We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

Fleshing out the body: nakedness and the human body in the visual culture of early ‘Anglo-Saxon’ England (5th-7th centuries AD).

LAKE, TRISTAN,NICHOLAS (2021) Fleshing out the body: nakedness and the human body in the visual culture of early ‘Anglo-Saxon’ England (5th-7th centuries AD). Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

Full text not available from this repository.
Author-imposed embargo until 20 August 2024.


Traditional scholarly narratives have characterised the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ peoples as culturally disinterested in the naked body on account of its limited presence in its art and literature. This thesis demonstrates this to be a misconception partly shaped by nationalistic and social discourses which have encouraged early modern and modern scholarship to diminish and distort the topic of the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ body and its nakedness. This narrative is further challenged by the presentation and analysis of a catalogue of human representations produced in the 5th-7th centuries. How states of nakedness and undress were represented in this period is explored here and, in turn, it is demonstrated that themes relating to bodily exposure, display and adornment were consistently and frequently explored within the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ figural repertoire

The ‘Anglo-Saxon’ character of these figural representations is often spurious as human images present in England in this period were heavily influenced by prototypes produced on the Continent, particularly southern Scandinavia. This thesis therefore explores antecedent and contemporary naked representations from continental northern Europe as well to understand the stylistic and conceptual origin of certain motifs present in England. Subsequently, it is argued that both naked and semi-dressed images symbolised a range of religious, gendered and socio-political concepts. These ideological messages were reproduced, shared and disseminated by elite groups across northern Europe who sought to distinguish their own bodily pre-eminence while governing and regulating the bodies of others as one element in their modes of authority and power.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2021
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:23 Aug 2021 14:06

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter