Monastery wall paintings in Syria and Egypt, the illuminations of the Rabbula Gospels, and the architecture and decorations of churches in regions as diverse as Turkey and India are just some of the rich visual culture extant from the late antique and medieval Syriac tradition. Though there is a long tradition of studying Syriac visual culture, there have been few monographs dedicated to the topic in recent decades. This conference gathers diverse scholars from across the globe whose research touches on all aspects of Syriac iconography and visual culture in any geographic region from late antiquity throughout the Middle Ages, to roughly 1400 C.E. The conference will sum up the status quaestionis of research into Syriac art and architecture and spell out major desiderata for the field going forward.
The Syriac tradition has been rooted in politically sensitive regions in the world, and its rich material heritage remains vulnerable to destruction and illegal sale on the black market. We hope to draw attention to this area and to provide a means and opportunity for the study of its artistic and architectural legacy. Given the academic significance of such a conference, it is hoped that the conference proceedings will develop into an edited volume, reflecting state-of-the-art research on Syriac visual culture.
The virtual conference will take place on September 17–18, 2021. It is structured around roundtable workshop sessions for pre-circulated papers, disseminated to registered participants approximately one month in advance. The conference is hosted by the Department of Art & Archaeology at Princeton University, with additional support from the Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity (CSLA) and the Center for Collaborative History (CCH).