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Woman’s fan

The fan, originally designed as a cooling device, was elevated in modern times to a symbol of dignity. Over time, it became a very fashionable element of female attire. On the other hand, fan gestures became a conventional code used by men and women to communicate and flirt at the court.

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.

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.

Horn sceptre, the so-called bâton de commendement, from Maszycka Cave

The find comes from the excavations conducted in the Maszycka Cave by Gotfryd Ossowski in 1883 and is related with reindeer hunters (the so-called Magdalenian culture). The object was made from reindeer antlers. It is almost 30 cm long. It was found among the remains of several people (men, women and children).

Grinder of a mammoth “Mammuthus Primigenius”

The presented object is a grinder of a woolly mammoth (Mammuthus Primigenius) – an extinct herbivorous mammal of the elephantine family.

Bartek Materka, untitled [“Skeletons”]

Reconstruction of an open grave. By the manner of painting, the artist has emphasised the emotive quality of the represention of a post mortem.

Apothecary jar for the dissected human skull

Słój apteczny jest wykonany ze szkła mlecznego, z dekoracją w stylu rokoko (II poł. XVIII w.). Szyldzik okala złoty pierścień ozdobiony czerwonobrunatnym, spiętym w środku wianuszkiem. W środku napis wykonany dwubarwną majuskułą: „CRAN: HUMN: PPT”, czyli „czaszka ludzka...