The Nomadic Object

The Challenge of World for Early Modern Religious Art


At the turn of the sixteenth century, the notion of world was dramatically being reshaped, leaving no aspect of human experience untouched. The Nomadic Object: The Challenge of World for Early Modern Religious Art examines how sacred art and artefacts responded to the demands of a world stage in the age of reform. Essays by leading scholars explore how religious objects resulting from cross-cultural contact defied national and confessional categories and were re-contextualised in a global framework via their collection, exchange, production, management, and circulation. In dialogue with current discourses, papers address issues of idolatry, translation, materiality, value, and the agency of networks. The Nomadic Object demonstrates the significance of religious systems, from overseas logistics to philosophical underpinnings, for a global art history.

Contributors are: Akira Akiyama, James Clifton, Jeffrey L. Collins, Ralph Dekoninck, Dagmar Eichberger, Beate Fricke, Christine Göttler, Christiane Hille, Margit Kern, Dipti Khera, Yoriko Kobayashi-Sato, Urte Krass, Evonne Levy, Meredith Martin, Walter S. Melion, Mia M. Mochizuki, Jeanette Favrot Peterson, Rose Marie San Juan, Denise-Marie Teece, Tristan Weddigen, and Ines G. Županov.

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Christine Göttler is Professor of Art History at the University of Bern. She has published extensively on diverse topics ranging from Reformation iconoclasm, post-Tridentine spirituality, and the relationship between art, nature, and the senses to aspects of early modern artists’ materials.

Mia M. Mochizuki is Associate Professor of Renaissance and Baroque Art History at NYU Abu Dhabi and the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Her publications have focused on iconoclasm in 17th-century Dutch art and globalisation in early Jesuit art.
“Some of these essays will become immediately indispensable for further research. There is so much knowledge and expertise invested in each essay that it would be impossible to find a common denominator to unite them all.”
Jeffrey Muller, Brown University. In: Journal of Jesuit Studies, Vol. 5, No. 4 (November 2018), pp. 661-666.

Notes on the Editors
Notes on the Contributors
List of Illustrations

Introduction: Connected Worlds—The World the Worldly and the Otherworldly: An Introduction
Mia M. Mochizuki

Part 1: The World’s ‘Idols’

1 Extraordinary Things: ‘Idols from India‘ and the Visual Discernment of Space and Time, circa 1600’
Christine Göttler

2 Arabic Inscriptions in the Service of the Church: An Italian Textile Evoking an Early Christian Past?
Denise-Marie Teece

3 Materiality and Idolatry: Roman Imaginations of Saint Rose of Lima
Tristan Weddigen

Part 2: Parables of Contact

4 Ut Pictura Lex: Jan David, S.J., on Natural Law and the Global Reach of Christian Images
Walter S. Melion

5 Translating the Sacred: The Peripatetic Print in the Florentine Codex, Mexico (1575–1577)
Jeanette Favrot Peterson

6 The Value of Misinterpretation in Cultural Exchange: The Transfer of Christian Prints from the West to Japan
Yoriko Kobayashi-Sato

7 Propagatio Imaginum: The Translated Images of Our Lady of Foy
Ralph Dekoninck

Part 3: Material Alchemies

8 ‘Mass’ Produced Devotional Paintings in the Andes: Mobility, Flexibility, Visual Habitus
Evonne Levy

9 Gems of Sacred Kingship: Faceting Anglo-Mughal Relations around 1600
Christiane Hille

10 Cultured Materiality in Early Modern Art: Feather Mosaics in Sixteenth-Century Collections
Margit Kern

11 Making Marvels—Faking Matter: Mediating Virtus between the Bezoar and Goa Stones and Their Containers
Beate Fricke

Part 4: Relic Values

12 Naked Bones, Empty Caskets, and a Faceless Bust: Christian Relics and Reliquaries between Europe and Asia during Early Modern Globalisation
Urte Krass

13 Virgin Skulls: The Travels of St. Ursula’s Companions in the New World
Rose Marie San Juan

14 Relic or Icon? The Place and Function of Imperial Regalia
Akira Akiyama

15 Relics Management: Building a Spiritual Empire in Asia (Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries)
Ines G. Županov

Part 5: ‘Netted’ Works

16 The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin: Spreading a New Cult via Dynastic Networks
Dagmar Eichberger

17 Early Modern Incense Boats: Commerce, Christianity, and Cultural Exchange
Jeffrey L. Collins and Meredith Martin

18 Journeys, Real and Imaginary, in China and Europe: Cartography, Landscape, and Travel around 1600
James Clifton

19 Arrivals at Distant Lands: Artful Letters and Entangled Mobilities in the Indian Ocean Littoral
Dipti Khera

Index Nominum
All interested in early modern, global, and religious art history, and anyone concerned with contact objects, the Kunstkammer, and Reformation (Catholic and Protestant) studies.
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