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- Date of production 17th century
- Place of creation Persia?
- Dimensions length: 59 cm
- ID no. ZKWawel 166
- Availability Crown Treasury
- Acquired date returned from Canada in 1959
- Object copyright Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, 2014
The baton of the Wawel collection is an example of a luxurious ceremonial weapon. It is difficult to establish unambiguously its artistic provenance. In terms of composition and type of ornamentation, it could be classified as a Turkish work. However, its characteristic combination of gold and light blue enamel causes many researchers to believe it to be a Persian work.more
The pear-shaped head of the baton is covered with small plant design, densely set with rubies and turquoises, and decorated with medallions inlaid with light blue enamel. The handle of the baton is divided into three sections; the upper one and the bottom one are decorated similarly to the head, whereas the middle one is ornamented with a spiral shaped nielloed plant twig.
In the Poland of the 17th and 18th century, a baton, that is a blunt weapon consisting of a handle and a ball-shaped or pear-shaped solid head, was the symbol of the highest military rank – the Hetman. Today, crossed batons indicate the rank of marshal in the Polish army. Richly ornamented items of weaponry of that kind (imported from the East and Hungary, as well as made in local workshops), which are kept in Polish collections, are often linked with particular historical figures through traditional stories. The presented item is believed to be the property of the Rzewuski family. Stanisław, Wacław and Seweryn Rzewuski served as hetmans in the 18th century, but it would be impossible today to decide who of them was the owner of the baton.
The baton of the Wawel collection is an example of a luxurious ceremonial weapon. It is difficult to establish unambiguously its artistic provenance. In terms of composition and type of ornamentation, it could be classified as a Turkish work. However, its characteristic combination of gold and light blue enamel causes many researchers to believe it to be a Persian work. Very similar batons are depicted in the portraits of Władysław Sigismund Vasa (the Museum of King John III's Palace at Wilanów) and Prince Michał Kazimierz Radziwiłł referred to as Rybeńko, the Grand Hetman of Lithuania (the National Museum in Wrocław). The baton was regained from the Kremlin Armoury in Moscow in 1924, and then evacuated from Poland in 1939. It was returned from Canada in 1959.
Elaborated by Krzysztof Czyżewski (Wawel Royal Castle), editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums, © all rights reserved