The social life of filigree objects

Rodrigues, Raina (2022). The social life of filigree objects. University of Birmingham. M.A.

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Filigree is an intricate metalwork method incorporating small beads and twisted threads, mainly in silver or gold, and fashioned into pieces of jewellery or decorative objects. The origins of this technique date as far back as 2500 BC, in Etruria and Greece. Though little is known of its origin, it has been used in countries through Europe, Asia and further afield. This thesis examines the role of filigree work as a mode of social positioning, as a way to place individuals and communities firmly in history and geography.

Through four case studies on drinking receptacles, a crown, a set of buttons and a pair of earrings, this research aims to examine the place, role and social significance of filigree among other forms of jewellery. The title of the dissertation alludes to Arjun Appadurai’s edited book 'The Social Life of Things', and the thesis considers filigree objects as things that produce social connections and define aspects of exchange and regulated processes of circulation between producer, commissioner/owner, user/wearer and collector. For Appadurai ‘things-in-motion […] illuminate their human and social context’ through history and between civilisations.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.A.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.A.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NK Decorative arts Applied arts Decoration and ornament


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