Sofia Lahti: New Insights on the Medieval Lived Religion Through Artefacts in Finnish Museum Collections

PhD Sofia Lahti is an art historian focusing on objects related to the medieval cult of saints and how they were described or represented in medieval texts or images. In her doctoral dissertation, she studied existing and lost reliquaries in the Nordic countries. Her other main field of expertise is in the research, curation and maintenance of photographic collections.

During the years 2022-2023 Sofia Lahti will work as a postdoc in the projects Lived Religion in Medieval Finland and Mapping Lived Religion: Medieval Cults of Saints in Sweden and Finland (Linnaeus University, Sweden). She will study and analyse medieval objects related to saints in the collections of Finnish regional museums from the perspective of lived religion. Although only a fraction of the medieval objects are preserved to our day, the remaining ones can yield new information about local differences in relation to particular saints. The interpretation of the medieval artefacts gains depth from the comparison with other types of material studied in this project.

Lahti is also involved in the research project Fragmentation and Iconoclash in Medieval and Early Modern Objects (Helsinki University), in which she will study the varied contexts for the fragmentation of Nordic reliquaries during and after the Middle Ages.