Late Antique Images of the Virgin Annunciate Spinning

Allotting the Scarlet and the Purple


In Late Antique Images of the Virgin Annunciate Spinning: allotting the scarlet and the purple, Catherine Gines Taylor traces the way early Christians assimilated the symbolism of spinning into images of the Annunciation. Taylor offers an art historical and interdisciplinary look at the earliest images of Mary spinning, underscoring the iconographic model of idealized matronage consistent with lay piety and the cult of Mary. The personal and domestic nature of this motif is evidence toward popular Mariological devotion that preceded the exclusive, semi-divine presentation of the Theotokos, and stands in contrast with traditional ascetic models for Mary.

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Catherine Gines Taylor, Ph.D. (2012), The University of Manchester, is a Visiting Fellow at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University. She has published articles and book chapters on iconography and women within early Christian memorial settings, including The Pignatta Sarcophagus: Late Antique Iconography and the Memorial Culture of Salvation (Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2016).
List of Figures

Introduction. Preceding the Ascetic Type: Earliest Images of the Virgin Annunciate Spinning
 1 The Protoevangelium of James: A Contemporary Apocryphum
 2 Methodological Considerations
 3 Patristic Considerations

1 The Roots and Precedents
 1 Catacombs of Priscilla, Cubiculum P—The First Annunciation
 2 Spinning and Roman Public Display: Minerva and Domition’s Forum Transitorium
 3 Spinning in Legend
 4 Spinning Iconography amongst Elites and Non-Elites in Roman Society
 5 The Attributes of Virtue: Spinning in Proverbs and the Jewish Tradition
 6 Conclusions

2 The Maiden. The Domestic Cult of Mary: Imitatio Mariae and Spinning a Sacred Conversation
 1 Mary the Maiden
 2 Annunciation Iconography and the Domestic Cult of Mary
 3 Maiden’s Tools: Sacred, Profane, Mundane
 4 The Maiden Imaged as the Ascetic
 5 Marian Devotion as Counter-Ascetic
 6 Proclus and the Constantinopolitan Tradition of Imitatio Mariae
 7 Imitatio Mariae and the Syriac Tradition of the Domestic Annunciation
 8 Conclusions: Work as a Sacred Conversation and a Life Pleasing to God

3 The Matron
 1 Marriage Art and Marriage Rings
 2 The Annunciation as Privileged Iconography: Ring Descriptions
 3 The Fifth-Century Legal Context and Family Life
 4 The Paraphernalia of Married Fertility and Early Church Councils
 5 Children, “An Inheritance of the Lord”
 6 Conclusions

4 The Household
 1 Women in Purple: Privileged Patronage
 2 Women in Linen and Wool: Domestic Piety and Patronage
 3 Late Antique Textiles and the Domestic Sphere
 4 Textile Patronage in Panopolis
 5 The Abegg-Stiftung “Mary Silk”
 6 A Linen Burial Cloth from the Victoria and Albert Museum
 7 Later Comparative Textiles
 8 Burial Garments and the Threshold of Death
 9 Conclusions

5 Memorial
 1 Comparisons from the Grave: Other Roman Catacombs
 2 The Pignatta Sarcophagus
 3 Patristics in Ravenna
 4 Attitudes toward Death and Salvation
 5 Phrygian Tombstones
 6 Conclusions

Conclusion. The Virgin Annunciate Spinning: A Matronly Model, “In Whom All Opposites are Reconciled”
 1 Santa Maria Maggiore
 2 Final Thoughts

All interested in the art historical and iconographic development and patronage of Annunciation imagery in the earliest Christian centuries.
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