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Mug with a cover

European goldsmithing between the 16th and the 18th century reached an unprecedented artistic and technical level, which was largely due to German masters operating mostly in the chief goldsmithing centre — Augsburg. Thanks to their mass production and high artistic class, goldsmith products from Augsburg soon dominated the markets of Central and Eastern Europe.

Chalice

Church confraternities, which boasted about having a separate chapel or a side altar, completed the religious life of parishioners. The first confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, established in Niepołomice by Cardinal Zbigniew Oleśnicki, worked efficiently for one and a half centuries, but in 1596 a church inspector found it, as he described, in a state of “devotional and interment” activity.

Hoard from Nowa Huta — Pleszów

It was discovered in August 1961 in the settlement of Pleszów. A part of the deposit was put in a clay pot with a volume of about 2 litres. The remaining part was scattered across a fairly large space. The treasure contains silver objects: coins and their fragments — 608 items, 129 fragments of ornaments, 341 cast pieces of silver and 8 pieces of lead. The treasure was hidden after 1037 and it weighs 2 532 g.

“Princely” grave from Jakuszowice near Kazimierza Wielka

The find is dated back to the 1st half of the 5th century (before 434). It is one of the most interesting pieces of proof of contact between the peoples inhabiting the area of southern Poland and the Huns in the 1st half of the 5th century. The grave was discovered by accident in 1911 while mining sand. The majority of the excavated objects were smuggled to Kraków over the then Russian-Austrian border.

Soup vase with a monogram of Prince Eustachy Erazm Sanguszko

Sets of tableware were initially assembled of objects made in a different style, time, and places. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries uniformly decorated tableware, known today as services, began to appear. Until the beginning of the 19th century, there were no strict rules determining what dishes should be included in such a set; therefore, they were put together according to current fashions or the personal preference of the person ordering them...

Vessel in the shape of the Polish Eagle

At present, the tableware of the Polish royal court is known to us almost exclusively from archive materials. The majority of preserved single items or their designs come from Augsburg – the most important centre of the European goldsmithery in the 17th and 18th centuries. Among these items, the most outstanding is the state set of John Casimir Vasa.

Decorative travelling box

The decorative travelling box with a lock has the form of a chest and is made of wood, varnished in black. On the outside of the lid, there is a round plaque with a decorative border and no inscriptions.

Set of twelve spoons with busts of the Apostles and the Szeliga and Przeginia coats of arms

The preserved Polish inventories dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries inform of a rather high number of silver and gold spoons being the property of the royal court, the Polish aristocracy, the nobility and the bourgeoisie.

“Kaflak” table clock

Spring clocks, which were invented in the 15th century, have improved with time. Gradually they were constructed smaller and smaller, and at the beginning of the 16th century they were of such a size that they could be placed on the table. One of popular types of such clocks was a horizontal timer with a mechanism placed in a polygonal, flat casing with a horizontal disc on the top.

Welcoming goblet of tailors' guild

The welcoming Goblet is one of Kraków's most valuable guild relics, preserved at the National Museum in Kraków. It was submitted to the museum on 19 September 1905, by the Association of Tailor's Companions, along with a collection of souvenirs belonging to the tailors' guild: a guild counter, a bell, a tray, and a crucifix.

Silver cup designed by Jan Matejko

The collection of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków features an interesting 19th-century goblet of unknown history. According to tradition, it was associated with the figure of Jan Matejko. The silver goblet has a lid made in a historic style, with its form and decoration resembling Gothic chalices.

Ivory casket decorated with scenes from chanson de geste

The casket is cubical in shape and consist of six rectangular ivory plates bound together with metal nails and fittings. The top plate is fitted with hinges and serves as the lid. The front side is fitted with a rectangular lock decorated with an image of a tower and two persons: a woman with a large key in her hand and a man on his knees with his hands joined together. On the lid, there is a metal handle engraved in a diagonal checked pattern filled with simplified flowers. On the side plates, there are twelve figural scenes from medieval chance de geste, while on the lid, there are three court scenes. Narration in all of these images follows from the left to the right. The front side features the following images: Conversation of Alexander the Great with Aristotle, Phyllis and Aristotle, Thisbe and lion, Death of Pyramus and Thisbe, while the back side features: Lancelot fighting a lion, Lancelot crossing the Sword Bridge, Gauvain on the Dangerous Bed and Damsels freed by Gauvain. The left side features: Tristan and Iseult’s Meeting in the Garden, the Hunt of the Unicorn, while the right side features: Enyas’ fight with a savage and Old Porter Welcomes Galahad. The lead features a Knight Tournament in the centre, flanked by two scenes which together depict the motif of Siege of the Castle of Love. The Kraków casket is one of seven so called complex caskets, which can be found in world’s most important collections of medieval art.

Commemorative box with coins and a banknote from the times of the November Uprising of 1831

At the time of the November Uprising, which broke out in Warsaw in 1830 to oppose Tsarist Russia, the National Government ordered a series of new coins to be made including a 3 copper groschen, a 10 coin groschen, silver two- and five-zloty coins and gold Dutch ducats.

Torah shield

Rectangular, closed with a trifoliate arch, with the figures of Moses (on the left) and Aaron (on the right), and the Decalogue tables (in the middle), with the initial words of the commandments engraved in Hebrew. The figures of Moses and Aaron are flanked by spiral columns. On their plinths are Hebrew inscriptions marking the date: on the right plinth, תקס ("560"), on the left: לפק (“according to the abbreviated calculation”) [=1800]. In the three-leaf top, three openwork crowns with colourful glasses are attached.

Silver fowler of The Fowler Brotherhood

The silver fowler of the Kraków Fowler Brotherhood is one of the most valuable objects in the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków. This is an example of the work of an outstanding goldsmith of Renaissance Kraków. Unfortunately, we do not know either the artist's name or the goldsmith's workshop responsible for the creation of the bird's sculpture. Very few of the marksmen's societies can boast of an original, well-preserved, cockrel of this type.

“Roztruchan” decorative cup

Aside from its practical functions, the silver tableware collected and stored in Old Polish houses also had representative functions. There was also a separate group of dishes of a primarily decorative character, whose original, sophisticated form, perfection of composition, and materials used for their production were to dazzle and delight the guests.

Salt cellar in the shape of an elongated cup

This silver salt shaker, in the shape of an elongated bowl, which is decorated at the edge with an openwork strip of plants, is the work of a high-class goldsmith. It was made in France in pre-revolutionary times, in Paris in the years 1786–1787, by the goldsmith, Jean-Baptiste-François Chéret. The precise determination of the authorship, time, and place of the creation of this work is possible thanks to the marking, which, in the past, was to testify the occurrence of precious metal, and nowadays is the source of information about the history of the object; its interpretation, however, often requires detective work.

Silver salt cellar with a figure of a boy pushing the sled

This silver salt shaker, in the shape of a boy pushing a sled, is actually a miniature sculpture. It evokes admiration for the precision of the 19th century artist from Frankfurt, who, in the microscopic scale of a few centimeters, was able to develop numerous, intricate details and decorations.

Miniature heart-shaped bottle

The silver heart-shaped bottle was intended for storing fragrances. On one side of the vessel, a decorative entwined monogram has been engraved (initials “RC” or “CR”?), topped by a crown. The motif is placed in a frame consisting of a decorative border featuring a simple ornament composed of triangles and matching the shape of the heart.

Silver bottle with an engraving

The bottle, with a fanciful shape, features a body with the cross-section of a multifoil, with a high neck and a high, wooden stopper on the wall of the bottle, there is a herbal cartouche in the frame of a rich rocaille ornament.