Research programme Objects and prestige: taste, status, and power (Researches of the material culture in Slovenia)

Collaborating institutions
Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana, 'Jožef Stefan' Institute
doc. dr. Mateja Kos Zabel (leader), dr. Anja Dular, dr. Tomaž Lazar, dr. Maja Lozar Štamcar, dr. Alenka Miškec, dr. Andrej Šemrov, dr. Zora Žbontar, doc. dr. Katja Mahnič (FA UL), dr. Marijan Nečemer (IJS), Saša Rudolf, young researcher, and Gašper Oitzl, technician.
Duration of the programme:
1 January 2013–31 December 2017
Funding sources:
The programme is funded by the Slovenian Research Agency.

Photograph: Analysis of an art nouveau vase at the 'Jožef Stefan' Institute (photo: Žiga Šmit)



Our ongoing research, started in 1984, focuses on interpreting the world of objects from the earliest periods of Slovenian national history to the present. Therefore, we continue to devise new mechanisms that help explain why the world of (maerial) objects has developed along the existing lines. The studies carried out to date have contributed valuable new findings and knowledge, and further underlined the importance of material culture to historiography.
The primary goals of our programme are the expansion and deepening of our understanding of the materal culture / movable cultural heritage in Slovenia from the medieval era to the present. Our research is based on the premise of holistic study of movable cultural heritage, approached from the viewpoint of humanities as well as natural and technical sciences to produce truly relevant results. Along the already known and established methods for determining the authorship, material composition, datation, provenance and interpretation of museum objects great emphasis is placed on scientific analyses. Even in the field of humanities, our research is interdisciplinary and combines historiography, library sciences, numismatics and art history. This combination of complementary studies has proved invaluable to the treatment of our research subject.

Analysis of cream-coloured earthernware ceramics at the 'Jožef Stefan' Institute (photo: Žiga Šmit)
Transcription of an inventory of the Ljubljana glass factory from 1564. Transcribed by dr. Maja Žvanut.

Radiographic investigation of the oldest artillery pieces from the Regional Museum Ptuj Ormož in 2010/11. The Ir192 analyses were carried out with the assistance of IMP NDT, d.o.o., supervised by  Ferdinand Ucman. (photo: Tomaž Lazar)