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Asia Illustrata: The Religions of Asia in Dutch Book Illustrations of the Early Modern Period.

Lecturer: Dr. Paola von Wyss-Giacosa (Zurich University) 
Location: Livestream via YouTube
Start: 6 p.m.

The Netherlands, and Amsterdam in particular, was one of the most important centres of book production in Europe from the second half of the 17th century onward. Publications on various regions and countries of Asia in the form of lavishly designed volumes enjoyed great popularity among the readership. The number and quality of the illustrations contributed decisively to the success of these publications.

In the treatises of travellers and traders, clergymen and scholars, the foreign religions were often discussed in great detail, with reports on ceremonies and festivals, descriptions of places of worship and deities, as well as with reflections on "paganism" and its relationship to beliefs of antiquity as well as to one's own Christian religion. In the lecture, book illustrations accompanying such texts will be presented as multi-layered sources of a history of past knowledge cultures. The focus will be on the significance of these visual representations in the learned discourse on religion in the early modern period.