Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung

As part of the collaboration with the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung, objects of art and cultural assets from the holdings of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz are studied scientifically.

The Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, BAM) has an extensive range of equipment for measuring, testing, and analyzing. Many of these devices have no equivalents at any other testing institute. BAM has also developed solutions in areas ranging from pest control to building safety.

BAM’s Studies of Objects in the Collections

The Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung contributes its competences to joint projects with the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation). For example, tomographic images have helped to determine the date and context of objects of art and cultural assets. One project was dedicated to the sculpture “Betender Knabe” (Praying boy) from the Antikensammlung (Collection of Classical Antiquities) of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin). By identifying remnants of soil and plants in the sculpture, it could be dated to around 300 BC.

In another project, BAM is using so-called X-ray fluorescence analysis to study the original autograph of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Mass in B Minor, which is held in the Bach Collection of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (Berlin State Library). This made it possible to identify the different types of ink used. These studies confirmed the hypotheses of music historians about which passages were the work of the father and which of his son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.

The Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin and BAM looked at the "Manuscripta americana" in the Stabi Kulturwerk-exhibition with the following questions: Where exactly do the manuscripts come from, how old are they, which parts belong together in which order, can they be assigned to certain artists or workshops? Since the beginning of the 20th century, material analysis has made a valuable contribution to the further differentiation and decipherment of indigenous codices.