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Puppets from the “Zielony Balonik” (“Green Balloon”) nativity play — Jacek Malczewski

A funny puppet representing Jacek Malczewski in a caricatural character of Jacek Symbolewski was purchased for the collection of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków in 1962. It makes a valuable reminder related with the Young Poland cabaret called Zielony Balonik [Green Balloon] operating in the period from 1905 to 1912 on Floriańska Street in Kraków in the Cukiernia Lwowska [Lviv Confectionery] opened by Jan Apolinary Michalik and hence called Jama Michalika [Michalik’s Den].

“Turoń” (the type of horned creature) from Stary Sącz

Turoń (horned creature), or actually the head of one, i.e. a head of an animal with ears and horns made of several hefty pieces of wood nailed together and mounted on a stick. Originating from Stary Sącz (1908), this Turoń head, just like other similar exhibits from the very beginning of the Ethnographic Museum in Kraków, has been shown at the permanent exhibition in the form it was used in, i.e. as a part of an animal monster, a disguise of a member of a group of carollers.

Toy “Lajkonik’s march” by Jan Oprocha (father)

A toy cart, or actually a platform on wheels with holes to thread a pulling cord through and 31 figurines arranged on it, rocking while the toy is pulled. The whole toy, including the platform and the figurines, is made of polychrome wood. The rectangular platform with its bevelled corners and wheels are painted green. The edges are coated with white, yellow and pink paint, and the spokes are marked with yellow, blue and red.

Tube gramophone

The mechanism of the gramophone is placed in a box made of oak wood in a natural colour. The casing is modestly decorated with simple mills, the front wall bears a metal brass secession plate depicting the muse, Erato.

Wooden toy — “A cart pulled by horses”

A cart pulled by wheeled horses or rocking horses used to be one of the most favourite toys for children. Nowadays, it is coming back to store shelves in a fashionable and ecological design. This wooden cart is part of a larger collection of toys from the museum in Myślenice and the object used to present the history of folk toy manufacturing in general. Folk toys are more than merely usable items as all of them have their own history and all members of a family were engaged in the production process. They were made mainly by peasants in the winter time, when they were able to carve toys because of less agricultural work.

Easter egg from Kaunas

This Easter egg might illustrate the roads by which the objects (including Easter eggs) arrived there in the first years of existence of the Ethnographic Museum of Seweryn Udziela in Kraków . Sometimes, entire collections gathered over the years, and sometimes only individual items were donated here—the result of social sacrifice, fascination and exploration of folklore, and sometimes accidental encounters.

Mikiphone pocket phonograph

The phonograph has a spring drive mechanism and is designed to play discs that have a diameter of 10 to 25 cm at 33 rpm. It is sometimes described as the walkman of the Victorian era and the great-grandfather of the iPod. It is an example of one of the first pocket-size and movable devices for playing music.

Puppets from the “Zielony Balonik” (“Green Balloon”) nativity play — Jacek Malczewski

On 8 October 1905 in Cukiernia Lwowska Jana Michalika [a Lviv Confectionery run by Jan Michalik] the first performance of the Green Balloon cabaret was staged. The name of the cabaret arose by accident. After one of the meetings of ”the painter’s table”, where the idea of the cabaret originated, the artists saw a boy with a bunch of green balloons on Floriańska Street and then someone said: “That is our name: «Green Balloon»!”.

“Henryk Jordan’s Park”

The photograph shows an alley in Henryk Jordan’s Park with two distant busts of famous personalities. The white marble-sculpted busts are a noteworthy detail, the Barthesian punctum, or the intriguing elements of the picture. The bushes make up an evenly trimmed hedge. It is a stereoscopic photograph, a single print with two separate shots.

Nativity scene from Wieliczka

A model of a puppet nativity scene, symmetrical, with two storeys and five towers, provided with carrying handles on its sides. The entire structure is made of wood, the base and the upper floor of boards, and the frame from strips of wood. The walls are made of cardboard; the ground floor is covered with red paper with “bricks” painted with black ink and the walls of the upper floor and towers are covered with paper cut-outs in the shape of windows and star ornaments. The floors are separated with a decoration of horizontal, multicoloured stripes with silver teeth on the sides.

Crystal radio receiver

“The whole country in the range of a detector” — it was a slogan of British radio operators from 1923. Six years later it was implemented by the Polish radio (Polskie Radio SA). Why a detector receiver? Why not a lamp receiver which gives better reception? There were several reasons, two of which were decisive: a much lower price and an independent source of power, which had to be important in a country like Poland where electricity was scarce in the 3rd decade of the 20th century.

Sculpture “Bacchante” by Teodor Rygier

A young woman, clearly amused, seems to be walking towards the viewer with a dance-like step. Her shapely figure has been captured in a lively pose, and the body is covered only with a fabric carelessly wrapped around the hips. The girl is raising a goblet with a vigorous gesture of her right hand. The Dionysian character of sculpture, marked in the title, is emphasized by a vine twig gripped in the left hand.

“The Lajkonik is offered a treat in front of the Town Hall”

Lajkonik is photographed slightly from the bottom, framing the torso, turned to the right. He is holding a cup in his hand; he is receiving something to drink. The City Hall is visible in the background. The photograph was taken in the 1960s or 70s. It belongs to a series of five photos by the same author...

Costume “Easter Monday Dziad” by Piotr Opach

Easter Monday Dziad (dziad śmiguśny, dziad śmigustny or słomiak), a costume for a boy or a young man walking on Easter Monday from home to home as part of the śmigus dyngus tradition in Małopolska, in villages around Limanowa. The wooden frame, a dummy imitating a standing person.

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.

Painting “Caricature of Jacek Malczewski” by Kazimierz Sichulski

Zakopane, located at the foot of the Tatra Mountains, surrounded by a picturesque landscape, used to be a paradise for all kinds of artists. Besides inspirations they could come across at every turn, they could also experience true creative and intellectual freedom there.

Bike

Tadeusz Seweryn (1894–1975) — Director of the Ethnographic Museum in Kraków — describes this bike in the scientific catalogue sheet as follows: ”A bike made of wood by a cattleman, Franciszek Gucwa. The full wheels (spokeless) are connected with wooden ploughs. The front one has handlebars, heavily fitted with iron at the place where it is connected to the axis of the bike.

Sculpture “Young Centaur (Smiling Centaur)”

The Centaur sculpture is a copy of one of two marble sculptures found in Rome in 1736, during excavation works in Hadrian's Villa, but substantially reduced in size. At present, the Furietti Centaurs, named after their discoverer, Giuseppe Alessandro Furietti, can be found in the Capitoline Museums in Rome.

Kraków nativity scene by Maciej Moszew

Maciej Moszew is the author of the nativity scene presented. He has been participating in the Kraków Nativity Play Competition continuously since 1961. Mr. Moszew, a resident of Kraków by birth and by passion, began his adventure with nativity scenes at the age of six. He is an architect by profession, which is reflected in his works, but his real passion, which can happily be described in the case of Maciej Moszew also as a profession, is constructing nativity scenes.

Board game case, Brettspiel

A unfolding case used for playing backgammon, chess and so-called Polish draughts is an example of the activity of workshops operating in Eger in the 17th and at the beginning of the 18th centuries. Their works enjoyed popularity in Europe at that time, due to their interesting designs and unique method of colourful relief intarsia applied for ornamentation.