Syrian Censers Opening Horizons

Fricke, Beate (7 June 2019). Syrian Censers Opening Horizons (Unpublished). In: Censer - A comparative Approach. Universität Bern. 7-8. Juni 2019.

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)

To date we know of over one hundred bronze censers that form a group decorated with Christian scenes. A large span of potential dates have been suggested for these objects ranging from “around 600” until the 13th century (the latter based on an added inscription from the 14th century). Equally wide is the geographical range where they have been purchased, including several locations clustering around the Black Sea. Today, 13 of them are kept in Switzerland, 7 were bought by Friedrich Ludwig Breusch at the bazaar in Istanbul. Most scholars agree that these bronze censers were mass-produced in Syria or Palestina and were sold to Christian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land. Examining how censers in premodern cultures conceived of the horizon opens a crucial line of inquiry into understanding the many different ways in which humans have conceived of the relationship between an invisible cosmos and the visible world. In focusing on these Christian bronze censers in this context not only places these objects in a broader constellation of other religious artefacts, but also relocates the importance of rituals that have long been placed at the margins of the study of religion and art.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Art History > Ancient and Medieval Art History
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Art History

UniBE Contributor:

Fricke, Beate


700 Arts
700 Arts > 730 Sculpture, ceramics & metalwork
900 History
900 History > 940 History of Europe
900 History > 950 History of Asia


[18] European Research Council


[1266] Global Horizons in Premodern Art




Beate Fricke

Date Deposited:

19 Dec 2019 12:58

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:34


Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback