9 Interesting Objects That Have Been Used As Status Indicators Throughout History
Having status and status has been extremely important for all human societies that have arisen in history. Because the dynamics of social life was largely determined by social status in almost every period. However, in different periods of human history, very interesting objects were used as status symbols. Nearly all of these items indicated that the people were wealthy and powerful. Some indicators of status meant that the individual was significantly separated from the majority of society academically and culturally. Here are 9 interesting objects that have been used as status indicators throughout history, from cocoa beans to manuscripts…
Pineapple is a fruit loved by many people today. But a long time ago it was much more than an ordinary fruit. It was used as a sign of wealth and status, especially in British society.
In 1668, England and France fought over control of St. Kitts. Therefore, there was visible political tension between the two countries. Here is the King of England II. To gain a political advantage over the French, Charles decided to use an extremely interesting fruit: the pineapple!
II. At a dinner to which a French representative was invited, Charles asked for a meter-long “pineapple pyramid” to be prepared. Because pineapple at that time was an extremely rare, valuable and expensive fruit …
The dinner, in which the pineapple pyramid played a starring role, led to the pineapple quickly becoming a status symbol in England. The British, who saw the pineapple as a symbol of wealth and status, were willing to pay thousands of pounds for a single pineapple. For this reason, the British, who owned pineapples, preferred to display the fruit until it spoiled rather than eat it.
Even prominent figures of high society sometimes took this precious fruit with them on their street walks! However, the fact that the pineapple has become such an important status symbol has given rise to a special area of theft that only concerned “stealing pineapples”.
The wig has been used as an important status symbol in different societies for thousands of years. The material from which it was made was one of the most important factors in determining the cost of wigs.
In ancient Egypt, for example, people in the upper echelons of society wore wigs made from human hair. Citizens of ancient Egypt with a lower social status could only use wigs made of wool or various plant fibers. Wigs continued to be used as an important status symbol, especially in Europe, hundreds of years after ancient times.
Books were extremely rare items before the invention of the printing press. Therefore, even the thinnest ones were extremely expensive. Because before the invention of the printing press, books were written by hand as a result of long efforts. This situation has led to handwritten books becoming an important status symbol…
Possession of a collection of books or a large library of manuscripts meant belonging to a very high social class. Because the library, especially before the 15th century, could only belong to the truly rich. On the other hand, the manuscripts also meant that the owner had a high level of intelligence and culture.
The Renaissance was a period that significantly influenced the whole world. Significant changes and developments took place in many different areas in different parts of the world, especially in Europe, and the world was moving towards a new era with the Renaissance. In this period full of innovation, a new status indicator has arrived: Cabinets!
These items, also called “curiosity cabinets”, were instruments that displayed items belonging to different fields such as archaeology, geology, natural history, art, and religion. The more exotic the items in the closet, the higher status it will provide. As a result, the European nobility was in great competition to have as many cabinets of rarities as possible.
Today, many experts argue that sugar is a food that should be approached with suspicion because of its harm to human health. But in medieval Europe, having rotten teeth from sugar was a blessing!
Sugar was a very expensive and rare commodity hundreds of years ago due to the high cost of its production. For this reason, only wealthy sections of society could consume sugar.
Cultivated in Iran in the early 11th century, the tulip became one of the most beloved plants of the Ottoman Empire in the following period. Especially in the 15th and 16th centuries, Ottoman palaces were famous for their stunning tulip gardens. Tulips, which became one of the symbols of the Ottoman Empire, one of the leading political figures of their time, aroused great curiosity in Europe in the 16th century.
However, getting to tulips in Europe at that time was very difficult. So much so that in some periods, tulip bulbs were sold for the price of a house! That’s why tulips have become status symbols, just like the other rare items on our list.
7. Cocoa beans
Thousands of years ago, cocoa played an extremely important role in civilizations, especially in Central America. So much so that some human societies in Central America used cocoa beans as currency. Europe really got acquainted with cocoa at the beginning of the 16th century.
In the 16th century, Europeans were making drinking chocolate from cocoa beans, and this new drink became the most important indicator of social status. In the 17th century, King XIV of France. The fact that Louis made chocolate a popular drink at court did not go unnoticed by European nobility. Thus the cocoa bean became a status symbol, often consumed by the nobility and the wealthy to distinguish themselves from the poor.
8. Board games
Board games are one of the most popular forms of entertainment today. However, in ancient civilizations, it was more of a status symbol than a means of entertainment. In ancient Egypt, those who had a board game were considered wealthy and valuable people. The richer a person was, the more valuable was the board game made of materials that he owned. However, board games were one of the best gifts that could be given to royal families in ancient times.
9. Purple color
Violet color since ancient times was considered one of the most important indicators of wealth, prestige and power. For this reason, it has been used as an important status symbol until the present day. Ancient Rome even had laws governing the use of purple! Purple was considered a status symbol until it was made synthetically in the 19th century.
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