Synaesthetic landscapes: looking for the missing senses in an eighteenth-century palace in Mafra, Portugal

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Abstract

In 1781, a book discussing the relationship between cats and dogs was published in Lisbon. Among the illustrations, there is a representation of a palace, more precisely the Marquess of Ponte de Lima palace in Mafra, Portugal. This illustration reveals how this space was lived and felt not only by the observer but also by all the human and non-human agents that circulated and existed in this space. The palace still exists, it is a public building, and 241 years later, we, as archaeologists, visited the palace. We observed its architecture, touched its walls, and heard how sound would propagate, trying to use our senses to feel the space. After the visit, we sat down and discussed how we perceived the place. We then returned to the late eighteenth-century representation and debated how visual stimulation can provoke a sensorial experience of a place we never smelled or listened to. This paper aims to debate whether we can use past representations of still-existing spaces to understand how different agents effectively reacted to different environments and how those representations influenced the way we engage with such spaces.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalTime and Mind
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2024

Keywords

  • Phenomenology
  • Sensorial experiences
  • Synaesthesia
  • Palace

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