Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 3834
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Mills , Robert.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: The Signification of the Tonsure [The author argues that the tonsure was an ambivalent symbol. Sometimes it signalled shameful humiliation but in other circumstances it conferred spiritual asceticism and even masculine authority. Title note supplied by Feminae.].
  • Source: Holiness and Masculinity in the Middle Ages.  Edited by P. H. Cullum and Katherine J. Lewis.  Religion and Culture in the Middle Ages Series. University of Wales Press, 2004.  Pages 109 - 126.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Essay
  • Subject (See Also): Authority Clergy Hair Masculinity Monks Tonsure
  • Geographic Area: General
  • Century: General
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  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations: Five Figures. Figure One Manuscript illumination of a tonsured cleric riding a horse, Heidelberg Sachsenspiegel, 1300 (Heidelberg, Heildelberg University Library, MS cod. pal. ger 164, fol. 12v). Figure Two Manuscript illumination of a wild man, Luttrell Psalter, circa 1335-1340 (London, British Library, MS Add. 42130, fol. 70r). The author notes that hair was associated with sexual misconduct. Figure Three Manuscript illumination of a grotesque tonsured monk, with cow legs and hooves, Luttrell Psalter, circa 1335-1340 (London, British Library, MS Add. 42130, fol. 179v). Figure Four Manuscript illumination of a cleric with a tonsure who is holding a sword; beneath there is a naked tonsured cleric, Luttrell Psalter, circa 1335-1340 (London, British Library, MS Add. 42130, fol. 54r). Figure Five Artist in Rueland Frueauf the Elder's circle, "Carrying the Cross," circa 1440-1507 (Regensburg, Regensburg City Museum).
  • Table:
  • Abstract:
  • Author's Affiliation: King's College, London
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2004.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 0708318940
  • Material/Technique :
  • Rights: