East Asian items from Celje museum's collection put on show

Celje, 7 September - The Celje Regional Museum will put on show on Thursday evening a number of items from Asia that it keeps in its Asia and Latin America collection. Some of the items at the exhibition are displayed for the first time, as the museum tries to establish their exact origin.

Celje
The exhibition Taken into Protection at the Celje Regional Museum.
Photo: Celje Regional Museum

Celje
The exhibition Taken into Protection at the Celje Regional Museum.
Photo: Celje Regional Museum

Celje
The monograph accompanying the exhibition Taken into Protection at the Celje Regional Museum.
Photo: Celje Regional Museum

Visitors will see a number of wooden objects such as coffee tables, small boxes and decorative screens, alongside porcelain and ceramic items, such as vases.

Most of the items were made in China and Japan to the taste of Westerners destined for export to the West, and originate from castles or homes of a wealthy upper middle class.

An interesting exhibit is a samurai's armour, a photo of which is on the cover of the monograph accompanying the exhibition, termed Taken into Protection.

The armour was seized by the Nazis from a British landowner living in Frankolovo during the Nazi occupation of Slovenia, the curator, Davor Mlinari─Ź, told the STA.

The exhibits are part of the museum's Asia and South America collection, which was formed in 1964 when these items were excluded from the museum's other collections.

The display is part of a broader project which focuses on East Asian items and collections in Slovenia, and is funded by the Slovenian Research and Innovation Agency.

The project is dubbed Orphaned Objects: Examining East Asian Objects outside Organised Collecting Practices in Slovenia, and aims to take stock of all Asian items at various museum storage facilities.

It is led by the Department of Asian Studies at the Ljubljana Faculty of Arts, with the Celje museum and the Scientific and Research Centre in Koper as its partners.

Research before this project focussed on seizure of private property by communist authorities after WWII from what were "the enemies of the people", such as the bourgoisie.

However, this research project has shown that the Nazis seized many items during WWII in the region of Štajerska, north-eastern Slovenia.

A major obstacle to research is items being rather dispersed among various storage facilities, while data is rather scarce for the items seized after WWII.

Researchers believe this is because there was no time nor experts to study the items in detail at the time, which now makes it harder to determine their exact origin.

The monograph meanwhile brings a detailed list of all East Asian items kept at the Celje museum.

The museum says the exhibition and the monograph bring the results of the research while they should also serve as a basis for further research into this topic.

The exhibition will be on show until the end of August 2024.

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© STA, 2023