Early Modern Art, Diplomacy and Food Culture

Sinem Casale

This project investigates the ceremonial and sensory function of food in early modern cross-cultural encounters. The official banquet was an integral part of the formal reception of embassies at the Ottoman sultan's court in Constantinople, an early modern diplomatic and commercial hub where people and things from around the Mediterranean and beyond were in constant circulation. Drawing on recent scholarship offering innovative approaches to materiality and the senses in art history, as well as new diplomatic history, this study integrates the banquet into court politics. By investigating the spatial, visual and gustatory configuration of banquets—as highly formal ceremonies that prefigured the ambassador's audience with the sultan—this study shows that they were highly politicized events rather than unconditional tokens of hospitality and cordiality.


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