- Objects and identities
- Dowry and material culture in Venetian Crete in regional and European context (1600-1645)
- Award date
- 15 June 2018
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Regional, Transnational and European Studies (ARTES)
This comparative study explores the socioeconomic and cultural meanings of the dowry movables in Venetian Crete and attempts to place the island in the broader context of European material culture studies; especially of those which are based on probate inventory research. Through qualitative and quantitative analyses, the thesis demonstrates the multiple roles that dowry played in Crete: it was a mechanism of reception and seclusion; a means of separation and rapprochement; an embodiment of the taste and values of the families who endowed it.
How exactly did people position themselves in the highly differentiated society of seventeenth-century Crete at the time of their marriage by means of dowry goods? This is the central research question which is answered after scrutinising 770 marriage documents and 8,345 dowry objects. The thesis comprises the first systematic study of these notarial documents in relation to the study of material culture in Venetian Crete and brings several crucial details of the materiality of commodities to the fore.
Moreover, the present research highlights the lifestyle of the non-elite group and of the female population in the colonial society of Crete during the Golden Age of the Venetian domination on the island (1600-1645). It illustrates how dowry objects brought individuals and families together and how, at the same time, they separated them. Appropriation of different material elements by different population groups played hereby a central role. During this process, objects were imbued with new meanings that became intertwined and continuously negotiated.
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