Conference: Material Cultures and Iconography in Flux: Naples, Lisbon and Asia through the Sixteenth Century and beyond

Date of event:   27/07/2023 − 28/07/2023

Title: Material Cultures and Iconography in Flux: Naples, Lisbon and Asia through the Sixteenth Century and beyond
Format: Hybrid (in-person and online)
Duration: 27-28 July 2023
Organized by: University of Lisbon (Lisbon, Portugal) and University of Naples L’Orientale (Naples, Italy)
Location: School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal

The Portuguese Seaborne Empire (cf. Charles Boxer) and the enhancement of sea routes between Portugal and Asia made possible the flux of Asian (im)materiality to Europe promoted the introduction of Western ideas, customs, iconography and artefacts in Asia and vice-versa. Renaissance Europe gradually opened its doors to new challenges and knowledge from Asia increasingly spread westward. This was just the beginning of a constant flow of exchanges that started in the sixteenth century and is still ongoing.

Lisbon and Naples have played a pivotal role in the circulation of Asian spices, precious objects, porcelain, silk and even flora and fauna, which filled the rooms in the palaces of European royalty and wealthy families alike.

The maritime trade of diverse kinds of goods was part of a larger web of East-West connections that went far beyond mere commercial purposes. During the long period commonly known as the time of “discoveries”, the curiosity of European humanists, scientists, artists as well as ordinary people was stimulated by “exotic” objects and ideas.

The goal of this conference is to examine how the flow of material cultures, iconography and symbols is reflected in the collections of Asian objects in Europe, with a particular focus on Naples and Lisbon. Thus, we welcome submissions from interdisciplinary fields that propose novel approaches to new and old theoretical challenges.

The conference will give researchers an opportunity to present their studies to an audience of peers, in a friendly and stimulating atmosphere, as well as to network with fellow academics in the field of (im)material culture in flux in and outside Asia.

The conference is free but registration is required. To register please send an email to stating your name, academic degree and/or position and affiliation, and specifying whether you are planning to attend online or in person.

For more information, please visit the website here and here.

Flyer in PDF