Projekt Area B: Visual Organisation
Project area B is concerned with the way in which manuscripts are organised visually, an area of research that lies “between” various disciplines and that is examined with a view to the constants and differences in various (manuscript) cultures. By “visual organisation” we mean the appearance of a manuscript and all the factors that constitute it, such as the size, form and shape of the manuscript, its colour or how written characters are arranged on it. The visual organisation relates to the types of characters used and the layout of the individual page, but it equally refers to the manuscript as a whole, i.e. the “ manuscript architecture”. If we regard a manuscript’s layout as the way in which a page and thus its surface area is organised, then our view of the architecture that the manuscript possesses extends to a three-dimensional space in which information is housed. The visual organisation of a manuscript is consequently a visual arrangement of knowledge, which depends on the scribe who created the work on the one hand, but which is also shaped by convention and norms on the other. The latter ensure that the information contained in a manuscript is and will always be capable of being understood, regardless of the manuscript’s uniqueness.
The sub-projects covered in this project area investigate how visual organisation is shaped by production, function and use, and which role these factors play in the process of transmission and reception of knowledge.
Manuscript Culture and Chant Communities: Liturgical Books and Manuscripts of Music Containing Polyphonic Compilations of the Ordinarium missae in Cultural Practices c. 1200–1400 AD
From the thirteenth century onwards, we can find an increasing number of polyphonic settings of the Ordinarium missae, both in liturgical books that were not intended to contain polyphonic music and in music manuscripts that were never meant to be used during the religious ritual of Holy Mass. The aim of this project is to examine such manuscripts used in a religious environment in terms of what functions they fulfilled and how knowledge about the performance of polyphonic music was notated and modernised by experts in the respective communities, which are now known as chant communities.
Principal Investigator: Oliver Huck
Research Associate: Andreas Janke
The usage of Qur’an manuscripts as objects within Islamic-Arabic culture: The example of miniature and roll Qur’ans
It is well known that manuscripts of the Qur’an were not only used for reading and reciting but that apotropaic, curative and other effects were ascribed to them. This becomes evident from the manuscripts themselves and from pre-modern literary Arabic sources as well as from modern European travelogues. The sub-project will investigate these usages by focussing on miniature Qur’ans and Qur’ans written on rolls whose outward appearance shows that they were not primarily produced for reading or reciting. Both types are already attested to since early Abbasid times. Their function will be examined on the basis of manuscripts preserved in several libraries and of their treatment in Arabic literature. In addition to the apotropaic and curative effects, the more general context of Arabic miniature books („pocket books“) and of manuscript rolls with non-Qur’anic content will have to be taken into consideration: potentially, Qur’an manuscripts may have been designed to have multiple functions.
Principal Investigator: Tilman Seidensticker
Reserarch Associate: Cornelius Berthold
Collecting, Extinguishing, Rewriting and Restaging Cultural Identity and History: Cultural Encyclopaedias on New Spain
This project examines three cultural encyclopaedias from New Spain (present-day Mexico), which have hitherto been interpreted as the result of missionaries collecting, recording and archiving pre-Hispanic knowledge. If, however, one takes the burning of pre-Hispanic manuscripts into account, which also took place at the time these were compiled, the multiple-text manuscripts the missionaries wrote and illustrated appear in a rather different light. The powerful effect which manuscripts like these encyclopaedias had on the processes of rewriting and restaging indigenous knowledge at that time is a key focus of this study.
Principal Investigator: Margit Kern
Research Associate: Anna Boroffka
Magia Figurata: The Visual Effect of Jewish Magical Manuscripts of the Early Modern Era
The research project entitled “Magia Figurata” intends to analyse, describe and categorise the physical and visual characteristics of early modern manuscripts containing Jewish magical texts. It thereby aims at achieving a better understanding of physical and visual aspects of the production and use of these magical manuscripts. The project will also illustrate how magical manuscripts shaped or even created reality due to the inherent authority they were claimed to possess.
Principal Investigator: Giuseppe Veltri
Research Associate: Michael Kohs
The ‘Painting’ of Writing: The Iconicity of Writing and Word Pictures in Latin Psalter Manuscripts Used in Religious Rituals
Using a series of psalter manuscripts dating from between the 8th and 15th century, this project examines the role played by the ornamental and pictorial rendering of writing and by so-called ‘word pictures’ in the ritual use of manuscripts. In the context of changing practices of manufacture and use, this analysis provides a new approach to these phenomena, which are characteristic of medieval European manuscript culture and transcend the classic dichotomy that exists between writing and pictures.
Principal Investigator: Hanna Wimmer
Research Associate: Karin Becker
Narrating Theatre: The Reality and Context of Japanese Nō Manuscripts between the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period
This research project examines Japanese manuscripts from the transitional period between the Middle Ages and the early modern period (c. 1550–1650) containing texts and paintings relating to plays staged at Japan’s Nō theatres. The aim of the project is to reconstruct the cultural knowledge these manuscripts impart through their texts and pictures and consequently to enable statements to be made about their reception. Features of these works that have only been analysed individually to date such as their format, layout, writing and iconography, will be examined in more detail. This approach will allow us to uncover the cultural practices made possible by the unusual combination of media in these manuscripts: text / picture / theatre.
Principal Investigator: Jörg B. Quenzer
Research Associate: Berenice Möller