• Responses
    • by Elizabeth Marlowe
    • May 12, 2017
  • American Museums First? A Response to Gary Vikan
  • In his essay “Why US Museums and the Antiquities Trade Should Work Together,” in the January 30, 2017, issue of Apollo, the much-admired former director of the Walters Art Museum, Gary Vikan, laments “the destruction of the system that created America’s great museums: from dealers to collectors to museums and for the benefit of the American public.” The destruction he’s talking about is the result of the recent shift in attitudes toward the collecting of antiquities and other items of cultural property. Efforts to protect source countries’ rights to their material heritage date back to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. The convention enjoined states parties to prevent the illicit import and export of cultural property within their territories. In theory, after that point, the only items of cultural property that could be sold on the international market were those already (as of 1970) outside their countries of origin. In practice, however, the convention did little to curb the acquisitive zeal of foreign collectors. As long as there was no hard proof that a desirable item on the market had been looted or otherwise illegally exported, museums and private collectors showed no compunction about acquiring it.

    Archaeologists concerned about the loss of contextual data occasioned by looting joined forces with cultural property advocates and strenuously objected to this “innocent until proven guilty” standard. They claimed that perhaps as much as 85 percent of the antiquities surfacing on the market after 1970 were looted. They argued that it was the collectors’ willingness to buy objects with murky backgrounds that encouraged the looting in the first place. “Collectors are the real looters,” they cried. Museums, collectors, and their allies responded that cultural property claims are predicated on narrow, bogus, or even dangerous forms of nationalism; that the beauty of the objects can still be appreciated even if their context is lost; and anyway that, regardless of their origins, it is better to have the artworks on public view in museum cases than hidden in the ground or in someone else’s less accessible private collection far from the public gaze. With few exceptions, it was this perspective that carried the day for the first three decades following the UNESCO convention.

    Then everything changed. Over the course of the 1990s, a combination of disgruntled whistle-blowers, accidentally discovered documents and photographs, and deep investigations by police, journalists, and scholars yielded the first clear picture of the staggering scale of antiquities looting. Also exposed was the direct, knowing complicity of well-established dealers, auction houses, collectors, and museum officials. The fallout from these revelations was public and humiliating. Hundreds of artworks (and counting) from dozens of US collections were returned to Italy and Greece, including star attractions like the Metropolitan Museum’s Euphronios krater (at the time, the most expensive antiquity ever purchased, and still one of the most celebrated). A top curator at the Getty Museum was prosecuted in an Italian court. The American Association of Museum Directors responded to the crisis in 2008 with stringent new guidelines that put the onus on the collecting institutions to ensure that potential acquisitions hadn’t been illegally removed from their countries of origin. Antiquities and other items of cultural property without clear proof of a legal, pre-1970 export date are now assumed guilty until proven innocent, and very few museums in North America or Europe are willing to acquire them.

    Gary Vikan was the director of the Walters Art Museum during this tumultuous period, retiring in 2012 after twenty-seven years at the institution and eighteen at its helm. His view of the paradigm shift in museum antiquities collecting is, not surprisingly, ambiguous at best. It is not clear in his Apollo essay whether he is happy or sad that “antiquities are not coming out of war-ravaged Syria” (emphasis in the original; most experts in cultural property will disagree with his assertion). He contrasts this situation, in which “virtually nothing of any monetary or cultural significance is now on the US art market from that troubled region,” with the (good?) old days in the 1980s, when he was a young curator and “vast numbers of important pieces of Byzantine art . . . were pouring westward in the wake of the 1974 Turkish invasion of northern Cyprus.” He justifies his “eagerness” at the time “to buy works that we knew, on some level, were recently ripped from the fabric of the Christian Orthodox communities of northern Cyprus,” by comparing it to another activity everyone knew was wrong in the 1980s but did anyway, namely, smoking. He tells this story in fuller detail in his recent book, Sacred and Stolen: Confessions of a Museum Director, but with similarly ambiguous moral reflection.

    In his Apollo essay, Vikan acknowledges that “imped[ing] the trade in looted antiquities” is a “laudable” goal, because it will “preserve the integrity of archaeological sites and . . . maintain the authority of state ownership over national cultural assets.” But that is not his goal here. It is, rather, to figure out how to “unfreeze the pipeline” through which antiquities formerly circulated on the American market. Prior to the tightening of acquisition guidelines in 2008, most private collections eventually ended up in American public museums. The danger to be avoided now, in Vikan’s perspective, is the artworks’ departure from the United States: “Unless we find a solution, these collections [in the hands of private, American collectors] are likely to be sold and dispersed, in many cases to foreign buyers. The American public, of course, will be the loser.” It is hard not to notice the resonances between this perspective and the “America First” rhetoric of the current US political regime. Vikan appears blissfully un-self-aware—blind or indifferent to the global political and economic inequalities that underpin his worldview. Little can be done about that in this essay. Worth analyzing, on the other hand, are the particular mechanisms he proposes to “unfreeze the pipeline.” Despite his civic-minded claims, the main beneficiary of his “solution” would be not so much the general, museum-going “American public” as the private antiquities collectors, and the unscrupulous ones in particular.

    *                                  *                                  *

    Vikan proposes to “unfreeze the pipeline” by means of a “comprehensive internet database with images of all orphan works along with all information known about their history.” “Ophans,” in his definition, are works whose legal exportation from their country of origin prior to 1970 cannot be documented. The database will be “aggressively marketed to the [objects’] countries of likely origin,” allowing them to search it for their stolen cultural property and “make whatever legitimate claims they might have for restitution.” He also seems to be proposing a statute of limitations for such claims: “But inevitably, as time goes by and when no claims are made on the vast majority of posted works, there will be a marked thawing of that channel connecting collectors to museums to the public—a de facto ‘repose’ of title borne of transparency. The orphans will, in effect, be granted an amnesty.” The absence of claims, he implies, would be sufficient proof that the objects weren’t stolen, at least as far as title goes; and thus US museums—or, it should be added, any other collector, public or private, American or foreign—would be free to acquire them. Vikan uses noncommercial euphemisms to describe what would happen next: “Some pieces will be traded to other dealers and collectors, but most, I’m convinced, will eventually find their way into museums” (my emphasis). But it is clear that the primary function of this database would be to restore marketability to currently unsellable orphan antiquities.

    Let’s imagine, for a moment, that such a database is possible. Let’s assume that it really is “comprehensive” and “transparent” and includes “all orphan works,” not just the ones owners are currently looking to sell. Let’s pretend that owners will willingly divulge “all information known” about their objects’ modern histories, including potentially embarrassing or incriminating details. Vikan is excited about this database’s power to “unfreeze” the antiquities market. But let me briefly indulge a different fantasy. Consider the potential of this Platonic ideal of a database to recover some of the losses to history and knowledge caused by the illicit trafficking in antiquities. Armed with this tool, historians would worry a little less about forgeries distorting our understanding of ancient culture, since we could just look up which artworks had surfaced in the hands of dealers known to have trafficked in fakes, and stay away from all of them. We could use the database to match portrait heads with the statue bodies from which they were separated by vendors looking to make two sales instead of one. We could study the database closely and discern patterns, such as all the works of a particular type or featuring a distinctive characteristic that surfaced on the market around the same time or in the same region. From this we might be able to reconstruct dispersed assemblages—a hoard of Hellenistic gold jewelry, or a group of bronze, second-century imperial portraits—and link them to specific, looted sites. Such assemblages, tied to a particular ancient context such as a temple or a tomb, can teach us far more about the ancient world, its social practices and material culture, than a single, uncontextualized object. Vikan’s database could help reconnect the thousands of free-floating works in private collections to their ancient settings.

    But all this is idle daydreaming. For one thing, even though Vikan claims that his database would encompass “all orphan works,” it is clear that he means only the ones in private, American hands, not those already in museums or abroad. The research value of so limited a sample is, of course, badly compromised. A panopticon with a partially obstructed view is not a panopticon.

    A bigger problem with Vikan’s database is that there is no enforcement mechanism, no neutral body for oversight, and thus no way to ensure that the information provided by collectors is accurate or complete. Why would it be? Why would owners, motivated by a desire to sell their collections and/or to obtain legal “amnesty” for their stolen contents, volunteer compromising or unflattering details in a public record? Most collectors believe they are buying from reputable dealers. But if the database really were to divulge everything everyone knows about each object’s ownership history, it is likely that it would expose disreputable links in the chains: “who purchased it from the trunk of a car on Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi in Naples”; “who smuggled it out of Egypt in a shipment of vegetables”; “who purchased it from an unnamed contact of Jiri Frel’s” or “from a guy on a beach somewhere in Europe in 1978.” Even if such details didn’t trigger repatriation claims, their unsavoriness would, at the very least, reduce the market value of the objects. Good luck getting anyone involved in the trade to disclose them voluntarily.

    *                                  *                                  *

    Let’s return to Vikan’s own words about why the database would succeed in “unfreez[ing] the pipeline.” How can he be so confident that “no claims” will be made on the “vast majority of posted works,” if as much as 85 percent of the unprovenanced material that surfaces on the market may have been looted? Vikan is confident for the same reason all those museums were confident, for the first thirty years after the UNESCO convention, that they would get away with buying stolen art: because looting is nearly impossible to prove after the fact. It must be remembered that only the country from which an object was removed (in violation of that country’s national ownership laws) can file a restitution claim. Thus, it must be demonstrable not just that an object was looted, but that it was looted from within a particular nation’s borders. Most looted antiquities come from holes dug in the ground at night by tombaroli (grave robbers), who dispatch them to middlemen, and who have every incentive to keep mum about the exact findspot. Unless the looters inadvertently leave behind a broken-off piece of the object (or, in one unusual case, its entire bottom half), there is rarely any evidence left to tie the object back to the hole it came out of. Scholars can make educated guesses about a work’s regional origins based on style, facture, material, and so on, but those regions rarely coincide with any one modern nation’s territory. A high-quality marble portrait of a first-century Roman empress could have come from almost any of the more than forty modern countries that now occupy the expanse of the Roman Empire. Barring the discovery of external, documentary evidence of the portrait’s looting from a particular country (such as a photo of it in the archive of a particular trafficker), a viable restitution claim for such a work is indeed a near impossibility, as Vikan suggests.

    Vikan presents his proposal as a fair, innovative, broad-minded solution to a relatively new problem. In fact, what he offers is a system weighted even more heavily in favor of the collectors and the collecting institutions than the pre-2008 status quo. His basic maneuver is to take the onus off the purchasing institution to prove that an object wasn’t stolen and to put it back on the aggrieved source country to prove that it was. It would be, in other words, a return to “innocent until proven guilty.” He goes even further with that vaguely defined “amnesty” or “de facto ‘repose’ of title” that would kick in “inevitably, as time goes by.” This seems to suggest that source countries would have a limited window of time within which to claim an item listed in the database. If new evidence proving illicit trafficking surfaced later, beyond the statute of limitations, no claim could be made. So no more returns like that of the Euphronios krater, which occurred decades after the Metropolitan Museum acquired it, thanks to a chance discovery by the Italians of new evidence of looting.

    Indeed, I do not believe it is an exaggeration to say that the amnesty component effectively transforms Vikan’s orphan database into a laundering operation. Input the post-1970 portrait head you bought from a guy who bought it from a guy in Switzerland, and wait eighteen months or three years (or however long Vikan intends). Out it comes, squeaky clean and ready for market. And not just ready but improved, its value bolstered by a spiffy new certificate testifying to the absence of prior claims and nullifying any future ones. Of course, we know that the absence of claims proves nothing about whether an artwork was actually stolen. A seal of good housekeeping from Vikan’s database can provide no reassurance to informed would-be buyers who don’t want to own stolen property or encourage the destruction of the historical record caused by looting. But it certainly would provide reassurance to uninformed or unscrupulous owners who care chiefly about the security of their investment. In this regard, a certificate from this database would resemble those art dealer–issued “certificates of authenticity”: zero epistemological significance, but often great financial value.

    In addition to the legal and financial laundering, the orphan database might perform a sort of moral laundering as well, allowing the objectionable act of selling possibly looted cultural property to masquerade as civic virtue. Entering that data can be spun as an act of scholarship, a contribution to knowledge and the greater good. The material rewards at the end are so much icing on the cake. But the actual harm the database could cause is, in fact, tremendous. Currently, fears of possible claims, social opprobrium, and perhaps even a genuine desire not to encourage plundering are at least giving many collectors and institutions pause. Eventually, a depressed market will reduce the incidence of looting. Enter Vikan’s database, however, and those qualms evaporate. Indeed, the protections offered by the proposed amnesty would make antiquities one of the safest niches in the art market, likely to attract all sorts of newcomers to the field. By the laws of supply and demand, this would doubtless result in a resurgence of looting. For this reason, Vikan’s proposal is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    In addition to his amnesty-granting database, Vikan offers a second solution to the problem of the frozen antiquities pipeline. Museums should cast off the stigma and red tape surrounding deaccessioning, and sell off the “storage dwellers,” those “second- and third-tier antiquities” that clutter museum basements and drain resources but that will “never be exhibited.” In other words, museums need both to empty their basements of excess antiquities and to buy new ones!

    Here’s an alternative. Rather than spending millions in pursuit of beautiful, “first-tierantiquities that look good all by themselves in spotlit vitrines, but about which we have no contextual information, and which arguably cannot by themselves teach us anything new about the ancient world, and which may have been illegally removed from their (unknown) countries of origin or which may be forgeries—rather than that, museums could redirect some portion of their acquisitions budgets toward the stewardship of the objects they already own. Even “second- and third-tier” artworks have stories to tell, and often they are stories that can reach different audiences from those reached by the standard art-museum narratives about beauty and style. Collecting histories, materials, conservation, forgery—these are all fascinating topics that have attracted increasing attention in recent years, both in the academy and in some of the more progressive museum installations, such as the “Exploring the Past” galleries on the bottom floor of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and the “Looking at Art” displays at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow. Who knows what revelations might come from dusting off Vikan’s “storage dwellers” and reexamining them through some of these new museological lenses? What is certain is that the American public—as well as the international community, both of scholars and of cultural property advocates—would be the winner.


    Elizabeth Marlowe is associate professor of ancient and medieval art at Colgate University and the author of Shaky Ground: Context, Connoisseurship, and the History of Roman Art (2013).

     


    • Book Review
    • Reviewed by Amanda Phillips
    • March 21, 2017
  • Symbols of Power: Luxury Textiles from Islamic Lands, 7th–21st Century
  • Louise Mackie’s Symbols of Power: Luxury Textiles from Islamic Lands, 7th–21st Century provides experts and enthusiasts with a gorgeous volume that at once celebrates, describes, and analyzes some of the most sumptuous examples of art from the old world. At more than five hundred pages in length and with more than five hundred photographs, diagrams, and figures, it engagingly and thoroughly introduces the objects—from embroidered cottons to dazzlingly intricate silks—while also providing an overview of their local and wider historical contexts. Complete with an illustrated glossary and a bibliography divided by subject matter, Symbols of Power will also serve as a research tool for curators and scholars alike. In addition, it is an important survey of the state of the field, which moves the study of Islamic textiles substantially forward.

    The structure of Symbols of Power is not significantly different from that of the last English-language survey, Patricia Baker’s Islamic Textiles (1995).1 However, while the earlier publication considered a wider range of fabrics, including those of a less-than-luxurious nature, it was also shorter, and for this reason less thorough. Also worthy of note is the fact that the twenty-year interim has not seen any exhibitions focusing on the category as a whole. Instead, there have been several international offerings of the textile arts, which have sometimes focused on geographical subcategories or included Islamic examples in larger discussions. For instance, The Interwoven Globe at the Metropolitan Museum of Art incorporated Islamic textiles into a discussion of world trade, while The Fabrics of India at the Victoria and Albert Museum focused on the subcontinent, Islamic and otherwise. At the same time, research about some regions has also advanced. Style and Status at the Freer and Sackler Galleries in Washington, DC, limited itself to the Ottoman Empire, as did The Sultan’s Garden at the Textile Museum, while the Institut du monde arabe in Paris featured an exhibition of Andalusian silks from a collection in Madrid. An exhibition at the Prato Museo del Tessuto, Intrecci Mediterranei, focused on cross-cultural interactions in the Mediterranean, while the Musée des Tissus in Lyon has often included Islamic objects in gallery rotations, as does the Calico Museum in Ahmedabad. Books based on Istanbul exhibitions and museum collections were published in some number during the city’s tenure as European Capital of Culture (2010). The resulting catalogues have in many cases featured publication and photography of previously unknown objects, new analysis of material and structure, and scholarly essays, as well as suggesting other ways in which to frame their respective topics. Surveys, however, are still largely lacking. Louise Mackie’s new book has come to fill the gap.

    As well as serving as a survey, Symbols of Power works in part as a catalogue of the Cleveland Museum of Art’s collection of Islamic textiles, of which just fewer than two hundred are included. The volume’s publication also comes after a major reinstallation of the objects at the museum. This is itself an important endeavor, given the fact that many museums include proportionately few textiles as part of permanent displays or gallery rotations (with the several exceptions noted above). The problem is due in part to the expense of preparing often large and fragile objects for exhibition, and in part to the fact that, when on display, textiles require low light and limited time in the galleries. In this way, too, Symbols of Power stands alone, for no other American or western European museum has published its Islamic textile collections as effectively in recent decades, if at all.

    The category of “Islamic textiles” presents its own difficulties for those attempting surveys. As well as the enormous ranges of arts and crafts encompassed by the term Islamic (an issue discussed below), a number of different skills are required of historians of such long and diffuse traditions, especially those writing surveys. Mackie notes in her introduction that textile studies are uniquely rewarding (12), but the same factors that make this study enriching also make it difficult. Historians of textiles work at the confluence of histories of technology, trade, and politics, as well as social and economic history, using sources ranging from archaeological reports to travelers’ accounts and local histories, to palace inventories, to paintings. Many employ such comparanda as ceramics, metalwork, and architectural decoration, all forms of evidence discussed in this volume. Perhaps most importantly, however, textile historians use as evidence the objects themselves, which demand not only the traditional formal descriptions characteristic of art historical practice, but also a variety of technical investigations, such as carbon dating, metal and dye typing with spectrometers, and detailed microscope-aided analysis of their structures. These skills require formal training and practice. Moreover, authors focusing on the premodern period, as Mackie is here, are also faced with problems of the survival of primary and secondary material, and the interpretation of the sources that do remain. Drawing these strands together in a cohesive narrative is no mean task, and Mackie has managed it with remarkable finesse.

    The volume’s organization is mostly apparent in the table of contents. Its focus progresses chronologically through the centuries, but also moves clearly between different geographies, in order to better emphasize regional developments in materials, technologies, and tastes. Each chapter sets out the historical context in several introductory pages, and each also highlights an object, usually of exceptional workmanship or historical importance, or both.

    The first and last chapters, however, are exceptions to this rule. Sensibly, the first covers textile technology in general, as well as the history of textiles in the broader Islamic context. Overarching categories and concerns, such as robes of honor, traditions of imperial tent making, and the coverings crafted for the Kaaba at Mecca, are introduced here. Here, too, the author has brought out a telling element present in many historical accounts about textiles across the Islamic world: the fact that quality, much more than style, pattern, or palette, was the most pressing issue in the minds of most writers (31). The contextualization is crucial, because it helps correct one of the ways in which twentieth- and twenty-first-century concerns are projected back in time. This much said, however, the book is also an unapologetic celebration of the most beautiful textiles that survive, using equally gorgeous photos. The second section of the introduction also uses to great advantage seven images taken in high resolution and in very tight focus. With these photos, Mackie shows the reader differences in the structure of the textiles, from tapestry weave to samite, to lampas, to velvet. Accompanying the photos is a concise description of the loom technology, emphasizing the precise repetition and the speed permitted by the drawloom and pattern harness, as well as how materials—silk, cotton, wool, or linen—play their roles in finished textiles.

    By contrast, the last chapter makes a survey of the later nineteenth century, covering Turkey, Iran, India, and Morocco. Some of the objects are impressive, others less so: the industrial revolution impacted unevenly on the Islamic world, and most textile production declined in terms of quantity as well as quality, particularly in the case of luxury goods. This much said, the discussion of the post-1800 period is all the more welcome because it is so often neglected by surveys of Islamic art and architecture. The chapter concludes with several sections on contemporary textile making, such as that practiced by Rahul Jain and his workshop in New Delhi, who were short-listed for the Jameel Prize 3 in 2013.2

    The nine other chapters form the bulk of the volume, taking the reader from the seventh century onwards, and in many cases reflecting the trajectories of Islamic art as a larger field. The first of these chapters outlines the world into which Islam and its arts emerged around 650. Weaving practices in Byzantine, Coptic, Sasanian, and Sogdian areas were well established, and many continued without obvious disruption as these regions were brought under Islamic rule. Here Mackie emphasizes one of the most popular textile formats: symmetric roundels arranged in rows, often with enclosing paired animals and often with inscriptions. This layout is shared between early Islamic textiles and their pre- and non-Islamic counterparts. The highlight of the chapter is a prince’s costume, which combines trousers in a subtly patterned Tang Chinese twill damask with a jacket in a brilliantly hued eastern Iranian or Sogdian samite, containing motifs of confronted ducks in medallions made of pearls.

    This chapter also tacitly addresses the problem of Islamic textiles as a category and introduces at this early stage the immense importance of connections with east Asia. The first matter—the definition of Islamic textiles and Islamic art more generally—is worth a brief discussion here, as it shapes Symbols of Power as well as other works in the field. Most readers will immediately recognize that the term Islamic lands and its definition pose difficulties: neither is it a single geography, nor can it be confined to a single period, or even millennium. Moreover, as the author notes earlier, many of its arts, including textiles, have little to do with devotional practices. For these reasons, as well as others, the category has no parallels in other art historical fields, regional or otherwise.3 Mackie’s use of Islamic lands acknowledges the awkwardness of the field, while also signaling to the reader that not all the objects here were made or used by Muslims, but rather by other groups living and working in the Islamic world. Because of the immensity of the geography, and because she realizes that each chapter might appeal to a slightly different audience and therefore needs to stand on its own, the brief introductions to each chapter are all the more necessary. That Mackie is able to make sense of such a vast continuum of time and space is a testament to her own scholarly ability and experience in crafting meaningful overviews of such complex topics.

    The third chapter considers tiraz. This is a word now used to describe both royal inscriptions on garments and the workshops that made them; however, the historical definition is a bit more slippery. The assertion that all luxury textiles were made in centrally sponsored workshops, and are therefore encompassed under the definition of tiraz, is perhaps an overstatement. Regardless of definitions, however, embroidered, printed, and tapestry-woven textiles with inscriptions are the focus here, as are their symbolic and real roles in parades, processions, and other political ceremony. The temptation with tiraz (or any fabric with writing) is to focus on the style and content of the text to the neglect of the object. Happily, Mackie resists and provides fascinating technical details: embroiderers pulled threads to guide the placement and proportions of their work, and workers used small wheels to press lines into the textiles for the same purpose. Here, too, excellent photography is a prominent feature: for example, two linen plain-weave fabrics show how the twist, width, color, and density of the threads make the structurally identical textiles vastly different in texture and appearance. Fustat, an early Islamic site that served as a medieval garbage dump, is discussed, both for its archaeological potentials (and problems) and for what it reveals about the use of tiraz in death.

    In the fourth chapter, devoted to the technical achievements of the tenth to fourteenth centuries, Iran and Iraq come to the fore. Lampas, a compound weave in which two simple structures are combined, makes an entrance in the eleventh century, if not in Iran then perhaps under the aegis of Iranian weavers (136).4 Enthusiasts for technology and structure might wish for a longer discussion but will find solace in the footnotes, which refer to formidable but not always easily accessible studies.5 This chapter also discusses the scholarly controversy surrounding silks found in and near the ruined Iranian city of Rayy (the so-called Buyid silks) and their twentieth-century imitations. In the chapter’s highlight, the author assembles for the first time the authenticated Rayy silks, excluding those of dubious provenance. Unsurprisingly, the former are united by common features of weave and material as well as high quality. This case study corrects earlier categorization and, as Mackie writes, is meant to help scholars and curators with further research—another important task of the book in general.

    The fifth chapter focuses on Islamic Spain (al-Andalus) and its highly accomplished silks. Chronologically, the chapter spans the tenth through fifteenth centuries. It therefore leapfrogs over developments elsewhere in the Islamic world and Mediterranean, such as the introduction of the Ilkanid international style, which the Andalusian silks would come to share. Again, this is a peril of the field for which the author cannot be faulted. The drawloom and pattern harness combination is discussed at greater length, which serves the chapter’s contents well but is also relevant to the discussions of technology found elsewhere. In terms of the textiles themselves, the most striking examples of silks combine crimsons, greens, and yellows in geometric configurations as well as stripes, a feature shared with Mamluk silks of the same period (discussed in chapter 7). The section on textile industry and exchange is especially rich, as the Iberian Peninsula had different trade networks and consumption patterns, many of which involved the region’s substantial Christian and Jewish populations. In this way, too, the volume successfully moves between general and specific. The fate of the Muslims and Jews of Spain meant that silk weaving there eventually became the preserve of Christian artisans, although technologies and tastes in some cases persisted.

    Chapter 6 considers a single century in Iran and Iraq, during which the area was under the rule of the Mongols (specifically, their Middle Eastern branch, the Ilkhans) and their successors (1256–1353). Drawing on Thomas Allsen’s arguments about the Mongol penchant for sumptuous textiles, and Anne Wardwell’s work on central Asian silks, Mackie charts the development of cloth of gold, or nasij, so beloved by ruling elites.6 This chapter includes some of the most beautiful and technically accomplished objects in the volume, one of which also serves as the book’s cover image. Beyond nasij, weavers under the Ilkhans also developed styles that incorporated Chinese, Iranian, and central Asian motifs, often in asymmetrical formats with sinuous, elegant lines. This new style marks a radical departure from the neatly stacked roundels and mirror symmetries that had prevailed into this period (first seen in chapter 2). These new styles became international almost immediately. The last section of the chapter discusses these similar silks, made in China, central Asia, Iran, Egypt, Italy, and Spain, and considers how to distinguish one from another. It is brief but thorough, and could only have been written by someone with extensive experience of hundreds of these objects.

    Egypt and Syria under the Mamluk dynasty are the focus of the seventh chapter, which returns to a familiar but necessary discussion of ceremonial. Here we have one of our last encounters with tiraz, which faded from importance with the end of the Mamluk Empire in 1517. The pithy, crystal-clear historical introduction discusses the sultans’ emphasis on ceremony and their elaborate clothing, much of which followed detailed sumptuary codes. Though drawloom and pattern harness weaving was apparently reintroduced into the area by Iraqi and Iranian weavers only in the early fourteenth century, the number of compound structures used by Mamluk weavers surpasses those of other times and places. It includes not only damask and lampas, but double and triple cloths, taqueté, and plain weaves with both supplemental warp patterning and supplemental weft patterning. It is a fascinating abundance, attesting above all to the skill and ingenuity of the artisans who made these textiles. In the face of these riches, the bibliography on Mamluk textiles is thin, sadly reflecting the state of the field.7 Nonetheless, this chapter presents a thorough summary, with some new findings and directions for future research.

    Chapter 8 focuses on Ottoman weaving, which by contrast is well documented in primary and secondary sources. These include a groundbreaking volume coauthored by Mackie herself.8 Perhaps for this reason, the introductory section is substantial and reflects two of the main preoccupations of scholars of Ottoman art: the history of labor and guilds, and that of the court and its systems of patronage. The chapter focuses largely on the two first centuries of Ottoman rule from Istanbul, as well as on production in that capital city and Bursa, which was an important silk center. With the Ottomans, the large-scale trade in both goods and styles with Italy is reintroduced, as is cloth of gold, often used for robes of honor—the same category of garments that had previously incorporated tiraz. Although some Ottoman styles incorporated the asymmetrical formats and delicate motifs of the international Ilkhanid style, others emphasized their pattern repeats, making use of massive, bold motifs. Mackie also moves beyond her previous publications in this chapter, including a gorgeous and unexpected yellow-ground embroidery depicting a bunch of boughs tied in a bow with a distinctively European flourish. Cross-cultural relations clearly continued to thrive even after their acknowledged high point in the sixteenth century.

    Iran and central Asia in the early modern period are the subject of chapter 9. The chapter focuses less on the social and economic history of the Safavid textile industry, perhaps because of the destruction of relevant written sources. Here, the emphasis is on royal workshops and crafts, especially the relationship between the arts of the book and textiles with figural depictions, and occasionally even narrative scenes. One of these, depicting the capture of Georgian prisoners, is perhaps the most explicit use of textiles as propaganda since tiraz inscriptions had fallen out of use a century or two earlier. Weavers in Persia also developed a type of figured velvet that used an ingenious method of warp substitution to effect a multicolored pile, a technique weavers would also take to workshops in the Mughal Empire. The chapter concludes with a section about central Asia in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with illustrations of ikat silks and the large-scale embroideries known as suzanis. The section itself ends with photos of a massive nineteenth-century tent in the State Hermitage Museum, which is not often illustrated in English-language publications.

    Mughal India is the last geographic area covered in the volume, and here Symbols of Power departs from Baker’s Islamic Textiles and makes a welcome and necessary addition. Needless to say, the subcontinent had immense and varied textile production before the Mughal period (1526–1858). Printed and painted cottons dating from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were found in the same Fustat excavations that were discussed in chapter 3. However, the role of imperial workshops was crucial to the spread of the drawloom and pattern harness combination, as well as the development of a distinctive Mughal style. This adapted Persian figural forms into massive portrait-silks in structures of both lampas and velvet. South Asia was also a major exporter of textiles, both east and west. Here Mackie has introduced recent research showing that textiles were woven for markets from Tibet to Iran to western Europe, the last case illustrated by the rage for Kashmir shawls in the late eighteenth century. Enthusiasts for structure are rewarded in this chapter’s highlight, which discusses the differences between Indian and Iranian silks.

    In its nine middle chapters, the book covers territory from Spain to Bengal. One might, however, choose to quibble with the lack of Southeast Asian or sub-Saharan African textiles. But as noted above, the category of Islamic art presents inconveniences to all those attempting surveys of its art and architecture, and equally has problems inherent to its very definition. Those who choose to find fault may misunderstand not only the nature of field, but also the history of the collecting of Islamic art and textiles; for better or worse, these geographic areas and their objects are most often excluded. Moreover, the book’s subtitle should alert us to the fact that the focus is luxury textiles, a category that necessarily excludes some of the fascinating everyday products made across the Islamic world, however defined.

    Another lacuna is perhaps less easy to explain, and concerns wool-pile carpets. From the fourteenth century at the latest, they were made on court commission as well as for the market. They appear in Persian manuscript paintings and Italian oils, and gorgeous examples are now held in collections across the world. According to inventory and price lists from the Mamluk and Ottoman Empires in the early modern period, they commanded prices equaling those of silks. Without a doubt, carpets were objects of luxury and became potent signifiers of wealth and importance, as briefly discussed and illustrated in the first chapter (21). In addition, wool-pile carpets are almost exclusively a product and technology of the northern Islamic world, stretching from Spain to central Asia. One of the premier objects, the Ardebil Carpet, is the literal and figurative centerpiece of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s gallery of Islamic art. Given their historical and historiographical importance, one might wish the author had brought her expertise to bear on the topic.

    One might make the same wish for two other topics, which Mackie herself mentions: the Timurid period in Iran and central Asia (ca. 1370–1507), and the origins of silk pile-warp velvet, which may be found in the Islamic world. In the case of the former, Mackie notes at the outset the “egregious vacuum” and attributes it in part to the difficulty of secure attributions (34), compounded by especially poor survival. By contrast, velvet is present across four chapters, beginning with that on the Ilkhans, followed by a brief but tantalizing summary of the role of thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Tabriz and the possible transfer of the technology to Italy. Velvets are also found later on, with the chapters on the Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals, and in the first case, illustrated with two photographs showing the complexity and opulence of the fabric (fig. 8.12). The question of origin, however, is left open, and perhaps the author will return to it in more specialized publications.

    While noting these omissions—the less often discussed regions, the wool-pile carpets, the Timurids, and the velvets—we should remind ourselves that even a comprehensive survey of such a large topic must rely on judicious trimming to be effective. Both the nature and the goals of this book preclude the type of speculation necessary to discuss the Timurids and the velvets. For in both cases, the state of the field is only slowly evolving, and evidence is widely dispersed. As the volume already stands at some length and considerable depth, the reader must also be grateful that the author was restrained, and chose to cover only briefly topics on which discussion might distract rather than add anything of importance.

    Mackie’s career in the field of Islamic textiles has already borne considerable fruit. This volume is in many ways a culmination of the practices of analyzing, categorizing, and clarifying that have been a requirement and asset of her career to date. Well beyond that, however, the book is also a triumph made possible by her immense proficiency, built over a lifetime, and the assurance and authority that this expertise and experience can bring to bear on the subject at hand. Best of all, this magnificent publication gives Islamicists, art historians, and textile experts of all sorts something over which to pore and exclaim, and equally important, provides a potent means of reaching wider audiences of students, museumgoers, and the general public.


    Amanda Phillips is an assistant professor in the McIntire Department of Art at the University of Virginia.

     


    1. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    2. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    3. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    4. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    5. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    6. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    7. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    8. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).

    • Book Review
    • Reviewed by Katy Barrett
    • March 21, 2017
  • The Mind Is a Collection: Case Studies in Eighteenth-Century Thought
  • I often quip that my mind is now at capacity: that for every piece of information that enters, an old one must be cast out to make space. It is somehow easier to think of thoughts in a material sense, carefully stocked up within the physical space of the mind. I now find that I have simply been continuing a construction with a long history, which particularly took root in the Enlightenment: the idea that “the mind is a collection.”

    Sean Silver’s new book of that name, The Mind Is a Collection: Case Studies in Eighteenth-Century Thought, adopts as its premise the notion that metaphors must be taken seriously. We should pay attention to the frequency with which seminal eighteenth-century thinkers described the mind as like a physical space, and thought processes as like physical experiences. Silver argues that this is not simply a useful turn of phrase but is what he terms a “cognitive ecology”—a mutual relationship between a person’s mind and environment, in which his or her work space helped to shape how he or she thought about the mind, and those thought processes in turn shaped the space to fit (13–16).

    For historians of material culture this is a welcome argument, providing physical roots to the history of intellectual thought. The work of Quentin Skinner and J. G. A. Pocock connecting intellectual thought to its historical context has been continued by the attention of modern book historians to the materiality of the page. Silver may here be providing us with a further turn, with an argument that, once made, makes such sense that you wonder how it was not made before.

    He focuses on the period 1660–1800 as the era in which we can see the key development of the philosophical dualism that separated mind and body, an idea which now seems to have entered modern attitudes as a given. Silver argues that our consequent ingrained view of the mind as separate from the material world is based on an inherent contradiction. In fact, embodied experience is the foundation of all ways in which we think about the world, and was so for those very Enlightenment thinkers usually credited with giving rise to that dualism. Thus, Locke conceived of his mind as a cabinet, and Addison of thinking as like walking; Hooke thought with his camera obscura, and Horace Walpole with his house designed around a secret center.

    Across six chapters and twenty-eight case studies, Silver investigates six different kinds of “ecology” that eighteenth-century men and women developed to think about their minds: metaphor, design, digression, interiority, conception, and dispossession. As with most of Silver’s layered, thoughtful writing, the choice of words is particularly meaningful here. Maintaining the mind-material duality that is at the heart of his argument, each “case” is both an example, as in the medical sense, and a container for displaying and interpreting an object, as in a museum. Each chapter is built around a series of objects, which Silver uses to unpack their owner’s theory of mind.

    As you might expect for the period, it all starts with John Locke and metaphor as a means of thinking about mind. Quoting Locke’s famous statement that “there is nothing in the mind that was not first in the senses” (3), Silver considers how Locke built his library at the same time he was building his theories, storing away books at the same time as he thought about the mind as a series of carefully stored thoughts, accessible as though they were extracts in a commonplace book. This leads on to further metaphors, and Locke continues to appear throughout the other case studies.

    Moving on to “Design,” we meet Robert Hooke espousing the mind as a camera obscura, recording and creating a particular view of the world. His work as curator of experiments to the Royal Society is shown as integral to his idea of the mind as a repository. In “Digression,” Joseph Addison considers his mind as like his medal cabinet, but also his thought processes as like going for a walk. He builds the cognitive justification for polite culture, in which all art provides pleasure through the reference it makes to other works. In a walk, the well-stocked mind can build its own pleasure through drawing on such accrued knowledge, while in the medal cabinet each object marks the stimulus for a historical moment.

    Walking then takes Silver to the most embodied relationship of mind to collection, through thinking about inwardness. Here he considers those whose troublesome bodies constantly shaped their experience of the world. William Hay and Samuel Pepys thought with their bladder stones, narrating their lives around the memory of pain and deliverance.

    Yet thus far this collection remains poorly representative, as Silver acknowledges, for his rich examples are all gleaned from the intellectually and financially privileged men of eighteenth-century England: those with secure property whose cognitive ecologies could develop in a long-term relationship with the things that they owned. What of the women and the less wealthy, who had much less reason and opportunity to rely on an ecology of stuff?

    Silver begins to address these more elusive subjects in his last two chapters. He says that he wishes he’d worked more on these examples, and one can only hope that he continues to do so elsewhere. They are the more compelling in their ephemerality and hidden nature, as any historian of material culture knows. Chapter 5 introduces the thorny issue of conception and how that moment in the female body, when the spark of life begins, is also the vehicle for thinking about the birth of an idea, or the “conceiving” of one. I’m nonetheless unconvinced that following William Hunter’s and Joshua Reynolds’s ideas on the matter, however interesting, really constitutes adding a female dimension to this discourse.

    More compelling is the literary hack Laetitia Pilkington, who takes center stage in Silver’s final chapter on the dispossessed: that majority of London society who had only a transient relationship with things. He considers the parallel insecurity of financial and intellectual property, looking at a shilling alongside a popular story of its experiences. Pilkington, as a hack writer and bookseller, is exemplary of this constant circulation of both goods and ideas that was requisite for consumer culture but which also often required many to forgo the experience of truly owning either. This takes us, last of all, to Jonathan Wild’s infamous lost property office. Here Silver unlocks the knotty relationship through which property in the eighteenth century was made private: only on a public stage such as the lost property office could the idea of an individual with rights to possess be constructed.

    Silver has created a fascinating collection and a richly nuanced argument that will make it hard ever to separate intellectual and material history again. Yet we also see his own cognitive ecology at work here, for this seems an intellectual historian’s approach to the material, in which it is the idea of an object that is most important.

    What brings this materiality, with some irony, is Silver’s website to accompany the book, a turn into the digital which should interest readers of West 86th as much as the combining of the intellectual and the material. The website is Silver’s museum, for which he has painstakingly and lovingly built a digital model, with each chapter as a gallery section displaying the relevant objects. His background as a joiner becomes visible in these appealing digital spaces. The objects jump into life and Silver’s text feels more relaxed and personal, clearly carefully aimed at a more popular audience. Most striking is a case study that does not appear in the book at all, “Sir Kenelm’s Idea” (http://www.mindisacollection.org/digbys-idea).

    This is an addition to the section on design, in which Silver investigates the idea of Renaissance polymath Sir Kenelm Digby that the mind at work is like a bowl of currants “wheeling and swimming about (almost in such sort, as you see in the washing of Currants … by the winding about of the Cookes hand).” Silver tells how he sought out the correct type of currants and tried the idea himself, recreating a historical process in precisely the fashion now current among material culture historians and historians of science. He includes a film of his own hand agitating the currants, in the technique taught him by his mother for making Irish soda bread, and ends with another of his setup to make currant wine using Sir Kenelm’s recipe.

    In both book and website form, Silver’s is a rich, compelling, and beautifully argued work that should change how historians think, both with history of ideas and of material culture. But there is something about those currants that, for me, gets to what is new and exciting in interdisciplinary, and particularly digital, work. With his re-creations and his films, Silver is thinking with and through his materials in every sense, bringing the reader so clearly into his thought processes.

    In his conclusion, he touches briefly on how the computer has extended our material thinking about the mind, suggesting that artificial intelligence has merely made the idea that the mind is a collection more intrinsic to our worldview. Silver’s physical book and digital museum are similarly entwined, and it is in this combination of mind, matter, and digital environment that Silver’s work is truly inspiring.


    Katy Barrett is a curator and writer based in London, interested in histories of arts and sciences, and digital humanities. She blogs and tweets as @SpoonsonTrays.

     


    1. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    2. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    3. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    4. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    5. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    6. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    7. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    8. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    9. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    10. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    11. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    12. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    13. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    14. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    15. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    16. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).

    • Exhibition Notes
    • by Ivan Gaskell
    • March 16, 2017
  • Béla Tarr—Till the End of the World
  • Is it possible to make a satisfactory museum exhibition comprised of not much more than film clips? This is what curator Jaap Guldemond has done in collaboration with the renowned Hungarian filmmaker Béla Tarr. Tarr’s career has spanned the momentous changes that swept eastern Europe since the late 1980s. His accounts of social dysfunction and moral gloom are unsparingly bleak. His mastery of the long take rivals that of the late Chantal Akerman.

    Tarr’s is a black and white world in which depressed and deprived people perform rituals of seemingly unending self-abasement, often in driving rain. A pre-adolescent girl strides purposefully yet stumblingly towards the ever-retreating camera, staring uncompromisingly into the lens, marching through day and night, carrying the cat she has killed. This sequence from Tarr’s seven-and-a-half hour long 1994 movie, Sátántangó (Satantango), is projected in the same gallery as a sequence from Werckmeister harmóniák (Werckmeister Harmonies), 2000, in which two young boys refuse to go to bed and enact their own disruptive and obsessive ritual of clanging pan lids, jumping on the bed, and threatening their father with a stick.

    Tarr’s socially deprived characters express homespun Nietzschean nostrums, as when a shaven-headed man braves a furious wind to come to a father and daughter’s cabin to ask them to refill his bottle with pálinka, a strong Hungarian brandy. Seated at their rough-hewn table—the same table in the gallery at which visitors sit to watch—he delivers a monolog on never-ending strife, the death of all gods, and the hopelessness of existence. This sequence is from A torinói ló (The Turin Horse), 2011, Tarr’s last completed feature film. Tarr’s inspiration was the famous incident when Friedrich Nietzsche witnessed the maltreatment of a horse, which is said to have triggered his final descent into insanity.

    Tarr’s characters also model the universe, as when at closing time in a bleak village bar, a young man organizes his fellow drinkers to enact a solar eclipse, playing the roles of the sun, moon, and planets, as a swaying, dancing human orrery (Werckmeister Harmonies). These are “simple people,” as the protagonist in the eclipse scene describes his companions. They oscillate between states of impassivity and sheer awkwardness, with outbreaks of angry determination, as when a crowd of men, many armed with staves, marches down a nighttime street in a sequence from Werckmeister Harmonies. Yet for all their bewilderment, these are people with inner lives that Tarr seeks to capture through bathetic monologs, and monotonous actions.

    To reach these screened cinematic extracts in which the fictional figures are all, in their various ways, waiting for the Hungarian equivalent of Godot, visitors must pass through two galleries each containing an installation specially contrived by Tarr for the exhibition. One contains a dead tree from which all the leaves have been blown to swirl around the darkened gallery, animated by large roaring fans. Immediately preceding this Beckettian scene is the opening installation, Fence. Flanking fences of frontier razor wire lead the visitor through a border zone to a screen showing horrifying news footage of fighting, bombardment, and rescue attempts from rubble shot recently by journalists in Syria. The desperate refugees to whom Hungary closed its borders are the real, contemporary counterparts of Tarr’s movie characters. In the final gallery, we see one such figure in a sequence made specially for the exhibition, titled Muhamed (2016). A young boy in a shopping mall mournfully plays Arab melodies on an accordion while staring at the camera—again in black and white. Muhamed occupies an ambiguous position between fact and fiction, his stare daring us to deny the actuality of his predicament.

    The thirteen film sequences—twelve from Tarr’s movies made between 1988 and 2011, plus the specially shot Muhamed—and the two opening installations, certainly make a compelling exhibition, skillfully and variously installed so as not to appear monotonous. Much, of course, depends on Tarr’s directorial skill as a cinematic auteur, but others deserve credit, too. Not least among them are the various cinematographers with whom Tarr has worked, most consistently Gábor Medvigy, screenwriter László Krasznahorkai, and the composer, Mihály Víg.

    One sequence stands out for its lucidity and delicacy, and its escape from the long cinematic shadows of Akira Kurosawa and Andrei Tarkovsky. This is a segment titled Prológus (Prologue) from an anthology film, Visions of Europe (2004). The camera tracks slowly along the heads and shoulders of men and women standing two or three deep in a line against a building. When the camera reaches a window, it opens, and from it a young woman dispenses a plastic cup of soup and a plastic bag containing two small rolls of bread to each person in the line as he or she shuffles past. She has an embarrassed smile and word for all. There follows a list of names: that of the young woman followed by those in the line, each an individual, each with an inner life, however downcast. The delicacy and pathos of these five minutes of film derive as much from the superlative cinematography of the great Dutch master, Robby Müller as they do from the quiet patience of the performers, under the direction of Béla Tarr. Yet this exhibition is truly one of Tarr’s own vision spanning the last thirty years of his career, and Jaap Guldemond and his colleagues at EYE Filmmuseum have been fully vindicated in their decision to present Tarr’s work in this form.

    Ivan Gaskell is professor and head of the Focus Project at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City.

    1. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    2. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    3. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    4. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    5. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    6. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    7. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    8. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    9. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    10. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    11. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    12. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    13. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    14. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    15. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    16. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    17. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    18. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    19. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    20. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    21. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    22. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    23. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    24. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).

    • Exhibition Notes
    • by Ivan Gaskell
    • March 16, 2017
  • Béla Tarr—Till the End of the World
  • EYE Filmmuseum, Amsterdam
    January 21 – May 7, 2017
    Website: eyefilm.nl

    Is it possible to make a satisfactory museum exhibition comprised of not much more than film clips? This is what curator Jaap Guldemond has done in collaboration with the renowned Hungarian filmmaker Béla Tarr. Tarr’s career has spanned the momentous changes that swept eastern Europe since the late 1980s. His accounts of social dysfunction and moral gloom are unsparingly bleak. His mastery of the long take rivals that of the late Chantal Akerman.

    Tarr’s is a black and white world in which depressed and deprived people perform rituals of seemingly unending self-abasement, often in driving rain. A pre-adolescent girl strides purposefully yet stumblingly towards the ever-retreating camera, staring uncompromisingly into the lens, marching through day and night, carrying the cat she has killed. This sequence from Tarr’s seven-and-a-half hour long 1994 movie, Sátántangó (Satantango), is projected in the same gallery as a sequence from Werckmeister harmóniák(Werckmeister Harmonies), 2000, in which two young boys refuse to go to bed and enact their own disruptive and obsessive ritual of clanging pan lids, jumping on the bed, and threatening their father with a stick.

    Tarr’s socially deprived characters express homespun Nietzschean nostrums, as when a shaven-headed man braves a furious wind to come to a father and daughter’s cabin to ask them to refill his bottle with pálinka, a strong Hungarian brandy. Seated at their rough-hewn table—the same table in the gallery at which visitors sit to watch—he delivers a monolog on never-ending strife, the death of all gods, and the hopelessness of existence. This sequence is from A torinói ló (The Turin Horse), 2011, Tarr’s last completed feature film. Tarr’s inspiration was the famous incident when Friedrich Nietzsche witnessed the maltreatment of a horse, which is said to have triggered his final descent into insanity.

    Tarr’s characters also model the universe, as when at closing time in a bleak village bar, a young man organizes his fellow drinkers to enact a solar eclipse, playing the roles of the sun, moon, and planets, as a swaying, dancing human orrery (Werckmeister Harmonies). These are “simple people,” as the protagonist in the eclipse scene describes his companions. They oscillate between states of impassivity and sheer awkwardness, with outbreaks of angry determination, as when a crowd of men, many armed with staves, marches down a nighttime street in a sequence from Werckmeister Harmonies. Yet for all their bewilderment, these are people with inner lives that Tarr seeks to capture through bathetic monologs, and monotonous actions.

    To reach these screened cinematic extracts in which the fictional figures are all, in their various ways, waiting for the Hungarian equivalent of Godot, visitors must pass through two galleries each containing an installation specially contrived by Tarr for the exhibition. One contains a dead tree from which all the leaves have been blown to swirl around the darkened gallery, animated by large roaring fans. Immediately preceding this Beckettian scene is the opening installation, Fence. Flanking fences of frontier razor wire lead the visitor through a border zone to a screen showing horrifying news footage of fighting, bombardment, and rescue attempts from rubble shot recently by journalists in Syria. The desperate refugees to whom Hungary closed its borders are the real, contemporary counterparts of Tarr’s movie characters. In the final gallery, we see one such figure in a sequence made specially for the exhibition, titled Muhamed (2016). A young boy in a shopping mall mournfully plays Arab melodies on an accordion while staring at the camera—again in black and white. Muhamed occupies an ambiguous position between fact and fiction, his stare daring us to deny the actuality of his predicament.

    The thirteen film sequences—twelve from Tarr’s movies made between 1988 and 2011, plus the specially shot Muhamed—and the two opening installations, certainly make a compelling exhibition, skillfully and variously installed so as not to appear monotonous. Much, of course, depends on Tarr’s directorial skill as a cinematic auteur, but others deserve credit, too. Not least among them are the various cinematographers with whom Tarr has worked, most consistently Gábor Medvigy, screenwriter László Krasznahorkai, and the composer, Mihály Víg.

    One sequence stands out for its lucidity and delicacy, and its escape from the long cinematic shadows of Akira Kurosawa and Andrei Tarkovsky. This is a segment titled Prológus (Prologue) from an anthology film, Visions of Europe (2004). The camera tracks slowly along the heads and shoulders of men and women standing two or three deep in a line against a building. When the camera reaches a window, it opens, and from it a young woman dispenses a plastic cup of soup and a plastic bag containing two small rolls of bread to each person in the line as he or she shuffles past. She has an embarrassed smile and word for all. There follows a list of names: that of the young woman followed by those in the line, each an individual, each with an inner life, however downcast. The delicacy and pathos of these five minutes of film derive as much from the superlative cinematography of the great Dutch master, Robby Müller as they do from the quiet patience of the performers, under the direction of Béla Tarr. Yet this exhibition is truly one of Tarr’s own vision spanning the last thirty years of his career, and Jaap Guldemond and his colleagues at EYE Filmmuseum have been fully vindicated in their decision to present Tarr’s work in this form.

     


    Ivan Gaskell is professor and head of the Focus Project at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City.

     

    1. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    2. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    3. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    4. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    5. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    6. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    7. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    8. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    9. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    10. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    11. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    12. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    13. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    14. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    15. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    16. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    17. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    18. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    19. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    20. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    21. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    22. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    23. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    24. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    25. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    26. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    27. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    28. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    29. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    30. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    31. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    32. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).

    • Exhibition Notes
    • by Jane Whitehead
    • December 5, 2016
  • Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections
  • The Crucifixion. Leaf from the Potocki Psalter. Paris, France, ca. 1250. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 57.707. Gift of the Schaeffer Galleries in memory of Dr. Georg Swarzenski.

    Houghton Library, Harvard University: Manuscripts from Church & Cloister
    September 12–December 10, 2016

     

    McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College: Manuscripts for Pleasure & Piety
    September 12–December 11, 2016

     

    Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: Italian Renaissance Books
    September 22, 2016–January 16, 2017
    Website: beyondwords2016.org

     

    While hunting for rare volumes on vacation in Venice in 1890, the art collector Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840–1924) discovered a French sixteenth-century manuscript book of hours illuminated with exquisite miniature paintings. The artist was unknown at the time, but Mrs. Gardner knew quality when she saw it. Now identified as the work of Jean Bourdichon (ca. 1457–1521), court painter to four French kings, from Louis XI to Francis I, the book is one of the highlights of the exhibition Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections.

    Gardner was one of many wealthy, art-loving Bostonians who imported medieval manuscripts to New England in the late 1800s, along with other less portable artifacts including sculpture, ironwork, and panel paintings. Thanks to this concentration of riches, often gathered first in private collections and later donated to institutions, including public libraries and colleges, Beyond Words presents what is billed as the largest array of medieval manuscripts ever shown in North America, drawn from nineteen Boston-area institutions.

    When the historian of medieval art Jeffrey Hamburger came to Harvard University in 2000, he was familiar with Isabella Stewart Gardner’s Venetian find, now known as the Bourdichon Hours. He suspected that a wealth of medieval material lay dormant in Boston collections, much of it inadequately catalogued and unknown to scholars. With William Stoneman, then librarian of Houghton Library, Harvard’s rare book repository, he began a systematic trawl of local institutional collections that netted around three thousand medieval manuscripts and fragments dating from the seventh to the sixteenth centuries.

    Along the way, Hamburger and Stoneman joined forces with Italian specialist Anne-Marie Eze, then associate curator at the Gardner; Lisa Fagin Davis, executive director of the Medieval Academy of America; and Nancy Netzer, director of the McMullen Museum at Boston College. The five collaborated as cocurators of the exhibition and coeditors of the 375-page, fully illustrated catalogue, with entries by eighty-three international experts.

    Through their selection of over 250 books, single leaves, and cuttings, the curators tell the history of the book over the course of a thousand years in Europe. They bring to light the variety and richness of medieval material in Boston-area collections, and explore the tastes and preoccupations of the Brahmin collectors of the Gilded Age.

    Each of the three venues highlights a particular kind of book production and readership. Houghton displays “Manuscripts from Church and Cloister,” showing books mainly made by and for monks and nuns from the seventh century through the twelfth century. “Manuscripts for Pleasure and Piety” at the McMullen explores the growth of a lay readership and the role of secular and religious books in medieval society, and “Italian Renaissance Books” at the Gardner charts the birth of the modern book in fifteenth-century Italy, and the importance of the Renaissance humanist library as a storehouse of intellectual and visual culture.

    The display at Houghton Library focuses on the central role of books in the lives of medieval monks and nuns. Books created in the scriptoria, or writing rooms, of monasteries and convents ensured the transmission of classical literature and learning, as well as preserving and annotating religious texts and promoting practical guidelines for the good life. 

    Christ washing the feet of the apostles and scatter border. Ff. 36v–37r from prayer book of Antoine de La Barre – Master of Claude de France (illuminator). Tours, France, ca. 1518–20. Harvard University, Houghton Library, MS Typ 252.

    Hand-made books were expensive and time-consuming to make, and their bindings were often fitted with chains to ensure that they did not wander from their proper place, as four chained volumes of genealogies and sermons from Germany and northern Italy attest. Another rare survival is an ingenious medieval bookmark—a long strip of parchment with a little rotating wheel that allowed the reader to mark the precise column and line where he or she left off.

    A line drawing on a page from a German twelfth-century copy of a Gospel commentary gives a glimpse of the human relationships and labor behind this communal scholarly effort. The scribe—a tonsured, robed monk—is shown kneeling in deference to his abbot, while presenting the volume he has just finished. Above his head is a Latin poem, thanking the abbot for keeping him busy, and assuring him that “it is for sure a pleasure to copy, for it is distasteful to be idle.”

    A document from the Cistercian abbey of Saint Mary at Sawley in present-day Lancashire, England, shows the origin of the term indenture. The jagged-edged parchment from around 1265, with black wax seal still attached, concerns an exchange of lands. An indenture was made from a single sheet of parchment with two identical records of the agreement, notes William Stoneman in his catalogue entry. The sheet was then cut along a zigzag line, or into teeth, hence indenture. Each party retained one part, and in case of future disagreement they could be matched to prove authenticity.

    If the indenture shows the importance of mundane matters such as land management to ecclesiastical institutions, three large leaves from the Noyon Missal (France, ca. 1225–50), show the artistry with which texts for the celebration of the sacred mystery of the Mass could be adorned. Elaborate illuminations show Gregory the Great against a burnished gold ground, seated at his writing desk, inspired by the dove of the Holy Spirit. An athletic figure of Christ rises from the tomb, and allegorical figures of Ecclesia and Synagogaflank the Lamb of God, the symbol of Christ’s sacrifice. On the most elaborately illuminated leaf, with the prayers for the consecration of the host, even the notation of the Gregorian chant is highlighted in gold.

    Across town at the McMullen Museum on the Brighton Campus of Boston College, while there are still plenty of Bibles and other religious texts on show, the focus is on the place of books in medieval society beyond the monastery walls. The growing importance of visual demonstration in matters of both faith and science fueled an expansion of imagery, ranging from exquisite, jewel-like miniatures by master painters to rough and ready anatomical diagrams showing physicians how to treat specific ailments by bleeding.

    The McMullen recently moved to new premises at the former Boston archbishop’s residence, at 2101 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston. With its light-filled atrium, expanded exhibition space, and roof terrace with spectacular views of downtown Boston, the museum is well equipped to host the largest section of Beyond Words.

    The opening gallery offers a primer in manuscript book making. A video shows the laborious stages, from the preparation of parchment from sheep, goat, and calf hides, to the ruling of pages prior to writing, and the underdrawing and gold-leaf application that went before the addition of the final, brilliant colors—derived from ground minerals and organic plant materials, usually mixed with egg white to make tempera.

    Exhibits in the opening section show manuscripts in various phases of production: parchment pages nested into “gatherings” before binding, sheets showing underdrawing, an instruction manual on the use of various scripts, and an unfinished Gospel page in which the scribe has left a large Q-shaped void for the addition of an illuminated capital letter. “These manuscripts are not simply vessels for text and image—they are material objects in which every feature was crafted with a view to their function and expressive purpose,” said Hamburger in a phone conversation about the ideas behind the exhibition.

    Medieval book production was a highly collaborative process. Illuminators often relied on model books to give their productions the authority, authenticity, and accuracy considered crucial in the realm of religious texts. On display are two tiny, exquisite drawings from early fifteenth-century Prague showing the heads of the Archangel Gabriel and the Virgin of the Annunciation. With her high forehead, narrow chin, and pursed, rosy-red lips, the Virgin Mary reflects contemporary ideals of courtly beauty. The drawings would have been part of a collection showing heads of holy figures to serve as models for use by artists in illuminations and other media, such as panel painting.

    Two rare surviving examples of complete model books—a late fifteenth-century French compendium of botanical and costume studies, and a book of bird designs for a moralized bestiary—are among selected exhibits accompanied by wall-mounted iPads. These allow viewers to “turn the pages” of a complete digital facsimile and so overcome an inherent limitation of book exhibits, the fact that only one opening can be displayed at a time. Set at half brightness, so as not to outshine the originals, the tablets enable not only exploration of other, hidden, pages, but also enlargement of details from the page on display. Since much of the fascination of these manuscripts is in the weird and playful creatures that flourish in their margins, the chance to see them in high magnification is a real bonus.

    Technology also brings to life the music preserved in one of the McMullen’s treasures, a fourteenth-century German Franciscan antiphonal. This well-thumbed compendium of music used by monks for their daily services shows signs of wear and tear, with wax stains on some pages, says Michael Noone, chair of the Music Department at Boston College. Thanks to its accompanying iPad station, visitors can access video of seven chants from the volume, sung by a Spanish group specializing in medieval music performance.

    With so much material to digest, the smartphone-accessible online audio guide, narrated by the curators, is an invaluable resource. In one of her lively contributions, Anne-Marie Eze describes an intriguing survival from the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, an image collaged from devotional books looted by French soldiers during Napoleon’s occupation of Rome at the end of the eighteenth century, showing the Last Judgment. “When people think of the Sistine Chapel and the Last Judgment they think of Michelangelo’s famous fresco, so it’s very interesting to see an almost contemporary image of the same subject, and to think about the interrelations between monumental art and illumination in books,” she says.

    Recently removed from its constricting 1969 binding for conservation, Isabella Stewart Gardner’s exquisite Bourdichon Hours is displayed here sheet by sheet—offering a rare chance to see the original miniatures side by side. In his audio guide narration, Hamburger draws attention to Bourdichon’s skillful deployment of varied light effects and his use of elaborate architectural frames to mediate between the viewers’ space and the dramatic scenes of Christ’s passion and other devotional images.

    The Pentecost. F. 121r from a book of hours, Jean Bourdichon (1457–1521, illuminator). Tours, France, ca. 1515–20. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 6.T.1.

     

    The third-floor Monan Gallery at the McMullen takes the visitor into the realms of power and politics, and courtly pastimes including hawking and the tournament. Highlights are the first conduct manual for women written by a woman, by the prolific fifteenth-century French author Christine de Pizan; and a magnificent thirty-four-foot-long illuminated French roll telling the history of the world from the Creation to the time of its production in the 1470s.

    Among the three venues hosting Beyond Words, the Gardner offers the most elaborately designed presentation, using paintings, furniture, and classical antiquities from the collection to evoke an Italian Renaissance humanist scholarly studiolo, and deploying scrims with life-size photographic reproductions of Michelangelo’s Laurentian Library to summon the architecture of sixteenth-century Florence. In the age of digital media, when many question the future of the printed book, this segment of Beyond Words invites visitors to think back the 1400s when the invention of printing signaled the beginning of the end for the hand-painted, hand-written manuscript.

    The show charts the humanist book from its origins in Florence around 1400 to its flowering in Venice at the turn of the sixteenth century. Alongside the humanist bestsellers—Boccaccio’s Decameron, Dante’s Divina commedia, Petrarch’s Trionfi—are books of mathematical games, maps, and views of whales and sharks and other exotic creatures, as well as religious works for both public and private devotion. Among the Italian Renaissance books recently discovered in Boston-area collections are a prayer book of Pope Julius III (r. 1550–55) and a book used in the preparation of the Mass in the Sistine Chapel, painted by Vincent Raymond (d. 1557), the first official illuminator to the popes, as cocurator Anne-Marie Eze notes in her introductory catalogue essay. As Eze also notes, Isabella Stewart Gardner, fascinated as she was by historical art patrons who shared her name, would have been delighted by the inclusion of sumptuous books of hours that once belonged to Isabella, queen of Naples (1424–65), and Isabella d’Este, Marchioness of Mantua (1474–1539).

    A comprehensive website, beyondwords2016.org, offers detailed information about visiting each venue, a calendar of public programming, a link to the smartphone-accessible audio guide, and a searchable database of objects in the show. With guaranteed funding to maintain the website for five years, the curators promise regular infusions of new material. Updates are also posted on Twitter @BeyondWords2016. If these media prove anything like as durable as the parchment, ink, and paint that came before them, the great scholarly effort behind Beyond Words may have a long afterlife.

     


    Jane Whitehead is a writer in the Boston area.

     

    1. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    2. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    3. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    4. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    5. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    6. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    7. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    8. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    9. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    10. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    11. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    12. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    13. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    14. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    15. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    16. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    17. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    18. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    19. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    20. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    21. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    22. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    23. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    24. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    25. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    26. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    27. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    28. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    29. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    30. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    31. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    32. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    33. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    34. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    35. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    36. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    37. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    38. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    39. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    40. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).

    • Exhibition Notes
    • by Ivan Gaskell
    • June 30, 2016
  • Found: An Exhibition Curated by Cornelia Parker
  • William Hogarth was a founding governor of the Foundling Hospital, chartered in 1739, and his example ensured the commitment of leading artists to “Ornamenting this Hospital.” The Hogarth Fellowship commemorates their involvement. Cornelia Parker (b. 1956), the most recent recipient, has used her appointment to mount an exhibition of works contributed by over sixty fellow artists, writers, and musicians. The premise of the project is that each thing shown should have been found by its contributor. They thereby echo the human purpose of the hospital, which is to care for abandoned children. Parker is among the most admired, respected, and well-liked artists of her generation, and she has drawn on her wide circle of acquaintance to create this thoughtful exhibition. Many of the objects are distributed among the existing displays of the museum, playing off things in the permanent collection. Others are gathered in the temporary exhibition gallery.

    The Foundling Museum is an extremely difficult venue in which to make display interventions owing to the superb quality of the artworks donated to the hospital by leading eighteenth-century artists. They include paintings by Hogarth, Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, Benjamin West, and Richard Wilson. Louis-François Roubiliac’s portrait bust of George Frideric Handel (a supporter of the hospital), and ornately carved wood paneling by William Hallett add to its richness. An even greater challenge is the presence of small things that in other circumstances might scarcely be remarkable but that are here extraordinarily invested with affect. These are the tokens left by parents (mostly mothers) consigning their children to the hospital, usually out of desperation. These tokens were to ensure that any future claim for their return might be verified. Many are kept in the Billet Books, the records of admission. One is displayed open to show the page recording the admission of a male child. Affixed to it is a pink ribbon cockade, of the kind commonly attached to boys’ caps to identify their gender. This is the token of child number 13,733, admitted on August 21, 1759. Given the circumstances, these simple things—coins, scraps of embroidery, cheap jewelry—carry a considerable emotional charge.

    To place other things among these charged objects can be no casual undertaking, and not every contributor rises to the occasion. Some clearly gave more thought to Parker’s project than others. Among the successful additions in the gallery containing the tokens is a vitrine containing a photograph from about 1911 of Cornelius Alfred Phipps, then aged about seven, wearing a sailor suit and holding a bucket and wooden spade. Phipps was the grandfather of artist, Sue Pritchard, who found it among her mother’s possessions after her death in 2012. Phipps had himself been brought up in an orphanage in view of his mother’s inability to care for him following his father’s death. He was reunited with his mother when he left school. Shown with the photograph are not only fragmented pieces of his sailor suit, but also the very spade held by the boy. These are relics of a childhood that parallels those of the children in the hospital, but one distinguished by reunion of mother and son, and the private preservation until her death of things that characterized her dearly loved child.

    The museum contains many tokens of the hospital’s and its governors’ wealth and social standing. Among them is a case containing the hospital’s silver. The fine chargers, cups, and ewers were intended for both use and display on great occasions. Into this array, Humphrey Ocean has introduced a circular, plain, but variously dented, apparently silver object that at first is scarcely distinguishable from the platters that flank it. But, as Ocean explains in the accompanying label, it is a car hubcap that he found many years ago in Peckham Road, London, and that he has kept in his studio ever since. Its character and status is a gentle reproach to the grandeur of the social claims associated with the vessels it accompanies, as well as a reminder that beauty can reside in abjection.

    The aesthetics of degradation informs several other works in the exhibition: a glass bottle encrusted with the hardened casts of marine tube worms found off the west coast of Ireland and contributed by Dorothy Cross; a military helmet, probably a World War I Austrian M17, eroded to a lattice of fragile metallic corrosion, found in the Veneto and contributed by Ackroyd & Harvey (Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey); soiled and crumpled pawnbroker’s coupons covering the year 1951, pierced and threaded on a string over eight feet long, each, as contributor Ron Arad states, “a document of someone’s hard time.”

    The aesthetics of degradation can shade into the aura of the relic. In one of her own contributions, There must be some kind of way out of here, Parker has installed on the walls and floor at the base of the museum stairwell several worn pieces of the dismembered staircase from 23 Brook Street, London. There is an echo here of the woodwork of her sculpture on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Transitional Object (Psychobarn) (April 19 – October 31, 2016), a scenery flat of a Victorian gothic house inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper, and the Bates family’s mansion from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). But the sympathetic magic of these staircase remnants depends on their verifiable associations. She recovered them from a dumpster outside the house in Mayfair in which Jimi Hendrix lived in a top floor apartment between 1968 and 1969. It was recently converted from office space for the Handel House Trust (George Frideric Handel had lived next door) into a museum. These were the stairs up and down which Hendrix, to use Parker’s term, “scampered.” Hendrix had himself been a child in precarious circumstances, his parents having given up three of his four siblings to foster care and adoption. Like Parker’s rooftop sculpture in New York, There must be some kind of way out of here is a locus of associations that grow ever more disturbing the more one recollects them.

    The pieces that work best in this exhibition are those that take on the challenge of sentiment directly: sentiment in the eighteenth-century sense of openness to tender emotion. This is not sentimentality in the contemporary, pejorative sense of self-indulgent sadness, sympathy, or nostalgia, but an acknowledgment of the power of affect in addressing the human condition, in this place exemplified by the fate of helpless children and the anguished mothers who gave them up. By these criteria, one piece steals the show.

    A well-lit second floor anteroom has been emptied of all furniture. There the visitor sees a life-size likeness of a newborn infant, lying face down as though at the breast but finding small comfort on the plain wooden floor. This is Antony Gormley’s Iron Baby (1999). The sculpture suggests vulnerability on a macro- as well as a microcosmic scale, for it is cast in a material that, as Gormley notes, forms the core of our fragile planet. Gormley made it from a “body case” derived from his newborn daughter, Paloma, now a London architect. Several sculptors have made personally invested likenesses of their own infant children—Hiram Powers’s Loulie’s Hand, 1839 (Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC), Paul Manship’s Sarah Jane Manship, 1930 (Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA)—but none suggests tenderness with such eloquence for both the human at her most helpless, and for the entire Earth. Antony Gormley’s Iron Baby is the fitting emotional focal point and climax of Cornelia Parker’s varied but rewarding exhibition project.*


    Ivan Gaskell is professor and head of the Focus Project at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City.

     

    * The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue: Found: An Exhibition Curated by Cornelia Parker (London: The Foundling Museum, 2016).

     

    1. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    2. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    3. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    4. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    5. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    6. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    7. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    8. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    9. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    10. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    11. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    12. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    13. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    14. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    15. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    16. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    17. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    18. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    19. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    20. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    21. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    22. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    23. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    24. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    25. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    26. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    27. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    28. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    29. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    30. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    31. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    32. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    33. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    34. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    35. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    36. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    37. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    38. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    39. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    40. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    41. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    42. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    43. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    44. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    45. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    46. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    47. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    48. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).

    • Exhibition Notes
    • by Ivan Gaskell
    • June 7, 2016
  • Krieg: eine archäologische Spurensuche
  • A tangle of human skeletons embedded in a soil matrix presented vertically in a gun metal grey case well over twenty feet high dominates the entrance to this exhibition on the archaeology of war. The bones and skulls, many of them open-mouthed as though caught in a last agony, seem about to tumble onto the viewer standing beneath. This is a mass grave containing the remains of forty-seven soldiers, stripped of their clothes and tossed naked into a shallow pit. This is not a mere representation of a grave, some carnival ghost train mock horror, but the grave itself and its actual human contents.

    These were soldiers killed in a battle between Catholics of the Holy Roman Empire led by Albrecht von Wallenstein and a Protestant army of Swedes and Sweden’s German allies commanded by the Swedish king, Gustav II Adolf (also known as Gustavus Adolphus or Gustavus Adolphus the Great). In the Battle of Lützen (November 16, 1632, NS), a key battle of the Thirty Years’ War, the Swedes saw off the imperial threat to their northern German allies, but their charismatic king was one of approximately 7,000 killed.

    This exhibition takes the discovery of the mass grave in 2011 and its excavation as a starting point for an archaeological examination of warfare in hominim history up to 1632. It proposes that archaeological evidence is immediate, empirically incontrovertible, and objective, whereas that of documents is the result of human calculation, subject to interpretation, and therefore untrustworthy. This is the view of processual archaeologists who study what used to be called “prehistory” (Vorgeschichte: a discredited term) rather than the informed opinion of historians or post-processual archaeologists trained to interpret texts and things as complex human products that are never quite what they seem.

    What is to be learned from such excavations, and why might historians want to obtain such information? There is much to be said for improving the scope of accounts of the past to include ordinary people, rather than focusing exclusively on the elite. Challenges to exclusively elite history were mounted long ago so that “history from below” is now so well established that its practitioners often accommodate an entire social range in their accounts. Even if Krieg is questionable as archaeology, it nonetheless presents historically useful data on ordinary soldiers. For instance, the analysis of tooth enamel led to the identification of their geographical origins. Most were from within the Holy Roman Empire, and only two or at most three were from Sweden. The majority were likely Wallenstein’s infantry, though one, who had a previously healed leg injury, was probably a horseman. Krieg gives insights into the elite’s experience of battle and its ultimate consequence no less than that of the unidentified soldiers. Leading a cavalry charge, King Gustav Adolf was shot several times and killed. Among his clothing taken by imperial soldiers was the buff moose hide coat he wore (Royal Armory, Skokloster Castle, Stockholm). Sent as a trophy to Vienna, it was only returned to Stockholm following World War I. Gustav Adolf’s antagonist, Wallenstein, is represented by the taxidermic mount of one of the war horses he rode during the battle, and his red velvet-covered saddle embellished with gold braid (both Muzeum Cheb). Wallenstein survived the battle by little more than three months, for he was assassinated in February 1634.

    The ambition in this exhibition to cover both high and low in the account of the Battle of Lützen is admirable. There must be, though, an ethical concern over exhibiting the remains of the dead. The excavation of the mass grave, and the analysis of the remains, respectfully conducted, might be ethically acceptable. This accomplished, though, one might make a case that responsibility to the dead requires their re-interment without exposure to the public gaze.

    European treatment of those killed in battle changed between the seventeenth and the mid-nineteenth centuries. One watershed was the American Civil War, vividly described by Drew Gilpin Faust in This Republic of Suffering (2008). As Faust shows, for the first time, governments took responsibility for the respectful burial of the dead, ideally with individually marked graves. The British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens memorably implemented this innovation following World War I in his meticulously sited cemeteries in northern France and Flanders. War cemeteries became sites of remembrance at once public and private.

    As a consequence of the nineteenth-century change in war burial practice, it would be scarcely conceivable to exhibit the remains of the dead disinterred from a mass grave from a nineteenth or twentieth-century conflict. Should contemporary standards be applied retrospectively to the fallen of earlier European wars? It seems reasonable to assume that most, if not all, of the soldiers from the Lützen mass grave were Christian, whether Catholic or Protestant, and hoped to find rest in consecrated ground. However secular an archaeological or historical project might be, is there not an obligation to the dead that transcends any advantages to be gained from public display, and conceivably even from scientific curiosity?

    Are such qualms characteristically North American but not European? In Skull Wars (2000), David Hurst Thomas discusses the indignities and insults to which settler scientists have long subjected Native American bodies, prompted by the recently concluded case of so-called Kennewick Man or the Ancient One. He is an approximately 9,000-year-old human skeleton discovered in Washington in 1996. After twenty years of legal wrangling, he is to be returned for reburial to the five tribes that claim him as an ancestor. The current protection of Native American human remains, including the obligation of institutions receiving federal funds to repatriate them to Native successor communities on demand, is in stark contrast to their previous treatment as objects of anthropological research. Many Americans, whether Native or not, have either long respected the dead or have been newly sensitized to the obligation to do so. Even if some may still see no wrong in analyzing human remains, many would draw the line at their display. Thomas argues that “scientists must deal with human bones in a more respectful and sensitive manner.” From a North American viewpoint, this seems incontrovertible.

    The display of the dead—at least, some classes of the dead—may not be as questionable in Germany as it has become in North America, but even making such an allowance, the display in Krieg arguably crosses a line. An exhibit of these skeletons designed to promote understanding could have been presented horizontally, in the same plane as the grave existed in situ. Instead, these people are transformed into a monumental relief. But this is no sculptural representation, rather a ghoulish spectacle: a sublime aestheticization of the actual dead. This Barnum style showmanship may bring press and public attention, but its sensationalism seems unconscionably exploitative.

    The analysis of the skeletons has arguably added to the historical understanding of the Thirty Years War, but their display in an otherwise engaging exhibition is a miscalculation.*

     


    Ivan Gaskell is professor and head of the Focus Project at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City.

     

    * The exhibition is accompanied by a substantial publication: Harald Meller and Michael Schefzik, eds., Krieg: eine archäologische Spurensuche (Stuttgart: Konrad Theiss Verlag, 2015).

     

    1. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    2. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    3. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    4. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    5. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    6. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    7. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    8. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    9. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    10. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    11. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    12. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    13. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    14. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    15. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    16. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    17. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    18. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    19. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    20. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    21. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    22. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    23. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    24. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    25. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    26. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    27. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    28. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    29. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    30. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    31. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    32. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    33. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    34. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    35. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    36. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    37. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    38. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    39. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    40. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    41. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    42. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    43. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    44. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    45. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    46. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    47. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    48. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    49. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    50. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    51. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    52. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    53. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    54. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    55. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    56. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).

    • Exhibition Notes
    • by Ivan Gaskell
    • July 18, 2015
  • Brandbilder: Kunstwerke als Zeugen des Zweiten Weltkriegs
  • Carl Schuch, Still Life with Wild Ducks, 1885. Oil on canvas, 62.3 x 76 cm, on loan from the City of Hannover.

    Carl Schuch, Still Life with Wild Ducks, 1885. Oil on canvas, 62.3 x 76 cm, on loan from the City of Hannover (pre-war state, black and white photograph).

    When does an artwork become so compromised by damage or deterioration beyond the power of conservators to restore that it loses its artwork character? Can such a damaged thing acquire non-art aesthetic characteristics that compensate, in some sense, for the losses of those aesthetic characteristics it had as an artwork? These are but two of the questions immediately prompted by an extraordinary exhibition in Hanover comprising European paintings that were damaged to varying extents by fire during an air raid on the night of October 8–9, 1943. But other, more sinister, considerations emerge on further perusal.

    First, let us consider some of what is to be seen. Some of the paintings have been recuperated to a considerable extent, including a large canvas painted in 1902 by Max Slevogt that stands in the center of the gallery, a portrait of a Württemberg dragoon officer on horseback. Others present insurmountable challenges to conservators, as well as to viewers seeking to identify a subject. Among them is a Still Life with Wild Ducks (1885) by Carl Schuch. This painting is now no more than black, cracked and blistered paint crusts. Yet this canvas unquestionably has an aesthetic character, albeit inadvertent, the direct consequence of its near destruction.

    The presentation of this and other badly damaged works in a setting that uses the art museum apparatus of display, invites viewers to attend to the current aesthetic qualities of the paintings. In addition, many viewers will bring aesthetically validating memories of artworks by later artists, such as Alberto Burri, who deliberately employed the destructive capacity of fire in their works. Such associations can only encourage and enhance an aesthetic response to these damaged remnants. Yet the curator responsible, Claudia Andratschke, has not presented these things unequivocally as objects of aesthetic contemplation—that they are this is an unintended irony—but rather as witnesses to the destruction wrought by a pitiless aerial bombardment.

    The late W.S. Sebald analyzed Germans’ reluctance to address the consequences for their country and for themselves of the Allied bombing campaign in his great essay, On the Natural History of Destruction (1999). This exhibition is further evidence that the amnesia that so bewildered and angered Sebald, while slowly receding, still retains its power. This vestigial power lingers in the sobriety of tone of the labels and text panels in the exhibition, and of the accompanying publication. The firsthand evidence presented is chilling but discreet. Typed letters from the archives on view seek and convey conservation advice following the raid. These are letters of a kind to be found in many art museum archives, but, unlike those from other times and places, each of these concludes with a signature following the closing words, “Heil Hitler!”

    Andratschke addresses not only the immediate circumstances of the fire that destroyed and damaged so many artworks, but the climate of fear, hatred, and power abuse in which this occurred. Equaling the shock of seeing so many artworks damaged beyond repair is that of the story of the administration responsible for them. The art historian, Ferdinand Stuttmann, a Nazi party member since 1933, assumed the leadership simultaneously of the major Hanover museums following the flight to the United States in 1937 of the suspended director of the Landesmuseum, and the near simultaneous dismissal of the director of the municipal Kestner-Museum, whose wife was Jewish. Having consolidated his power, Stuttmann arranged for the receipt of artworks confiscated from Hanover’s Jewish community. The exhibition includes works acquired by Stuttmann from the confiscated property of Gustav and Elsbeth Rüdenberg, who were among the many Jews deported from Hanover to Riga, Latvia in December 1941, and who subsequently perished in the Nazi genocide. The unrecognizable Schuch still life, mentioned above, was theirs, as was the relatively well-preserved canvas, Die Nacktheit (reclining female nude), by Lovis Corinth (1908). The Rüdenbergs’s heirs may have been financially compensated after the war so that their eleven surviving, fire-damaged, paintings might remain the property of the City of Hanover, but—perhaps inexplicably to contemporary museum visitors—Stuttmann, rehabilitated following denazification, became director of the Landesmuseum again in 1952, retaining the post until his retirement in 1962.

    Above all, though, it is the blackened ghosts that are the artworks, through their pathos and inadvertent aesthetic power, which implicate both perpetrators and victims in shameful acts. No one comes out of this well, except perhaps the victims of the victims—the Rüdenbergs and their ilk. This important and disturbing exhibition shows us that only now is the amnesia of which Sebald wrote with such sorrowful anger beginning to recede in the discursive field of the museum, a full seventy years after the end of the war.

     


    Ivan Gaskell is professor and head of the Focus Project at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City.

     

    1. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    2. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    3. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    4. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    5. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    6. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    7. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    8. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    9. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    10. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    11. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    12. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    13. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    14. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    15. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    16. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    17. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    18. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    19. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    20. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    21. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    22. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    23. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    24. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    25. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    26. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    27. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    28. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    29. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    30. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    31. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    32. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    33. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    34. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    35. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    36. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    37. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    38. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    39. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    40. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    41. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    42. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    43. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    44. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    45. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    46. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    47. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    48. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    49. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    50. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    51. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    52. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    53. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    54. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    55. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    56. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    57. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    58. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    59. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    60. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    61. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    62. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    63. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    64. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).

    • Exhibition Notes
    • by Ivan Gaskell
    • April 7, 2015
  • After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India, 1947/1997
  • Exhibition view of After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India, 1947/1997 at the Queens Museum. Photo: Hai Zhang.

    Arshiya Lokhandwala, independent curator and founder of the Lakeeren Gallery in Mumbai, has assembled a fascinating exhibition in two complementary parts that offers visitors to the Queens Museum in Flushing’s Corona Park a selective crash course in Indian art from independence to the present.

    To show Indian artists’ engagement with international Modernism, she successfully appealed to private collectors in the New York area to lend examples of works by members of the Progressive Artists’ Group (active from 1947 to 1956) and some of their contemporaries. This was an era when painting still ruled, and artists left India, usually temporarily, for Paris and, increasingly, New York, several with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation. They sought stimulation from the School of Paris and emerging Abstract Expressionism. V. S. Gaitonde, for instance, drew inspiration from the works of Mark Rothko, with whom he became acquainted. In spite of their urge to work within European and North American internationalism, their best paintings retain a cultural peculiarity that is distinctively Indian. The abstractions by Ram Kumar derived from his visit to the holy city of Varanasi (Benares) on the banks of the River Ganga (Ganges) in the early 1960s are the high point of the first part of the exhibition. One canvas in particular sets bold, irregular blocks of rich blue and orange in a maze of earth colored forms infused with the fluidity of a Max Ernst.

    If the anxiety of the painters of the Progressive Artists’ Group generation to be internationally relevant revealed itself in the adoption of European and North American Modernist conventions, that of the current generation represented in the second part of After Midnight shows how artists can address specifically Indian themes while yet conforming to the conventions of the global art market that allows their work to function in the successive biennials that dominate the international art world today. Anita Dube (fig. 1) has created a huge linear form on one wall incorporating the epigram familiar from Francisco Goya’s suite of etchings, Los Caprichos, “The sleep of reason creates monsters.” So far, so European; but each and every sinuous line of this 2001 work that constitutes the monster and its epigram is composed of individual enameled votive eyes of various sizes used in Hindu devotions. The sleep of reason to which Dube alludes has a specifically confessional cast, for the monster to which it gives rise is implicitly that of Hindu extremism responsible for the destruction of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya in 1992, and other outrages that have subsequently led to huge loss of life.

     

    Fig. 1. Anita Dube, The Sleep of Reason Creates Monsters, 2001, installation of enameled eyes. Courtesy of the artist and Lakeeren Gallery, Mumbai.

    Equally political within a specific cultural nexus is the monumental work by Jitish Kallat, Public Notice (2003) (fig. 2). Kallat stenciled the entire text of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech given at midnight as India gained independence on August 14, 1947 in flammable adhesive onto five huge acrylic mirrors. When he set fire to the letters, burning them into the surface, the mirrors buckled. The resulting panels, each in a glazed heavy steel frame, recall the angry stenciled texts of African American artist, Glenn Ligon, but the resonance is specifically Indian. Nehru’s “Tryst with Destiny” speech has a cultural standing in that country equivalent to Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech of 1963 in the United States.

    Fig. 2. Jitish Kallat, Public Notice, 2003, Burnt adhesive on acrylic mirror, wood and stainless steel, 5 parts, 78 x 54 x 6 in. each. Shumita and Arani Bose Collection, New York. Photo: Hai Zhang.

    Mithu Sen can work on a large scale, too, but her piece in After Midnight is intimate. She has gathered a plethora of odd, small things, from plastic dolls to kitsch phalluses, in a dimly lighted cylindrical vitrine titled MOU (Museum of Unbelonging) 2 (2015). Some of the toys, keepsakes, and votive items are Western, others Indian. The juxtapositions are messy but deliberate: a votive eye like one of the thousands used by Anita Dube in The Sleep of Reason Creates Monsters is laid atop one of Albert Einstein’s in a print of the famous photograph of the physicist sticking out his tongue. A momentary irrational irruption of Western rationalism is itself overlaid by a token of Hindu irrationalism.

    Most effective as a reminder of the lives of those millions who exist outside the immediate terms of Western rationalism and cupidity that contribute to the reduction of those millions to penury is a composite object that serves as an anti-monument, What does the vessel contain that the river does not? (2014) by Subodh Gupta (fig. 3). A real river rowboat is loaded beyond the gunwales with the useful things and detritus of a human life: soiled blankets, battered cooking vessels, a mattress, clothing, wire mesh, oars, pieces of charred wood with the smell of combustion still lingering. This is not an image of hopelessness, rather of the ingenuity of desperation that still far outweighs burgeoning high tech and middle-class prosperity in the world’s most populous democracy.

    Fig. 3. Subodh Gupta, What does the vessel contain that the river does not?. 2014. Found boat, found objects, found utensils, fabric, steel, found fishing net, bamboo, rope, plastic pipe. 573 x 152.4 x 122 cm. Photo: Hai Zhang.

    Several of the eighteen individual artists and collectives in the exhibition have had recent exposure in North America and on the international biennial circuit, but their work remains to a large extent little known to an American audience. Their cultural specificity is their strength: viewers would do well do attune themselves to Indian issues. After Midnight gives New Yorkers who take the Number 7 train to Mets-Willets Point that opportunity.

     


    Ivan Gaskell is professor and head of the Focus Project at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City.

     

    1. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    2. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    3. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    4. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    5. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    6. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    7. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    8. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    9. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    10. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    11. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    12. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    13. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    14. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    15. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    16. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    17. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    18. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    19. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    20. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    21. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    22. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    23. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    24. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    25. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    26. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    27. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    28. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    29. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    30. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    31. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    32. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    33. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    34. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    35. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    36. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    37. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    38. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    39. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    40. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    41. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    42. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    43. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    44. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    45. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    46. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    47. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    48. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    49. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    50. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    51. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    52. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    53. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    54. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    55. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    56. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    57. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    58. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    59. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    60. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    61. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    62. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    63. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    64. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    65. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    66. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    67. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    68. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    69. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    70. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    71. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    72. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).

    • Book Review
    • Reviewed by Kerry Boeye
    • March 12, 2015
  • From Minor to Major: The Minor Arts in Medieval Art History
  • Challenging the value-laden distinction between major arts and minor arts is the motivation behind the sixteen essays gathered in this engaging volume, the product of a conference hosted by the Index of Christian Art in March 2011. As with other publications in the Occasional Papers series, the book offers a high scholarly standard across the array of expertise, methodologies, and disciplinary backgrounds of the contributors.1 The majority of the authors concentrate on a particular medium, while several proceed thematically. Together their efforts yield a stimulating book that is significant for its collective richness alone. By contrast, the overt value of the disciplinary intervention that drives the book at first seems less compelling. Predictably, the authors aim to free the artworks they discuss from the shackles of “minor art.” They analyze why the works have been marginalized by scholarly tradition and highlight the promise the objects hold for research—whence the aspirational, quasi-redemptive thrust of the book’s musical title, From Minor to Major. Elevating the minor to major, however, appears an aspiration already achieved for most of the contributors. This misalignment between the book’s ostensible purpose and the authors’ positions is nevertheless productive, because it exposes fascinating underlying problems regarding the shape of the field as well as what conceptual frameworks and forms of questioning are necessary and, for that matter, possible.

    Three of the contributors focus on themes that intersect with the categorical distinctions of minor and major. In the opening essay Paul Binski probes the hierarchies of medieval art by investigating the exercise of artistic invention in the Westminster Retable and the work of the “Northern Master” in the Upper Church of San Francesco, Assisi. Harald Wolter-von dem Knesebeck examines the notion of “secular art,” a category that partly overlaps with minor art. And through studying a range of Byzantine art, including metalwork, ivory, and textiles, Alicia Walker interrogates the concept of “decorative arts,” a euphemism for minor arts. The other thirteen authors devote their respective essays to a particular medium: Thomas Dale discusses Romanesque wall painting; Sharon Gerstel writes on ceramic pavements and revetments; Kim Woods studies alabaster tombs, altarpieces, and revetments; Laura Weigert focuses on tapestry; Brigitte Bedos-Rezak considers seals; Cynthia Hahn scrutinizes enamels; Jos Koldeweij concentrates on badges and pilgrim souvenirs; Alan Stahl surveys medieval coinage; David Areford analyzes prints; Michael Cothren addresses stained glass; and Welleda Muller and Frédéric Billiet explore misericords. This rich eclecticism of the essays is tempered by their more conventional temporal and geographic scope, which is largely confined to the Romanesque and Gothic in western Europe.2 Yet the range of media covered displays a dazzling varietas—a quality treasured by medieval viewers—which introduces readers to potentially unfamiliar media and promises to open avenues of research across domains of knowledge and specialization.

    The agglomeration of artworks in From Minor to Major raises an initial question: what has relegated the works to minor status in scholarly tradition? On this question, the book offers a brief introduction and the historiographies of particular media, which should be supplemented by Brigitte Buettner’s excellent recent overview, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts.”3 Both Buettner and various contributors to the volume trace the categories of major and minor to a Renaissance hierarchy of media, most famously expounded by Vasari, that privileged painting, sculpture, and architecture. “Minor”—as Wolter-von dem Knesebeck notes—is the comparative of parvus (little), and small size often accounts in large part for the perception of a work as minor (66). The majority of objects in From Minor to Major would fit comfortably in the hand. But there are numerous exceptions: tapestries, mural paintings, stained glass windows, alabaster tombs, and ceramic tiles, if one considers the expansive surfaces they covered. The essays reveal other factors, such as less esteemed materials, mixtures of media, and production processes involving collaboration, serialization, and standardization. Limited accessibility has also led to scholarly neglect, whether it concerns stained glass high in a clerestory or lead badges hidden in storage-room drawers. To be minor, then, depends not on scale alone, but on a confluence of factors that differ by medium. Whatever the exact constellation of factors, their cumulative weight tips the balance of perception toward minor art. “Minor” in this regard connotes not small size, a relatively neutral criterion, but the status of inferiority. While a work of minor art may be small, all such objects are freighted by this pejorative judgment.

    The authors successfully discredit perceptions of inferiority and remedy the historiographic marginalization of the media discussed in the book. In general, evocative examples and well-chosen case studies are employed to support conclusions about a medium or theme and its historiography, as well as to demonstrate effective methodologies. In his thought-provoking essay on pilgrim souvenirs and badges, for instance, Klodeweij first surveys the subject through a series of intriguing examples. Starting with ornate badges used to signal distinction among the highest echelons of society, he then descends to cheaper items that include blush-worthy badges emblematic of Bakhtin’s carnivalesque. Klodeweij concludes by turning to historiography and supplying a trove of scholarship in a series of daunting footnotes.

    Koldeweij’s essay is but one example of the wealth of insight, information, and ideas that reward readers of From Minor to Major. Cothren challenges traditional iconographic and connoisseurial interpretations of stained glass, as well as the reduction of the meaning of windows to generic light symbolism. Turning to windows in the cathedrals of Laon and Beauvais, he illuminates recent avenues of research demonstrating how the glass augmented ritual and engaged medieval viewers as glowing sermons. These newer perceptions of the medium, he asserts, need to be integrated into undergraduate teaching and texts, where they would transform the understanding of stained glass at the foundation. Elsewhere in the book, Stahl surveys the history of Western medieval coinage with a magisterial combination of brevity and incisive analysis. He also deftly accentuates the tensions between aesthetics and functionality that have shaped the study of coins, and encourages a reorientation in art-historical perspective on the medium. Woods, for a final example, compellingly discusses the finely honed appreciation of the material properties of alabaster among audiences of the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries—an appreciation often formed in dialogue with marble. No mere “folk” medium, alabaster sculpture, she also explains, was produced for audiences ranging from the elite to the popular. This handful of examples reveals the productive possibilities, the opportunities for comparison, and the invitations to further thought and questioning characteristic of the essays.

    Despite the book’s campaigning aim, the liberation of the minor arts appears largely a fait accompli. “Who says tapestry is a minor art?” Weigert demands in the opening salvo of her essay (103). Hahn, in her essay on enamels, says, “Let us quickly dispose of the ‘minor art’ stigmas that continue to circle in our literature but are irrelevant in the medieval and also contemporary spheres” (165). Most of the other authors dispatch the concept with similar swiftness, since it has already been discredited for decades. In an early challenge in 1954, Hanns Swarzenski argued for the importance of the minor arts and elected to designate them “church treasures” instead for the title of a book.4 In 1970, William Wixom threw down the gauntlet with his essay “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” which was published in conjunction with The Year 1200 exhibition.5 Two years later, Peter Lasko displayed discomfort with the term “minor,” using the title Ars Sacrafor his influential survey, and qualifying his mention of “minor” in the preface with another “so-called.”6 In scholarship from the 1980s on, the concept of minor art usually bears these kinds of qualifications like a scarlet letter that marks the widespread opprobrium of the concept’s anachronistic bias.7 Understandably, the use of minor art as an analytic category has languished. When encountered, the concept essentially plays a straw man invoked only to be rejected in spirited defenses of either particular media or even fields of study like Islamic art.8 Alternatively, minor/major are dissected historiographically as extinct specimens from an earlier scholarly era. Questioning these categories per se thus now appears a relatively minor concern in medieval art history.

    The most pressing problem faced by the authors is not giving minor arts their due as major, but the demanding labor of deracinating the dichotomy from the field entirely. Although the categories may be rejected explicitly, the problematic binary of minor/major remains deeply embedded in traditional structures of medieval art history, where it can still influence topics of research, guiding questions and strategies of argumentation. Witness the division of media among the essays in the recent A Companion to Medieval Art, which contains six essays on architecture and four on sculpture of the thirty total essays.9 Two other essays are devoted to manuscript illumination, which has generally assumed the status of painting for medieval art.10 Compared with these twelve essays only two address other media: Buettner’s aforementioned essay and another on stained glass. Even such a forward-thinking anthology therefore operates within the constraints of minor/major. Museum curators, moreover, may find this categorical distinction sadly relevant, since the organization of collections and institutional structures often reify the distinction. While many exhibitions and installations of medieval art disregard major and minor by mixing media within a display, the distinction remains problematically entrenched in other areas, notably the separation of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Italian panel painting from medieval art in the organization of many museum collections.11

    Such stubborn persistence of minor/major in the epistemological structure of medieval art history reveals a more fundamental challenge that might be better described not as From Minor to Major, but as From Minor and Major. Dale asserts as much with the opening clause of his essay’s title, “Transcending the Major/Minor Divide.”12 In her discussion of seals, Bedos-Rezak formulates the root problem precisely: “Medieval seals cannot be said to have metamorphosed a minor into a major art. However, to be other than minor is not to be the opposite of minor. Otherness is actually the crucial issue here” (138).13 The challenge is inscribed in the framework of the book itself. The very inclusion of objects and media in the volume amounts to an a priori assertion that they are minor. Rejecting this label pits the authors against a founding presumption of the book, and renders escape from the categories enormously difficult.

    What approaches do the authors employ to step beyond minor/major? Some navigate it by striking a middle course between the categories. Binski argues that the Westminster Retable and the work of the “Northern Master” reside in an intermediate zone between miniature and monumental, where media and formal vocabularies commingle in ways that indicate artistic invention thrived most at the intersections of hierarchies. Areford follows a similar tack in his provocative analysis of the hybridity of late medieval prints, and establishes them as “a medium in between” that eludes ready classification. These approaches attempt to discern the “otherness” of the artworks in the interstices and intersections of categories. Yet, these arguments remain within the orbit of the binaries they seek to question, since the categories set the terms of analysis.

    Dale exemplifies a different approach, in which he replaces the minor/major dichotomy with color as a frame for contextual analysis. His strategy belongs to the wider shift in interpretive practice toward the use of well-defined instrumental concepts such as visuality, narrative, gift-giving, space, reception, and others, often gathered under the rubric “critical terms.”14 Unlike minor/major, these concepts avoid the dialectical trap of a binary. Moreover, they serve as analytical tools rather than as categories that are used initially to define the field of inquiry. As a result, employing such critical concepts allows scholars to escape the limits imposed by categories, and to develop analyses across object types and even boundaries of disciplinary paradigms.

    Underpinning the spectrum of methodologies employed by the contributors is the aim to understand objects in their historical contexts. Against a problematic postmedieval category such as minor art, turning to context to recuperate how objects and media were created, used, and perceived under originary circumstances is an effective, if unsurprising, strategy. As an analytic frame, context counteracts the perceived autonomy of artworks and allied modes of interpretation that form a detached terrain from which critics and connoisseurs could securely pronounce judgments—such as declaring a medium to be a minor art. The almost perfunctory nature of using context to discredit already discredited categories, however, highlights the dearth of critical assessment devoted to the notion of context itself. “Context,” for instance, does not appear in the recent compendia of critical concepts published in medieval art history.15 From Minor to Major thus gestures toward the need for more rigorous assessment of the analytic role of context in art-historical research. What counts as context? How does one delineate context from the focus of interpretation? Is context necessarily singular, even in a particular historical circumstance? How stable are contexts?

    Surveying the volume without the conceptual framework of minor and major also underscores important organizing and legitimizing functions of the binary. Without the notion of minor, how could the authors consider together the welter of objects discussed between the covers—let alone draw synthetic hypotheses from them? Inasmuch as the authors imagine the absence of the categories, the framework of minor and major exposes how they tame the unruly diversity of medieval objects by arranging them within a formerly normative hierarchy of art. Thus conceptually reordered, medieval art—and, by extension, the discipline that studies it—more closely conforms to the Renaissance ideals underlying the founding paradigms of art history.

    Neither context nor critical concepts seem fully sufficient substitutes for “minor” in terms of these structuring and legitimizing capacities. The contingencies of historical analysis are far more recognized and integrated in scholarship today than they were decades ago, and so the need for the structural definition given by minor/major is consequently less compelling. The importance of assessing developments and trends in research nevertheless persists, as do pragmatic needs to define disciplines and allocate objects between different fields of study. Contextual interpretation, as the book amply shows, splinters the false conceptual unity imposed by the minor/major binary and replaces it with a kaleidoscopic view made of many brilliant pieces that resist synthesis. Critical concepts present other difficulties to a discipline with a strong materialist bent that has traditionally defined itself principally through the objects it studies. Such concepts designate sets of analytical approaches rather than actual things; as a result, objects threaten to vanish under the lenses of theory. As organizing principles, critical concepts would fundamentally challenge the traditional ordering of the discipline around objects, and replace the perceived certainty of things with the flux of immaterial ideas.

    Within the horizons of the book, however, another focal point of disciplinary coherence emerges around the attentiveness to materiality threaded throughout the essays. Hahn, for example, presents evidence of medieval writers differentiating between encountering objects from afar, a predominantly ocular experience, and near, where touch, even taste and smell, augment visual experience and transform the apprehension of an object (166–68). Weigert uncovers a similar mode of perception in her analysis of how the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries shuttle between dematerialized illusionism and the assertion of surface pattern, tactility, and weave of the textile (110–14).16 The rejection of minor/major here suggests that the emphasis on materiality may be partly driven by the crumbling of older forms of disciplinary organization. After all, the notion of materiality, which has gained enormous momentum in academic discourses over the past decade, potentially combines the flexibility and openness of a critical concept and the sensitivity of historical contextualization with an anchoring in objects.

    What do the types of objects once dubbed minor offer ongoing discussions of the material turn? Currently, it is under the notion of materiality that one most often finds analyses of the kinds of objects once deemed minor.17 Rereading the book from this perspective suggests that these objects favor the apprehension of tactile modes of experience keyed closely to the materiality of things. Recall that many of these objects seem best adapted to the hand, or at least strongly invoke the sense of touch. Researchers may thus discover unity in the propensity of such objects to foreground tactile modes for modern viewers, who are more accustomed to art as an essentially ocular experience.18 From Minor to Major, in sum, signals important shifts in the study of these often marginalized objects away from exhausted debates about past disciplinary categories and toward the prospect of new research paradigms that hold transformative potential for art history and sister disciplines.


    Kerry Boeye is assistant professor of art history at Loyola University, Maryland.


    1. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    2. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    3. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    4. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    5. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    6. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    7. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    8. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    9. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    10. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    11. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    12. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    13. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    14. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    15. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    16. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    17. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    18. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    19. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    20. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    21. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    22. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    23. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    24. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    25. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    26. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    27. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    28. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    29. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    30. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    31. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    32. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    33. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    34. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    35. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    36. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    37. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    38. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    39. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    40. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    41. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    42. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    43. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    44. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    45. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    46. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    47. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    48. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    49. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    50. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    51. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    52. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    53. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    54. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    55. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    56. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    57. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    58. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    59. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    60. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    61. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    62. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    63. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    64. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    65. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    66. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    67. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    68. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    69. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    70. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    71. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    72. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    73. 1. The volume possesses the same high production values customary for the series. Especially praiseworthy is the large number of color illustrations. Small editorial errors are peppered throughout the book, but detract little overall. Two, however, bear mention. The introduction to the volume wrongly gives the date of the first publication of Vasari’s Lives as 1568, not 1550 (xvii). Yet the text seems actually to refer to the second edition of 1568, in which Vasari more clearly gives primacy to painting, sculpture, and architecture: see Brigitte Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 466. There is also confusion about references to figures at one point in Sharon Gerstel’s article, “Facing Architecture.” Figure 11 is mentioned at the bottom of page 57 as evidence of the polychromy on tiles. Figure 11, on page 59, illustrates a frescoed wall in a Cappodocian church, which inclines one to wonder whether the text should actually refer to the tile illustrated as figure 9 on page 57. Perhaps the mural paintings are adduced as examples of the coloristic brilliance lost by the tiles, but this would be confusing. On page 58, a reference to figure 12, the dome of the maqsura of the Great Mosque in Córdoba, should undoubtedly refer to figure 11 instead, as the text refers to a “contemporary church in Cappadocia.” Hopefully these errors can be rectified in subsequent printings.
    74. 2. Two exceptions are Walker’s contribution on Byzantine art, and Gerstel’s essay, which ranges from England to Byzantine Anatolia to the Ottoman Empire. Walker, Stahl, and Hahn venture into earlier material.
    75. 3. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466–87. In addition to the essay, Buettner organized the session “The Coming of Age of Medieval ‘Minor’ Arts,” sponsored by the International Center of Medieval Art, at the 2007 College Art Association Conference: see Abstracts 2007, College Art Association, 2007.
    76. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    77. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    78. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    79. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    80. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    81. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    82. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    83. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    84. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    85. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    86. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    87. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    88. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    89. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    90. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.

    • Book Review
    • Reviewed by Jo Applin
    • March 11, 2015
  • The Luminous and the Grey
  • For the 1995–96 soccer season, Manchester United launched a new all-grey road uniform with disastrous results. When halftime was called on a losing match against Southampton, Manchester manager Alex Ferguson had the team change back into a brightly colored blue-and-white kit. For Ferguson this was, infamously, not a matter of superstition but rather visibility; the grey, he alleged, rendered the players invisible to one another on the pitch. The team rallied to score one goal in the second half, but they did not win a single game in the grey uniform and it was dropped before the season ended. Grey is the color of losers, not winners. It is dull, pessimistic, and uninteresting (in fact it is barely a color, and it is more often described as a tone or shade). Whether describing moods, people, or things, grey, unlike every other color, is used in unanimously negative terms. David Batchelor addresses the apparent gulf between these perceptions in his recent book The Luminous and the Grey. It is a pendant volume to the writer and artist’s Chromophobia from 2008, and, like that book, offers a rich meditation on color as both an idea and a material substance.1

    The infamous grey Manchester United kits worn during a 3-1 loss to Southampton in April 1996.

    In recent years color has received renewed interdisciplinary attention from a range of historians, anthropologists, scientists, psychologists, and sociologists. Since the Renaissance paragone between colore and disegno, the relative value and status of color, as either mere frippery or serious subject for consideration, have been debated by theorists and practitioners alike. A small sampling of recent exhibitions and books about color might include the Museum of Modern Art, New York’s 2008 exhibition Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today, which tracked the various ways in which artists including Batchelor have worked with color since midcentury, as well as the National Gallery in London exhibition Making Colour (2014), which explored the history, invention, and uses of color in painting between the early Renaissance and impressionism from a scientific perspective.2 Meanwhile, Natasha Eaton’s recent book, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (2014), explores the politics of pigment through a thoughtfully theorized account of the various “entanglements” of color and colonialism, while Chris Horrocks’s edited volume Cultures of Colour (2012) emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of color studies in recent years, drawing together an impressive mixture of essays by art historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and film scholars.3

    The title of Batchelor’s book is a gloss on Ludwig Wittgenstein’s statement in his Remarks on Colour that “whatever looks luminous does not look grey”’ (p. 26). Rather than follow Wittgenstein’s either/or formulation, Batchelor argues that it is impossible to think one without the other. His primary concern is not to pin color down or to fix it in place by naming it as such, but rather to track the many “ambiguities” and “thresholds” that color inhabits and produces in daily life so that we might notice the elusiveness of color as a “thing.” Batchelor wants to attend to “the places, actual and imagined, where color enters and leaves, where it begins and ends, and begins again, and ends again, in an endless play of light and shadow” (p. 17).

    Color, according to Batchelor, has received a bad reputation in the West, particularly in those dominant accounts of modernism in which the monochrome scale of black, white, and grey prevail. While Chromophobia argued that a “chromophobic” attitude permeates Western cultural and intellectual thought, The Luminous and the Grey reveals how closely hewed to one another color and its absence are. From the study of optics and industrial chemistry to the ways in which color has been variously disavowed, ridiculed, and radically reclaimed—from pop art’s reveling in bright color to minimalism’s embrace of ready-made paint colors and artificial light and plastics—Batchelor tracks the fortunes and failings of color across the modern period.

    Batchelor’s work is distinctive for his refusal to approach the topic from one specific disciplinary perspective, writing instead from his unique dual position as both a writer and a successful artist who has worked with and thought deeply about color for many years. If the theme of whiteness and the absence, and accompanying fear, of color preoccupied the author of Chromophobia, his attention turns in the current book to the chromophilic in modern art and culture. The Luminous and the Grey is about color seeping back into the picture in all its dazzling and complex shapes and forms; one case in point is Batchelor’s engaging meditation on the abstract nature of a grey manhole cover. Across three chapters Batchelor weaves a route through the material objects of everyday life—both natural and artificial—upon which color impinges. The book’s range of references is far-reaching, drawing on examples from art history such as Yves Klein’s writing on color, to the transformative moment when color bursts onto the screen in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.

    Batchelor traces the “colour revolution” to 1850 and the accidental discovery of synthetic color by William Perkin, an eighteen-year-old chemist. He had been experimenting on coal tar residue to other ends when he inadvertently produced his first color, mauve. Within years an “entire synthetic rainbow” had been produced using Perkin’s method (p. 36). Synthetic dyes were far cheaper than animal, vegetable, and mineral colors, with corresponding and far-reaching effects for the material culture of Victorian Britain: in 1858 Queen Victoria wore mauve to her daughter’s wedding. Such was the popularity of Perkin’s mauve in the fashion industry that its appearance on the streets of Paris and London was regularly satirized in the pages of Punch. The new synthetic dyes were not universally admired, however. William Morris, who knew a thing or two about design, commented that the main problem with the new dyes was that “every one of these colours is hideous” (p. 39). The book also contains imaginative readings of the ways color is explored in writing by Morris, Aldous Huxley, and Walter Benjamin, whose most powerful writings were, Batchelor notes, often written in the register of the grey and “nocturnal” (p. 60).

    In considering the aesthetic, political, and powerfully emotive status of the non-color that is grey, Batchelor offers a series of surprising, sometimes unlikely, and frequently enjoyable analyses of instances where color has been foregrounded. One example is his account of the 1980s British satirical puppet show Spitting Image and its rendering of the UK prime minister John Major. Week after week, the Major puppet appeared as a character composed entirely of shades of deathly dull grey; to appear as grey and boring was surely worse for Major’s poll ratings than the boorish, colorful, and utterly vivid caricatures his peers received at the puppeteers’ hands. At another point, and in a different mode entirely, Batchelor describes Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic novel The Road and its absence of color, suggesting that the book offers an experience of the world in a state of becoming grey, as both life and color drain away.

    Batchelor’s text delights in case studies drawn from literature, film, art, design, and everyday life, where “black” becomes “dark” becomes “grey” becomes “nocturnal,” and the “luminous” can serve as a description of an ordinary fluorescent light bulb as much as it can a transcendent and experiential mode of living in the world. Batchelor charts the lurch between the luminous and the grey, the ordinary and the extraordinary. The book ends with a description of the imagined reconciliation of the apparently polar registers of the luminous and the grey in the final scenes of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev (1966). Black-and-white film stock gives way to shots of pure, vivid color, before that too fades into a silent closing shot that returns us to an achromatic rendering of the “living world” figured in neither black-and-white nor vivid color but an altogether softer, “humane” and luminous “panorama of grey” (p. 96).

    Batchelor is an exhilarating writer to read and think with; he wears his research and scholarship lightly, while never belying the seriousness of his endeavor. Across its ninety or so pages, The Luminous and the Grey presents color as a mobile and moving category of experience. It is a thing felt as well as seen, made, and remembered. It is fluid and flimsy even as it floods our senses and the world in its various forms, from colored plastics to flashing LEDs. If in recent years a “neuroscientific turn” in visual studies has sought to determine how the brain functions in relation to the production and reception of color in art, Batchelor’s book is important because it reminds us of the singularly subjective and wholly unfixed, fluctuating, and entirely unscientific nature of our experiences with color, which determine, among other things, our responses to artworks and objects. For in those moments color and non-color—at its most luminous or grey—tell us something important about our relationship to the world of things.


    Jo Applin is senior lecturer in modern and contemporary art in the Department of History of Art at the University of York in the UK.

     


    1. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    2. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    3. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    4. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    5. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    6. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    7. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    8. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    9. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    10. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    11. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    12. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    13. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    14. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    15. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    16. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    17. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    18. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    19. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    20. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    21. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    22. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    23. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    24. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    25. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    26. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    27. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    28. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    29. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    30. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    31. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    32. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    33. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    34. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    35. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    36. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    37. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    38. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    39. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    40. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    41. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    42. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    43. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    44. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    45. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    46. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    47. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    48. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    49. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    50. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    51. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    52. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    53. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    54. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    55. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    56. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    57. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    58. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    59. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    60. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    61. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    62. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    63. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    64. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    65. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    66. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    67. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    68. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    69. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    70. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    71. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    72. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    73. 1. The volume possesses the same high production values customary for the series. Especially praiseworthy is the large number of color illustrations. Small editorial errors are peppered throughout the book, but detract little overall. Two, however, bear mention. The introduction to the volume wrongly gives the date of the first publication of Vasari’s Lives as 1568, not 1550 (xvii). Yet the text seems actually to refer to the second edition of 1568, in which Vasari more clearly gives primacy to painting, sculpture, and architecture: see Brigitte Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 466. There is also confusion about references to figures at one point in Sharon Gerstel’s article, “Facing Architecture.” Figure 11 is mentioned at the bottom of page 57 as evidence of the polychromy on tiles. Figure 11, on page 59, illustrates a frescoed wall in a Cappodocian church, which inclines one to wonder whether the text should actually refer to the tile illustrated as figure 9 on page 57. Perhaps the mural paintings are adduced as examples of the coloristic brilliance lost by the tiles, but this would be confusing. On page 58, a reference to figure 12, the dome of the maqsura of the Great Mosque in Córdoba, should undoubtedly refer to figure 11 instead, as the text refers to a “contemporary church in Cappadocia.” Hopefully these errors can be rectified in subsequent printings.
    74. 2. Two exceptions are Walker’s contribution on Byzantine art, and Gerstel’s essay, which ranges from England to Byzantine Anatolia to the Ottoman Empire. Walker, Stahl, and Hahn venture into earlier material.
    75. 3. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466–87. In addition to the essay, Buettner organized the session “The Coming of Age of Medieval ‘Minor’ Arts,” sponsored by the International Center of Medieval Art, at the 2007 College Art Association Conference: see Abstracts 2007, College Art Association, 2007.
    76. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    77. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    78. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    79. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    80. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    81. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    82. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    83. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    84. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    85. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    86. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    87. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    88. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    89. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    90. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    91. 1. David Batchelor, Chromophobia (London: Reaktion Books, 2001).
    92. 2. See also Pamela H. Smith’s recent review of the edited volume The Materiality of Color: The Production, Circulation and Application of Pigments 1400–1800 in West 86th 20, no. 2 (Fall–Winter 2013): 238–39.
    93. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    94. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    95. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    96. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    97. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    98. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    99. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    100. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    101. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    102. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    103. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    104. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    105. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    106. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    107. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    108. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.

    • Book Review
    • Reviewed by Christopher Long
    • March 11, 2015
  • Koloman Moser: Designing Modern Vienna 1897–1907
  • In the spring of 1903, Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser founded the Wiener Werkstätte. The company, officially recorded in the commercial court records as the Wiener Werkstätte Productiv-Genossenschaft von Kunsthandwerkern (Productive Cooperative of Artisans), was neither truly a cooperative—it was in reality operated essentially as a manufacturing firm and retail store—nor an alliance of artisans. Though highly skilled craftspeople were involved in the making of all of the company’s products, the Wiener Werkstätte was above all a modern design firm, one of the world’s first and, undoubtedly, one of the most illustrious. Other designers had a hand in fashioning the company’s products—as time went on the roster of Viennese artists associated with the firm grew to a lengthy list—but, initially, the great majority of the designs issued from Moser and Hoffmann.

    The two men had known each other since around 1895. In 1897, with several others, they had founded the Siebener-Club (Club of Seven), an informal discussion group focused on the cause of modernism. The same year, they became founding members of the Secession, or Vereinigung bildender Künstler Österreichs (Union of Austrian Artists).

    Moser, born in 1868, was two years older than Hoffmann. He was a native Viennese, from a well-to-do family, the son of Josef Moser, the administrator of the Theresianum, one of the city’s elite private boarding schools. After completing his secondary schooling, he studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts with Christian Griepenkerl (whose students included Carl Otto Czeschka, Richard Gerstl, Max Kurzweil, Alfred Roller, and Egon Schiele) and others; then, after graduating in 1892, he began three years of training under Franz Matsch (the former partner of Gustav Klimt and his brother Ernst) at the Vienna Kunstgewerbeschule. Moser and Hoffmann began collaborating around the time of the founding of the Secession, producing objects and interiors in the new Jugendstil. They envisioned creating an organization that would allow them to “combine fine and applied art” in a modernist vein, but it was not until they met the textile industrialist Fritz Waerndorfer, owner of a cotton-spinning factory in Náchod (in what is now the Czech Republic), that they found the financial backing to realize their idea (294).

    Moser, who was as prolific as the prodigious Hoffmann, created dozens of designs for the firm, and he and Hoffmann also collaborated on a series of exhibitions. Their work was based on a shared belief in the ideal of the Gesamtkunstwerk—of a unified and harmonized design aesthetic. Both men’s work sometimes also betrayed the influence of historical models—ofttimes classical or archaic in origin—or abstracted or conventionalized natural forms. But what set their designs apart was their early embrace of a new aesthetic, founded on clean, simple lines, elemental forms, and repeated geometries.

    Repeated geometric forms were insistently advanced in Moser’s design for a sugar box from 1903, executed in silver and niello, with sharp, rectilinear lines cloaked entirely with a tight checkerboard pattern, resting on four tiny ball feet (see pages 328–29). It was a tour de force of a new purity of expression and a direct harbinger of all that came after in modernism. Moser would go on to do a series of related punchwork flower baskets and plant stands, which, with their precise and ordered lines, predicted the advent of Constructivism, De Stijl, and the Neue Sachlichkeit.

    His work for the Wiener Werkstätte, however, ended early, in 1907. Concerned about the growing financial problems of the company—it was hemorrhaging money because of mismanagement and exorbitant operating costs—he called, in a letter to Hoffmann, for a shift in how the products were made, using less expensive means: “I believe the W. W. can only thrive if it abandons the expensive approach of producing its own objects that can get by without the designer’s immediate influence. I do not know whether we are agreed on that—I accept that I am wrong—because every object can only be produced as it is being done now—but no one can exist on that. Unless one is creating for posterity” (letter from Moser to Josef Hoffmann, February 3, 1907, quoted on p. 344).

    Moser was also unhappy that Waerndorfer, concerned about keeping the firm afloat, had gone behind his back to his wife, Edith (Ditha) Mautner von Markhof, daughter of one of the empire’s great industrial fortunes, asking for money. Hoffmann, though, saw it all differently. He defended Waerndorfer and restated his belief in the importance of true handicraft production. The two old friends could not reconcile their differences, and Moser quit the firm. He turned instead to painting, occasionally producing set designs for operas or plays and, from time to time, graphic designs. In 1916, he was diagnosed with incurable cancer of the larynx. He died two years later.

    In the literature of turn-of-the-century Vienna, Moser is always present, but he generally is accorded a secondary position in relation to Hoffmann. Hoffmann certainly had the more illustrious career. In later years, after Moser left the Wiener Werkstätte, Hoffmann would become perhaps the best-known designer in Europe, celebrated for his originality and for the exquisite quality of his work. He continued to operate the Wiener Werkstätte—nearly always at a loss—until it was finally forced into bankruptcy in 1932. He lived on till 1956, still churning out designs almost to his last days.

    Koloman Moser: Designing Modern Vienna 1897–1907 served as the exhibition catalogue for a show at the Neue Galerie in New York in 2013, which subsequently traveled to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Edited by Christian Witt-Dörring, it includes essays by many of the best scholars on Viennese modernism, including Rainald Franz (on Moser’s work as a graphic artist); Witt-Dörring (on his interiors and furniture); Angela Volker (on Moser’s designs for textiles, fashions, and theater costumes); Ernst Ploil (on his glass and ceramics); and Elisabeth Schmuttermeier (on the part he played in the Wiener Werkstätte). It is a welcome addition to the previously small body of works on Moser, and it adds new insights into his life, career, and work.1 The book is beautifully produced, with many full-page color images of Moser’s design work, along with a large number of historic black-and-white photographs, some never or rarely before reproduced. The essays are of equally high quality, thoroughly researched and lucidly written.

    The picture of Moser that emerges from the texts and images is of an artist of remarkable breadth (he would eventually produce paintings, graphic designs, furnishings, glassworks, ceramics, fashions, small decorative and practical objects, and interiors) and ability. Yet a question—certainly the question—about Moser remains: to what extent was he responsible for forging the new language of purified form that would become synonymous with the early Viennese Moderne? It is a question that now is no longer entirely answerable, for not enough documentation remains for us to unravel the respective roles that Moser and Hoffmann played. What is clear is that for four or five years, from around 1900 to 1905, the two men worked in seemingly perfect tandem, leading the move away from the florid imagery of the early Jugendstil to a startlingly bare planar and linear art.

    In the annals of modernism, the closest analogy to this extraordinary feat is that of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, and their search for a new art that would culminate in Cubism. Each man propelled and inspired the other, as Braque famously said, “like two mountain climbers roped together”; it was their collaborative labor that led them to a place that likely neither would have reached alone.2 So it seems to have been for Moser and Hoffmann. And the comparison here goes further: just as Picasso would emerge as the more renowned artist, casting Braque in his shadow, so, too, Hoffmann eventually eclipsed his earlier partner.

    From our vantage today, however, it is beginning to appear more and more that it was Moser who was the stronger driving force in the Viennese quest for a new design. Hoffmann seemingly admitted as much in a lecture in 1911: “It was the painter Moser, who thanks to his activity as an illustrator knew more about the outside world and from then on had the greatest influence over us. His talent for planar art and every kind of craft innovation seemed fabulous to us” (Josef Hoffmann, “Meine Arbeit, Vortrag von 22. Februar 1911,” quoted on p. 14). In his incisive catalogue essay, Rainald Franz comes to the same conclusion: “The ‘jack-of-all-trades’ Koloman Moser was far more involved in the revival of artistic expression through line and plane than his friend Josef Hoffmann or other reform artists in Vienna around 1900. He perfected a system of graphic abstraction that was capable of developing motifs for all areas of the applied arts from floral and figurative models. In parallel with that, he developed a geometric system of primarily typographical decoration that provided the designer with new freedoms beyond the reference to reality” (85).

    Indeed, it now appears that it was Moser’s experiments in graphic art—his mounting penchant for simple lines and abstraction—that formed the basis of the new design. What remained for him and Hoffmann was to develop this idea into a fully realized aesthetic. Witt-Dörring describes the process succinctly and well: “Moser’s faith in the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk led him from the two-dimensional world of expression in painting and the graphic arts into the three-dimensional world of interior design and furniture. From the resulting tension, which he tried to resolve by breaking space down into planes, then recomposing it into a whole that was often atectonic, he produced his interiors and furniture, often in close collaboration with Hoffmann” (190). Together, thus, with little outside aid, Moser and Hoffmann invented the new language of modern design.

    But in what certainly is still the most curious twist of this story, both men soon abandoned their revolutionary idea in favor of a different form-canon drawn largely from historical sources. It was as if they had pushed to the very boundaries of what was possible and, content with what they had wrought, withdrew to experiment anew.


    Christopher Long is professor of architectural and design history at the University of Texas at Austin.


    1. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    2. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    3. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    4. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    5. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    6. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    7. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    8. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    9. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    10. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    11. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    12. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    13. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    14. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    15. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    16. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    17. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    18. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    19. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    20. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    21. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    22. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    23. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    24. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    25. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    26. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    27. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    28. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    29. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    30. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    31. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    32. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    33. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    34. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    35. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    36. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    37. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    38. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    39. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    40. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    41. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    42. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    43. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    44. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    45. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    46. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    47. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    48. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    49. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    50. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    51. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    52. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    53. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    54. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    55. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    56. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    57. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    58. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    59. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    60. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    61. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    62. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    63. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    64. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    65. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    66. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    67. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    68. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    69. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    70. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    71. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    72. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    73. 1. The volume possesses the same high production values customary for the series. Especially praiseworthy is the large number of color illustrations. Small editorial errors are peppered throughout the book, but detract little overall. Two, however, bear mention. The introduction to the volume wrongly gives the date of the first publication of Vasari’s Lives as 1568, not 1550 (xvii). Yet the text seems actually to refer to the second edition of 1568, in which Vasari more clearly gives primacy to painting, sculpture, and architecture: see Brigitte Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 466. There is also confusion about references to figures at one point in Sharon Gerstel’s article, “Facing Architecture.” Figure 11 is mentioned at the bottom of page 57 as evidence of the polychromy on tiles. Figure 11, on page 59, illustrates a frescoed wall in a Cappodocian church, which inclines one to wonder whether the text should actually refer to the tile illustrated as figure 9 on page 57. Perhaps the mural paintings are adduced as examples of the coloristic brilliance lost by the tiles, but this would be confusing. On page 58, a reference to figure 12, the dome of the maqsura of the Great Mosque in Córdoba, should undoubtedly refer to figure 11 instead, as the text refers to a “contemporary church in Cappadocia.” Hopefully these errors can be rectified in subsequent printings.
    74. 2. Two exceptions are Walker’s contribution on Byzantine art, and Gerstel’s essay, which ranges from England to Byzantine Anatolia to the Ottoman Empire. Walker, Stahl, and Hahn venture into earlier material.
    75. 3. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466–87. In addition to the essay, Buettner organized the session “The Coming of Age of Medieval ‘Minor’ Arts,” sponsored by the International Center of Medieval Art, at the 2007 College Art Association Conference: see Abstracts 2007, College Art Association, 2007.
    76. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    77. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    78. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    79. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    80. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    81. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    82. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    83. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    84. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    85. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    86. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    87. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    88. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    89. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    90. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    91. 1. David Batchelor, Chromophobia (London: Reaktion Books, 2001).
    92. 2. See also Pamela H. Smith’s recent review of the edited volume The Materiality of Color: The Production, Circulation and Application of Pigments 1400–1800 in West 86th 20, no. 2 (Fall–Winter 2013): 238–39.
    93. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    94. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    95. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    96. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    97. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    98. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    99. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    100. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    101. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    102. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    103. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    104. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    105. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    106. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    107. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    108. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    109. 1. See, e.g., Rudolf Leopold, Gerd Pichler, and Sandra Tretter, Koloman Moser: 1868–1918 (Munich: Prestel, 2007); Maria Rennhofer, Koloman Moser: Master of Viennese Modernism (London: Thames and Hudson, 2002); and Daniele Baroni and Antonio D’Auria, Kolo Moser: Graphic Artist and Designer (New York: Rizzoli, 1986).
    110. 2. See William Stanley Rubin, Picasso and Braque, Pioneering Cubism; exhibition catalogue (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1989); and William Stanley Rubin, Kirk Varnedoe, and Lynn Zelevansky, eds., Picasso and Braque: A Symposium: Proceedings of a Symposium Held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 10–13, 1989, in Conjunction with the Exhibition “Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism,” Shown September 24, 1989–January 16, 1990 (New York: Museum of Modern Art / H. N. Abrams, 1992.
    111. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    112. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    113. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    114. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    115. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    116. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    117. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    118. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    119. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    120. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    121. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    122. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    123. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    124. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    125. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    126. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.

    • Responses
    • by Ken Ames
    • January 8, 2015
  • Book Jackets
  • I’ve been struggling lately trying to write a review of an art museum publication that is not very good. One of the problems is that the jacket seems to promise something that the book doesn’t deliver. Or maybe it’s just that the contents don’t live up to the jacket. Whatever the case, the two don’t work together. This is probably not so much an instance of bait-and-switch as evidence of insufficient managerial oversight at that museum. But that is not the point here. What I want to say is that contemplation of this particular book jacket—tolerable enough on its own terms—prompted me to look with fresh eyes at book jackets more generally. And so I discovered what many others already know: the design of book jackets, the matching of covers to contents, is an art form worthy of far more recognition than it typically receives. There is wonderful work to be savored out there.

    Yes, I know that I come late to this particular feast. I recognize that people have long gone to school to learn the art and mystery of this craft and that it rests on a substantial body of both sophisticated theory and on lived experience and experiment. I realize that collectors have long been attentive to the materiality of books and thus to jackets and covers. My interest is not that of a practitioner or of a collector, however, but merely of an appreciative spectator. I find it intriguing to observe designers’ varying responses to the problems and possibilities posed by different classes of subject matter and authorial intent. Once one becomes attentive to book jackets, the prevailing high level of accomplishment becomes apparent. And impressive as well, considering that most design takes place within a social context. Only insiders know how many players with egos and opinions had to be placated before a given cover design could be approved. We outsiders, on the other hand, can just sit back and admire the outcome.

    Most book jackets involve some balance or words and images or, if not images, graphic devices of some sort. Not surprisingly, the covers of art books, by which I mean books about the visual arts, tend to privilege image over text but they do so in different ways, depending on the emphasis of the volume. Consider a couple of the strategies used for jackets on books that take the format of the catalog, whether of an exhibition or a collection. One of the most common exploits the synecdoche effect, where a part of an object may stand for the whole and/or one object for many. The jacket for Jared Goss, French Art Deco (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014; cover design by Susan Marsh) offers a recent example of this formula. The book is a catalog of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s French Art Deco holdings, which number many objects in varied media. The entire jacket—front, spine, and back—is given over to a continuous image of a single object, in this case a detail of an extraordinary—and enormous—églomisé glass panel by Jean Dupas and Charles Champigneulle, originally part of the furnishings of the ocean liner Normandie. The image is dominant—and absolutely arresting; text is suitably minimal.

    This jacket image actually engages a double synecdoche. First, the image on the jacket depicts a part of a larger object, seen in its entirety inside the book. So far so good.  Second, however, this one glass panel is used here to stand for the whole of the Metropolitan’s collection of French Art Deco, or at least that fraction included in this book. Strictly speaking, however, it cannot do so, since every object is specific and can only represent itself or an exact replica of itself. The Metropolitan’s volume includes well over twenty-five different classes of objects, the most numerous of which are vases, pieces of furniture, and textiles, in that order. A glass panel twenty feet high can in no sense represent any of those if we interpret “represent” narrowly. One could argue that the image on the jacket of French Art Deco actually depicts the most spectacular object in the collection and is decidedly not representative. And yet the portion of the object depicted is highly effective, in part because of its design and color and in part for its ambiguity. To anyone not familiar with the glass panel, the image is mysterious (what, exactly, is this thing?) and at the same time stylistically quintessentially French Art Deco. So, representative it is not but successful in attracting attention and piquing curiosity it most surely is.

    Electing a single spokes-object for a book’s jacket is a reasonable approach but sensible people may well disagree about which object that should be. The question is not wholly—or merely—academic. Part of the function of the jacket is to attract the attention of potential buyers and to serve, along with the text and imagery within, as part of a composite artifactual ambassador for the author or authors, sponsoring institution, or publisher. Book jackets are no simple things.

    Another example of the synecdoche strategy appears on the jacket for Ellenor Alcorn, English Silver in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Vol. I (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1993; design Cynthia Rockwell Randall). Instead of a detail of an object, here we see the entire object—two objects, actually—an intricately engraved sixteenth-century parcel-gilt ewer and basin, photographed against a black background. The image stretches from the front cover to spine to back. Five very short lines of text, elegantly understated, appear in the upper right corner. While here too the objects selected are arguably the most spectacular in the collection, showing them in their entirety rather than as details eliminates cognitive ambiguity. No need for uncertainty about what we are looking at. Where the French Art Deco cover trades on ambiguity, this one succeeds by eliminating ambiguity. Both jackets exploit the wonder that powerful objects can evoke but they do so in different says.

    Randall also was responsible for the design (and, presumably, the jacket) for Volume II of the MFA English silver collection, published in 2000. In this case, she opted to use two views of the same object, a wonderful chinoiseriesugar box dated 1747/48. A greatly enlarged detail of the sugar box’s elaborate and fanciful decoration entirely fills the front over. There is no text whatsoever (the title is on the spine). The back cover carries an image of the same sugar box at about its true size, setting up an intriguing and effective visual dynamic between the enlarged portion and the whole.

    A reversal of this arrangement appears on the jacket of Wolfram Koeppe, Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012; designers Miko McGinty and Rita Jules). Here the front cover carries the image of the upper two-thirds of one of the Roentgens’ lavishly complicated cabinets, while the rear offers a close-up of a sumptuous miniature interior, revealing just how imaginative and finely wrought these extraordinary objects are. Here too words are sparingly employed; the images carry most of the weight of communication.

    The synecdoche, of course, can work well for any study dealing with multiple objects and is not limited to catalogs. One particularly striking example adorns the jacket for Wayne Craven, Gilded Mansions (Norton, 2009; jacket by Robert L. Wiser). Wiser opted to use images of three different Gilded Age mansions to convey the contents of the book. The back carries a full-color view of the library at Biltmore. The spine (a mere three 3 cm wide), offers a slender vertical slice of the dining room at Kingscote in Newport, a sly trick on Wiser’s part, I think, to test reader visual acuity and architectural knowledge. The front cover comes closest to realizing the book’s title, offering a detail of the upper corner of the dining room at Newport’s Marble House, about as gilded a mansion ever built on this side of the Atlantic. The books’ title and the author’s name are identified in subdued white lettering that is part of the jacket yet somehow, and appropriately, apart from the image itself.

    There are probably thousands of capable uses of the synecdoche device on book jackets that might be mentioned here but I wanted to single out one additional cover in particular, in part because I was so taken by it the first time I encountered it. I am talking about the jacket for Mark Wilson Jones, Origins of Classical Architecture (Yale University Press, 2014; Gillian Malpass designer). The three surfaces of the jacket are treated differently. The spine bears white lettering on a black ground identifying author, title, and publisher. That is all. On the back, an image of a red-figure krater from the Museo Archeologico in Agrigento emerges from its own black ground, signaling that Jones’s inquiry reaches beyond conventional boundaries of architectural history. (What might a krater tell us about a temple?)

    The front carries the most powerful image, a view of the entablature of the so-called temple of Concord (also) at Agrigento, once crisp and possibly polychrome forms now worn to a uniform soft ochre. The Doric order is one of the most familiar idioms of western architecture but this image re-enchants the form, making it both completely comprehensible at one level yet equally incomprehensible on another. Seeing, even seeing very clearly, does not necessarily mean understanding. Appropriately, Jones ends his far-ranging study of origins with ten pages of questions both answered and unanswered. But I digress.

    A second common strategy used in designing jackets for art books plays with the idea of the sampler. This can take a couple of different forms. One involves what we might call the group portrait. An excellent example appears on the front of the jacket for Charles L. Venable, Silver in America 1840-1940: A Century of Splendor (Dallas Museum of Art/Abrams, 1994; Ed Marquand and Tomarra LeRoy designers). Save for a small rectangle of text, the entire surface is given over to a single image of what looks to be a random and disorderly assortment of twenty or so pieces of silver flatware of various styles, forms, and periods. The splendor is obvious, so also profusion and diversity. Points well made.

    Clustering images of several individual objects is a different way of creating the sampler. An effective example adorns Annette Carruthers, The Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland (Yale University Press, 2013; Emily Lees designer). Here front and back are laid out identically. Each bears seven object portraits arranged in a lateral 2-3-2 format, which puts one image in the middle of the composition while allowing for lively visual interplay among all seven objects. This approach works well when objects are in diverse media as they are here (architecture, stained glass, textiles, jewelry, etc.) and no one object or medium can represent all. On the other hand, it may not be easy to locate seven objects that will play nicely with each other on the same page. Each solution generates its own problems.

    I have noticed that all of the jackets discussed here have been dependent on excellent photography. So, by all rights, I should have credited photographers. But photographers are dependent on printers to make the most of their images. And so we should acknowledge printers. Printing looks best, of course, on well-chosen, quality stock, thus paper and its manufacturers deserve recognition. And so it goes. The traditional tangible art book is a very complicated artifact, a product of the work of many and inviting engagement and pleasures both intellectual and sensory. To my mind, the currently trendy e-book can’t hold a candle to it.

    Considering their artifactual complexity, it might be worth rethinking the way we review art books. Rarely these days does anyone reviewing a movie comment only on the acting.  Cinematography matters. So too the script, the score, the sound effects, the sets, the costumes, the casting, and all the rest. Movies and books are very different artifacts but like movies, books are also group creations. Key participants are usually listed in the small print fore or aft of the main text. The average review typically focuses on the contribution of the author and less often on the totality of the book as object (or work of art). Many of the books in our field (and all of those mentioned above) can be understood as forms of material culture that comment on or assess material culture. In other words, the entire package is the message. Recognizing that, we might want to be more attentive to the whole. Closer examination of the jacket would be a good place to begin.

     


    Kenneth L. Ames is professor of American and European decorative arts and material culture at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City.

     

    1. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    2. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    3. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    4. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    5. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    6. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    7. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    8. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    9. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    10. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    11. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    12. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    13. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    14. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    15. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    16. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    17. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    18. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    19. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    20. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    21. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    22. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    23. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    24. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    25. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    26. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    27. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    28. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    29. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    30. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    31. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    32. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    33. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    34. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    35. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    36. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    37. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    38. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    39. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    40. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    41. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    42. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    43. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    44. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    45. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    46. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    47. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    48. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    49. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    50. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    51. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    52. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    53. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    54. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    55. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    56. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    57. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    58. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    59. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    60. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    61. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    62. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    63. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    64. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    65. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    66. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    67. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    68. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    69. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    70. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    71. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    72. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    73. 1. The volume possesses the same high production values customary for the series. Especially praiseworthy is the large number of color illustrations. Small editorial errors are peppered throughout the book, but detract little overall. Two, however, bear mention. The introduction to the volume wrongly gives the date of the first publication of Vasari’s Lives as 1568, not 1550 (xvii). Yet the text seems actually to refer to the second edition of 1568, in which Vasari more clearly gives primacy to painting, sculpture, and architecture: see Brigitte Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 466. There is also confusion about references to figures at one point in Sharon Gerstel’s article, “Facing Architecture.” Figure 11 is mentioned at the bottom of page 57 as evidence of the polychromy on tiles. Figure 11, on page 59, illustrates a frescoed wall in a Cappodocian church, which inclines one to wonder whether the text should actually refer to the tile illustrated as figure 9 on page 57. Perhaps the mural paintings are adduced as examples of the coloristic brilliance lost by the tiles, but this would be confusing. On page 58, a reference to figure 12, the dome of the maqsura of the Great Mosque in Córdoba, should undoubtedly refer to figure 11 instead, as the text refers to a “contemporary church in Cappadocia.” Hopefully these errors can be rectified in subsequent printings.
    74. 2. Two exceptions are Walker’s contribution on Byzantine art, and Gerstel’s essay, which ranges from England to Byzantine Anatolia to the Ottoman Empire. Walker, Stahl, and Hahn venture into earlier material.
    75. 3. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466–87. In addition to the essay, Buettner organized the session “The Coming of Age of Medieval ‘Minor’ Arts,” sponsored by the International Center of Medieval Art, at the 2007 College Art Association Conference: see Abstracts 2007, College Art Association, 2007.
    76. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    77. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    78. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    79. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    80. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    81. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    82. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    83. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    84. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    85. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    86. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    87. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    88. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    89. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    90. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    91. 1. David Batchelor, Chromophobia (London: Reaktion Books, 2001).
    92. 2. See also Pamela H. Smith’s recent review of the edited volume The Materiality of Color: The Production, Circulation and Application of Pigments 1400–1800 in West 86th 20, no. 2 (Fall–Winter 2013): 238–39.
    93. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    94. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    95. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    96. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    97. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    98. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    99. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    100. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    101. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    102. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    103. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    104. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    105. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    106. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    107. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    108. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    109. 1. See, e.g., Rudolf Leopold, Gerd Pichler, and Sandra Tretter, Koloman Moser: 1868–1918 (Munich: Prestel, 2007); Maria Rennhofer, Koloman Moser: Master of Viennese Modernism (London: Thames and Hudson, 2002); and Daniele Baroni and Antonio D’Auria, Kolo Moser: Graphic Artist and Designer (New York: Rizzoli, 1986).
    110. 2. See William Stanley Rubin, Picasso and Braque, Pioneering Cubism; exhibition catalogue (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1989); and William Stanley Rubin, Kirk Varnedoe, and Lynn Zelevansky, eds., Picasso and Braque: A Symposium: Proceedings of a Symposium Held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 10–13, 1989, in Conjunction with the Exhibition “Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism,” Shown September 24, 1989–January 16, 1990 (New York: Museum of Modern Art / H. N. Abrams, 1992.
    111. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    112. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    113. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    114. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    115. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    116. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    117. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    118. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    119. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    120. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    121. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    122. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    123. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    124. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    125. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    126. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    127. 1. See, e.g., Rudolf Leopold, Gerd Pichler, and Sandra Tretter, Koloman Moser: 1868–1918 (Munich: Prestel, 2007); Maria Rennhofer, Koloman Moser: Master of Viennese Modernism (London: Thames and Hudson, 2002); and Daniele Baroni and Antonio D’Auria, Kolo Moser: Graphic Artist and Designer (New York: Rizzoli, 1986).
    128. 2. See William Stanley Rubin, Picasso and Braque, Pioneering Cubism; exhibition catalogue (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1989); and William Stanley Rubin, Kirk Varnedoe, and Lynn Zelevansky, eds., Picasso and Braque: A Symposium: Proceedings of a Symposium Held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 10–13, 1989, in Conjunction with the Exhibition “Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism,” Shown September 24, 1989–January 16, 1990 (New York: Museum of Modern Art / H. N. Abrams, 1992.
    129. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    130. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    131. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    132. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    133. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    134. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    135. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    136. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    137. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    138. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    139. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    140. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    141. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    142. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    143. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    144. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.

    • Book Review
    • Reviewed by Kim Dhillon
    • October 17, 2014
  • Please Come to the Show
  • I recently purchased a used copy of the art historian Ursula Meyer’s Conceptual Art (1972) on Amazon for £1.76, plus international shipping and postage. It arrived in the post a week or so later after being dispatched from New York to my home in London. When I opened it, I noticed that the inside cover was stamped with the name and mailing address of the previous owner: Dan Graham. The artist was using a P.O. Box at Knickerbocker Station on East Broadway in Manhattan when he owned the book. The rubber stamp of his address on the inside cover had not come through entirely on first impression, so the “8” in “Box 380” was overwritten by hand in black pen, presumably by an assistant, or perhaps by the artist himself. The unexpected coincidence of obtaining a text with markings, however small, by Graham points to a theme running through the new volume published by Occasional Papers, Please Come to the Show (2014)—that is, the transition of printed matter surrounding art exhibitions from ephemeral communications material to art historical objects. Is all of the stuff that surrounds exhibitions and art practices, particularly those based in conceptual ideas and not in material perceptions, the stuff of art? What historical value does it add to our understanding of the art practices and the movements, and discourses around them?

    Please Come to the Show is edited by David Senior, bibliographer at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) library in New York. Senior has selected from the MoMA library collection a wide range of printed matter intended as ephemera—exhibition announcements including postcards, flyers, and posters—that has entered the museum system by way of correspondence, and that has been subsequently archived and occasionally subject to “overactive stamping practices” (63). After nearly a decade of gallery announcements declaring cessation of sending printed invitations, Senior observed a change in the way in which we are invited to exhibitions. This inspired Senior to present his selection of the material as an exhibition, which he first did in 2013 in the MoMA library. With e-mail, the art newsletter e-Flux, and electronic mailing list software, invitations are often unviable or undesirable, costly both monetarily and environmentally. What has been the result of this change in communications practice?

    Senior’s method of research is, by necessity, very material: he physically sifted through boxes of curators’ files, invitations, and archives. His methodology is also voyeuristic, for Senior was viewing not only the invitations and announcements, but the correspondence written on them by the sender or receiver. The material is presented as uncaptioned, unframed, often full-bleed images, organized roughly chronologically, from the 1960s to the present, beginning with a Gustav Metzger announcement for auto-destructive art on London’s South Bank. New essays by Senior, as well as artists’ book advocate Clive Phillpot, artist Angie Keefer, and typographer Will Holder, are interspersed through images of announcements in the book. Together these explore the material that is often intended to be thrown away but which provides the first interface between the artist and an audience. Published following the exhibition of the material at the MoMA library, which then traveled to the Exhibition Research Centre in Liverpool, England, the book provides a valuable document to give public permanence and materiality to these artifacts of artists as well as to the artists’ communities, contexts, and communication.

    Senior’s essay gives the book its title and explores numerous valuable questions around these items, namely: what happens when this material shifts from printed matter to archived, art historical object? Most of the items (to call them “works” seems heavy-handed) selected are from 1960s and 1970s New York: a period of rapid productivity defining much of contemporary practice through happenings, events, performances, and exhibitions that tested the parameters of ideas-based practice. This movement of the first period of Conceptual Art in America was defined by a removal of the object status of the artwork, and a challenge to the art institution. It seems contradictory that an early career exhibition invitation sent to the critic Lucy Lippard in 1982 by the late artist David Wojnarowicz—who wrote earnestly but cautiously on the card: “Lucy Lippard, Hope you can catch this show. David”— ended up stamped, archived, and catalogued for this future use. This suggests an often-overlooked function of the museum machine, whereby despite whatever counternarrative the avant-garde may produce, someone in the museum is collating it as a document of the present. On the announcements, years or cities are often left out, as such information would already have been apparent to the receiver. The ephemeral nature and local specificity of the pieces are reiterated when they become archival objects. Senior highlights a Dan Graham postcard for a performance at the Royal College of Art, on which “ᴛᴏᴅᴀʏ” is inscribed and underlined by the anonymous recipient. The text on the white card, typewritten in black with only brief information conveying the location and time of the performance along with Graham’s name, highlights the temporality of the communication and gives an aura-esque flash of the receiver, who may or may not have made it to the show, and of Graham in his equally fleeting presence at the venue. Such flashes and personal injections into the texts surrounding artworks are lost with digital media.

    Holder focuses his essay on the collapsing of instruction and document, reading and writing in the example of a line of code and its displayed text in a digital announcement. The breadth of examples of announcements assembled in the book reveals shifts and trends in graphic design as a responsive medium, and art as a field responding to cultural changes by way of graphic design. Text-heavy documents and posters give way to minimal photostats; found and appropriated imagery sit alongside announcements made of collaged and handwritten text in a DIY aesthetic of the punk era. Some announcements—Barbara Kruger’s for one—mirror the artist’s use of text in her visual practice. All speak to a period before brand identity was part of the gallery- and museum-industry lexicon, and the graphic design, broadly speaking, responds to the artists and their work.

    Exhibition announcements are testaments to exhibitions held, irrespective of the show’s subsequent importance or critical impact. In a predigital age, if an exhibition is not reviewed or is without catalogue, then little evidence remains to prove it happened. The collated material in Please Come to the Show points out exhibitions and elements of artists’ practices often overlooked and not written into an artist’s biography. Two announcements for exhibitions of Kruger’s artwork are presented in a Futura bold oblique typeface and monochromatic colorway with punches of red, echoing her widely recognized visual style. These announcements sit on the same page as one curated by Kruger, Artists’ Use of Language, at Franklin Furnace, then in SoHo. Yet Kruger’s curatorial projects (she also organized Picturing Greatness at MoMA in 1988) are rarely referenced in her artist’s CV, though her experimentations have been influential on curators.1 As historical documents, the announcements record shifts in style and printing technologies as well as the lexicon surrounding exhibitions. Kruger is without title on the exhibition announcements for her solo shows, but she is noted to have “curated” (124) exhibitions on other announcements; whereas French artist Daniel Buren is the “person responsible” (88) for an exhibition of one of his films in 1970, and critic and curator Lucy Lippard “compiled” (87) the works for an exhibition benefiting the Art Workers Coalition at Paula Cooper Gallery in 1969. Such credits highlight a period before “curator” became synonymous with all exhibition-making practice, regardless of whether there was a collection with which to curate, or if the project instead entailed gathering material and works from outside an institution.

    Keefer questions in her essay: “What’s the difference between an advertisement (for a show or anything else) and an announcement?” (33). Critical of most artists’ announcements making an “upside-down inside-out peek-a-boo made-you-look confrontational paradigm” (34), Keefer suggests that though an announcement may “trot ahead” (33) of the main event, it is still part of the same whole, the artist’s oeuvre. It is not uncommon to save a few announcements that hold place on a desk long beyond the close of an exhibition. Usually these announcements act as a reminder of sorts. Others are a work of art of sorts. I have had one such announcement by the curator and artist Matthew Higgs around my desk since 2008, where it occasionally resurfaces as a bookmark. From an exhibition at Wilkinson Gallery, it says simply in a white sans-serif bold typeface on a black card: “Art is To Enjoy.”

    The lengthiest announcement presented in the book is for an Andy Warhol exhibition held at the Stable Gallery in New York in 1962. Nine pages long, the typewritten text announcing Warhol’s exhibition is a photostat reproduction of a term paper by an undergraduate student named Suzy Stanton. She wrote the paper, “On Warhol’s ‘Campbell’s Soup Can,’” for a class on art and communications at Bennington College in 1962. Her teacher, Lawrence Alloway, showed Stanton’s paper to Warhol, who then used it as an announcement. Apart from its inclusion in the book, we can identify this as an exhibition announcement only from a rubber stamp noting brief exhibition details on the final page of the paper. Stanton’s paper constructs a scenario of a fictional studio visit with Warhol, during which hypothetical conversations between sixteen students and Warhol unfold on topics that include his work and his relationship with soup. The photostat represents it complete with Alloway’s handwritten comments in the margins ranging from “wowie,” to “great conclusion: I should have seen it coming,” to a Pop-art-like “Pow!” alongside a particularly succinct point. (Alloway, a critic, was responsible for coining the term Pop art.)2 Senior managed to locate Stanton, who prefaces the announcement’s reproduction in the book with a brief text clarifying how it came to be used by Warhol. While she was studying abroad in Mexico, the artist obtained her permission for its reproduction, offering a painting in return. After returning to the United States, and then convalescing from food poisoning for several months, Stanton visited Warhol’s famous studio to receive her painting, only to be left waiting for hours while the artist ignored her as he viewed newly obtained pornographic movies. Finally leaving, bored, embarrassed, and unenthused, Stanton found her mythic appreciation of Warhol replaced by a realization that dispelled any illusion of connection through their shared text. Stanton’s experience debunks the myth machine that many galleries churn around artists.

    Reviewing the material in Please Come to the Show one cannot help but wonder: how do museums archive such stuff now? Instead of desks cluttered with announcements, we have e-mail in-boxes littered with e-flyers. Museums no longer collect the majority of announcements. As fewer exhibition invitations are done in printed form, the book reflects on the change in correspondence and ephemera some ten years after the switch from printed communications to digital. Though the printed matter that composes these announcements was not intended to be archived, it nonetheless possesses the material qualities that enable it to be so. Anthony Hudek addresses this idea in his chapter in the volume on “Library Art.” Senior sees exhibition announcements as a rare moment in which artists reach beyond their work to attempt to communicate with an audience, imploring them to come to see their work. With the shift to digital, we are losing announcements representing not simply graphic design artifacts, but markers of the communities and networks surrounding artworks. What then, if anything, will come to replace it?


    Kim Dhillon is a writer and artist currently completing a thesis on text art in contemporary visual practice since Conceptualism at the Royal College of Art, London.


    1. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    2. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    3. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    4. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    5. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    6. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    7. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    8. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    9. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    10. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    11. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    12. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    13. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    14. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    15. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    16. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    17. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    18. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    19. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    20. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    21. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    22. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    23. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    24. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    25. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    26. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    27. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    28. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    29. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    30. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    31. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    32. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    33. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    34. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    35. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    36. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    37. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    38. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    39. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    40. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    41. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    42. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    43. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    44. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    45. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    46. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    47. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    48. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    49. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    50. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    51. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    52. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    53. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    54. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    55. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    56. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    57. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    58. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    59. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    60. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    61. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    62. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    63. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    64. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    65. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    66. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    67. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    68. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    69. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    70. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    71. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    72. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    73. 1. The volume possesses the same high production values customary for the series. Especially praiseworthy is the large number of color illustrations. Small editorial errors are peppered throughout the book, but detract little overall. Two, however, bear mention. The introduction to the volume wrongly gives the date of the first publication of Vasari’s Lives as 1568, not 1550 (xvii). Yet the text seems actually to refer to the second edition of 1568, in which Vasari more clearly gives primacy to painting, sculpture, and architecture: see Brigitte Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 466. There is also confusion about references to figures at one point in Sharon Gerstel’s article, “Facing Architecture.” Figure 11 is mentioned at the bottom of page 57 as evidence of the polychromy on tiles. Figure 11, on page 59, illustrates a frescoed wall in a Cappodocian church, which inclines one to wonder whether the text should actually refer to the tile illustrated as figure 9 on page 57. Perhaps the mural paintings are adduced as examples of the coloristic brilliance lost by the tiles, but this would be confusing. On page 58, a reference to figure 12, the dome of the maqsura of the Great Mosque in Córdoba, should undoubtedly refer to figure 11 instead, as the text refers to a “contemporary church in Cappadocia.” Hopefully these errors can be rectified in subsequent printings.
    74. 2. Two exceptions are Walker’s contribution on Byzantine art, and Gerstel’s essay, which ranges from England to Byzantine Anatolia to the Ottoman Empire. Walker, Stahl, and Hahn venture into earlier material.
    75. 3. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466–87. In addition to the essay, Buettner organized the session “The Coming of Age of Medieval ‘Minor’ Arts,” sponsored by the International Center of Medieval Art, at the 2007 College Art Association Conference: see Abstracts 2007, College Art Association, 2007.
    76. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    77. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    78. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    79. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    80. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    81. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    82. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    83. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    84. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    85. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    86. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    87. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    88. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    89. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    90. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    91. 1. David Batchelor, Chromophobia (London: Reaktion Books, 2001).
    92. 2. See also Pamela H. Smith’s recent review of the edited volume The Materiality of Color: The Production, Circulation and Application of Pigments 1400–1800 in West 86th 20, no. 2 (Fall–Winter 2013): 238–39.
    93. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    94. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    95. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    96. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    97. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    98. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    99. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    100. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    101. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    102. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    103. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    104. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    105. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    106. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    107. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    108. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    109. 1. See, e.g., Rudolf Leopold, Gerd Pichler, and Sandra Tretter, Koloman Moser: 1868–1918 (Munich: Prestel, 2007); Maria Rennhofer, Koloman Moser: Master of Viennese Modernism (London: Thames and Hudson, 2002); and Daniele Baroni and Antonio D’Auria, Kolo Moser: Graphic Artist and Designer (New York: Rizzoli, 1986).
    110. 2. See William Stanley Rubin, Picasso and Braque, Pioneering Cubism; exhibition catalogue (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1989); and William Stanley Rubin, Kirk Varnedoe, and Lynn Zelevansky, eds., Picasso and Braque: A Symposium: Proceedings of a Symposium Held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 10–13, 1989, in Conjunction with the Exhibition “Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism,” Shown September 24, 1989–January 16, 1990 (New York: Museum of Modern Art / H. N. Abrams, 1992.
    111. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    112. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    113. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    114. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    115. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    116. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    117. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    118. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    119. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    120. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    121. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    122. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    123. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    124. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    125. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    126. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    127. 1. See, e.g., Rudolf Leopold, Gerd Pichler, and Sandra Tretter, Koloman Moser: 1868–1918 (Munich: Prestel, 2007); Maria Rennhofer, Koloman Moser: Master of Viennese Modernism (London: Thames and Hudson, 2002); and Daniele Baroni and Antonio D’Auria, Kolo Moser: Graphic Artist and Designer (New York: Rizzoli, 1986).
    128. 2. See William Stanley Rubin, Picasso and Braque, Pioneering Cubism; exhibition catalogue (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1989); and William Stanley Rubin, Kirk Varnedoe, and Lynn Zelevansky, eds., Picasso and Braque: A Symposium: Proceedings of a Symposium Held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 10–13, 1989, in Conjunction with the Exhibition “Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism,” Shown September 24, 1989–January 16, 1990 (New York: Museum of Modern Art / H. N. Abrams, 1992.
    129. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    130. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    131. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    132. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    133. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    134. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    135. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    136. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    137. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    138. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    139. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    140. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    141. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    142. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    143. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    144. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    145. 1. See “Barbara Kruger and Iwona Blazwick in Conversation,” Modern Art Oxford, 27 June 2014, https://soundcloud.com/user283658505/barbara-kruger-modern-art-oxford-27614.
    146. 2. See entry for Lawrence Alloway in Dictionary of Art Historians, http://www.dictionaryofarthistorians.org/allowayl.htm, retrieved 26 August 2014.
    147. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    148. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    149. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    150. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    151. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    152. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    153. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    154. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    155. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    156. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    157. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    158. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    159. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    160. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    161. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    162. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.

    • Book Review
    • Reviewed by Anthony Cutler
    • July 1, 2014
  • Les arts de l’Islam au Musée du Louvre
  • Readers of West 86th, published in the United States, may be surprised to find here a review of the French edition of this book when there exists a perfectly good English-language translation. The reason is that the latter, and to a lesser extent the former, are already “rare” books. When, soon after the books’ simultaneous publication in Paris in September 2012, the editors of West 86th sought to obtain from the Louvre a copy (in either language) for me to review, they were informed that the English edition was out of print; neither the museum nor the commercial publisher was able to supply the French edition. The response (after many months) from Amazon.fr, where the price was quoted at 37.05 euros, was, and still is, similar. The English version, which I for a short while held in my hands (it weighs more than three kilos) thanks to interlibrary loan, was in early January 2014 reported by the museum as “exhausted.” As of this date according to World-Cat, there exist 130 copies in institutional libraries. Those still seeking a copy will be obliged to obtain the French edition from Amazon.fr, a commercial river that flows very sluggishly in comparison with its American equivalent. This is the edition reviewed here (though prospective buyers should be aware of a much slighter and cheaper French version published under the same title). The English version does not give up much to the French in that the translation is for the most part excellent,1 and the complement of magnificent photographs by Hughes Dubois is the same. By some miracle of publishing the photographs and their accompanying texts occur on the same pages in both books. The page references below therefore apply to both editions.

    Given the readership of West 86th, it is the book’s intellectual qualities and its unusual concern with materiality that I shall stress, concentrating on creations from before the sixteenth century, the era that I know better and from which come more than one half of the entries in the catalogue.2 Even before considering the ideas conveyed by the most insightful essays, the essential relationship between the accompanying photographs and the materials and techniques in question deserves to be brought out. The art historian who is allowed to examine an object rejoices in the immediacy extended by this privilege. But for others without such access, first-class images, especially when accompanied by telling details, are the best, indeed the only, alternative.3 Hence the invaluable role played by the images in this book. A few examples, chosen almost at random, will make my point. As magnified, a “bird-flower” panel on a fragment of Aleppo pine (p. 102) is large enough for us to observe the grain of the wood and how this changes direction at successive levels of the beveling, enabling the craftsmen to suggest the shape of the animal’s head transforming itself into a tuliplike form.4 Similarly, the skill of the metalworker who signed his piece “work of ‘Abd al-Malik the Christian” is fully evident in the imbricated feathers on a bronze peacock cast in the year 972 (p. 95). Occasionally the magnificent photographs allow experiences unavailable to the visitor to the museum. Thus a late twelfth- or early thirteenth-century stonepaste cup with hunting scenes is shown lighted from the inside, an effect that upends the viewer’s initial impression of opacity.

    Underlying such insights is of course the unmediated familiarity with the objects of those who (in contrast to too many contributors to American exhibition catalogues) have held them in their hands, an experience indicated, for example, in the discussion of an Iranian candlestick (fig. 100). In the photograph, as in the museum’s vitrine, it looks very heavy, but as Annabelle Collinet reports, it is, in truth, surprisingly lightweight, due to the fact that the object was made from a single sheet of copper alloy before its incrustation with silver and copper. The candlestick is worked in repoussé, a far from simple technique given the multiplicity of the motifs (ducks, felines, and ornamental bosses) employed. Still in the realm of material studies, Gwénaëlle Fellinger gives a brilliant account of the manufacture of enameled and gilded glass vessels of the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries (pp. 233–35). Thus a translucent glass bottle with a long neck (more than 51 cm tall overall) was made first by heating silica and a potassium or sodium flux to 1,100 degrees Celsius. The resulting molten liquid was then blown to form the bottle. After it was chilled, the bottle was brush-painted with gold dissolved probably in a mercuric medium before the application of opacified and colored glass—blue from lapis lazuli, red from iron oxide, yellow from lead and lime—to form enamels that required a final controlled re-firing. This last step was peculiarly fraught in that it could have deformed the entire object, ruining the glassblower’s original achievement.5

    It goes without saying that the chemistry of materials was not uppermost in the crafter’s mind. Rather, it permeated his or her practices even as these were shaped by unconscious awareness of the physics evident in the scientific writings of al-Haytham and the spiritual implications of light in Muslim religious commentary. Discussion of such texts is understandably not the prime concern of the contributors, who, ever pragmatic, rightly pay more attention to the ways in which things worked and the circumstances for which they were made. Even the smallest object may be fruitfully treated in this manner. Thus Claire Déléry suggests that the little fragment of a lustered cross from an Algerian site, the gift of the military commander and archaeologist Léon de Beylié, was originally made for a dark room in the tower of a now ruined palace where reflections from its gilded glaze could be seen to best effect.6 In the same vein, cautious but not afraid to let his imagination run, Rocco Rante writes about the semiabstract (fan-shaped or peacock-tail) motifs recurrent in wood, marble, and stucco elements in the palace complex of Dar al-Khalifa at Samarra (p. 86), arguing that these “must have lent a strong visual unity to this space, the center of caliphal pomp.”

    Elsewhere Rante and Makariou provide a useful account of the evolution of lusterware (pp. 72–75), which entails a complicated multistage process developed, though not necessarily invented, in ninth-century Iran. Lusterware and inscribed “engobe sur engobe” (slip on slip ware) together represent the best in Islamic ceramic decoration and, in my view, its calligraphic acme. Even if these ceramic techniques initially derived from Chinese porcelain (the yin and yang sign at the center of the Louvre’s plate, on pp. 108–10, may be telling evidence), it is the enclosing epigraphy that is the great glory of this enduring medium. Many of the inscribed texts are adages or quotations from the hadith (traditions of the Prophet), and in other cases literary inspiration is mooted for objects made for the highest social ranks. In an endnote Makariou estimates that the library of the Spanish Umayyad caliph al-Hakam II (d. 976) contained twenty thousand books, as opposed to the collections at Cluny and Fulda that held probably less than one thousand.7 Thus textual inspiration is a distinct possibility. Nonetheless, in the case of the stonepaste hunting cup alluded to above, despite its (damaged) Persian verse inscription, she observes that “what precise [literary motif] came to the mind of the fortunate user of this precious vessel [the English translation uses the humbler term “dishware”] . . . can no longer be correctly understood.” This approach depends upon the method of iconographic investigation undertaken in Germany and the United States by Erwin Panofsky. I would suggest instead the possibility that the decoration had no precise meaning, given that hunting imagery had been used for millennia before (and long after) this object was made. Pleasure in the visual for its own sake and a generic depiction of a long-enjoyed activity may in themselves be sufficient justification for the cup’s existence.

    In other cases, however, awareness of the literature involved—including ancient texts that had become outmoded or ignored—is essential to the full apprehension of an object. For example, the stars’ coordinates on a magnificent brass celestial globe or astrolabe cast in 144–45 (a date inferred from its inscribed content; pp. 150–53) differ from those given in Ptolemy’s Almagest, even while the iconography of the zodiacal constellations on the globe remains faithful to the antique models of the Greek poet Aratus. The tension between decoration and information is central to the story of Arabic epigraphy, and it is a main problem raised by angular kufic scripts of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Indeed, Carine Juvin goes so far as to suggest that some of these were intentionally difficult to read and that the “rhythmic interplay of verticals, backward-bending terminals, vegetal elaboration and knotted interlaces” (pp. 145–46) show the triumph of the ornamental over the legible, an evolution hardly envisaged by al-Haytham when in his eleventh-century treatise on optics he reflected on the role of harmony in calligraphy.

    The essays in Les arts de l’Islam often integrate architectural decoration into the narrative, as against those American catalogues in which buildings are shunted off to the ghettos of separate chapters written by separate hands. The resulting oneness of architecture and the geometric motifs that inhabit and adorn it is observed by Annie-Christine Daskalakis Mathews in a short but brilliant discussion of the porch of a Mamluk house in Cairo (pp. 261–64). This original contribution is no less valuable in its way than the historiographical information in an account by Makariou of the uncovering in the 1920s—and thus before their problematical later restorations—of the mosaics of the western portico of the Great Mosque of Damascus, which had been plastered over during the Ottoman period. The watercolors recovered in 1999 that record these finds have a direct bearing on the history of modern art: the palette of the mosaics was much admired by Louis Vauxcelles, the inventor of the term “Fauvism,” who compared the palaces depicted in the mosque to the work of Raoul Dufy, while the trees in their parks evoked for him the creations of Derain (pp. 80–84).

    All in all, however, it is the incorporation of material culture studies into art history that is the novelty and final achievement of Makariou’s catalogue.8 Not every object discussed in the book is presented in this way,9 but here we have a superb example for its successors to emulate.


    Anthony Cutler is Evan Pugh Professor of Art History at Penn State. He is one of the United States’ foremost Late Antique and Byzantine specialists and an international authority on ivory carving. Currently, he is working on larger problems of exchange between Byzantium and early Islam. He was elected Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford University for 2011–12.


    1. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    2. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    3. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    4. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    5. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    6. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    7. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    8. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    9. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    10. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    11. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    12. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    13. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    14. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    15. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    16. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    17. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    18. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    19. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    20. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    21. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    22. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    23. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    24. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    25. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    26. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    27. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    28. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    29. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    30. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    31. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    32. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    33. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    34. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    35. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    36. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    37. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    38. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    39. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    40. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    41. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    42. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    43. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    44. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    45. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    46. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    47. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    48. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    49. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    50. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    51. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    52. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    53. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    54. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    55. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    56. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    57. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    58. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    59. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    60. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    61. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    62. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    63. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    64. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    65. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    66. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    67. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    68. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    69. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    70. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    71. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    72. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    73. 1. The volume possesses the same high production values customary for the series. Especially praiseworthy is the large number of color illustrations. Small editorial errors are peppered throughout the book, but detract little overall. Two, however, bear mention. The introduction to the volume wrongly gives the date of the first publication of Vasari’s Lives as 1568, not 1550 (xvii). Yet the text seems actually to refer to the second edition of 1568, in which Vasari more clearly gives primacy to painting, sculpture, and architecture: see Brigitte Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 466. There is also confusion about references to figures at one point in Sharon Gerstel’s article, “Facing Architecture.” Figure 11 is mentioned at the bottom of page 57 as evidence of the polychromy on tiles. Figure 11, on page 59, illustrates a frescoed wall in a Cappodocian church, which inclines one to wonder whether the text should actually refer to the tile illustrated as figure 9 on page 57. Perhaps the mural paintings are adduced as examples of the coloristic brilliance lost by the tiles, but this would be confusing. On page 58, a reference to figure 12, the dome of the maqsura of the Great Mosque in Córdoba, should undoubtedly refer to figure 11 instead, as the text refers to a “contemporary church in Cappadocia.” Hopefully these errors can be rectified in subsequent printings.
    74. 2. Two exceptions are Walker’s contribution on Byzantine art, and Gerstel’s essay, which ranges from England to Byzantine Anatolia to the Ottoman Empire. Walker, Stahl, and Hahn venture into earlier material.
    75. 3. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466–87. In addition to the essay, Buettner organized the session “The Coming of Age of Medieval ‘Minor’ Arts,” sponsored by the International Center of Medieval Art, at the 2007 College Art Association Conference: see Abstracts 2007, College Art Association, 2007.
    76. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    77. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    78. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    79. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    80. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    81. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    82. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    83. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    84. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    85. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    86. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    87. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    88. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    89. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    90. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    91. 1. David Batchelor, Chromophobia (London: Reaktion Books, 2001).
    92. 2. See also Pamela H. Smith’s recent review of the edited volume The Materiality of Color: The Production, Circulation and Application of Pigments 1400–1800 in West 86th 20, no. 2 (Fall–Winter 2013): 238–39.
    93. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    94. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    95. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    96. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    97. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    98. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    99. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    100. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    101. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    102. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    103. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    104. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    105. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    106. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    107. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    108. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    109. 1. See, e.g., Rudolf Leopold, Gerd Pichler, and Sandra Tretter, Koloman Moser: 1868–1918 (Munich: Prestel, 2007); Maria Rennhofer, Koloman Moser: Master of Viennese Modernism (London: Thames and Hudson, 2002); and Daniele Baroni and Antonio D’Auria, Kolo Moser: Graphic Artist and Designer (New York: Rizzoli, 1986).
    110. 2. See William Stanley Rubin, Picasso and Braque, Pioneering Cubism; exhibition catalogue (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1989); and William Stanley Rubin, Kirk Varnedoe, and Lynn Zelevansky, eds., Picasso and Braque: A Symposium: Proceedings of a Symposium Held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 10–13, 1989, in Conjunction with the Exhibition “Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism,” Shown September 24, 1989–January 16, 1990 (New York: Museum of Modern Art / H. N. Abrams, 1992.
    111. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    112. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    113. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    114. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    115. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    116. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    117. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    118. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    119. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    120. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    121. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    122. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    123. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    124. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    125. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    126. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    127. 1. See, e.g., Rudolf Leopold, Gerd Pichler, and Sandra Tretter, Koloman Moser: 1868–1918 (Munich: Prestel, 2007); Maria Rennhofer, Koloman Moser: Master of Viennese Modernism (London: Thames and Hudson, 2002); and Daniele Baroni and Antonio D’Auria, Kolo Moser: Graphic Artist and Designer (New York: Rizzoli, 1986).
    128. 2. See William Stanley Rubin, Picasso and Braque, Pioneering Cubism; exhibition catalogue (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1989); and William Stanley Rubin, Kirk Varnedoe, and Lynn Zelevansky, eds., Picasso and Braque: A Symposium: Proceedings of a Symposium Held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 10–13, 1989, in Conjunction with the Exhibition “Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism,” Shown September 24, 1989–January 16, 1990 (New York: Museum of Modern Art / H. N. Abrams, 1992.
    129. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    130. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    131. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    132. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    133. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    134. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    135. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    136. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    137. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    138. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    139. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    140. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    141. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    142. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    143. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    144. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    145. 1. See “Barbara Kruger and Iwona Blazwick in Conversation,” Modern Art Oxford, 27 June 2014, https://soundcloud.com/user283658505/barbara-kruger-modern-art-oxford-27614.
    146. 2. See entry for Lawrence Alloway in Dictionary of Art Historians, http://www.dictionaryofarthistorians.org/allowayl.htm, retrieved 26 August 2014.
    147. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    148. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    149. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    150. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    151. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    152. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    153. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    154. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    155. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    156. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    157. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    158. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    159. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    160. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    161. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    162. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    163. 1. If one forgives such solecisms as “derestoral” (the French reads dérestauration). Alas, I failed to note the name of the translator in the interval when I briefly had his or her work in my hands. There are some oddities even in the original: “le zeuxippe” was not an “imperial workshop” in Constantinople but a public baths allegedly built by Septimius Severus, rebuilt by Justinian I, and, at one time or another, a public sculpture gallery. Later the site functioned in part as a prison; the belief that it also housed a silk workshop is predicated on an inscription on a textile later inserted into Charlemagne’s tomb in Aachen, here associated with the tenth-century samite “suaire de Saint-Josse” (114–16).
    164. 2. The term is, of course, ambiguous, for while the entries on individual items are not numbered, as they are in the recent and comparable handbook Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Arts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 2011), both books offer an anthology (“florilège” in the French) rather than comprehensive representations of the riches of the two departments.
    165. 3. The only comparable achievements in this respect are the full-page images in Paul Williamson’s Medieval Ivory Carvings: Early Christian to Romanesque (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2010), reviewed in West 86th 18 (2011): 249–53.
    166. 4. Here the economical English term “beveling” conveys the technique better than the somewhat cumbersome French “profonds défoncements en biseau.”
    167. 5. With uncommon frankness, Fellinger acknowledges that the transparent glass is “troubled by some bubbles.”
    168. 6. In an introductory chapter, Sophie Makariou, the mastermind behind the book, tactfully incorporates the history, though not the politics, of the French colonial enterprise into a larger discussion of the past and present of French collections. Different but no less interesting is the analysis by the architects of their new building in the Louvre’s cour Visconti that houses the reorganized collection and is the occasion for the publication of the work under review. Properly mindful of history, Makariou and Rocco Rante close their introduction with the telling image of Montesquieu welcoming his Persian visitor to Paris.
    169. 7. Such addenda are the loci of sometimes important disagreements with the “lions” of European historiography and require the attention of scholars.
    170. 8. A consummation devoutly to be wished, as Michael Yonan saw in his “Toward a Fusion of Art History and Material Culture Studies,” West 86th 18 (2011): 232–48. Nor are all the difficulties raised by the material culture studies approach fully dealt with. For example, a miniature in the Louvre’s Dioskorides manuscript of 1224 shows the workers who crush lead clad in elegant colorful dress!
    171. 9. Thus one would like to have seen some analysis of the painstaking technique involved in the facture of the massive openwork plaques (1.1 cm thick) now in Paris and Berlin (pp. 124–26) that may once have decorated a Fatimid caliphal throne.
    172. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    173. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    174. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    175. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    176. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    177. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    178. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    179. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    180. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.

    • Book Review
    • Reviewed by Freya Gowrley
    • May 27, 2014
  • Treasuring the Gaze: Intimate Vision in Late Eighteenth-Century Eye Miniatures / Women and the Material Culture of Death
  • Since the publication of Arjun Appadurai’s seminal collection The Social Life of Things in 1986, it is fair to say that the field of material culture has been preoccupied with the idea that “commodities, like persons, have social lives” (3). Yet, despite the seemingly obvious supposition that objects both constitute and reflect their owners’ personal histories, it is only recently that the idea of the “emotional object” has been championed in publications and scholarly colloquia. A new crop of books is advancing a view of material culture that focuses on the biographical, the emotive, and the commemorative, texts that acknowledge Appadurai’s “commodity state” but do not see it as the only social process in the “life of things.” The two volumes reviewed here demonstrate the fertility of this area of inquiry, in terms of understanding not merely what objects can tell us about emotions, but what our interactions with emotional things tells us about material culture as both object and academic discipline alike.

    Hanneke Grootenboer’s Treasuring the Gaze: Intimate Vision in Late Eighteenth-Century Eye Miniatures exemplifies the innovative approach to material culture employed by such studies, focusing on a single type of emotional object: the eye portrait miniature. A subset of the wider eighteenth-century vogue for portrait miniatures, the fleeting fashion for such tiny portraits arose in Britain, Europe, and North America in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Much like their larger and more inclusive counterparts, full-size and miniature portraits, eye portrait miniatures (depicting just the eye of the sitter, usually in watercolor on ivory) were given or exchanged for a range of emotional motivations, functioning variously as tokens of love or mourning or even, as Grootenboer’s illuminating discussion of the Prince of Wales (later George IV) and Mrs Maria Fitzherbert highlights, as a kind of wedding ring (45–48). However, Grootenboer’s text is not simply an attempt to rewrite the history of eighteenth-century portraiture so that it includes this rather eccentric episode in its history. Instead, the author convincingly proposes that the eye portrait heralds an understudied moment in the history of vision itself. Grootenboer argues that the eye portrait miniature is more than a passive depiction of its sitter or even his or her eye, noting that “one sees not so much the other person, or one’s requited love, but oneself, as being seen,” that is to say, a portrait of gaze itself (43). According to Grootenboer, as we look at the eye portrait miniature, so too does it look back at us, creating “an exchange of gazes, painted and real,” which the author designates “intimate vision” (4). Following the introduction, which sets out Grootenboer’s understanding of vision in relation to the work of other, well-established art historians such as Alois Riegl, each of the book’s five chapters examines a specific eye portrait miniature to advance a much broader discussion of themes relevant in establishing this history of “intimate vision.”

    The first chapter concentrates on introducing the eye portrait both historically and conceptually, with individual sections treating it as gift, as miniature, as letter, and finally as message or reply. Serving somewhat like the obligatory research review in a thesis, this chapter indicates Grootenboer’s command of various scholarly approaches, introducing us to her use of ideas from Susan Stewart (On Longing, 1991), Gaston Bachelard (Poetics of Space, 1958), Marcel Mauss (The Gift, 1954), and disciplines such as Lacanian psychoanalysis. The second chapter centers on the exchange of eye portraits by the Prince of Wales and his then mistress, Mrs. Maria Fitzherbert, who in 1785 agreed to marry the prince in a clandestine ceremony. Throughout this chapter, Grootenboer locates the eye portrait miniature within the eighteenth-century culture of intense looking—what the author calls “a visual culture obsessed with seeing, being seen, and seeing without being seen” (7), demonstrating that its meaning was directly implicated in its wearing and display.

    Chapter 3 focuses on the “Crying Image,” Grootenboer’s term for a subset of eye portraits embellished with crystals in order to create the illusion of tears. Discussing these crying miniatures in relation to the sentimental novel and to mourning jewelry, Grootenboer demonstrates how the emotive potential of the medium works in relation to her theory of intimate vision, key to which is the idea that intimate vision was spatially transformative, permitting an interiority that allowed one to be alone with oneself. The state of mourning captured by the crying eye portrait miniature emphasizes the reflexivity of the genre as a prompt for the beholder’s own reactions and mourning gaze. Grootenboer argues that rather than acting as a portrait record of the deceased, these objects functioned more as a meditation upon, or portrait of, the state of mourning itself, as felt by the miniature’s possessor. Chapter 4 develops this idea of the object’s agency with regard to Lacanian concepts such as the “part-object,” which is discussed in relation to an eye portrait miniature embedded within a hair bracelet given by Auguste Amalia, Duchess von Leuchtenberg, to her daughter in 1823.

    As this broad range of scholarly perspectives and methodologies suggests, Grootenboer’s text is by no means straightforward. A deft interweaving of several complex theoretical frameworks was presumably felt necessary, given the paucity of primary and secondary source material on eye portrait miniatures themselves. Despite this methodological baggage, Grootenboer’s argument that eye portrait miniatures should be understood “as veins in the clusters of microhistory, as epistemological obstacles that, if we allow them to take the lead, may direct us to alternative routes of seeing and thinking” is entirely convincing, partly because of the careful attention paid to the objects she discusses (14). In that sense, chapter 5 is exemplary, revealing Grootenboer’s deep understanding of objects and the issues that surround them through close examination of an alleged eye portrait miniature of Lord Byron. Here, the author subverts the concerns of scholarship on “normal” forms of portraiture, such as identification of the sitter and authentication, in order to interpret eye portrait miniatures in relation to portraiture as a whole and beyond. In fact, she goes so far as to ask if such objects are portraits at all, and if they are, what are the consequences of this for both eye portrait miniatures and the genre more broadly?

    Ultimately this text serves as an ambitious attempt to rewrite the history of vision, and it has broad implications for the way we understand images and objects as functioning agents among social and more restricted groups. Yet this wider aim of the text sometimes leads the author to neglect how exactly these objects mediated social, familial, and romantic identities. Grootenboer herself admits that “eye miniatures must have served as intensely private objects that were recognisable and meaningful only to the intended recipient,” highlighting the difficulty in interpreting meaning in any such emotive object, which would have held highly personal narratives for its possessor (47). Nevertheless, this book is a compelling model for the treatment of apparently difficult material objects, ones that, perhaps for reasons of fashion or taste, have been neglected by scholars. By examining the eye portrait miniature, Grootenboer is able to raise questions over issues of public and private display, to examine the eighteenth-century cultures of mourning, to trouble the divide between subject and object, to probe theoretical frameworks such as gift giving, and finally, to develop a new theory of “intimate vision.” These various aims do come together to provide an innovative interpretation of an emotional object that, until now, had been all but out of sight.

    The nineteen essays in Women and the Material Culture of Death proffer such a formidable range of material and approaches that it would be difficult to embrace its entirety in a review. However, this diversity definitely contributes to the book’s success overall. This collection marks a welcome addition to the already strong Ashgate series examining women and material culture that is edited by Maureen Daly Goggin and Beth Fowkes Tobin (including Material Women, 1750–1950: Consuming Desires and Collecting PracticesWomen and the Material Culture of Needlework and Textiles, 1750–1950; and Women and Things, 1750–1950: Gendered Material Strategies, all 2009). The current volume expands upon the chronological timeframe of the previous texts in the series, with essays addressing the theme of women and the material culture of death in Britain, North America, and Continental Europe from the Renaissance to the present day. The volume showcases diverse approaches to the topic, including essays by scholars from disciplines such as English literature, gender studies, dress history, and art history. Objects ranging from jewelry, paper, needlework, domestic crafts, literature, poetry, grave markers, funeral programs, waxworks, and taxidermy are all examined, with even the human body itself considered as material culture. Achieving cohesion in any such thematic volume is a challenging project, and this is no exception. Yet the diversity of its methodologies and the broad array of objects selected is to the volume’s advantage, allowing the reader to chart stasis and change in women’s relationships with the material culture of death in its many manifestations over time. Furthermore, a number of recurring themes serve to unify its individual chapters, giving the text real import to both material cultural studies and beyond.

    The volume is organized into three parts: Mourning Practices, Memorializing, and Bodily Practices. The first part, which examines the material practices of mourning, discusses forms of dress, jewelry, embroidered samplers, and poetry and literature either created or worn by women as part of the mourning process. In so doing, the six chapters in this part highlight the significance of the visual and material language of mourning, a language that both its participants and its onlookers could understand, and from which intimations about class, status, wealth, and identity could be inferred. Part 2, “Memorializing,” advances themes beyond the initial primary reaction to death, focusing instead on longer-term forms of commemoration. The chapters here examine grave sites, funereal monuments, memoirs, and sculpture, demonstrating how women have historically traversed what the editors call the “province of men” in order to produce honorific and commemorative works which seem to collapse the divide between the public and the private spheres. Finally, part 3, “Bodily Practices,” takes a slightly different tack, examining the physical treatment of bodily remains in objects and processes such as taxidermy, autopsy, the production of wax effigies, and the handling of the body. The chapters that compose this third part concern themselves with pre- and post-funeral practices, some of which were performed by those who had no connection at all with the deceased. Consequently, this section goes beyond a consideration of the emotional qualities of material culture—the primary concern of the earlier sections—in an attempt to intuit much broader attitudes toward death and its material remains, be they commercial or institutional. This rigid organization of the chapters, divided by the “type” of mourning, commemoration, or process enacted in relation to death, occasionally suggests that other, more crucial themes may be underplayed. In privileging the taxonomic resonances among the chapters, the editors let important conceptual connections that link the individual case studies to sometimes become elided. While Daly Goggin and Fowkes Tobin’s introductory chapter does well to pull the various essays together, a shorter introduction to each of the three sections would have allowed for these themes to be teased out more clearly in relation to the chapters that follow.

    The question of exactly how the material culture of death is gendered is obviously essential to the volume’s aims, and this is explored through the uncompromising focus on “the objects women make, the images they keep, the practices they use or are responsible for, and the places they inhabit or construct through ritual or custom” (1). While this process of gendering is addressed implicitly throughout the volume, several essays take this as the main object of their inquiry because they address objects such as jewelry or embroidery that have historically been feminized, or at least viewed as feminine. Arianne Fennetaux’s chapter on mourning jewelry in Britain, for example, deftly charts the changing visual and material form that mourning jewelry took on over the course of the eighteenth century, positing this development as a decidedly gendered process that expressed not only the increasing sentimentalization of death but its role in the construction of female identities. As such, Fennetaux’s account of material culture is an entirely active one, where gender identities are not formed as a reflection of contemporary behavior surrounding death and its objects but are actually constituted by them.

    Another issue that recurs throughout the volume is the relation between text and object. This collection is notable for its innovative treatment of textual sources, which are interrogated for what they say about objects and are also considered as objects in their own right. This blurring of the traditional divide between text and object allows the essays to question the primacy of textual over visual or material sources in historical inquiry, long a primary motivation for exponents of material cultural studies. Elizabeth McKnight’s chapter, “Emotions and Rituals: Responses to Death among the Nobility in Modern France,” is particularly self-reflexive, presenting itself as a “think-piece” on the use of material culture referring to death as preserved in the private archive. The textual objects that McKnight discovered within such repositories, such as lettres de faire part (black-edged cards sent out by widowed spouses or surviving children to alert relatives and friends of a death), are considered for their content and material form, but so are the materialities of archival practice itself. In particular, McKnight emphasizes the attention paid by archivists to preserving the original context of the archive, arguing that this “original order” is central to understanding its contents (53). As such, the archive itself is treated as a material object, whose various transformations, omissions, and sustained damage are as important as the documents that it contains in creating a historical narrative about mourning and its enactments.

    Laura Patterson’s essay on Eudora Welty’s “The Wanderers” (1949) and The Optimist’s Daughter (1972) is yet another example of the volume’s lively treatment of textual source material, but here the author focuses on how material culture as written into Welty’s narratives is indicative of the social mores and expectations of the period in which they were produced. The subjects of Patterson’s attention are the wakes presented in each of Welty’s texts, which Patterson identifies as a cultural practice with an entirely emotive, yet strictly delineated, material form, including food, flowers, and even the manipulation of the deceased body by grieving family and relatives. By highlighting how the protagonists of each story are excluded from the preparation of the “ritual materialistic goods of the wake,” Patterson demonstrates how material culture helped both to construct and to buttress the complex social dynamics that dominated southern American society. This relationship between appropriate mourning practices and the establishment of social respectability is explored in a number of the other essays in the volume, including Maura Coughlin’s on women and death in modern Brittany. Here Coughlin examines the duality of memorial practices between women’s actual relationship with objects such as “skull boxes” and the depiction of these same practices in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literary and visual culture. Describing the ritualized maintenance of grave sites that was practiced by mourning Bretonnes, Coughlin highlights the social expectation that “women maintain the memory of the dead and properly display their piety in public” (200). Here, as in Patterson’s essay, mourning, a state that is traditionally thought of as commemorating personal loss, is presented as a social act that could engender the respect or castigation of others. By focusing on such mourning rites in Breton society, Coughlin is able to flag not only the conspicuously performative nature of material culture, but also the complex dynamic between private memorialization and the public presentation of the same. In outwardly signifying personal loss through public performance, physical and material aspects of mourning culture, such as artworks, clothing, and accessories, allow for the sharing or “consumption” of that loss by relatives, friends, and even complete strangers. This difficult dichotomy between public and private expressions of sentiment is a theme that runs through the collection, and it is usefully flagged in the volume’s introduction, as are all the themes discussed in this review.

    Ultimately, the volume is more successful at suggesting many of the issues at stake in the relationship between women and the material culture of death than providing answers to the questions this interaction poses. For example, the issue of why this category of material cultural production should be gendered in this way is never truly addressed, merely tacitly reinforced by the content of its individual chapters. Reservations notwithstanding, the volume is a substantial contribution to the literature on gender and material culture, employing an exciting range of approaches to discuss a chronologically and temporally broad array of objects. As a whole, the essays are of a commendably high standard, and each of the contributions attests to the diverse and important ways that material culture mediates our connections with death. At the same time, the collection demonstrates how this interaction between people and objects shapes our understanding of much broader issues, such as materiality, identity, and history itself. In the end, the high quality of its contributions, its usefully meditative introduction, and the feminist persuasion of the volume more generally, make this text essential reading for those interested in the relation between women and things.


    Freya Gowrley is a doctoral candidate and tutor at the University of Edinburgh. Her essay entitled “Taste à-la-mode: Consuming Foreignness, Picturing Gender” is forthcoming in the Ashgate title Enlightened Objects: Essays on Material Culture and Gender in Eighteenth-Century Europe, co-edited by Jennifer Germann and Heidi Strobel.


    1. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    2. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    3. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    4. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    5. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    6. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    7. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    8. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    9. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    10. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    11. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    12. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    13. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    14. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    15. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    16. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    17. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    18. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    19. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    20. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    21. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    22. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    23. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    24. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    25. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    26. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    27. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    28. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    29. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    30. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    31. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    32. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    33. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    34. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    35. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    36. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    37. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    38. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    39. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    40. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    41. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    42. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    43. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    44. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    45. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    46. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    47. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    48. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    49. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    50. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    51. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    52. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    53. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    54. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    55. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    56. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    57. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    58. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    59. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    60. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    61. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    62. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    63. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    64. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    65. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    66. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    67. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    68. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    69. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    70. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    71. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    72. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    73. 1. The volume possesses the same high production values customary for the series. Especially praiseworthy is the large number of color illustrations. Small editorial errors are peppered throughout the book, but detract little overall. Two, however, bear mention. The introduction to the volume wrongly gives the date of the first publication of Vasari’s Lives as 1568, not 1550 (xvii). Yet the text seems actually to refer to the second edition of 1568, in which Vasari more clearly gives primacy to painting, sculpture, and architecture: see Brigitte Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 466. There is also confusion about references to figures at one point in Sharon Gerstel’s article, “Facing Architecture.” Figure 11 is mentioned at the bottom of page 57 as evidence of the polychromy on tiles. Figure 11, on page 59, illustrates a frescoed wall in a Cappodocian church, which inclines one to wonder whether the text should actually refer to the tile illustrated as figure 9 on page 57. Perhaps the mural paintings are adduced as examples of the coloristic brilliance lost by the tiles, but this would be confusing. On page 58, a reference to figure 12, the dome of the maqsura of the Great Mosque in Córdoba, should undoubtedly refer to figure 11 instead, as the text refers to a “contemporary church in Cappadocia.” Hopefully these errors can be rectified in subsequent printings.
    74. 2. Two exceptions are Walker’s contribution on Byzantine art, and Gerstel’s essay, which ranges from England to Byzantine Anatolia to the Ottoman Empire. Walker, Stahl, and Hahn venture into earlier material.
    75. 3. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466–87. In addition to the essay, Buettner organized the session “The Coming of Age of Medieval ‘Minor’ Arts,” sponsored by the International Center of Medieval Art, at the 2007 College Art Association Conference: see Abstracts 2007, College Art Association, 2007.
    76. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    77. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    78. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    79. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    80. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    81. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    82. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    83. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    84. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    85. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    86. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    87. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    88. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    89. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    90. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    91. 1. David Batchelor, Chromophobia (London: Reaktion Books, 2001).
    92. 2. See also Pamela H. Smith’s recent review of the edited volume The Materiality of Color: The Production, Circulation and Application of Pigments 1400–1800 in West 86th 20, no. 2 (Fall–Winter 2013): 238–39.
    93. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    94. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    95. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    96. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    97. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    98. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    99. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    100. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    101. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    102. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    103. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    104. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    105. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    106. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    107. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    108. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    109. 1. See, e.g., Rudolf Leopold, Gerd Pichler, and Sandra Tretter, Koloman Moser: 1868–1918 (Munich: Prestel, 2007); Maria Rennhofer, Koloman Moser: Master of Viennese Modernism (London: Thames and Hudson, 2002); and Daniele Baroni and Antonio D’Auria, Kolo Moser: Graphic Artist and Designer (New York: Rizzoli, 1986).
    110. 2. See William Stanley Rubin, Picasso and Braque, Pioneering Cubism; exhibition catalogue (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1989); and William Stanley Rubin, Kirk Varnedoe, and Lynn Zelevansky, eds., Picasso and Braque: A Symposium: Proceedings of a Symposium Held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 10–13, 1989, in Conjunction with the Exhibition “Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism,” Shown September 24, 1989–January 16, 1990 (New York: Museum of Modern Art / H. N. Abrams, 1992.
    111. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    112. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    113. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    114. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    115. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    116. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    117. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    118. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    119. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    120. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    121. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    122. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    123. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    124. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    125. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    126. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    127. 1. See, e.g., Rudolf Leopold, Gerd Pichler, and Sandra Tretter, Koloman Moser: 1868–1918 (Munich: Prestel, 2007); Maria Rennhofer, Koloman Moser: Master of Viennese Modernism (London: Thames and Hudson, 2002); and Daniele Baroni and Antonio D’Auria, Kolo Moser: Graphic Artist and Designer (New York: Rizzoli, 1986).
    128. 2. See William Stanley Rubin, Picasso and Braque, Pioneering Cubism; exhibition catalogue (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1989); and William Stanley Rubin, Kirk Varnedoe, and Lynn Zelevansky, eds., Picasso and Braque: A Symposium: Proceedings of a Symposium Held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 10–13, 1989, in Conjunction with the Exhibition “Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism,” Shown September 24, 1989–January 16, 1990 (New York: Museum of Modern Art / H. N. Abrams, 1992.
    129. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    130. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    131. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    132. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    133. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    134. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    135. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    136. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    137. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    138. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    139. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    140. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    141. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    142. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    143. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    144. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    145. 1. See “Barbara Kruger and Iwona Blazwick in Conversation,” Modern Art Oxford, 27 June 2014, https://soundcloud.com/user283658505/barbara-kruger-modern-art-oxford-27614.
    146. 2. See entry for Lawrence Alloway in Dictionary of Art Historians, http://www.dictionaryofarthistorians.org/allowayl.htm, retrieved 26 August 2014.
    147. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    148. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    149. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    150. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    151. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    152. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    153. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    154. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    155. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    156. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    157. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    158. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    159. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    160. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    161. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    162. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    163. 1. If one forgives such solecisms as “derestoral” (the French reads dérestauration). Alas, I failed to note the name of the translator in the interval when I briefly had his or her work in my hands. There are some oddities even in the original: “le zeuxippe” was not an “imperial workshop” in Constantinople but a public baths allegedly built by Septimius Severus, rebuilt by Justinian I, and, at one time or another, a public sculpture gallery. Later the site functioned in part as a prison; the belief that it also housed a silk workshop is predicated on an inscription on a textile later inserted into Charlemagne’s tomb in Aachen, here associated with the tenth-century samite “suaire de Saint-Josse” (114–16).
    164. 2. The term is, of course, ambiguous, for while the entries on individual items are not numbered, as they are in the recent and comparable handbook Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Arts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 2011), both books offer an anthology (“florilège” in the French) rather than comprehensive representations of the riches of the two departments.
    165. 3. The only comparable achievements in this respect are the full-page images in Paul Williamson’s Medieval Ivory Carvings: Early Christian to Romanesque (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2010), reviewed in West 86th 18 (2011): 249–53.
    166. 4. Here the economical English term “beveling” conveys the technique better than the somewhat cumbersome French “profonds défoncements en biseau.”
    167. 5. With uncommon frankness, Fellinger acknowledges that the transparent glass is “troubled by some bubbles.”
    168. 6. In an introductory chapter, Sophie Makariou, the mastermind behind the book, tactfully incorporates the history, though not the politics, of the French colonial enterprise into a larger discussion of the past and present of French collections. Different but no less interesting is the analysis by the architects of their new building in the Louvre’s cour Visconti that houses the reorganized collection and is the occasion for the publication of the work under review. Properly mindful of history, Makariou and Rocco Rante close their introduction with the telling image of Montesquieu welcoming his Persian visitor to Paris.
    169. 7. Such addenda are the loci of sometimes important disagreements with the “lions” of European historiography and require the attention of scholars.
    170. 8. A consummation devoutly to be wished, as Michael Yonan saw in his “Toward a Fusion of Art History and Material Culture Studies,” West 86th 18 (2011): 232–48. Nor are all the difficulties raised by the material culture studies approach fully dealt with. For example, a miniature in the Louvre’s Dioskorides manuscript of 1224 shows the workers who crush lead clad in elegant colorful dress!
    171. 9. Thus one would like to have seen some analysis of the painstaking technique involved in the facture of the massive openwork plaques (1.1 cm thick) now in Paris and Berlin (pp. 124–26) that may once have decorated a Fatimid caliphal throne.
    172. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    173. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    174. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    175. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    176. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    177. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    178. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    179. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    180. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    181. 1. If one forgives such solecisms as “derestoral” (the French reads dérestauration). Alas, I failed to note the name of the translator in the interval when I briefly had his or her work in my hands. There are some oddities even in the original: “le zeuxippe” was not an “imperial workshop” in Constantinople but a public baths allegedly built by Septimius Severus, rebuilt by Justinian I, and, at one time or another, a public sculpture gallery. Later the site functioned in part as a prison; the belief that it also housed a silk workshop is predicated on an inscription on a textile later inserted into Charlemagne’s tomb in Aachen, here associated with the tenth-century samite “suaire de Saint-Josse” (114–16).
    182. 2. The term is, of course, ambiguous, for while the entries on individual items are not numbered, as they are in the recent and comparable handbook Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Arts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 2011), both books offer an anthology (“florilège” in the French) rather than comprehensive representations of the riches of the two departments.
    183. 3. The only comparable achievements in this respect are the full-page images in Paul Williamson’s Medieval Ivory Carvings: Early Christian to Romanesque (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2010), reviewed in West 86th 18 (2011): 249–53.
    184. 4. Here the economical English term “beveling” conveys the technique better than the somewhat cumbersome French “profonds défoncements en biseau.”
    185. 5. With uncommon frankness, Fellinger acknowledges that the transparent glass is “troubled by some bubbles.”
    186. 6. In an introductory chapter, Sophie Makariou, the mastermind behind the book, tactfully incorporates the history, though not the politics, of the French colonial enterprise into a larger discussion of the past and present of French collections. Different but no less interesting is the analysis by the architects of their new building in the Louvre’s cour Visconti that houses the reorganized collection and is the occasion for the publication of the work under review. Properly mindful of history, Makariou and Rocco Rante close their introduction with the telling image of Montesquieu welcoming his Persian visitor to Paris.
    187. 7. Such addenda are the loci of sometimes important disagreements with the “lions” of European historiography and require the attention of scholars.
    188. 8. A consummation devoutly to be wished, as Michael Yonan saw in his “Toward a Fusion of Art History and Material Culture Studies,” West 86th 18 (2011): 232–48. Nor are all the difficulties raised by the material culture studies approach fully dealt with. For example, a miniature in the Louvre’s Dioskorides manuscript of 1224 shows the workers who crush lead clad in elegant colorful dress!
    189. 9. Thus one would like to have seen some analysis of the painstaking technique involved in the facture of the massive openwork plaques (1.1 cm thick) now in Paris and Berlin (pp. 124–26) that may once have decorated a Fatimid caliphal throne.
    190. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    191. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    192. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    193. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    194. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    195. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    196. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    197. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    198. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.

    • Book Review
    • Reviewed by Pamela H. Smith
    • March 24, 2014
  • The Materiality of Color: The Production, Circulation, and Application of Dyes and Pigments, 1400–1800
  • A decade ago, the words color and meaning could often be found in titles of works by art historians; the more frequent pairing today is color and materiality. Thinking about the meanings attached to color in different places and times has become second nature, but thinking about materiality somehow seems more problematic, perhaps because color is understood by natural scientists today as the result of an interaction between refracted light, surface structure, and the observer—not as a material thing at all. What, then, might be considered the materiality of color?

    In the volume under review, various dimensions of materiality are examined: cultural and social meanings of colors, the production and exchange of colored materials and pigments, and the making of colored objects. This investigation of the materiality of color is sure to attract attention just now in art history and the history of science. In both art and science, the human engagement with materials is central, but until fairly recently, scholars have largely narrated the histories of these disciplines as stories of conceptual change and intellectual activity. In art history, in accord with Aristotelian hierarchies, the important components of artwork were considered to be form, structure, and design—rather than matter. Thus disegno was more important as a subject of study than pigments. Moreover, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century modernism made form a more important category than color in sculpture and architecture. One has only to think of the modernist restoration campaigns carried out in medieval churches that stripped them back to some imagined original state, doing away with their colorful wall paintings and their polychromed sculpture. The “restrained” and “severe” look of ancient sculpture (note those disciplining descriptive terms), whose austere colorlessness was imitated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, has now been overturned in the wake of intensive conservatorial examination of remaining pigment traces. The gaudy and garish colors of the “Orient” as opposed to the restraint of Greek and Roman antiquity is, as Vanessa Alayrac-Fielding’s essay in this volume shows, a result of impulses of distinction and stratification, both within European society and between “West” and “East.” With the incursions of “material culture” and social and economic history into art history and of the (now not so) “new” cultural history into the history of science, as well as attention to issues of power, distinction, and “taste,” the pendulum in the writing of history in the last generation has swung decisively in the direction of the material, the bodily, and the emotions.

    The Materiality of Color offers a sampling of perspectives that exemplify this trend. Some of the essays simply point out how much more we see if we pay attention to color. For example, in studying the colored slate tombstones of early New England, attending to the property of the stone to reflect the colors of the sky reveals potential depths of meanings to the epitaphs. The first section of the volume contains essays on the social or cultural values of color, like Jason D. LaFountain’s discussion of tombstone color and spirituality. In the essay mentioned above, Alayrac-Fielding charts the transformation of taste in British culture from an avid desire for colorful chinoiserie to a view that the “gaudy” and “feminine” taste exhibited in such import ware was essentially Chinese when, in reality, this type of porcelain emerged in response to the demands of a European market and decidedly not from elite Chinese hierarchies of taste. Molly Harvour Bassett and Jeanette Favrot Peterson likewise present a useful contrast: they show that in the pre-colonial Aztec world, color seems to have been regarded as an essential component of body that constituted form rather than as an element antithetical to form. Mitchell M. Harris’s wonderful examination of the properties of the ink used to “body forth” the ideas of Shakespeare caused me to ponder the ways early modern thinkers, consumed with the struggle of body and spirit on a religious plane, were beleaguered by the same issues of subject and object, body and mind, that have taken up so much scholarly attention recently.

    From the cultural meanings of color, the volume moves to the economic dimensions of color: to the shifts in the production and trade of cochineal in Mexico (in an essay by Jeremy Baskes), to the varying role of the British East India Company in the growing of indigo in Madras and Bengal (Padmini Tolat Balaram’s essay), to the development of indigo dyes on the slave plantations of North America with the input of slaves, not just their labor but their crucial innovations in the production process (Andrea Feeser’s essay). Sarah Lowengard, in her essay, shows that over the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Prussian blue changed from commodity to an analytical tool and an object of science.

    The remaining chapters all more or less center on the production of colored things, ranging from medieval Middle Eastern colored glass bracelets that perhaps denoted religious community and played a prophylactic medical role to court wear in the Principality of Transylvania between 1613 and 1630 (Prince Gabriel Bethlen preferred vibrant reds and blues over the blacks, whites, and pastels of his second wife, Catherine of Brandenburg). Two fascinating essays integrate the meaning and the making of color. The first, by Richard Blunt, is on the making and meaning of cosmetics for blackface performances in early modern England. The second, by Amy Buono, is on Tupi tapirage—apparently an indigenous practice of harvesting colored feathers from living parrots and macaws. The Amazonians both collected them in their original brilliant colors and cultivated colors by painting birds’ bodies with a variety of substances (toad blood, pink river dolphin fat, crocodile eggs) to traumatize the feather follicles, causing the growth of feathers with different colors (yellow instead of red). One has to wonder what processes of human-animal interaction and experimentation led to this practice.

    In sum, this volume introduces its readers to several dimensions of color in a variety of places and in connection with a variety of artifacts, focusing on the years between 1400 and 1800. The brief sightings of sixteen different facets of the material existence of color are tantalizing but, in a few cases, leave the reader with a desire for a more analytical approach. An interdisciplinary group of scholars and practitioners contributed, but the history of science could advantageously have been brought more fully to bear on the problems treated here—the work of Karin Leonhard is particularly relevant. Two useful aspects of this volume should be highlighted: first, its appendixes of primary sources—including recipes for blackface cosmetics and Prussian blue—and, second, the attempts on the part of a few authors to reconstruct the material knowledge of earlier times through experimental reenactment and the remaking of recipes.


    Pamela H. Smith is professor in the department of history at Columbia University.


    1. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    2. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    3. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    4. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    5. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    6. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    7. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    8. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    9. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    10. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    11. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    12. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    13. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    14. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    15. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    16. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    17. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    18. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    19. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    20. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    21. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    22. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    23. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    24. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    25. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    26. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    27. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    28. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    29. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    30. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    31. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    32. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    33. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    34. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    35. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    36. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    37. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    38. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    39. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    40. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    41. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    42. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    43. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    44. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    45. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    46. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    47. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    48. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    49. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    50. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    51. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    52. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    53. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    54. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    55. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    56. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    57. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    58. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    59. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    60. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    61. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    62. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    63. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    64. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    65. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    66. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    67. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    68. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    69. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    70. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    71. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    72. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    73. 1. The volume possesses the same high production values customary for the series. Especially praiseworthy is the large number of color illustrations. Small editorial errors are peppered throughout the book, but detract little overall. Two, however, bear mention. The introduction to the volume wrongly gives the date of the first publication of Vasari’s Lives as 1568, not 1550 (xvii). Yet the text seems actually to refer to the second edition of 1568, in which Vasari more clearly gives primacy to painting, sculpture, and architecture: see Brigitte Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 466. There is also confusion about references to figures at one point in Sharon Gerstel’s article, “Facing Architecture.” Figure 11 is mentioned at the bottom of page 57 as evidence of the polychromy on tiles. Figure 11, on page 59, illustrates a frescoed wall in a Cappodocian church, which inclines one to wonder whether the text should actually refer to the tile illustrated as figure 9 on page 57. Perhaps the mural paintings are adduced as examples of the coloristic brilliance lost by the tiles, but this would be confusing. On page 58, a reference to figure 12, the dome of the maqsura of the Great Mosque in Córdoba, should undoubtedly refer to figure 11 instead, as the text refers to a “contemporary church in Cappadocia.” Hopefully these errors can be rectified in subsequent printings.
    74. 2. Two exceptions are Walker’s contribution on Byzantine art, and Gerstel’s essay, which ranges from England to Byzantine Anatolia to the Ottoman Empire. Walker, Stahl, and Hahn venture into earlier material.
    75. 3. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466–87. In addition to the essay, Buettner organized the session “The Coming of Age of Medieval ‘Minor’ Arts,” sponsored by the International Center of Medieval Art, at the 2007 College Art Association Conference: see Abstracts 2007, College Art Association, 2007.
    76. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    77. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    78. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    79. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    80. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    81. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    82. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    83. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    84. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    85. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    86. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    87. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    88. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    89. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    90. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    91. 1. David Batchelor, Chromophobia (London: Reaktion Books, 2001).
    92. 2. See also Pamela H. Smith’s recent review of the edited volume The Materiality of Color: The Production, Circulation and Application of Pigments 1400–1800 in West 86th 20, no. 2 (Fall–Winter 2013): 238–39.
    93. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    94. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    95. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    96. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    97. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    98. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    99. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    100. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    101. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    102. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    103. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    104. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    105. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    106. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    107. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    108. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    109. 1. See, e.g., Rudolf Leopold, Gerd Pichler, and Sandra Tretter, Koloman Moser: 1868–1918 (Munich: Prestel, 2007); Maria Rennhofer, Koloman Moser: Master of Viennese Modernism (London: Thames and Hudson, 2002); and Daniele Baroni and Antonio D’Auria, Kolo Moser: Graphic Artist and Designer (New York: Rizzoli, 1986).
    110. 2. See William Stanley Rubin, Picasso and Braque, Pioneering Cubism; exhibition catalogue (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1989); and William Stanley Rubin, Kirk Varnedoe, and Lynn Zelevansky, eds., Picasso and Braque: A Symposium: Proceedings of a Symposium Held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 10–13, 1989, in Conjunction with the Exhibition “Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism,” Shown September 24, 1989–January 16, 1990 (New York: Museum of Modern Art / H. N. Abrams, 1992.
    111. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    112. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    113. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    114. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    115. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    116. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    117. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    118. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    119. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    120. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    121. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    122. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    123. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    124. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    125. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    126. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    127. 1. See, e.g., Rudolf Leopold, Gerd Pichler, and Sandra Tretter, Koloman Moser: 1868–1918 (Munich: Prestel, 2007); Maria Rennhofer, Koloman Moser: Master of Viennese Modernism (London: Thames and Hudson, 2002); and Daniele Baroni and Antonio D’Auria, Kolo Moser: Graphic Artist and Designer (New York: Rizzoli, 1986).
    128. 2. See William Stanley Rubin, Picasso and Braque, Pioneering Cubism; exhibition catalogue (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1989); and William Stanley Rubin, Kirk Varnedoe, and Lynn Zelevansky, eds., Picasso and Braque: A Symposium: Proceedings of a Symposium Held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 10–13, 1989, in Conjunction with the Exhibition “Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism,” Shown September 24, 1989–January 16, 1990 (New York: Museum of Modern Art / H. N. Abrams, 1992.
    129. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    130. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    131. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    132. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    133. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    134. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    135. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    136. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    137. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    138. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    139. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    140. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    141. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    142. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    143. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    144. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    145. 1. See “Barbara Kruger and Iwona Blazwick in Conversation,” Modern Art Oxford, 27 June 2014, https://soundcloud.com/user283658505/barbara-kruger-modern-art-oxford-27614.
    146. 2. See entry for Lawrence Alloway in Dictionary of Art Historians, http://www.dictionaryofarthistorians.org/allowayl.htm, retrieved 26 August 2014.
    147. 3. Ann Temkin, ed., Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2008); Natasha Eaton, Colour, Art and Empire: Visual Culture and the Nomadism of Representation (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013); and Chris Horrocks, ed., Cultures of Colour (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012).
    148. 4. Hanns Swarzenski, Monuments of Romanesque Art: The Art of Church Treasures in Northwestern Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).
    149. 5. William D. Wixon, “The Greatness of the So-Called Minor Arts,” in The Year 1200, vol. 2, A Background Survey, ed. Florens Deuchler (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970), 93–99.
    150. 6. Peter Lasko, Ars Sacra, 800–1200, 2nd ed. (New Haven, C.T.: Yale University Press, 1994), xi. Lasko continues by noting that no basis for the minor/major division exists in the early Middle Ages and then mounts a short defense of the importance of “minor” art. Alicia Walker, in her contribution to From Minor to Major, “‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine ‘Decorative Arts’—History and Limits of a Concept,” discusses the importance of Wixom’s essay as an example of broader efforts to elevate the perception of minor art (178). Lasko’s book title and the term “sumptuous arts” used by Buettner in the title of her aforementioned essay are indicative of these efforts.
    151. 7. See, for example, Robert S. Nelson, “‘And So, With the Help of God’: The Byzantine Art of War in the Tenth Century,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 65/66 (2011–12): 173: “Thus although the Barberini ivory is a work on a small scale—what art history classifies as a minor art—its themes are those of monumental public art, and its high material cost and elite messages bespeak an imperial commission.”
    152. 8. Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, “The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,” Art Bulletin 85 (2003): 153 and 167–70.
    153. 9. Laura Kendrick’s essay, “Making Sense of Marginalized Images in Manuscripts and Religious Architecture,” in the same volume also focuses on “major” media, but is not included in the tally here since the essay is thematically oriented rather than medium-based.
    154. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    155. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    156. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    157. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    158. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    159. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    160. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    161. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    162. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    163. 1. If one forgives such solecisms as “derestoral” (the French reads dérestauration). Alas, I failed to note the name of the translator in the interval when I briefly had his or her work in my hands. There are some oddities even in the original: “le zeuxippe” was not an “imperial workshop” in Constantinople but a public baths allegedly built by Septimius Severus, rebuilt by Justinian I, and, at one time or another, a public sculpture gallery. Later the site functioned in part as a prison; the belief that it also housed a silk workshop is predicated on an inscription on a textile later inserted into Charlemagne’s tomb in Aachen, here associated with the tenth-century samite “suaire de Saint-Josse” (114–16).
    164. 2. The term is, of course, ambiguous, for while the entries on individual items are not numbered, as they are in the recent and comparable handbook Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Arts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 2011), both books offer an anthology (“florilège” in the French) rather than comprehensive representations of the riches of the two departments.
    165. 3. The only comparable achievements in this respect are the full-page images in Paul Williamson’s Medieval Ivory Carvings: Early Christian to Romanesque (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2010), reviewed in West 86th 18 (2011): 249–53.
    166. 4. Here the economical English term “beveling” conveys the technique better than the somewhat cumbersome French “profonds défoncements en biseau.”
    167. 5. With uncommon frankness, Fellinger acknowledges that the transparent glass is “troubled by some bubbles.”
    168. 6. In an introductory chapter, Sophie Makariou, the mastermind behind the book, tactfully incorporates the history, though not the politics, of the French colonial enterprise into a larger discussion of the past and present of French collections. Different but no less interesting is the analysis by the architects of their new building in the Louvre’s cour Visconti that houses the reorganized collection and is the occasion for the publication of the work under review. Properly mindful of history, Makariou and Rocco Rante close their introduction with the telling image of Montesquieu welcoming his Persian visitor to Paris.
    169. 7. Such addenda are the loci of sometimes important disagreements with the “lions” of European historiography and require the attention of scholars.
    170. 8. A consummation devoutly to be wished, as Michael Yonan saw in his “Toward a Fusion of Art History and Material Culture Studies,” West 86th 18 (2011): 232–48. Nor are all the difficulties raised by the material culture studies approach fully dealt with. For example, a miniature in the Louvre’s Dioskorides manuscript of 1224 shows the workers who crush lead clad in elegant colorful dress!
    171. 9. Thus one would like to have seen some analysis of the painstaking technique involved in the facture of the massive openwork plaques (1.1 cm thick) now in Paris and Berlin (pp. 124–26) that may once have decorated a Fatimid caliphal throne.
    172. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    173. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    174. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    175. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    176. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    177. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    178. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    179. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    180. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    181. 1. If one forgives such solecisms as “derestoral” (the French reads dérestauration). Alas, I failed to note the name of the translator in the interval when I briefly had his or her work in my hands. There are some oddities even in the original: “le zeuxippe” was not an “imperial workshop” in Constantinople but a public baths allegedly built by Septimius Severus, rebuilt by Justinian I, and, at one time or another, a public sculpture gallery. Later the site functioned in part as a prison; the belief that it also housed a silk workshop is predicated on an inscription on a textile later inserted into Charlemagne’s tomb in Aachen, here associated with the tenth-century samite “suaire de Saint-Josse” (114–16).
    182. 2. The term is, of course, ambiguous, for while the entries on individual items are not numbered, as they are in the recent and comparable handbook Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Arts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 2011), both books offer an anthology (“florilège” in the French) rather than comprehensive representations of the riches of the two departments.
    183. 3. The only comparable achievements in this respect are the full-page images in Paul Williamson’s Medieval Ivory Carvings: Early Christian to Romanesque (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2010), reviewed in West 86th 18 (2011): 249–53.
    184. 4. Here the economical English term “beveling” conveys the technique better than the somewhat cumbersome French “profonds défoncements en biseau.”
    185. 5. With uncommon frankness, Fellinger acknowledges that the transparent glass is “troubled by some bubbles.”
    186. 6. In an introductory chapter, Sophie Makariou, the mastermind behind the book, tactfully incorporates the history, though not the politics, of the French colonial enterprise into a larger discussion of the past and present of French collections. Different but no less interesting is the analysis by the architects of their new building in the Louvre’s cour Visconti that houses the reorganized collection and is the occasion for the publication of the work under review. Properly mindful of history, Makariou and Rocco Rante close their introduction with the telling image of Montesquieu welcoming his Persian visitor to Paris.
    187. 7. Such addenda are the loci of sometimes important disagreements with the “lions” of European historiography and require the attention of scholars.
    188. 8. A consummation devoutly to be wished, as Michael Yonan saw in his “Toward a Fusion of Art History and Material Culture Studies,” West 86th 18 (2011): 232–48. Nor are all the difficulties raised by the material culture studies approach fully dealt with. For example, a miniature in the Louvre’s Dioskorides manuscript of 1224 shows the workers who crush lead clad in elegant colorful dress!
    189. 9. Thus one would like to have seen some analysis of the painstaking technique involved in the facture of the massive openwork plaques (1.1 cm thick) now in Paris and Berlin (pp. 124–26) that may once have decorated a Fatimid caliphal throne.
    190. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    191. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    192. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    193. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    194. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    195. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    196. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    197. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    198. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.
    199. 1. If one forgives such solecisms as “derestoral” (the French reads dérestauration). Alas, I failed to note the name of the translator in the interval when I briefly had his or her work in my hands. There are some oddities even in the original: “le zeuxippe” was not an “imperial workshop” in Constantinople but a public baths allegedly built by Septimius Severus, rebuilt by Justinian I, and, at one time or another, a public sculpture gallery. Later the site functioned in part as a prison; the belief that it also housed a silk workshop is predicated on an inscription on a textile later inserted into Charlemagne’s tomb in Aachen, here associated with the tenth-century samite “suaire de Saint-Josse” (114–16).
    200. 2. The term is, of course, ambiguous, for while the entries on individual items are not numbered, as they are in the recent and comparable handbook Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Arts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 2011), both books offer an anthology (“florilège” in the French) rather than comprehensive representations of the riches of the two departments.
    201. 3. The only comparable achievements in this respect are the full-page images in Paul Williamson’s Medieval Ivory Carvings: Early Christian to Romanesque (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2010), reviewed in West 86th 18 (2011): 249–53.
    202. 4. Here the economical English term “beveling” conveys the technique better than the somewhat cumbersome French “profonds défoncements en biseau.”
    203. 5. With uncommon frankness, Fellinger acknowledges that the transparent glass is “troubled by some bubbles.”
    204. 6. In an introductory chapter, Sophie Makariou, the mastermind behind the book, tactfully incorporates the history, though not the politics, of the French colonial enterprise into a larger discussion of the past and present of French collections. Different but no less interesting is the analysis by the architects of their new building in the Louvre’s cour Visconti that houses the reorganized collection and is the occasion for the publication of the work under review. Properly mindful of history, Makariou and Rocco Rante close their introduction with the telling image of Montesquieu welcoming his Persian visitor to Paris.
    205. 7. Such addenda are the loci of sometimes important disagreements with the “lions” of European historiography and require the attention of scholars.
    206. 8. A consummation devoutly to be wished, as Michael Yonan saw in his “Toward a Fusion of Art History and Material Culture Studies,” West 86th 18 (2011): 232–48. Nor are all the difficulties raised by the material culture studies approach fully dealt with. For example, a miniature in the Louvre’s Dioskorides manuscript of 1224 shows the workers who crush lead clad in elegant colorful dress!
    207. 9. Thus one would like to have seen some analysis of the painstaking technique involved in the facture of the massive openwork plaques (1.1 cm thick) now in Paris and Berlin (pp. 124–26) that may once have decorated a Fatimid caliphal throne.
    208. 10. Dale (23) and Cothren (255) assert that the medium commands the status of a major art. Binski evinces a similar view when he challenges the assumption that Parisian manuscript painting led stylistic developments in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (19–20). Manuscript illumination did not always command this status: see Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson, Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age (Evanston, I.L.: Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, 2001), and Adam S. Cohen, “The Historiography of Romanesque Manuscript Illumination,” in A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, ed. Conrad Rudolph (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 357–81. The uncertain position of manuscript illustration as major or minor is demonstrated by the historiography on fifteenth-century northern European art, which assigned major status to the burgeoning medium of panel painting while demoting book painting: see Sandra Hindman, “The Illustrated Book: An Addendum to the State of Research in Northern European Art,” Art Bulletin 68 (1986): 536–42.
    209. 11. John Cherry, Keeper Emeritus of Medieval and Modern Europe at the British Museum, and Alan Stahl, curator of numismatics at Princeton University, are the only curators among the contributors. An essay by an art museum curator would have added an important perspective to the book. Buettner, “Toward a Historiography of the Sumptuous Arts,” 466, 478–81, discusses the importance of systematic catalogues and museum exhibitions in the study of objects classed as minor.
    210. 12. Wolter-von dem Knesebeck reaches a similar conclusion when, in discussing the Ebstorf World Map, he writes, “Categorizing the map as either profane or sacred is, at any rate, just as useless as its pejorative or enhancing categorization as it being one of the minor or major arts” (67–69).
    211. 13. Brigitte Bedos-Rezak, “Mutually Contextual: Materials, Bodies, and Objects,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 54–55.
    212. 14. Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art; Nina Rowe, ed., “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” Studies in Iconography 33 (special issue, 2012).
    213. 15. Neither Rudolph, A Companion to Medieval Art, nor Rowe, “Medieval Art History Today—Critical Terms,” contains an essay devoted to context. See, however, Paul Mattick, Jr., “Context,” in Critical Terms for Art History, ed. Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 70–86. Mattick’s analysis focuses on modernist discourses and does not directly address the methodological questions raised here.
    214. 16. This echoes the tension between illusionistic visual representations of textiles and the material surface of textiles in painting of the same period as studied by Amy Knight Powell, “Late Gothic Abstractions,” in “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages, ed. Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, Gesta 51 (special issue, 2012): 71–88.
    215. 17. To list just a few important recent examples addressing medieval art, which also include further bibliography: Herbert Kessler, Seeing Medieval Art (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011), 19–43; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York: Zone Books, 2011); Aden Kumler and Christopher Lakey, eds., “Res et significatio”: The Material Sense of Things in the Middle AgesGesta 51 (special issue, 2012); Ittai Weinryb, “Beyond Representation: Things—Human and Nonhuman,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 172–86; and Weinryb, “Living Matter: Materiality, Maker, and Ornament in the Middle Ages,” Gesta 52 (2013): 113–31.
    216. 18. See Peter N. Miller, “Introduction: The Culture of the Hand,” in Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. Peter N. Miller (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 1–29.

    • Conference Notes
    • by Kim Dhillon
    • February 28, 2014
  • Notes on the Marking Language Seminar at the Drawing Room in London
  • Bernardo Ortiz, Untitled, 2013 (detail); multiple sheets of paper – gouache on paper with fungi, electrostatic print on paper & graphite and ink on paper, hung on balsa wood. Courtesy the artist and CasasRiegner Gallery, Bogotá. Photo: Peter White.

    In the past four years, we have seen a renewed interest in text as visual art form as evidenced in a surge of exhibitions that survey contemporary art and its relationship to written language. One of the most recent was a twinned exhibition examining written communication and drawing, held concurrently at London’s Drawing Room and The Drawing Center in New York. The London half, titled Marking Language, focused on an international survey of contemporary artworks using written language as image. On October 10, 2013, the Drawing Room held a conference in the pedagogical mode of a seminar, to tease out some of the questions underlying the drawings within the exhibition, explore their relationship to written language as communication, and discuss the conceptual thread with the parallel exhibition Drawing Time, Reading Time in New York.

    The exhibition featured artwork with a tendency toward using typewritten and handwritten language. Accordingly, as the artists drew with words, they emphasized obsolete or nostalgic material technologies in the visual form of the text. The Marking Language seminar featured two hour-long panels, centred on two themes, as well as a poetry reading by artist, poet, and publisher Karl Holmqvist. The first panel featured Colombian artist Bernardo Ortiz, Manchester-based Czech artist Pavel Buchler, and New York-based Lebanese artist Annabel Daou, and was chaired by writer and critic David Markus. With the title: The small movements of language, the power of the ordinary and the pursuit of almost nothing, the first panel began discussions focusing not on written communication, but on drawing. Bernardo Ortiz suggested drawing as something that exists between painting and poetry. This idea was championed by Frank O’Hara, whose poem, Why I Am Not A Painter (1956) served as the impetus behind Ortiz’s artwork in the show. A series of drawings with words, Ortiz constructs a visual translation of the poem using text, graphic lines, and abstract splodges, making an installation of landscape paper to be read/seen in a linear narrative way of viewing. The first drawing will pick up the first lines of O’Hara’s poem, the next a few more words repeated, and so on. Ortiz prints the lines from O’Hara’s poem repeatedly in a small, neat black typeface, and then overlays them with black bars recalling Marcel Broodthaer’s re-working of Mallarme’s famous symbolist poem, Un Coup de Dés. When text creates an image, does its linguistic meaning matter? Pavel Buchler, in response to Ortiz, suggested that drawing exists in the middle of the page, whilst painting reaches its edges.

    But what is the relevance of considering language in these ways? What does it offer in thinking about text in art as written communication? The discussants advanced the idea of drawing as “propositional.” We draw to suggest what we might do—a plan, a sketch, a diagram. Drawings draft the future possibility. To Buchler, art is not about any particular medium, but about where it can take the viewer and how it can provoke him or her. Markus linked this to the Kantian idea of “purposiveness without a purpose” and it recalls too J. L. Austin’s idea of “speech acts” and performative utterances, where saying is doing. Considering the translation of language into visual text as art, the exhibition teased out possibilities for the relationship of drawing to writing. Are both propositional?

    If we understand “written communication” (curator Kate MacFarlane used this term, and not “text,” “language,” or another descriptor in her introduction) in relation to drawing, this encourages a reflection not on the materiality of language, but on drawing’s communicative potential. All of the words in the exhibition show us letters written or brushed by hand, with the exception of Johanna Calle’s, whose artwork is typewritten, and Ortiz’s. And only Ortiz shows us text rendered with processes of recent technology such as digital text, using the Donald Knuth typesetting system TeX (1978) to layout his texts. TeX is unique because the user programs his or her typesetting digitally, rather than the digital program replicating the manual actions of laying out text (such as cutting, pasting, and dropping in an image). Otherwise, screen-based type, facsimile, Xerox, and other pre-digital and digital processes are visibly absent in the work grouped here.

    The panel then turned to question the impact that a written letter has in the present, digital age. (Markus suggested we are already post-digital, but Buchler quickly challenged this point). A written letter evokes an idea of authenticity, as well as nostalgia—something that many of the participating artists were investigating. Buchler reminded us that with traditional correspondence, you are holding in your hand the same piece of paper that the correspondent held—there is a material connection to the letter-writer through the support, the material, on which the text is inscribed. (The “hand” in handwriting suggests tactility, and is synonymous with penmanship, i.e. “it was written in her own hand.”) Buchler, in a nostalgic reference to his own upbringing in Czechoslovakia, recalled his grandmother’s efforts to teach him proper etiquette in letter-writing, during which he was instructed that though one must always reply to a letter, never to do so in under three weeks, in order not to place the other correspondent under undue pressure to reply. Now, Buchler joked, if one receives an email and does not reply within three-quarters of an hour, another will soon follow inquiring about receipt of the first.

    Annabel Daou’s artwork was installed on the wall behind the panel, a blackboard painted square with the sentence “I am doing research” written repeatedly in her own hand in white chalk, inscribed over nine hours on the exhibition’s opening day. It is intended as a textual reference/remake of John Baldessari’s 1971 I Am Making Art. Considering the materiality of the support and its relationship to the text, Ortiz suggested “the page” as a useful concept, and an alternative to the material concept of paper, on which drawing has traditionally been inscribed. The page, he suggested, is not tied to the material, although it has material connotations. Indeed, this recalls Mel Bochner’s suggestion that No Thought Exists Without a Sustaining Support (1970), wherein white chalk letters scrawled on blackboard paint on a wall suggest that the support is both language and the material which manifests written language’s physical presence.

    Annabel Daou, I’m doing research, 2013; chalk on blackboard. Drawing Room, 2013. Photo: Peter White.

    Buchler’s Conversational Drawings stand out because they are the only artworks in the exhibition lacking a linguistic signifier, which leads one to ask, “what language are they marking?” The artworks are a series of simple line drawings on tractor-feed carbonless paper (similar to the paper that would feed Dot Matrix printers). The impressions on the paper—outlines of hands making gestures for shadow puppetry—will one day become invisible as the carbonless paper loses its trace. (It is the type of paper used for credit card purchases before chip and swiping technology became prevalent). The hands’ gestures initially seem to be examples for sign language from a manual, and Buchler indeed did make drawings of sign language gestures in the early 1980s when he moved to England from Czechoslovakia and knew little English. But we cannot see the shadow puppet that these hands could depict, only the instruction for the gesture.

    Pavel Büchler, Conversational Drawings 1 (detail), 2007; 14 drawings on tractor-feed carbonless copy paper, 21.5 x 28 cm.

    Opened to audience questions, the panel was asked about reception and the point of view of their audience. Are these artworks linguistic communication? Are we reading them or seeing them? Buchler rephrased the question from the artist’s point of view: What is it we present when we present a piece of text as visual image? He argued that text is something he decodes, whereas in the process of viewing images, he forgets and does not necessarily account for the text as something he is seeing. Thus, he suggests that images are allowed instead to wash over us, whereas text requires a subjective cognitive action. These questions access ideas dealt with in the foundational Conceptual artworks addressing written language and the subjective decisions an audience makes in the encounter of text as art, namely Smithson’s Heap of Language (1966) and his accompanying text LANGUAGE to be LOOKED at and/or THINGS to be READ (1967). As the South African-born Conceptual artist Ian Wilson wrote in retrospect on Conceptual art in 1994, “The difference between conceptual art and poetry, literature, and philosophy is that conceptual art takes the principles of visual abstraction, founded in the visual arts, and applies them to language.”1 That is, however visually abstracted a word may be, Wilson argues we always see art first, and we read poetry. Though we may alternate between the two cognitive acts at almost imperceptible speed, when we encounter text as art, we encounter visual art, and we are viewers first.

    The second panel, with the theme The look of words, the pictures they conjure and the memories they evoke, was greater in potential but quieter in discussion, despite thoughtful chairing by writer and Afterall editor Melissa Gronlund. The title suggests a text as a midpoint in the experience of an idea-as-art, igniting memories of the past, while conjuring ideas in our mind’s eye in the present moment. Even more so than in the preceding panel, the artworks of Colombian artist Johanna Calle and Swedish artist and poet Karl Holmqvist, recall Concrete poetry. Calle works on ledger paper and typewriter to create intricately detailed textual montages of words in the dying languages of the indigenous people of Colombia to describe rain and extreme weather. The words are depicted in a jagged font and letters are filled with smaller typewritten letters. Focusing on ideas of narrative, Gronlund questioned the personal affect of Holmqvist’s writing, and suggested: “We use words to tell a story and that story is about us.” Holmqvist, however, said he was more interested in the ethereal and constant chatter of language in the air—such as the lyrics from popular musicians such as Rihanna and Beyoncé—than he was in his own story. He publishes his poetry in books, performs it, and installs it as wall text—as visual art—in galleries. Gronlund asked if his texts (which are visually laid out in a way that strongly evokes Concrete Poetry in his books) are “performance scores,” an idea art historian Liz Kotz put forward in her 2007 analysis of language in art of the 1960s.2 Holmqvist clarified that his poems and installations are more fluid, existing in different manifestations, but that neither informs the other in a hierarchical way.

    Only Buchler’s artworks straddle the New York and the London exhibitions. Drawing Time, Reading Time, which opened in New York on November 15, 2013, focused on the communicative transparency and opacity of text in art that emerged in the nineteen-sixties, as a suggestion of an alternate path to what the curator described as the Conceptual preoccupation with materiality of language.3 In the New York exhibition, an additional gallery space showed the manuscripts of Emily Dickinson as a parallel exhibition. In The Shape of the Signifier, American literary theorist Walter Benn Michaels begins his discussion on the importance of individuality to textuality and the construction of meaning by discussing Dickinson’s manuscripts, in which she often insisted her notations and comments remain.4 Michaels suggests that Dickinson’s blots and dashes are an integral part of the text for the physical immediacy they call up to the author and the reader. These artworks suggest the artists’ desire to communicate, yet a failure to ever do so fully. The attempt itself seems to be what brings artists back to written language as form and subject, again and again.

     


    Kim Dhillon is a writer in London, and preparing a doctoral thesis at the Royal College of Art on text as critical form in contemporary visual art since Conceptualism.

     

    1. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    2. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    3. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    4. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    5. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    6. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    7. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    8. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    9. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    10. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    11. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    12. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    13. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    14. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    15. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    16. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    17. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    18. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.
    19. 3. The category and its definition are under almost constant debate; for several recent articles on the field and its formation, practitioners, and discontents, see Moya Carey and Margaret S. Graves, eds., “Islamic Art Historiography,” special issue, Journal of Art Historiography 6 (2012).
    20. 4. There are competing theories about the origins of lampas, however, one of which places it in al-Andalus.
    21. 5. Perhaps most saliently, that of Dr. Regula Schorta, director of the Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland and a great expert on central Asian and Chinese textiles, and of Dr. Sophie Desrosiers of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS) in Paris.
    22. 6. Thomas T. Allsen, Commodity and Exchange in the Mongol Empire: A Cultural History of Islamic Textiles (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); James C. Y. Watt and Anne E. Wardwell, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997).
    23. 7. Maria Sardi’s forthcoming “Mamluk Textiles in Context” (PhD diss., University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 2016) is one of the few, if not the only example of, recent works or works in progress known to this author.
    24. 8. Nurhan Atasoy, Walter B. Denny, Louise Mackie, and Hülya Tezcan, İpek: The Crescent and the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London: Azimuth Editions on behalf of TEB İletis̨im, 2001).
    25. 1. Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles (London: British Museum Publications, 1995).
    26. 2. The Jameel Prize is an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by the Islamic tradition. It is awarded every two years by the Victoria and Albert Museum in conjunction with the Jameel Foundation.