Skip to main content

Materiality and Object Design and function: perspectives from artefacts

Swift, Ellen (2022) Materiality and Object Design and function: perspectives from artefacts. In: Haug, Annette and Hielscher, Adrian and Lauritsen, M. Taylor, eds. Materiality in Roman Art and Architecture: Aesthetics, Semantics and Function. Decor: Decorative Principles in Late Republican and Early Imperial Italy . De Gruyter, Berlin, pp. 203-221. ISBN 978-3-11-076290-7. E-ISBN 978-3-11-076473-4. (doi:10.1515/9783110764734-012) (KAR id:93400)

PDF Publisher pdf
Language: English

Download (382kB)
[thumbnail of 10.1515_9783110764734-012.pdf]
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.
Request an accessible format
Official URL:


The aesthetic qualities of materials used for artefacts have rarely been considered, and aesthetics in relation to the functionality of objects is especially neglected. The paper addresses these issues through an examination of a particular object category, vessels and containers, with a focus on three types of materials, namely glass, metal and organic materials. Firstly, definitions relating to aesthetics are discussed, followed by an overview of our knowledge of aesthetic cultural values in the Roman period. The paper then investigates evidence, principally from the surviving objects of the early Roman period, but also drawing on written sources, that allows us to gain an understanding of the ways that these materials may have been aesthetically valued in contemporary culture. It finally considers the social functions of the aesthetic features of artefacts.

Item Type: Book section
DOI/Identification number: 10.1515/9783110764734-012
Additional information: The volume is Gold Open Access
Uncontrolled keywords: aesthetics, material culture, Roman finds, Roman art
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CB History of civilization
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
N Visual Arts > N Visual arts (General). For photography, see TR
N Visual Arts > NK Decorative arts. Applied arts. Decoration and ornament
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Department of Classical and Archaeological Studies
Depositing User: Ellen Swift
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2022 15:02 UTC
Last Modified: 04 May 2022 13:43 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Swift, Ellen:
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year