Threads of memory: reproducing the Cypress tree through sensual consumption

Warin, Megan and Dennis, Simone (2005) Threads of memory: reproducing the Cypress tree through sensual consumption. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 26 (1-2). pp. 159-170. ISSN 0725-6868


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This paper is concerned with the ways in which a group of Persian women, who have all
fled Iran in the last two decades, give meaning to place and memory through the
everyday practices of cooking and embroidery. While there are many different localised
arts of patterning and flavour, we focus here on the recurring pattern of bota (the
Cypress tree). In particular, we examine how the bota motif links both the making of
domestic sweets and cloths, and is central in recalling and remaking a sense of place. The
Cypress tree symbolises life: the continuation of life in place, and the continuation of
place in life. In creating and consuming the bota motif, through eating, laying
tablecloths, wrapping towels, sitting on cushions and drawing curtains, embodied
experiences of landscape and relationships are reproduced. The embroidery items entail
and occasion sensual engagement in and of themselves, and also serve as backgrounds for
specific sensual engagements, including, for example, as tablecloths upon which food will
be served. Engagement with the bota pattern cannot be characterised along strictly
divided sensual dimensions. Rather, we argue that the senses are intertwined in a
synaesthetic knot in which memory is embodied and reproduced.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information (displayed to public): Deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Depositing User: Dr Simone Dennis
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Arts - Department of Humanities and International Studies
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 01:06
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:44
Uncontrolled Keywords: embodiment, memory, senses, anthropology
Fields of Research (FoR): 16 Studies in Human Society > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
Identification Number or DOI: doi: 10.1080/07256860500074367

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