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Porcelain vase with a wooden base

What do a cobalt vase and a Japanese emperor have in common? This vase is a gift from the Japanese court donated to the Manggha Museum during the visit of the Japanese emperor, Akihito, and his wife, Michiko, on 11 July 2002. This porcelain vase with a wooden base is ornamented with the imperial chrysanthemum – an emblem representing the imperial title in Japan.

“Rikka” — “ikebana” vase

Ikebana is the art of arranging flowers which involves the creation of linear harmony and asymmetrical composition while keeping unity among the shapes, rhythms and colours of the material used. Elements used in compositions include branches, leaves, grass, and flowers, as well as vessels, and each of these elements has its own symbolic meaning.

“Hakuji” vessel by Manji Inoue

The process of producing vessels of white porcelain is regarded as being exceptionally difficult, since, as it is baked in a furnace, small particles can easily permeate inside, and they can dye the porcelain forms, thus disrupting the whole process. One of the most outstanding contemporary hakuji artist is Manji Inoue (born 1929), the Japanese creator who was awarded, in 1995, with the honourable title of The Living National Treasure(Ningen Kokuhō).

“Hanaire” flower vase used to decorate tea ceremonies

A Hanaire [花入], which is a flower vase used during the tea ceremony, can have many forms — standing, hanging, with a broad spout, or imitating a thin bamboo stem. Hanaire creators are not limited in terms of materials they can use, either. In tea rooms, one can encounter vases made of wicker, hollow calabash, and every kind of ceramic. Those lighter materials are used during summer gatherings; while heavier ones are chosen in winter.

“Hiratemae” imperial tea set used during the summer season

Chaji may last for several hours and during this time guests have the opportunity to taste thick koicha tea and light usucha tea, as well as to refresh themselves with a light dish or to taste sweets. All the elements are chosen specifically for such a meeting. In terms of form and motif, utensils should match the season and the occasion. Even the dishes reflect the seasonal characteristics of nature. When speaking about uniqueness of each chaji, the Japanese use a phrase ichigo ichie, meaning: the only meeting like this in life, and the cultivation of this lifestyle is called the Tea Way.

Cup

It is one of the most magnificent Baroque, secular works of Polish goldsmithery preserved in the collection in the world. The scenes most emphasized on the goblet are connected with weaving. This was the main source of income for the residents of Leszno in the 17th century. Two of them illustrate everyday occupations – shearing and weaving, and the third one clearly has a allegorical meaning.

Enamelled vase

A large vase with a hemispherical goblet coated with cloisonné enamel. According to its donor, the vase comes from the Summer Palace of Beijing from the era of the Chinese emperors of the Qing dynasty. It was destroyed in 1860, and then again in 1900.

Persian bowl

This bowl sits on a high base with a hemispherical goblet that opens up at the rim. Featuring white-metallised and decorated with a broad inscribed strip filled with geometrical and inscriptional black polish and set against a background of a delicate plant. There is an inscription written in italicised Arabic script with Nastaliq calligraphy and with a niche separating the beginning from the end. Inside it, there is an Arabic inscription praising Allah, always placed at the end of the sacred text.

Astronomical monstrance clock

This is the most precious clock in the Wawel collection clocks. It has a unique, impressive form and a complicated mechanism. The clock's case resembles a monstrance, with the clock dial, held by a kneeling mermaid, replacing the nimbus.

Tile table clock

For many years, it was believed to be the oldest of the Polish table clocks, called tile clocks for their flat cases. However, the engraved date An 1607 should be regarded as a later addition, contrary to the dates of the life and activity of Simon Ginter, who signed the clock.

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.

Candlestick of the so-called “Swan Set”

The so-called Swan Set, the most famous of porcelain sets, was made in the Royal Manufactory in Meissen during the years 1737–1742, on the commission of Heinrich, Count von Brühl, later the First Minister of Augustus III.

Statuette of a Woman Feeding Poultry

During the mid-18th century it was popular to set the table on the occasion of the most important ceremonies with porcelain statuettes forming rich iconographic stories. Along the entire length of the table, next to the silverware and the china, sat an arrangement of many statuettes in the form of garden paths, streets or castle arcades, placed on a mirror sheet or coloured sand.

Statuette of a Woman Selling Grapes

During the mid-18th century it was popular to set the table on the occasion of the most important ceremonies with porcelain statuettes forming rich iconographic stories. Along the entire length of the table, next to the silverware and the china, sat an arrangement of many statuettes in the form of garden paths, streets or castle arcades, placed on a mirror sheet or coloured sand.

Statuette of a Woman in Hunting Clothes

During the mid-18th century it was popular to set the table on the occasion of the most important ceremonies with porcelain statuettes forming rich iconographic stories. Along the entire length of the table, next to the silverware and the china, sat an arrangement of many statuettes in the form of garden paths, streets or castle arcades, placed on a mirror sheet or coloured sand.

Statuette of a Pole

During the mid-18th century it was popular to set the table on the occasion of the most important ceremonies with porcelain statuettes forming rich iconographic stories. Among the display of the typical national figures, undoubtedly seen as quite exotic in the eyes of Western Europe, one could be find considerable numbers of Poles, whose rich traditional noble attire and bent sabres with eastern ornamentation must have been fascinating to the Saxon court.

Statuette of a Pole

During the mid-18th century it was popular to set the table on the occasion of the most important ceremonies with porcelain statuettes forming rich iconographic stories. Among the display of the typical national figures, undoubtedly seen as quite exotic in the eyes of Western Europe, one could be find considerable numbers of Poles, whose rich traditional noble attire and bent sabres with eastern ornamentation must have been fascinating to the Saxon court.

Statuette of a Polish Woman

During the mid-18th century it was popular to set the table on the occasion of the most important ceremonies with porcelain statuettes forming rich iconographic stories. Along the entire length of the table, next to the silverware and the china, sat an arrangement of many statuettes in the form of garden paths, streets or castle arcades, placed on a mirror sheet or coloured sand.

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.

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.