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Mug with a cover

European goldsmithing between the 16th and the 18th century reached an unprecedented artistic and technical level, which was largely due to German masters operating mostly in the chief goldsmithing centre — Augsburg. Thanks to their mass production and high artistic class, goldsmith products from Augsburg soon dominated the markets of Central and Eastern Europe.

Jewish wedding ring

The ring was purchased for the museum collection in 1998 in one of the antique shops in Sącz. According to the owner of the shop, the ring was found among other objects hidden in one of the houses in Nowy Sącz during the war. The exhibit has a great historical value, as only a few similar objects could be found in Polish museum collections.

Chalice

Church confraternities, which boasted about having a separate chapel or a side altar, completed the religious life of parishioners. The first confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, established in Niepołomice by Cardinal Zbigniew Oleśnicki, worked efficiently for one and a half centuries, but in 1596 a church inspector found it, as he described, in a state of “devotional and interment” activity.

“Princely” grave from Jakuszowice near Kazimierza Wielka

The find is dated back to the 1st half of the 5th century (before 434). It is one of the most interesting pieces of proof of contact between the peoples inhabiting the area of southern Poland and the Huns in the 1st half of the 5th century. The grave was discovered by accident in 1911 while mining sand. The majority of the excavated objects were smuggled to Kraków over the then Russian-Austrian border.

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.

Set of twelve spoons with busts of the Apostles and the Szeliga and Przeginia coats of arms

The preserved Polish inventories dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries inform of a rather high number of silver and gold spoons being the property of the royal court, the Polish aristocracy, the nobility and the bourgeoisie.

“Kaflak” table clock

Spring clocks, which were invented in the 15th century, have improved with time. Gradually they were constructed smaller and smaller, and at the beginning of the 16th century they were of such a size that they could be placed on the table. One of popular types of such clocks was a horizontal timer with a mechanism placed in a polygonal, flat casing with a horizontal disc on the top.

Pitcher of the City Council of Tarnów

Among the memorabilia of the old town authorities stored in the collection of the Museum in Tarnów, a special place is occupied by a set of three identical tin jugs. These vessels were created in Gdańsk in 1639, probably in the workshop of the master Assmus Virian.

Welcoming goblet of tailors' guild

The welcoming Goblet is one of Kraków's most valuable guild relics, preserved at the National Museum in Kraków. It was submitted to the museum on 19 September 1905, by the Association of Tailor's Companions, along with a collection of souvenirs belonging to the tailors' guild: a guild counter, a bell, a tray, and a crucifix.

Welcoming goblet

Welcome cup was a decorative container for drinking beer in guild inns during important celebrations. Its Polish name wilkom comes from the German greeting willkommen [welcome]. Each newly arrived guest had to empty the cup filled with an alcoholic beverage in honour of the guild. The production of such cups developed in Germany in the 2nd half of the 16th century, and later spread throughout Europe.

Silver cup designed by Jan Matejko

The collection of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków features an interesting 19th-century goblet of unknown history. According to tradition, it was associated with the figure of Jan Matejko. The silver goblet has a lid made in a historic style, with its form and decoration resembling Gothic chalices.

Torah shield

Rectangular, closed with a trifoliate arch, with the figures of Moses (on the left) and Aaron (on the right), and the Decalogue tables (in the middle), with the initial words of the commandments engraved in Hebrew. The figures of Moses and Aaron are flanked by spiral columns. On their plinths are Hebrew inscriptions marking the date: on the right plinth, תקס ("560"), on the left: לפק (“according to the abbreviated calculation”) [=1800]. In the three-leaf top, three openwork crowns with colourful glasses are attached.

Hanukkah synagogal candelabrum

Candelabrum, synagogal, nine-branched. Supported on a flat base, tapering in a bell-like shape to the top. A multi-levelled stem, finely profiled, with four pairs of branches fixed in the sockets cut in its flat elements. The branches are slightly flattened, curved and finished with a trifoliate at the bottom.

Hanukkah lamp

The eight-branched candelabrum made in honour of the Hanukkah festival – the victorious Maccabean Revolt. The festival – recorded in the books of Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) – is over 2,000 years old.

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.

Salt cellar in the shape of an elongated cup

This silver salt shaker, in the shape of an elongated bowl, which is decorated at the edge with an openwork strip of plants, is the work of a high-class goldsmith. It was made in France in pre-revolutionary times, in Paris in the years 1786–1787, by the goldsmith, Jean-Baptiste-François Chéret. The precise determination of the authorship, time, and place of the creation of this work is possible thanks to the marking, which, in the past, was to testify the occurrence of precious metal, and nowadays is the source of information about the history of the object; its interpretation, however, often requires detective work.

Silver salt cellar with a figure of a boy pushing the sled

This silver salt shaker, in the shape of a boy pushing a sled, is actually a miniature sculpture. It evokes admiration for the precision of the 19th century artist from Frankfurt, who, in the microscopic scale of a few centimeters, was able to develop numerous, intricate details and decorations.

Monstrance of the Branicki foundation

The late-Gothic monstrance – silver and gilded – goes in harmony with the style of the church in Niepołomice, whose Gothic character was enriched with Renaissance Branicki’s chapel. The Renaissance motifs – floral and geometric ornaments, figures of saints, putti or coat of arms – look good on the medieval architectural design, decorated with delicate pinnacles and finials. The Branicki family was concerned about the church accessories of the parish church in Niepołomice, that is why church utensils, canonicals and liturgical vessels funded by them.

Włocławek reliquary (Kruszwica reliquary)

The Włocławek reliquary (also known as the Kruszwica reliquary) was created in the 2nd quarter of the 12th century, supposedly in Swabia. It is linked to the Zwiefalten workshop. The exhibit is in the form of a rectangular low chest on four legs made of oak wood and covered with a copper sheet decorated with champlevé (blue, fair blue, white and green), engraved and gilded.