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Jewish book of the Chevra Kadisha funeral brotherhood

A Jewish book belonging to a Chevra Kadisha funeral fraternity. It is a prayer book of the Ashkenazi rite (Nusach Ashkenaz). The Hebrew title of the book is Sidur Safa Berura ha-Shalom.

“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...

Miniature of the sarcophagus of Casimir IV the Jagiellonian from the Holy Cross Chapel of Wawel Cathedral

A factory for the production of artistic metal castings was established in Warsaw, in the Kingdom of Poland, by Karol Fryderyk Minter. Minter was of Prussian descent and was educated in Berlin and Copenhagen. The factory became famous for its ornamental works (which were predominantly patriotic in design) which were produced during the years 1845–1879. One series produced comprised a set of twenty-one memorials of Polish rulers, including sixteen miniaturized copies of royal and princely tombs, with nine of these being Wawel royal tombs.

Stela of woman from Kom Abou Billou

The upper preserved part of the stela shows an aedicula constructed of a semicircular pediment supported on two plain columns with papyrus capitals. The deceased is shown frontally, but with the right leg in profile. She is reclining on a mattress, supported on her left elbow resting on two pillows. In her right hand, which is unnaturally long, she holds a bowl. Her dress consists of a chiton and himation arranged in semicircular folds. The long her falling to her breasts is pushed back behind the ears. Her face has been hammered away. Opposite her there is an engraved representation of a sitting jackal. The animal with a long snout and raised tail is shown facing her.

Funerary stela pediment

The dove, a symbol of the Holy Spirit, is popular in Christian iconography. The motif is frequent in Coptic art, mainly on funerary stelae presenting the same kind of composition as above. A praying figure with two crosses or a stylized crux gemmata cross is usually shown between the columns. The motif of a dove is also known from wall painting; numerous representations of doves are known from murals in the hermitages at Esna in Upper Egypt and elsewhere.

Coffin portrait of a young woman

The image of an unknown young woman is an example of a coffin portrait: a special genre of portraits that emerged in close relation with the funeral customs in the Baroque period.

Painting “Meditations” (“Ash-Wednesday”), from the Cycle: "Ceremonies" — VII

Witold Wojtkiewicz occupies a special position among the Young Poland painters. His paintings, typical of the decadent fin de siècle, were described by André Gide as the “personal fusion of Naturalism, Impressionism and grotesque.” The artist created his own painting world, astonishingly expressionistic, as if from some somnambulistic vision.

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.

Queen Jadwiga’s tombstone

Carved in a single block of marble from Carrara and covered with a slightly smaller flat block with the figure of the queen lying with head directed towards the east. It is situated in the first arcade from the west in the southern wing of the ambulatory. An austere block tomb is supported by a base decorated with highly stylised lilies, a frize of square panels filled with heraldic eagles in the top part. The longer side (southern) is divided into seven panels, with the outer ones overlapping narrower sides.

Inscriptions on the walls in the former Gestapo prison at Pomorska Street

The Pomorska Street Branch of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków is located in the Silesian House [Dom Śląski] on the corner of Królewska Street and Pomorska Street. During WW II, the building of the so-called Silesian House, which houses the branch of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków today, was occupied by the Germans.

Photograph “Tadeusz Pankiewicz in the company of four people in the duty room”

Dr Roman Glassner is sitting in a dark leather armchair in the middle; on the left is Helena Krywaniuk sitting back on an armchair, leaning against Aurelia Danek who is standing behind her. Dr Leon Glück is sitting back on the seat on the right. Tadeusz Pankiewicz stands behind the armchair in the background.

Tomb stele from Ginari Tafah 3

The third of the tomb steles found in the region of Lower Nubia, which belongs to the Archaeological Museum of Kraków. Similarly to the two remaining ones, the stele bears an inscription in the Old Nubian language. The inscription on the stele contains numerous grammar mistakes, mostly influenced by the Old Nubian language.

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.

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.

“Camera/Mr Daguerre’s invention” (“Wielopole, Wielopole”, 1980)

Kantor observed some analogy between photography and shooting, between a group posing for a photograph and a group of recruits lined up in a row. This field of association was used in one of the images from Wielopole, Wielopole, a performance that continued the themes/motifs from Umarła klasa [The Dead Class].

Stele of the son of Chairemon and Isidora from Kom Abou Billou

The stele was purchased in Cairo at Eli Albert and Joseph Abermayor by soldiers of the Polish Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade during WW II. The scene depicts a deceased man lying on a klinai and a female orant standing opposite. The man lying in the bed is dressed in a short-sleeved chiton and a himation rolled at the waist, wrapped around his left hand. In his right, outstretched hand he is holding a kantharos. The woman standing in front of him is depicted en face, she is dressed in the same way as the man and is raising her hands in a gesture of prayer. Under the scene an inscription is placed. The name of the deceased has been preserved only partially; perhaps it was Sosas. The name of his father was Chairemon; the name of Isidora is also there, popular in Egypt in the Roman period. The figures are bound together by family ties.

Stela of man from Kom Abou Billou

Banquet scene inside an aedicula consisting of two flat columns supporting a semicircular pediment, now lost. A papyrus capital is still visible on the column to the right. The deceased is depicted as a partaker in a banquet, reclining on a couch with two pillows and mattress. Horizontal engraved lines below the representation were intended for an inscription.

Stela of Bes from Kom Abu Billou

The stela with deceased shown in prayer in the inly such example among the objects from Kom Abou Billou in Polish collections. The style of a stela, dated to 300 based on the archeological context, is similar, although not exactly the same. Modeling of the details of the figure and of the dress suggests an earlier dating for this object.

Tomb stele from Ginari Tafah 2

The stele comes from the Christian necropolis in Lower Nubia (present day Egypt). It is one of the three stelae from that region presented on our website and one of seven stelae stored in Poland. The inscription placed on the stele is written in the Old Nubian language, which is indicated, for example, by the use of colons for dividing numbers.