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Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times - Softcover

 
9780393313482: Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times
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"A fascinating history of...[a craft] that preceded and made possible civilization itself." ―New York Times Book Review

New discoveries about the textile arts reveal women's unexpectedly influential role in ancient societies.

Twenty thousand years ago, women were making and wearing the first clothing created from spun fibers. In fact, right up to the Industrial Revolution the fiber arts were an enormous economic force, belonging primarily to women.

Despite the great toil required in making cloth and clothing, most books on ancient history and economics have no information on them. Much of this gap results from the extreme perishability of what women produced, but it seems clear that until now descriptions of prehistoric and early historic cultures have omitted virtually half the picture.

Elizabeth Wayland Barber has drawn from data gathered by the most sophisticated new archaeological methods―methods she herself helped to fashion. In a "brilliantly original book" (Katha Pollitt, Washington Post Book World), she argues that women were a powerful economic force in the ancient world, with their own industry: fabric.

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About the Author:
Elizabeth Wayland Barber is the author of Women’s Work, The Dancing Goddesses, and The Mummies of Ürümchi. Professor emerita of archaeology and linguistics at Occidental College, she lives in California.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Among the Batak the act of creation itself is viewed as women's special work, not only in production of babies, which grow where nothing has existed before, but also in creating cloth, which comes into being where nothing has existed before. Cloth and its making are thus taken as analogs for life and birth, in every sense.

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  • PublisherW. W. Norton
  • Publication date1996
  • ISBN 10 0393313484
  • ISBN 13 9780393313482
  • BindingPaperback
  • Edition number1
  • Number of pages336
  • Rating

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