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Red-figure pottery vessel for balm

The clay vessel has a squat body, narrowing at the bottom and situated on a thin base. The neck of the vessel is wide and ends with a cavitied flange. The body has been decorated with a meander and a winged figure with oblong objects in its hands, bent over the capital of an Ionic column. The decorations have been made in accordance with Greek black-figure pottery.

Black-figure vessel for incense

The vessel for incense has a wide body which turns into a narrow base at the bottom. The upper part of the vessel is open, without any cover. Two circular handles have been placed at the sides of the vessel.

Ai Weiwei, “Oil spills”

This is a ceramic work – a technique that is inseparable from Chinese culture. The porcelain objects were fired in Jingdezhen, a city famous for its ceramics. The six elements in the MOCAK Collection, which simulate crude oil stains, are part of a 25-part installation. The work is a commentary on contemporary economic conditioning. Oil – a resource that impacts on international politics – symbolically stains the world.

Greek ostrakon

An ostracon from the collection of the Field Museum No. 2 which was established thanks to the Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade that fought in the Middle East during the World War II and reached Egypt where they managed to obtain museum exhibits.

Greek ostrakon – instructions to issue wine

Instructions to issue wine. Data: March 20, 15th indiction (6th–7th century) “To Martyrios, rogator. Deliver on the account of buccellarii three koloba of wine, that is koloba of wine 3, only. Written on 27th of Mesore, indiction XV. Pythidoros agreed.”

Greek ostrakon – receipt of payment of a monetary equivalent for a tax in nature

Receipt of payment of a monetary equivalent for a tax in nature. Date: December 21, year AD 78 or 91. “Daleas son of Abraimos, as an equivalent for the price of the dates from sacred land, 6 drachmas 4 obols. Year 11, Choiak 25.” Commentary: The divergence in the dating of this document results from the fact that the eleventh year may equally well refer to the emperors Vespasian or Domitian. Abraimos is well evidenced as a variant of the name Abraham.

Greek ostrakon – receipt for grain tax payment

Ostraka, pieces of broken pottery vessels, were used for writing a variety of different texts, most often tax receipts. They were used instead of the more expensive papyrus. Most ostraka come from Upper Egypt and the oases, where, unlike in Fayum and the localities of Middle Egypt, papyrus was not cultivated on a broad scale.

Greek ostrakon – receipt of payment of the “merismos” tax

Receipt of payment of the merismos tax. Date: April 21, AD 113. “Nikias son of Pasion, for merismos for the 16th year [of the reign] of Trajan, our lord, 4 drachmas. Year 16, Pharmouthi 26.” Commentary: Merismos was not a specific tax, but part of the tax burden concerning a specific community.

Greek ostrakon – receipt of payment of the Jewish tax

In AD 72, after suppressing the Jewish uprising in Palestine, the Romans levied a Jewish tax (ioudaikon telesma) on all Jews living in the Roman Empire. It exceeded 8 drachmas and was a considerable burden on the mostly poor residents of the Jewish district in Apollinopolis Magna. This document is a receipt for only part of the yearly burden.

Greek ostrakon – receipt of tax payment in cash

Receipt of tax payment in cash. Date: November 5, AD 108. “Bokchoris son of Iosepos, [as] payment of k... tax for the 12th year [of the reign] of Trajan, our lord. Year 12, Hathyr 9.” Commentary: Iosepos is a variant of the name of Josephus. The name of the tax is preserved but illegible.

Greek ostrakon – receipt of payment of “laografia”

Receipt of payment of laografia (head tax). In Roman times, Jews inhabited district IV in Apollinopolis Magna. The regular head tax in the 1st-2nd century was 16 drachmas a year. Receipt for payment of 8 drachmas (as in this document) or 4 drachmas are proof of the tax having been paid in installments.

Sugar bowl from Aleksander Józef Sułkowski's set

A sugar bowl with a lid, having the form of an oval flattened and buckled vase standing on four volute legs. The lid is topped with a handle in the shape of a cone. The legs are made up of dual scrollwork patterns with female masks in palmette crowns placed between them; their back side is additionally ornamented with raised acanthus leaves. There is a characteristic woven relief around the edge, called Sułkowski's pattern (Sułkowski Ozier).

“Hanaire” flower vase used to decorate tea ceremonies

A Hanaire [花入], which is a flower vase used during the tea ceremony, can have many forms — standing, hanging, with a broad spout, or imitating a thin bamboo stem. Hanaire creators are not limited in terms of materials they can use, either. In tea rooms, one can encounter vases made of wicker, hollow calabash, and every kind of ceramic. Those lighter materials are used during summer gatherings; while heavier ones are chosen in winter.

Porcelain vase with a wooden base

What do a cobalt vase and a Japanese emperor have in common? This vase is a gift from the Japanese court donated to the Manggha Museum during the visit of the Japanese emperor, Akihito, and his wife, Michiko, on 11 July 2002. This porcelain vase with a wooden base is ornamented with the imperial chrysanthemum – an emblem representing the imperial title in Japan.

“Hakuji” vessel by Manji Inoue

The process of producing vessels of white porcelain is regarded as being exceptionally difficult, since, as it is baked in a furnace, small particles can easily permeate inside, and they can dye the porcelain forms, thus disrupting the whole process. One of the most outstanding contemporary hakuji artist is Manji Inoue (born 1929), the Japanese creator who was awarded, in 1995, with the honourable title of The Living National Treasure(Ningen Kokuhō).

“Hiratemae” imperial tea set used during the summer season

Chaji may last for several hours and during this time guests have the opportunity to taste thick koicha tea and light usucha tea, as well as to refresh themselves with a light dish or to taste sweets. All the elements are chosen specifically for such a meeting. In terms of form and motif, utensils should match the season and the occasion. Even the dishes reflect the seasonal characteristics of nature. When speaking about uniqueness of each chaji, the Japanese use a phrase ichigo ichie, meaning: the only meeting like this in life, and the cultivation of this lifestyle is called the Tea Way.

Candlestick of the so-called “Swan Set”

The so-called Swan Set, the most famous of porcelain sets, was made in the Royal Manufactory in Meissen during the years 1737–1742, on the commission of Heinrich, Count von Brühl, later the First Minister of Augustus III.

Statue of Augustus III Wettin

The statue is modelled on a portrait painted in 1737 by Louis de Silvestre, the court painter of Augustus III. The sculpture was designed by Johann Joachim Kändler in 1740, on the request of Heinrich, Count von Brühl; the sculpting work was completed in the autumn of 1741 and was carried out in cooperation with Johann Friedrich Eberlein and with the assistance of Johann Gottlieb Ehder.

Sculpture of Augustus III

A statue of Frederick Augustus II, the Elector of Saxony, and King of Poland, Augustus III, on horseback. It is an example of cabinet sculpture. Similar portrayals of Louis XIV, Napoleon Bonaparte and Marcus Aurelius, often made in bronze, were popular in the 2nd half of the century.

Coffee pot

A pear-shaped pot with an isolated base. Its deeply bent spout is set on a raised mascaron. Its handle in the shape of the letter J is ornamented with volutes at the top and the bottom, as well as raised leaves and palmettes on the outside. The pot has a domed cap with a collar.