’s beauty routine or as showing her status through the inclusion of luxurious toilette implements and slaves. This paper, however, considers the iconography of the relationship between mistress and servant. Despite slaves’ living in what would been a climate of fear and abuse, the images construct an intimate, harmonious female community. Their permanent commemoration contributes to their elevation above other servants in the household, even though such commemoration was not the original intent of the imagery.