I read Michael's paper for Balisage 2010 and this quote leads me to believe that I can see ancestor attributes of the content node:
Apart from the drill-down construct and its ancestors, any expression within the template that has a dependency on the context item must fall into one of the following categories: (a) a function (for example, local-name() or exists()) that returns a local property of the node, or of one of its attributes or ancestors, or of an attribute of an ancestor; (b) an expression that returns the string value or typed value of an attribute of the node or an attribute of one of its ancestors.
Not sure why parent::*/@name doesn't work in this context, then.