Natural Materials of the Holy Land and the Visual Translation of Place, 500-1500, focuses on the unique ways that natural materials carry the spirit of place. Since early Christianity, wood, earth, water and stone were taken from loca sancta to signify them elsewhere. Academic discourse has indiscriminately grouped material tokens from holy places and their containers with architectural and topographical emulations, two-dimensional images and bodily relics. However, unlike textual or visual representations, natural materials do not describe or interpret the Holy Land; they are part of it. Tangible and timeless, they realize the meaning of their place of origin in new locations.

What makes earth, stones or bottled water transported from holy sites sacred? How do they become pars pro toto, signifying the whole from which they were taken? This book will examine natural media used for translating loca sancta, the processes of their sanctification and how, although inherently abstract, they become charged with meaning. It will address their metamorphosis, natural or induced; how they change the environment to which they are transported; their capacity to translate a static and distant site elsewhere; the effect of their relocation on users/viewers; and how their containers and staging are used to communicate their substance.

part I|75 pages

Collecting and collections

chapter 1|16 pages

Earth, stone, water, and oil

Objects of veneration in Holy Land travel narratives

chapter 3|28 pages

The popes and the loca sancta of Jerusalem

Relic practice and relic diplomacy in the Eastern Mediterranean after the Muslim conquest *

chapter 4|12 pages

Jerusalem refracted

Geographies of the True Cross in late antiquity

part II|77 pages

Agents of translation

chapter 5|15 pages

Una processione da farsi ogni anno con una Messa Solenne

Reception of stone relics from the Holy Land in Renaissance Ragusa

chapter 7|18 pages

Earth from elsewhere

Burial in terra sancta beyond the Holy Land *

chapter 8|27 pages

Materiality and liminality

Nonmimetic evocations of Jerusalem along the Venetian sea routes to the Holy Land *

part III|75 pages

Instillation and enactment

chapter 9|15 pages

Rocks of Jerusalem

Bringing the Holy Land home

chapter 11|17 pages

Place and surface

Golgotha in late medieval Bruges

chapter 12|9 pages

Moving stones

On the columns of the Dome of the Rock, their history and meaning

part IV|19 pages

Contemporary re-enactment

chapter 14|17 pages

Susan Hiller’s Homages to Joseph Beuys

Mystics, cult, and anthropology