Conference: The Carpet as Artifact, Concept and Metaphor in Literature, Science and the Arts

LIEU: Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, Florence, Italie
DATE: 3 – 5 novembre 2014

Organized by Vera-Simone Schulz and Gerhard Wolf

Dedicated to the arts and aesthetics of carpets and to the role of the 
carpet as a concept in science or the history of ideas, the workshop 
seeks to elucidate different artistic and intellectual approaches 
towards carpets from Clement of Alexandria’s ‘Stromateis’ to the 
present. It will highlight the various functions of carpets, which, 
when put on floors, do not only embellish rooms, but also contribute to 
the structure of architectural spaces, and which can delineate sacred 
surfaces and visualize social and political hierarchies. It will 
address topics such as the materiality of carpets and ornamental 
structures, the interaction of various media, the carpet as an object 
and as an item of material culture, their representation in painting, 
knotting techniques and concepts of the knot, the carpet as a metaphor 
and as a model for the world, literary accounts of carpets and their 
transcultural biographies or itineraries. The workshop focuses on 
issues such as the dimensionality and flatness, repetition, pattern, 
figuration, and performativity of carpets, as well as on « master piece » 
discourses, the specific role of the « Oriental » carpet, and on problems 
of display.
On the one hand, marginalized as belonging to the « minor » or « applied 
arts », and on the other hand, celebrated as a « paradigm » for modern 
art, carpets have long been discussed in various discourses, even if in 
isolation. By bringing together art historians, archaeologists, carpet 
historians, historians of philosophy, scientists and experts of 
literary studies, this workshop seeks to open up the field of inquiry 
and to overcome disciplinary boundaries, to critically reflect on 
research traditions and to explore new approaches when taking on the 
challenge of studying carpets in a comprehensive way.
Monday, November 3, 2014
Welcome and Introduction
Vera-Simone Schulz and Gerhard Wolf
Der dekorierte Boden. Zur Konzeption und Funktion römischer Mosaikböden
Susanne Muth (Berlin)
Spätantike Teppiche aus Ägypten: Technik und Dekor
Cäcilia Fluck (Berlin)
coffee break
To knit the ravelled sleeve of care”: Observations on the Role of 
Knots in Floor Mosaics, Carpets and Clothing during Late Antiquity
Henry Maguire (London)
Warum nannte Clemens von Alexandrien sein Hauptwerk “Stromateis”?
Dietmar Wyrwa (Berlin)
lunch break
Das Teppichparadigma: Gottfried Semper – Alois Riegl – Henri Matisse
Regine Prange (Frankfurt am Main)
The Carpet as Cultural Code and Utopian Metaphor
Eva-Maria Troelenberg (Florence)
coffee break
Synthesis of Molecular Carpets
Dieter Schlüter (Zurich)
The Beauty of Repetition: Symmetry and Formation of Patterns from Macro 
to Nano
Markus Lackinger (Munich)
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Fragments: Challenges in Conservation and Display
Anna Beselin (Berlin)
Yongle to Yongzheng: Imperial Chinese Carpets
Michael Franses (Doha)
coffee break
Visit of the carpet collection in the Museo Bardini (speakers and 
moderators only). Guided tour with Alberto Boralevi (Florence)
lunch break
Tod und Tuch: Grabteppiche 
Silke Tammen (Gießen)
Sacred Surfaces: Carpets, Coverings and Mesas in the Colonial Andes
Elena Phipps (Los Angeles)
coffee break
13th- and 14th-Century Anatolian Carpets
Scott Redford (London)
Problems of Studying Islamic Carpet Production and European Consumer 
Taste in European Carpet Depictions
Walter Denny (Amherst, Mass.)
coffee break
À la recherche du tapis perdu: Artistic and Academic Approaches to 
Carpets in Paintings
Vera-Simone Schulz (Berlin/Florence)
Nach Strich und Faden, nach allen Regeln der Kunst: Teppiche in 
niederländischen Gemälden
Karin Leonhard (Bonn)
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Antike Heldenepik im Salon: Napoleon und die Tapisserie
Gisela Schlüter (Erlangen)
The “Renaissance de la tapisserie” in France (c. 1940-1955): Technique, 
Lyricism and Ideology
Merel van Tilburg (Paris)
coffee break
Zur Ordnung der Gewebe
Friedrich Teja Bach (Vienna)
Final Remarks by Gerhard Wolf
Visit of the Museo del Bargello (speakers and moderators only)

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