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Jagiellonian tapestry “Dragon Fighting with a Panther”

Imaginary animals are not predominant in tapestry presentations but sometimes appear there. Their presence usually has a symbolic meaning. In the tapestry Dragon Fighting with a Panther, this is derived from Physiologus, which is an ancient treatise on animals containing, aside from their description, an allegorical interpretation of animals, plants and minerals. According to it, the panther is loved by all animals, with the exception of the dragon. Such a presentation was interpreted as an allegory of Christ's struggle against Satan. Here, the dragon symbolises the forces of evil, and the panther the forces of good.

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.

“The album of plants and animals”

The preserved collection of paintings, called, The album of plants and animals, is identified as the representations of plants and animals which are known from a source text and were purchased for the School of Drawing and Painting by the painter Józef Peszka. A document has been preserved in the archives of the Jagiellonian University, in which Peszka enumerates the items purchased for the school in 1920. In the list, under number 7, he wrote: “A collection of oil-painted animals and birds and flowers on a thick folio paper 30 pieces PLN 540”.

Bone plaque in the shape of a bull’s head from Bilche Zolote

This object was found in Bilcze Złote (now the Tarnopol region, Ukraine), in the Werteb cave in 1898, by Włodzimierz Demetrykiewicz. The badge is a part of the rich collection of Leon XX and Teresa Sapieh, which was handed over by agreement in 1904 to the Museum of Skills Academy in Kraków.

Painting “Frenzy” by Władysław Podkowiński

Along with Józef Pankiewicz, Władysław Podkowiński is considered to be the precursor of impressionism in Polish art painting. His works also gave rise to Symbolism and Expressionism trends in Polish Modernism. About 1892 Podkowiński’s oeuvre began to feature visionary and phantasmagoric depictions of the issues of love, suffering and death inspired by his personal experiences, with references to achievements by Western European symbolists.

“Paradoxides Bohemicus” trilobite

Trilobites were sea animals. Their oval and flattened body was covered with a chitinous carapace on the dorsal side. A trilobites' carapace consisted of three segments and visible body parts: a head, trunk and tail. Each of these parts could have thorns.

Over Door Tapestry with the Arms of Lithuania on landscape background with Animals ‒ a Spotted Hyena and a Monkey

This textile was designed to be hung over a door, hence its shape – a rectangle topped with an arc. In its centre, there is the coat of arms of Lithuania – the Charging Knight, turned to the left. The arms are surmounted by the grand ducal cap and suspended on floral garlands. Exotic animals are presented on either side of the coat of arms: on the left, a small predator prowls around, while on the right, a sits monkey that seems to be staring at the viewer. In the background of the tapestry, an immature forest can be seen.

Jagiellonian tapestry “God Conversing with Noah” from the “Story of Noah” series

The textile depicts one of the episodes of the Book of Genesis and is one of eight tapestries of the Sigismund collection forming a series dedicated to the figure of Noah. The Latin inscription in the upper border perfectly desribes the scene taking place below: “Noah walks with God. God reveals to Noah the future flood and commands him to build an ark for salvation”. God warns Noah – the only righteous inhabitant of the earth – that because of mankind’s sins, he intends to flood the earth. He tells Noah to build an ark in order to save Noah’s family. Noah is also to bring a pair of animals of each species into the ark (Genesis 6:13–21).

Glass decorated with scenes from the legend of St. Hubert

Glass of milky and pink colours, on a small base of a jug-like shape, decorated with a painted hunting scene of the legend of Saint Hubertus.

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).

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.

“Fugu” — a drawing by Andrzej Wajda

The fish depicted in the drawing is fugu (Latin Takifugu rubripes — a pufferfish), famous for the poison which can be found in its entrails (in particular, in its liver and ovaries), and spawn. The poison is tetrodotoxin, whose toxicity is many times stronger than the toxicity of cyanide. Because of the risk one takes while eating dishes made of fugu, this fish has a crowd of enthusiasts — those who gladly order fugu dishes prepared by qualified chefs, and artists who think about this fish as a motif in films and literature, an instrument of crime or suicide...

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.

Horn of Salt Diggers Brotherhood of Wieliczka

The horn of Salt Diggers Brotherhood of Wieliczka is a unique Renaissance work of art commemorating the past wealth of Kraków salt mines. It is the only historical object of such preserved in Poland — the genuine horn of an aurochs (the species that became extinct in Poland in the 17th century, the ancestor of cattle), precisely framed in silver embedded in various golden ornaments.

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.

“Ise-katagami” dyeing stencil with a carp motif

The carps that appear here belong to those motifs which, despite reflecting Japanese symbols, seem familiar to the Europeans as well. According to the tradition brought to Japan from China, carps swim upstream so as to transform themselves into dragons, having first proven their strength and perseverance. Due to those features, they are also patrons of boys on their own day which used to be celebrated in Japan on 5 May (at present, this is Children's Day in Japan).

Jagiellonian tapestry “Stork and Rabbits”

Portrayals of animals (both European and exotic) in verdures were modelled on engravings from zoological atlases, which began to appear around the mid-16th century. Artists tried to depict specimens of a given species as accurately as possible, appending written descriptions to their prints. Such prints were very popular at that time, and cartoon painters used them to draw models for the animals that appear in the Wawel tapestries.

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.

“A pastoral scene against the landscape” by Peter Philipp Roos

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;}The present picture shows a pastoral scene typical of the painter. The work is kept in a warm, narrow colour range dominated by bronzes. The weather, captured perfectly by the painter, evokes the impression of hot and humid August afternoons: dark, stormy clouds are hanging over the hot, steaming earth below which birds are flying, escaping from the impending storm.