What is incense? Where does it come from? What was its role in early Christianity and why was this considered controversial by contemporary theologians? Why and when did incense burners become important liturgical instruments, often made from precious metals such as gold and silver? And how does their decoration reflect their function? These and other related questions will be addressed in a talk that takes as its starting point a remarkable gilded silver incense burner discovered at Kumluca in south-western Turkey, part of the so-called Sion treasure, datable by its control stamps to approximately the year 565 CE, and now in the Antalya Museum. The censer is decorated with scenes related to the account of the birth of Jesus contained in a second-century apocryphal text known as the Protoevangelium of James.
John Osborne is Distinguished Research Professor and Dean Emeritus at Carleton University, and an Associate Fellow and Member of the Academic Council of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto. He is currently also a Research Fellow at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, where he received his doctorate in 1979. His recent publications include Rome in the Eighth Century: A History in Art (Cambridge University Press, 2020), and a co-edited volume Santa Maria Antiqua: The Sistine Chapel of the Early Middle Ages (Brepols/Harvey Miller Press).
Zoom link: https://carleton-ca.zoom.us/j/99256715293
Starting time: 2 PM EST