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“Cymatoceras patens” nautilida

Cymatoceras patens nautilida is one of the representatives of an extinct group of cephalopods living in the sea of the Upper Cretaceous, which covered the area of present day Poland 100.5 to 66 million years ago.

Miniature of the sarcophagus of Casimir IV the Jagiellonian from the Holy Cross Chapel of Wawel Cathedral

A factory for the production of artistic metal castings was established in Warsaw, in the Kingdom of Poland, by Karol Fryderyk Minter. Minter was of Prussian descent and was educated in Berlin and Copenhagen. The factory became famous for its ornamental works (which were predominantly patriotic in design) which were produced during the years 1845–1879. One series produced comprised a set of twenty-one memorials of Polish rulers, including sixteen miniaturized copies of royal and princely tombs, with nine of these being Wawel royal tombs.

Stela of woman from Kom Abou Billou

The upper preserved part of the stela shows an aedicula constructed of a semicircular pediment supported on two plain columns with papyrus capitals. The deceased is shown frontally, but with the right leg in profile. She is reclining on a mattress, supported on her left elbow resting on two pillows. In her right hand, which is unnaturally long, she holds a bowl. Her dress consists of a chiton and himation arranged in semicircular folds. The long her falling to her breasts is pushed back behind the ears. Her face has been hammered away. Opposite her there is an engraved representation of a sitting jackal. The animal with a long snout and raised tail is shown facing her.

Funerary stela pediment

The dove, a symbol of the Holy Spirit, is popular in Christian iconography. The motif is frequent in Coptic art, mainly on funerary stelae presenting the same kind of composition as above. A praying figure with two crosses or a stylized crux gemmata cross is usually shown between the columns. The motif of a dove is also known from wall painting; numerous representations of doves are known from murals in the hermitages at Esna in Upper Egypt and elsewhere.

“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.

“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).

“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.

“Fish” — a drawing by Andrzej Wajda

In Japan, carps are a symbol identified with boys, who wish to become as strong and persistent as those fish. Each year, during Japanese Children's Day, which formerly was solely Boys' Day, parents hang kites on flagpoles located near their houses resembling wind socks that indicate the strength and direction of the wind. They are in the shape of carps, and the colour of each carp is related to the person it symbolises: the black carp is for the father, the red one — for mother, other colours are for children. According to old beliefs, flags are hung high in order to attract the attention of protective gods that are high in the sky.

Enamelled vase

A large vase with a hemispherical goblet coated with cloisonné enamel. According to its donor, the vase comes from the Summer Palace of Beijing from the era of the Chinese emperors of the Qing dynasty. It was destroyed in 1860, and then again in 1900.

Two small vases ornamented with cranes in flight, placed against a dark blue background

The crane is one of the most important symbols of longevity in many Asian countries. When it is depicted in combination with other symbols, it takes on an additional, slightly different meaning, which is often deeper than the original one. This majestic bird with its beautiful body and feathers has become one of the most important symbols of the culture of Japan, as the Japanese are a people who observe the surrounding nature carefully and draw a lot of inspiration from nature.

An album of woodcuts “One hundred views of Mount Fuji by Hokusai”, the 2nd volume

In the collection of the Manggha Centre of Japanese Art and Technology, there is an edition of the work 100 views of Mount Fuji by Katsushiki Hokusai. Hokusai was one of the most famous Japanese artists and he created old ukiyo-e woodcuts (Japanese: a view of the world that passes away).

“Stanisław Lem — Lifelike” — a drawing by Andrzej Wajda

In the collection of the Manggha Museum, there are 242 portraits by Andrzej Wajda in the Familiar faces series. One of them is a drawing signed by the author — Stanisław Lem — Lifelike. Indeed, the author has captured the resemblance perfectly using hatching and many strong lines, as in the case of the many other drawings of the series sketched on notebook pages or graph paper.

“Grzempy” stone meteorite (H5 chondrite)

A certain Bydołek, a farmer from the village of Grzempy, while working in his homestead, suddenly saw a »fiery sphere« falling to the ground. While falling, the sphere broke off some branches of a nearby tree and became stuck in the ground. At the same time, a fierce, thunder-like clatter could be heard, and »fumes resembling burnt sulphur were present«...

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).

“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.

Wedding kimono “uchikake” with a motif of cranes in flight

The level of a kimono's formality is determined by the type, design and colour of its fabric, as well as the adjustment necessary for the occasion the kimono is intended for. At present, most women wear kimonos when practising traditional Japanese arts such as the ikebana and the tea ceremony, or during important family meetings. One such event is a Japanese wedding of Shinto rite. One of the kimonos included in the set of kimonos worn by the bride on that day is a red outer kimono uchikake.

Stela of man from Kom Abou Billou

Banquet scene inside an aedicula consisting of two flat columns supporting a semicircular pediment, now lost. A papyrus capital is still visible on the column to the right. The deceased is depicted as a partaker in a banquet, reclining on a couch with two pillows and mattress. Horizontal engraved lines below the representation were intended for an inscription.

Stela of Bes from Kom Abu Billou

The stela with deceased shown in prayer in the inly such example among the objects from Kom Abou Billou in Polish collections. The style of a stela, dated to 300 based on the archeological context, is similar, although not exactly the same. Modeling of the details of the figure and of the dress suggests an earlier dating for this object.

Stela of man from Kom Abou Billou from the 1st half of the 3rd century

The deceased rests on a couch with mattress in a repetition of a composition that is already known from the Stela of the son of Chairemon and Isidora. The differences are insignificant: a wreath held in the extended right hand and a different arrangement of the feet, which are crossed in this case. Both the mattress and the pillows are decorated with rhomboids. The features of the face are not very clear, but a flat wide nose predominates.

Sculpture “King David”?

The sculpture depicts the figure of a king standing in a contrapposto pose, turned slightly right. The sculpture is a copy (with some modifications) of the Saint Sigismund's statue, made in marble, which is placed in the right niche of the southern wall of the Sigismund's Chapel (the so-called throne wall).