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Crafts and Images in Contact

Studies on Eastern Mediterranean art of the first millennium BCE

Claudia E. Suter and Christoph Uehlinger (eds.)

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The production, diffusion and exchange of luxury goods have always played a major role in the symbolic communication of human societies, be it among various segments within societies or across geographical distance and cultural boundaries. In this volume, historians and archae-ologists look at so-called minor art from the Near East and the eastern Mediterranean, par-ticularly ivory carvings of the early first millennium BCE, in their triple function as artifacts, visual media and reflections of cultural contact and artistic emulation. Objects and images are considered as material culture, i.e. products of craftsmen, workshops and schools drawing on various styles and iconographic repertoires; and in iconological terms as media vehiculating culturally encoded messages and as symbolic expressions of particular traditions, worldviews and beliefs. What happened to images and styles when they moved from one place to another within larger contexts of cultural exchange and socio-political and economic relationships? Before trying to address such a question, one must determine the origin and date of the material objects and object groups. The coherent classification of the primary evidence is one of the most basic research issues. What are the assumptions and criteria that scholars apply when they de-fine groups according to material, function, style or iconography? Is it possible to relate such categories to historical entities (such as ‘ workshops’or ‘ schools’) and to locate these more specifically in space and time? Such were the basic questions of an international workshop held at the University of Fribourg in February 2001, the proceedings of which are published in the present volume. Several contributions concentrate on typology, classification, terminology and method, from the point of view of the practitioner or in more theoretical terms. As an epigrapher used to long-established criteria of phenotypical classification, A.R. Millard examines script on artifacts. G. Herrmann and I.J. Winter expound on the classification of ivories in general. Taking the so-called”round-cheeked and ringletted » style group of ivory carvings as an example, D. Wicke asks whether and how it is possible to identify and to locate specific regional styles. Horse trappings, a particular class of objects that were predominant on the Phoenician coast, are discussed by E. Gubel, while E. Rehm investigates the depiction of another class of objects, royal furniture in Assyrian monumental art. Ch. Uehlinger reassesses ivory carvings found at Samaria and raises questions about ivory craftsmanship in Iron Age Israel. Further classes of objects looked at include North Syrian pyxides and bowls made of stone (S. Mazzoni) and Cypriote stone statuary of Egyptianizing style (F. Faegersten). Two studies concentrate on icon-ography, exploring particular motifs that occur in various media and across cultures : the winged disc (T. Ornan) and the Egyptianizing figure carrying a ram-headed staff and a jug (S.M. Cecchini). Crete is the focus of two contribu-tions : one reviews its orientalizing metal-work and vase painting (H. Matthäus), whereas the other scrutinizes present interpretations of imports and borrowings, raising the question how to define cultural identity from material culture (G. Hoffman).

Academic Press Fribourg - Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis
428 pages - 16 × 24 cm
ISBN 978-3-7278-1509-6 - janvier 2005

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