Between Ethnology and Cultural History: Where to Place East Asian Objects in Slovenian Museums?

Asian Studies

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Title Between Ethnology and Cultural History: Where to Place East Asian Objects in Slovenian Museums?
Med etnologijo in kulturno zgodovino: Kam umestiti predmete iz Vzhodne Azije v slovenskih muzejih?
 
Creator Vampelj Suhadolnik, Nataša
 
Subject National Museum of Slovenia
Slovene Ethnographic Museum
East Asian objects
museum classification
ethnology
cultural history
art
Narodni muzej Slovenije
Slovenski etnografski muzej
vzhodnoazijski predmeti
muzejska klasifikacija
etnologija
kulturna zgodovina
umetnost
 
Description While a few larger collections of objects of East Asian origin entered Slovenian mu­seums after the deaths of their owners in the 1950s and 60s, individual items had begun finding their way there as early as the nineteenth century. Museums were faced early on with the problem not only of how to store and exhibit the objects, but also how to categorize them. Were they to be treated as “art” on account of their aesthetic value or did they belong, rather, to the field of “ethnography” or “anthropology” because they could illustrate the way of life of other peoples? Above all, in which museums were these objects to be housed?
The present paper offers an in-depth analysis of these and related questions, seeking to shed light on how East Asian objects have been showcased in Slovenia (with a focus on the National Museum and the Slovene Ethnographic Museum) over the past two hundred years. In particular, it explores the values and criteria that were applied when placing these objects into individual categories. In contrast to the conceptual shift from “ethnology” to the “decorative and fine arts,” which can mostly be observed in the categorization of East Asian objects in North America and the former European colonial countries, the classification of such objects in Slovenia varied between “ethnology” and “cultural history,” with ethnology ultimately coming out on top. This ties in with the more general question of how (East) Asian cultures were understood and perceived in Slovenia, which is itself related to the historical and social development of the “peripheral” Slovenian area compared with former major imperial centres.
Medtem ko so večje zbirke vzhodnoazijskih predmetov v slovenske muzeje vstopile po smrti lastnikov v 50. in 60. letih 20. stoletja, so posamezni vzhodnoazijski predmeti pot do muzejev našli že v 19. stoletju. S tem so bili muzeji soočeni s problemom hrambe in razstavljanja teh predmetov, predvsem pa z vprašanjem kategorizacije. Ali naj bi jih zaradi njihove estetske vrednosti obravnavali kot »umetnost« ali pa raje spadajo na področje »etnografije« ali »antropologije«, saj ponazarjajo način življenja drugih ljudi? Predvsem pa, v katere muzeje pravzaprav sodijo?
Ta prispevek prikaže poglobljeno analizo tovrstnih vprašanj, pri čemer se osredotoči na primer Narodnega muzeja in Slovenskega etnografskega muzeja v zadnjih dvesto letih. Posebej izpostavi vrednote in merila, po katerih so bili posamezni predmeti razvrščeni v različne kategorije. V nasprotju s konceptualnim premikom iz »etnologije« v »dekorativno ali likovno umetnost«, kar lahko opazujemo v kategorizaciji vzhodnoazijskih predmetov v Severni Ameriki in nekdanjih evropskih kolonialnih državah, je klasifikacija teh predmetov v Sloveniji nihala med »etnologijo« in »kulturno zgodovino«, pri čemer so večjo noto dobivale etnografske oznake. To je povezano tudi z bolj splošnim vprašanjem, kako so bile (vzhodno)azijske kulture videne v Sloveniji, kar je samo po sebi povezano z zgodovinskim in družbenim razvojem »perifernega« slovenskega prostora v primerjavi z nekdanjimi večjimi imperialnimi središči.
 
Publisher Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakulte / Ljubljana University Press, Faculty of Arts
 
Date 2021-09-10
 
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion
 
Format application/pdf
 
Identifier https://revije.ff.uni-lj.si/as/article/view/9808
10.4312/as.2021.9.3.85-116
 
Source Asian Studies; Vol. 9 No. 3 (2021): Special Issue: East Asia in Slovenia: Collecting Practices, Categorization and Representation; 85-116
Azijske študije; Letn. 9 Št. 3 (2021): Special Issue: East Asia in Slovenia: Collecting Practices, Categorization and Representation; 85-116
2350-4226
2232-5131
10.4312/as.2021.9.3
 
Language eng
 
Relation https://revije.ff.uni-lj.si/as/article/view/9808/9695
 
Rights Copyright (c) 2021 Nataša VAMPELJ SUHADOLNIK
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0
 

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