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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.

Two small vases ornamented with cranes in flight, placed against a dark blue background

The crane is one of the most important symbols of longevity in many Asian countries. When it is depicted in combination with other symbols, it takes on an additional, slightly different meaning, which is often deeper than the original one. This majestic bird with its beautiful body and feathers has become one of the most important symbols of the culture of Japan, as the Japanese are a people who observe the surrounding nature carefully and draw a lot of inspiration from nature.

Tower table clock

The diverse form and rich ornamentation of the clock place it among the best works of the Augsburg watchmakers of the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries.

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...

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.

Cash register with a counting machine

A heavy, massive cash register for counting decorated with garlands and floral motives is an extremely valuable exhibit, considering its origin. The National Cash Register company from Dayton (in Ohio State) specialised in the production of counting machines, and gained a monopoly in this field within the territory of the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Pharmaceutical tablet maker machine

Today, it seems obvious that we take tablets in their current form. Pharmaceutical companies scramble to launch the most convenient form of a particular drug on the market. Pharmacy was an experimental field in the times we are transported to by the pharmacy exhibition in the house with a turret in the town of Biecz. Pharmacists were not limited to prescriptions and selling ready-made medicines. They also created them. In rooms often referred to as alchemists’ workshops, mysterious mixtures were created, which did not always serve the health of their subsequent users...

“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.

Sculpture “Mickiewicz after an Improvisation” by Wacław Szymanowski

Swooning, exhausted by “the Improvisation”, the national poet is supported by two female figures. Mickiewicz's figure seems to emerge from an irregular mass, resembling a wave in the sea — a theme strongly favoured by Szymanowski. This somewhat theatrical manner of displaying the character of the poet is meant to emphasize the effort accompanying the creation of outstanding poetry. In Wacław Szymanowski’s interpretation, in tune with the romantic image of the poet, Mickiewicz has created poetry under the influence of the supernatural.

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.

Ring of the Kraków’s mayors

The date of creation was engraved inside the golden hoop of the ring: 1532. The octagonal sapphire stone of the ring is decorated with Kraków’s coat of arms made in a concave relief. The ring was the symbol of the mayor’s power, and also served as a city seal. The stone needed to be made from a hard, abrasion-resistant material.

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.

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.

Costume of a Scythian princess from Ryzhanovka

Since 1887 the collection of the Archaeological Museum of Kraków has boasted the equipment of a rich Scythian female tomb situated under the mound of a kurgan, examined in Ryzhanovka near Zvenyhorodka in Ukraine by Gotfryd Ossowski, the first curator of the Museum of National Antiquities (from which today’s Archaeological Museum has originated) at the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences in Kraków.

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...

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.

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.

Signboard with movable types (the Foltin family)

The signboard promoted services and products offered by Leon Foltin, who was a car mechanic and an enthusiast of motorisation in the pre-war period in Wadowice. He descended from the famous family of printers who, for almost 100 years, formed the publishing and bookselling market in Wadowice. Three members of the Foltin family with the Franciszek name — grandfather, father and grandson — cherished the printing and publishing tradition in the town.