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“Princely” grave from Jakuszowice near Kazimierza Wielka

The find is dated back to the 1st half of the 5th century (before 434). It is one of the most interesting pieces of proof of contact between the peoples inhabiting the area of southern Poland and the Huns in the 1st half of the 5th century. The grave was discovered by accident in 1911 while mining sand. The majority of the excavated objects were smuggled to Kraków over the then Russian-Austrian border.

Kazimierz Piotrowski’s dog tag from the Warsaw Uprising

A dog tag is an inextricable part of a contemporary soldier's equipment. The dog tag allows one to identify the corpse of a soldier. This dog tag epitomises the improvisation in the combat conditions of the Warsaw Uprising...

Fibula of Łużyce

The clasp was discovered by Lidia Dobrzańska, primary school student, residing in Dabrowa Tarnowska summer of 1955 years. The girl, a dip in the Dunajec in Żabno noticed a nearby clump river a shiny object. It was a clasp brown and bronze springs — spiral rings fingerclip.

Hussar half-armour

The armour is made of iron sheet; at the edges and faulds it is lined with brass borders covered with repoussé and stamped pearls. Under the rivets there are laid brass rosettes decorated in the same way as the borders. A helmet has a semi-circular skull, a peak with a nasal bar, a fauld neck guard and cheek pieces with a heart-shaped cut. A five-fauld breastplate with a fishbone in the middle tied with two leather straps.

Tournament armour

The tournament armour is compiled of several suits of West-European armours created in the mid-16th century. Its basic parts are the cuirass, collarbone guard, and pads and thigh guards made by the best armourers from southern Germany. The breastplate with the fishbone and goose — that is a protrusion in the stomach area — has vertical stripes with an etched motif of a floral twig entwined over a panoply and musical instruments.

Lajkonik’s costume designed by Stanisław Wyspiański

The costume of Lajkonik, also called the Zwierzyniec Horse, designed by Stanisław Wyspiański in 1904, could be seen in the streets of Kraków until 1963. The costume used today during the annual frolics of Lajkonik is a faithful copy of the displayed exhibit. Although legend associates the origins of Lajkonik celebrations with the Tatar invasions of Kraków in the 13th century, the first ever source reference to it dates back to 1738.

White woollen apron

An apron to match the Kraków costume made of two gores of white thin woollen fabric with motifs of green twigs, roses and other pink and red flowers, and blue and pink tiny flowers and buds printed over it.

Apron for Kraków costume

An apron of white thin cotton cloth for the festive Kraków costume, full so as to cover the front and sides of a skirt, made from two widths of material, pleated, sewn into a narrow trim with cords formed on it. The apron is richly decorated with hand-made white punch and openwork pull out (toledo) embroidery, with a satin stitch.

“Ise-katagami” dyeing stencil with a carp motif

The carps that appear here belong to those motifs which, despite reflecting Japanese symbols, seem familiar to the Europeans as well. According to the tradition brought to Japan from China, carps swim upstream so as to transform themselves into dragons, having first proven their strength and perseverance. Due to those features, they are also patrons of boys on their own day which used to be celebrated in Japan on 5 May (at present, this is Children's Day in Japan).

Women’s shoes from Mników

Boots featuring multiple folds at ankle height, which is a characteristic feature of women’s shoes made in the village of Mników near Kraków at the turn of the 19th and 20th century.

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.

Fan with a court scene

The fan is made of a hand-painted fabric. In the fan’s folds, richly decorated fields with various floral patterns featuring a palette of blues and pinks, coloured using paint gouache, arranged vertically, are clearly visible. Through the floral compositions, there diamond-shaped ornaments, sewn in using golden thread, with the addition of sequins and beads at the corners. Along the fan, runs a strip of alternating brown and azure-blue panels, with white and pink flowers running respectively, in various compositions.

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.

Costume design for the “Harnasie” ballet by Irena Lorentowicz

As a result of a competition, the costume and stage design for Karol Szymanowski's ballet, Harnasie, was prepared by Irena Lorentowicz, a stage designer and painter, a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. The costume design, including the drawings and models, has been exhibited since 24 April 1936 in the Orbis halls, located near the Opera building.

Kontusz style outfit

This outfit, comprising the kontusz, żupan, trousers, kalpak, boots and karabela sabre, belonged to the Drohojowski Family from Czorsztyn. A full Polish national costume consists of an external part known as the kontusz and the żupan, the part which is worn underneath the kontusz. The kontusz was made of velvet. The back was cut in a characteristic manner with the so-called pillar, flared with a system of deep pleats highlighted with the sewn-in silk haberdashery.

Salada type helmet

The closed profile of the helmet and the shiny, smooth surface of steel, contrasts with the heads of spirally twisted rivets, that — despite their severe functionality — provide it with an extraordinary elegance. Until the middle of the 20th century, this helmet was considered a 19th-century copy. Covered with a thick layer of black paint (designed to protect against corrosion) it closely guarded its secrets. After being subjected to maintenance procedures, not only did this reveal its raw beauty, but also shed light on its mysterious past. It represents a late Gothic form of the helmet, evolved from the medieval cervelliere, widespread at the end of the 15th and early 16th century. It appeared in numerous variations and variants, serving both knights and soldiers from other classes.

The Wilamowice folk costume

Kęty and the town of Wilamowice, which was exceptional as early as in the interwar period, lie 7 kilometres apart. Wilamowice was founded as a settlement around 1250 by a group of newcomers from Frisia and Flanders who took care of their culture throughout the centuries, including their own dress and language, so different from the one in the communities nearby.

Małgorzata Markiewicz, “Counting-Out Games”

Her work, Wyliczanki (Counting-out Games), consists of three objects – costumes. Each consists of a skirt and a braid. Wide, embroidered skirts, with a circular pattern, inspired by Polish folklore, refer to the character and colours of festive folk costumes. They are made of combined, contrasting materials, with sewn-on patterns of contemporary silhouettes, which the artist juxtaposed with embroidered texts known from children’s plays or songs, such as: Moja Ulijanko, klęknij na kolanko [Little Ula, take a knee], Mam chusteczkę haftowaną [I’ve got an embroidered hankie], Chodzi lisek koło drogi [There’s a little fox strolling along the road side]. The colourful braids, made of old clothes, are long and thick, and therefore also heavy and uncomfortable to wear. The artist called them “cultural braids”, thus suggesting that they function as something artificial, attached.

Damask fabrics from the grave of St queen Jadwiga

Queen Jadwiga d’Anjou died on July 17th, 1399, several weeks after she gave birth to her daughter, Elizabeth Bonifacia (June 22nd), probably due to labour-related complications (puerperal fever). She was buried on July 19th together with the child, who had died several days earlier, in the chancel of the Wawel cathedral, to the north of the base on which the main altar is situated. The queen was buried in rich clothing of damask with sleeves trimmed with strips of thicker fabric with rhomboid pattern. Burial clothing is one of the most moving mementoes of the great saint. It is difficult to determine the original colour scheme of fabric that have undergone a permanent change as a result of 500 years spent in a dark and damp grave. Undoubtedly, they were extremely expensive and luxurious fabrics, reflecting very high standards of living at the court of Władysław Jagiełło and his wife Jadwiga in late 14th century. The first of these fabrics, clearly oriental in style, was probably made in Egypt in the 15th century. Patterns visible on the other two fabrics are closest to Spanish weaving manufactures from the 13th, 14th, and 15th century.

Fragment of a Coptic fabric (“orbiculus”)

Textile executed in tapestry weave and flying-shuttle technique. This element originates from Coptic tunic. The preserved fragment inside an aorbiculus is covered with decoration of the Flechtknoten type.