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Dining and Death
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the 'Funerary Banquet' in Ancient Art, Burial and Belief


Editors:  Draycott C.M., Stamatopoulou M.

Year: 2016
ISBN: 978-90-429-3251-7
Pages: XXXVIII-690 p.
Price: 110 EURO

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This book brings together papers covering a wide range of regions and periods, from Italy to China, and Old Kingdom Egypt to the Roman Empire, all focusing on the interpretation of banqueting imagery in funerary contexts. The papers largely concentrate on pictorial depictions of banqueting and/or food offerings and how they might be understood in such settings, although some papers consider tomb deposits and furnishings. Traditionally, three main interpretative paradigms have been employed in 'deciphering' such images: 1) they represent wordly activities, either quotidien or idealised, 2) they represent an imagined pleasant afterlife (and therefore evidence this belief) and 3) they represent funerary or mortuary rites. Such interpretations have been challenged by scholarship that refutes the validity of these strict, divisive categories, but in concentrating on social structures embedded in the images, has tended to eschew potential eschatological aspects of meaning. Collectively, the papers here reconsider this matter, making significant contributions to discussions of ambiguity, agency, interaction, performance, the issue of 'meaning', and the various ways in which images can be approached and used.

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