The Emperor and the World: Exotic Elements and the Imaging of Middle Byzantine Imperial Power, Ninth to Thirteenth Centuries CE

The Emperor and the World: Exotic Elements and the Imaging of Middle Byzantine Imperial Power, Ninth to Thirteenth Centuries CE

By: Alicia Walker (author)Hardback

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Byzantine imperial imagery is commonly perceived as a static system. In contrast to this common portrayal, this book draws attention to its openness and responsiveness to other artistic traditions. Through a close examination of significant objects and monuments created over a 350-year period, from the ninth to the thirteenth century, Alicia Walker shows how the visual articulation of Byzantine imperial power not only maintained a visual vocabulary inherited from Greco-Roman antiquity and the Judeo-Christian tradition, but also innovated on these artistic precedents by incorporating styles and forms from contemporary foreign cultures, specifically the Sasanian, Chinese and Islamic worlds. In addition to art and architecture, this book explores historical accounts and literary works as well as records of ceremonial practices, thereby demonstrating how texts, ritual and images operated as integrated agents of imperial power. Walker offers new ways to think about cross-cultural interaction in the Middle Ages and explores the diverse ways in which imperial images employed foreign elements in order to express particularly Byzantine meanings.

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About Author

Alicia Walker is Assistant Professor of Medieval Art at Bryn Mawr College. She is the recipient of research fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Dumbarton Oaks and the Program for Hellenic Studies at Princeton University, among others. She has published articles in The Art Bulletin, Gesta, Ars Orientalis and Muqarnas and is the co-editor (with Amanda Luyster) of Negotiating Secular and Sacred in Medieval Art.


Introduction: imaging emperor and empire in the middle Byzantine era; 1. Emulation: Islamic imports in the iconoclastic era: power, prestige, and the imperial image; 2. Appropriation: stylistic juxtaposition and the articulation of power: the Troyes Casket; 3. Parity: a Byzantine-Islamic community of kings: diplomatic gifts in The Book of Gifts and Rarities; 4. Expropriation: rhetorical images of the emperor and the articulation of difference: the Darmstadt Casket; 5. Incomparability: the Mouchroutas Hall and the aesthetics of imperial power; Conclusion.

Product Details

  • publication date: 30/04/2012
  • ISBN13: 9781107004771
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 288
  • ID: 9781107004771
  • weight: 760
  • ISBN10: 1107004772

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