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CAHIM - Scholarship programme with the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck Institute: Connecting Art Histories in the Museum

‘Connecting Art Histories in the Museum: The Mediterranean and Asia 400–1650’ combines academic and museum research with curatorship. Four outstanding international young art historians spend one to two years investigating artistic and cultural interactions in the Mediterranean region and Asia, using the objects from the Staatliche Museen’s collections. An important area of their work is taken up with presenting their findings in a museum display.Set up as a joint project between the KHI and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the innovative fellowship programme focuses on artistic and cultural interactions in the Mediterranean area and Asia, with a focus on the period between 400 and 1650. The scholars study museum objects or groups of objects with the aim of establishing a dialogue between Western, Byzantine, Islamic, and Asian art histories. Instead of concentrating exclusively on the objects’ place in the history of pre-modern art or their museological aspects, the research programme is concerned with the modern repercussions and expressions of interactions between diverse historical topographies. These dynamics are examined in the light of the following questions:How can art-historical research deal with the transfer and exchange of moveable or immoveable cultural heritage? How did museums in the past articulate political and cultural attitudes towards historical sites of the production, accumulation, and translation of artefacts? And how do museums, especially new museums, do this now? How do museum displays evaluate and present the ritualistic and aesthetic dimensions of objects? What possible dynamics exist between objects in the museums that are alien to each other in provenance and historical context?Museums play a key role in the on-going redefinition of art and art history and their relation to aesthetics, anthropology, and politics in the decentralized, globalized 21st century. With its ‘universal’ collections, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin participates in this process in a particular way, offering a unique opportunity for research using multidisciplinary approaches on artefacts from different cultures and civilizations.International doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers in art history and related disciplines are entitled to apply for the fellowship programme. Fellows also have the chance to provide curatorial assistance on individual exhibitions, as well as contribute to the development of new concepts for exhibition practices. The joint activities of the research group, such as seminars, workshops, excursions, and conferences, allow academic exchange and research collaboration both within and outside the museum. The Kunstbibliothek, Museum für Islamische Kunst, and Museum für Asiatische Kunst have been involved in the project since 2010. A series of initial publications on the research findings are currently being planned.

Project management:

Prof. Dr. Michael Eissenhauer, Director-General, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Prof. Dr. Gerhard Wolf, Director of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max Planck Institute

Dr. Jörg Völlnagel,
Head of exhibitions, research, projects, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Dr. Hannah Baader, project manager of the Minerva programme, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max Planck Institute

Current scholarship holders:
Priyani Roy Choudhury, Museum für Asiatische Kunst: The Fashioning of a Mughal City: Fatehpur Sikri

Ching-Ling Wang
, Museum für Asiatische Kunst: Praying for Ten Thousand Goodness: Research on ‘Buddha’s Preaching’ by Ding Guanpeng

Magdalena Wróblewska, Kunstbibliothek: Between Artifacts and Their Representations. The Rhetoric of Reproductions of Artworks from the Photographic Collection of the Art Library in Berlin

Dr. Nadia Ali, Museum für Islamische Kunst: Deconstructing the Muslim Self and its Relevance to the Study of Early Islamic Art

Satomi Hiyama
, Museum für Asiatische Kunst: The Transmission of the Ornamental Motifs in the Wall Painting of Central Asia

Dr. des. Ines Konczak, Museum für Asiatische Kunst: Analysis of Indian Subjects, Motifs, and Elements in the Buddhist Wall Paintings of Kučas (Xinjiang, People’s Republic of China) with Regard to their Origin

Amanda Phillips
, Museum für Islamische Kunst: Actively Seeking Consumers: Everyday Objects of Islamic Art in their Social-Historical Context

Dr. Eva-Maria Troelenberg
, Museum für Islamische Kunst: Foundations of Islamic Art: Mschatta in Berlin

Dr. Friederike Weis, Kunstbibliothek: Image Making. Reception and Interpretation of Stories of Biblical Origin in Islamic Book Painting

Other scholars and institutions associated with the project:
Dr. Mirjam Brusius, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin: Objects without status: (De)canonization processes of museum objects of Near-Eastern provenance in European collections of the 19th century