Field B: Inscribing Spaces
Inscriptions are omnipresent. They shape landscapes and cityscapes as well as interior spaces and include diverse artefacts ranging from calligraphic boards and inscribed vases to graffiti and advertisements to tombstones and monumental rock inscriptions. As written artefacts, they are produced to carry a message, with an adorning, defining, explaining, dedicating or a structuring purpose. They consist of inorganic or organic materials such as metals, stones, ceramics, ivory, wood and others. Whether advertising a bar, adorning a private study or publishing a law, they are statements in space and structure space at the same time. Inscriptions reveal close relations to other written artefacts, as many, for example, were first drafted by hand; in East Asia even cursive writing or pictorial elements were faithfully copied on stone or wood.
In the Cluster, Inscribing Spaces will study inscriptions together with manuscripts – as written artefacts in their respective distribution of content and function that may vary according to region, time and practices. Research will consider the categories of durability, concerning the material on which visual signs are applied; inscribability, regarding the technique of applying visual signs to different materials; and accessibility, focusing on the placement of the artefact which is relevant for the degree of restrictedness (‘public’ vs ‘private’) and its readability.
B1 | Signs of power will focus on the ways in which inscribed artefacts manifest power in space. How are they used to direct the reception of the past and shape the image of rulers for the future? In which way does the materiality of the artefacts support these aims?
B2 | Everyday life will explore epigraphic habits in domestic space, concentrating on written artefacts drafted by private persons. The role and selection of material for ephemeral inscriptions will form the basis of studies on their production, dissemination and placement and thus shed light on their use.
B3 | Epigraphy of death attends to the memory of the dead not only by the use of inscribed grave-markers associated with a tomb but also by taking into account different approaches of eternalizing memoria in other potential places of remembrance such as sanctuaries or private homes.