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English Abstracts

Anja Bröchler: Talking pictures – pictorial texts: the relationship between image and word in the XII. Book of the Florentine Codex (1578-80) by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, in: zeitenblicke 7 (2008), Nr. 2.

With the discovery and conquest of America in the 16th century the Spanish conquistadors became acquainted with a way of writing quite different to that of the Europeans. The western alphabetic script encountered a system working with pictures and symbols. With the conquest a process started which transformed the indigenous languages and their pictorial style into an alphabetic script with Latin letters – a development that has been the source of controversial discussions in research. The article examines this medial change based on the influential work of that time, the “Florentine Codex“ (1578-80) by the Franciscan missionary, Fray Bernardino de Sahagún (1499-1590).


Susanna Burghartz: Ambiguity and claim to superiority. Staged worlds in the colonial discourse around 1600, in: zeitenblicke 7 (2008), Nr. 2.

As of the middle of the 16th century, with the European expansion overseas, volumes of travelogues emerged in Europe in an attempt to organise and channel the increasing tide of illustrations, information and texts on the “New World”. These travelogue collections became an important arena for the consolidation of colonial discourses. The image of the strange worlds portrayed by these were, however, by no means homogenous and coherent. In fact it was more an imaginary non-European world which oscillated between contrary extremities: the fascination of the paradisiacal conditions were combined with the abhorrence of the indigenous savagery, the assuredness of western superiority was accompanied by a dread of being devoured by the unknown exotic culture, the occidental claim for leadership competed with national self-assertion vis-à-vis other colonial powers. Taking the Brief and True Report of the new found Land of Virginia edition by de Bry as an example, we can reconstruct how such extremes, inconsistencies and ambiguities well-nigh constituent for the collection made the assertion of European superiority possible.


Monica Juneja: Translating the visual into language? The academic discourse and the polyvalency of Indian paintings, in: zeitenblicke 7 (2008), Nr. 2.

The article deals with the origin of an academic discourse on the history of Indian art. Our knowledge of works of art often originates via the written narrative – in this case via paradigms, terms and definitions from art theory, which themselves were a product of the colonial knowledge industry on Indian culture and were until the present day often never questioned. Therefore, there is a disjunction between the culture-specific and ambiguous visuality and the academic discourse which on the basis of the ‘textualisation’ of knowledge also led to the canonisation of the understanding of Indian paintings. However, over the centuries the history of the paintings has developed in diverse social and cultural contexts thus always acquiring new stratifications of significance. The article deliberates a rapprochement with the paintings of Northern Indian court life via the polyvalency of the works of art themselves.


Michael Zeuske: Image of slaves: visualisation, texts and comparison in central Atlantic, 19th century (Brazil, Cuba and USA), in: zeitenblicke 7 (2008), Nr. 2.

The article pursues the ‘visualisation’ of slavery on the American continent, starting from its beginnings in the 16th century, however, concentrating on paintings and drawings of the 19th century. The reason for this is the change at that time in the European perspective of the phenomenon slavery. There emerged a real interest in the living conditions of the slaves in America and not just an immense fear of the slaves, a horror which was greatly manipulated and cultivated. The focus is on a series of paintings by Johann Moritz Rugendas, who presented the many forms of slavery and, for the first time, not only genotyped the people portrayed but also revealed individual traits. Nonetheless Rugendas also paid tribute to European expectations of exoticism. In their work hardly any of the artists actually questioned the prevailing circumstances or indeed slavery itself. At large it is clear that in the paintings presented here only certain aspects of the lives of slaves are visualised. By no means can these paintings be taken as an “histoire totale”. However, they albeit represent an important enhancement of the source of materials on the history of slavery.


Jens Jäger: ‘Heimat’ in Africa. Or the medial appropriation of the colonies at the turn of the 19th century, in: zeitenblicke 7 (2008), Nr. 2.

The increase in the depiction of the colonies is a striking phenomenon in the German Empire around and, in particular, after 1900. Here the formal and aesthetic form of illustration is significant. Along the lines of the contemporary ‘heimat’ art and artistic photography illustrations were produced and shown in the media. These pictures transformed images from the colonies into consumable units allowing a reception of these as home or a future home within the Empire. This way the colonies were phased into the everyday reproduction of the imperial-national Empire.


Erstellt von: RedaktionZB
Zuletzt verändert: 2008-12-18 11:42 AM