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Zofia Kulik, “All the Missiles Are One Missile”

Photomontage using combination print. The composition is made through repeated imprinting of one or more negatives on an appropriately masked paper. Zofia Kulik’s collages are complex visual texts. Each carries a message that has been carefully devised and executed.

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.

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.

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.

Vessel for potpourri – mixtures of dried flowers

The porcelain vase in the form of an urn, with openings in the lid, was intended for storing potpourris, i.e. scented mixtures made from dried herbs and flowers. The body of the vessel has a circular cross-section, is elongated, narrows at the base and turns into a round base on a square stand.

Vase for compositions made from dried flowers

This porcelain vase takes the form of a cup-shaped urn with holes in the lid. The dish is designed for making compositions from dried flowers. Its large, hemispherical body rests on a multi-stage stand with a circular cross-section, based on a square with bevelled corners.

Throne for a church monstrance

A Baroque architectural throne for a church monstrance. A Baroque framing decorated with an auricular style ornament as well as a radiant halo consisting of rays alternately straight or curved. At the sides are two allegorical figures, at the finial of the framing are two figures of angels.

Tea container

Along with the growing popularisation of overseas beverages such as coffee, tea and chocolate, European manufactories also designed vessels used to hold them. At the beginning, they were modelled on familiar Chinese or Japanese forms, but then, gradually, the models took on new shapes unknown to the East.

Tapestry with the Monogram of Sigismund Augustus in Medallion

A tapestry of the same size and the same function as the tapestry with the Monogram of Sigismund Augustus in Cartouche. It belongs to a group of three monogram grotesques with the initials SA inscribed within an oval medallion. In the middle of the composition, there is a blue convex medallion with the entwined initials SA under a closed crown, placed against a background of a drapery supported by two angels sitting on crosspieces of a metal frame (a motif typical of Netherlandish grotesque).

Tapestry with the Monogram of Sigismund Augustus in Cartouche

This tapestry of a group of monogram grotesques with the initials of King Sigismund II Augustus placed under a crown in a decorative cartouche belongs to a series of seven drapes (door curtains). In four of them, the cartouche is accompanied by satyrs playing instruments while the other three depict nymphs sitting on thrones. The composition is a representative example of ornamentation called Netherlandish grotesque. It was modelled on a print of ca. 1546 by Cornelis Bos, one of the founders and pioneers of this type of decoration. The painted design for the tapestry was modified, but the set of motifs and the general outline remained unchanged.

Tapestry with the Monogram of Sigismund Augustus and a Terrestrial Globe

The grotesque tapestry with a monogram of King Sigismund Augustus (SA – Sigismundus Augustus) and a globe is part of a series of decorative textiles in which the royal monogram plays the major role. Before our eyes, an extravaganza unfolds of ancient gods, birds, animals, fruit and flower garlands. On the axis of the composition is placed an oval shield with the monogram of the king, covered with a closed crown. A richly decorated frame is surrounded by a wreath of fruit. Aside from apples, grapes and lemons, there is also a pineapple, brought to Europe by Christopher Columbus.

Tapestry with the Arms of Poland and Lithuania and the Figure of Victory

The tapestry depicts Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory. At her bare feet lies a pile of weapons; she is flanked by two coats of arms: of Poland and of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. On her right are the arms of the Kingdom Poland – the Eagle with the monogram of Sigismund II Augustus, the last king of the Jagiellonian dynasty – surmounted by a closed crown. The arms of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania – the Charging Knight surmounted by the Grand Ducal cap – are on her left. The winged goddess is attired in a breastplate. In one hand, she holds a laurel wreath, in the other a broken spear. The olive branches behind her symbolize peace. Victoria is shown against a red background with a decorative framework recalling wrought iron that serves as a scaffolding of sorts for bunches of fruit and flowers. The oval blue fields in which the coats of arms are placed are entwined with climbing plants. The White Eagle with the royal monogram is surrounded by vines, and the Lithuanian Charging Knight by pea plants with both blooms and mature pods. Birds perch on hanging bunches of fruit in the upper part of the tapestry and on the decorative framework at the bottom.

Tapestry Bearing the Arms of Poland and Lithuania and the figure of Ceres

The tapestry is part of a group of twelve textiles with the coats of arms of Poland and Lithuania against a background of ornamentation called Netherlandish grotesque. It belongs to a subgroup in which the coats of arms of both parts of the Commonwealth are entrusted to the care of the Roman goddess Ceres – a patron of peace, abundance and prosperity. The slender female figure in robes, modelled on clothing of ancient statues, holds a sickle and cornucopia, and stands in the middle on a marble podium. The sickle in her hand and a wreath of grain ears on her head bring associations with summer – the season of harvest, while the cornucopia symbolises prosperity.

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).

Snuff tin

The fashion of taking snuff, common in Europe of the 17th and 18th centuries, sparked the creation of a separate category of containers. Maiolica pharmaceutical vases were used for selling snuff, various other tins for storing it, and different forms of snuffboxes, including those made of porcelain, were used for taking it.

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.

Silver bottle with an engraving

The bottle, with a fanciful shape, features a body with the cross-section of a multifoil, with a high neck and a high, wooden stopper on the wall of the bottle, there is a herbal cartouche in the frame of a rich rocaille ornament.

Roger&Gallet bottle in a case

The crystal bottle takes the form of a decanter similar to a cuboid in shape, with a neck featuring a wide flange and a glass stopper. The crystal knob-shaped stopper is cut into in a bevelled pattern. Its rim, made from a gilded mass and featuring a carmine ribbon, is decorated with a gilded ornament.

Renaissance apothecary mortar from 1562

In pharmacies, mortars were used to crush a variety of substances and to make certain forms of prescription drugs, such as: emulsions, ointments and powders. The presented mortar comes from 1562. It has a conical shape and is made of bronze. Its decoration is a plant motif – acanthus leaves – with the year 1562 placed among them. An additional ornament...

Rafał Bujnowski, “Stained Glass”

The window has lost its utilitarian character to serve as artistic material. A random pattern of cracks on a window pane, due to a blow, has been elevated to the rank of a decorative ornament. The art of destruction has simultaneously become an act of creation. Lead moulds preserve the effect of the impact of cumulative energy. The abstract pattern of the stained glass is a memento of sudden, uncontrollable expression.