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Tree of life “Gunungan” — shadow theatre figure “wayang kulit purwa” from Indonesia

Gunungan is one of the most important figures that opens a traditional performance of the Indonesian shadow theatre wayang kulit purwa. It depicts a tree of life representing the five elements making up the universe: earth, air, fire, wind and water. It also symbolises a palace, forest, and sea, as well as the above-ground and underground worlds.

Tibetan medicine set

A part of the Ethnographic Museum's collection, the so-called Tibetan medicine set is one of a few complete 19th/20th-century descriptions of Tibetan medicine in the world, including a set of medicines and a description of their application. It consists of two medical manuscripts and almost 300 medicines, or actually products to prepare them such as seeds, plants, fruit and minerals, mostly labelled in the Tibetan language.

The European roller

The European roller (Coracias garrulus Linné, 1758 r.) is one of the rarest and most beautifully coloured birds in Poland. It is an insectivorous bird, specialized in hunting large insects — e.g. beetles. In our country, it lives in dry and warm habitats in a varied landscape, with fallow lands, meadows and a small area of arable land, among which single, old trees grow.

The European bee-eater

The former name of this bird (Merops apiaster Linnaeus, 1758)—the bee-eater—says a lot about its biology. The bee-eater (Merops apiaster is its full name according to the binominal nomenclature of species) is a bird from the bee-eater family (most species from this family occur in Africa and Asia). It feeds on insects, including bees and wasps caught in flight. bee-eaters establish nests in loess escarpments by drilling special tunnels in them (usually in high escarpments and banks).

The Albino magpie

This bird has a very characteristic black and white plumage, black beak and legs. Its dark feathers have a metallic sheen, green-navy one on wings, as well as scarlet on the head and back, distinguishing it from the corvids. The presented specimen is unique, because of a very rare gene mutation that caused a lack of pigmentation in this individual and, as a result, its white plumage in places where magpies normally have black or light-brown feathers.

Teresa Murak, “Third Crop”

The work visualises the process of growth, maturing and decay. Simultaneously, it carries a natural association with the traditional Polish Easter custom of growing from seed water cress, which thus becomes a symbol of new life. The work is also permeated with the longing to be at one with nature, also present in the artist’s other works.

Star-shaped quartz

Quartz is a mineral belonging to the silicate group, mainly made of silicon dioxide. It is one of the most abundant rock-forming minerals present in the Earth’s crust. It is a brittle and transparent mineral. It can develop numerous colour variants, depending on its composition. It can be colourless, as well. Such quartz is called rock crystal.

Sphalerite from “Pomorzany” Coalmine

Delusive, sneaky, deceptive, uncertain ... What makes sphalerite deserved such adjectives? For a very long time, geologists couldn’t identify this mineral. Finally, the study confirmed that it is a zinc ore.

Sphalerite — Galena

Sphalerite is a zinc blende; and galena, is a lead sulfide (lat. galena means lead ore), both are common minerals from the class of sulphide.

Sphalerite

Presented specimen is unique because of the locus of occurrence holomorphic zinc and lead ores. It takes the form of fine-grained, dense masses, which, after surface polishing, are very effective - as in the case of our sphalerite.

Skeleton of an ichthyosaur “Ichthyosaurus communis”

Ichthyosaurs were sea reptiles which evolved in the Middle Triassic, reached the peak of their development in the Jurassic, and became extinct in the Upper Cretaceous. The presented skeleton of an ichthyosaur Ichthyosaurus communis was preserved in slates.

Simon Syrenius’s “Herbarium”

The author of Zielnik [Herbarium] was Simon Syrenius (ca. 1540–1611), a doctor and botanist, a professor of the Kraków Academy. His work contains descriptions of 765 medicinal plants together with their medicinal use. Most monographs are provided with woodcut images of plants. As the title suggests, it was aimed at doctors, pharmacists, barber surgeons, horse traders, horse healers, stablemen, gardeners, chefs, cooks, inn-keepers, farmers, wet-nurses, ladies and maidens, and all who love and take medicines.

Short-toed Eagle

Short-toed Eagle — Circaetus gallicus (Gmelin, 1788) is a bird of prey in the family of Accipitridae. It feeds on different species of reptiles, especially snakes. Occasionally hunts for amphibians and small mammals. In Poland, bird is very rare — can be found...

Septarian concretion of polygonal pattern

Septarian, marlite or clayish and ferruginous concretion is a type of spherical, elliptical or lens-shaped aggregate of minerals occurring within sedimentary rocks, e.g. loam.

Sculpture “Birds” by Jędrzej Wowro

Jędrzej Wowro (Andrzej Wawro) was the most famous folk artist of the interwar period. He was born in 1864 in Gorzeń Dolny near Wadowice. He came from a poor family and was used to working hard from an early age. He carved his first figurines while neglecting his shepherding duties.

Rock salt hair and fibrous salt

White salt hair grows on a light grey marl loam. Salt hair is a very original form of those taken by halite. Fibres – in fact, halite crystals in special conditions – grow in one direction. Sometimes, the density of fibres may favour their crystal clumping. The hair then transforms into a fibrous salt, preserving a specific needle structure.

Piotr Lutyński, “Due to Usucaption”

One of Lutyński’s works using the motif of a nest and an egg – a symbol of birth, of new life, a beginning and a sense of security. A witty attempt to combine usucaption and brooding.

Piotr Lutyński, “Bird column”

The work The Bird Column was created in 2003 in the Bunkier Sztuki Gallery and functioned as an exhibition in the process. The titular Bird Column, called by Lutyński “an animated sculpture” and “a large nest full of birds”, took the form of an installation: it was a developed construction, inside which there were paintings and objects made of wood and the birds, whose singing was heard throughout the Gallery from microphones placed nearby. In the next room, there was a goat with its kids. The whole exhibition was accompanied by texts referring to the teachings of St Francis of Assisi, the patron of animals, ornithologists, and bird breeders.

Photograph “Sheaves of corn against the steelworks plant” by Henryk Hermanowicz

The photograph taken by Henryk Hermanowicz (1912—1992) gives a perfect example of the then propaganda, in which those who were smarter could see the criticism of the authorities who decided to build industrial facilities on perfectly arable soil. It is also a kind of document of how our approach to the environment has changed. It should be remembered that until the 1970s there was no environmental awareness, even in the West.

Painting “At the Morskie Oko Lake” (“Tourists in the Tatra Mountains”)

It is hard to imagine Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains without tourists. They cross the town and mountain trails with great enthusiasm. The landscape attracts crowds wishing to rest in the shadows of the cool mountains, as well as artists who find an inexhaustible source of inspiration in the overpowering nature. It is assumed that the first painter of the Tatra Mountains was Jan Nepomucen Głowacki (1802–1847) and the first Tatra-related painting is the “View of the Carpathian Mountains from Poronin”, dated 1836. Later this theme was taken up by other painters, like Aleksander Kotsis. It was with him that in 1860 Walery Eljasz took his first trip to Babia Góra from which he saw the Tatra Mountains. A year later he managed to visit them. Since 1866 the mountains became his true passion. Eljasz came from Kraków, from a family where painting and art were the order of the day.