What is it about?
This essay examines a collection of displaced Armenian relics from the perspective of their shifting meanings and multiple uses as ritual objects, offerings, gifts, and commodities. Charting the parallel displacements of objects and people during the Polish-Ottoman wars of 1672–1699, I argue that the mutability of the relics shaped the refugees’ attempts to deal with the conflicting social obligations and economic pressures of exile.
Photo by Maryna Nikolaieva on Unsplash
Why is it important?
Despite the historians’ growing interest in material culture, collections of sacred objects have largely been overlooked by scholars of religious history and art history alike. While the former tend to reduce church artifacts to their religious function, the latter focus mostly on individual items of singular artistic import. Drawing on the church inventories and trial records of the Armenian communities in Poland-Lithuania, this essay offers a wider analytical framework with which to approach the problems of migration, displacement, and collective possessions in the early modern world.
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This page is a summary of: Relics in Exile: A Collection of Armenian Sacred Objects between Poland-Lithuania and the Ottoman Empire, 1672–1699, Journal of Early Modern History, March 2022, Brill, DOI: 10.1163/15700658-bja10043.
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