The black-robed women in Tony Silvestri's Medieval Experience course at Washburn University sat in a circle in the International House as guest lecturer Carla Tilghman showed them how to embroider running and chain stitches on a small square of fabric. Sewing was a skill they needed to master if they wanted to improve their lot in life and "marry up," said Tilghman, who teaches art history at the university. "If a woman doesn't marry, she's a burden on her family," she confided.
As the young women continued to maneuver their needles through the fabric, Tilghman, dressed in an early 12th-century ensemble of handwoven, embroidered cloth, talked about the roles of women, poetry and the fate of unfaithful spouses. On the other side of the classroom, male students — also wearing black academic robes — quietly studied under Silvestri's supervision. Click here to read this article from The Topeka Capital-Journal


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