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Empress Barbara

A collection dedicated to women worldwide, and foremost to Empress Barbara.

A collection dedicated to women worldwide, and foremost to Empress Barbara. The triple queen – of Hungary, Germany and Bohemia – unsettled her contemporaries with her beauty, intelligence and that special magnetism only strong women possess. Her passion for alchemy, astrology and metaphysical experimentation shone light into the darkness of medieval times, as she explored parapsychological phenomena in pursuit of spiritual enlightenment.

“If materialism, which maintains that matter is the fundamental stuff of nature, was the artist’s sole paradigm than all art would be predictable. Within the confines of a clearly drawn world, there are a finite number of possibilities. However, the artist rejects the materialist paradigm; he explores the silence between the lines, the everlasting conscience, where he can embody his inspiration. His realm is a world that cannot be explained, only felt. Oskar Kogoj and Rudolf Španzel drew such inspiration from Barbara of Celje (Cilli), a cosmopolitan woman, who carried the Cilli name to the imperial courts of middle Europe. The triple queen – of Hungary, Germany and Bohemia – unsettled her contemporaries with her beauty, intelligence and that special magnetism only strong women possess. Today, as we officially embark on a new leg of our journey as a European state, it is especially fitting that we revive the myth of the mysterious Barbara – undisputedly the most progressive member of the Counts of Celje dynasty.

Who was Barbara of Celje? Reliable documents are silent on the matter, which is perhaps just as well, as truthful information about a person can nevertheless be misleading. No person is faithful to any one of a multitude of roles they play. “The Black Queen”, as her enemies dubbed the riveting Barbara, epitomizes a woman wisely and definitively taking control of her power. The black queen lives in every woman, awaiting her moment. She transcends time and space.

The designer and painter’s works display their insight into the spirit and consciousness of Empress Barbara, and each and every one of us will get to know her in spirit and consciousness, as we internalize her image through the artists’ work.”

Professor Lidija Koceli


A mug of green gold


This beer mug tells the story of Slovenia’s longstanding tradition of brewing quality beer, Oska Kogoj’s outstanding design, the symbolic meaning of Slovenia’s traditional glassworks, and the beer drinking culture. The designer scatters symbols of God – protruding bumps that stem from ancient toreutic techniques – over the mug’s surface.


The oldest known document on the subject of beer is a clay tablet depicting the brewing of beer for sacrificial purposes. The tablet was inscribed approximately 6000 years ago in Mesopotamia. Beer was drunk by ancient rulers, who claimed monopoly on this sacred beverage. Consequently, the tradition of beer as a drink of the gods has continued until this day. Sumerians, Egyptians, the Chinese and Japanese, Indians as well as the ancient Greeks produced this historic beverage.

The Slavs brought beer to Europe and so to the territory of present-day Slovenia. During Antiquity, beer was drunk daily as well as during religious ceremonies, during the Medieval Period, however, breweries moved from homesteads to monasteries and towns.

While Valvasor himself wrote about brewing, breweries in the present sense of the word first appeared in the 18th century. At the end of the 19th century smaller breweries quickly spread throughout Slovenian territory and the biggest among them produced up to 3000 hl of beer. The oldest Slovenian brewery is the Stare brewery in Mengeš, which operated between 1818 and 1917. After the Second World War, beer was produced by Pivovarna Union, Pivovarna Laško, and the Factory of vinegar, liqueur and fruit juices.


The first documented knowledge about hops (green gold) in Slovenia dates back to the 12th century. However, modern hops production in the Savinja Valley began in the second half of the 19th century. Janez Hausenbichler planted the first plantation in 1876 with Württemberg variety hops brought to him by Josip Bilger, administrator of the Novo Celje manor. In 1886 Hausenbichler and Karl Haupt finished their first trials, and so the production of Styrian Golding began. Hops production slowly grew and in 1902 the cooperative Hmeljarna was established. It oversaw the sale and supervised the quality of the hops harvest. Following the Second World War, the hops cooperative Hmezad was formed; it supervised the maintenance of plantations and the sale of the harvest. Between 1961 and 1964, the Agricultural combine Žalec merged agricultural complexes and planted them with hop plants.

Sophocles claimed that beer was the drink of the gods; raise a toast to friendship and the joy of life in the company of family, friends or business associates with A Mug of Green Gold.