Adding categories and URIs

Dear colleagues,

I am trying to document the materiality of historic garments in the project “Restaging Fashion”. Here we 3D scanned garments from the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, e.g. this doublet, and I am now trying to find the material used in the garment as described by the restorer/curator.

I understand that it cannot be super detailed, but I did come across an inconsistency:
47H13 silk (material ~ textile industry)
47H11 linen (material ~ textile industry)
47G551 skins, leather ~ building material

What do you think?



If you search for leather + clothes, but then click on “Include keys” you will see that there is a key for “leather used for clothes”, so your doublet could be tagged as follows:


This notation has not been assigned in our sample set, unlike


Also: under
you will find more options to express the material of clothes.


Hello Frau.Sabine,
this is a very interesting and important aspect of tagging historical objects!

In our project we had some discussion about the possibility Iconclass offers for the identification of materials or techniques. We see Iconclass as a tool to classify the depiction of anything (i.e. materials) and decided not to use it to classify the materiality of the objects. But I guess that many other projects or users have different unterstandings! So if you’d connect several datasets that contain iconclass notations, these heterogeneous use might be problematic or - at least - confusing. A retrieval could not differentiate between objects that show leather and objects out of leather.

Dear Hans, dear cvitrea,

thank you for your replies.
I had considered and previously also used (+42). I will then go back to it, but would have rather liked to express materiality as an own concept. Sometimes you might want to document a piece of material of which only a sample exists, such as textile samples in sample books.
I was just surprised that materials such as silk and linen existed within the context of textile industry but leather did not, because this material also requires some technical post processing.



thanks for elucidating.
It would be very easy to add the concept “leather” in a similar way.
The original editors of Iconclass apparently considered the listing

  • 47H11 · linen (material ~ textile industry)
  • 47H12 · cotton (material ~ textile industry)
  • 47H13 · silk (material ~ textile industry)
  • 47H14 · wool (material ~ textile industry)
  • 47H15 · synthetic material (~ textile industry)
    as sufficiently specific. But they also created:
  • 47H16 · other material ~ textile industry
    and we could easily add
  • 47H161 leather (material ~ textile industry)
    I’d rather not change the meaning of 47H16 as this has been in use.
    Would that be helpful?


Out of curiosity - why is it preferable to add 47H161 leather and not 47H17 leather?
(apart from the aesthetic feel that “other” should be last in the list)

In a sense I guess we have to pay the price of historic oversight. Ah, the joy of messy taxonomies.

the “logic” - or whatever the Iconclass equivalent is :wink: - suggests that “leather” is a first example of “other material”.
In addition 47H161 for a first example of “other material” makes room for eight more examples…

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Dear Hans / Etienne,

whatever suits the inherent logic best and can be implemented… is good for the user.
Eight more examples sound good.

Best, S.