“Recognizable” Textiles In Daily Practices Of The 16th-Century Florence
Keywords:textiles, Florence, 16th c., symbolism, ornament
The aim of the article is to shape the semiotic of textiles in the context of their use in various daily practices of the city of Florence during the 16th century. The article investigates the possibility of different representatives of the city to perceive fabrics as a symbol and the ability to identify different types of textiles “by eye”. It consists of three thematic sections. The first one dedicates to the study of those characteristics of textiles that were decisive in the formation of their semiotics. We have found that fabric materials and techniques were such characteristics. Since the creation of textiles was a complicated process, their function as a symbol of user’s status was extremely important. The second part devotes to those manufacturing processes within cities that facilitated exchange of technology and design of fabrics and, as a consequence, perception by users such a textile component as an ornament. The third part of the article deals with specific examples of the Florentine comprehension of certain fabrics. It draws attention to the way textiles are described in written sources. The various urban practices have made it possible for representatives of different segments of the population to be able to distinguish different types of textiles. Fabrics have become an additional way of identifying the status and origin of their user. The ornaments were also symbolic, depending on the materials used to make them. On the other hand, many city dwellers could not identify elements of most common fabric patterns and, therefore, could not perceive them as symbols.