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Conference // Wood: Between Natural Affordance and Cultural Values in Eurasia



23.03.2023 um 12:30 bis
25.03.2023 um 17:00


Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Katharina-von-Bora-Straße 10, 80333 Munich, Room 242 + via zoom

Termin übernehmen

The international conference, organised together by the University of Munich and the University of Cologne, brings together scholars from diverse fields within humanities and science to discuss similarities and differences, continuities and discontinuities in the notions surrounding wood in various cultural contexts within Eurasia. The papers address the relationship between the naturally determined affordances of timber and their cultural coding, relation of wood to other materials, specificities of wood craftsmanship, as well as the economic, theological and political aspects of the wood application.


The conference will take place in a hybrid format. You can either attend in-person or virtually via Zoom. For the participation on-site please register until 20.03.2023 at: Registration for the online participation is not mandatory.You can join the Zoom meeting at the following link:, Meeting-ID: 846 1657 7749, Password: 597554
All times are CET.


THURSDAY, 23.03.2023
12.30 Registration

13.00-13.30 Aleksandra Lipińska (Cologne), Ilse Sturkenboom (Munich), Introduction

13.30-15.00 PANEL 1 // Wood as a natural product
Michael Risse (Munich): Wood as Natural Material
Angelika Rauch (Potsdam): Ageing of Wood - The Patina Conundrum

15.00-16.00 PANEL 2 // Wood in interaction with other materials
Chair: Cornelia Logemann
Katherine Werwie (New Haven): Material Meanings of Medieval Europe’s Historiated Wooden Doors

16.00-17.00 Coffee break with poster session
// Poster session
Chair: Aleksandra Lipińska
Katalin Bella (Budapest): The use and significance of wooden chimneys in folk culture in 18th century Hungary
Mykhailo Zakopets, Roman Zilinko, Sergij Tsypyshew (Lviv): Challenges of Ukrainian wooden architecture. Preservation in the Lviv open air museum?

17.00-18.00 Keynote lecture // Ethan Matt Kavaler (Toronto): Naked Wood: the Unpolychromed Altarpieces of the Bormans in the Low Countries
FRIDAY, 24.03.2023

09.30-11.00 PANEL3 // Wood and craftsmanship on the move I
Chair: Bernard O`Kane
Joachim Gierlichs (Berlin, Abu Dhabi): Woodwork of the Timurid Period in Iran and Central Asia
Leung Shu Fung (Hong Kong): Cross-border Timber Trade in The Middle Ages: A study of Agarwood Tribute by Persian Merchants in 824AD
Anissa Foukalne (Den Bosch): 100 years of reutilisation, displacement and replacement of minbars in Morocco

-  11.00-11.30 Coffee break  -

11.30-13.00 PANEL 4 // Wood and craftsmanship on the move II
Chair: Teresa Bernheimer
Bernard O’Kane (Cairo): From the Zarafshan to Bahrain and the Maghrib: Anthropomorphic Wooden Corbels

Anna McSweeney (Dublin), Mariam Rosser-Owen (London): The Carved and Painted Wooden Ceilings of Torrijos Palace

-  13.00-14.00 Lunch break  -

14.00-15.30 Visit to the Xylothek, Technical University of Munich (Introduction: Michael Risse)

16.00-17.00 PANEL 5 // Affordance vs culture
Chair: Sarah Kiyanrad
Pinar Gnepp (New York): Wooden Muqarnas Capitals of Anatolia: Affordance of Wooden Construction
Hind Mostafa (Cairo): An object of Desire: Woodwork; the Craft and its Craftsmanship 

-  17.00-17.30 Coffee break  -

17.30-18.30 Keynote lecture // Ann-Sophie Lehmann (Groningen): The Carpenters. Wood as an Art Theoretical Material Through the Ages
SATURDAY, 25.03.2023

9.00-10.30 PANEL 6 // Sacred Wood
Chair: Chiara Francheschini
Sílvia Ferreira, Marta Maçarico Raposos (Lisbon): Practices of woodcarving in Portugal between tradition and innovation: ancient forms for new uses
Radek Przedpelski (Dublin): Metabolic Ontology of Wood and Tatar Cosmopoetics
Jon Thumas (Cambridge, MA, Tokio): Chopping Wood Drawing Water: Buddhism and Wood Fuel in Medieval Japanese Society

-  10.30-11.00 Coffee break  -

11.00-12.30 PANEL 7 // The Politics of Wood
Chair: Boris Čučković
Ebba Koch (Vienna): The Wooden Palace of the Mughal Emperor Humayun
Maria Nitka (Wrocław): Semantics of wood according to Witkiewicz and Slavophilic thought
Dmitry Shlapentokh (South Bend, IN): Wood and geopolitics in Russian thought

12.30-13.30 Lunch break

13.30-14.30 PANEL 8 // Economy vs culture
Chair: Stephan Hoppe
Sarah Teasley (Melbourne): From Waste Wood to Commodity: A Socio-Material Exploration of Timber in Early Twentieth Century Japan

Simona Drăgan (Bucharest): Ruin Comes in Wooden Clothes. Street Pavement and Exploitability of Wood in Premodern Bucharest

14.30-15.00 Final discussion

15.30-17.00 Visit in the Bavarian National Museum



Prof. Dr. Aleksandra Lipińska, Institute of Art History, University of Cologne,
Prof. Dr. Ilse Sturkeboom, Institute of Art History, Ludwig-Maximilian-University Munich,