Strange Beauty: Issues in the Making and Meaning of Reliquaries, 400-circa 1204 by Cynthia HahnStrange Beauty: Issues in the Making and Meaning of Reliquaries, 400-circa 1204 by Cynthia Hahn

Strange Beauty: Issues in the Making and Meaning of Reliquaries, 400-circa 1204

byCynthia Hahn

Paperback | March 11, 2013

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Reliquaries, one of the central art forms of the Middle Ages, have recently been the object of much interest among historians and artists. Until now, however, they have had no treatment in English that considers their history, origins, and place within religious practice, or, above all, their beauty and aesthetic value. In Strange Beauty, Cynthia Hahn treats issues that cut across the class of medieval reliquaries as a whole. She is particularly concerned with portable reliquaries that often contained tiny relic fragments, which purportedly allowed saints to actively exercise power in the world.

Above all, Hahn argues, reliquaries are a form of representation. They rarely simply depict what they contain; rather, they prepare the viewer for the appropriate reception of their precious contents and establish the “story” of the relics. They are based on forms originating in the Bible, especially the cross and the Ark of the Covenant, but find ways to renew the vision of such forms. They engage the viewer in many ways that are perhaps best described as persuasive or “rhetorical,” and Hahn uses literary terminology—sign, metaphor, and simile—to discuss their operation. At the same time, they make use of unexpected shapes—the purse, the arm or foot, or disembodied heads—to create striking effects and emphatically suggest the presence of the saint.

Cynthia Hahn is Professor of Art History at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center. Cynthia Hahn is Professor of Art History at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center.
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Ezza agha malak. a la croisée des regards - littérature liba
Ezza agha malak. a la croisée des regards - littérature liba

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Title:Strange Beauty: Issues in the Making and Meaning of Reliquaries, 400-circa 1204Format:PaperbackDimensions:312 pages, 9.97 × 9 × 0.75 inPublished:March 11, 2013Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271059486

ISBN - 13:9780271059488

Customer Reviews of Strange Beauty: Issues in the Making and Meaning of Reliquaries, 400-circa 1204

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Table of Contents

Contents

List of Illustrations

Preface

Part I: First Things

1 Introduction

2 The Reliquary and Its Maker

3 Relics, Meaning, and Response: Early Christian Reliquaries, Narrative and Not

Part II: Shaped Reliquaries

4 Spolia and Sign, Metaphor and Simile

5 The Reliquary Cross

6 Like and Unlike Metaphors

7 Body-Part Reliquaries: Heads

8 Body Part Reliquaries: Other Body Parts

Part III: A Gathering of Saints: Processions and Treasuries

9 Reliquaries in Action

10 Treasuries

11 Relic Display

12 A Case Study: Wibald of Stavelot as Patron

13 The Impact of 1204, the “Space” of the Ark, and Conclusion

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

“[Strange Beauty] stands as a major study in the field and is worth a serious read. Since Strange Beauty, more literature has engaged with concepts of reception, materiality, metaphor, and performance, demonstrating the continued relevance of this approach. As important as this work is to the study of relics, it is Hahn’s approach to the complexities of material culture that will provide the greatest appeal to a wide range of scholars and students, both within and beyond medieval studies.”—Eliza A. Foster, Peregrinations: Journal of Medieval Art & Architecture