Social Science and Cutlural Studies Speaker Series: Prof. Amy Gansell on Concepts of Feminine Beauty and Adornment in Ancient Mesopotamia

9:53 AM

Social Science and Cultural Studies Speakers Series
Professor Amy Gansell
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art and Design, Pratt Institute
Concepts of Feminine Beauty and Adornment in Ancient Mesopotamia Illuminated through Near Eastern Cultural Practices of the Twentieth-century to the Present

March 6th, 5pm
Dekalb Hall  
Seminar Room 208
Pratt Institute
Brooklyn, N. Y.

Amy Gansell is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Pratt's History of Art and Design department.  She is a specialist of ancient Mesopotamian visual and material culture, c. 3000 to 500 BCE. Her areas of scholarly interest include ancient aesthetics, figural representation, ivory sculpture, dress, and landscape. She has written a number of essays and articles, as well as contributed to museum catalogues and educational publications. She is currently writing a book about female beauty in ancient Mesopotamian royal court during the early first millennium BCE.

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, how can we recuperate notions of beauty from the depths of the past? While we cannot ask the ancient Mesopotamians what they see as beautiful, interdisciplinary research can uncover multiple facets of their aesthetics. In an effort to interpret ancient Mesopotamian ideals of feminine beauty, I have examined surviving artworks, texts, archaeological remains, and Near Eastern cultural practices of the twentieth century to the present. A primary theme of my investigation, across media and disciplines, is adornment. In relation to ancient evidence, this paper particularly discusses my field research, conducted in 2003 and 2006, on traditional Syrian bridal costume and earlier ethnographic reports documenting regional values of feminine beauty.
 Pratt Institute
Main Brooklyn Campus
200 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

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