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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.

Sculpture “Schoolgirl with a Rose Wreath” of the “Wawel Heads” series by Xawery Dunikowski

The sculpture, one of the most interesting female portraits of Dunikowski, was created as part of the plan to restore the lost heads on the ceiling of the Envoys’ Room (also called the Room under the Heads) on the second floor of the eastern wing of Wawel Royal Castle. Originally, there were 194 heads created by Sebastian Tauerbach and his team before 1540. The ceiling was devastated in the early 19th century, when the castle was turned into the barracks of the Austrian army; only 30 heads were saved by Princess Izabella Czartoryska. It was decided in 1924 that the set was to be reconstructed.

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).

Order of Virtuti Militari

The medal was made at the request of Stanisław August Poniatowski (1732–1798, date of reign 1764–1795) to honour distinguished officers in the victorious Battle of Zieleńce. In the first statute, the order was named the Order of the Military Cross, and it still remains the highest Polish distinction awarded for military service.

Cross of the Order of the White Eagle

The oldest and the highest Polish distinction – one of the most important decorations in Europe of the 18th century. It was established by Augustus II the Strong and awarded, since around 1705, to those who performed great services for the monarch. The presented version was shaped in 1793, in the form of a Maltese cross enamelled red with white borders, and with a small ball at the end of each point.

Star of the Order of Saint Stanislaus

The order was established by Stanisław August Poniatowski on 7 May 1765. Until the end of the sovereign Republic of Poland, it was not divided into classes, and it was awarded in a uniform shape.

The “snow” type “Ko-omote” mask of the “Nō” theatre

In the classic Japanese theatre, masks are the most important accessories of the leading actor shite. With these masks, an actor is able to impersonate characters of both real and imaginary worlds (e.g. a warrior, a young woman, an old man, as well as a demon, a god or a goddess, etc.). By putting on a mask, the character is transformed and the audience is able to discover their hidden secrets (e.g. the extraterrestrial origin of the character), or fierce feelings tormenting them (sorrow, envy, madness).

“Hikifuda” advertising handbill in the form of a calendar

Among the many hikifuda advertising handbills distributed by publishers to their customers, the most popular were those with motifs connected with the New Year, such as cranes and pine trees, as well as calendars. In Japan, there is a tradition of offering New Year’s wishes, and new year calendars are one of those obligatory presents given on this occasion.

Wheellock pistol

The exhibit is a representative example of a luxurious, richly decorated firearm. An early type of pistol called the puffer, characterised by the presence of a massive ball at the end of the butt.

“Ima/Now” Calligraphy by Rikō Takahashi

The calligraphy depicts an ideograph Ima今 (Now) written with black ink on white paper. At the bottom of the work, to the right, there is a red seal with the letters Rikoh in the Latin alphabet. This is the artist's name written in one of the versions of the Japanese language transcription. Novices in painting and calligraphy were encouraged to carve their own seals − the art of carving seals was called tenkoku.

“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.

“Hikifuda” advertising handbill with a depiction of a warrior on his way

Hikifudas were designed and sold by publishers. The most common motifs placed on cards were those of cranes, gods of fortune, as well as Mount Fuji. Designs depicting a specific type of activity were hardly ever made, as such orders were much more expensive. However, while creating a design, an empty space was left where a merchant could place some information about his shop or workshop. Such inscriptions, most often stylised as calligraphy, were usually written by hand. However, they could be also printed with woodcut matrix, almost like stamps.

“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...

“A Comic Book. Manggha and Wyspiański” – digital graphic artwork by Jakub Woynarowski

The idea of a comic strip about Feliks Jasieński, the Centre's patron, was the brainchild of Andrzej Wajda. The artwork was produced by Jakub Woynarowski in 2010, and it tells the story of a superhero – a Polish collector of Japanese art entangled in affairs of a social and health nature. Jakub Woynarowski keeps the story in perspective by using quite sophisticated, although simple looking means of expression – foreshortening, synthesis, as well as undertones.

Native bismuth

Native bismuth is a mineral of the native element group, which very rarely occurs in nature, developing small rhombohedral or cuboid forms that resemble crystals. It usually develops grainy aggregates – compact, lamellate or dendritic.

Cellular dolostone

Dolostone is a sedimentary carbonate rock of chemical origin, composed mainly of a mineral called dolomite. Due to the different forms of its development, we can single out primeval dolomites, which develop as a result of the direct precipitation of dolomite from sea or lake water rich in magnesium, and secondary dolomites, which develop by the process of the partial supplantation of calcium carbonate by magnesium carbonate.

“Trigoniainter Laevigata” bivalve

Trigoniainter Laevigata bivalve belongs to the Trigoniidae family, which used to be rich in species and genera, and but at present is a relict. Fossilised specimens can be found in the deposits of the Jurassic and Cretaceous.

“Morasko” iron meteorite

The story of its discovery started in the area of Morasko village (at present, a district of Poznań) in 1914. During works connected with digging trenches for Prussian soldiers, Dr. Cobliner, the sergeant, found a heavy and rusty lump of iron in the ground, which weighed about 78 kilograms. The find was handed over to the Astronomical Observatory in Spandau near Berlin, where it was examined.

“Didymoceras sp.” ammonite

Didymoceras-sp ammonite was a representative of an abundant group of extinct cephalopods living in the seas of the Upper Cretaceous, which covered the territory of present day Poland. The presented specimen is especially attractive due to its atypical shape, taking the form of a spiral rolled perpendicularly.

Stela of man from Kom Abou Billou

On the preserved bottom half of the relief the deceased is shown reclining on a kline with mattress, supported on two pillows. He is dressed in a chiton and himation, with right leg in profile, left shown frontally. The funerary repast is suggested by two sheaves of corn and an amphora in between, next to which stands a three-legged table with horizontal bar.