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Sculpture “Dance” by Maria Jarema

Maria Jarema — born in an artistic family, the daughter of a Lviv pianist — explored the problem of dynamics, rhythm, and the musicality of a work of art both in paintings and in sculptures throughout her whole artistically devoted life.

Horn of Salt Diggers Brotherhood of Wieliczka

The horn of Salt Diggers Brotherhood of Wieliczka is a unique Renaissance work of art commemorating the past wealth of Kraków salt mines. It is the only historical object of such preserved in Poland — the genuine horn of an aurochs (the species that became extinct in Poland in the 17th century, the ancestor of cattle), precisely framed in silver embedded in various golden ornaments.

Pyx

The pyx was purchased for the collection in 1998. Probably it is from an unknown village in the Gorlice region. After the war, she was kept at the family of a priest from a local village, as a unused. A pyx (Latin: ciborium, pyxis) is a container used to carry the consecrated host. It takes the form of a cup with a matching lid.

Commemorative pink glass

Most probably, the glass shows the bust of Adolf Starzeński, commemorating his participation in the Polish national uprising against Russia at the turn of 1830 and 1831....

Pharmaceutical tablet maker machine

Pharmaceutical tablet maker machine from 19th century.

Cross of the Order of the White Eagle

The oldest and the highest Polish distinction – one of the most important decorations in Europe of the 18th century. It was established by Augustus II the Strong and awarded, since around 1705, to those who performed great services for the monarch. The presented version was shaped in 1793, in the form of a Maltese cross enamelled red with white borders, and with a small ball at the end of each point.

Virtuti Militari Cross of General Benedykt Kołyszko

One of a few preserved specimens from 1792. An even-armed cross with slightly arched arm edges. On the obverse the arms are covered with black enamel with a golden rim left on the edges. The arms feature the order’s motto of VIR/ TUTI/ MILI/ TARI. At the intersection of the cross’s arms there is a round central shield covered with green-enamelled laurel leaves on the rim. In the central field there is an enamelled image of a white eagle with a golden crown, with a sceptre in its beak and an orb in its claws.

Chalice

The chalice is an example of seventeenth-century goldsmithing in Małopolska, with features typical of the workshops of the region such as a slim and smooth bowl set in a basket, an oval nodus, repoussé decorations, and motifs of heads of winged cherubs, which was a common element of the decoration of gold products from Kraków in that period.

Oil mining lamp

This is a miner's oil lamp with a wick. In the second half of the eighteenth century, miners began using tin oil lamps, which were mostly fuelled by oil mixed with kerosene.

Soup vase with a monogram of Prince Eustachy Erazm Sanguszko

Sets of tableware were initially assembled of objects made in a different style, time, and places. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries uniformly decorated tableware, known today as services, began to appear. Until the beginning of the 19th century, there were no strict rules determining what dishes should be included in such a set; therefore, they were put together according to current fashions or the personal preference of the person ordering them...

Table oil lamp

When Ignacy Łukasiewicz distilled kerosene and co-participated in the construction of the lamp fuelled by it, he significantly revolutionized the current style and comfort of life. Under the influence of his invention, lamps with a variety of intended applications, methods of assembly, and ornamentation, appeared.

Commemorative plaque “Pustki Hill”

This is a memorial plaque, stamped in commemoration of the battle of Gorlice, depicting the attack on Mount Pustki near Gorlice, on which fierce battles were fought on 2 May 1915, during the Gorlice operation.

“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.

“Obesłanie” – metal plate bearing the emblem of the grand guild of Tarnów

One common object which was very useful in the life of a guild was the obesłanie – a sign used to authenticate transferred messages. The Obesłanie was used by a messenger when he had to pass a message from the guild elders to other members of the guild. They were informed of all important issues concerning the guild: meetings, funerals, celebrations and the like, and obesłanie had a similar function to a contemporary membership card.

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.

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.

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...

King Władysław’s III of Varna tombstone

The gravestone of Władysław III of Varna is shaped as a tomb, with the figure of the ruler dressed in full armour on the top slab. The giasant has a youthful face with idealised features and holds a bare sword against his chest – Szczerbiec – which serves the purpose of styling the King as an ideal Christian knight. The introduction of a particular object known to all Poles, in this case the coronation sword of polish kings, into the composition had been adopted a number of times in the culture of the 19th century, especially in Jan Matejko’s paintings. It served the purpose of making past events and figures more probable by linking them to particular items or works of art that were considered national relics. Such combinations were not always justified from a historical perspective, but they were used consciously, according to the rules of philosophy of history, which in the distant past allowed for an insight into God’s plans and some general principles governing the history of the country divided by the three partitioning powers.

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.

Sculpture “Over a grave” by Antoni Pleszowski

This woman with a melancholic look on her face and her hair coveredh, gives the impression of being deeply immersed in her thoughts, which may reflect the passing and loss of a loved one. The manner of presenting the sitting, freely-posed figure derives from the works of Michelangelo, as well as later Roman sepulchral sculpture of the Baroque period, with which the author of the work — an artist educated in Kraków, Vienna and Rome — was very familiar.