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Little sceptre of the Kraków's mayors

The sceptre was a symbol of the mayors of Kraków. The form of a sceptre symbolizes power, and this refers to royal sceptres or those of university rectors. It was made of silver, and some of the elements were gilded. The lower part of the handle has a hexagonal cross section, the upper part is round, separated by convex rings. The bead of the head is topped with a disc and finished with an openwork frieze of lilies.

Edward Dwurnik, “Hunting a Dangerous Villain”

The painting was a response to Martial Law in Poland. It shows an imaginary city, which – as is the case with the majority of Dwurnik’s paintings – we view from above. At first glance, everything seems tranquil, stable and safe. Only a searching examination reveals the drama of a city taken over by the army.

The foundation act of King Casimir the Great

At the request of the king, on 12 June 1350, Bodzanta, the Bishop of Kraków, established a parish in the royal village of Niepołomice, thus reorganizing the rural areas adjacent to the parish.

Throne of Zanzibar

The throne, a decorative armchair (attribute of power and dignity) of ebony, consisting of 6 parts joined with pegs. The seat, backrest elements and footrest were made of cord woven from palm leaves. The decorations topping the backrest were made with the technique of inlaying with ivory. The outer edges of the backrest and footrest are decorated with wooden carvings in the form of spheres.

Manuscript “The privilege of Stanisław Koniecpolski for Jews from Tarnów” with a seal

Jewish settlements in Poland began during the period of the Piast dynasty and increased in the 14th-16th centuries. At first, Jews settled in larger towns, in search of better living conditions. The first Jews arrived in Tarnów in the mid-15th century. The proof of this is the mention of Kafel, a Jew, which can be found in the court files of Lviv from 1445.

“A Bust of Lenin” by Xawery Dunikowski

Xawery Dunikowski (1875–1964) is one of the greatest Polish sculptors of the 20th century. The present bust of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin comes from the post-war period in the artist’s work. After the WWII, the ideas of social realism carried Dunikowski away. However, ideological activities did not translate into the form of his works: he remained faithful to the expressive, simplified form he developed in the interwar period.

Executioner's sword

In the collection of the Regional Museum in Olkusz, there is a well-preserved medieval sword. It is called an executioner's sword, because local legend claims that it was used for an execution carried out in the square in Olkusz. Scientific research does not, however, confirm such a hypothesis with regard to the presented exhibit.

Reliquary with St. Stanislaus’s hand

A reliquary in the form of a hand (forearm) placed on a polygonal base in a vertical position. The middle part of the reliquary is red (the sleeve of a robe) with visible relics put in a small rectangular panel obscured by a glass pane.

Manuscript of the “Letter granting freedom to the town of Tarnów by Emperor Francis”

Francis II, the Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany, Hungary, Czech, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia, Lodomeria and Jerusalem, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy and Lorraine, Grand Duke of Tuscany, etc., confers a privilege granting freedom to Tarnów and its inhabitants. It approves the property of Tarnów burghers and the possessions of the town.

Tomasz Bajer, “Minimalism of Guantanamo”

The work is an accurate replica of Yasser Talal al Zahrani’s prison cell at the American detention camp for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Saudi prisoner died in 2006. The official cause of death was given as suicide. However, an examination by an independent pathologist showed traces of repeated beating, which could be indicative of torture. The work can be interpreted as a commentary on the abuse of human rights by imperialist powers, and the individual’s helplessness in the face of such behavior.

KwieKulik, “Actions with a Tube”

The series of photographs is a record of one of numerous actions that the two artists carried out in their own flat. It took place in August 1975, with the participation of Przemysław Kwiek’s sister Zofia Kulik and the artists’ son – Maksymilian Dobromierz. A cardboard tube was the centre of the action. It had been made to order as an advertising prop; after the action it went to the client.

“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.

Sculpture “Salome” by Walery Gadomski

Salome, the daughter of Herodias and stepdaughter of King Herod Antipas, danced so beautifully that the ruler let her ask for anything she wanted. Her wish, suggested by cruel Herodias, was John the Baptist’s head. Biblical Salome is one of frequent motifs in the iconography of European art. The archetype of a dangerous seductress fascinated artists of all epochs.

Sculpture “Adam Mickiewicz's bust” by Pierre Jean David d’Angers

Adam Mickiewicz (1798–1855), was the greatest poet of Polish Romanticism, a national poet, publicist, and political activist. David d'Angers, was a French sculptor, the author of monuments and tombstones, medallions, and portrait busts. In 1829, during his stay in Weimar — where he was working on the bust of Johann Wolfgang Goethe — he met Adam Mickiewicz, with whom he later became friends.

Painting “Portrait of General Henryk Dembiński”

The painting shows Henryk Dembiński (1791–1864), a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, an outstanding commander and strategist in the November Uprising, and one of the leaders of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848–1849, sitting thoughtfully, in a staff tent. Under a veiled curtain, a battle scene is visible in the distance. The painting symbolically refers to the work of the master Rodakowski, Léon Cogniet (1794–1880), who — after the failure of the November Uprising — painted the picture Prague 1831, showing a fresh battlefield and an officer standing in front of it, whose attitude and facial expression were marked by determination and a desire for revenge.

Golden mace of Hetman Stanisław Jabłonowski

The head is made of gold with six feathers fully covered with an engraved and chiselled floral ornament with niello petals, leaves and palmettes. At the end of the head there is a screwed-in pear-shaped pinnacle with embedded rubies and diamonds. When screwed out, it enables the feathers to protrude.

Head of a ruler from Saqqara

Features of style, like treatment of the eyes, uraeus form and the soft outline of the nemes permit attribution to Ptolemaic times. Based on similarities with the head of a sphinx of 150 BC, it is possible to assume that our head had once belonged to a sphinx set up at Saqqara, if the place of discovery is anything to go by.

Head of a ruler

The head is a fragment of the ruler's statue, it is covered with nemes [scarf] with a wide head-band over the forehead, decorated with the insignia of the Pharaonic power uraeus [cobra]. It is a face with faded features; the eyes are shown without detail; it has a wide nose with distended nostrils.

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.

Mace of the head of Zwierzyniec Borough

The presented mace was the symbol of the head of the Zwierzyniec Borough. The borough was founded in 1810, which we know thanks to the date stamped on its head. Around it, there is also the inscription: Państwo Zwierzyniec + Wieś Zwierzyniec [Zwierzyniec Country + Zwierzyniec Village].