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A Persian helmet – a prop from the School of Fine Arts

The present helmet is of eastern origin. It was popular, among others, in Persia and Turkey, from where it was adopted in Poland. In the 17th and 18th centuries, such helmets were worn, among others, by towarzysze pancerni [literally: armoured companions], a type of Polish cavalry unit. The bascinet presented on the website probably comes from Persia. Normal 0 21 false false false PL X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:Standardowy; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"; border:none;}

Miniature heart-shaped bottle

The silver heart-shaped bottle was intended for storing fragrances. On one side of the vessel, a decorative entwined monogram has been engraved (initials “RC” or “CR”?), topped by a crown. The motif is placed in a frame consisting of a decorative border featuring a simple ornament composed of triangles and matching the shape of the heart.

Ivory casket decorated with scenes from chanson de geste

The casket is cubical in shape and consist of six rectangular ivory plates bound together with metal nails and fittings. The top plate is fitted with hinges and serves as the lid. The front side is fitted with a rectangular lock decorated with an image of a tower and two persons: a woman with a large key in her hand and a man on his knees with his hands joined together. On the lid, there is a metal handle engraved in a diagonal checked pattern filled with simplified flowers. On the side plates, there are twelve figural scenes from medieval chance de geste, while on the lid, there are three court scenes. Narration in all of these images follows from the left to the right. The front side features the following images: Conversation of Alexander the Great with Aristotle, Phyllis and Aristotle, Thisbe and lion, Death of Pyramus and Thisbe, while the back side features: Lancelot fighting a lion, Lancelot crossing the Sword Bridge, Gauvain on the Dangerous Bed and Damsels freed by Gauvain. The left side features: Tristan and Iseult’s Meeting in the Garden, the Hunt of the Unicorn, while the right side features: Enyas’ fight with a savage and Old Porter Welcomes Galahad. The lead features a Knight Tournament in the centre, flanked by two scenes which together depict the motif of Siege of the Castle of Love. The Kraków casket is one of seven so called complex caskets, which can be found in world’s most important collections of medieval art.

Chalice

It is the oldest of the dated donations of Casimir the Great for Polish churches. The Roman form of the basic chalice components and some of its motifs (e.g. small rounded arch arcades) coexists here organically with raised Gothic ornamentation, setting this impressive vessel apart from other goldsmith works of the 14th century.

Powder horn

The powder horn comes from the collection of Władysław Łoziński in Lviv. It was donated to the Wawel Royal Castle by an antiquary Szymon Szwarc in 1930.

Gorget

The gorget, deriving from a knight's armour bevor, was used in Poland in the 18th century, mostly by members of the Bar Confederation (1768–1772). Decorated with effigies of Madonna and saints, as well as religious scenes, the gorget served as a spiritual buckler.

Cabinet

A decorative and portable piece of furniture in the form of an angular box closed with a pair of small doors and containing eight drawers. Furniture of that type, made of exotic materials, was not commonly used in Poland of the 17th century.

“Koncerz” sword with a sheath

A koncerz sword is a type of cold weapon with a characteristic long and thin blade, used for stabbing. In Poland, it was one of elements of weaponry used by the Hussaria cavalry. The presented exhibit is an excellent example of a luxurious armament, characterized not only by its diversity of materials and decorations, but also a combination of a cold weapon with firearm.

A tombstone with the image of a “tree of life” from the double-apse rotunda – the so-called “church B” in Wawel

This tombstone consists of two elements and was found during excavation works carried out under the guidance of Stanisław Kozieł and Mieczysław Fraś in the area of the southern wing of building 5 of Wawel in the years 1966–75. The tombstone used to cover a tomb located in the area of the western apse of the double-apse rotunda relics, called church B” by the researchers.

Closed helmet

It is an example of a closed helmet that protects the entire head of a soldier. It represents the decadent phase of development of this type of armament, the early days of which date back to the 16th century, when movable face covers started to be fixed to helmets.

Baton

The baton of the Wawel collection is an example of a luxurious ceremonial weapon. It is difficult to establish unambiguously its artistic provenance. In terms of composition and type of ornamentation, it could be classified as a Turkish work. However, its characteristic combination of gold and light blue enamel causes many researchers to believe it to be a Persian work.

Spice bottle

A cylindrical, capped bottle closed with a handle. This bottle is richly decorated with an artistic decorative design of plants and various other figures. The vessel was used in a practical way for storing valuable spices from overseas, but was also prized for its beauty. It was richly decorated by a master coppersmith.

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.

Renaissance plate

This plate was originally located above the entrance gate to the city of Biecz. It belonged to Mikołaj Ligęza from Bobrek (c. 1530–1603) who obtained the position of starosta (district governor) of Biecz in 1561, through his marriage to Elżbieta née Jordan, and in 1575 the position of the governor of Biecz Province from Jan Tarło.

Jewish tin plate

This plate could have been used on the Sabbath or, more likely, during the Purim holiday celebrated in the month of Adar, which symbol is fish, used as an decoration motif in this exhibit.

Percussion-cap pistol

The percussion-cap pistol, double-barrelled, with a wooden handle, was made by the Lepage company in Paris. Its fittings are decorated with floral motifs. The exhibit is also signed, which allows one to determine its place of production. Near the chambers, between the barrels...

Jewish wedding ring

The Jewish wedding ring was purchased in 1985 in “Desa”. Its owner is unknown. The ring is decorated with a floral motif and a Jewish inscription, Mazel Tov [Good luck]. It is topped with a model of a building — a symbolic depiction of the buildings in Jerusalem.

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.

Etrog tin

An etrog tin in the shape of a pomegranate with three leaves, oxidised and open in the middle. The exhibit presumably belonged to rich Jews, as only they could afford such a decorated, silver container, used to carry the etrog to a synagogue on the holiday of Sukkot.

Pipe

A clay pipe shod in a nickel silver sheet with a wooden stem. Decorated with an engraved and stamped geometrical ornament and metal rings (zbyrkadła) attached. The pipe cover is finished with an eight-point, cone-shaped, metal pinnacle (cubka) crowned with the figure of a cock (kohutek) cut out of a metal sheet. The stem is connected with a pipe neck with a double chain.