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Full-Text Articles in Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture

Chinese Porcelain And The Material Taxonomies Of Medieval Rabbinic Law: Encounters With Disruptive Substances In Twelfth-Century Yemen, Elizabeth Lambourn, Phillip I. Ackerman-Lieberman Dec 2016

Chinese Porcelain And The Material Taxonomies Of Medieval Rabbinic Law: Encounters With Disruptive Substances In Twelfth-Century Yemen, Elizabeth Lambourn, Phillip I. Ackerman-Lieberman

The Medieval Globe

This article focuses on a set of legal questions about ṣīnī vessels (literally, “Chinese” vessels) sent from the Jewish community in Aden to Fustat (Old Cairo) in the mid-1130s CE and now preserved among the Cairo Geniza holdings in Cambridge University Library. This is the earliest dated and localized query about the status of ṣīnī vessels with respect to the Jewish law of vessels used for food consumption. Our analysis of these queries suggests that their phrasing and timing can be linked to the contemporaneous appearance in the Yemen of a new type of Chinese ceramic ware, qingbai, which confounded ...


Robot Saints, Christopher B. Swift Jan 2015

Robot Saints, Christopher B. Swift

Publications and Research

In the Middle Ages, articulating religious figures like wooden Deposition crucifixes and ambulatory saints were tools for devotion, techno-mythological objects that distilled the wonders of engineering and holiness. Robots are gestures toward immortality, created in the face of the undeniable fact and experience of the ongoing decay of our fleshy bodies. Both like and unlike human beings, robots and androids occupy a nebulous perceptual realm between life and death, animation and inanimation. Masahiro Mori called this in-between space the “uncanny valley.” In this essay I argue that unlike a modern person apprehending an android (the uncanny human-like object that resides ...


Introducing The Medieval Globe, Carol Symes Jan 2014

Introducing The Medieval Globe, Carol Symes

The Medieval Globe

The concept of “the medieval” has long been essential to global imperial ventures, national ideologies, and the discourse of modernity. And yet the projects enabled by this powerful construct have essentially hindered investigation of the world’s interconnected territories during a millennium of movement and exchange. The mission of The Medieval Globe is to reclaim this “middle age” and to place it at the center of global studies.


Technology And Wonder In Thirteenth-Century Iberia And Beyond, Christopher B. Swift Jan 2014

Technology And Wonder In Thirteenth-Century Iberia And Beyond, Christopher B. Swift

Publications and Research

As the desire for affective experiences of the sacred increased in communities across Europe in the late Middle Ages, the Christian faithful crafted lifelike, mechanized figures of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and saints for use in religious festivals. Although each devotional culture evidences unique body/object relationships and meanings, in general animated ritual objects encouraged lay participation in the celebration of saints and the Passion by engaging the senses, and, consequently, an emotional sense of God. In this essay I investigate the ritual alliances between moveable, prop-like saints and their Iberian devotees, in particular the performative meanings that arose from ...