Exit easy mode

We are collecting memories, stories and information about the objects of Ivan Skušek and Marija Skušek

The Skušek collection was last displayed over 30 years ago in the Museum of Non-European Cultures in the mansion in Goričane near Medvode. For the past six decades, the collection has been kept by the Slovenian Ethnographic Museum (SEM). This year, SEM is preparing an exhibition about this exceptional collection, where it will once again be possible to admire beautiful pieces of furniture, porcelain goods and other interesting objects, and find out more about the incredible story of its owners, Ivan Skušek Jr. and Marija Skušek (Tsuneko Kondō Kawase).

We kindly invite you to contribute to the exhibition!

If you have an item donated by the Skušek couple, if your family album includes a photograph with them, or if a memory about the couple and their collection lives on in your family, we would love it if you could share them with us, to help us compose this unique story! You can send us photos of objects, simply show them to us, or lend them to us for the duration of the exhibition. Your testimonials and memories will be recorded for our documentation. Anyone who responds to the invitation has the possibility to remain anonymous; your name will not be published in any of the announcements.

In return, we offer the expertise of our project group that will professionally examine your items and provide you with additional information about them (their age, purpose of use, etc.). As a thank you for your participation, you will receive three family tickets for a free visit of the exhibition about the Skušek collection that will open mid-2024 in the SEM and will be on display for one year.

We are collecting memories, stories and information about your objects until 15 April 2024, contact person: docent Helena Motoh, PhD, Institute for Philosophical and Religious Studies of the Science and Research Centre Koper: , phone number: +386 (0) 51 36 95 09

Life of the Skušek collection – objects and memories
A little over 100 years ago, first class superior naval officer Ivan Skušek Jr. and his family came back to Ljubljana from his latest exciting voyage to Japan and China which was interrupted by the First World War. After a six-year stay in Beijing, he came home with his wife, Japanese Tsuneko Kondō Kawase, her children, and an extraordinary collection of Chinese and Japanese objects. Ivan and Tsuneko (who changed her name to Marija after the church wedding) wanted to exhibit the collection in an Asian Museum which would be open to the public, but failed to realise this objective. Until their death (1947 for Ivan and 1963 for Tsuneko), they literally lived among the objects that they brought from China.

A wide circle of their acquaintances and friends, as well as numerous other visitors of their home, learned about the cultures and arts of East Asia through the Skušek couple. Tsuneko was particularly active in this field, seeing as she gave numerous lectures, performed on the radio, collaborated with theatres, taught Japanese, and much more. After Ivan’s death, their apartment on Strossmayer street in Ljubljana became a sort of a private museum, with artists and intellectuals from Slovenia and abroad coming to admire their works of art. Numerous items were also donated by the Skušek couple to their family members and friends.

The collection of memories, stories and information about the objects of Ivan and Marija Skušek is a part of the Slovenian-Austrian research project “Life of the Skušek Collection: from the Living Room to a Virtual Museum (2023-2026)”, managed by Professor Helena Motoh, PhD, of the Science and Research Centre Koper, and Gerald Kozicz, PhD, from the Institute of Architecture and Media at TU Graz. Other partners of the project include the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana, the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and the Slovenian Ethnographic Museum.