UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Replica chains and the portability of Jerusalem Volmensky, Catherine


Erhard Reuwich’s Map of the Holy Land —found in Bernhard von Breydenbach’s Peregrinatio in terram sanctam—allows for an investigation of the portable nature of Jerusalem. Published in Mainz in 1486, Breydenbach’s pilgrimage guidebook offered the early modern viewer access to an eyewitness account and images of the Holy Land. In Reuwich’s fold-out map, the city of Jerusalem occupies the central viewpoint. In this topographical view, Reuwich labeled the Dome of the Rock (688–692) as the Temple of Solomon. I argue that this reimagining of the structure was due to a desire for visual ownership of this space following Saladin’s conquest of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1187. Incorporating ideas of transmediality, I suggest that the transformation of the architectural structure to the medium of print allowed the Dome of the Rock as the Temple of Solomon to act as an icon or container to activate sacred memory. I demonstrate that the portability of the guidebook and the medium of print allowed the sites of the Holy Land to cross cultural and geographic boundaries in the early modern period. Jerusalem also functioned as a relic or sacred site for Islam. A fourteenth century Ilkhanid Book of Ascension (Mi‘rajnama) allows for an investigation of the portability of Jerusalem within an Islamic context. This Ilkhanid manuscript painting, found in a Safavid album of calligraphies and paintings, shows the archangel Gabriel transporting the city of Jerusalem to the prophet Muhammad. This image is interpreted within the context of the Prophet’s night journey to Jerusalem. To demonstrate the Prophet’s autoptic authority, the archangel Gabriel brought Jerusalem in its entirety to Mecca. Focusing on Jerusalem as a site of cross-cultural encounters, Reuwich’s the Map of the Holy Land and the manuscript painting from the Book of Ascension (Mi‘rajnama) allows for an examination of Jerusalem as a liminal space.

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