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Jagiellonian tapestry “Paradise Bliss” of the “History of the First Parents” series

The Jagiellonian tapestry Paradise Bliss is the first fabric of the History of the First Parents series, commissioned by Sigismund II Augustus and created in Brussels during the years 1550–1560. It depicts events of the beginning of the Biblical Book of Genesis (Gen 2.8.–3.20).

Puppets from the “Zielony Balonik” (“Green Balloon”) nativity play — Jacek Malczewski

A funny puppet representing Jacek Malczewski in a caricatural character of Jacek Symbolewski was purchased for the collection of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków in 1962. It makes a valuable reminder related with the Young Poland cabaret called “Zielony Balonik” (”Green Balloon”) operating in the period from 1905 to 1912 on Floriańska Street in Kraków in the Cukiernia Lwowska (Lviv Confectionery) opened by Jan Apolinary Michalik and hence called “Jama Michalika” (”Michalik’s Den”).

Esther’s scroll in a cover

Megilla it's a parchment scroll with a Hebrew manuscript of the Book. It was designed for individual reading at home and in a synagogue in the period of the early spring holiday of Purim.

Ushabti figures

The ushabti figures — artistically perfect and finely made — were purchased from the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo by soldiers of the Polish Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade during WWII and subsequently granted to the Archaeological Museum. The pillar at the back of the figure reaches the lower edge of a tripartite wig, finely fashioned in regular wisps exposing the ears.

Sculpture “Bust of Róża Loewenfeld”

The sculpture presents a classicist bust of a young woman with a slightly bent head turned to the right. Admittedly, a faint resemblance of the artistic vision of the German sculptor to the actual figure raised doubts, but how many times have images been idealised, beautifying the portrayed individuals and making them look younger?

Sculpture “Pensive Christ”

Figurkę Chrystusa Frasobliwego wykonano z wapienia pińczowskiego pod koniec XVI wieku. Z tyłu rzeźby znajduje się wyryta data 1593. Pierwotnie umieszczona była w kapliczce w Gorlicach, na skrzyżowaniu ważnych, handlowych dróg. W tej właśnie kapliczce w 1854 roku zapłonęła pierwsza na świecie...

Hurdy-gurdy from Łękawka

Hurdy-gurdy was an instrument known across Europe whose history dates back to the Medieval period. In the Polish territories, as early as the beginning of the 20th century, the tradition of playing this instrument was in decline. A hurdy-gurdy was one of the instruments used to perform church, court and folk music. Hurdy-gurdy performances accompanied dances and songs.

Sculpture “Angel” by Karol Wójciak

The author of the sculpture, Karol Wójciak, also known as Heródek (1892–1971), is considered to be one of the most original amateur artists. The angel is represented in a primitive way. Its head and torso are made up of a block of wood with a round section, truncated flat on both sides. The wings nailed to the back are made of triangular pieces of wood with a non-planed surface.

“Arjuna” — “Wayang Golek” theatre puppet

IIt is a Wayang Golek theatre puppet representing one of the main positive characters of Mahabharata — noble Arjuna. He is the son of Kunti and Pandu, the third of five noble Pandava brothers; a perfect archer. He has a number of nicknames and names: the luminous, the glowing, the silver, the winner, the owner of the Gandava bow and many others.

“Turoń” (the type of horned creature) from Stary Sącz

Turoń (horned creature), or actually the head of one, i.e. a head of an animal with ears and horns made of several hefty pieces of wood nailed together and mounted on a stick. Originating from Stary Sącz (1908), this Turoń head, just like other similar exhibits from the very beginning of the Ethnographic Museum in Kraków, has been shown at the permanent exhibition in the form it was used in, i.e. as a part of an animal monster, a disguise of a member of a group of carollers.

Bennettitales (a fossil plant) “Cycadeoidea polonica Wallisch”

The presented object is a fragment of the trunk of a cycad — a fossil plant. Bennettitales (Cycadeoidopsida) is a class of extinct gymnosperms which could be found all over the world in the Mesozoic era. In Poland only several specimens of the silicified sprouts of these plants, which belong to the family of Cacadeoidaceae, are known.

Sculpture “Jesus Christ Sitting on the Palm Sunday Donkey”

The sculpture, coming from the parish church of St. Sigismund in Szydłowiec, constitutes an extraordinary dramatic exhibit used during processions of going to church on Palm Sunday as to a symbol of Jerusalem. Christ, in a firmly upright position, is raising his right hand in a gesture of blessing.

Włocławek cup

The Włocławek cup is the most precious and one of the oldest exhibits of decorative art from the collections at the National Museum in Kraków. It was made in the 1st half of the 10th century, presumably in a workshop located on the territory of Lorraine or Alemannia.

Sculpture “Feliks Jasieński’s bust” by Konstanty Laszczka

Feliks Jasieński (1861—1929), pseudonym Manggha, the outstanding connoisseur of art, patron and collector; he was broadly educated and talented musically. He exerted a considerable influence on the art culture of Kraków at the turn of the 20th century by his activity in the field of arts, his views, publications, and also by making the gathered collections available, including the rich collection of Japanese and Western European drawings and utilitarian objects from the Far East.

“The Cross” (“Wielopole, Wielopole”, 1980)

The “Cross” is a stage element from the Wielopole, Wielopole performance at the Cricot 2 Theatre. The premiere took place in Florence in June 1980 in a building that was formerly a monastery at 25 via Santa Maria. What is symptomatic here is that, apart from the discussed cross, the Wielopole, Wielopole play featured 15 other crosses, and in his entire theatrical oeuvre Tadeusz Kantor created more than 30 crosses.

Tube gramophone

The mechanism of the gramophone is placed in a box made of oak wood in a natural colour. The casing is modestly decorated with simple mills, the front wall bears a metal brass secession plate depicting the muse, Erato.

“Pułtusk” meteorite

The Pułtusk meteorite fell down near Pułtusk in the form of a shower of aerolites, spreading over an area of 127 km², between the villages of Tocznabiel, Wielgołas (from the south-west) as well as Rzewnie and Boruty (from the north-east). The “ball of fire” flew from south-west to north-east, dragging a whitish bent tail. This phenomenon was watched in many places in Poland, including, for example, Wrocław, Gdańsk, Königsberg, Kraków and Lviv.

Aset-iri-khet-es sarcophagus

The sarcophagus made of sycamore wood was found during the excavations conducted in 1907 in el-Gamhud by the first Polish Egyptologist, Tadeusz Smoleński. It is a “belly coffin” type of sarcophagus; an anthropoid one, with a flat bottom and a convex lid. The head of the coffin is covered with a blue wig. The breasts are decorated with a semi-circular necklace finished with falcon heads, topped with solar disks.

“Suiseki” – “Kamogawaishi” type stone on a wooden mahogany base

Are stones precious? How precious can one stone possibly be? As it turns out, one stone can be very precious indeed, particularly if you consider Japanese Suiseki art stones. To quote Matsuura Arishige, whose Kamogawaishi stone on a mahogany base is part of the collection of the Manggha Centre of Japanese Art and Technology: The word suiseki refers to a single stone that has as its shape or surface pattern the ability to signify something far greater than the stone in and of itself. It is a tradition that has evolved to its modern form over many centuries.”

Spoons of the Ainu people

Rise spoon A flat spoon made from a single piece of wood, with a paddle-like bowl with a triangular ending, and with the handle also having a triangular end. It is decorated with a characteristic geometric ornamentation in the form of a plaited rope, hinges and various cuts.