This volume examines and debates the validity and usefulness of the concept of the golden age when investigating, structuring and categorising Asian and Islamic art. The book contains contributions from fifteen international specialists in the visual arts and humanities working on material from a wide range of periods and regions throughout Asia and the Islamic world.
Instead of concentrating on the so-called ‘high points’ and ‘golden ages’ of art, which have so far stood at the centre of art-historical enquiries, this publication focuses on visual expressions of confrontation with the ‘other’ struggle or isolation during times of change. These challenging but artistically often very fertile periods were marked by intense efforts by communities in search for new identities.
Through their art and frequently through the re-use of old symbols in new settings they succeeded in redefining themselves so as to strengthen their religious, cultural or political position. In the history of art, these less investigated phases raise issues, which contribute significantly to the subject.
Julia A. B. Hegewald is Professor of Oriental Art History and Head of the Department of Asian and Islamic Art History at the Institute of Oriental and Asian Studies, University of Bonn, Germany. She has published widely on South Asian and Himalayan art and architecture.