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A Persian helmet – a prop from the School of Fine Arts

The present helmet is of eastern origin. It was popular, among others, in Persia and Turkey, from where it was adopted in Poland. In the 17th and 18th centuries, such helmets were worn, among others, by towarzysze pancerni [literally: armoured companions], a type of Polish cavalry unit. The bascinet presented on the website probably comes from Persia. Normal 0 21 false false false PL X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:Standardowy; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"; border:none;}

Jan Hoeft, untitled (+ 48 XX XXX XXXXX)

Jan Hoeft initiated an artistic intervention taking place on the border of visibility: in the middle of a vast lawn in Kraków’s Błonia Park, he placed a ten-metre-long sculpture, made of stainless steel, deliberately resembling a scaled-up barrier (easily restored if necessary). Over its frame, a white and red scarf was slung, reminiscent of the colours sported by the fans of the nearby football clubs, Cracovia and Wisła. In place of the club’s name, a phone number was embroidered, the use of which resulted in drawing the caller into a remote performance, following the scenario prepared by the artist.

Maurycy Gomulicki, “Beast”

In traditional culture, serpents represent a threatening and powerful symbol of the primal cosmic forces; they are representatives of chaos and death. They were often also the object of worship: for ancient Egyptians they symbolized the power of wielding life and death, decorating the crown of the pharaohs; the Greeks considered them to be the embodiment of the chthonic gods, and because of their annual skin moulting, they added them as an attribute to Asclepios, as a symbol of life, health, and rebirth. The Romans bred snakes in their homes, seeing them as the guardians of their home and family; The Aztecs made a feathered serpent — Quetzalcoatl — a co-creator of the world, the god of wind and earth. The primal cult of serpents also flourished in regions closer to us: for example, in the Krakowiak tribe from the right bank of the Wisła. The Judeo-Christian culture judged serpents rather negatively: in the story of Adam and Eve, they became cursed creatures; the Old Testament God sent them as a punishment to the Israelites, and then, through Moses, sent a serpent to their rescue, but one made of copper.

Yane Calovski, “Something laid over something else”

“The installation consists of separate elements, shaped more on the basis of context-specific particles of the work than its uniform form. I try to understand that the museum is a social and political construct with a powerful, extremely problematic load of meanings. It constitutes a physical manifestation of power, in the face of which we can only try to multiply its meaning, reciprocity, paradox and pluralism. Therefore, my work aims to respond to the dynamics and cosmogony of multiplicity of knowledge – be it historical, material or functional – but also to the sets of materializations that draw a portrait of space as a process played in an architectural framework.” In this way, Yane Calovski describes the conceptual assumptions of his installation. Its structurally diverse layers refer to the process of destroying the properties that characterize a given matter: erasing, removing, decolouring, and corrosion. In a wider perspective, they address the issue of the evanescence of memory and physical presence, materiality and abstraction.

Krzysztof Wodiczko, “The Homeless Vehicle”

The object was designed by the artist as a response to the growing problem of homelessness in New York City, was an attempt to guarantee to people living on the street a minimum of private space. The vehicle had both function as residential, as well as streamline the process of collecting bottles and cans. Implementation is carried out through consultation with the future users.

Tomasz Bajer, “Minimalism of Guantanamo”

The work is an accurate replica of Yasser Talal al Zahrani’s prison cell at the American detention camp for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Saudi prisoner died in 2006. The official cause of death was given as suicide. However, an examination by an independent pathologist showed traces of repeated beating, which could be indicative of torture. The work can be interpreted as a commentary on the abuse of human rights by imperialist powers, and the individual’s helplessness in the face of such behavior.

Carriage clock

Travel clocks, also called carriage clocks, were produced in many European watchmaker workshops from the 2nd half of the 17th century. Around the year 1700, Friedberg became the most important centre of their production, and they were mainly intended for export to Paris and London.

Mantelpiece clock with a figure of Apollo

An example of a clock in the shape of a figure, a popular style of mantelpiece clock in the 2nd half of the 18th century. It depicts Apollo with a lyre and a laurel wreath on his head, sitting on the top of an obelisk containing the mechanism of an anchor escapement and a mainspring.

Astronomical monstrance clock

This is the most precious clock in the Wawel collection clocks. It has a unique, impressive form and a complicated mechanism. The clock's case resembles a monstrance, with the clock dial, held by a kneeling mermaid, replacing the nimbus.

Tile table clock

For many years, it was believed to be the oldest of the Polish table clocks, called tile clocks for their flat cases. However, the engraved date An 1607 should be regarded as a later addition, contrary to the dates of the life and activity of Simon Ginter, who signed the clock.

Tower table clock

The diverse form and rich ornamentation of the clock place it among the best works of the Augsburg watchmakers of the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Wheellock pistol

The exhibit is a representative example of a luxurious, richly decorated firearm. An early type of pistol called the puffer, characterised by the presence of a massive ball at the end of the butt.

Powder horn

The powder horn comes from the collection of Władysław Łoziński in Lviv. It was donated to the Wawel Royal Castle by an antiquary Szymon Szwarc in 1930.

Scale helmet

A helmet created from overlapping circular scales ornamented with rosettes, riveted down to a leather base. On the top, there is a multi-leaf medallion topped with a high tip. The hatband consisting of a few belts of metal sheet is ornamented with a turban made of raspberry-coloured silk and trimmed with golden braid.

“Koncerz” sword with a sheath

A koncerz sword is a type of cold weapon with a characteristic long and thin blade, used for stabbing. In Poland, it was one of elements of weaponry used by the Hussaria cavalry. The presented exhibit is an excellent example of a luxurious armament, characterized not only by its diversity of materials and decorations, but also a combination of a cold weapon with firearm.

Hussar half-armour

The Hussar half-armour was completed in the beginning of the 17th century, and it survived, in an almost unchanged form, up to the middle of the next century. It harmoniously combines both Western European and Eastern traditions. The presented half-armour consists of a breastplate, a backplate with wings, a bevor, a pair of brassards, and a bascinet. All elements are decorated with brass trim and small stamped circles.

Hussar bascinet

A Hussar bascinet was a type of helmet commonly used by the troops of the Polish Hussars, similar to the pappenheimers used in Western Europe. There were a few variants of this helmet: with a tip on the top, a high crest, or fan-like wings on the skull.

Sabre with a sheath

The blade, regarded as the work of the Armenians of Lviv, may be connected with the reign of John III Sobieski. Its antique-like sheath must have been made much later, as the Rococo ornament indicates. This weapon of highly decorative character is difficult to categorize unambiguously.

Closed helmet

It is an example of a closed helmet that protects the entire head of a soldier. It represents the decadent phase of development of this type of armament, the early days of which date back to the 16th century, when movable face covers started to be fixed to helmets.

Mace

A mace, that is a blunt weapon consisting of a handle and a head created of vertically placed flangs (feathers), was commonly used in the Polish army of the 17th and 18th centuries, as an insignia indicating the rank of rittmeister or colonel. According to tradition, the presented mace was owned by Stefan Czarniecki, the Castellan of Kiev, later the Field Crown Hetman.