The present book collects the results of a conference, held at Munich in 2011. The single papers deal with limits and possibilities of analysing ancient architectural decoration. Offering an accesible overview of recent fields of research, this book will be of interest to scholars and students concerned not only with architectural deocration but also to people who are generally interested in the cultural history of the ancient world.
The scientific interest in ancient architectural decoration has taken a significant increase during the last decade. Technological innovations in the fields of documentation, data-mining and digital media have added powerful sets of heuristic devices to a traditionally quite conservative discipline. As a result, the new ways of dealing with the material evidence have generated both difficulties and opportunities. These issues were thoroughly addressed by the conference “Antike Bauornamentik: Möglichkeiten und Grenzen ihrer Erforschung”, held at Munich in 2011 and aiming at a critical dicussion of the current state of research. The present book collects the results of this conference. The single papers deal with limits and possibilities of analysing syntactical, iconographical and technical aspects of architectural decoration with regard to chronological and spatial questions. Furthermore, they look at the process of design and craftsmanship in the ancient building industry, taking into account different waves of fashion and the transfer of architectural concepts. The information gained from a building’s decoration is also of special value for matters of ‘Bauforschung’ and for the reconstruction of ancient edifices, especially if the analysis is not just based on the most representative objects but on the thourough examination of all available architectural fragments. Closely related to such questions of methodology is the field concerning the specific cultural implications of architectural decoration and the mutual processes of communication between commissioners and viewers. In which way was architectural decoration used as a conveyor of meaning and information? Which iconic and visual strategies were employed in the process? What kind of historical framework for the interpretion of ancient architectural decoration shall be used with regard to urbanistic, functional, political and social contexts? Finally, by including aesthetic and sensualistic components the question of specific atmospheres in the perception of architectural decoration is addressed. Offering an accesible overview of recent fields of research, this book will be of interest to scholars and students concerned not only with architectural deocration but also to people who are generally interested in the cultural history of the ancient world.