Hallie G. Meredith. Word Becomes Image: Openwork Vessels as a Reflection of Late Antique Transformation. Archaeopress Archaeology Series (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2015)

Word becomes Image presents a diachronic investigation providing a rich case study as well as an approach tracing the contours of a category of Roman material culture defined by the Roman period technique of openwork carving. As the first comprehensive assemblage of openwork vessels from Classical to late Antiquity, this work offers primary evidence documenting a key example of the fundamental shift from naturalism to abstraction in which inscriptions are transformed and word becomes image. A glass blower herself, Hallie Meredith poses questions about process, tactility and reception providing a clear picture of the original contexts of production and reception demonstrated by the Roman technique of openwork carving. In an in-depth analysis of the corpus as a whole, typologies (old and new), imagery, geometric patterning and inscriptions as the major divisions among openwork decorative elements, basic design principles are identified, non openwork carving and its relation to openwork decoration are discussed, as are the function, handling, display, movement and provenance of openwork vessels throughout the Roman Empire. Art historians and archaeologists working on the transition from Classical to late Antiquity, as well as scholars focusing on these and later periods of study, can fruitfully apply this approach to visual culture. This work shows how openwork vessels are a reflection of a wide-reaching Roman cultural aesthetic.

Word Becomes Image: Openwork Vessels as a Reflection of Late Antique Transformation

Hallie G. Meredith, ed. Objects in Motion: The Circulation of Religion and Sacred Objects in the Late Antique and Byzantine World. BAR International Series 2247 (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2011).

This volume contains a series of papers that had their origins in a symposium convened whilst the editor was a Research Fellow at the Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture, New York in May 2008. Contents: Introduction (Hallie G. Meredith); Christianizing Constantine: Eusebius’ Vita Constantini as a Late Antique Social Canvas (Hallie G. Meredith); The Portable Altar in Christian Tradition and Practice (Crispin Paine); Telling Jerusalem: Miracles and the Moveable Past in Late Antique Christianity (Georgia Frank); The Matter of Ivory and the Movement of Ideas: Thoughts on some Christian Diptychs of Late Antiquity (Anthony Cutler); The Art and Ritual of Manichaean Magic: Text, Object and Image from the Mediterranean to Central Asia (Matthew P. Canepa); The Narrative Fabric of the Genoese Pallio and the Silken Diplomacy of Michael VIII Palaiologos (Ida Toth); Conclusion (Henry Maguire).