It’s easy to forget that a historic artifact preserved in a museum is not a static object. Before it was acquired, it went through decades of tactile use and change. The medieval period in particular, with the rise of Christianity, saw ancient Roman gods re-carved as saints, and scarce materials like gold melted down to make new objects. Waste Not: The Art of Medieval Recycling at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore explores this layered history in over 20 objects from the institution’s collections.
“Recycling in the medieval period was done for many different reasons, and medihttps://solidwastemag-admin.metropublisher.com/contentcenter/add.htmleval artisans were incredibly creative and crafty in utilizing what they had, or what they found, in new and surprising ways,” Lynley Anne Herbert, assistant curator of rare books and manuscripts at the Walters, told Hyperallergic. “It was a period when fewer resources were available than before, as many of the trade routes used by ancient Rome had broken down, and things were simply not as easy to come by as they had once been, so at times recycling was done out of a simple lack of materials.”