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This is a polychrome wooden sculpture depicting a kneeling angel with a candlestick in his left hand. The figure is dressed in a long dark green tunic and a brown coat.
The sculpture was found in the destroyed chapel of St. Kunegunda on Boczaniec, on the 1st level of the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

 

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This is a polychrome wooden sculpture depicting a kneeling angel with a candlestick in his left hand. The figure is dressed in a long dark green tunic and a brown coat.
The sculpture was found in the destroyed chapel of St. Kunegunda on Boczaniec, on the 1st level of the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
The Chapel of St. Kunegunda on Boczaniec is one of the oldest and most interesting in the Wieliczka Salt Mine. It was made in 1645, as a votive after a fire in the mineshaft Boner, which had happened a year earlier. In 1697, there was a fire in the chapel itself; later, the chapel was moved to another place, but still in the Boczaniec chamber. Over time, the services and part of the equipment were removed from it, and finally it was covered with type cases, leaving a slight passage to the altar. The cult functions of the chapel finally ceased before 1840. Some of the damaged equipment remained in the ruined chapel until this day, but the salt sculptures of the kneeling monks were moved around the mid-19th century to the chapel of St. Cross on the higher level 2 (which is part of the tourist route).
During the mining and museum penetration in 1962, two candlesticks were found in the chapel in Boczaniec. They were secured and later subjected to maintenance. Today, they are an element of the composition of the Holy Sepulchre in the exhibition, “Sacrum in the saline heritage”, which is underground in the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
Apart from their basic sacral functions, the chapels also played the role of landmarks in the mine and light sources for the miners whose lamps had failed them. The requirement of constantly burning lamps on the altar could also be the source of misfortune.
The original appearance of the Chapel of St. Kunegunda on Boczaniec is known from written sources. It was equipped with “wooden logs encircling the altar”, on which there was a “wooden statue of the Great Passion of the Lord” and an altar table “covered with tablecloths and paper ornaments or candles on wooden candelabras”. Lighted candles and the wooden construction of the chapel were the source of a fire in 1697. After it had been extinguished, a strict ban on equipping and decorating chapels with flammable materials was issued. The ban was generally not respected ... Examples of underground cult places of worship, that are completely made of salt, include the following chapels: St. Anthony, St. John on a Lizak, and the famous chapel of St. Kinga.

Elaborated by Kraków Salt Works Museum in Wieliczka, © all rights reserved

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Candlestick with a kneeling angel

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