Economy of Travel
Throughout history, travel and trade have been paramount in the movement of artifacts and ideas. This was especially true in the Middle Ages, a time of surprisingly high cultural integration. The artifacts from this period not only carry monetary value but novel ideas, exotic goods and a cultural exchange which can only be explained by the movement of these pieces and ideas from their original context to new environments. Trade allows for ideas and materials to be exchanged across vast distances, introducing new goods and ideas and establishing a bridge between cultures across which the currency of knowledge can be spread.
This type of exchange is demonstrated in artifacts such as the orient-based piece of silk cloth and the MS Materia Medica. The silk cloth, having been woven in the East, introduced a new type of material to Europe that opened the door to greater wealth and an exchange of cultural identity. The MS Materia Medica, while written in Europe, shows an exchange of ideas through its interpretations of Arabic medical practices. These ideas would not be present in Europe were it not for the travel of individuals carrying knowledge. A growing diversity in knowledge which was being spread throughout the world in this time allowed for the development of new ideas and intellect, benefitting both cultures.
For trade to occur, however, the two parties must meet to exchange goods and ideas. Therefore, a prerequisite to trade is always travel. Clothing pieces such as brooches, bracelets and buckles are often used during travel as they were made specific to the needs of those who traveled often. Not only did they have functional purpose, they also were used to show the status of those wearing them, illustrating to those they encountered--either en route or at the courts they visited--their rank and how they should be treated. This illustrates the innovative designs and ideas which were developed as a result of the increasing interest in travel as well as the growing necessity of travel to accommodate and allow for the fruition of travel and the spread of knowledge.