|Sheltering the Body, Storing Clothes and Tidying up the House: Material Culture in Northwest Portugal, 1540-1600|
|The attitudes towards protection of the body in marriage dowries express the concerns of a predominantly female world. The trousseau fulfils practical needs, not only concerning clothes, but also bed linen. Both shape domestic space through the so-called storage furniture (mobiliário de guarda). To textiles we should add other objects, such as jewels, kitchenware and bodily hygiene. If in some cases the sources are clear to state the value of some objects as status symbols, in others it is not so easy to decide whether symbolic value is attributed to them.
In this paper, through the careful cross-information between the mention of objects and the socio-economic group of their owners, we attempt at a categorization of the objects that assert social status in the specific historical context of sixteenth century northwest Portugal.