Slavs and Tatars: Mirrors for Princes

    Research output: Book/ReportBook


    The contribution to medieval advice literature for future rulers, from the Turkic, Slavic and Uighur region, is seldom written about in terms of cultural practices in contemporary art. In its exploration of the modern day notions of self-help, wisdom, advice and good counsel, Slavs and Tatars: Mirrors for Princes re-animates the ideals medieval advice literature and proposes an expanded field of research within which to understand the ?mirrors of princes? genre alongside the present-day relevance of Yusuf Khass Hajib?s 11th century text Kutadgu Bilig (which is to Turkic languages what Ferdowsi?s Shahnameh is to Persian, Beowulf to English, or Nibelungen to German). A central component in this lineage of advice literature ? of which Machiavelli?s The Prince is the most widely known example ? is the promotion of both self-grooming and the ideal of statecraft for the purpose of governance.The expansive context of the original genre of ?mirrors for princes?, its universalist and yet esoteric import, is distilled in this volume into a number of objects produced by Slavs and Tatars which suggest both self-grooming and the elevation of statecraft throughout the Middle Ages. The texts in this volume, likewise, speak to both the unique approach of the artists to this subject matter and to the importance of Kutadgu Bilig in understanding the historical relationship between statecraft (dawla) and faith/religion (din). In doing so, both artists and writers produce further original research on what precisely this means in present day ideals of governance and statist forms of managerialism. For an audience encountering the artist?s works, the relatively obscure objectives of tomes such as Kutadgu Bilig are given over to a permissive linguistic and conceptual practice that promotes the latter?s relevance for today and brings its importance as a scholarly text to the fore. How, this volume asks, were forms of political writing, often called advice literature (or f�rstenspiegel), shared by Christian and Muslim lands during the Middle Ages? And how are we to understand how the genre of medieval advice literature acted as a starting point to discuss fate and fortune, versus governance, and the translation of statecraft into its modern-day equivalent, namely, public relations and so-called spin doctoring, all being key themes in the artists? work.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationZurich
    PublisherJRP Ringier
    ISBN (Print)978-3-03764-407-2
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 28 Feb 2015


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