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Leon Wyczółkowski completed a decorative panneau on Knight among Flowers, depicting a Hussar sitting on horseback and blowing the horn against the background of a flowery meadow. This work was exhibited in the Warsaw Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts [Towarzystwo Zachęty Sztuk Pięknych] in 1907. The sculpted Hussar from the Jan Matejko House is identical to its original painted on a panneau.

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Leon Wyczółkowski completed a decorative panneau on Knight among Flowers, depicting a Hussar sitting on horseback and blowing the horn against the background of a flowery meadow. This work was exhibited in the Warsaw Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts [Towarzystwo Zachęty Sztuk Pięknych] in 1907. The sculpted Hussar from the Jan Matejko House is identical to its original painted on a panneau. The Hussar on horseback dressed in armour with gilded wings and real eagle feathers is holding a horn in his left hand which he is putting to his mouth, and a broad bridle in the right hand, with which he urges his mount. The horse is covered with a red-and-gold shabrack, decorated with colourful glass imitating precious stones, and fitted with a decorative gold harness.

Elaborated by Marta Kłak-Ambrożkiewicz (The National Museum in Kraków), © all rights reserved

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Legendary hussar wings

The legendary wings that stimulated the imagination of film-makers, painters and many others were characteristic decorations of the hussar armour.

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The legendary wings that stimulated the imagination of film-makers, painters and many others were characteristic decorations of the hussar armour.
What were they actually used for? Historians proved that they were not used in battles. They neither protected a hussar from being taken down from a horse with a Tatar lariat (a long rope with a loop) nor did they serve to frighten the horses of their opponents. Who would hear the sound of wings in the heat of a battle, with clashing weapons? The use of wings in battle would have prevented the famous sword cut “from above the head.” Hussar wings were usually used during parades and funerals of grand figures, perhaps, also shortly before the battle as a psychological weapon.
Irrespective of their actual function, they became a symbol of grand Polish victories and are frequent motifs in art and military signs and badges, especially in the Polish Air Force. From 1936, in the aviation of the Republic of Poland, a new pattern of an eagle supplemented with a pair of hussar wings was introduced. This pattern can be seen on our website from the collection of the Home Army Museum: aviation cap Eagle of war veterans.

Elaborated by Kinga Kołodziejska (Editorial team of Małopolska's Virtual Museums),
Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

Also worth seeing are the remaining elements of a hussar’s equipment from the collection of the National Museum in Kraków:
Hussar half-armour
Hussar sabre

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Sculpture “Hussar on horseback” by Leon Wyczółkowski

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