I have a question about the margins in Persian and Indian miniature manuscript painting - it's for my PhD - is there any literature or are there any sources on this? It seems to have not been written about much.
I would like to know: why did paintings often contain elements that escaped the frame? (eg rocks bursting out of the frames)
(Realise there is perhaps no straight answer to this and I've been pondering this myself for about 12 years now... but still, you might come up with good ideas!)
So far ideas have included:
to bring them 'off the page' as far as possible and closer to us (Dominique Fayad)
as a quiet act of rebellion (Susan Lucas Dobrian)
they just were so exuberant that they couldn't be contained/restrained
they ran out of space
they just liked the look of it
did they see European Medieval manuscripts and get inspired?
and so on...
Thank you Mary! I have Nishimura's book but didn't think to look in the bibliography - great idea! Yes the scholarship seems overwhelmingly Western Medieval - and yes there are some aspects that can be transposed and I'm looking at that - and some aspects that cannot be, and that have to be understood within the context of the culture of the MSS. By the way, the 'grandad' of the field is I suppose Michael Camille's Image on the Edge: Margins of Medieval Art, which I recommend. He also talks about the Gothic cathedral's gargoyles as marginalia, as well as the doodles we find on the edges of manuscript pages. Fascinating stuff.
Ah, such a beautiful inquiry. I have some suggestions, which may have already tried. I flipped through my copy of Nishimura's "Images in the Margins" (a Getty pub/exhibition catalog from 2009). It is of course only concerned with medieval art, but in the "Suggestions for Further Reading" the work of Lucy Freeman Sandler is referenced (Lucy Freeman Sandler, "The Study of Marginal Imagery: Past, Present, and Future," Studies in Iconography). And Sandler's work may be entirely western medieval, but she may have a colleague or two she could suggest who you may or may not already know that are experts in Asian manuscripts from the same time period. And from there you may find texts that provide more clues.