Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Congratulations to Humanities Essay Prize Winner

Congratulations to Laura Jones (Classics `16) who was awarded the 2nd Prize in the Humanities Essay Prize Term I: 2013-14 (Level II) for her paper "Ancient Dress and Jewelry from Early Minoans to Hellenistic Greeks" written for Classics 2B03: Greek Art and Archaeology.

Ms. Jones provides a summary of her work:

The salient features of a particular culture can be reflected in the visible details of their dress and costume. Thus, the study of how the individuals of a nation dress has an ethnological significance which rationalizes a detailed exploration of it. The changes, as well as the continuity seen throughout the development of dress in the ancient world are both fascinating and educational topics. There are notable differences in dress from the Minoan period to the Hellenistic era, which can be examined through paintings, pottery, sculptures, and jewelry finds. Surprisingly, the most ancient culture that is discussed, the Minoans, had perhaps the most intricate and elaborate type of clothing in all of antiquity. An important aspect of Minoan culture is that they loved splendor and enjoyed artificial delights. The dress from this time period reflects this kind of a luxurious, stable culture. Mycenaeans borrowed most of their dress from their predecessors, the Minoans, but also added a few innovations that can be seen most vividly on pottery finds. Additionally, Archaic Greece saw many new alternatives in clothing and style preference. The well-known peplos and chiton were introduced in this period and continued for a long time, eventually creating innovations in the draping techniques later during the Classical era. The innovations in dress during the Classical period are particularly striking and are fortunately very easy to explore due to the large output of human-figured sculptures all over Greece at this time. Rather than using structure formality, stress focused on the soft fabrics which draped over the body in elegant and beautiful folds during the Classical era. Furthermore, Hellenistic Greek clothing was mostly about individuality and particularism, thus the strict ways of wearing garments disappeared. All of this development in ancient dress can be traced through several images presented throughout this essay, showing both continuity and changes. The noteworthy differences seen in Minoan dress through to the Hellenistic Greek world can be traced through various pieces of art and actual finds themselves. By exploring sculpture, frescos, pottery pieces, and even jewelry finds, one is able to draw many conclusions on that specific culture and time period. Thus, the topic of dress in the ancient realm is both intriguing and worth studying in detail.

For more information on the Humanities Essay Prize, follow this link:  http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/awards/essays.html