Of Texts and Objects: Perceptions of “Persian” Art from Later Byzantium to Modern Greece
This article aims to trace the evolution in the perception of Persian art, broadly conceived, from later Byzantium to modern Greece through the perspective of historical archaeology. Through a comparison of the ways in which Persian art was viewed in texts versus the material evidence, a development of three successive and differing contexts may be traced. In the later Byzantine context, Persian and Persianate cultures held a central position in cultural memory, while bearing potential undertones of otherness. Then, aspects of post-Byzantine culture began to adopt an Ottoman filter toward Persian art and material culture. Finally, the relocation of Persian objects from Anatolia/Asia Minor to Greece, alongside the Greek Orthodox communities they belonged to, points to a process of heritagization. The shifting perceptions of Persian art reflect the specificity of each context, identifying three distinct periods for cross-cultural study.
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