2019 | XXXII | 161-179
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Attributes, Vestments, Context and Inscription in the Identification of Nubian Paintings: Proposing the ‘Multi-Layer’ Image Recognition Method

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The aim of this paper is to present a method that enables identification of Nubian paintings whose tituli have not been preserved or are incomplete. This method is reminiscent of the laborious piecing together of mosaics from scattered and incomplete tesserae. The attributes, vestments or contexts are such tesserae, which taken into consideration together enable the composing of a mosaic, piece by piece. Some interpretations of the paintings were made during excavations, without time for deeper analysis. Identifications created in this way have become so merged with the images, and then repeated frequently, that it was very difficult to change them and introduce a new perspective on already widely accepted opinions. In this article, I have focused on a few select examples that show how one can identify individual paintings, but also how one can fall into the trap of too easy comparisons and attributions. A scholar studying Nubian art has to be cautious as its iconography is sometimes so original that it cannot be easily compared to Byzantine or any other cultural patterns.
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