FAculty seminar

Edibility of the Beautiful: Palate and Poetry in Early Modern Iran

Thursday 20 February 2014

16.00 - 18.00, Research Forum South Room

Speaker(s): Dr Sussan Babaie (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Ticket/entry details: Open only to members of The Courtauld's teaching and curatorial staff, RSVP by 12 February for catering purposes to researchforum@courtauld.ac.uk

Organised by: Professor Caroline Arscott

This research project explores the visuality of taste, the link between the proverbial artist palette and the palate. Food and cooking have always been implicitly implicated in the scholarly corpus on Islamic luxury objects of utility that are, incidentally, dominated by the culinary categories of utensils and vessels. Depictions of such objects in mural and book paintings garner general assumptions about status and utility of such vessels. And ordinarily the sense of touch and the mechanics of moving the vessel and seeing its epigraphic or pictorial decoration solicit scholarly attention. With an eye toward the interdependence of sensory experiences, this project takes a different approach. It draws from an array of resources — Persianate painting, vessels for eating, cookbooks, and poetry — to ask whether, and how, representations of eating, food, and cooking may have triggered translation and transmission from seeing to tasting. This yields, at least in part I hope, some intuition into a collective of non-inscribed practices that mediate between visual and culinary cultures of the Persian-speaking urban elite especially in the early modern period.

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