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Status Symbols (1200 - 1400 AD)

Neil MacGregor explores this period of learning and scientific achievement through magnificent objects which were used by the wealthy to reflect their status

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Taino Ritual Seat

5/5 Neil MacGregor tells the story of a ritual seat from a lost Caribbean culture.

Sat 3 Jul 2010 00:30 BBC Radio 4

See all previous episodes from A History of the World in 100 Objects

  • Status Symbols

    Status Symbols

    61: Lewis Chessmen
    62: Hebrew astrolabe
    63: Ife head
    64: The David Vases
    65: Taino ritual seat

  • Status Symbols

    61: Lewis Chessmen
    62: Hebrew astrolabe
    63: Ife head
    64: The David Vases
    65: Taino ritual seat

    Objects have always been used by the wealthy and powerful as status symbols, but such objects could not be created without skilled and knowledgeable craftsworkers. Technological advances during this period fuelled the creation of magnificent objects across the world. Iconic blue-and-white porcelain was first developed in Mongol-ruled China, and went on to be desired across the globe. In Ife, one of the first city-states to arise in West Africa, artists created lifelike sculptures using sophisticated bronze working techniques. Within the Islamic world arts and sciences flourished and European scholars soon benefited from Islamic advances in astronomy, maths and even chess. A ruler’s status in the Caribbean was closely tied to their relationship with their ritual throne.

Shakespeare's Restless World

Image for Shakespeare's Restless World

Neil MacGregor uncovers Shakespeare's world through twenty objects.

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