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›Beziehungskästchen‹. Die Übersetzung europäischer Bildvorlagen am singhalesischen Elfenbeinkästchen des Berliner Museums für Asiatische Kunst

Alberto Saviello

Published online:

01 Oct 2018



The article discusses the use of images from two Parisian books of hours on a Sinhalese ivory casket of the sixteenth century, which today is kept at the Museum für Asiatische Kunst in Berlin. Comparing the Berlin casket to a group of similar Sinhalese ivory boxes, the article argues for its being a gift of the declining Sinhalese dynasty of Kōṭṭe that was made for the Portuguese house of Aviz. Furthermore, the analysis of the alterations and recombination of the European models in this context allows a better understanding of the box as a product of cross-cultural negotiation. Merging both European and Sinhalese artistic traditions, the casket presents a creative expression of a Sinhalese-Christian identity that, while being in the process of forming itself, also addresses the contradictions between missionary promises of salvation and colonial violence.

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